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

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One thing I hadn’t managed to put in words (oh, my…) is how the psychological dynamics of this feature work.

 

I think it is very important to note that paying for the game is not the end goal of that feature. The goal is to let you identify with one of these in-game lore characters (that represent the KS digita/physical backer/GoG buyer/Steam buyer).

 

Buying a key for the game is just a way to get to that goal. Also, it is works on a subconscious level - how you perceive yourself and what you identify with. You cannot cheat that even if you steal a key.

 

Usually a purchase is offered. Offers you receive are scrutinised and easily rejected. This feature does not offer anything. However, it lets you achieve your goal if you have not paid for the game - by buying it. Buying it on your own accord - impulse / desire that is not higlhy scrutinised.

 

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And just in case somebody reads this post but has not read all my other posts (it would be an achievement by now, must be thousands of words):

 

This thread is only about a specific feature that brings revenues from a pirated DRM-free version of P:E *without using any DRM*. DRM is irrelevant! Also, this thread does not try to solve the big bad piracy issue! Please do not turn the thread in general piracy and DRM good/bad discussion. Please comment on my suggestion or let’s find some alternative!

 

Alternatives (/supplements) suggested so far: Loading screens with unintrusive messages (thanking backers, not addressing pirates); main menu support button linking to GoG/steam store

 

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As for what you said…

 

@ Iucounu

Yes, laziness is a big factor, so feature should make it very easy to get a key (visible invitation + 1 or 2 clicks to see “Buy” button). About the problem you mention: I don’t think it is an issue because piracy is not mentioned in this feature at all. It serves an in-game purpose for all buyers; it is not there to be nice to pirates.

 

@ Lephys

“your idea tries to affect what can be affected” – as you said, it’s pointless to do otherwise. About the loading screens, I like the idea in general but I think it should avoid things like “Liking this game and somehow got it for free? …” Said loading screens should inspire support from all, instead of obviously showing pirates the screens are for them and to make them pay.

About the café case: truly interesting. That’s what we need to do, too. Try completely new things rather than trying new types of DRM

 

@Boo’s Brother Hoo

By intro screen I guess you are talking about a message by itself? Yup, agree that it would be annoying. Button in main menu seems good. Could be useful. However, it just asks you to pay. What I suggested gives you a subconscious reason to want to pay. And yes, a quest could be fun with the skilled writers we have :).

 

@ necromate

I know! I suck at explaining things concisely… Just imagine if I fully quoted people when addressing them! :blink:

 

@ oneda

Yup, quality is the most important thing. I trust Obsidian will deliver quality and will grab people’s hearts with it. Just trying to figure out some ways to help them grab some deserved cash with it, too :)

 

@ babaganoosh13

Yes, some will steal, no matter what. But this is irrelevant. 1 in 10 could pay. 1 in 10 multiplied by 500,000... now that is something. As for DRM: yes, DRM is bad. P:E will be DRM-free (confirmed). My suggestion has nothing to do with DRM.

 

@ Sensuki

What I was trying to address was getting the pirate to the shop in the first place. But yes, definitely true, once we’ve managed that, pricing (price-mathcing, etc) would play its role.

 

@ Hormalakh

Honest discussion is good and needed but it tries to tackle a bigger issue (piracy). What I was going for is an inventive way to bring some extra revenue alongside the honest discussion. Also, honest discussion in the game itself in a way condones piracy.

 

@ Freentic Pony

Would be great wouldn’t it? “Make money from the pirates”. And pirates are just customers who do not pay. Make money from customers… makes sense, right! :)

 

Edit: Typo

Edited by cdx

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I agree that just about the only way to get someone who has already enjoyed playing their pirated copy of the game (thereby already proving an unwillingness/inability on their part to purchase) is to tie in some positive emotion to becoming a 'purchaser' and making it incredibly easy for them to buy the game. Something cute like the OP suggests might do so, some gushy outpouring of thanks by the developer explaining how much it means to the company to know it has been supported by its fans to make the game and how they need the sales from this title to continue the franchise might sway somebody else. If it is a low cost initiative that doesn't negatively impact upon the consumer then I think it is could be worth pursuing because I want Obsidian and PE to succeed and make more games and to do that they need sales.

Edited by Sistergoldring
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priestess2.jpg

 

The Divine Marshmallow shall succour the souls of the Righteous with his sweetness while the Faithless writhe in the molten syrup of his wrath.

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They could just show that "Arms of The Angels" Sarah MacLachlan Animal Shelter advertisement. Then just have a "Clicking this button will make them stop looking at you like that" button, that donates $5 to Obsidian Entertainment.

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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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They could just show that "Arms of The Angels" Sarah MacLachlan Animal Shelter advertisement. Then just have a "Clicking this button will make them stop looking at you like that" button, that donates $5 to Obsidian Entertainment.

And if that doesn't work, you could threaten them with some Yoko Ono! :devil:

 

EDIT: Or Michael Bolton.

 

office-space-printer-o.gif

Edited by babaganoosh13

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

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The OP has a reasonable idea. A good idea even. Is it worth it? The truth is that most people want to be 'legit'. Other than hardcore pirates, many people who pirate content do so because they feel the alternative is too much trouble. One way to monetize piracy is to make buying the product as frictionless as possible. Apple made a huge dent in music piracy simply by making songs available easily, at a low price, and for just those songs you actually wanted. Prior to Apple, you had to buy whole albums full of bad songs just to get that one song you liked (etc).

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To the OP (obviously): So essentially you're saying that P:E should add a bunch of cosmetic items purchasable with real money because that will 100% convert pirates into paying customers? The practice sounds like the F2P/microtransaction model and the intent sounds like EA DLC (pay $5 to change the cosmetic appearance of a character in a single-player game.)

 

Also, why'd you post an image with a paragraph of unreadable text on the bottom?

Edited by AGX-17

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They could just show that "Arms of The Angels" Sarah MacLachlan Animal Shelter advertisement. Then just have a "Clicking this button will make them stop looking at you like that" button, that donates $5 to Obsidian Entertainment.

And if that doesn't work, you could threaten them with some Yoko Ono! :devil:

 

EDIT: Or Michael Bolton.

 

office-space-printer-o.gif

 

HAHAHAHAHA I just youtubed Angel by Sarah McLachlan to listen to it after Lephys suggestion, then watched your GIF to it as a soundtrack.  Epic.

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To the OP (obviously): So essentially you're saying that P:E should add a bunch of cosmetic items purchasable with real money because that will 100% convert pirates into paying customers? The practice sounds like the F2P/microtransaction model and the intent sounds like EA DLC (pay $5 to change the cosmetic appearance of a character in a single-player game.)

 

Also, why'd you post an image with a paragraph of unreadable text on the bottom?

A few days on these forums and I can already spy the guy who likes to argue.

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Interesting thread in general.

 

There are people whose goal in life is to spend as little as possible as a point of pride; these are the ones who brag about their piles of pirated software, music, and TV/movies. These people can never be converted because they place no value on the concept of "intellectual property" as well as the developer investment.

 

The only thing that matters in the modern software market is your target audience of legitimate users: Do Not Piss Them Off.

 

I'm talking about basic accessibility, not the actual product content; the going rule from the consumer perspective is to make things easy for honest buyers. Otherwise, you'll end up in a situation where someone like me will spend half a grand on a legit software suite, spend days on tech support to get the thing working due to some insidious DRM, and then be told you have to reformat your entire machine just to run the applications. Never again. I will be a pirate for life for certain things based on such experiences.

 

It's a simple relationship similar to what you find in the customer service industry: If a customer is polite, service will tend to be better. When a client is polite to my team, we go the extra mile to help them.

 

If you treat me with courtesy when selling your product, I will throw money at you.

 

 

Edit to add: ...Which I did when GOG was announced. ;) Under this philosophy, it's the approach that sells, the product merit that piques interest. Seems a bit backwards, but there have been plenty of times where a software game/general application piqued my interest, and I declined a purchase solely on something like an online activation scheme.

Edited by Ieo

The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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A few thoughts on what I see as a good (useable) feature to convert a pirated P:E copy to a game key sale (that is all, not “trying to magically solve the whole piracy issue”). Hopefully these points should help discussing my suggestion in more detail or to think of better alternatives.

 

1. It should not upset any user in any way (As mentioned by many in this thread). Not at all upsetting to buyers *and* pirates.

 

2. It should have an enjoyable / useful purpose separate from bringing revenue. In other words, people should enjoy using it, irrelevant of whether they want to buy a key or not.

 

3. It should not mention pirates. Mentioning pirates inside the game (addressing them directly) acknowledges them as part of the target audience. This makes them believe it’s ok to pirate. If they think that, they would have a lesser incentive to give any money to developers.

 

4. It should avoid the “support” theme. Offering the user to support the game will most likely be perceived as asking for a donation. “Support” button (or a whole inventive feature around it) would resonate with a small sub-set of all pirates. A more useful feature would address a much bigger part of all pirates. That said, support button is a good idea, it just needs to be separate from other revenue features.

 

5. It should give a pirate a good reason to want to buy the game. This reason needs to be the introduction of something positive rather than trying to avoid something negative (limitations, etc).

 

6. It should not be seen as trying to sell the game (or other content).  Pirates once refused to pay for content by downloading it for free, they would just refuse again.

 

7. It should make it very easy and straight-forward to pay for a game key.

 

8. It should not be demanding on development resources.

 

(9. Is quantifiable. Not strictly necessary, but being able to judge its usefulness would help down the line.)

 

I believe all these requirements should be met by a feature that is worth putting into P:E. Again, what I am describing is a feature that aims to make a pirate buy the game after they downloaded it, not a feature that “attempts to fix piracy”.

 

I believe my suggestion (patchily described in all my posts so far) addresses all of these. Any ideas on how to improve on any of these points, any points I have missed, or alternative suggestions that address these better?

 

 

 

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Again, some comments on some posts:

 

@Sistergoldring

“tie in some positive emotion to becoming a 'purchaser' and making it incredibly easy for them to buy the game” -  Great way to put it in just a few words. Thanks!

 

@Lephys and babaganoosh13

Very creative ideas! Unfortunately, maybe just a tiny bit impractical. :)

 

@mokona

Very good point and a great example.

 

@AGX-17

If you had looked hard at the unreadable text in the picture you might have noticed that it is this. Its sole purpose is to be unreadable. If you had read my posts you would have noticed that what you say is not at all what I am suggesting.

 

@Boo’s Bother Hoo

Just did the same...

Epic.

 

@Ieo

I believe people “whose goal in life is to spend as little as possible as a point of pride” would not represent a big portion of all pirates. These few are an issue that cannot be resolved, so I am trying to affect all other pirates. I agree with the rest of what you say, this is why I am trying to figure out revenue features that do not upset customers at all (this means no DRM or micro-transactions).

 

Edit: Typo.

Edited by cdx

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I've only skimmed the walls of text above, but:

 

Your idea of avatars based on method of purchase would require DRM to determine if a copy is legit and unlock the appropriate avatar.  Are you suggesting that the game be DRM-free except for avatar selection, which you perceive to be a cosmetic and trivial feature present only on menu screens and thus not a part of the game?  Or have I misunderstood?

 

You keep mentioning keys, which leads me to question if you are familiar with the basic concepts and services involved.  GOG games do not typically require keys; those that do usually require a unique key only for access to multiplayer.  GOG games do not require a client to play.  How do you propose your avatar selection DRM interact with a GOG copy?  Do you suggest that a key for your avatar selection DRM be included with each purchase?

 

Point blank, I want my copy of this single-player RPG to be *completely* DRM-free as promised.

 

The above aside, your idea seems to be to give pirates an easy means of purchasing the game if they really, really like it.  Why would this be necessary given that THEY'LL ALREADY HAVE EASY MEANS OF BUYING THE GAME: Digital purchase from GOG, Obsidian, or Steam.  At most you've eliminated a few clicks and a miniscule amount of typing.  You also aim to provide some positive encouragement to buy the game, but do you really think that an avatar on the main menu and the good feelings from being able to select that avatar honestly will motivate pirates to purchase?  If they want the avatar but don't care about supporting the devs, they'll simply crack the DRM protecting avatar selection.  If they truly enjoy the game and want to support the devs, isn't *that* their motivation for making a legit purchase, no avatar hoopla needed?
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ill be honest and I may get shot down on this, but I think the best thing they could do to convert pirates into purchasing the game.....is to make it a damn good game. Ill list why.

when trying to get people to buy the game after they have pirated it, u gotta think of y they did in the first place. Is it not available in their area, are they doing it in terms of renting to see how the game is, are they doing it bc they broke, are they doing it bc they just dont want to pay for it and want things for free, etc etc.

If u make the game as widely available in as many areas as possible and with easy access, but make the game a damn good game as well. U will get alot of those sales eventually. The person who does it BC its not available will be more persuaded to get it BC now it is. The person who pirated it now and enjoyed it but eventually uninstalled or got new PC or etc etc, if it was a damn good game and easily accessed, they maybe more inclined to just go ahead and purchase instead of trying to find it in a torrent and find an actually good and stable one.

 

Now doing those 2 things may not stop that customer from pirating it first, but u make it more easily available and a damn gokd game, later on they will be more inclined to pay for it later on when they wanna play it again.

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A simple bonus isn't going to be something that will convert pirates. The idea doesn't sound well thought out as the *bonus* requires a form of DRM to work, or else it not a bonus. We'd need to be authenticating the key on an online server or something (even if only once, its still DRM) . If the bonus doesn't use need a form of DRM, such as release day DLC for registered owners, then there wont be anything stopping pirates having it. If it does use a form of DRM, it would be cracked. I think that there is some serious underestimation of what happens in 'the scene' going on.

 

Time and money should be spent making a great game, not about pirates and how to make them buy the game. As a backer, them thinking about pirates isn't good value for money for me!

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It's weird how people don't understand what you are trying to say CDX. It's not a screen that lets you pick an avatar for only the version you paid for... You can pick any avatar, regardless of how you bought the game. There is no protection or greyed-out characters. You could pick the Steam avatar even if you were a Physical Kickstarter backer. It is a screen that might let you change what avatar displays on the main menu, completely aesthetically. But in that sub menu, there is a button that links to GoG or Steam for the sole purpose of having a way IN THE GAME to let you purchase the game, while not being intrusive at all. It's not meant to punish anyone for anything. To me that sounds like a massively fantastic idea, that doesn't require much effort on the part of the developer. They could probably knock that up in a weekend with one guy, considering how fast inXile was able to mock-up MOVING screenshots in Unity.

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SadOldMagician, really nice to see your post. There’s been very few in this thread so far suggesting that what I wrote wasn’t in Martian. Weird how easily this gets misunderstood, indeed. Must be the length of the posts. I guess most people either don’t bother reading them or fall asleep by my babbling even if they try… Thanks for giving a nice short version of the most important bits.

 

ddillon, Wench… what I suggest is not what you think it is. Difficult to explain without another wall of text. Please read the previous posts if you are interested. SadOldMagician gave a good short version, but the details are quite lengthy…

 

redneckdevil, yes, quality comes first, I was trying to build on that in terms of saleability covering one particular (very wide-spread) scenario.

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