PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues

November 12, 2008 -

In the current environment, game publishers seem perfectly willing to push their customers around, especially when it comes to gaming on the PC.

That's why - as a long time PC gamer - the more I hear about the PC Gaming Alliance, the more enthusiastic I become.

While publishers like Electronic Arts need a lawsuit or three, along with a wave of bad publicity, to clue them into the fact that computer gamers don't want restrictive DRM on their games, the people at the PCGA are studying the piracy issue with an eye toward balancing the needs of publishers to turn a profit and consumers to enjoy a positive gaming experience on their PC.

Ben Kuchera of Ars Technica interviews outspoken PCGA head Randy Stude:

I don't think [piracy is] getting worse, as much as it's getting easier. As broadband has gotten more prolific the issue has been exacerbated... The PCGA will take up the challenge of piracy, not to assume the responsibility that [game publishers lobby] the ESA has taken on... rather the PCGA would like to address the methodology that publishers might be able to take to solve, or to do a better job trying to solve, the piracy challenge for their substantial investments in content.

I think [in the Spore DRM revolt] gamers wanted to make their voices known; it was the equivalent of the Boston tea party... [PC Gamers] don't buy one machine, stick it in the corner, hook it up to the TV, and play it forever. We play on multitudes of machines, and we want the same rights an Xbox 360 purchaser has, to move the game to whatever machine we want to play on.

We [at PCGA] are the guardians of the PC as a platform for gaming. We need to make sure there is an environment where publishers are not afraid to invest tens of millions of dollars in developing great gaming experiences.

PCGA members include hardware types like Dell, INtel, nvidea, AMD, Acer and Antec, as well as Microsoft and Activision.

Stude voiced similar views in an interview with Gamasutra last month.


Comments

Re: PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues

A friend of mine claims its the investors demanding DRM ont he games, and regardless of how little piracy there is they're always saying "Well what about these pirates?"

It takes a company saying "We have it under control", and if further questioned and additional investor demands being put on them saying "Screw off" and losing that investor base.

Spore had a 4/5 legitimate buyer to pirate ratio last time I looked. If the DRM hadn't been there, or they just did a completely game.exe based CD check, it would have been better, probably closer to the 20:1 ratio it normally is.

At a million copies sold, I'm certain that losing over 55 million dollars in sales far outweighs losing a temporary 5 million in investors.

This same friend said that it's done by contract in a single lump license payment, and isn't the actual programmer's choice, then we went on to argue over the programmers being targeted by the lawsuits.

The problem is, it really isn't their choice, but these nasty executives that DO have the choice are using the programmers as a meat shield. All I can say is:Get out of the way, because the consumers, however 'dumb' they may be, and however antlike they are by themselves, are swarming like army ants and will consume anything in their way.

Too bad no one paid attention until it got so nasty. It could have all been avoided with a "Oh, okay, we'll take the DRM down a few notches, not require online connectivity, and figure out a different means of copy protection!"

Also, the 60-70 bucks a console game is hilarious. It's only done because none of the console gamers can fight back. Classic price gouging.

Re: PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues

Exactly. Good games sell regardless of pirates, and that's the problem: we need better quality games, because pirates do it for two reasons:

1. Because they can.

2. because the game isn't worth buying, or it's no longer available.

Reason 2 is controllable, and yet everyone keeps going after reason one, which will never, ever, ever be controllable. Why? I mean seriously, why go after the problem you can't fix? It's like trying to keep dry when it's raining by building a weather machine instead of getting a umbrella.

Re: PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues

FO3 is the fly in the "everyone is a pirate, we need to lock this shit down" argument...

It's got DRM.  It's not a simple cd check (in that it installs Securom components), but it's not as intrusive as Spore DRM.

It is selling fantastically despite anecdotal evidence that the S.rom implementation can cause issues on PC's including, but not limited to, making the user unable to play the game he/she purchased.

However, it still sells...

Why?

Because it's a fucking good game...

Now FO3 was available on torrents for Xbox360 weeks before it came out.  It was available for PC the same day of release.  And yet people are buying it.  Buying it a lot apparently.

http://www.techshout.com/gaming/2008/08/fallout-3-by-bethesda-softworks-...

The sky isn't falling as long as you make games that people want to play...

It's cross platform but doesn't sacrifice too much in either direction (the remnent of auto-aim on the PC version and the Pipboy's consoley control system are the only bits that vaguely get in my face), it's complex and deep, it's linear within a pretty huge sandbox.  It isn't surface gloss and no substance.

And surprise surprise, it sells well...

Make games worth buying and piracy will shrink.  Turn out pedestrian pap and I reckon your getting exactly what you deserve.

Re: PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues

Been noticing since I installed FO3 my system has been instable like crazy...I ahte to say it but sicrom is getting as bad as star force....

I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
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Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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Re: PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues

Video game companies can be as evil and stupid as they like as long as they are not meddling with my OS with rootkits and shady DRM. I work waaaayyyyyy to hard on optimizing the operating system to let them screw it up.

Re: PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues

well, first, how PCGA think to 'guard' such an investment is not pretty clear, and second until VG companies continue to put 10 million$ into a single title there certainly is no hope to defeat piracy becuse they feel themselves entitled to charge crazy prices to a game box and so this is an implicit feed to piracy.

To me the best service PCGA should sell to big companies is to teach them how to produce a VG with less money targetting lower prices, and how to approach the consumer without a stinky attitude.


if you think I wanna contradict you, you clearly don't know this man

Re: PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues

Feel free to call me a jaded, but I have a sneaky suspicion this organization will turn into a game industry version of the RIAA. I can just see it now testifying before Congress:

"Yes, gamers want and support DRM on games to help protect themselves and game publishers. Moreover they are also keen on the idea of having to connect the Internet to play any games and get the final part of the game experience, as well as forego any resale options and even pay a premium for said gaming services out of devoted loyalty to loving industry. We know this to be true since we speak for gamers."    

 

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"The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" - Herodotus

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" - Herodotus

Re: PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues

Can you imagine the outrage of the entire gaming community if someone dared to say that too congress? Everyone on the internet would make his or her life a living hell.

Hi. You're going to call off your rigorous investigation. You're going to publicly state that there is no underground group. Or... these guys are going to take your balls. They're going to send one to the New York Times, one to the LA Times press-release-style. Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not fuck with us.

Re: PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues

I SEE WHAT YOU DID THAR.

Re: PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues

It was pretty much done the same way for the Bono copyright extension hearings.

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"The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" - Herodotus

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" - Herodotus

Re: PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues

heh they always think that pirates only have "excuses" and not reasons.

i hated the concept of Spore, but i hate the DRM style they have moreso (as it also infects Crysis and other games)and many have voiced their intentions to download the pirated version to get around the DRM, all the while having also perhaps bought the game.

yet its still an excuse not to pay for it? despite it sits on their shelf fully PAYED for? ermm... yeah.

 

this guys got his focus on though, and i can't say i disagree with'em :p

 

Re: PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues

That's why - as a long time PC gamer - the more I hear about the PC Gaming Alliance, the more enthusiastic I become.

Same hear. I hope they turn out to be a good thing and not just a Microsoft and Nvidea pawn.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: PC Gaming Alliance Talks Sense on Piracy Issues


Thank You!!!  Now hopefully they will do this right still, but at least someone is giving it an honest try this time.  A hell of a lot better than EA.

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