Here’s a piece called How I learned to love game pirates, and the title pretty much sums it up. It’s written by a fellow who is in the games industry and who has consistently fought pirates and DRM’d his games.

This entry was posted on Saturday, September 13th, 2008 at 6:58 PM and is filed under Rant. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


Comment by Nightshade722
2008-09-14 05:43:43

very interesting article, i wish he went more in depth as to what the arguments of the pirates were though. im with the pirates on this though, most games are just not worth the price. Usually its because they were thrown out to the market before they were what they could have been because of the time constraints the publishers put on the developers. its not just a product, its an art in its own right. and the fact they have to “hollywood” the industry for pure profit turns them into what they’re not, toys. its like rushing out a book, it just ruins the story when you have to cut content and revise the vision it was intended to be, all for the sake of $$.

yes i just ranted on your rant. thanks for the article!

Comment by Chris
2008-09-14 13:06:54

Interesting article. Shame I don’t have a clue what games this guy actually makes…

Comment by Dan
2008-09-14 19:40:24

The original article with more info is here:

Comment by Robert V. Aldrich
2008-09-14 20:46:05

Wow. That’s really, really cool.

Comment by Don
2008-09-15 00:35:36

Who doesn’t love a pirate? Well, other than those diseased pirates, who doesn’t love a pirate?

Comment by Sareth
2008-09-15 02:38:26

On a related note, you might be interested in the history of the Baen Free Library. You can read it here: Story of the Baen Free Library.

To summarize, though, basically Science Fiction author Eric Flint argued with a number of his fellow authors that piracy (in this case e-books) wasn’t so bad a thing. That it amounted to free advertising, and that ultimately it improved sales. People who wouldn’t buy books from authors they didn’t know would read pirated books, find they enjoyed them, and turn around and purchase that book, and others by that author. Jim Baen, Flint’s publisher, suggested he prove it. So Flint offered his book “Mother of Demons” online, free of charge. Within one day he’d recieved a number of e-mails stating that, based off what they’d read, the e-mail’s authors would be purchasing “Mother of Demons.”

Baen now offers several dozens of books for free online at any one time, rotating the titles, and providing disks containing dozens, even hundreds, of books when you purchase one hardbound title. And business is booming.

So I say, “ARR!”

Comment by Chris
2008-09-15 15:28:36

In other words–as the name says it works the same as a regular library, where you read the entire book for free (well, ‘membership’ is required to access it. ;-) ), and as a result decide to purchase a copy for yourself?

Sadly, EA fails to understand this model with Spore–they released the ‘full retail’ version with limited-use limitations…

Comment by Sareth
2008-09-16 18:25:05

Nope. No membership required. It is a completely strings free thing. Books are downloadable in a variety of formats without so much as an e-mail address required.

Comment by rusty
2008-09-15 03:50:25

He’s living in a dream world to be honest. Proprietary systems that lock out user access to low level functionality are the only way forward. If people don’t like it, then that’s just touch beans.

The whole Napster thing proved that if people can get something without paying for it, they’ll get it. No matter what the quality is, or the legality.

Comment by Chris
2008-09-15 15:32:40

Except–that things like that *also* proved that the more you tighten up on the DRM and copy protection, the more you’ll tick off the *legitimate* users and send them *to* piracy when they normally wouldn’t. Heck, I know of tons and tons of people who do it *both* ways–they buy a copy for legitimate ownership and ‘keys’, then go and get a pirate copy to actually *play* because it’s been stripped of the DRM malware that eats resources and in some cases causes damage to the system by messing up drivers and such (see SecureROM, Starforce, etc..)

Oddly, there’s a Star Wars quote that’s very appropriate here–“The more you tighten your grip, the more systems will slip through your fingers…”

Comment by rusty
2008-09-16 09:06:08

See…I didn’t mention DRM at all. DRM is a pointless excercise, and you’re right in that it alienates the consumer by treating them as criminals. But at the same time, it’s pretty fair to say that human nature tends to be oppurtunist at best and a scheming criminal mastermind at worst :)

Games consoles like the PS3 and 360 have a better system in place; outright lockout to copying because of the proprietry system. Nintendo to a lesser degree because of the reliance on old hardware with known vulerabilities. But not everybody likes consoles, and the PC/Mac market is still huge, and an easier one for small developers to target.

A better method is digital signing (Steam, Stardock et al) that checks the users rights/purchases from a central database. The only drawback is that without internet access, you don’t get to play the game, but that shouldn’t be an issue these days.

It also has the benifit that it integrates well with whatever digital distribution system you go with. Something that does this without the middle man is a game called Live For Speed. The author essentialy distributes the whole game for free, but with out buying a licenses you can only play the game in demo mode.

Comment by Sareth
2008-09-16 18:31:47

“A better method is digital signing (Steam, Stardock et al) that checks the users rights/purchases from a central database. The only drawback is that without internet access, you don’t get to play the game, but that shouldn’t be an issue these days.”

Unless you belong to the military, a group that is almost tailor made as a game marketers wet dream. They are typically young aggressive technophiliacs who love a good real time strategy or 1st person shooter, and often have large amounts of liquid cash to blow.

They also are spending large amounts of time these days in places where internet access is limited or sporadic. Tiny FOBs in the middle of Iraq or Afghanistan, or ships at sea often face this drawback you mention, and do so at a time when soldiers, sailors and airmen most need something to distract them.

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Comment by Nightshade722
2008-09-17 09:00:18

to be honest every person ive ever known to play a steam game HATES steam with a fiery passion. several of them, including me, have resorted to downloading and using steam free repacks of those games just to avoid the hassle of it all. the PC market, as far as games are concerned, is dimishing rather quickly. the industry blames piracy, i’d say its probably true. but the restrictions that are being enforced to fight piracy aren’t helping either. the Live For Speed approach seems sound, but it still doesnt solve the whole “is this game worth my money, will my system even play it well?” problem. which i run into just about every game. UT3 shipped with more bugs than the BETA. Crysis is one of my favorite games, but the fact that i cant run anything in the background and have to play it in a freezing air conditioned room is bullshit. its a great game. and i dont have the money to build another computer that can actually handle it without pushing its limits. it also has this habit of crashing in the main menu, and i have to turn the res down because its blurry in my native one (1280×1024 75mhz), that is, if it even starts up at all. $50? no thanks. pass.

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Comment by iain
2008-09-15 07:05:26

I don’t think napster proved that at all. With napster you got a lot of people stealing things that weren’t really available (individual songs). Of course, some people took that to the next step and started grabbing entire CDs, but there are two questions that have to be answered before napster “proves” anything:
Did these people actually have disposable income to spend on the music they were stealing?
How many of these people would go back to the hit or miss nature of napster given today’s song subscription and per song services?

Comment by Jos A Bank
2008-09-15 20:06:44

I dunno. Seems to me if it’s illegal, it’s illegal. It’s not like, oh, I think this pack of gum is overpriced, so I’ll take it, although I’d pay a lower price for it. That’s still stealing. Of course, you can’t spawn packs of gum.. so is there something I’m missing?

Comment by TechMage89
2008-09-15 23:31:24

Of course it’s stealing. I would never condone it. However, my definition of “piracy” is rather different from the one the MPAA, RIAA, and ESA would like us to take.

Content providers exist to serve their customers. Ideally they make good content, make it readily available, sell it at good prices, and their customers are happy to purchase it. However the reality is that content providers often put out poor quality content or make it unavailable to some customers (e.g. a lot of good anime is not available in the U.S.), or they treat their good customers like criminals by threatening them and restricting the usefulness of the content with absurd (and ultimately ineffective against real pirates) DRM.

The reality is that the content industry is out of control with paranoia about piracy, and is punishing their law-abiding customers for it. They need to be checked, and while I don’t condone piracy, I think its increasing prevalence will serve as a wake-up call that their market strategies that hurt the customer are unappreciated, and will ultimately kill their business.

Call it overly idealistic if you will, but I believe that for any industry to function, there has to be a level of trust between the seller and the customer. By showing that they don’t trust the customer, the content industry has shown that the customer can no longer trust them. Sony’s CD rootkit, anyone?

Comment by Nightshade722
2008-09-17 09:03:07

im pretty sure the original definition of piracy is stealing someone elses goods and reselling them for personal profit. THAT is something i do not condone. at all.

Comment by vor
2008-09-16 10:26:36

in the spirit of the article, I admit that I modded my original xbox and pirated tons of games but theres one thing I learned by doing it, Even thought I may downloaded 200 or so games, I only liked to play like 20 of them, The sad thing is that some games I was hyped to play ending being a sucky game. I hated when I bought games before and learned that they weren’t worth the cash. But in the whole time I pirated i bought just one game, a sequal to a game i pirated before. I loved the game so much the first time, that I thought it was only right to buy the sequel.

Now that I have a 360, I opted not to pirate this time around. There are options now available to me that I kinda didn’t have before. First, reviews are more available and there is demo downloads. So I’m more likely able to make better decisions of what to buy. There is also used game sales and even ebay where you can buy used games at half of what gamestop would sell.

So long story short, I feel like an example of what the article talks about. Yes, most games aren’t worth the money but if given a cheaper alternative and a way to just try a game out before buying it, at least gave me a better choice then piracy.


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