ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on DRM, EULAs and What Digital Distribution Will Mean for Game Consumers

Last week was a busy one for Entertainment Consumers Association President Hal Halpin.

On Wednesday Hal was in Seattle to serve as a panelist on the Federal Trade Commission’s much-anticipated town hall meeting on digital rights management (DRM). From Seattle it was down to San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference. At GDC Hal was interviewed by – among others – Ben Kuchera of Ars Technica and spoke at length about the needs of the game consumer in relation to the game industry’s desire for DRM and those pesky End User License Agreements (EULA):

We suggested a few things to the FTC, one of which was we’d like to see DRM disclosed. So when people go to the store and buy the packaged good, the PC game, they’ll see something on the front of the box saying there is DRM inside, and to what degree it will be invasive.

The second thing that we recommended was that EULAs get standardized, so again, rather than have 30 or 40 types of agreements, there would be one standard one for all different types of computer games. People go into the store, buy the game, open it, and they can no longer return it… by standardizing the EULA, consumers will have the confidence to know what it is they’re agreeing to before they buy the product.

That didn’t go over so well. There was a room of attorneys that kind of gasped when we suggested standardization. One panelist commented that the EULA really were there as consumer information, and that was the one and only time that the FTC jumped in and said ‘wait a second, this has nothing to do with consumer information, this is purely IP protection…’

Hal also spoke about the coming shift to digital distribution and how this will affect the game consumer:

The transition from disc-based media to digital media… it’s essentially going to remove the "purchase to own" out of the equation, replacing it with purchasing a license. That’s how PC games are now… That paradigm shift, it’s very important for us to get out ahead of it, so with DRM and EULAs, so we can say these are what consumer’s rights are, and have an easy way to identify that in the purchasing process…

One of the reasons it’s important to get EULAs standardized and DRM disclosed is that when you talk about different [delivery] systems like Steam… there are still controls in place. While it’s not SecuROM, it’s another form of DRM, it’s just in a different way. Consumers need to understand that…


Some [game] publishers… feel that the vocal minority of consumers who spoke up about Mass Effect and Spore represent the ‘pirates’ and in doing so fanned the flames for a much larger percentage of consumers who now feel like they’re not being listened to. A dismissive attitude from the industry probably came back to haunt them in sales…

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

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  1. Bennett Beeny says:

    I’m with you on that.  Sadly my computer gaming is so infrequent these days, despite the fact that I feel the PC is the best games platform.  The reason – DRM.  I HATE any sort of ‘activation’ – when I buy a game I just want to play it.  I never minded that a game checked to see that the disc was the original game disc, but when it goes beyond that it’s just a pain in the arse.  When hobbies become a pain in the arse they may as well be called work.  I don’t relax with work.

  2. Dark Nexus says:

    Even the activation on install is too much for me to tolerate.

    The sad thing is that if store-bought games that require Steam made activation optional instead of mandatory, I’d probably happily activate them to access value-added aspects of Steam.  But as long as it’s mandatory on install, I won’t even buy the game.

  3. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Its easy to get the WII running backups it has no warranty sticker and you can buy easy to install(no soldering required) stuff to get backups working and the 360 has software mods.

    The 360 is already as pirated as the PC and the WII is on the way too… be if you can find games for it…. but lulz quotes aside piracy is an unseperatable part of media that dose not harm it in any physical way on a world wide basis,  locally  maybe but some regions are just heavily under serviced like china and pooer parts of the world were retail goods are to costly or imposable to get and most if not all damage is countered balanced by the profits they make elsewhere.

    What the media industry should do instead of bitching about a unchangeable part of life is lower their own overhead and exec wages lay off the cocaine consumption and price match bootleggers in poor parts of the world while trying to fight illicit profit world wide.


    Fight the consumer and you’ll go out of buisness….


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  4. ZippyDSMlee says:

    I agree and untill they make a passive DRM system that ensures you don’t have to be online to play(activation aside) Steam is jsut another DRM system that needs to go away.


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  5. Dark Nexus says:

    It warms my heart to see someone a whole lot more visible than me painting Steam with the DRM brush.  I’ve been saying that since Half-Life 2 came out.  Valve may not have come up with the idea of online authentication (MS did it sooner with XP, and I don’t know that they were the first), but they were the ones who applied it to games.

    Steam is what started games down this road to excessive DRM.

  6. Doom90885 says:

    All these publishers putting pc gamers under the bus as thieves and pirates what are they gonna say, what are they gonna do when console games start becoming pirated and copied more and more are they gonna just gonna stop makig games all together and kill the video game industry? I have bought all my games for over 15 years legitaimately. I think this is a whole scheme to focus exclusively on console games and dump the PC gamers. They think the grass is greener on that side and in many cases it is. I have a PC a Wii an Xbox360 and PS3 and PS2. Each one of these has its advantages and disadvantages; there is no wrong answer. I have been a PC gamer the longest and I notice the lack of advertising and the half assed ports that PC gamers suffer and having all this invasive DRM and having to register here and there and everywhere and they wonder why PC gamers are turning away. I 100% support copy protection but not at the expense of the customer and my main complaint actually is the activation limits. I paid full for a game I shouldn’t have to contact the publisher for more activations (from what I hear for a fee). That is complete BS. Also many new games for consoles are available on torrents a week before release like I say piracy already is hitting consoles and its a matter of time before there is no difference between consoles and pcs. I prefer disk myself though I have games on steam and whatnot which may be a bad solution but someone here made the point that if the company goes under (especially today where everyone is going under) we’re stuck. A solution must be reached which is fair to all.

    In Scapegoats We Trust

  7. Orelup says:

    Still grinded my gears when a DoW2 dev said they had minimal DRM on their disk and that they were suffering for it, and refused to acknowledge that requiring Steam AND Windows Live to play the game in single player was not a form of DRM.

  8. Quindo says:

    If a company sells games by the internet one cool thing they can do is give players the ability to burn the game to a CD.  However to prevent MASSIVE pirated the computer the game is installed on would need to be able to log into the online accont that bought the game (login info could be stored on the disk).  Nothing else would needed to be done.  All the company needs to do is make sure a accont isn’t logged in from two different computer at the same time. As for if the server dies, if the CD/game can’t contact the main server but can sense google, and if google can’t sense the server then the game basically becomes public domain.

    — Currently doing a research project on the short-short term effects SWBF:2 has on peoples abilities to focus.

  9. Praetorian says:

    "There was a room of attorneys that kind of gasped when we suggested standardization."

    Gasped wasn’t the word for it–sucked the air out of the room would be more appropriate.


    "I’ve been told I’m the resident skeptic, but I wouldn’t believe that."

  10. Bennett Beeny says:

    "I know that gamers like myself are not the whole…no one type of anybody is the whole of anything…but I think I don’t stand alone in stating that, if games went completely digital, a large part of my fun with collecting and finding these games would go away."

    I’m with you 100%.  Speaking for myself, I try to avoid digital downloads altogether.  I just don’t trust the idea of spending money on any hobby if I can’t take the boxes/pieces/stuff with me in physical form.  I really think that if games went 100% digital, that would be the end of computer gaming and video gaming as hobbies for me.  Part of the fun of gaming for me is in collecting the boxes and the instruction books.  There’s a tactile and visual aspect to gaming that goes beyond the mere software and the act of playing the game.  I think if gaming went all digital, it might encourage me to take up boardgaming once more.

  11. ZippyDSMlee says:

    BR discs are not that bad.

    1.00-2.00$ 25GB
    2.00-3.00$ 50GB

    this is for high volumes of 25K or more and more industry wide than the plants quoted.
    Now what I can not find is current prices since BR production has had at least 2 updates to the process making less bad discs cutting overhead and lower per disc price, I would think for high volume production its going to be under 2$ a disc.

    Carts were at least half the cost of the product, sicne the PSX days publishers got a boon in profit from cheaper replication. Now with design/development costs are easily half of the product price is and its starting to hurt the industry.

    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  12. Dark Nexus says:

    I completely agree about wanting the physical media, but it’s more than just that.  There’s also the packaging at times too.  It’s less common now, but the little extras that come in the box can be really nice to have.

    Unless there’s a big advantage to going with the digital download (like the L4D half price weekend), I’ll take a trip to the store any day.

  13. Zen says:

    If it was meant for me, I agree that games have been (especially since the carts were around) more expensive.  Chrono Trigger was around $70 bucks I think.  Most of my point was how when the costs dropped from an expensive cart to an incredibly cheap CD or DVD, the costs have slowly gone up since then when the costs of a disc have gone down (other than Blu-Ray…no clue on the actual costs of those things).

    Zen aka Jeremy Powers
    Panama City, Fl.

  14. Zen says:

    FULL DISCLOSURE: While I work for a Navy Contractor here in Panama City, I also work part time as a Gamestop store manager (helps pay for games without messing with the family budget and I love just being around fellow gamers since all of the people I usually work with can’t even ID a current game.)

    I haven’t ONCE seen a game be sold used before it’s release date.  Hell, most of the time they can’t sell anything early because the system has the dates and will not allow the sale, or will report directly who did it and when.  It usually takes at LEAST a few days for a game to come back, and that depends on the quality.  I remember Kane and Lynch coming back pretty quickly, but we all remember how lovely that thing was to begin with.

    Now as to how we are treated, I’m not sure where you have gotten your information, or if you just have "friends" that have had bad experiences, but I’ve never faced most of what you have talked about.  We don’t get fired for not making certain numbers.  We are asked to try and make certain points, but a business wouldn’t do very well in telling it’s employees what it is looking for if they don’t have some sort of understandable path to follow.  Every company I have EVER worked for has done that from the car wash that was my first job, to my Data / Networking Job with Nextel, and even now with my Contractor job.  Now for district managers, that is going to be a person by person thing.  Ours hasn’t been that bad, but we sure haven’t seen eye to eye on some things which is going to happen when two people of the human race interact for any amount of time. 

    Now about the not "making it clear that a certain section of games are "used" and a section of games are "new"." issue, I’m not really sure how much clearer it needs to be.  EVERY item in the store has a sticker on it that is either WHITE (and says NEW on it almost bigger than the actual cost), or a YELLOW one with the same size USED listed.  This is on the front, side, and back of each game in the store that is on display. On top of that, each system is split between "new" and "used" with signs showing that.  If a store is not clear on it, tell the manager or point it out.  The squeeky wheel gets the grease.

    And about the "Dawn of War II being blacklisted thing", I heard about that and looked into it myself.  We never canceled any pre-orders, and stocked it just fine (even as of today).  Hell, most of us at the store got it and play together (I’ll get it eventually myself…still trying to finish the first one lol). If someone is telling you that it was blacklisted because of Steam, why do they sell Left 4 Dead, Orange Box, and many other Valve games which all require Steam in order to play the games?  Same thing for Games for Windows games that require an Xbox Live Gamertag to play.  

    In regards to Sony, I haven’t seen any stopping of a game being released on PSN yet for the PSP.  You can’t lay blame squarly at Gamestop without including EVERY brick and mortar store including Wal-Mart, Target, Play N Trade, Etc.  All of them have a stock on if Sony tried to bail on physical media all at once because there wouldn’t be much reason to continue stocking the system itself.  Why should any company work to sell the system at cost, just to have Sony make the profit from the games somewhere else.  It’s a business model, not a charity.  Not even Wal-Mart will carry the PSP or PS3 if they have nothing to sell along with it, or for it, to make the company some profit.

    I stated before that I don’t mind a combination of digital along with physical media for games.  I have plenty of "independent" games that I have downloaded via Steam, XBLA, PSN, Wii Ware, and others.  It is a great way to spread the work out and lets them be sold for such a lower cost, that I don’t mind paying the entry fee for something new and unique.  So for those games…we are in COMPLETE agreement! 🙂  Now in regards to the larger games…let’s take any of your three examples above (Halo, KillZone, and Metal Gear 4) and I think we can both agree they were well worth the entry costs.  I even bought the collectors edition for each of them (except Killzone…but I will be getting it…looks fun). Now a little time passes and those engines and assets are used again to save the company money, labor, and development time.  They will sell that game for the same cost as the last one, even though they saved money during the cycle and could make the same profit off of less sales because of it.  We aren’t seeing any breaks except for a few rare games that are less than the others (Banjo Nuts and Bolts and Viva Piniata come to mind), while others (looking at you Square Enix Tax) that actually raise the cost for us.  They haven’t expanded their company, they have just fine tuned it and raised the costs for us. Why do they do it….they are businesses.  They are also artists, but the two can’t fairly be seperated in this business.

    All and all I think we both just want the best games for us, and for the developers to be compensated fairly in the same manner as other arts.  There will be bad seeds on both sides that are either bad employees at any business that either sell early, sell to minors, steal, etc., just like there are developers who don’t blink an eye at making us pay for data and features that are either on the disc already or part of the file we downloaded just to play after paying for the game or just rush out a bad game to push on people to make the all-mighty dollar. 

    I try and look at the bright side. So insanejedi, while I seem adversarial (and a bad speller), please take it as a view point to debate and not  me stabbing back in anger.  We’re all gamers here…so let’s just play.

    Zen aka Jeremy Powers
    Panama City, Fl.

  15. JC says:

    I have to agree (to Stealthguy), the trickling down isn’t really showing up. They just downsize apparently to squeeze a bit more, you (insanejedi) more or less said it yourself that a company like gamestop treats its employees badly and that we can’t expect the same from the big 3? MS just cut off one of the fingers that was doing well and I don’t see them making a new company to replace it for newer jobs.

    I say it is also a figure of less accessibility because one has to be online to access steam and to use it.The figures of how many people sign on Xbox Live compared to how many consoles exist can easily show that pure digital isn’t possible, especially with the size of games (and they only get bigger).

    I’d like to say thanks to Hal Halpin for representing us gamers. It is unfortunate to see how the publishers reacted, and only makes me feel I won’t be purchasing many games in the future and I’ll have to be content with what I already have. I can only hope that future consumers will do the same or make demands should they continue business with these companies.

  16. Stealthguy says:

    Just a few things from my limited(read: nonknowledgable) perspective:

    It seems like the prices of games may flucuate from low to ludacris but the consoles themselves are just getting higher, it doesn’t really matter if the prices are the same value in the end because of the damn dollar I’m still getting the same amount of paper either way and theres going to be a breaking point when I say these games keep looking the same, acting the same, feeling the same but the prices are sure different. Once that finally burrows its way to my brain I’ll be ‘enlightened’ and decide I can’t keep supporting the same old crap.


    It’d be fine if ‘Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and third parties’ did all those things but it wouldn’t really help the people being undercut by removing the ‘middle man’. I know ‘it’s business, tis not supposed to be fair.’ Tell that to the people who’d lose their jobs, try to reassure them that the extra money will be spent helping those companies make more money through programs the majority wouldn’t qualify for. Money is a symbol of power, if ‘rich people realize that money is pointless when it’s just sitting around’ then wouldn’t we all somehow be better off since they’d be sharing the wealth.

  17. Duffy says:

    Side note, games have actually become cheaper, 15-20 years ago some games were almost $100.  Now, if you want to complain about PC Game cost vs Console, and if these current costs correctly convey a games value, have at. But please don’t pretend that they are at an all time historic high!


    *Reply is under the wrong comment, sorry.

  18. insanejedi says:

    The gleefull wishing of killing gamestop has a little more to do than just the fact they sell used games. I’m not saying it’s illegal to resale games as everyone has the right to do so, but their buisness practices, policies, employee treatment, and the way they sell games is simply ambysmal. Selling new games before release dates to customers who don’t know the online won’t work day before release so they could come back to the store and trade it in, so they have used copies on shelves BEFORE DAY OF RELEASE. Taking out games from packages and selling the "guts", not making it clear that a certain section of games are "used" and a section of games are "new". Making qoutas for tellers making it so that if they don’t have x number of Game Informer magazine subscriptions they would fire them, district managers being jerks, the list goes on further than JUST the fact they sell used games. And when it comes to used games, there is a whole list of other sleezy practices as well such as blacklisting the sale of Dawn of War 2 because it made you install steam and playing hardball with Sony saying that they can’t put up certain "full" games on PSN.

    I agree that during the advent of the CD era, we’ve not seen a dramatic change in prices, but your wrong in that game prices have not gone down. They have, you’ve just not seen it because that’s whats it’s doing, if you account for inflation, games have been the same price for a very long time. That being said, yes there are going to be games that just lower the budget bar further because they simply can, but with that you also have the advent that big name games like Killzone, Metal Gear and Halo can now afford to have greater ability to do focus testing, which will inevitabilly lead to better games in the future. You also have to account for the fact that mass digital distribution will allow independent developers make games that the mainstream can then consume.

    You also said jobs would be lost to digital distribution, true, but the extra profits created by Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and third parties would inevitably lead it to be invested else where, whether it be more studio’s, research and development, or marketing. Forget what the left wingers have said, trickle-down does happen because rich people realize that money is pointless when it’s just sitting around.

  19. King of Fiji says:

    Lets not forget that another scary part would be that there is less jobs since retail video game stores will be no more.

  20. Zen says:

    I buy a few games online, but have never really been comfortable just giving up a physical copy of something that I can keep, pass on, or do with as I please. A few XBLA/PSN/Wii Ware games and some Steam games here and there are nice for a quick pick up of a game for fun or for a LAN party and such. But I will normally go and pick up a physical copy anyways when I can, or only buy the digital version (Orange Box as my example) on Steam because I have a good copy on Xbox360 that I enjoy.

    I know that gamers like myself are not the whole…no one type of anybody is the whole of anything…but I think I don’t stand alone in stating that, if games went completely digital, a large part of my fun with collecting and finding these games would go away.  And that could lead to me slowly leaving the hobby I have been building up since I was 4 years old.  I love the games, but I enjoy the meeting of new people at the stores, or flea markets, or anywhere I go to find my games. 

    Both new and used ones I might add.  This point leads to my other issue with your statement, which was the almost gleeful wish of "killing Gamestop" and other brick and mortar stores just so game companies can save a little bit of money and, you hope, make better games.  I’ll get back to that issue in a moment.  But when I search out games, I do try and buy new.  But I have no issue buying used if I am trying to get a back story for a series leading up to the new release (I did it with the Ratchet and Clank series before picking up the PSP and PS3 games), when I am buying multiple copies of games to help set up my monthly LAN parties that we enjoy (I own way to many copies of Halo 2 & 3 than a man really should), or if I want to try a new type of game or a franchise that I am unfamiliar with. I like knowing that if I get this game, and I can’t stand to play it or just don’t have the fun I am looking for, I can try something else.  People have the right to sell, trade, or just GIVE AWAY anything they own.  I don’t see why or how games can be any different.  I drive a used car…a 2000 VW Beetle to be exact.  VW got no money from me for purchasing that car used, and I only got about $1,000 on my trade in of the old Mini-van we had at the time.  Imagine how much the cars would cost…or houses…or games…or books…if you were ONLY allowed to buy new?  They could set the cost because there would be no other part of the free-market to balance it out.  Look at it this way…I can pay the exact same amount for the Orange Box on PC if I buy it in a store to if I buy it on Steam.  I may save a few dollars not going to the store, and get my "have it now" bug appeased, but I have given up contact with other gamers in person, my right to move that game to other computers in my house as I see fit, and even to play it years down the line even if valve somehow goes out of business.  Plus for saving Valve that few dollars, I’m working towards driving the brick and mortar stores, the companies that do the truck driving, the people that make up store signs promoting the games themselves, etc., etc., out of buisness and out of jobs.  They get a bigger profit margin on games, and now that many more people may not even be able to afford said game now.  Valve, EA, Nintendo, Etc., get paid when they deliver the games to the stores to sell.  Same thing when our local Books-A-Million ordered all of it’s Twilight copies, or the local Movie Theater brought in some new movie.  These business have paid  the makers for their part…and now they want to "double-dip" because it would be that much more money.  All it says to me is "screw the consumer….you get what you pay for".

    Now about my issue with developers doing more by saving money.  Think back to when CDs and DVDs became the standard, game developers and publishers saved TONS of money moving away from carts…but the game prices didn’t really go down.  They have just gone up since then.  The savings for them didn’t turn into favor for us as consumers, it turned into a bigger bottom line to show the investors.  Great games don’t require the most money.  Katamari Damacy is one of my favorite games because of it’s simple design and blatant originality.  It was more worried about how it played and how it made you feel, than how much money could we squeeze out for this item, or this tie-in.  For every big-budget Hollywood movie that people like to see, there are the Evil Dead’s and such that I enjoy more, and didn’t cost NEAR as much. 

    Sorry for the long rant.  Message me for more, or just to talk about it if you like in further detail.

    Zen aka Jeremy Powers
    Panama City, Fl.

  21. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Actuality less assesability , piracy rates wont change look at the free private WOW  servers, you be dealing with less outlets and worse prices/services, qauilty is not going to magicily improve if they get alttile more money without overhauling design focus…..


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  22. insanejedi says:

    Digital distribution is scary and awesome at the same time

    The scary

    -People controlling the products you purchase and what you can do with them.

    -The fact that if online retailers go down under, all you purchased will be lost

    -Online requirements for all of your games

    -Multiple different kinds of DRM


    The Awesome

    -Killing Gamestop

    -Not dealing with retail outlets

    -Cutting out distribution and brick’n moters creates X much more money to produce better games

    -lowered piracy rates

    -Accessability and feasability of downloaded goods

  23. ZippyDSMlee says:

    While the retail side of products is a game its better than begin offered 4 or 6 nation wide universal attentivies to buying a game.

    Without local and national competition prices will only go up if not in max price in average price, meaning you will never be able to find a 5-10$  bin game for at least 5 years after the game was released because unlike a retail store that has to get rid of stuff on clearance price the lack of  space issues and the greed to keep profit high for all involved will set average prices higher than they should be at least with a retail physical set up prices are maintained far more healthy with the addition of buying used.

    Digi only is not good for the consumer(and by extendsion the indutry), a mix of everything is.

    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  24. Nocturne says:

    If (for example) I walk into a store and buy Patapon 2 off the shelf or order it online here in the UK, it’ll cost me £15 new for a physical copy.

    If I log onto the PSN and download a digital copy, it’ll cost me £20.

    Competition between stores helps drive the price of new products down, the distributor still gets the same amount of money as the cost for the store to get it in stock hasn’t changed whether they sell it at £15 or £20. If it’s digital only you are taking that competition and price matching aspect away, especially with the consoles where there is only 1 place on each to get your downloaded games from.

    Unless digitals become much cheaper than a physical copy I think there are too many detriments just for the convenience of a download.

  25. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Prices will go up, thats how corperate rollls.


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  26. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Less accessibility=playing off line on the road at a friends house who has no net,ect,ect,ect.


    Gamestop is more capable of having better deals there is a price to be paid for the good side of retail(time taken to go shop), saying its completely a waste of time is silly.

    Piracy dose not effect sales (and will never go away)so having less of it…will not effect sales….. then again the less people to play the games and see if they are worth buying just might lead to a slowing of sales…. truth is stranger than fiction so I am told.

    Piracy accentuates media and most of the time for the benefit of media.


    Without changing the nature of development which is very inground in the industry you can not make games better and it will take a game making 2 or 4 times as much money for them to even try and change and that will never happen.


    And looking at steam and the lack of change its brought meh, devs whine about the damnest of things.


    Unless DLC/Streaming brought a havling or more in price its not worth whats given up.

    The ablity to take my copy anywhere in the world I want and paly it without the net or big brother trying to get in my pants.

    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  27. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    I know for a fact prices will change, lets face it, if they don’t have to compete with the brick and mortar stores then just like Gas and other monopolies they will raise the price as far as they can to get as much money from the consumer as possible, the only reason games won’t hit like 100 bucks is because we can just stop buying games unlike gas, but there’s no reason in the world that anyone should just assume that prices won’t change…they’re showing their greed already just with the Used and DRM stuff…they -will- raise the prices for as long as they can before they find that the consumers won’t pay any more.

  28. insanejedi says:

    What do you mean less accessability? You mean it’s harder for me to buy a game off steam and start playing it, then taking the bus to the mall to rumage through Gamestop’s men and figure out which games are new and used, then get all the way back home to install it? Sorry Zippy, I don’t believe that. Piracy rates will change because of acessability, it’s the same with itunes, I never said it will eliminate the piracy market but it will lower it. It also doesn’t matter how many outlets there are for digital distribution, you only need one with an internet connection and bandwith high enough, and that can connect all over the world. As long as there is one, I can get my games anywhere. Prices I don’t believe will change, but it gives the chance for publishers to run price sales without detriment. Steam does this ocassionally that they will dramatically lower the price of a game and sales will bost through the roof, and the big barrier for doing this is A: gamestop getting angry, and B: the profit made from $60 when including everything is too small to run something like that. Since there is nothing to really produce physically it’s far cheaper. And money is very important to developers, did you listen to them at GDC? Most of them LOVE onlive because it will kill the retail market and more money will be diverged to them to run R&D tests and afford huge focus testing like what Blizzard and Valve do.

    Just listen to Paul Barnet from Mythic on Giantbomb.

  29. Dark Nexus says:

    Depends on the form.  The ones that actually won’t work on a PC are actually considered departures from the standard CD technical specification and aren’t allowed to use the CD logo.  I believe CDs with rootkits must also have a notification on the case.

  30. insanejedi says:

    Just to play devils advocate, does music and movies have DRM labels saying "This will not work on a PC or DVD writer" on them?

  31. JC says:

    Agreed, this more or less puts off my purchases for PC games entirely unless they are from GOG, and perhaps Stardock’s distribution, depending on how they finalize it. But I love Stardock’s methods <33333333, they haven’t failed me yet. These other publishers, have failed me plenty of times in the past, and these EULAs being not on the box but being a chore to find (either online, with varying updates over time and not always updated; or inside the box, which becomes pointless since you can’t access it w/o buying).

    If they really feel those actual customers are pirates… They are pure idiots, pirates don’t care, they’ll just pirate and remove that crap.

  32. axiomatic says:

    "Some [game] publishers… feel that the vocal minority of consumers who spoke up about Mass Effect and Spore represent the ‘pirates’ and in doing so fanned the flames for a much larger percentage of consumers who now feel like they’re not being listened to. A dismissive attitude from the industry probably came back to haunt them in sales…"

    And those game publishers are out of touch with their audience. I’m glad Hal Haplin recognizes that. I assure you, no pirate was detered by either of these weak examples of DRM in either of those games.

    You dismissive attitude will continue to cost you sales until you wake up and stop punishing your PAYING customers with "ham fisted" DRM schemes.

    Not only were they easy to circumvent for those of us who can use Google, but those who are not capable of Googling their way out of the DRM were actually penalized just for trying to load the damn game on more than one PC.

    FYI developers. I have at least 6 PC’s in my house that are good enough to play games on. If you intend only one license per box/sale YOU NEED TO PUT THAT ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE BOX, NOT IN THE EULA INSIDE THE BOX!!!!!

  33. KaylaKaze says:

    I think the only ones who WEREN’T complaining about the DRM in Spore and Mass Effect (and Bioshock) were the pirates.

  34. hellfire7885 says:

    Heh, I can see what he meant.

    And giving how many publishers wrote DRM ctitics off as pirates, I can only see that attitude carrying over to digital distribution, as they could release a patch to freeze up a game idnefinately as mass punishment for one person playign a pirated copy, and as he mentioned, if a developers goes under, then that sfotwqare is gone, for good, while with physical media the product can live well beyond the development house going under.

    For instance, the cult PC hit Majesty. No DRM whatso ever and the game would play without the CD in the drive. Sold rather well despite it being a sleeper hit, and now, the game lives on long after the developer goes under through sites like The Pirate Bay.

    I know TPB is used for pirating newer games, however, it was jsut an example ot show how physical media and eliminating DRM can greatly extend a game’s life.

  35. Vake Xeacons says:

    Books are the real pirated media. Worst of all, public libraries. Anyone can walk into a library, check out a book (no ratings, no child protection) without so much as a cash exchange. These libraries are pure pirating. Evil establishments like these take away money from authors and writers. Beware: there may be a library in your town!

    Protect your children. Boycott public libraries!

  36. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Physical media of any kind can not be touched first sale rules will always apply, you either ban the re sale of all media(books inclued) or leave well enough alone.


    I muse on ESRB like rantings for DRM here


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  37. insanejedi says:

    EA is not the only publisher that uses and was using SecuROM at the time. Take Two was also using it too in the PC version of GTA 4. Which many people pirated due to teh suceromz.

  38. lumi says:

    I think the point is that he’s not just talking about EA.  I imagine other publishers expressed similarly dismissive opinions (very quietly, where they wouldn’t potentially draw consumer ire upon themselves).

    That’d be my guess for the anonymity in his statement.

    Overall, I like what he had to say.

  39. DarkSaber says:

    "Some [game] publishers… feel that the vocal minority of consumers who spoke up about Mass Effect and Spore represent the ‘pirates’ and in doing so fanned the flames for a much larger percentage of consumers who now feel like they’re not being listened to."

    Why say ‘some’ publishers, when the choice of games makes it damn clear he is talking specifically about EA. Heck, even if he hadn’t mentioned those 2 games everyone STILL would have known he’s talking about EA.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

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