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Gabe - Piracy non issues for Steam.


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Slightly on topic/off topic subject...but i'm kind of biased as the interview was done by my brother. Some of you guys might remember my brother, he hung around in the old days of the core with CTSwin and Hinkey.

The DRM question/answer has been making the rounds on the net today.

http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/story_type/site_trail_story/interview-gabe-newell/

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a sensitive issue. Many games have been the subject of boycotts due to a draconian use of DRM. The most extreme DRM forces players to be online, and to stay online, if they wish to play the game. What are your views on DRM?

In general, we think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem. For example, if a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate's service is more valuable. Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customers use or by creating uncertainty.

Our goal is to create greater service value than pirates, and this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company. For example, prior to entering the Russian market, we were told that Russia was a waste of time because everyone would pirate our products. Russia is now about to become our largest market in Europe.

edit: it's been picked up by a lot of consumer and industry news website. epically proud of my younger bro.

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Serious question, do you guys still download shit? Movies? Series? Music? Games?

I have NEVER downloaded a game again, since I started working in the industry. Which was my first job ever, so from there on in I could afford for my shit, before I couldn't.

I still buy retail and steam, although steam not as frequently cos It's almost always more expensive there (funnly enough)

As for Music, I don't need to since I listen to a lot of podcasts, I do buy a music album every couple months, not as much as I should tho. I never use itunes becase, again, too expensive.

Series... well, I do download them. You could still watch them for free on TV, so I could argue it's not exactly piracy, plus germans dub everything so I have no way to watch it, not even on TV. Also, I do buy the series I love to rewatch. (I own all the series of House, 24, lost and... I think that's it)

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I still don't understand how come it's cheaper to order a game from Amazon than it is to buy it from steam, shipping included.

And same for music, an album on itunes is typically more expensive than if you buy it of amazon, and guess what, you get a shinny CD with it.

I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for that, or more than one, but I don't see the logic in it, you should pay less if you're paying for download. Especially since it's so freaking easy to just warez shit.

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Downloading TV Series is just pirating as well. Then again, it's exactly what Gabe is saying: You only get the good series if you're a US citizen. I'd be more than willing to pay the 8 bucks for Hulu or Netflix but I'm not allowed for some stupid licensing deals.

The reason Steam is more expensive is that the publishers still stick to retail and have binding contracts not to go below certain limits to keep walmart attractive.

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":2hx0rgr1]Serious question, do you guys still download shit? Movies? Series? Music? Games?
Yes. Well not games, I barely play anything anymore and online play is a must if I decide to play. Steam also made it (too) easy instead of bothering with cracks etc.

I have no issues with downloading movies, series or music.. I won't pay $17 to watch a movie at the cinema alone, and I won't rent a movie for $10 for 24 hours. If I could buy a cheap online copy, sure I'd do that, and some DVDs and box sets are just worth owning. Series are downloaded because I want to watch them when I want to (no PVR), and not when they air on TV, which is 5 years after they aired in the US. I buy music if I like it, meaning that I downloaded the album first and evaluate it for a while before I decide to buy it or not..

Stealing is wrong, but unless laws have changed here, it's allowed to download movies, series and music for private use :quagmire:

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It was getting a job and being able to actually pay for stuff that made me mostly drop piracy. As a bum I couldn't buy the games even if I wanted to and so I'd have just ended up not giving any developers/publishers any money and not getting to play any games. :sad:

But since getting an income I see absolutely no reason to short change those who produce the stuff I love, no matter who it goes to — if it keeps it being created, I'll keep paying. And while I know my contribution is negligible, it's lots of people having the same mentality as me that keeps the developers we love in business. Without us those who pirate would have no games, TV shows, movies, etc to watch. I've not pirated a game since my college days, and while I have downloaded the odd TV show (not really, feds) that's only because I missed it when it was on the premium TV service I'm already paying quite a bit of money for every month. And if it's available on disc — which it usually isn't yet at that point — I'll buy it that way.

As for music, I buy pretty much everything on CD as I dislike the variable quality you get through online services. If what I want isn't available I'll usually obtain uncompressed rips, which hilariously enough you can only often do via illegal means as iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc only offer compressed MP3s (which is something they need to sort the fuck out, kind of goes with Gabe's notion of pirates offering a better service than the retailers).

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Related to the topic of piracy:

http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/10/07/opini ... of-reason/

Recently, Ubisoft called its “always-on” DRM a success, claiming “a clear reduction in piracy.”

In terms of actual sales, however, the results seem decidedly mixed. Michael Pachter told Eurogamer that Ubisoft’s “PC game sales are down 90% without a corresponding lift in console sales.”

Pachter framed the problem in terms of piracy, as I’m sure Ubisoft frames the problem, but a 90% decline in PC sales is a catastrophic number. If piracy were the problem, then their “successful” DRM policy should have prevented such a free-fall.

Instead, PC gamers have stopped buying Ubisoft games. In fact, the decline of sales even calls into question the decline in piracy rates. All we know for sure is that Ubisoft have stopped people from playing their games. Full stop.

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":1taakv5x]Serious question, do you guys still download shit? Movies? Series? Music? Games?

Music from time to time, but even that is a rarity nowadays. Movies and TV are pretty much covered by Netflix, and free Hulu.

Steam is in fact a better service to me than game pirating, Gabe is right. I can buy the game and it's authed to all my computers, cloud saving, centralized community, etc.

Also, stuff on Steam is cheap as hell, which is what confused me about your post HP, is pricing inconsistent across regions? I do mostly stick to buying when something is on sale, but even when its at full price it's normally cheaper than a retail copy from Amazon.

I do buy used games still, which apparently is just as bad as pirating them.

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":2l5wgc49]I still don't understand how come it's cheaper to order a game from Amazon than it is to buy it from steam, shipping included.

Speculating on it, I'd say that having a 24/7 reliable digital distribution server capable of peak download speeds along with a plethora of other services does not come in cheaply! Since Amazon sells a whole lot of other services and products, their costs are further diluted along that, as well as the actual CD production/distribution costs that are diluted in other, more established businesses (bulk product distribution chains, CDs are printed for all kinds of media).

As much as we like to think that anything on the internet should cost less/close to nothing, there are costs associated to delivering digital content, hosting it and keeping it reliable. You mus also account for the fact that it's a relatively new venture and there are always new systems to be implemented, usually with very high costs due to their exclusive nature.

But all that is speculation non my part trying to make sense of that fact =P

As for the interview, was a nice read, and as much as Gabe must be tired of hearing this, your brother deserves points for bringing HL3 up =P

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Pretty much this:

I’ll buy Driver: San Francisco. But not now. I’ll wait until it’s heavily discounted next year. My gaming budget isn’t so generous that I can afford to pay full-fare for bad ports, and bad ports, delayed releases, and harassing DRM are what define Ubisoft’s approach to the PC.
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Buying games on steam is very expensive for Europeans. I can usually save a few euros by buying from amazon or the like. (Its the whole 10$ = 10€ thing that goes wrong, because it essentially costs 25% more in Europe because of this).

But if I can buy a game, then just insert the cd-key in steam I'm fairly happy.

Back to the question, I do download games. I pirates BF3 because it came out earlier on torrent and was actually easier to install than the real thing (didn't need origin and download was very quick). But I had already purchased the full game so EA can only blame themselves for using an inferior distribution model than hackers and crackers can provide. I also downloaded MW3 and tried that, because I was so in doubt about if I should buy it or not and I'm glad I didn't. I got to the hamburg part and stopped playing because it was just so boring, and I have no idea how they can defend the 60$ price tag for that.

Warby has also been telling me how great zelda wind waker is, so I downloaded the dolphin emulator to try and give that a go, but it proved to be too much of a hassle so I haven't really gotten to play it. I think I'll just skip it altogether and play the zeldas on the wii if I can borrow it from a friend sometime.

Last couple of games I bought was RAGE (havent completed it, because everyone told me the ending was shit), Total War Shogun 2 (back when it was first released, I've played it for 101 minutes. So not worth the money), Amnesia Dark Decent (played it for maybe 10 minutes and grew bored when I was just running back and forth and had no idea what to do. Ambience was great, level design not so much).

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