Sunday, July 05, 2009

Avast, Mateys

It is nearly impossible to be a member of the internet or gaming community and not think about piracy.

We, as a people, are infinitely aware of just how pervasive piracy really is.

Now, while the debate has raged on for a long time, the idea of piracy has come back into focus as possibly the largest torrent site on the net, The Pirate Bay, has been sold to a gaming company.

Oh, it gets better. They're going legit. They plan on changing the site so that people would have to pay for downloads.

Basically, they believe that the massive Pirate Bay user base will follow the site and eagerly sign up to pay reasonable prices to download content.

This is both:

a) incredibly logical

b) doomed to epic failure

Their idea that people would be willing to pay very low prices for such a helpful service makes sense. It makes a lot of sense. People flock to the Pirate Bay every day looking for the latest content.

It only makes sense that those users would be willing to pay a small fee to continue using the site.

Unfortunately, they have failed to realize a fundamental flaw in their plan:

Free > Cheap

That's a big motherf&%@in' flaw.

It doesn't matter how cheap they make their service. They just can't compete with free.

iTunes sells songs for 99 cents each.

99 cents.

That's basically as cheap as anything can be and still cost money.

And yet, if this is such a reasonable price, then why in the hell are there so many mp3 download sites? Why are there so many torrents for music?

The simple answer is "free is better than cheap".

One dollar doesn't mean a hell of a lot to me. One dollar is a price that I would gladly pay for pretty much anything on our planet.

I paid a dollar for the Brady FFXI guide.

That's not a joke.

Hell, even if I lost a dollar, it really wouldn't bother me.

But, if given the choice, I would rather have a song AND still have my dollar.

Here's a quick quiz. Someone offers you:

a) a song

b) a song and a dollar

Which are you going to pick?

If you said 'a', you are a damned liar and you know it.

That's basically what these pay sites are telling you. Yes, those other sites have this shit for free, but we have it for next to free. That's almost as good as free, right?

Not really.

Yes, the service you provide is incredibly helpful. The Pirate Bay is probably one of the most popular sites on the internet.

Unfortunately, there are like seventeen bajillion sites that provide the exact same service.

For free.

Remember Napster? Remember how they tried going legit and charging for downloads?

But they're still totally popular, right?

Right?

Not so much.

As revolutionary as Napster was, there were a bunch of less revolutionary, but still free P2P programs standing right behind them.

Again, free wins.

Now, don't bother talking about morality and legality. Neither of those concepts really plays a part in the decision making process here. Everyone knows you're not supposed to download and they do it anyway.

Besides, we the consumers have spent so many years being dicked around by these companies that they really can't start playing the "fair" card now. They ripped us off on CDs, so now we're ripping them off for CDs.

Hell, half the songs you "buy" from these legit sites come packed to the brim with fine print just so they can dick you over all over again.

It's perpetual dicking.

And they make you pay money for it.

Isn't that backwards? Shouldn't the pay sites be easy to use and helpful, and the evil pirates be useless and difficult?

I just think these companies don't quite get it. They keep giving us these long speeches about how wrong piracy is and how they're the good guys. They talk about how piracy helps terrorism and costs people's jobs.

That's all bullshit.

They're mad because they used to make a shitload of money ripping people off and now, people have found a way to not get ripped off.

No more moneys.

They mad.

And that's it.

It's like Understanding Piracy for Dummies.

Piracy costs them money and they like money. Hell, everyone likes money. Since piracy costs them that money, it is bad.

I might at least respect them if they just came out and said that. Just give us the benefit of not assuming we're retarded or something.

There will never be a solution to piracy until they can provide us with a product that is actually worth what they are asking us to pay. $60 games and $20 CDs are bullshit and we all know it. Especially when 95% of them are complete and utter crap anyway.

They're just mad we've finally figured this shit out.

All the lawsuits and trials are just them trying to put the genie back in the bottle. They need to reprogram us to think that they're the good guys.

And that is working out really well so far.

I don't blame the guys who sold the Pirate Bay. They got offered a hell of a lot of money for what basically amounts to a brand name.

I'd have taken it, too.

But we all know it isn't going to work. We all know the NEW and IMPROVED Pirate Bay is going to crash and burn.

And why?

Because someone out there is always going to be giving it away for free.

And we like free.

23 Comments:

At 7:28 PM, Blogger ineedbettername said...

Amen, Dave. I myself use Demonoid now simply because TPB sold out.

 
At 8:07 PM, Blogger B4UTRUST said...

Not to mention all the copyright software and DRM and all the other rootkit malware antieverything crap they toss at us on every game and CD we own now.

It's one of those things that we're guilty until proven innocent. We're criminals because some people are criminals.

But then again they're criminals as well. Just not the same type. Blue collar vs white collar, as it were.

Of course if the artists, labels, studios, game designers, etc actually made things that were worth $20 or $60 then it would be a whole different story. They don't so we as a culture have learned to give them what we feel they deserve in renumeration for thier art and products. If it sucks, they don't make the money. If it's decent, most people will buy it and they get paid.

Which is a hell of a lot better than the old system of 'Hey, let's drop $20 and pray there's two tracks on this album that are worth a damn.'

 
At 8:21 PM, Blogger Darkskeleton said...

I choose answer 'a' on the quiz and you called me a lier for it. That was cruel ='(

So it sounds like The Pirate Bay is planning on charging money now (or at least thinking about it). That's news to me or was it just an example?

 
At 8:28 PM, Blogger Conor said...

Best post yet Dave! There will always be a new site to pop up after one goes legit. I've paid for so few movies/games in the last few years. It simply isn't worth it. As you said, most of the newer games are bland and lacking. The real winners will ALWAYS sell well because they are a superior product. Hopefully the idiots at the RIAA and elsewhere will realize that information should be free.

 
At 8:56 PM, Blogger L.A. said...

I'm currently in college, going into the Game Industry, and even I cannot believe why they keep pushing DRM.


The question people ask is "Is PC Gaming Dying?". They point blame at people who burned CDs for their friends, and allowed them to play without paying. They pointed fingers at Pirates and Crackers for releasing third party programs to turn off the protection software.


It's very, very simple. Follow the chart with me.

1. Burning copies of your game is a useful way of not ruining your game if you happen to SCRATCH the CD. Since most games have a CD-Required bootup, and at the minimum require the CD to reinstall the game...breaking your means of doing so is a real pain in the ass. Burning a copy to use while your original game remains mint is a good idea to keep it preserved.

2. Image Ripping and/or No-CD cracks. Sometimes it just gets to be a pain to search around your box o games looking for THE ONE that you feel like playing, since you've got to have the cd in to play. Luckily, if you have a big enough Harddrive, sometimes you can store your games on your computer in the form of a digital image. Hell, you can get cracks to easily play the game without the hassle of having to enter the CD at all, and the game works fine. Kinda makes you wonder why you had to insert the cd in the first place.

3. The Copy Protection crap that gets installed on your computer. Let's say, for example, PunkBuster. It's a program that checks to make sure you aren't cheating or hacking multiplayer games like BF2142. I get that, that's cool. Except that's the only game of theirs I play, and I play it occasionally, but Punkbuster REMAINS ON AT ALL TIMES. This brings up the 4th and 5th parts of the chart.

4. "DRM, In any and every form, slows the consumer's ability to use the product."

No matter what way you argue it, there is absolutely NOTHING anyone in the industry can say to deny this statement. It may be little rootkits or system processes running at 20kb through your processor, but the undeniable fact is that it is your damned processing power that is being used by these people, to verify that you comply to the legal terms of the EULA.

5. It is invasive and insulting to treat this sort of product harassment to the consumer, with the false belief that by bludgeoning the legit consumer with more and more DRM, they will be encouraged not to use non-official means of playing the game.

Since cracks and third party programs can be used to bypass allot of the DRM, the bottom line comes to this :

The DRM is not succeeding in it's purpose, that being, to establish enough complication to Piraters that they are encouraged to purchase the game legitimately. This is, in fact, doing the exact opposite effect, in which it is driving people TO pirating as a means of making the experience with using the product easier, faster, and with less hassle.


I sincerely hope one day that I will be able to put together my own game project and release a truly great game. And you can bet your ass that I'm not going to alienate my entire consumer base by treating them Guilty of Criminal Intent.

 
At 10:28 PM, Blogger Soren said...

I've spent plenty of money in the past buying cds and enjoying one, possibly two tracks on them. I think I've earned the right to download a few cds.

I've also spent waaaaay more money than I care to count on video games (over $1000 just on 360 games!). If I want to try out Oblivion on my PC (which I did, and hated it) then why should I have to pay $30+ for it and THEN realize I don't like it?

Pirating will never stop. Yes, Free>Cheap. That is how things have always been, that is how they'll always be.

 
At 10:33 PM, Blogger Adam said...

Quite a rant, L.A., though not wrong really. However, information never has, never will, and shouldn't be free. Capitalism is what's keeping the world running (well, that and stupidity) and those who are adapting to the new world of bits and bytes are raking in cash by the bucketloads. The record industry, sadly, is not one of these people.

What gets me is when they pull out a starving artist and say that every time you download a song he has to eat catfood for a week. This is bullshit when anytime you buy a CD the artist is only getting about a dollar and a half to two dollars of that 20 you just spent. The rest? Buys the Record exec another solid gold porsche.

I have started using Rhapsody since that way I can feel like I'm paying the artists I love and not feel like I just took a ride over Brokeback mountain everytime I buy a CD. But yeah, Demonoid is the source for most of my other mischief.

As for DRM, it doesn't work. Every game that comes out with impenetrable DRM is cracked in a week. Assuming it isn't cracked before release. Hell, i think most pirates are starting to take these DRM improvements as personal challenges. Next thing you know you'll start seeing little achievement notices pop up on the pirate's pages. "Super Hacker! You cracked StarCraft 2 in 2 days or less. 30p"

 
At 2:04 AM, Blogger Mercenary said...

o/

All hail GM Dave.

Reminds of youtube.

NOTICE WMG HOLDS THE COPYRIGHT TO THIS SONG. SO WE MUTED YOUR VIDEO. WE DONT CARE THAT YOU WERENT USING IT FOR PROFIT FOR ANYTHING. WE JUST LIKE BEING DICKS AND RUINING THE VIDEO. HAVE A NICE DAY.

Fuck you WMG. Fuck you.

Bootlegger forever!

 
At 3:11 AM, Blogger My Name Here said...

The way I was aware, the new owners of TPB were going to pay uploaders: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8128551.stm

 
At 4:01 AM, Blogger ya said...

I'm not really for downloading, but I end up doing it anyway. Mostly because I only watch movies once, so it's a waste to pay 24 dollars for it. Going to the cinema costs about 15 dollars too. -.-*
I do feel bad, because people have spent a great amout of time and money on making that movie.

I wouldn't mind paying to download a book or a movie. Why I haven't done it so far, is because it costs the same as buying the fucking dvd/book!
If you sell it online, it should be cheaper since there is no production, distribution etc.
I would stop downloading illegaly, if I could download a move for, like, 10 dollars or something.

I don't think it matters if you don't like a game, there is still a whole team of people who have worked their asses off for several years to make it, they deserve to get payed(I'm goin to be one of them in a few years. I would like to get payed:P). It's not like the game just appears out of thin air.

 
At 7:32 AM, Blogger Meilin said...

Anti-Piracy acts, like DRM, are just making MORE people turn to piracy. Its MUCH easier to install a cracked copy of things then a legit one.

Also, buying used *coughgamestopcough* is no profit for the developers/artists, only profit for the store.

In short, I can't even support the things I DO enjoy most of the time!

Free > Cheap, and a pain in the ass.

 
At 8:29 AM, Blogger Master said...

Agree 100% Dave. I always said that the free deal would be good for the industry.

If you make a good product I'll go buy it, but the ability to get things for free makes these developers actual make good products.

Yeah some people might spend years working on a crappy game, but they should have been making a good game instead.

 
At 8:31 AM, Blogger Bufuman said...

Besides, we the consumers have spent so many years being dicked around by these companies that they really can't start playing the "fair" card now. They ripped us off on CDs, so now we're ripping them off for CDs.

Amen brother! I don't really give two shits about music companies (though they're evil bastards too), but game companies are retarded and always seem to fuck us over for no apparent reason.

"Hey, check out this Suikoden 2 game! It's awesome and unquestionably the best in the series! Now watch as we make it rare as solid gold shit, forcing people to pay an arm and a leg for it on eBay! Rerelease it? Why the hell would we do that? We're too busy making Metal Gear Solid 7,236!"

And don't even get me started on all those updated rereleases that stayed in Japan. I'm still pissed that we never got the Kingdom Hearts Final Mix games.

 
At 11:59 AM, Blogger Dyamalos said...

I'll give an example about worth it:

A few years ago, I discovered emulation, one of the games I started playing was Chrono Trigger.

Awesome game, so awesome, that when I found a copy of FFCronicals I got it on the spot just because.

I never played it, but I felt the game was worth it.

Few years down the road, I've hacked both my Wii and My PSP, both have CT on it and it is still an awesome game.

But then SE released Chrono Trigger for the DS. And I bought it.

I've only played it half way though on the DS, but it was still worth it.


Another example is Sonic the hedgehog 3 and Sonic and Knuckles.

I've emulated these on anything I could get a genesis emulator on. I still have my geneses that doesn't work anymore, so it was nice to play again.

And yet, I've bought both Sonic 2 and 3 off the Wii shop AND the Xbox market place...

I don't use my Wii much anymore.

When Sonic and knuckles gets released, I will buy it too.

On both...

Why?

Good game.

I've spent about 30$ on these games recently, and I plan to spend more.

Are they worth it? To me, yes.

Now as far as games go, I don't pirate much. I emu classic games some, but that's about it.

'Sides, most of them I still have the original cartridge.

But as far as movies go... Some movies are definitely not worth it...

Hollywood needs to stop making crap, then more people would be willing to buy it.

Need an example do you?

Three words:

Dragon Ball Evolution

Alternate title: The day Hollywood decided to delicate on your childhood.

 
At 1:44 PM, Blogger ya said...

"Yeah some people might spend years working on a crappy game, but they should have been making a good game instead."

It's not like they plan on making a crappy game(some of them anyway).
I guess it just goes wrong somewhere in the process. There are A LOT of shit to keep in mind(although companies like Square enix should have learned to not make fucking rookie mistakes by now = Last Remnant).

Until you have tried making one yourself, I don't really think you have the right to judge. I do agree, though, that many fuck ppl over. I mean 75-95 dollars for a game is way too much!

 
At 2:30 PM, Blogger Aen said...

Indeed, Dave.

The Recording, Movie and TV Industries have had it too nice for too long. This Piracy boom we are living is just us getting back at them.

Recording artists will not only have to make decent music, but constantly make live performances (that's where the money is, nowadays) to make even a fraction of what they use to make from record deals alone.

I'm not worried about Movies or TV. The Box Office will always thrive, and TV still makes good money from commercials.

I'm even of the opinion that free information flow is good for them. I bought every It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia box because I downloaded a few episodes.

Basically, the information age will level the playing field between consumers and producers. The real winners will be those who make superior products, and us the consumers. Let the parasites die.

 
At 2:30 PM, Blogger Aen said...

Indeed, Dave.

The Recording, Movie and TV Industries have had it too nice for too long. This Piracy boom we are living is just us getting back at them.

Recording artists will not only have to make decent music, but constantly make live performances (that's where the money is, nowadays) to make even a fraction of what they use to make from record deals alone.

I'm not worried about Movies or TV. The Box Office will always thrive, and TV still makes good money from commercials.

I'm even of the opinion that free information flow is good for them. I bought every It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia box because I downloaded a few episodes.

Basically, the information age will level the playing field between consumers and producers. The real winners will be those who make superior products, and us the consumers. Let the parasites die.

 
At 6:33 AM, Blogger Guy said...

Well, there are people willing to pay for these services.

They use Usegroups.

 
At 7:47 AM, Blogger Master said...

We ya. Thanks, but no thanks.

I'll judge all I want being I'm the one coughing up the dough.

 
At 10:22 AM, Blogger Pulsahr said...

"They ripped us off on CDs, so now we're ripping them off for CDs."

When CD came out, all sellers were shouting "music cheaper ! Burning cd cost a few dollars ! We'll sell it so cheap ! Hurray for the CD !".

And then, those people in the high buildings over there, sitting on a comfortable amount of money, just looked at increasing their profit.
Not keeping profit.
increasing.
More, and more. And ... well, let me think... a fucking lot more.
In the end, cd wasn't cheaper than tapes. Really not.

And now we, customers, have the oportunity to give them payback. They stole us, we stole them.

And you know what ? I'm not even doing that on purpose. But when i think about it, can't help smiling.

 
At 1:03 PM, Blogger Soren said...

I don't think it matters if you don't like a game, there is still a whole team of people who have worked their asses off for several years to make it, they deserve to get payed(I'm goin to be one of them in a few years. I would like to get payed:P). It's not like the game just appears out of thin air.

Actually, it should matter if people like a game or not. Should be incentive for game companies to do a good job, actually releasing a game that plays well. If a company has worked their asses off for years, it should show. If it's a good game, they'll get good sales, if it's not, they won't.

Lots of people played Oblivion and loved it, I didn't. Besides the fact, I'd have bought it used if I did buy it, and the game companies don't make any money off used games. So by not buying it, I haven't slighted the company in any way, and they've made a shit ton more money from all the people that did like it. Win/win situation.

 
At 3:23 PM, Blogger Julien said...

They are selling "The pirate bay", knowing that it will certainly not work as well as these days, and more, they are creating a new free site ("openbittorrent") which allow a certain privacy (in order to avoid for example the newest bullshit of the french politics, the "HADOPI" law ... I don't know if there is any information in english about this law, but have a look, this is really funny... Hope you'll never have such a useless law -_- ). So 5M€ ($8M I guess) in order to create the same thing, better and with a new name and with a lower risk for them... I respect them. :)

 
At 11:44 PM, Blogger Warewulf said...

The funniest part is that the people who sold TPB get handed a bunch of money, then they'll go make a new site and immediately become a hundred times more popular (unless, of course, part of the contract forbade them from doing so). And with the internet being what it is, word will travel fast and TPB will fail hard.

 

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