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Thread: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    Rigging the market to rip people off in particular geographical areas is what is wrong.

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    Seriously casual gamer KeyboardDemon's Avatar
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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    The games publishers created a monster and now that the monster has turned on them they are not happy. I don't know if the point of the new article was to win sympathy for the games publishers, if it was, it failed to do that with me.

  3. #35
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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    Damn, why didn't I think of this brilliant business idea!

  4. #36
    ZaO
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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    Quote Originally Posted by KeyboardDemon View Post
    *** edit *** The link is working now.

    In the article it says:

    This to me, sounds a lot like they are blaming the symptoms and not considering the cause. Take a look at the Game.co.uk website and this week's top PC downloads.

    The average game price comes to £32.34 and it is hard to understand why games released 12 months ago are still retailing at £39.99 when they still have bugs that were present on day one of release, or even why games would retail at very specific price points. Clearly the pricing is completely arbitrarily decided and is no reflection on development time or costs, or even quality.

    At the end of the day the people that are looking for cheaper keys are people that feel that they are not getting a good return on their money when they buy games at full price, it would be great to see a publisher start to release AAA titles at more affordable price points to see if that has any impact on sales figures. I know I am very tempted to get Gauntlet at that price and I most likely wouldn't be looking for cheap keys should I decide to get it.
    This is how I feel too. I usually buy my keys from random sites. But I never buy the Russian ones that require vpn activation. I'm pretty sure I've never had any region restriction problems...

    I don't think it's right that nearly every game comes out at within a certain price range. They definitely don't all deserve to be there. I'm tired of being burned. I can't live with paying 30+ pound for a game when it's not that good, and can't even be sold on to get some of the money back after I realise it's no good. Lack of demos these days also makes it hard to know beforehand. The key stores seem to price things much better. And not necessarily because they're cheaper, but because they have more variation in the prices, based on demand for each game. They lower game prices after they've been out for a while as well. I don't think it's right for games to be retailing at full price when they've been out for quite a while, especially when they're going to bring the next installment out within a year or two, and especially when the demand isn't all that strong. But I'll happily pay full price for, and sometimes even preorder something that I have a lot of faith in. Unfortuneately there's only a very small amount of game series' that have my trust like that. I think it's a pretty common feeling with people.

    If the game industry would focus more on quality over quantity like it used to, I think it would get our trust back and should see more money coming in over all. It's sickening, the rate that they keep pushing games out these days. Just one more generic clone, cash grabber after the other. Steam needs to get some quality control going on all those indie games as well. What a mess that is! We're swarmed with a sea of crap games. It's getting tougher and tougher to find the good ones amongst them. Our wallets can only take so much of this...

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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    It's *nothing* to do with a physical media model. It's to do with maximising your return as fast as possible, and allowing that to happen in markets where the cost of living is much lower as well. Some income is better than no income.
    If it's nothing to do with physical media model in a digital world then why change prices and release dates, fact is publishers think they can get away with say a 30% mark up in some markets and only %10 in others. When people paying the %30 mark up find out it's cheaper somewhere else they will buy it from the cheapest source, it's simple economics.

    If a wholesaler (developer) charges £10 for something, a shop (publisher) would expect to make some money from selling the product. If one shop charges £15 and another charges £12 who is the customer going to buy the product from ? That is the way capitalism works, market forces dictate the price. The sad thing is big business hasn't woken upto the fact that the internet and digital media is a single market, they still try to enforce the physical media model that could be split into separate markets into a single market economy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    I honestly don't think many people in this thread realise how much a modern game costs when you factor in software, staff, work offices and so on...Games are already at a low price for the hours they give, given how many people are involved in their development. They're often high risk investments too, with entire studios shutting after a single failing title.

    Most games are not made by companies like EA who can bankroll franchises forever.
    So we are supposed to feel sorry for these people because they are using a business model that no longer works ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    As for piracy - reducing prices only works to a point. Sure, there are some people who will always be in the next bracket down, that's inevitable, but this mentality of constantly pushing the price through the floor so everyone can access it immediately is crazy. The economics of it just don't work. Titles can take years to make, with hundreds of highly skilled people being involved in them.

    It's all well and good you guys banging on about lowering the price even more, but I've seen first hand how fine the margins can be on titles and how long it takes for them to 'pay back' their investment. I hear the same from friends of mine - after they spent 20 quid in a taxi after emptying their wallet on a night out. There are very few games that are priced unreasonably these days. You even get to keep what you've brought forever.
    I would agree with you there, i don't think a race to the bottom is they way to go. If a region/country can't afford to buy media at the "global price" then they simply go without, or face the legal consequences of copyright infringement. Maybe eventually the regions and countries where they can't afford to pay the "global price" for goods will see the people having a high enough standard of living to be able to afford the "global price"

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    Which is the same as every other product on earth
    Except it's not take the stock market for instance, or the commodities markets. We don't have price variations based on where the trade is made, market forces dictate the price.
    Last edited by Corky34; 23-09-2014 at 08:38 AM.

  6. #38
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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    Quote Originally Posted by csgohan4 View Post
    It's the publishers fault for asking high prices for 'downloads' shouldn't they be cheaper since it's digital and not physical copies? so less overheads
    As already noted, overheads aren't necessarily lower, certainly not significantly. Most of the cost of a game isn't in it's packaging.

    Quote Originally Posted by wasabi View Post
    Rigging the market to rip people off in particular geographical areas is what is wrong.
    But what about discounting the cost for those areas that have less disposable income?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZaO View Post
    I don't think it's right that nearly every game comes out at within a certain price range.
    They don't I've seen Dragon Age 3 for £40, Divinity Original Sin for £30 and Guantlet for £15. All at release prices. You can chose a cheaper game if you like, or a more expensive one that cost more to make, we have the choice

    They definitely don't all deserve to be there. I'm tired of being burned. I can't live with paying 30+ pound for a game when it's not that good, and can't even be sold on to get some of the money back after I realise it's no good. Lack of demos these days also makes it hard to know beforehand.
    Yeah, demos don't help though it seems. Always wait for reviews.


    If the game industry would focus more on quality over quantity like it used to, I think it would get our trust back and should see more money coming in over all.
    They do. The games we get now are supremely high quality compared to what we used to get. Don't forget that we got bad games back in the day as well!

    It's sickening, the rate that they keep pushing games out these days. Just one more generic clone, cash grabber after the other.
    I'd argue the opposite really. Back then we got gazillions of sequels, often even using the same game engine. And people loved it. How many TSR games where there? IE games? Ultimas? Where as today we get gems like Botanincula, Child of Light, The Witcher and so on.

    Steam needs to get some quality control going on all those indie games as well. What a mess that is! We're swarmed with a sea of crap games. It's getting tougher and tougher to find the good ones amongst them. Our wallets can only take so much of this...
    Ah so now you want to increase the budget and reduce choice? I'm confused

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post
    If it's nothing to do with physical media model in a digital world then why change prices and release dates, fact is publishers think they can get away with say a 30% mark up in some markets and only %10 in others. When people paying the %30 mark up find out it's cheaper somewhere else they will buy it from the cheapest source, it's simple economics.
    True, but the same thing applies to why they charge differently in different markets in the first place. A bit like petrol stations.

    If a wholesaler (developer) charges £10 for something, a shop (publisher) would expect to make some money from selling the product. If one shop charges £15 and another charges £12 who is the customer going to buy the product from ? That is the way capitalism works, market forces dictate the price. The sad thing is big business hasn't woken upto the fact that the internet and digital media is a single market, they still try to enforce the physical media model that could be split into separate markets into a single market economy.
    The single global market certainly results in that, but that's only bad news for people in poorer regions.

    So we are supposed to feel sorry for these people because they are using a business model that no longer works ?
    Not at all - they will do just fine by jumping to markets which are profitable. PC gamers are the ones we should feel sorry for.

    Maybe eventually the regions and countries where they can't afford to pay the "global price" for goods will see the people having a high enough standard of living to be able to afford the "global price"
    Completely agree, and we can only hope. Of course, that will massively drive up the price of goods we in the west take for granted, because we've taken advantage of cheap labour in other parts of the world, but that's for the better.

  7. #39
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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    But apart from a few publishers, the industry has an excellent image. Games get sold in sales very quickly when it's economic to do so, most games are well priced for the cost:entertainment ratio, developer support is excellent compared to a few years back, tons of new ideas surface thanks to indie developers....
    I was referring to the original article which quoted a spokesperson from the industry saying that the practice was harming the image of the gaming industry.

    But there have ben reports on HEXUS about dubious practices by some in the gaming industry - but then with any industry there will be the good and 'less good'.
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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    I've not used the key sites at all but did used to use the trick of buying games from Origin Mexico that was very much cheaper than buying them on the UK store (even after currency conversion and fees). Unfortunately EA have closed that loophole now (as they moved the mexico store to USD) so may well consider a key site next time.

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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    True, but the same thing applies to why they charge differently in different markets in the first place. A bit like petrol stations.
    Because they have a captive market. Imagine for a moment that we could teleport petrol into your car, petrol stations would no longer be able to vary their prices based on what people are willing to pay in that area. Eventually they would come up with a pricing model that would keep revenues the same, they wouldn't sell regional cars that only worked with petrol from the correct region just to protect the pre-teleporting petrol model, or because certain regions couldn't afford the going price of petrol.

    The single global market certainly results in that, but that's only bad news for people in poorer regions.
    And the same applies if we follow the petrol model, some people can afford to run a car, some people have to use other means.
    Some people could buy a game at full price, some people would have to wait for a sale, or buy it second hand.

    Not at all - they will do just fine by jumping to markets which are profitable. PC gamers are the ones we should feel sorry for.
    Not sure why we should feel sorry for PC gamers, the only thing i can think of is they are being asked to jump through hoops because companies are using an outdated business model.

    Completely agree, and we can only hope. Of course, that will massively drive up the price of goods we in the west take for granted, because we've taken advantage of cheap labour in other parts of the world, but that's for the better.
    If higher prices result in a better quality of living in other parts of the world then all the better, as long as the higher cost/profits do result in people not being treated like slaves.

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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    Thisa is simply "Globalisation" of the games industry. The retailers are complaining about increased competition from overseas businesses as they simply can't compete.

    Just like region locking is a tool designed to help "Price Fixing", a practice which is illegal in any other industry.

  11. #43
    ZaO
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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    They don't I've seen Dragon Age 3 for £40, Divinity Original Sin for £30 and Guantlet for £15. All at release prices. You can chose a cheaper game if you like, or a more expensive one that cost more to make, we have the choice
    Yeh, the 30-40 quid standard price range is what I'm on about. It's definitely a thing. Even more so on consoles where it's £40-£50 (or more for digital games. Playstation store has a lot of digital games at £55-£60 for some strange reason). Sure there are some games that are cheaper. Usually the arcade style ones, like Gauntlet. But the prices are so standardised for new releases. And they don't drop soon enough to reflect the review scores and demand for the game. It doesn't matter what anyone says about this. Fact is, if a game doesn't have a great reputation (from low scores or any other reasons), people will not be willing to pay the standard full retail price for it (especially not after it's been out for months and months). And they will go somewhere to find it cheaper.

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    Yeah, demos don't help though it seems. Always wait for reviews.
    Demos don't help? I don't know what affect they have on sales (would depend whether your game sucks or not I suppose. That's kinda the point of a demo - to let you know). But it doesn't make any difference to me and I'm not interested in stats there. I don't even know if my computer will play a game well without a demo to try it out, seeing as it's a budget machine right now. So I can't just go straight into buying a game, as listed hardware "requirements" are always very dodgey. A demo definitely helps with the decision to buy a game with me. Maybe I'm the minority (that would really surprise me), but that's my reasons for wanting demos right there.

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    They do. The games we get now are supremely high quality compared to what we used to get. Don't forget that we got bad games back in the day as well!
    There's always been plenty of crap games around, I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    I'd argue the opposite really. Back then we got gazillions of sequels, often even using the same game engine. And people loved it. How many TSR games where there? IE games? Ultimas? Where as today we get gems like Botanincula, Child of Light, The Witcher and so on.
    Maybe true. But it never used to be a standard thing to have a sequel every year. I've watched that one phase its way in. It's seems like they're trying to make every game series into a yearly installment thing now. You just can't do that with certain games. A year isn't long enough. They're just trying to milk as much cash as possible. All this ridiulous dlc stuff just adds to it. They gotta make money to live and make more games, I know that. But I don't like the way they go about it. I miss when they used to spend a few years making an awesome game. Then when it came out, it would sell tonnes of copies and everyone would love it (the game would hold its value for a lot longer too). They really earned the money just through putting out a proper game that they worked really hard on (Gta and Mgs games come to mind). I will choose to pay full price for great games like that (I would actually feel bad finding an extra cheap way of doing it).

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    Ah so now you want to increase the budget and reduce choice? I'm confused
    I just want quality control on steam. I don't know exactly how it should be done. But it just reminds me of walking through an Asian street where you've got shops all down both sides, then loads of random market setups, and people yelling at you asking you to buy their cheap "copy watch" crap or whatever. It's just a complete mess. How many of us really want the Copy Watch? Most of us would feel like we wasted our money soon after purchase. Maybe Steam just needs a good rating system to push the crap to the bottom or something. I dunno. I just wish there wasn't a sea of crap to swim through when looking for good games

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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    The tonnes of copies of old games is a bit misleading - I was quite shocked to discover that my old classic games like Wing Commaner 2, which I held as amazing games and selling well enough for big budget sequels, didn't actually sell in anything like the numbers a modern game does. The market was a lot smaller back then, and games were much cheaper to make, so £45 a game (which equates to much more than that today) was about right. Now games are much cheaper to buy but much more expensive to make, so the 10-100 fold increase in sales is kind of necessary.

    Or like mentioned, you develop low budget games and aim for smaller audiences. Child of Light was something like £13 on release. It's not an arcade game, nor is it an indie.

    I know what you mean about how to find good games.. that's where forums like this come in

  13. #45
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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    As has already been mentioned, I think the main reason that people use these sites isn't just to save some money, but as a way of trying to protect themselves, as so many games today are released with numerous bugs.

    It used to be that when a game was released there wasn't the option of "instant" fixes, so they had to make sure that they worked first time. This is something that needs to return, as people are fed up acting as beta testers.

    I know the graphics on a lot of the games are great these days, but personally I would rather sacrifice some graphical content for the sake of better / more gameplay.

  14. #46
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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    I've been reading through the posts on this thread and I am finding some of the issues to be quite confusing. First there's the issue of what is being sold, ie. the product itself and then there's the distribution of said product, and finally the costs that go into producing the product. I don't really know which way round to tackle it, but I think I will do it in the order I have listed it here so, product, distribution and costs.

    Unlike traditional manufacturing, there is only one product that is actually 'made' or developed, in other words the studio only has that one game/title. They don't produce a stack of things, what they produce is an IP, and we buy it we are not buying the game or IP but we are paying for the right to access/use it.

    Distribution, increasingly this is being done digitally, so we are looking at a virtual product that's being shipped using a virtual distribution structure.

    Finally the costs, this is everything from producing the original concept work, the actual game development costs, the marketing, bribes and backhanders to the press (allegedly - lol) and other publicity materials costs etc...

    Things I agree with.

    1. The developers earn the right to get paid, they might love what they do, but they need to eat while they do it and I wouldn't want to take that away from them.
    2. The publishers have a right to profit in return for taking the risk of backing and then launching a title that could potentially fail and cost the publisher a small fortune.
    3. The end users should be offered a fair price that allows both previous conditions to be met without being charged a disproportionate price for the title that they are buying.

    Things that confuse me.

    We have been talking about the costs of sale and margin, how much more does it cost for a title to be downloaded by 10,000 people then it does for that same title to be downloaded by 5,000 people?

    How does that cost of downloading 10,000 copies of the game compare to printing and distributing 10,000 copies on physical media in cases with printed inserts and a printed flyer to advertise the season pass or some next title?

    In my mind it costs the same to run a server or servers that are being used to download many copies of a title or just a few copies, but this is one of the areas where I am confused. I can understand that if a truck can carry 1,000 physical copies and 10,000 copies need to be sent then it will cost 10 times as much to send them, but in my mind when I download Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel from Steam it won't cost Steam any more money than it has already paid to facilitate the download made by the person before me or the one that downloads it after me. Am I wright or wrong to think this?

    So finally we have the costs, yes it costs a lot to produce the game, I do believe that COD:MW3 racked up development costs of over $20 million, I also know that they racked up $775 million of sales in 5 days but not every game will break records like COD:MW3 did, so that's not the best example but I've picked it deliberately because this is one of the titles that people often refer to when they say they feel they are being ripped off by games publishers, first the game, then the associated season pass and expansion packs etc...

    As I understand it, the Producer will set a budget and timeline so that the end product can be published at a particular date and within costs if all goes to plan, they would have estimated or projected how many people will buy that game and then said they would sell it at a specific price point because that's the price point that games sell at and no other reason then based on their projections they will expect certain profits which will be calculated by their expectations of unit sales multiplied by price and gross profits will be worked out as total sales volume minus costs and not on a sale by sale basis. If that's correct then the Cost of sale doesn't get calculated in the same way it would if they were producing actual products with real parts and materials like gaming keyboards or graphics cards for example. Which is why I said that pricing is arbritarily set, there's no rhyme or reason to having games at the price they expect to sell at, they could set that point anywhere they want, but for some reason most games seem to come out at around £30 to £40 in the UK, or $40 to $60 in USA and Canada. I think the real issue with people stripping codes is not that publishers are losing out in volume of sales, it's more that it messes with their calculations for specific region and upsets the apple cart, so to speak.

    In my post at the start of the thread I posted the top 20 PC download games from Game.co.uk and showed how in the top 20 selling games the average price is £32.34, there will always be a few Gauntlets in the top 20 that help bring the price down just as there will be a few Elder Scrolls Online that push the price up, what I don't understand is why 6 out of 20 titles retail for £39.99 or why there are only 4 titles under £20 or why Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare costs twice the price of Gauntlet? While I can as a consumer see why a Mercedes E class costs more than a Vauxhall Astra, or why Heinz beans costs more than the white label brand, not why a game that looks like it will be more fun than another game would sell at half the price of the other game or why a 12 month old title that's still full of bugs would cost nearly 3 times more than the cheapest game in the list.

    What I want to see is games being published where the pricing is a reflection of what the end user should expect from the game, a game that offers 200 hours or quality, immersive game play that shouts for repeated plays should cost more than a game that offers a mediocre 12 hours experience and yet often they will both come out at the same price, IMHO.
    Last edited by KeyboardDemon; 23-09-2014 at 04:49 PM.

  15. #47
    Anthropomorphic Personification shaithis's Avatar
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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    Development costs are meaningless without a breakdown of exactly where the money was spent and whether each cost was justifiable and/or whether there was a cheaper alternative.

    Lets take the $20m COD:MW3 budget. Seriously, it's not a lot more than a map-pack and model re-skin of the previous version. Go back to when companies weren't so greedy and allowed end-users to create skins and maps and MW3 could have been made by a handful of enthusiasts in their spare time (and the source code from the previous instalments).

    Yet $20m reportedly. Greed? Wasted money? Probably both.
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  16. #48
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    Re: PC game code stripping is widespread says report

    Quote Originally Posted by KeyboardDemon View Post
    or why Heinz beans costs more than the white label brand,
    Think that's a good example - same product, different branding/marketing expense.

    But some people in the thread might be interested to know Steam now has a bit more customisation over what you see, and DG2 just came out at £18.49 (full, non-offer price) Good games really are cheap these days.

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