Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

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Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby Virtuman » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:39 am

In a nutshell, because most of them aren’t worth the money you spent to download them in the first place (free) much less the price you pay in the store. What’s interesting is how both industries are being treated legally and socially.

The first myth to dispel is that they (the industry in general) make too much money to begin with. While I would agree that there are certain individuals within these organizations that fit that description, there are far more people that do not. Did Harrison Ford really deserve $65 million last year for The Crystal Skull, http://bit.ly/xlVga? I think not.
But how many people were in the crew holding lights, getting food, driving people here and there? How much did those folks make? There is another issue that can best be described with a poker analogy. If you have $10,000 in chips and have to call a $100 bet to play your suited 9,10 that’s not such a big deal. But if you only have $500 in chips, taking a chance on a hand like that seems much riskier.

This issue was brought up in last Sunday’s episode of 60 Minutes, http://bit.ly/1Scesa, when Steven Soderbergh, pointed out that Matrix would not have been made today. He says that no one understood the movie at the time and the people trying to make weren’t well known. The budget was only $75 million dollars so they got away with it.
If the movie industry in general doesn’t have plenty of cash on hand they find it much more difficult to make “risky” movies. I think it’s those risky movies that usually turn out to be better than another stupid reality show.

From that same 60 Minutes episode we hear about quality. Soderbergh points out that people that are buying pirated movies apparently aren’t concerned about the quality of the recording. Well, don’t even get me started on betamax vs. the VCR but he’s right just the same. Here’s a news flash for movie and game makers- we are not as interested in the quality of the media as we are in the quality of the product.

In the case of a game, it is much more important that it works correctly, isn’t over-run by cheats and hacks and, most importantly, is fun to play. If anyone doubts that just think of counter-strike or WoW. Neither of those games have set any kind of records when it comes to eye candy but they sure do get a lot of players.

The point here is that piracy cuts into the profits of the people that make our entertainment which in turn reduces their ability to produce it. While I have no doubt this is true, what no one seems to understand is how to get rid of it. Piracy is a symptom, not a disease and all anyone can think to do is take an aspirin. If the cause of your headache is being hit in the head with a hammer, it makes more sense to me to exchange the hammer for a pillow than to just keep swallowing aspirin. The problem is not piracy but the movie and gaming industries.

A few years back the American automobile industry started losing sales to foreign cars. Initially the foreign cars were being built overseas and floated here so the government imposed some new import taxes. These foreign companies then set up shop here in the US, hired US workers and STILL managed to make cars cheaper but this time there just wasn’t much the government could do about it. US auto makers started lowering their prices. That helped a little but they were still having trouble. You see, it cost extra to get A/C, extra for anti-lock brakes, extra for this and extra for that. It cost so much extra that by the time you got the car you wanted, you were right back where you started- buying a foreign branded car.
Do we pay the same price for a Cadillac as we do for a Taurus? Is steak the same price as hamburger?

Should we be paying the same amount of money to see Paranormal Activity that we would to see Law Abiding Citizen? Should we really be paying to see Paranormal Activity at all? In case you haven’t seen it yet, don’t. It’s the stupidest piece of crap I’ve seen in a LONG time and should have simply been uploaded to YouTube as a sequel to The Blair Witch Project.

There is no rhyme or reason to the way these products are priced. Games come out at $49.95 or $59.95 and then follow a very fixed downward spiral of pricing after the initial launch. Do those games get less fun to play in that time? Are movies less entertaining if they are 6 months old?

If you buy a car and you repeatedly get the same problem you are covered with under the lemon law, http://www.carlemon.com/. When you buy a game and it doesn’t work correctly there is no such law. In fact, if you read the EULA you will see that they don’t even guarantee the game will work at all. Are you entitled to a refund if you watch a crappy movie?

Yet, back we go to Wal-Mart or the movie theater time and time again only to be disappointed with the finished product we bought into based on trailers and reviews. I would be much more willing to pay more for a really good movie if I could at least get a partial refund if it sucked.

I would be willing to pay a monthly fee to play a game online if it meant that they actually fixed stuff Like they talk about in community forums and interviews rather than just slow play us until they can release a new version and we all buy in again. Insert your own offensive language directed toward CoD4/CoD5/BF2/BF2142 here.

It is my experience that people are willing to pay for decent stuff. I hate BT. It isn’t as fast as people make it out to be, too much stuff is infected and it’s a giant pain in the ass to get stuff. But it is affordable and I do want to see these movies and play these games. I can promise you that if I could pay $9.95 for the game or get the movie for $4.95 I wouldn’t waste my time with BT ever again.

The last reference to the 60 Minutes show is Soderbergh’s reference to Wolverine. The movie actually got pre’d in the scene a month before it came out in theaters. Amazingly enough it still made $160 million plus when it came out even though so many people had already seen it at home.

MPAA folks and game developers should take note of that. It sends a very clear message about quality. Enough people thought the movie was good enough that they wanted to experience it in a theater even though they had already seen it at home. That’s quality.

Enough people like CS that they still buy the game even though it’s free (technically they are buying Half-Life I suppose). That’s quality.

Why is it ok to pirate movies and games? Because in a capitalist society there is only one better way to send a clear message to companies that are screwing you over and that is to not buy their products at all.

What’s the take-away for the movie and gaming industries? Get on board with what your customers want. Less expensive movies and games they can actually afford to pay you for with a high enough quality to put pirates out of business.
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby DeusEx » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:49 am

its funny you would mention bf2142. Worst game glitch wise i have ever played. The concept is good but the way its excecuted... oh brother. I actually just installed Ubuntu 9.10 just to get away from BF2142. (i always get tempted to play but then get pissed because nothing works properly). Id rather have no games than THAT game.
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby alister » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:06 am

The same goes for pirating music the RIAA/Music Industry is suing people for downloading music. They say that they are trying to protect the artist when they are always trying to find ways to screw the artists...

Doing stuff like this
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby Skippman » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:50 am

First, welcome to the forums. That's one heck of a post. :supz:


Let me respond to a couple of points.

Try Before You Buy

I'm an old school PC gamer. I remember when Dune 2 was the ONLY RTS and when Wolfenstien first game out on 5 1/2" floppys. Back then we had a model called Shareware. The idea was to play part of the game, which was a finished product, and then decide if you wanted to buy it. Owning the "demo" was completely legal and free to distribute. One of the most legendary game developers used this model very successfully to market a little game known as Doom. id was basically built off the shareware concept.

Now all we seem to get anymore are trailers. Games are not movies with the exception of MGS4. Games are an interactive experience. You need to be able to interact with the media to decide if it's worth your time to purchase it. You would think in the era of "digital distribution" there would be more demo's of major game releases available. Which brings me to my next point...

DLC and "Exclusive" Features

I'm getting about sick and tired of the 50 diffrent versions of some games that are being released and I resent the stranglehold Game Stop appears to have over pre-releases. It seems the game market is innundated with "exclusive" features for pre-ordering a game at X, Y, or Z store. So I'm supposed to buy the same game 5 times to get all of these "exclusive" features? What about when you pre-order a game from the company and then they fail to deliver thier "exclusive" feature at all. That happened to me with Ultimate Alliance 2 and the Jugernaught. I never did get my code.

Or what if I've ordered a game over a YEAR before it comes out. This happened with Fallout 3. I pre-ordered the game the very day it became available for such at my local GameStop. Then about a month before it's release Amazon comes out with thier Survival Bundle. I can't cancel my pre-order with GameStop and I'm not going to buy the same game twice so I was forced to buy the "lesser" bundle. Game companies need to realize thier products are being sold at multiple retailers and this "exclusive" content is only alienating thier buyers. I planned to buy Left4Dead2 via Steam but now I won't get a feature (baseball bat) because I didn't buy it at a brick and morter store? ](*,)

Now about DLC. Some of it is worth the cost, like the expansions to Fallout 3 for example. Others... I don't know. It feels like to me that part of the DLC thing it for developers to ship a game as soon as possible and iron out the side missions later as "expansion packs".
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby JMMD » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:31 pm

I would feel much better about paying the cost of these thing if I knew more money was going to the people who make the games or who make the music. My money should not be going towards the MPAA or some movie exec., it should go straight to the people who created the content. That said I don't think it's right to just download everything you want to see or play or listen to but I also think that the industries need to get with the times and stop with their antiquated business models. Remember way back when people would talk about digital distribution saying how much cheaper it would be. Well what ever happened to that? It's just as expensive as going to the store and buying the game.
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby KnightRid » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:06 am

Skippman wrote:First, welcome to the forums. That's one heck of a post. :supz:


Let me respond to a couple of points.

Try Before You Buy

I'm an old school PC gamer. I remember when Dune 2 was the ONLY RTS and when Wolfenstien first game out on 5 1/2" floppys. Back then we had a model called Shareware. The idea was to play part of the game, which was a finished product, and then decide if you wanted to buy it. Owning the "demo" was completely legal and free to distribute. One of the most legendary game developers used this model very successfully to market a little game known as Doom. id was basically built off the shareware concept.

Now all we seem to get anymore are trailers. Games are not movies with the exception of MGS4. Games are an interactive experience. You need to be able to interact with the media to decide if it's worth your time to purchase it. You would think in the era of "digital distribution" there would be more demo's of major game releases available. Which brings me to my next point...



I am an old fart also and am used to demos that were actually REAL representations of game play, not a short snip from 1 level or from the level taht was the best - give us 30 or 60 minutes gameplay, then make you have to enter a key or something!

Skippman wrote:
Now about DLC. Some of it is worth the cost, like the expansions to Fallout 3 for example. Others... I don't know. It feels like to me that part of the DLC thing it for developers to ship a game as soon as possible and iron out the side missions later as "expansion packs".


actually the DLC content is usually overpriced for what it is! Look at Fallout 3. If you buy all the DLC content I think it will run you $40 ($10 each DLC, I think there are 4). I have seen the Fallout 3 Game of the Year edition, which includes ALL of those, on sale for about the same price! There you could get the whole game ($60) plus all the DLC's ($40) for just the price of the DLC's - thats wrong and totally kills the concept of buying a game when it first comes out! Why should I pay $100 for something taht someone else who waits will only pay $40-$60 for? I think they REALLY need to reduce the DLC pricing!! I want the DLC's for Fallout 3, but I just wont pay that much.

Mike

As for being OK to pirate - it isnt OK. Most people who pirate games or music will end up buying them (which the industry doesnt seem to realize - dumbasses) OR they are poor and would not have the money to buy it anyway! Of course there are a few who think every single thing in this world should be free for them because they are "special" - THOSE are the ones taht should go to jail for extended periods of time so they can find out how "special" they are in the showers ;)
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby Virtuman » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:39 am

I've always been a proponent of taking things to the next level when diplomacy doesn't work. The whole issue here comes down to the bulk of gamers continuing to buy games they shouldn't i.e. no mass boycott = diplomatic failure.

I also believe that sometimes we (the human race) need people to act on our behalf (leaders) and often in spite of us (sheeple). In this case, we need more people to pirate stuff simply as a means to weed out the titles that shouldn't exist in their current form in spite of all the sheeple that keep buying them in their current state (broken, sucky, etc.). In our desperation to play we continue to accept sub-standard crap.

I've given up trying to get people to do the right thing and not buy junk. Maybe by making piracy more acceptable we can bring about the desired change from the producers. So, just to be clear, from an ethical standpoint, I disagree with piracy completely. However from a moral standpoint and given the current situation I'm much more tolerant of it.

If you ever wondered what the difference between ethics and morals are, there ya go.
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby Virtuman » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:58 am

Skippman wrote:First, welcome to the forums. That's one heck of a post. :supz:


Let me respond to a couple of points.

Try Before You Buy

I'm an old school PC gamer. I remember when Dune 2 was the ONLY RTS and when Wolfenstien first game out on 5 1/2" floppys. Back then we had a model called Shareware. The idea was to play part of the game, which was a finished product, and then decide if you wanted to buy it. Owning the "demo" was completely legal and free to distribute. One of the most legendary game developers used this model very successfully to market a little game known as Doom. id was basically built off the shareware concept.

Now all we seem to get anymore are trailers. Games are not movies with the exception of MGS4. Games are an interactive experience. You need to be able to interact with the media to decide if it's worth your time to purchase it. You would think in the era of "digital distribution" there would be more demo's of major game releases available. Which brings me to my next point...

DLC and "Exclusive" Features

I'm getting about sick and tired of the 50 diffrent versions of some games that are being released and I resent the stranglehold Game Stop appears to have over pre-releases. It seems the game market is innundated with "exclusive" features for pre-ordering a game at X, Y, or Z store. So I'm supposed to buy the same game 5 times to get all of these "exclusive" features? What about when you pre-order a game from the company and then they fail to deliver thier "exclusive" feature at all. That happened to me with Ultimate Alliance 2 and the Jugernaught. I never did get my code.

Or what if I've ordered a game over a YEAR before it comes out. This happened with Fallout 3. I pre-ordered the game the very day it became available for such at my local GameStop. Then about a month before it's release Amazon comes out with thier Survival Bundle. I can't cancel my pre-order with GameStop and I'm not going to buy the same game twice so I was forced to buy the "lesser" bundle. Game companies need to realize thier products are being sold at multiple retailers and this "exclusive" content is only alienating thier buyers. I planned to buy Left4Dead2 via Steam but now I won't get a feature (baseball bat) because I didn't buy it at a brick and morter store? ](*,)

Now about DLC. Some of it is worth the cost, like the expansions to Fallout 3 for example. Others... I don't know. It feels like to me that part of the DLC thing it for developers to ship a game as soon as possible and iron out the side missions later as "expansion packs".


Thanks for the welcome!

I have yet to see an exclusive feature that was ever worth a crap. In a multiplayer game there just isn't any way to have something that makes sense. If it's a weapon, it has to be nerfed or it upsets the weapons balance based on your financial status rather than playing ability. If it's a tag or icon, who cares? Let me advertise the fact that i have either more money or less sense (or both) than you do.

In single player games it can make a little more sense but if the weapon you get is actually useful then you miss the difficulty factor written into the game. It's also just about impossible to make a weapon than will be relevant throughout the entire game.

The bottom line is that if you're going to add something to the game it should actually have some value, especially if you're going to charge for it. Hows that go again? A difference that makes no difference is no difference.

I don't see anything inherently wrong with DLC as long as it fits with the basic concept that content shouldn't suck. I would agree that with stunning regularity it falls short of even the most basic expectations.
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby Keean » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:01 am

I think that while mass boycotting is a definitely a way to show game producers and designers that we won't accept sub-par games and horrible DLC, I agree that sometimes more drastic measures are needed. The problem with the more drastic side of things is that they will twist and corrupt the sheeple's (I like that term!) view on the matter, saying that it was some isolated incident from a single person mass pirating something for the masses and once the lawsuit is finished no one will remember what it really was meant to do, which is tell the companies that it's more of a crime to sell crap games to a community that demands better of them.

I was all about the game demos back in the day. I loved being able to grab a demo, get a feel for the gameplay dynamics and then proceed to either A) Buy the game if I thought it was worth the time or B) Not buy it because I didn't like the content or whatever else about the game. I think that the game companies have moved away from demos in the most part because of beta-testing. Not that beta-testing is bad, quite the opposite, but if someone is going to beta test something then before they release it fully they should release a DEMO so that the people who are actually BUYING the game and aren't one of those privaledged few who actually get to participate in the beta get to see what it is they are purchasing. It also works as a feed-back loop so that the company can fix bugs and tweak the game before release. I would much rather that a company took it's time making a game and there were far few titles released in a year than seeing the mass ammounts of games that come out that are pure crap.

Great post Virtuman.
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby Virtuman » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:55 am

That's one of the really beautiful things about the whole pirating scene. If you want to play online, you still have the phone home issue that, afaik, people have yet to find a way around so if you're playing the game online, they got their money.

The problem with game demos are that if they give you enough content to actually get an accurate feel for the game, fewer people will buy the game because you can figure out it sucks. That's the real reason, IMO, demos on major titles have all but gone away. Pirating a game will serve the same function. You get a bogus copy, play for a few hours, figure out it's not that good and then you don't buy the game, hopefully.

THAT is the power of piracy. Preventing a purchase based on game content, not because it's a cheap way out. Installing the crack and then keeping up with updated versions/cracks is a pain in the ass and usually isn't worth the effort. It's bad enough when you actually own the game and are just getting the legit updates.

But all you hear about from game companies is that people get the pirated copy and they don't get paid. They fail to realize they aren't getting paid because the game was pirated, it's because their game sucked. Of course there are exceptions to that like movies and single player games like Dragon Age. DA is getting around that a bit by offering DLC but, without knowing ahead of time how "good" that content is, I think a lot of people would stick with the pirated copy.

Movies. Well, as long as you don't want (more often than not) all the extra DVD content you are fine to DL your copy.

What is the best way for these cases to get around this issue? Don't charge quite so much. If I can get a legit copy of anything for a reasonable price, I almost always do.
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby Skippman » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:58 am

Virtuman wrote:If you ever wondered what the difference between ethics and morals are, there ya go.


Actually the diffrence is morals are argued from a religious perspective where as ethics are argued from a logical-philosophical perspective. But I get what you mean.


I think one of our major problems as gamers and part of the gaming industry is one of distrobution. You have basically what, 3 major distributors? Ubisoft, EA, and Vivindi with EA being far and away the biggest. EA has this tendency to kill any project that doesn't meet thier annual or semi-annual production cycle. EA likes a lot of churn, that's why they love sports games and the Rock Band games. This means a lot of ambitious projects get canceled because of thier large development costs vs. EA's churn cycle. EA has crushed more companies than any other in the gaming industry. Just look what they did to one of the most successful game publishers of all time, Origin Systems. Does anyone from the console generation even know who Origin Systems was anymore?

Only a few game companies can really avoid this situation it seems and it shows in thier products. Just look at Bethesda Softworks. Even though thier games are published through ZeniMax they're basically self published as ZeniMax is an off shoot of Bethesda in the first place.
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby Virtuman » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:56 am

So think about this for a sec. If they cut the price of DVDs in half, right from the git-go, I'm curious to know how much their sales would increase, right from the git-go.

I think we're starting to see this trend already but there is still a ways to go. A quick check at Walmart http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=12017123 shows Star Trek coming in at $19.96 for the three-disc set including a digital copy. That is on par with most of the other new releases on Blu-Ray http://bit.ly/tea7d but we're missing something if we stop there.

All the other releases in that price range are just a single disc while the Star Trek release is THREE discs. Shouldn't it cost three times as much? WTF?

It really comes down to how many people are going to buy a copy and how much each copy costs you to have on the shelf. The higher the price, the more people get pushed to a scene release rather than a store.
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby Virtuman » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:57 am

Ugh, you got me there.
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby nightblood » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:03 pm

Pirating is stealing plain and simple.
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby Sporg » Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:34 pm

I know over the years I've "tried out" quite a few games - this started in the mid 80's for me. Usually, if it's something that I enjoyed playing, I have purchased a legal copy. Heck, I've even repurchased games due to losing the originals. But let's face it, $60 for a game that you know you aren't going to like after the first 15 minutes of play is a bit of a stretch. I want my freaking demo disk/download/whatever to know whether or not something is going to be worth the money.

Now as far as stealing to send a message, that doesn't really make a lot of sense to me. All that does is put more focus on taking features away in the name of anti-piracy (thinking LAN support, etc...).
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby bhelms » Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:19 am

Eh, I dunno. You may feel that way but I feel like most people who pirate will pirate regardless. If a game is awesome, they will just want to download it even faster.
The games being better may help a bit, but I don't think it's a solution... nor is pirating more in order to "send a message".

I do wish they put out demos more these days though :( Trailers are for movies.
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Re: Why is it ok to pirate movies and games?

Postby Tim Burton » Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:12 pm

I look at it this way. Those people keep putting out media about how corporations are evil and the government rocks. They promote the idea that taxing people to give to the less fortunate is a virtue. So, I'm putting their philosophy in to practice, but I'm nice enough to cut out the middle man (the bureaucrat).
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