Author Topic: DRM for online functions  (Read 27345 times)

Offline Wanderer

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2012, 04:12:26 AM »
You shouldn't forget that buying customers WANT BETTER SERVICE than pirates. Yet they don't get that. Pirates and Customers are identical in terms of support quality. And that is imo the WORST possible situation. Why should we pay money if you don't differentiate between customer and pirate?

Eraser, you're usually more coherent than this.  That's 4chan talkin' right there.  You do it because it's the right thing to do, that being not stealing someone else's work for your pleasure.  Point me to where the 'service' could be better by removing pirates from the mix and I might agree.  As it stands, they get themselves some downloads without me having to argue with yet another random password when I sit down and decide I want to fire up a game and catch up on patches.

I'm not anti-DRM, I've had my work pirated to the point where one of my businesses was crippled because of it.  I'm actually NOT against the RIAA going after 12 year olds pirating shit, though million dollar lawsuits might be extreme.  I don't buy their stuff because they're overpriced, but hey, it's their stuff.  So, no, I don't support piracy.  However, there IS a cost involved in keeping up DRM and the like, even if it's just in bandwidth prices and internal coding support and support for legit customers who are 'detected' as invalid and... well, there's a lot of costs, really.

Why are you so vehement about this?  What better service from Arcen would you expect if they started blocking piracy?  I'm not trying to be fecicious, it's an honest question.  The update servers have never been DoS'd, never been slow, and they're producing updates at Mach 10.  What do you perceive would be better? 

Oh, I agree I'd like to see Arcen make more money, but that's Chris' decision as to the increased revenue of forcing what, 1% of piraters to pay up for up to date updates vs. all the internal hassle and coding costs.  It's their call to perceived revenue differences.  After that, what's the diff?
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Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2012, 05:36:25 AM »
The service would be better because paying or not would actually make the difference. ;) The problem with Tidalis was that the keys got keygenned and used on Steam which then ended up being keys generated for people that bought it later, a proper verification system would have prevented that.

I don't feel like being more coherent regarding this. You can say paying is the right thing to do but let's face it, pirates pirate stuff. No DRM will ever prevent that. The problem is when you give them easy and quick access to patches and new content they never actually have a incentive to feel like they might want to buy this anyway even during a sale. There is a second layer above "morals" and that is how I feel when I give money to someone, does it feel like a good value and reward/return? Or does it feel like paying or not would have made no difference apart from the setup download link not being on a warez site. Supporting developers? Please, that is not how or why I buy or play games. I buy games I want to play, not because a developer deserves it but because I want to play the game and buying it is less hassle than pirating it.

Do you know the difference between buying Tidalis and pirating it? Buying Tidalis takes 6 steps (on steam, Search, add to cart, checkout, pay via paypal, enter password, confirm payment, wait for download). Pirating Tidalis takes 2 (Search, Download). I can see the argument against DRM; but you gotta realize that if you make buying more a hassle than pirating you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

Normally, the above example would be in favor for the buying if more than 3 updates come out and they have to be cracked. That means 3 more times search and download just to keep up to date. This is the kind of hassle that weeds out casual pirates and makes them buy the game if they like it, even if just during a sale.

Without cracking required, the pirate has the better experience with less hassle. And if the support is the same for customers and pirates then a pirate has never actually any incentive to buy the game whatsoever.

You don't "fight" piracy, you make it part of your business model, pirates need to be constantly reminded that buying would give them BETTER service.

No DRM actually gives the advantage to pirates, where pirates get the BETTER service (they didn't have to pay) And I highly doubt the 6 people who actually care about minor DRM like this wouldn't understand this simple reality.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 05:38:41 AM by eRe4s3r »
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Offline zespri

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2012, 06:13:44 AM »
Guys, before you dismiss what eRe4s3r wrote with "you are a filthy pirate" comment, try to look past moral issue as to why we are buying games (support developer vs less hassle this way). If you are willing to look past this aspect, the rest of what eRe4s3r is saying makes A LOT of sense. To me he is completely spot on. This is why I think that if you are writing and releasing a game there is a strong argument in favour of including at least *some form* of DRM that would not make life of a legitimate customer any worse, but would keep a pirate cognizant of what they are loosing by not buying the game.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2012, 06:29:52 AM »
Guys, before you dismiss what eRe4s3r wrote with "you are a filthy pirate" comment, try to look past moral issue as to why we are buying games (support developer vs less hassle this way).
I don't think anyone was going there, Zespri.  I simply hadn't responded yet because it's very late and I can't write well without it coming off horribly wrong when I'm tired, particularly on this subject where my personal reactions to the other things it brings up might leak in.  I don't believe anyone who's trying to convince someone to put DRM IN is going to get beaten up by 'U P1r47E!' reactions.

I'm simply trying to discern what's got him in a knot on this and questioning his statements with my understanding for clarifications.

Quote
This is why I think that if you are writing and releasing a game there is a strong argument in favour of including at least *some form* of DRM that would not make life of a legitimate customer any worse, but would keep a pirate cognizant of what they are loosing by not buying the game.
DRM maintenance and encoding can be very expensive, depending on your ongoing budget.  It can really hammer you down the line, when you might make $1/game 10 years later but you're still maintaining the equipment and things of that nature.  It's got built in costs that can be significant if mishandled by other parties, as well, such as what Eraser mentioned regarding Tidalis and Steam. 

How do you shut down a business that has DRM of a certain nature?  5 years later a product you purchased can't be 'authenticated' because the company that made it shut their doors.  Or worse, it's no longer financially viable to support, the company's still active, but could be liable depending on laws to continue to support the DRM for a product since the owner has actually purchased the right to use it indefinately on their personal property, or face a civil suit.  A simple issue that could come up... your drive crashes and you need to rebuild from scratch.  It's not a holy grail, unfortunately, and while in larger corporations those costs are simply rolled into the 'cost of doing business', a smaller company can't always afford the risk of the possible costs it could bring down the line.

Edited for grammar, told you I was tired...
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 06:32:27 AM by Wanderer »
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Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2012, 06:46:25 AM »
The reason I changed my stance on this to a more pragmatic one is simple. I realized that Indies misunderstand the whole DRM/Piracy topic from the ground up. DRM should be there to reward customers without being a hindrance to them. No registration = no patches, but the game still plays offline, and once patched, the patches remain and can be played offline as long as the auth was passed at least once (online, obviously, how else would anyone get the patches ,p).

Obviously, the Steam version does not have that but still requires a valid account with a linked serial that is authed at least once before the game can then be played either trough steam directly or offline without steam. It is not always on, but it is online activation of some kind. So it is DRM, not even denying that. But it is the best DRM there is. Best for the customer, that is.

DRM is about rewarding customers and making customers out of some pirates. Not to prevent piracy or to hassle customers or even to hassle pirates all that much. Just enough for them to consider buying it later on anyway. If you give up on trying you are admitting defeat. You can not fight piracy, but sure as hell can make a legitimate profit of it by trying to make them customers through continued support of the legit version.

Obviously account creation has to be stupidly simple and only have rudimentary controls (ie, if IP variances are too great (20 different IP's a day?) then ban with a message to contact email should person feel wrongly accused. Proof of purchase and a proper explanation gets ban lifted. (There is really no proper explanation for 20 different IP's in a day though ,p)

and to reiterate, it doesn't matter if this is cracked. In fact, we should fully plan for it being cracked. The point is that each time a patch needs to be cracked that is HASSLE for a pirate and 0 hassle for a customer.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 06:48:02 AM by eRe4s3r »
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Offline zespri

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2012, 07:02:53 AM »
How do you shut down a business that has DRM of a certain nature?  5 years later a product you purchased can't be 'authenticated' because the company that made it shut their doors. 
It is not as bad as you making it sound.
In case of updates - there will be no more updates, so the concern is moot.
If it's a MOO (not an indie title usually) when it shuts down it shuts down for good - we've seen a number of examples of this, my personal favourite was Hellgate: London, I was really upset when it went belly-up. But this happens and this will keep happening. That's life.
Take SpaceChem. They did shut down online services because they can't support them any longer, that's the research-net with user submitted puzzles and online statistics. Again, disappointing, but that's happens.
Some companies make server-side components available when they shut down, so that people can continue experiencing the game if some one can set the online component up.

Hell, even if the do not shut down: One of my favourite games King's Bounty used to have most draconian DRM I've ever seen (barring always on, it was before the always on time. By the way, who pioneered always on? I *think* it was Ubisoft, but I'm not sure with what title they did this). King's bounty used StarForce. If you don't know StarForce eats babies. It does stuff like suspending all processes on the system for a few seconds when doing checks so that no process could interfere. A kernel driver is also installed that has been know to cause problems with other software. This all sucks, but I liked the game so I had to put up with that. But you know what? In about 1.5 years after the release, when they were preparing to release a sequel, they made a patch, that removed DRM completely. They figured, that they are not going to do patches any longer, and that getting more people to see the older game will set them up good for selling the sequel.

So, some people when shutting down find ways to make their game available to people, after all by that time revenue is usually no longer a concern - there won't be any anyway.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 07:11:28 AM by zespri »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2012, 11:50:46 AM »
No, lots of Indy games use this system and it reduces piracy rates noticeable, it does not stop piracy, but it at least makes people who really want to play it updated consider buying it who don't like the hassle of hunting down the latest cracked patch. The account/serial check works.
It does have value, but it also has negatives, and it also takes work to get working right.  In this case, (value - negatives) < work.
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2012, 11:55:50 AM »
DRM: more work than it's worth.
This. And this is coming from someone who pretty much pirated 100% of every game I ever played a few years back. I've since "converted" and now I pay for every game I play, and ignore the ones I don't want to pay for, or who are too expensive. Heck, I even paid twice for Din's Curse (one for a friend) and AVWW (to get it on Steam).

DRM never stopped me. DRM never made me think about issues with updates. DRM didn't turn me into a paying customer. If game became too much of a hurdle with updates, I either didn't update, or just stopped playing. Never did I consider actually buying the game. DRM will never work for its intended purpose, which is stopping pirates. All it does is make the pirates laugh and enjoy the game and the legitimate customers cringe when they run into one issue after the other.

What makes paying customers is customer relations and great games that aren't stupidly overpriced. Companies like Arcen, Soldak and similar studios are what makes paying customers.
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2012, 11:57:23 AM »
Also, StarForce is the spawn of the Devil himself. I'd take always online ANY day above Starforce. At least online DRM doesn't fry my computer from the inside.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2012, 12:20:55 PM »
This is an issue where rational consideration is more rare than ideological assertion, so let me explain in a bit more detail:

To say that DRM could ever convert a majority of pirates into paying customers is... not really based on reality.  I don't think anyone here's saying that.

To say that DRM never converts any pirates into paying customers is also more of an ideologically-convenient claim rather than anything realistic.

So it's basically just a business decision: do we think that the marginal increase (in economic terms) from adding DRM would exceed the costs involved in creating it, maintaining it, and having it?  Specifically:
- Implementing it takes time.  Not a ton, if well-thought-out.
- Maintaining it generally has ongoing costs and possible undesirable long-term entanglements.  Also not a ton, if well-though-out, and I can think of ways to neatly avoid the "we can't shut this down without getting sued" problem.
- Simply having it has a PR cost because regardless of whether we view it as a business decision, there's a fairly big crowd who grab the pitch and torches when they smell DRM of any sort.
-- In fairness, I think that's largely because of the obscene shenanigans pulled by various big-name publishers; Starforce, always-on-and-if-you're-connection-drops-you-lose-your-progress, etc.  Things that actively inflict pain on the customer for daring to use the product.  I try to be a rational person and those kinds of tactics make my blood boil.  If DRM had always and only been some kind of one-time check-in-with-the-master-server license key thing or whatever I think it would probably be a lot more viable because there'd be less psychological baggage about it.
- And even among the people who aren't out for blood... I know I personally avoid DRM'd games pretty actively.  Not because I think it's immoral to have DRM or whatever, but because I just don't want to deal with it.   Lost sale for them, potentially lost fun for me.

So I really don't think the marginal increase in paying customers is worth all that.
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Offline KingIsaacLinksr

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2012, 12:29:09 PM »
I'm not even going to try and quote all that text up there, but here's a problem with all the pro-DRM thinking:

DRM does not reward the customer for buying it. In fact it does the opposite. Or do I really need to bring up Diablo 3 again, do I really need to bring up Assassin's Creed again? DRM is not fool proof and as far as I can tell as long as its programmed by humans, never will be. It will break down at some point.

On the whole DRM updating: you say that when the game stops getting updated, this particular DRM is no big deal. How about this? What if you uninstall the game and reinstall it later down the line when the company is closed? You can't update it anymore. If this happened with Arcen's games that would not be good. It is why I'm really concerned about the future playings of our games when they are all locked down with DRM. We don't have this same problem with DOS games but geez, give us 10-20 years and we will have this problem with our current gen games.

And really, depending on an indie company to simply patch the DRM out of the game before they shut down is wishful thinking. There is a lot of concerns about Steam's DRM and while Valve has said they would take it out if the company was to shut down, there is no guarantee they will and all the more likely they wouldn't if they suddenly shut down.

Another thing to think on is even if your DRM successfully converted some pirates to buyers, its also possible you'll convert legitimate buyers who are pissed off into pirates.

I really empathize with those that suffer from piracy but DRM isn't the solution.

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Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2012, 01:49:59 PM »
So your solution is to give up and do nothing? The system I described works, if you don't think it does, try finding a cracked up-to-date copy of Dominions 3.... if you become less obscure than that someone is going to upload a cracked copy for each update with a serial that you can then ban in the next update. That way your customers feel ahead of the pirates. And that is the point, making your customers feel like they bought something that puts them above piracy. At least you are making it a hassle to keep up-to-date (Minecraft comes to mind), that WILL convert casual pirates if they get fed up with the hassle.

I guess nobody actually read my post though, because I already described there why I think that your standard-anti-drm reply (KingIsaacLinksr) misses the point by an entire solar system ;) If a dev does nothing against piracy, it makes me wonder why I shouldn't pirate it. Because buying it, besides being morally right, gives me nothing I don't already have (meaning, piracy is there and it is a possibility, so buying has to offer more, (including the smug moral feeling of doing the right thing) than piracy saves me).

The update thing is an example, for all I care come up with a better idea than linking updates to a proof of purchase, but if you don't offer more than piracy does, you are competing against free with only morals in the way of it. And if you do that, well... most human beings aren't exactly the pinnacle of moral integrity.

I guess, I am not really lobbying for DRM. I just want to feel out what people think, but to do that, please at least read my post(s) because "OMG DRM ICANHATEIT" posts are not what I care for. ;)

I don't think the cost of DRM is relevant because I don't want it to be included in the current games by Arcen. But generally speaking, I prefer the system I described to "nothing is done" every time ;)
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 01:55:02 PM by eRe4s3r »
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2012, 02:00:25 PM »
So your solution is to give up and do nothing?
Yep!  "Ostrich algorithm" is sometimes the answer that best fits one's true goals.
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Offline KingIsaacLinksr

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #28 on: June 27, 2012, 02:59:10 PM »
So basically your asking why shouldnt you pirate. I don't have a good answer for you other than it is a moral choice. As you said, it is right there. I'm not going to sit here and try to instill moral obligations to a person, it is up to them to decide whether they want to financially support a developer or not. DRM isn't going to force people to not pirate a game as we have already seen many times before and simply inconvincing pirates isn't going to do much either as fox said earlier.

For me, I won't pirate games. If I can't afford it, well, I don't get to play it. If I don't like the DRM, well, then sucks for me I won't pirate it anyway. Those are all moral choices. As a college student, not many would blame me for pirating games due to my low budget. But I still won't pirate the games. There are no technical reasons for me not to, it is a moral reason.

King
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 03:12:43 PM by KingIsaacLinksr »
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: DRM for online functions
« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2012, 03:01:33 PM »
... as Tobias said earlier...
*ARGBLBERGHLLAHAHA RABBLE RABBLE!*

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