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cdx

Converting P:E pirated copies to game key sales without using any DRM

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If there is critique, I at least want to have the opportunity to answer to it..

 

would be still cracked sooner or later,

Of course it will get cracked, but that's not the point. It's just about making life less easy for pirates. 

 

and it's still an issue whether the develelopers would gain more money with or without the free hype pirates do

Fair point, I can't really say anything to it, other that I don't believe piracy is in any way beneficial for the game industry. 

 that encourages pirates to buy the game and does not fill the net with angry pirates who tell everybody that "this game is broken at multiple points", that's bad for sales,

Pirates would be pretty dumb to flame about this on forums, as it would identify them as pirates..

could also cause issues for legal copy owners

No, it could not:

 

"The legitimate owner will never run into a trap. Mistyped serials are catched at the beginning by A[1] and if that algorithm is chosen wisely it will be sufficient for such accidents. There is a theoretical possibility that a game owner mistypes the serial and coincidentally enters something that passes A[1] but fails later at some other A. But if the algorithm A[1] is not selected poorly that will remain a theoretical possibility. With a probability bordering on certainty you can say that no legitimate customer will ever run into such a trap."

I think the best solution is still something drm free

Perhaps better than a conventional DRM. But it certainly wasn't all that great for CDProject either. 

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Quite frankly I would have to say that Obsidian shouldnt spend any resources or time on this issue. If there are any capactities free, please just focus everything you got on the important elements of the game. All of this is negligible in terms of the games qualtiy, its success or anything else concerning the game.

Fair point about the resources. I am not sure how many people could be converted from pirates to buyers. I'm thinking it is a lot but I could be very wrong. If I am right though, any returns from this feature would increase resources for the expansion and any furhter games. If it is included and it works it can be tweaked and included next games. Not sure how much the returns would be, but seems like a possibility for a lot of extra resources. Isn't that worth considering?

 

It is like trying to teach a billion ppl to never lie. You can put them into a thousand classes and give them life and death reasons not to lie and in the end you realize all of them still lie occassionally.

Maybe like 100 million will stop lying? Maybe 700 million will not lie for a week? Again, I do not know how effective this can be. Maybe it is far from worth it. More opinions please?

 

Its like trying to count sand, create world peace or date Jessical Biel. By trying to reward those that bought a copy capacities will have to go into that reward system. I'd rather have them put a cool new Npc in the game, destroy another 100 bugs, enhance frame rate....hire another voice actor, you name it. Even one hour spent on the entire piracy thing is, in my honest opinion, a complete waste of time. Time that could have been spent way way way more effectively.

Ok, let's forget about my monetisation suggestion and look for something nice that can be added to the game instead.

 

How about 5-6 great art screens (say, cave, forest, great city, some fantastic plane) that are designed for us backers. And some text that would make us feel good about backing P:E. And that would make buyers from GoG and Steam feel good, too. And some cool characters that we would be happy to identify with. 5-6 screens, when the game itself should be hundreds of these big. And some in-game character models, already done and just differently equipped. Should not be very resource-heavy. Wouldn't that be worth it?

If if just so happens that this feature can also help with getting more returns on the game, well, all the better, right?

 

Edit: Changed the numbers to what I meant in the first place

Edited by cdx

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@ Iucounu

I appreciate that a critique should allow an opportunity to be defended but please can we forget about piracy in general and DRM? There are many things worth saying about these topics but can we please try to do this in another thread?

 

This is why I asked in the beginning if we can avoid talking about these general topics.

 

Could we have this potential problem to solve:

 

Some guy/girl (let's say Alex) has somehow gotten P:E (irrelevant how) and is playing it and is enjoying it (the genuine game, no DRM, etc). Unfortunately for Obsidian, Alex has not paid for the game. Now, how the game can convince all the Alexes to pay for that awesome game that they are thoroughly enjoying (by the way, Alex has enough money to pay for the game if s/he so desires).

 

In that light, could we discuss my suggestion, or maybe offer alternatives (like the text in the main menu or loading screens giving thanks for supporting a crowd-funded, no-publisher project)?

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Some interesting ideas here. I'm pretty much against any resources whatsoever being used in a pointless attempt to combat piracy (not just in PE but in any game), but the idea of a simple message for thanks of support and a link to buy a game key on a start menu sounds nice and simple. A pirate that got that got the game may decide, once they've had a chance to enjoy it and have some money available, to click on the link and conveniently support the game...


"Forsooth, methinks you are no ordinary talking chicken!"

-Protagonist, Baldur's Gate

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Some interesting ideas here. I'm pretty much against any resources whatsoever being used in a pointless attempt to combat piracy (not just in PE but in any game), but the idea of a simple message for thanks of support and a link to buy a game key on a start menu sounds nice and simple. A pirate that got that got the game may decide, once they've had a chance to enjoy it and have some money available, to click on the link and conveniently support the game...

 

Sounds good to me - I simply don't want any DRM or copy protection in a game I helped funding via Kickstarter at all (I'd prefer it as an e.g. GOG download). In my opinion, if a game is fully funded with a Kickstarter Campaign all neccessary money should already be there (and that includes the monthly salary for the developers). So I see no reason whatsoever to be bothered with DRM/copy protection schemes afterwards.

 

If more people buy the game after release and the Devs make more money, good for them, but as far as I am concerned all costs are already paid upfront by the community who funded them.

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@ GrinningReaper659

Fair enough. Just not sure about the word "pointless" before attempt to combat piracy. As I said already, I do not know how effective this whole separate screen can be. Maybe it would not convert even one person.

 

Actually, this should be quite easy to check. The game should be able to pass a reference when it opens GoG's website or Steam, so it should be easy to get exact numbers (with some cooperation from GoG / Steam, which I imagine would be happy to - more revenues for them). Of people who clicked, of people who purchased. Would that be worth it then? Some resources spent on a quantifiable, possibly pointless, attempt to introduce a whole new buisness model to monetise pirated DRM-free games (not sure about his, maybe somebody tried, I haven't head of any similar attempts).

 

As for the simple message... yes, it looks like a very good idea to me, too. I hope if anything, they will put at least something like this. Any ideas how to make that more effective?

 

@ DocDVD

I do not uderstand the idea that it's fine not to get profit from the game just because it was Kickstarted. Do you guys want P:E 2 to have a budget of ~$4 million from another Kickstarter, or do you want it to have a budget of (randomly) $10 million - from another Kickstarter and revenues from P:E.

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@ DocDVD

I do not uderstand the idea that it's fine not to get profit from the game just because it was Kickstarted. Do you guys want P:E 2 to have a budget of ~$4 million from another Kickstarter, or do you want it to have a budget of (randomly) $10 million - from another Kickstarter and revenues from P:E.

 

Don't get me wrong - I have absolutely no problem with the Devs getting profit from the game (on the contrary if Eternity hold up to its promise I hope they get rich by doing it) - I simply mean that I have no interest at all to be bothered with any form of DRM in a game I helped funding. I am fed up with all the <insert random swear word> things I have to deal with nowadays if I just want to play a game (see e.g. Sim City disaster, Diablo III, etc.).

:yes:

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Quite frankly I would have to say that Obsidian shouldnt spend any resources or time on this issue. If there are any capactities free, please just focus everything you got on the important elements of the game. All of this is negligible in terms of the games qualtiy, its success or anything else concerning the game.

Fair point about the resources. I am not sure how many people could be converted from pirates to buyers. I'm thinking it is a lot but I could be very wrong. If I am right though, any returns from this feature would increase resources for the expansion and any furhter games. If it is included and it works it can be tweaked and included next games. Not sure how much the returns would be, but seems like a possibility for a lot of extra resources. Isn't that worth considering?

 

>>>It is like trying to teach a billion ppl to never lie. You can put them into a thousand classes and give them life and death reasons not to lie and in the end you realize all of them still lie occassionally.

Maybe like 100 million will stop lying? Maybe 700 million will not lie for a week? Again, I do not know how effective this can be. Maybe it is far from worth it. More opinions please?

 

Its like trying to count sand, create world peace or date Jessical Biel. By trying to reward those that bought a copy capacities will have to go into that reward system. I'd rather have them put a cool new Npc in the game, destroy another 100 bugs, enhance frame rate....hire another voice actor, you name it. Even one hour spent on the entire piracy thing is, in my honest opinion, a complete waste of time. Time that could have been spent way way way more effectively.

Ok, let's forget about my monetisation suggestion and look for something nice that can be added to the game instead.

 

How about 5-6 great art screens (say, cave, forest, great city, some fantastic plane) that are designed for us backers. And some text that would make us feel good about backing P:E. And that would make buyers from GoG and Steam feel good, too. And some cool characters that we would be happy to identify with. 5-6 screens, when the game itself should be hundreds of these big. And some in-game character models, already done and just differently equipped. Should not be very resource-heavy. Wouldn't that be worth it?

If if just so happens that this feature can also help with getting more returns on the game, well, all the better, right?

 

Edit: Changed the numbers to what I meant in the first place

 

But hey man...I feel you. if there's any way to increase the support for a game like that I'm all for it. And I have to admit that the studie fees in THE ONLY goddamn state in Germany that still has them crippled me so much that I couldnt even support the game as Im constantly in the red numbers.

 

Its a shame but I will pay for the game if its true to what obsidian planned and plans to do. And I will tell everybody about it... :( Edit: why won it do the SAD smiley?????

Edited by oneda

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Don't get me wrong - I have absolutely no problem with the Devs getting profit from the game (on the contrary if Eternity hold up to its promise I hope they get rich by doing it) - I simply mean that I have no interest at all to be bothered with any form of DRM in a game I helped funding. I am fed up with all the <insert random swear word> things I have to deal with nowadays if I just want to play a game (see e.g. Sim City disaster, Diablo III, etc.).

:yes:

 

I know what you mean :). Frickin Diablo 3, why did I buy it... Anyway. This is why this suggestion is not about DRM. It does not employ any kind or DRM, it is light on development resources and it would make buyers / backers feel good (DRM makes buyers feel bad). It makes the purchase of a game key easy and reminds people that it's worth buying a key (or suggest buying a gift). This is all it does.

 

But hey man...I feel you. if there's any way to increase the support for a game like that I'm all for it. And I have to admit that the studie fees in THE ONLY goddamn state in Germany that still has them crippled me so much that I couldnt even support the game as Im constantly in the red numbers.

Its a shame but I will pay for the game if its true to what obsidian planned and plans to do. And I will tell everybody about it... :( Edit: why won it do the SAD smiley?????

Yup, I remember what being a student feels like. Don't worry it is just a temporary condition :). Tough luck about that state, though. :( Any people I know who studied in Germany did so for free.

 

It is great that you intend to support the game once it's out and spread the word :thumbsup:. Obsidian will need that, we are their marketing team, too.

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Don't get me wrong - I have absolutely no problem with the Devs getting profit from the game (on the contrary if Eternity hold up to its promise I hope they get rich by doing it) - I simply mean that I have no interest at all to be bothered with any form of DRM in a game I helped funding. I am fed up with all the <insert random swear word> things I have to deal with nowadays if I just want to play a game (see e.g. Sim City disaster, Diablo III, etc.).

:yes:

 

I know what you mean :). Frickin Diablo 3, why did I buy it... Anyway. This is why this suggestion is not about DRM. It does not employ any kind or DRM, it is light on development resources and it would make buyers / backers feel good (DRM makes buyers feel bad). It makes the purchase of a game key easy and reminds people that it's worth buying a key (or suggest buying a gift). This is all it does.

 

>But hey man...I feel you. if there's any way to increase the support for a game like that I'm all for it. And I have to admit that the studie fees in THE ONLY goddamn state in Germany that still has them crippled me so much that I couldnt even support the game as Im constantly in the red numbers.

Its a shame but I will pay for the game if its true to what obsidian planned and plans to do. And I will tell everybody about it... :( Edit: why won it do the SAD smiley?????

Yup, I remember what being a student feels like. Don't worry it is just a temporary condition :). Tough luck about that state, though. :( Any people I know who studied in Germany did so for free.

 

It is great that you intend to support the game once it's out and spread the word :thumbsup:. Obsidian will need that, we are their marketing team, too.

 

Yeah...what people fought and died for hundreds of years ago, access to higher education for everybody, no matter if royalty, a farmer, rich, poor, male or female, black or white, was obviously no factor for the stupid conservative government in lower saxony. Of course, now the government changed and theyr getting rid of that ****. Naturally, I got totally screwd by it. I chose the wrong time to study.

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I think the most effective way to combat piracy is to simply combat the "reason" to pirate.

 

Look at it this way. Without you doing anything at all, there are people who are going to go out of their way to pirate stuff, and there are people who are going to buy it legit. Then, no matter how much you do, there are STILL going to be people who go out of their way (however far they need to) to pirate stuff, and there are still going to be people who actually buy the stuff legitimately.

 

Basically, I think most people (out of the entire populous of potential consumers of your product) comprehend that, if you make NO money, you can't make any more products (to even pirate). Hell, I think even some PIRATES understand that. But, anywho...

 

Imagine the developer/publisher is a single entity, and pirating is kicking that entity. The best solution? Be a kitten instead of an annoying kid throwing eggs at everyone. People who didn't even have any REASON to, initially, HATE the kid constantly heckling them and throwing eggs at them. But, even some people who normally love to go around kicking things would still think twice about  kicking a kitten.

 

Every time a publisher/developer (usually the publisher, mainly) says: "Here's a way we're going to combat piracy. If you're already planning on legitimately paying us money for our product because you just love it, this is going to make your life hell. If you're a pirate, this is going to make it harder, but not impossible, to pirate our game.", they become more like the annoying heckling kid throwing eggs at people. And every time they go "Look, we want to stop piracy, but we're not going to take it out on you non-pirates," they become more like the kitten.

 

If people are going to pirate, either way, you might as well have a mob of loyal, legitimate buyers helping you combat that, than a mob of angry, disgruntled buyers who are considering piracy more and more by the minute because of how little you care about ensuring that they can just pay you and use your awesome product.

 

It's kind of like saying "We know these bandits hang out in this forest, but we don't know where. So we're gonna burn down the forest, even though we can't be sure that's going to kill all of them."

 

Another good idea would be to distribute free, "black market" versions of their games, under the guise of pirates, and have those pirates download horrible, horrible virii that wipe their hard drives. 8P


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Lephys... I am not sure whether you didn't read what I wrote, whether you just decided to tackle piracy in general anyway, or whether I just completely fail to communicate what I mean by my suggestion (I am getting increasingly sure in that).

 

But I guess I get what I deserve with a topic title like this. I just decided to ignore DRM and not mention it, expecting that people will see that my suggestion has nothing to do with DRM and discuss what I suggested (instead of DRM). Also, I should have mentioned explicitly that this suggestion does not try to solve the big bad piracy problem. It just tries to "convert P:E pirated copies to game key sales" as per the title, and in so doing increasing revenue.

 

I guess I need to ask a moderator to change the title to the more representative "Converting P:E pirated copies to game key sales *without using any DRM*". Although even with this I guess I am missing something obvious.

 

And for the sport, let me try to explain again what I am aiming for, this time using your analogy.

 

Obviously, in our case, Obsidian is already a kitten (by releasing the game DRM-free). My suggestion has a very specific purpose. I am trying to reach the people who don’t pay much thought on how they walk and kick the kitten just by walking the way they do. What I am trying to do is make the kitten get their attention and get pet (turning the pirated copy into a game sale). I am not trying to make them not kick it in the first place (reducing piracy) because this is how they are. I am not trying to make them pet the kitten by hissing and biting and running around (done by DRM, copy protection). All want to do is to make the kitten say “Meow” and wait in place (this screen suggestion). Some people will kick it again, some people will just look down and walk on, some people will stop and pet the kitten (I assume many, how many: the topic of this whole thread). Getting to these people who would stop and pet the kitten is the only purpose of this suggestion.

 

Without this screen (or something similar), there is no Meow, kitten just walks off without even being noticed. With the Meow, people stop and think about it. (No annoyind kids throwing eggs whatsoever.)

 

Damn, another looooong post. I guess that's why nobody reads what I'm writing :). But here it goes:

 

 

DRM (for a single player game) - Evil, as we all know, useless, as widely accepted.

 

vs.

 

My screen suggestion - *Not DRM*, not copy protection. Monetisation of an already pirated DRM-free single player game (due to the inability to affect the number of pirated copies).

(or the alternative to "vs." title: "Why my suggestion is *not DRM* and why it could possibly work"):

 

 

1. Backer / buyer friendliness

DRM - People hate it (understatement)

vs.

Screen suggestion (Not DRM) - Makes backers / buyers feel good

 

2. Perception of a game with this feature from pirates (read there "potential customers")

DRM - "This cr*p is the actual reason I pirate the game itself, so I don't need to have it on my PC."

vs.

Screen suggestion (Not DRM) - People like it, it is part of the game (the kickstarter origins of the game is a good reason for the feature to exist). People also like the game better for the absence of DRM.

 

3. Resources

DRM - Heavy on development costs (the always online cr*p, .exe wrappers, third party DRM software, etc.)

vs.

Screen suggestion (Not DRM) - Uses in-game resources (a few small maps, literally one screen big and some in-game characters). Very low development costs.

 

4. Making people not pirate the game (i.e. get the game for free) (for a single-player game)

DRM - If very lucky, gives some breathing space first day or two but is generally completely useless.

vs.

Screen suggestion (Not DRM) - My suggestion has nothing to do with this. It does not attempt to stop pirating a game... because it would fail (like DRM fails).

 

5. Providing opportunity to a person who has pirated the game to purchase the game

DRM - DRM does not do this. DRM hates people and makes their lives miserable. Why bother helping out with access to developer/publisher/gog/steam/whatever store.

vs.

Screen suggestion (Not DRM) - Gives extremely easy access to a store where the game can be bought (quick access, easy payment).

 

6. Giving a reason to actually buy the game

DRM - None. It does the opposite. It gives reasons to pirate the game and not pay for it due to hatred towards the publisher

vs.

Screen suggestion (Not DRM) - On the screen there are four characters to pick from. People who bought a key identify with one of these characters. It feels good. People who have not paid for a key (even if they downloaded a pirated key) can select a character (even if they do not have any key at all) and see exactly the same thing on the screen as the people who paid for a key. However, it does not feel good because they cannot truly identify with that character. The text takes care of that (needs to be written well). They know that they can feel good and be proud if they buy the game. It is extremely easy to check how much the game costs. They just click on the small (text or image) link that opens a browser to the game page in the corresponding shop (GoG or Steam). They will probably even click on it just because it is there. They can pick who to identify with (GoG or Steam character) and decide to purchase that key. They might decide that they want to identify with a "backer" character and even support the next kickstarter (ok, that's mostly wishful thinking on my part... also, clearly expressed intention for future implementations of this feature in next games would be needed for that).

 

7. ***Increasing revenues (the main issue)***

DRM - Counts on stopping people pirating the game in order to "increase revenue". What actually happens: Game gets pirated. DRM has already been bypassed. DRM is not even in the picture. No increase in revenue.

vs.

Screen suggestion (Not DRM) - Counts on people buying the game once they have it (once they pirate it). What actually happens: Game gets pirated. The backer/buyer selection screen (or whatever you want to call it) gets liked and used. People get back to it throughout the game. Nobody forces them to use the screen, they use it because it looks great. People think about game stores, kickstarter and buying the game just because of using the screen (whether they want to think about these or not). Anywhere between negligible and large scale (?) increase in revenue (fully quantifiable if implemented, as explained before).

 

This sums up why DRM discussion and "stopping piracy" have nothing to do with this suggestion, why it seems viable for increasing revenues (by unknow but quantifiable degree), and how it benefits the game even if there is zero revenue coming from it (net result would be making backers/buyers feel good about themselves, at the expense of very low development costs).

 

I feel I am getting a bit overzealous with trying to explain this whole thing. Sorry if this post is a bit annoying :unsure:

 

It would actaually be very nice if somebody tells me that it is just plainly a bad idea. Not going into piracy and DRM but just into that backer/buyer screen and why it would not succeed in convincing sufficiently many people who pirated the game to pay for it. It would help me stop spamming walls of text, which is all I seem to be doing in this thread.

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I think it's a good idea. Laziness is an important reason for pirates to be pirates, so if you offer them an easy way to get a legal game, that's a good thing. Only problem I see is it could be interpreted that piracy is not such a bad thing, and thus lower ethical standards. So you have to make clear that piracy is something bad, yet not in an aggressive, but diplomatic way. 

 

BTW, your method does not exclude the use of DRM. I'm aware that you don't like it, but it's still possible to apply your method and have DRM.

Edited by Iucounu

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Lephys... I am not sure whether you didn't read what I wrote, whether you just decided to tackle piracy in general anyway, or whether I just completely fail to communicate what I mean by my suggestion (I am getting increasingly sure in that).

No, I'm sorry. The fault is mine. I was just sort of going off on some context, as I liked that your idea tries to affect what can be affected (people who consider things, and their considerations) rather than what cannot, really (like using DRM to "stop" piracy).

 

See, your idea falls under "be a fluffy kitten," as opposed to "be an annoying kid who's constantly shouting things at you and egging you in the face."

 

The fault was mine for not directly addressing your idea. I apologize. It was late, and I was tired, and I read the initial post, then a bunch of responses regarding DRM and such, so I just kinda went off on what was in my head, contextually, which was "Here's really the deal about DRM and this whole piracy thing."

 

But, yeah, basically, you let the pirates be the bad guys, and you maximize the number of people who will actually buy the game, rather than trying to convert pirates into buyers, or spend all your time and resources trying to prevent them from pirating. That's like shutting down a hospital to siphon more funds to cure-cancer research. It's self-defeating.

 

And, like Iucoonu said, the majority of "pirates" are just lazy, and nothing really forces them to acknowledge the impact of simple laziness. "Well, someone told me I could get this for free, so I was all 'Meh, it's not like the game company's gonna go broke, and I wasn't really sure whether or not I wanted to buy it, so...' *shrug*... now I'm playing it, and I didn't have to buy it or anything, so why go through the trouble now? It's just not that big of a deal."

 

So, yeah, I actually like your idea, and I'd even go with variants of it, such as loading screens occasionally popping up "Liking this game and somehow got it for free? Well, we'd appreciate if you could at least anonymously donate a few dollars to help us keep making games like this." Something along those lines. Appeal to the humanity in people, ya know? "Look, we worked really hard on this, and we don't want yachts. We just want to be successful so that we can get paid, and make more games for you to enjoy."

 

Of course, it helps when that actually shows in your game. When it's not "Look, we made a bunch of people churn out a bunch of copycat content, and while individual artists and designers toiled diligently, we really planned this whole thing from the get-go as a half-assed way to make sure we made exactly 10 million dollars profit, based on statistics and projections. It's another shooter, and market research shows it'll sell well enough, regardless of whether or not we actually put effort into making sure it's unique and awesome."

 

But, yeah... Annnnnnnywho, hehe.

 

Oh, one more thing, 'cause it's interesting.

 

There was some little mall cafe that was going out of business a few years back, and the owner said "I'm desperate, so I'm gonna try something. Because, if I do nothing, I'll be out of business in 3 months, for sure. What's there to lose?"

 

So, he instituted a "Pay what you think your meal was worth" policy. Customers still had to go up to the register and pay (or the cops would get called, for walking out/ stealing), but you got to pay whatever you wanted. Basically, your entire bill was the tip.

 

He said he wasn't sure it would work. Everyone told him "That's business 101, man. If you let the people set the price, they're all just gonna say '1 cent' and screw you over." But, lo and behold, people actually were very interested in that method, and it got a lot of people asking why he did that. And if they liked the place, and they found out, they'd gladly pay more than their food was even worth. He said that sometimes, you'd get the occasional person who just paid 1 penny, or a dollar for a sandwich and coffee, but he said it was EASILY counterbalanced by all the people who dropped like 10 bucks just for their coffee, because they liked the coffee, and the service, and wanted to see the place keep going, and they could spare some money.

 

The next month, he was so busy (and was making so much more income), he was able to hire several more part-time employees to help out around there, and expand his menu, etc. So, he literally just did the opposite of going out of business. Why? Because he got people on his side. He made it perfectly clear he wasn't going to GET his money out of you, he was going to EARN it.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I like the general idea a lot.  I don't know that it has to be all that complicated as some unrelated intro screen, and during loading screens, it might be seen as annoying advertisements.  The main menu screen should just have a "Like this Game? Support future kickstarter for a sequel!" button that links directly to a site that gives various easy options to donate/pay for/buy etc.

 

What would be really funny is if there was a tongue in cheek side quest about an author of a book or something needing help combating actual pirates taking his books, and then at the end the guy says it didn't really matter because he was paid to make it in the first place, but it'd be nice to write a longer one with the extra proceeds.

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The number of characters in your posts is TOO DAMN HIGH!


"The very existence of flame-throwers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves: You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done." - George Carlin (RIP!)

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Also, developers, and probably more so publishers, are responsible for a large percentage of pirates themselves.  Chances are exceptionally high, that, if you are a consument that rarely follows gaming magazines, reviews, etc., you bought games that did not only fail to deliver promised features or game content but that don't work at all for days or even weeks.

 

The latest example would be diablo 3 or Sim City for example. For a long period of time players simply couldn't play the game.

 

The common excuse reads as follows " We did not expect so many players on our servers". Which redicules the ginormous financial resources that are poured into marketing and advertisment. And that is only the tip of the iceberg.

 

Some studios and publishers plain and simply lied to the community, look at Aliens Colonial Marines. Demos and videos showed a completly different program than the one finally released to paying customers who bought the game precisely because of those previously showcased demos or videos.  A gamer that is caught pirating will face more or less serious consequences. Most studios that are caught "cheating" the customer...well, they don't have to worry about anything but annoyed customers that might avoid future programs of said company.

 

This is not a fair situation. It happened to me a couple of times even though i considered myself to be more critical than the average player. Now, I am very hesitant and cautious concerning any game.  This could be adressed by national or even a global monitoring agency that consists of specialists and gamers who know how to compare promises, demos and merketing videos to the actual gold edition of the game.

 

If a game doesn't meet certain standards than the publisher will have to either adress those issues, lower the price significantly, or mark the game's boxes with a note, commenting on the unfinished status of the game. This agency would need real authority.

 

I cannot blame pirates that have been cheated multiple times in such a way who then stop paying for games alltogeher. It is not right, but it is totally understandable.

 

So, as I already mentioned, the best way to adress piracy is to discourage it by being fair and ensuring high quality and continous support.

 

If I pay for a game and the servers are down one day a week, then to me that would be acceptable in the initial phase. Anything more is simply criminal behavior as no excuse apart from nuclear world war excuses dead servers when somebody paid 50 euros and cannot play the game 4 days after its release. A product has to be delivered if paid with money. Otherwise it is thievery and the consument must be compensated by the initial prize + another 50 or 100 euros to adress the time and effort that went into buying the game, the return of the game, the installation, the planning of spending an afternoon or night with friends in the game.

 

It may sound hard but the same happens to pirates. So far nothing of consequence happens to studios and publishers that ripp of costumers.

 

Quality on the other hand creates loyal customers.

 

Looking Glass studios and later Irrational Games impressed me with games like system shock 2 or bioshock. Ever since system shock 2 I occasionally checked the internet for anything related to the team around Ken Levine. One awesome game awakene a long lasting curiosity. Two or three high quality games ensure a customer who will buy almost anything else released by that group. 

 

Just the mere mention of somebody creating an oldschool rpg in the spirit of the infinity engine games completly spelled me, as those games were of exeptionlly high quality, setting milestones for the entire genre. My level of caution is reduced to a minimum, while my willingness to follow and purchase the final product are very high.

 

If a developer tells the community "Guys and girls, we know you have been waiting a long time, but we realized the game simply doesnt meet our high standards. We need another 18 months. Then that is perfectly ok. I even welcome this.

 

Ever since I played Baldur's Gate 2, which was my first infinity engine game, the names Bioware and Black Isle studios are firmly stuck in my mind and when talking about games and developers I always mentioned those names in favorable ways. Even one or two missteps cannot alter that.

 

A high quality game will create a fan that will spread the word about it for decades. This is worth 10000000000000000000 more than the most sophisticated anti piracy system.

 

To any developer I would say: Take your time, take as much as you need, take three times as much time as initially planned if you have to. In the long run it will have a gigantic effect on future games and the willingness of consuments to spend money on the program and to actively advertise the company and the game.

 

I know you didnt want to talk too much about this general stuff, cdx, but I had to say it!

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Before last fall when I hadn't had a working computer for years, I heard the argument that the reason why a lot of people pirate games and will illegally download them and stuff is because they want to get around all of the stupid DRM that they have implemented which affects the game itself. I always thought that was mostly BS, lets call a spade a spade and they just want the game for free.

 

Last summer my XBox crapps out. I get a used computer in the fall and pump a couple of GB of ram and a video card to replace it instead. The first two games I buy are FO:NV UE and Borderlands GOTY. Basically the full two versions of the games I wanted to get for my XBox to upgrade from the vanilla versions. I never used Steam before, and spent a wee bit of time, but I got it going just fine. Picked up FO3:GOTY while I was at it on Stram, because I couldn't find it for PC here, other than with Oblivion. Virtually no problems. I find Steam's offline mode annoying when it logs me out, but fortunately someone here has directed me to finding a fix for that. Otherwise, I've been lugging my computer every month to my parents just to log back in.

 

Then I tried installing Borderlands. :banghead:

 

First of all, my video card is an ATI, and it seems to like Nvidia more. That seemed to be part of the problem about why I couldn't install it. I went on the website forums. I upgraded Windows Installer, copied the disc onto the HD, edited some file that had to do with ATI in there, put it on several different hard drive directories, and different hard drives to boot. Finally someone said something along the lines of: Just type this out in your run command: (and gave some command that forced Windows to install it without using the installer.) Over 2 hours later, I got the base game installed so that way I could then install the DLC on the second disc.

 

Then I understood why they say that the reason why they pirate games is because of the DRM. I still think that most of them just want the game for free anyways, but I could totally get why they say that.

 

This is the main reason why I love GOG so much. I install it, and when it's done, it runs. No worries, no fuss (Well, one of my Battle Chess's doesn't like to run.) I download it from my parents computer, put it on a flash drive, and take it home. I will buy from GOG over anywhere else for this reason alone. Plus, it's extremely easy to back up in case I want to delete it from my computer, and reinstall it later.

 

With the Indie sale that was just on Steam, I asked myself before buying any game no matter the price: Is it on GOG as well? If it was, I didn't buy it. GOG offers a much better service IMHO. It will also effect what I will help on Kickstarter (Even though the last two that I'm supporting right now: Big Blue and Bloom haven't given any indication that I've seen that they will be DRM free. Perhaps someone here supporting Bloom can let me know if they've asked already or know the answer. But to me there's a huge difference between those two games, then just about any thing else I've seen.) Every other campaign that I have supported now through Kickstarter, or through PayPal have a DRM-free option which I assume is GOG for everybody. Not 100% sure on Delvers Drop yet.

 

To bring it directly on topic here to this.

 

There are those that will steal, and will never pay for any reason.

There are those that will pay something if they really want to support you because the developer reached out to them. See: Hotline Miami

I'm sure there are those that buy the game, then go download a pirated version because of the DRM. Therefore, they've already bought it. People got their money. They've just had to go through the pain in the butt annoyance of an unnecessary download, probably taking up from their download monthly limit.

 

If Obsidian does anything for P:E that I will have to lug my computer in for to activate the entire game, it will annoy me. I'll still buy their games, I enjoy them a lot. What it will effect is how much money people will give them in the future. I want to be able to uninstall my game, and reinstall it years down the road on another computer because my old one crapped out, and be able to play the whole game, with every outfit or whatnot. To do anything to curb that, is not a good thing.


You see, ever since the whole Doritos Locos Tacos thing, Taco Bell thinks they can do whatever they want.

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Do a price match when the steam sales are on or something. That seems to be when a lot of people buy games.

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The only real two ways to effectively combat piracy are:

1) Game can only be played online, and the server side is being heavily utilized. Basically, be an MMO.

Private servers. Quite a few of the major MMOs have been/are pirated.

2) DRM is linked to actual game code. Think the game making fun of pirates, with changed dialogue, self-erasing saves, all the fun stuff.

 

Now why exactly don't all companies go nuts with the second method is a great question.

Because sooner or later it's going to break and detect a legitimate buyer as a pirate. DRM doesn't bother pirates in the slightest, it only bothers actual customers. You should ask CD Project Red about that, they have some experience in that area... (which is what caused their change in stance towards DRM and gave rise to GOG).

Ever since I played Baldur's Gate 2, which was my first infinity engine game, the names Bioware and Black Isle studios are firmly stuck in my mind and when talking about games and developers I always mentioned those names in favorable ways. Even one or two missteps cannot alter that.

I used to be in that position, alas BioWare is well past two missteps by now. Edited by marelooke
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Do a price match when the steam sales are on or something. That seems to be when a lot of people buy games.

Naturally. When the price goes down, the demand goes up. It helps create impulse buying.

 

But I still won't buy a game on Steam, or any other DR service if it is available DRM-free on GOG. Heck, I'll buy games I already own in there when they're on sale, because to me it's worth getting rid of the headache of trying to get them to work, usually though patches, compatibility modes and/or emulators. So if Steam has a $30 game on sale for say $7.50, and GOG has it on for $10, and I really want it, I'll go the GOG route.


You see, ever since the whole Doritos Locos Tacos thing, Taco Bell thinks they can do whatever they want.

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The only real two ways to effectively combat piracy are:

1) Game can only be played online, and the server side is being heavily utilized. Basically, be an MMO.

Private servers. Quite a few of the major MMOs have been/are pirated.

>2) DRM is linked to actual game code. Think the game making fun of pirates, with changed dialogue, self-erasing saves, all the fun stuff.

 

Now why exactly don't all companies go nuts with the second method is a great question.

Because sooner or later it's going to break and detect a legitimate buyer as a pirate. DRM doesn't bother pirates in the slightest, it only bothers actual customers. You should ask CD Project Red about that, they have some experience in that area... (which is what caused their change in stance towards DRM and gave rise to GOG).

Ever since I played Baldur's Gate 2, which was my first infinity engine game, the names Bioware and Black Isle studios are firmly stuck in my mind and when talking about games and developers I always mentioned those names in favorable ways. Even one or two missteps cannot alter that.

I used to be in that position, alas BioWare is well past two missteps by now.

 

 

What I wanted to say, was that if a game impresses me than this sentiment will last for a time.

 

There are quite a few games which were disappointing. When I read that Dragon Age two was dumbed down, less complex, and more mainstream than Dragon Age which was already much less deep and complex than lets say Baldur's Gate I wasn't interested anymore and didn't try it out at all. Even though Dragon Age was good, it lacked what made those infinity games special. Smaller parties, just a few spells, no real character creation. No multiclassing, no....well theres so much that most modern rpgs miss.

 

Star Wars the Old Republic wasn't my cup of tea either, as it felt too much like they were trying to create yet another Warcraft Clone, instead of creating lets say a new Jedi Knight game or something as cool as Kotor. More and more bioware seemed to focus on mainstream which was just sad.

 

Apparently the masses which produce the highest amount of income favor simple games, less complex and mainstream games. The casual gamer, representitive of those masses, is the spoiled child nowadays. To his or her taste most games are tailored. To a point where the difference between genres of e.g. rpg and shooter aren't visible anymore. So one can't even blame the publishers. Why shouldn't they use this to their advantage.

 

I enjoyed the complex character creation in Baldur's Gate 2 or Icewind Dale for example. That I could seriously damage my party if I allocated stats and skills ineffectively. That I would have to read threads (or the manual) to understand what stats are important for certain classes and how they should be played to be most effective. I enjoyed rolling again and again to get good stats.

 

And I loved to play with multiclassing or dualclassing as it could create a whole new set of sub- or mixclasses. And that is only one part of more complex rpgs.

 

And since those games have been dead (until now) I completly stopped playing rpgs for quite a while now. Years even. Modern rpgs I mean. Or what is sold as an rpg nowadays.

 

But recent developments show that some very talented developers do indeed wish to go back to more involing games. Like Obsidian or the Star Citizen team. Forgot the name.

 

Contacting the fans of those seemingly dead genres directly via features such as kickstater is a great development and yet again allows independent developers to transport their very own vision 100 % wihout having big publishers guiding their very moves.

 

It was those small teams that invented all of the genres we know in the first place. Because they were playing around with what they enjoyed unhindered by any boundaries besides the available technology. Being creative in a field one enjoys is the ultimate way of realizing an idea in lets say a game, or book or movie or what not. Only then can the entire potential of an artist or a group of artists be unleashed. Which in turn is a requirement for inspiring and awesome games.

 

So yeah, back to topic, from this point of view there were many many missteps. There were several times in the last 5 years where I had managed to safe a couple hundred euros and wanted to upgrade my pc. And even as the years passed by and an upgrade seemed more and more plausible, there didn't seem to be enough awesome games out their to justify my upgrade. There were some good games like dragon age or bioshock, mass effect, half life 2 or left 4 dead, which I enjoyed. But they were few and far between.

 

Even though I am a passionate player I realized an upgrade would be a wate of money. The only games which really caught my interest over the last 12 months were for example Project Eternity, Bioshock Infinite, Star Citizen and a few others.

 

If you ask me the last 10 years have been a dark age when it comes to sophisticated, deep and complex games. Games like farmville are on the rise though. Haha!

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Do a price match when the steam sales are on or something. That seems to be when a lot of people buy games.

Naturally. When the price goes down, the demand goes up. It helps create impulse buying.

 

But I still won't buy a game on Steam, or any other DR service if it is available DRM-free on GOG. Heck, I'll buy games I already own in there when they're on sale, because to me it's worth getting rid of the headache of trying to get them to work, usually though patches, compatibility modes and/or emulators. So if Steam has a $30 game on sale for say $7.50, and GOG has it on for $10, and I really want it, I'll go the GOG route.

 

 

That's why I said do a price match (with the non-DRM copy on GOG).

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I've had a DRM discussion before on these forums and it wasn't very liked by most people and when I think back on it,  really most people realize when you're just being a jerk to them and might even go out of their way to bite their thumb at developers when they feel that they're being singled out as being "pirates." 

 

so to me, the best way to deal with this is to have a honest discussion in all your games, and place something at the end credits for all players to see. something like "we hope you enjoyed playing P:E. If you were one of our backers during kickstarter, we'd like to thank you. this game wouldn't have been possible without you guys. If you purchased our game after the kickstarter, thank you for supporting us. Your money goes right back into making future games for our gamers. 

 

And if you pirated this game, we hoped you enjoyed it too and will be willing to buy a copy to help support us. Every sale helps us in creating these games for everyone's pleasure. If you cannot pay the full price, etc etc (go into details about "donating money, or other ways of supporting obsidian)"

 

that, in my opinion is probably the best way to "sell" your game to pirates. You'll never convince every pirate, but by being honest with your players and treating them like human beings, you'll more likely convert those into buyers or at  the very least, donors to your company.

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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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I would... love to see this! Make money from the pirates. You are never, ever going to stop pirates in the end. There are private MMO servers for pirates for carps sake. There has never, ever been a DRM that somebody hasn't cracked yet. You could run games only on the cloud and never give anyone the actual data and some bored hacker would figure out a way to pirate it eventually.

 

Might as try to have them give you money if you can.

Edited by Frenetic Pony

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