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Global piracy threatens future of PC games

Written by Ben Reid @ 15 Mar 2007 0:40 User comments (25)

Global piracy threatens future of PC games Todd Hollenshead, head of Doom 3 creator Id software believes that rife copyright infringement of PC games poses a huge threat to the future of the industry. He suggested that the PC games industry isn't taking the threat of piracy seriously and that if something isn't done to curb it, companies could soon demote the PC to a second tier platform.
"I find myself when I have a discussion about piracy trying to convince people it's a serious problem," he said.

It is estimated that global piracy cost the US gaming industry in excess of $4bn in 2004 -- excluding losses from Internet piracy.

"In Eastern Europe, Asia and South America the losses are estimated to be 90% plus," said Mr Hollenshead, speaking at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last week.

One of his primary concerns at the moment is the circulation of cracked copies of PC games. "The statistics of the amount of net traffic devoted to piracy of PC titles is startling," he said.

Many of the newest & most popular titles are freely available throughout the filesharing community. Games such as Battlefield 2142, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas, Fahrenheit and Need for Speed Carbon can all be downloaded with relative ease.

Developers of Id's latest title, Enemy Territory Quake Wars have had to be extremely vigilant to prevent any internal leaks from occurring because, Hollenshead noted, "Every major project we have worked on has somehow found its way to the internet." All development copies of Enemy Territory have had to be fitted with physical dongles which prevent the game from being played without the hardware key.

He said, "We know a copy of Enemy Territory is out there because someone is posting screen shots." But added "Hopefully some of our protections have worked to keep that from being distributed online."

He believes that people need to be educated about the damage to industry piracy is doing. "There is a serious attitude problem we have about games and game fans especially amongst the PC community who look to hackers as icons. It's seen as a cool thing to be part of the wareZ (hacker) community and share copies of games.

"Hopefully through education and understanding the community who love PC games needs to recognize they are poisoning the well we all drink from,"
he said.

Source:
BBC

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25 user comments

115.3.2007 5:42

oh stfu!

leave it to the video game industry, thats right the same industry that has surpassed the movie AND music industries combined in terms of sales, to bitch about not having EVEN MORE MONEY.

if you dont like it switch to ps3 and 360 development or start making online pc games like WOW. the public doesnt give a fuck that you didnt make enough for that second house in aspen.

215.3.2007 5:53

Piracy is wrong. I agree with that.

To survive in this world and enjoy the entertainment that is out there, you have to make decent money. Most entertainment products are expensive to purchase and in the end are not worth the money paid.

I understand the frustration in the consumer not wanting to fork out $50 US or more to buy a game that they really don't know if its good.

If games were priced to which the average Joe could afford, then piracy would drop. Inflation and the cost of living is higher than most peoples wages.

This my friend is why the corporations will NEVER win. Many end users cannot afford it, yet want it. The way society markets products makes young people think they need all these material items, movies, games, cell phones...etc. When they grow up and want them, but cannot afford them....what do u think is going to happen. Grab whatever you can for free.

Stopping filesharing is not the answer. You need to stop the price gauging. Bring the cost down.

If its going to be all about the Money for the corporations, then its going to be all about getting it free for the hackers.
And poor folk like me...will always take a free copy every now and then.

Sorry TODD...its just the way it is.
Are you upset your a few Million short last year ?

315.3.2007 6:48

MightyOne
Retialers should get off the corperate tit and do what retailers do take back items that suck or re sub par,because the Game masters refuse to deal with this issue stuf them.

Perhaps if they took the time to make games fun and not have sweat dripping off over sized bouncy boobs they would actually sale more games because people would enjoy them,frankly IDs CD check online is a prefect copy counter measure its not evasive and works,they could also tie updates into their online system no key no update they gain another hand over pirates.

The game industry is so full of itself its laughable it truly has become the new Hollywood.

415.3.2007 7:12

is much better for then to blame piracy, because then they can keep the same price and look better at the same time. now if they make DRM that accually prevents pirating for once, its just because they want more cash. who cares about the consumer having and easy time to install and play when things may go wrong, money is important right? they are greedy and a loss to them has no meaning to us.

515.3.2007 8:49

pirateable game: 10% legal, 90% illegal...

non-pirateable game: 10% legal, 90% won´t buy it...

now, where did those billions go???

615.3.2007 8:54

Originally posted by anubis66:
is much better for then to blame piracy, because then they can keep the same price and look better at the same time. now if they make DRM that accually prevents pirating for once, its just because they want more cash. who cares about the consumer having and easy time to install and play when things may go wrong, money is important right? they are greedy and a loss to them has no meaning to us.
its a amazing thing logic,if they make a better product they will make more money but no they want to make the worst thing possible...they want to be like MS!

715.3.2007 11:22

Quote:
Many of the newest & most popular titles are freely available throughout the filesharing community. Games such as Battlefield 2142, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas, Fahrenheit and Need for Speed Carbon can all be downloaded with relative ease.
The reason those games are being downloaded and made available is because they a lame and only appeal to a small audience. There is a reason games like Madden sell so well, they are done well and appeal to a large player base. Games that ID software make fall into the small audience category.

815.3.2007 12:40

Quote:
[quote]Many of the newest & most popular titles are freely available throughout the filesharing community. Games such as Battlefield 2142, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas, Fahrenheit and Need for Speed Carbon can all be downloaded with relative ease.
The reason those games are being downloaded and made available is because they a lame and only appeal to a small audience. There is a reason games like Madden sell so well, they are done well and appeal to a large player base. Games that ID software make fall into the small audience category.[/quote]I gotta keep track of how bioshock sells ,altho if I find it to be just another cash in title theres no point,I wonder if Prey sold better than Q4,Q4 is medicore Prey is a bit more interesting but in the end suffers from the same woes Q4 has.

915.3.2007 13:15

Honestly? Don't complain... Sell your software via Steam or something. Because I don't really care.

Also, there are still pirates selling hard copies pirated goods, (software)? How un-computer age.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Mar 2007 @ 13:16

1015.3.2007 15:41

Originally posted by MightyOne:
Piracy is wrong. I agree with that.

To survive in this world and enjoy the entertainment that is out there, you have to make decent money. Most entertainment products are expensive to purchase and in the end are not worth the money paid.

I understand the frustration in the consumer not wanting to fork out $50 US or more to buy a game that they really don't know if its good.

If games were priced to which the average Joe could afford, then piracy would drop. Inflation and the cost of living is higher than most peoples wages.

This my friend is why the corporations will NEVER win. Many end users cannot afford it, yet want it. The way society markets products makes young people think they need all these material items, movies, games, cell phones...etc. When they grow up and want them, but cannot afford them....what do u think is going to happen. Grab whatever you can for free.

Stopping filesharing is not the answer. You need to stop the price gauging. Bring the cost down.

If its going to be all about the Money for the corporations, then its going to be all about getting it free for the hackers.
And poor folk like me...will always take a free copy every now and then.

Sorry TODD...its just the way it is.
Are you upset your a few Million short last year ?

I agree.

1115.3.2007 16:57

It is funny that id software is complaining. Back when the original Doom came out, they couldn’t tell enough people to copy the game. They were freely distributing the shareware and full versions alike just to get their product out there into consumer’s hands.

This is a lot like Metallica back in the day. They openly encouraged fans to copy their music and record their live shows and distribute it as much as they could.

Now that both id and Metallica have more money than either one knows what to do with, they feel like they are entitled to even more money. They also feel that piracy is directly affecting their pockets.

I agree that most games are easily obtainable via downloads, but unlike the Operating System pricing scheme, most games are easily within a player’s budget. I’ve downloaded games in the past, but I’ve always deleted the ones that suck and purchased the ones that totally rocked. I remember going to Best Buy with about six friends so that we could all Purchase Unreal Tournament and Quake )I( when they came out.

If anything, it is the loyal gamers that keep this industry going. How many of us camped in line to get a copy of World of Warcraft? I know that I’m not the only one. The casual gamer who downloads probably had no intention of ever purchasing the game to begin with.

All of these industries need to stop counting illegal downloads as lost sales. Most stuff is downloaded just because it is there and it is free. Are you honestly going to buy a CD from a store by an artist that neither you nor any of your friends have heard of?

These companies need to seriously get with the times.

1215.3.2007 19:32

Originally posted by Moomoo2:
Honestly? Don't complain... Sell your software via Steam or something. Because I don't really care.

Also, there are still pirates selling hard copies pirated goods, (software)? How un-computer age.

Have you tried steam? for me it put the final nail in HL 2,at best HL2 is a ok game,then you add steam,online only if you are not online it will not play BS a glitch they still have yet to fix once you update it you are set to online only,you cant buy it used because they demand 10$ to exchange/update the key itself,its pure BS....

Unfocused
I buy games used its better than downloading but sometimes a game is so bad thats the only choice,I really do love ebay more and more now adays you can find in most cases a new game 6 months old or less for 20-40$ the "retail" price and sometimes cheaper if its used.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Mar 2007 @ 19:37

1315.3.2007 21:12

@ZippyDSM

Used is a great way to buy games. I love raiding the old games at my local EB Games. eBay can be good as well, but more often than not, I’ll come across a gem that I’d forgotten about.

I fully agree with you about key transfers for newer games. This only serves to alienate gamers with older systems that can’t run the newer games. They think that they are getting a good price on a game only to find that in the end they got stiffed.

1415.3.2007 21:58

Originally posted by Unfocused:
@ZippyDSM

Used is a great way to buy games. I love raiding the old games at my local EB Games. eBay can be good as well, but more often than not, I’ll come across a gem that I’d forgotten about.

I fully agree with you about key transfers for newer games. This only serves to alienate gamers with older systems that can’t run the newer games. They think that they are getting a good price on a game only to find that in the end they got stiffed.
Frankly I wouldn't go to game stop or EB games they no longer sale used PC games they cry about the install keys when they merely are tryign to find room for new games they wont sale,if you got a local small game store worship them while they last if not Ebay and Big lots even is a better choice to find discounted games,the Industry is has its claws into the retail side of things blurring the line between whats good for the customer and whats good for the publisher its not a good thing.

BTW I don't mind online keys I have never had a problem with with them even transfered acouple of MMOs via Ebay like Guild wars and such however Steam forces keys to accounts so its hard to get rid of one game when you have a account with 5 on it,steam is as anti consumer as the retail stores I don't see them doing anythign to make having a account worth while(begin able to use a game off line,being able to trade games) I just see them wanting more and more and doing less and less for their "product".

Quake 4 was the last 50$ new game I bought,I was lucky enough to get it from a local place that did store credit After beating in in 5 days I got so pissed at it I took it back the game is bland and mediocre a mark of todays gaming I just could not stand it because the retail chains see the consumer as the enemy I no longer go to them when I can I don't get out much so that helps me not going to them,I did pick up acouple of games around xmas since I was out but I try my best to say no to the bastards

god I am a long winded bastard :P

but my point is we all should buy used games from non retail chains as much as we can,I see downloading as a great way to test the worthiness of a game since demos are sht now adays and don't show enough of the game for lost to make up their mind,if the Publishers would work with the retailers and lower to create a program where you can return a few games a month I might tone down my rhetoric but I don't see the corporate horde treating consumers as anything other than sheeple to be lead to slaughter on their whim.....

I need to join the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) and rant at them for letting publishers hamstring the retailers so,I understand nothing much will happen but there are not worthy 19$ games this month :P (19 a year).

In the end most of my rants are not so unreasonable ,you can create and system to return games 10 days to be satisfied 15% restock fee a limit of 3 games,store credit only these would be great first steps to show that you are not a soulless entity that drains people of their money for piss poor entertanment.

1516.3.2007 6:22

Hmm we have different taste in fps Zippy I love the single portion of Quake 4 (still playing) and this is coming from a guy thst beat F.E.A.R right before it. Wildly different games but both fun once you get into it.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 16 Mar 2007 @ 6:22

1616.3.2007 23:18

Originally posted by plutonash:
Hmm we have different taste in fps Zippy I love the single portion of Quake 4 (still playing) and this is coming from a guy thst beat F.E.A.R right before it. Wildly different games but both fun once you get into it.
Once you compare Quake 2 or even Quake and Quake 4 in "depth" its a sad state of things,both Q1 and Q2 had great levels Q2 almost being adventure class in level and then have Q4 a poor mix of watered down Q 1-3 weapons small weak level design...oh it looks great but thats abotu it....if you like go out and buy acoule copies or 3 and help them make more of it but I refuse to.

F.E.A.R is a good game a bit repetitive but mroe than soild enough for my tastes even tho I hate "modern" settings in FPS's.

1717.3.2007 16:55

I agree that the person that copies a game or movie for sale is guilty of piracy, but you should be able to make a copy of any game or movie so that yo are able to use that copy to keep the real one so that it is not damaged. But you have to own the real disk.

1817.3.2007 19:54

I agree with Baldy 43, there is a difference between making a backup for youself and selling, or even giving away, copies of a game you own.
That said, let me tell you why I wae forced by EA to go to a hacker site. My grandkids love playing the Sims and I have bought the PC version and some of the upgrade packs. The DRM scheme requires disk one to be in the drive in order to play the game. When our disk one was damaged I emailed, and emailed, and emailed then tryed calling EA (never try calling that is a real joke) to see about getting a replacement disk one. The only responce I got was an email about a month later asking what I thought of their customer support.
I told this story to a friend who said he could fix the problem. He came over, went to some hacker site and downloaded a copy that did not need disk one. As far as I was consirned I did nothing wrong, I have one box with all the Sims original disks and one operational copy of the game.
Unfortunately for EA my grandkids told all their friends who told all ther friends and now there are who knows how many unpaid for copies of the Sims out there just because EA would not let me make a backup of disk one or tell me how to get a replccement.

1919.3.2007 2:48

Good games get purchased.

Games that look good on the surface, but might suck, get ripped, because who wants to waste what little money they have on a bad game?

2019.3.2007 11:12
spbt
Inactive

My last game purchase ended with DRM. Typical scenario you buy a game of the store shelf at this point it's mostly beta. Hope it is near as good as advertised or else you get to keep a piece of shit. I have many such disks. EULA says you bought it you keep it, no guarantees thay it could or will hose your system. So all is good, only locks up once in a while. Asks you to put the disk in, I did, asks you to put the disk in. Reboot works, but not every time. You eventualy can't complete the game due to bugs. Tech support,(enter any explatives that suit you). Your time and frustration with a so called entertainment title far outway it's value at this point. But you cary on since you are out money anyway. Hey patch no 3 is out and you have to download them all and install in sequence. Did I mention I was on Dial-up. Now instalation ran fine but it will not recognize disk 1 no mater how many times I reboot and put the disk in. Some other games stop working that ran fine before this last patch. Now you rom can only extract music at 4x where before it was at around 16x. Google for answers and try to remove the offending titles. Once in, the DRM device drivers are here to stay and none of them like or care for each other much less than the companies that employ them. Tech support starts to point fingers at the other guys but who cares I am the one left holding the dirty end of the stick. Enter a cracked title, no DRM sometimes a trojan or key loger in serial generator but those are not nearly as cripling as star##### and they don't get out if you run them in a VM. You play the game get sick of it or whatever and download your next DRM free title. If they want suport for their titles they need to learn and respect their customers. They would refuse to pay a bill in a restaurant if their meal sucked in fact they wouldn't recomend that restaurant to a friend. Well gues what I wouldn't recomend a shity game to a friend either. Drop the DRM criple ware and then work on getting your customers trust back or choke inside your DRM castle thinking you are safe.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 Mar 2007 @ 1:56

2121.3.2007 11:37

I knew right away you have starforce that sucks man.


"Cable thief is a victimless crime."

2222.3.2007 2:15

i agree that retailers and games mnfctrs should bring down there prices n then piracy would go away coz who is gonna pirate them if the games are cheaper n dont make the pirates money. as it stands no matter what the mnfctrs add to their games to prevent piracy there will always be someone who can find a way to beat the security systems. remember usin cheat cartridges on the ps1 to play copied games? it took about a month to beat that security.

2322.3.2007 2:51
janrocks
Inactive

I find it interesting that another old-timer talks about Doom. I remember the fun and games we had rooting around in some IBM servers for the source code so we could play it in the UK too. As far as I am aware our little group were the only people to ever compile it for the hercules graphics cards used in the packard-bell 8088 machines of the era... very few people had a 286, and a 386 was around.. well too much for most people at home.
Call us pirates if you want.. we made something available that otherwise couldn't be had for love nor money.
I still have a copy on one of those hateful 8" floppies, (it had to go on one of those because it was too big for a standard density single sided 5 1/4) though whether it still works after all this time is a mystery.. no 8088 and no monster floppy drive.

I just wish these big companies would stop whining about something they can't possibly prove and get on with making some decent games for a change, instead of the tired old c*** they keep churning out.
It's easy enough to look on torrent sites and see the number of downloads for a particular game.. A huge one may have 3 or 4 thousand completed downloads.. spread across the entire planet say 30,000 total, out of sales of the same in the millions.... If it's any good that is.
They whine and they moan.. but I don't see them struggling for money in any way at all.

How has Doom lasted so long? Because it's a good game, and believe me when I say there are some really brilliant games from the 80's which have been forgotten only because technology has moved so far ahead that they are very hard to set up. Sid Meir's Pirates! is an all time great.. all the way from 87. Still not freeware, though it should be. (don't bother telling me about rom sites... all the versions they have are faulty at the change to disk3.. I have the original commodore 64 tape version.)

There is his answer.. start making decent games again that don't need a complete new pc every 18 months and the sales will be there..
Me.. I'll stay where I am thanks, with what money I have firmly in my pocket for going to the pub..

2422.3.2007 5:50

@janrocks

Well spoken. In this new era of high tech graphics, much of the fun factor has been left by the side of the road. I was able to spend countless hours playing the text based games on my TRS-80 and VIC-20.

I won't deny that some of the newer games look amazing, but I can't spend nearly as much time immersed in their worlds as I could with the likes of Zork, Asteroids, Wacky Wheels, Millenium and others of their era.

I have yet to get into the Sims craze, but several of the tycoon series of games have taken a little of my time as of late. These games are just outright fun. Hell, I still play the original Sim City (for Windows) to this day.

These game manufactures’ need to realize that graphics aren’t everything. Solid game play is where it has always been and where the “true” gamers will always be.

2522.3.2007 5:56

< agrees with janrocks and unfocused its about time the game devs got their finger out and stop jumpin on the bandwagon of other games and start bringin out original games that can be both fun and challenging without gettin the feelin we are playin a rehash of another game like army/ military or racing games its all getn abit ssdd in my opinion.

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