Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
 
Avoiding the real question

One thing that frequently annoys me about discussion on the internet is that people tend to avoid arguing the real question, but instead conjure up the horrors of some secondary evil. Talk about drugs, and people will tell you about people committing crimes to feed their drug habit. Talk about prostitution, and people will tell you about "white slavery". Talk about RMT, and people will tell you about account hacking. Talk about always-on DRM, and people will tell you about server outages.

I am not saying that these secondary evils don't exist. But if they were the core of the problem, it would be sufficient to solve those secondary problems and still have the primary feature.

The latest story here is that the next XBox will probably have always-on DRM, that is you won't be able to play anything on that console while not connected to the internet. And of course everybody talks about server outages or people without internet. Or uses the inherent lack of data to claim that DRM never works. And nobody addresses the real question:

Once all technical problems are resolved, should a company be allowed to put restrictions on the use of their game hardware / software to prevent piracy?

Again, this is assuming a working technical solution, and not discussing company double-speak that tries to sell you a restriction as a feature. I really *only* want to discuss the question whether a company has the right to put certain restrictions on their regular users in order to prevent some people playing illegal pirated copies of games.

For me the answer to this question has always been yes, a company making game hardware and/or software has the right to put in restrictions that limit piracy, even if those restrictions inconvenience legit users. Just like a supermarket has the right to impose certain restrictions on their customers that prevent theft. And from that point, everything else becomes just a technico-economic problem: What sort of technical solution can the company find which causes a minimum of inconvenience to paying customers while having a maximum effect on pirates? It is easy to demonstrate that there must be a break-even point somewhere, where the added income from people "forced" to pay for the product exceeds the lost income from people prevented from buying the hard- or software due to the restrictions. It is basically a business decision, and companies have the right to make those business decisions.

That is not to say that things can't go wrong. I am pretty sure that in the specific case of SimCity the overall net effect on EA was negative, with more damage done to the company by their non-working DRM solution than piracy damage prevented. "Always Off" is not a feature you can sell to anybody. But ultimately that isn't different from any company releasing a flawed product and having to deal with the consequences, whether the flaw is non-working servers or horse meat in "beef" burgers.

The important thing is that there is no such thing as a "right to piracy". You cannot go to a court of human rights and claim that Microsoft or EA has an obligation to let you copy their games for free, or that the always-on internet requirement is a breach of your human rights. Saying that Microsoft should be obliged to provide an XBox that works without internet is like saying that Wikipedia should be obliged to provide their product without internet, or any other provider of some service over the internet (including me, you can't read my blog without internet either).

If Microsoft really decides to make the next XBox work only while connected to the internet, I fully support them in as far as they have the right to do so. And I fully support the right of everybody to not buy such an XBox because of those restrictions. How much money Microsoft is effectively gaining or losing due to that business decision will depend on how well the technical implementation is working. And unless you have a parallel universe at hand in which the restriction-free XBox is a reality, it will be impossible to know the real numbers. Everybody will just claim completely spurious estimates depending on whether he is for or against piracy.

Comments:
secondary evil not only exist but is also more important that the core question. Talk about piracy and I can tell you of the price of the games depending of hours of fun you have.

pay a game 50-60 euro to play a campaign that lasts 6-8 hours and you may think or the developers think that is the piracy problem. Talk about terrorism and pretend that what happened to some third-world countries doesn't matter and that is secondary evil..

There are 2 ways to solve a problem. One is found why this problem exist and what is the source of the problem. The second is put the "police" and the "laws" to prevent this problem. The first way to solve the problem is more difficult but is the best and is a true and permament solution. The second way it will work a little, it may reduce the size of the problem for a while but it will always the worst solution.
 
the bigger issue here isn't the quality of the service but the fact that they are continuing to turn want once was a product into a service. A product that was tangible before has become something mired in legal red tape to the point no one can really tell what rights the consumer or the producer has anymore.

This is where I eventually see the argument going. All I've read so far is one case in the EU but apart from that there is really no discussion happening regarding the legalities of it..
 
I agree they have the right to do it.
Just because they have the right doesn't mean people should shut up and let them do it.
 
Quoting Mr. Gabe:

"We think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem. If a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24x7, 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".

And

"Our success comes from making sure that both customers and partners (e.g. Activision, Take 2, Ubisoft...) feel like they get a lot of value from those services, and that they can trust us not to take advantage of the relationship that we have with them.

Mpt to mention that Valve/Steam "world" tries to push games to insanely low prices as soon as possible and on regular basis, fueling the gaming market and giving voice to a vocal minority (great indie developers).

The main problem of EA it's not EA: it's us, the customers. Because we keep giving money to them, no matter how horrible is their attitude. No one cares about SimCity anymore, now that Battlefield4 is coming out. And it will be a top-seller, once again.
 
The important thing is that there is no such thing as a "right to piracy". You cannot go to a court of human rights and claim that Microsoft or EA has an obligation to let you copy their games for free, or that the always-on internet requirement is a breach of your human rights.

Has anyone ever asked for that ?
 
roberski: "Just because they have the right doesn't mean people should shut up and let them do it."

Wrong. A business is profit oriented not yapping oriented. A business couldn't care less about your oppinion if you buy their product on release anyway.
Imagine what happens when no one buys an "always on" XBox. You can't even blink once until you can play it offline.
 
They would have the right to do it if there were no side effects ..

However, I think what you call the core of the question is the part everybody agrees on.

In fact, I think you are distracting from the core of the problem here: side effects.
 
Always on is great if you live in an area where high speed internet is not a problem and is always on. Where I live 10 minutes outside a small town in Canada I have two choices for internet. Dialup or slow high speed done through a wireless connection. I have the wireless but it is not 100% reliable and there has been times it is dead slow or not working. If I cannot play an MMO the fine I can just play a single player game. Unless it always needs to be connected then what? BTW cell phones do not work where I live either.
 
"Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem"

This is nonsense really. I have had disccussions with my friends about games that seemed great, but we refused to buy because they lacked in content. I would say things like, "if this game were $20 then I would buy it". Some companies say that people will buy the game when it goes on sale, and some people do. But too often I am looking to play newer games not old ones, so essentially that company "missed the boat" on the sale. When I used to pirate, the reasoning behind my choice was almost always that the game was good, but the cost-to-value ratio was too high to justify the purchase (and you cant haggle with game companies or retailers).

For this reason, piracy cost numbers are always overstated by companies. They think that every game pirated is a lost sale. Its not. A large number of people that pirate weren't going to buy the game anyway, even if piracy wasn't available. They just wouldn't even try the game.
 
My opinion:
They have the right to sell you an always on X-BOX.
They should not have the right to determine what I do with it.

If they want to restrict what I do with a product, Rent me a Service...but do not try to sell me a product !


 
Companies have a right to sell or package their products however they wish, so long as they do not misrepresent their product, or package it in such a way as to cause harm. None of that is happening here, they're being forthright about what they intend, and unless they really screw up the packaging somehow I can't imagine how that can come into play.

People have such odd ideas about these games and such. I always just imagine as if it were a movie in a theater. Is it ethical to sneak in and watch the movie without paying for a ticket? Of course not. Do you have some right to record what you're watching so you can show a friend at home, so they don't have to pay? By no means. You don't own the movie you see at a theater, you pay money for the experience of watching it.

I see the move towards more online-only requirements as very positive. When piracy becomes more difficult, companies get motivated to reduce prices to pick up people who would otherwise have pirated it.

Always on is a solution to the problem of people stealing content. And I don't see why some honest people would see it as a problem.
 
To begin with, I deny that piracy is a significant issue for consoles.

Some game publishers - such as EA - treat every sale of a second hand game as "piracy". They carefully ignore their customer base of young adults (teens through 20s) who don't have a lot of money and who have to trade in older games for enough money for a replacement game.

I'm in my 50s and can afford to purchase a few games per month. My brother who is 20 years younger than me can only afford 1-2 used games per year. I don't mind paying monthly subscriptions, I do that for Eve, I did that for EverQuest for a decade. I have a problem with DRM that messes up my computers (such as the stuff that was on Spore and in Adobe's Creative Suites).

Finally, I'm going to claim that if Microsoft requires always-on DRM to decide if you are allowed to play a game you paid for, then you should not be paying Microsoft for the console - they should be paying you, or providing the hardware for free. You don't own that hardware. When someone else controls what you may do with something you paid for, then you do not own it.
 
They have the right to do it. They have the duty to declare the restrictions openly. I have the right not to buy it. I even have the right to find it a bad move and say that openly.

The market will decide whether a company gets away with constant drm or not. I accept it for mmorps (as it is the essence of those games to be online all the time). I won't accept it for solo games or solo parts of games.
 
If they want to restrict what I do with a product, Rent me a Service...but do not try to sell me a product !

I think that is one of main problems. Most people do not understand that for the last 30 years they NEVER bought a product when buying a game, they only ever "rented" them. Legally they only ever acquired some limited license to use that game, and never had real ownership of the digital product. Of course only very few people ever read the small print on all those games which specified this, and for most people even if they read it was not possible to understand the legal speak.

I do very much agree that as part of a better DRM strategy you not only need to overcome some technological hurdles, but also the companies need to improve communication and spell out exactly what rights you pay for.

pay a game 50-60 euro to play a campaign that lasts 6-8 hours

There are only two valid solutions to a 6-8 hours game for 50-60 Euros: Either you decide that is enough entertainment for your money and buy the game, or you decide that is not enough entertainment for your money AND DON'T PLAY THE GAME.

Just because I think caviar is too expensive doesn't give me the right to steal it. Just because certain games might be too expensive for some people doesn't give them the right to pirate those games.
 
So causality is just something we should disregard? Sorry, I don't agree with you there.
 
So causality is just something we should disregard? Sorry, I don't agree with you there.

What causality?

If you could say something like "all prostitutes are white slaves forced into the profession", or "always-on DRM never gives me access to the games I bought", that is causality and I would of course accept that.

But if you say "some prostitutes are white slaves", that is not causality. You can be very much against human trafficking but at the same time be for prostitution. I am very much against server outages during launch, but there is no causality that tells me that this means I *must* be against always-on DRM. DRM does not cause servers to fail, bad planning does.

After all, we accept not being able to play MMORPGs, browser games and the like when we have no internet.
 
Responded to this over on my blog: http://edifyingheresy.blogspot.com/

(that's not an attempt at garnering page views. Hardly ever post to my blog so I don't really care about that. Was just an easier way to edit out my thoughts and link to all the stuff I wanted to link to.)
 
Tobold said: After all, we accept not being able to play MMORPGs, browser games and the like when we have no internet.


True. If my internet is down then I cannot play an MMO. But I should still be able to play a single player game without issue. This is what I would normally do if my internet was down but with always on DRM then internet down means I cannot play at all.


 
Oh I doubt that very much.

The suits at these companies are so used to having disposable income that they can't really understand that gaming is a financial burden to most of its client base.

The console that prevents used game from getting played WILL lose the console war, and it will lose them badly.

If this new is true, the new XBox will tank horribly.

Of course Microsoft has every right to destroy the one non-Windows product they make that isn't a distant third in the marketplace in a misguided attempt to squeeze more money out of teens making minimum wage.
 
gaming is a financial burden to most of its client base

How can something you do voluntarily for fun ever be a financial "burden"? You could simply *not* buy the games you can't afford and either play various free games, or do something completely different with your time. Or you wait and buy the games later at a steep discount. Nobody is *forced* to play all the latest games on release.

If this new is true, the new XBox will tank horribly.

Not necessarily. I can imagine a scenario where one console *wins* the console war, because it has working DRM and the others don't. Because working DRM means a better return on investment for companies making games for that console, and the only piracy-free console would get all the best games either exclusively or at least first.
 
I believe that the right to copy information is a fundamental human right, and modern copyright laws are a form of government-granted monopoly. Whether this monopoly is beneficial for the public as a whole is up for a debate.
 
Whether this monopoly is beneficial for the public as a whole is up for a debate.

So how many multi-million dollar games do you think will get made if the game companies can only ever sell 1 box, and then everybody copies that for free?
 
Hah. Talking about secondary issues is in no way 'avoiding the REAL question' at all. Avoiding the real question is taking things out of context and putting them into an idealistic vaccum.

Should we be able to drive flying cars? Sure, why not? Because we're completely fucking incapable of driving ground-based cars without killing people every day. Should we be able to trust one another and live in communities which are based on mutual respect alone, not requiring a police force? Sure. That'd be nice. IT'LL NEVER HAPPEN. Just like an ideal future where the many, many problems of the 'always online DRM' don't happen.

It's unavoidable, and thus - relevant. Now and always.

In this case, people aren't avoiding the real question at all. When you ask, 'Should Always-Online DRM exist,' the question is NOT 'should companies be allowed to protect their IP through customer restrictions'. The question is absolutely about the results. Only philosophers care about the moral question, everyone on the ground mostly cares about what the hell is going to happen to their user experience.

If you think the primary objection to always-online DRM is that people are secretly miffed at the removal of their supposed right to piracy, maybe you spend too much time with pirates.
 
I think they should be free to do so as no one is forced to buy a XBox. But the real question should be:

Once all technical problems are resolved, should a company be allowed to put restrictions on the use of their game hardware / software to prevent used games?

Thats really what they are aiming at anyway :).
 
I wasn't trying to use the absence of data as proof DRM doesn't work. I was using it as proof that gaming companies blindly assume it to work. Whether it is or isn't working is pure speculation.

And while I cannot provide much useful data specific to the gaming industry (because there just isn't any at this point), I can (and did) provide plenty of reasonably applicable data from the music industry's handling of the matter. Despite all their efforts to clamp down on piracy, it wasn't until they essentially ignored that aspect and started focusing on the real issue that they slowed and then eventually reversed the steady decline in music sales.
 
"If Microsoft really decides to make the next XBox work only while connected to the internet, I fully support them in as far as they have the right to do so. And I fully support the right of everybody to not buy such an XBox because of those restrictions"

I believe your statement sums it up beautifully.

The only exception is if the provider has a monopoly on the market which prevents an alternative choice.

I am reserving my right not to buy it.
 
If you think the primary objection to always-online DRM is that people are secretly miffed at the removal of their supposed right to piracy, maybe you spend too much time with pirates.

Yeah, they are all over my blog.

I am pretty certain that if the servers work, nobody will complain about always-on DRM except for the pirates. Why would somebody be miffed about something that is working perfectly and is unnoticeable? Lots of games have it now, and it hasn't hurt their sales at all.
 
I can (and did) provide plenty of reasonably applicable data from the music industry's handling of the matter.

How can you compare that? As you siad yourself, the problem of the music industry was that people wanted single songs and were forced to buy whole albums. How does that apply to games? Would you call it justified to pirate a song now if you can get it for $0.99 on iTunes?

Another reason for that comparison to be completely invalid is that it doesn't cost millions of dollars to produce a song. A game company that does not sell hundreds of thousands of copies of their game will simply go bankrupt, whatever their Metacritic score is. That hurts all the legit players waiting for a sequel or the next brilliant game from that company. People delude themselves in believing that not paying for their games either hurts nobody or only some rich game company CEO.
 
How can you compare that?

Easy. People started pirating music because of X. Y company offered a reasonable solution to X. Figure out what X is in the gaming industry and how to provide a solution that doesn't alienate consumers. You sound incredulous at the thought of offering games for $0.99. The estimated $30 billion in mobile app sales this year disagrees with you.

Another reason for that comparison to be completely invalid is that it doesn't cost millions of dollars to produce a song.

Again, app stores disagree with you. All games don't cost millions of dollars to produce. Spending millions of dollars to produce a game is a choice a company willingly makes. No one is forcing them to spend that kind of money on game production. And the fact that they do choose to spend an exorbitant amount of money on producing a game is not justification for why people should pay for it. The record industry still spends the same X amount to produce records even though nearly half of their revenue comes from a source that charges per song.

Piracy is a symptom of a larger problem. Nobody even knows what that problem is because they are all too busy coming up with better ways to treat the symptom. The people who are going to profit from all of this are the ones who diagnose the problem and come up with a clever way to address it. It could be that Steam and Apple already have and it will just take the next 8-10 years for the gaming industry to fully realize it.
 
I am not a huge Microsoft fan, but I think this is the case where Microsoft is big enough that they can move the industry forward quicker than a smaller company could.

Again, you don't buy games; you license them like any other software. Even in your PC, there is software in the BIOS and the operating system that you do not "own"

Note that Microsoft is making a large push; for most of us, a one year subscription to the Microsoft Office (word, excel, et al) is priced as a better deal than an old-fashioned box copy.


IMO, the irony of Unintended Consequences is that the people who are arguing against always on DRM are arguing in favor of subscriptions and/pr F2P games with cash shops.

I.e., I don't see used games sales as being a big deal. If always on DRM does not fly, they will be subscriptions, F2P, cash-shops, DLC, etc.

Isn't being in an area without sufficiently good internet analogous to being a Mac or Linux user? A number of games are available but more are not provided because the benefits of the market segment are not worth the costs.

A nit, but the calculus is not to minimize customer hassle, but to go up to where the cost, in production and lost sales, approaches the benefit in not losing money to dishonest people.

Obviously, I see no legal or moral basis for the quality or value of a discretionary entertainment product affecting whether you can steal it.
 
I agree. Yes, they do have the right to do that. It's their product and they can use whatever method they wish to secure it.

However, with more heavy handed methods of DRM, they will turn me off as a consumer. I don't buy single-player offline games which require an always on internet connection. Not because I do not have one, but because I don't like that method, so I'm voting with my money.
 
Heh. Snark aside, you may also be confusing advocacy of alternate DRM methods as sympathy to piracy. But anyway...

"I am pretty certain that if the servers work, nobody will complain about always-on DRM except for the pirates. Why would somebody be miffed about something that is working perfectly and is unnoticeable? Lots of games have it now, and it hasn't hurt their sales at all."

Actually, I believe it has.

Look at MMOs. Arguably the main examples of customers willingly going into the 'always online' experience. The industry success stories (outside of the exception - WoW) count their sales in the hundreds of thousands, maybe one or two million in exceptional circumstances.

Then we have Square Enix observing that Hitman was a failure at 4 million sales.

I can't say it's anything more than a guess, but I am guessing that the reason for that sales disparity is because the installed base of console clients is much larger BECAUSE they don't have to be always online.

Because as much as we can glibly observe that we're all 'always online' anyway, sure. We are. People on blogs. But there's a gap you can't ignore between the MMO-playing millions and the console-playing tens of millions - that is, the group of consoles sold which have never been activated online. And one can only assume that it's for the very reasons that people argue against always-online.

It's not JUST about the publisher and distributors holding up their end of the always-online bargain, or the concerns about what happens when THEY decide you can't use a service anymore, which we're used to treating as a product. (Nostalgia is powerful, as GoG.com can attest.)

The customers themselves can't always come to the table on the online end, and that doesn't look like changing in the next 10-20 years, when you look at various national infrastructure upgrade plans.

It's closing the market off. It's exclusionary, and it doesn't treat the people who it lets inside as well as they're being treated now. That's all quite a high price to pay for what I reckon are hyper-inflated 'lost sales' numbers.
 
It's a financially burdensome hobby. I mean, for a kid making minimum wage, a copy of Bioshock Infinite is 10 or 12 hours of menial labor. That's your customer base, and these days they don't really need a console, do they? They probably have a laptop, a smartphone, an iPad. They don't need to drop $400 on your console to enjoy video games. Console makers are in a precarious position.

I guess they can quit playing console games if they think it's too expensive, but that is hardly a win for the console makers is it?

As far as a better ROI, you aren't getting a better ROI if no one has the console you made the game for. If the buzz is bad, it will tank, and once it tanks people on the fence will flee to the PS4.


Whether a used game is piracy or not, the fact is that a lot of people do not have the best internet connections. Always on DRM means that these people will not be able to enjoy their entirely legally purchased games because every half hour or so the connection kinda poops itself for a minute. And that's assuming Microsoft (MICROSOFT!!!!) does not fuck it up six ways from Sunday, which is a very un-Microsoft thing to do. As a guy who buys about 1 console game a year, I don't have a dog in this fight. But I can see self-destructive greed when I see it, and always on DRM for a console is just that. They have the right to do it, but that doesn't mean it isn't stupid.


So you are right, Tobold. The consumer has every right to quit playing video games if it becomes too expensive for him, and to avoid purchasing a console that could easily make what is supposed to be a relaxing hobby into a frustrating rage-fest. Which is why Microsoft would have to be suicidally stupid to do this. Which is very possible.
 
Most people do not understand that for the last 30 years they NEVER bought a product when buying a game, they only ever "rented" them. Legally they only ever acquired some limited license to use that game, and never had real ownership of the digital product. Of course only very few people ever read the small print on all those games which specified this, and for most people even if they read it was not possible to understand the legal speak.

Oh really? So Gamestop, your local game store, and anywhere else selling pre-owned games have been a hotbed of illegal activity for the last 30 years? First sale doctrine has not applied because... the game makers said so? How did that work out for the textbook makers? Perhaps we are merely licensing the game console itself too? We may have to shut the entirety of eBay and Amazon down right now.

You know, I can't wait until corporations start applying this asinine logic everywhere. The printed book in your hand is not a product, it's a service! Because... the publisher said so in the fine print! Ergo it is piracy for you to lend it to a friend, buy it from a used bookstore, or check it out of a library.

What a singularly awful worldview you inhabit.

@Michael
People have such odd ideas about these games and such. I always just imagine as if it were a movie in a theater. [...]

That is a bizarre analogy. Why choose "movie theater" instead of "DVD movie?" Even if you are looking at it from the perspective that a specific gaming console is necessary to "play the movie," by extension you are already buying both the theater and the movie to go along with it, only to be told that neither one can work without the presence of someone from corporate HQ phoning in.

When piracy becomes more difficult, companies get motivated to reduce prices to pick up people who would otherwise have pirated it.

Oh that is simply adorable. What ever makes you believe that game companies would bother with making things cheaper when they no longer have to? If companies have zero incentive to chase pirate dollars now, they will continue have zero (or less than zero) incentive to make things cheaper in the hypothetical pirate-free future. In fact, you would likely see MORE restrictions like region-locking/price discrimination, as companies would know that they face a perfectly captive audience.

(Un)Fortunately for you and Tobold, I am somewhat optimistic that we will eventually see mandated "digital license exchanges" in the future, rendering this entire line of anti-consumerist DRM moot. European courts already said reselling digital licenses is legal, and I imagine the US is just a few more commercial disasters away before people wake up to the insipid nature of our present quasi-ownership of goods.

The average person does not view CD-swapping or playing Halo at their friend's house or yard sales as piracy, and we'll see if you or Microsoft can change that perception with this always-online nonsense. I am guessing "No."
 
Camo: "Wrong. A business is profit oriented not yapping oriented. A business couldn't care less about your oppinion if you buy their product on release anyway."

At what point did I say the business would listen? Just because they don't listen doesn't mean people shouldn't say what they think about something anymore then it being the right of a business to do what it want's with it's products should.
 
So what happens in ten years when they decide to no longer enable me playing the game.

I can't play it anymore?
 
So Gamestop, your local game store, and anywhere else selling pre-owned games have been a hotbed of illegal activity for the last 30 years?

European courts already said reselling digital licenses is legal

There is a huge gap in your logic: Saying that reselling digital licenses is legal (and thus Gamestop not being illegal) isn't the same as saying that the sellers of those licenses don't have the right to prevent those sales. For example the same court failed to force Steam to allow digital sales of accounts and used games.

So, yes, a game not protected by DRM can be legally sold, as you are selling your license to play that game. But if that game has always-on DRM or you got that license from a digital download platform, the seller still can legally prevent you from selling your used game. And copying that game is still illegal.
 
Has their ever been a always-on drm solution that was 100% reliable?

I think not, Anything more is PR.

We don't have a right to pirate, we do have a right to make our dislike of the chosen direction a company is going, and we do have a right to not purchase their goods.

I will also continue to be unhappy with companies that portray loss of sales as increased piracy rather then we simply are not using their products.


"So how many multi-million dollar games do you think will get made if the game companies can only ever sell 1 box, and then everybody copies that for free?" are you following the game companies directions? I did not buy your product, I am part of the everybody, According to you I am copying it but i am simply not playing it.
 
No. I have religious hatred against locked bootloaders, signed code, hypervisors when done from anyone but the end user. I own piece of hardware I decide what to run on it.

Before talking about piracy we should change the concept of IP - strong fair use protections, ability to resell licenses and vendors of IP forced to create infrastructure to resell it, and their inability to pull the plug off the servers or they should release their assets in the public domain.
 
Of course companies can do whatever they want with their games. However I expect them to TELL ME what they have done to inconvinience me as an honest customer.

It it their choice to require installing a root kit on my machine that will stay there long after I have stopped playing, degardes my system performance and transmits data to remote servers without me having any control whatsowever.

But then I will simply not buy that game. What pisses me off is that when I buy the game, I have to put in a lot of work to research if there is this kind of protection or not. It should be a requirement to list this clearly.

So for the XBOX, if it is know upfront that is requires always on, I can't re-sell used games, and can not play games from another region that is fine. As long as I know, I can make a decision if I accept that (and in this case, I probably will not buy it).
 
Of course they can put alwayn on-line DRM in the new X-Box. But the chances of me getting one just went to zero.

About 90% of games now come in multiple platforms. If Console A has perma-DRM and Console B doesn't, I can live with sacrificing that 10% of potential titles for a better gaming experience overall. If BOTH A and B have DRM, I'll stick with my PC, thank you.

And this is coming from someone that has never pirated games on his console.

This is how console wars are won and lost. If this news is true, I expect the new X-Box to sell well in the States and tank everywhere else.
 
>Oh that is simply adorable. What ever makes you believe that game companies would bother with making things cheaper when they no longer have to?

There's this online store called Steam, you might have heard of. They sell older games at steep discounts and would-be pirates buy from them instead of pirating because they can get the games cheaply and conveniently. o.O
 
I'd like them to do it (Microsoft) if only because I am personally interested in seeing just what sort of impact an always-on console has on the US market. I have heard the argument that the US infrastructure for the net is shaky enough that this is a bad idea, but even out in BFE New Mexico I couldn't really say for sure how such a console would go over. My guess is it will be a disaster, but those are fun to watch....anyway, until MS starts talking hard facts I'm assuming that a day-one buy in on Durango is probably a bad idea.
 
But if that game has always-on DRM or you got that license from a digital download platform, the seller still can legally prevent you from selling your used game.

Not in Europe, not any more. The linked article specifically talks about it applying to Steam and Origin, which would be the harshest of DRM schemes in this context.

It is really just a matter of time - as it always should have been, considering "games as licenses" were cynical cash grabs intended to remove value from consumers. If Valve, et tal, want to wait this out like the music industry did with MP3s, some entrepreneur is going to come along and jump through all the regulatory hoops for a percentage of the used license sale and blow the market wide open.

@Michael
There's this online store called Steam, you might have heard of. They sell older games at steep discounts and would-be pirates buy from them instead of pirating because they can get the games cheaply and conveniently. o.O

I've heard of them. They also sell everything else at full MSRP, meaning you pay $60 for a game you cannot turn around and then sell for $25+, like with Xbox and PS3 games. And if you think Microsoft is going to compete with Steam on pricing, I don't know what to tell you. Other than maybe look into how long it took Origin to offer their first platform-exclusive sale.
 
Not in Europe, not any more. The linked article specifically talks about it applying to Steam and Origin, which would be the harshest of DRM schemes in this context.

Okay, Azuriel, I'm taking you up on that claim: I am offering you 100 Euros for a used copy of Bioshock Infinite on Steam. Good deal for you, as the new game only costs 50 Euros. So go ahead, sell it to me! After all you claim that this is legal and possible.

What happened in reality was that the European Court of Justice made some general noise about how they thought things should be. Lots of game journalists reported that, but nobody noticed that this wasn't binding law anywhere. You can't sell used Steam games, and you can't legally force Steam to let you sell used games in any legislation.
 
Okay, Azuriel, I'm taking you up on that claim: I am offering you 100 Euros for a used copy of Bioshock Infinite on Steam.

What's your Steam ID? I'll give it to you right now.

Of course, it will appear identical to a Gifted copy, but... ;)
 
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