(See previous post for explanations on these journal entries)
I will now rant about piracy. Ranting is pretty fun, because when you complain on the internet nobody really listens, so it's a good way to complain about things you have no real chance to fix. Then again, if people do read, then I have a chance to convince them that my opinion is the right one. So really, there's no way to lose. At least I'm not ranting about minor details like the labeling on packages of food or how crappy some obscure NES game that nobody ever played is. Anyway on with the rant!
People pirate music and games and movies and books and anything else that can be easily represented in a digital form (everything). It's a know fact. It's been mainstream ever since the introduction of the internet. Some people support it, some people complain about it, but everyone is guilty. I don't support piracy, but there's a much deeper meaning than simply "it takes money away from the creators". Frankly, they make enough off of the games they sell anyway so it's not the main issue. The problem is that companies are always trying ways to prevent piracy, with DRM and other , shadier techniques.
One of these techniques is that companies will start to recoup lost funds by selling advertising space in their games. So far it's mostly ads on billboards and product placement, but it has the potential to become like movies and force people to watch previews and commercials for 5 minutes before the game even loads. It's happened on the internet a lot already, and it's most likely on its way to full games too. In fact, with enough ads, companies could potentially make their games free and reach out to a much wider audience ( = more money from advertising) and allow anyone to download and play their game. Sounds good right? Free games? Right?
It's not good. Think about it. If the game's main source of income is the advertisements, then the companies advertising effectively have major control over what goes into the content of the game, not the players. When we buy games for $50, we have a say in what goes into the game, because the companies need to make games that we are willing to spend money on. We are their main source of income. Now if advertisers become the main source of income, and we have no reason not to try a game when it comes out, there goes the developer's motive to please the player. They already got their money from the advertiser, what do they need us for?
Mythbusters is a popular TV show. I recently saw an interview where one of those guys said that they had to pull an episode abut exposing the flaws in RFID chips because the heads of the credit card companies threatened to pull their advertising if they aired it. So, they pulled the episode. Is that really what you want to happen to games? Do you want some big company to force delays in releasing a game to fix up something that could show an image of that company in bad light? All the sudden an industry who's business was once "appeal to the player so he'll buy the game so we can get money" now becomes "appeal to the advertisers so we can get money".
Not only will this be bad for the players, but it will be bad for the independent developers too. If free games become the standard, then you have to prove that you can distribute your game well before you get advertisers. So, what advertiser would spend money to place an ad in the game of a small, unheard of company with no prior record whose potential audience is only 1/100th that of Guitar Hero or Grand Theft Auto? No sane advertiser would. That leaves one option to the small developer: put a price tag on the game. However, in a world where free games become the standard, then nobody will be willing to pay money for a game anymore. There goes all the indie developers.
And it gets worse. Companies will still try to leech money off of you either way. So even with ads, they might still try to get you to pay for the game. This has the same consequences as before, but with the added con of having to pay to get the ads shoved into your face in the first place. Granted, this is a little better for indie developers, but it still sucks for the consumer.
Think before you pirate. Free stuff might seem cool at first, but in the end the companies will make their profits, and the consumers and pirates are the ones who lose. By the way, I have done absolutely no research, so this entire rant is pretty much one stream of thoughts and bickering and speculation. It gives you something to think about though.