Gripe about the Season DVD Securom!

edited September 2010 in Game Support
It pains me to have to point this out, because I love you guys and the work you do (which is why I keep buying it). But you've really hit a nerve here and hopefully if enough people complain about this, you'll listen to us.

The other day I was in the mood to replay season one to remind myself of all the details before the next season begins. Having uninstalled all of the episodes previously, I installed them all from the DVD for the first time.
As promised on the forum boards earlier this year, the DVD didn't have the activation protection that the downloaded episodes do, and -- naive as I am -- I thought this meant no digital rights management (read: customer annoyance) at all.

Imagine my surprise when the Season DVD turns out to be protected with Securom, which means that every customer who has paid for your game is now being punished for their honesty. I have to go find the DVD and put it in the drive now every single time I want to play. That is, presuming I'm not running something else that randomly breaks Securom. Not even your online activation was this annoying.
I don't want to dig out the DVD whenever I play the game, for exactly the same reason that I have a bunch of mp3s on my hard drive instead of just going to get the CDs from the shelf every single time I'm in the mood for music.

Honestly, why are you giving your money to Sony for empty digital promises? This isn't the 90s anymore, the kid next door who wants to play my new game doesn't get a copy of the CD, he downloads it from bittorrent himself.
Securom doesn't just appear on games by accident, it costs money and you willfully put it there, so I have to ask, what exactly are you trying to accomplish? Who convinced you this was a good idea?

Every episode of Sam & Max was on bittorrent a week after they were released, they're all cracked and work without 'protection'. You've put a lock on a chest that has a hole in the bottom. You haven't prevented a single person who wanted to steal your game from doing so. In fact, you've given them a good reason to do so: The cracked version works better.
You haven't swayed any minds, earned more money than you otherwise would have, or forced anyone to do anything.

Well, that's not entirely true, you've forced me to do a little dance and jump through some hoops whenever I want to play your game, you've installed a dubious piece of software on my computer that prevents me from using it the way I want to, and you've decided what other software programs I am allowed to run on my own computer.

All you've done is annoy me and other paying customers, you've created a myriad of new support problems for yourself regarding a piece of 3rd party software over which you have no control, and finally you've fed the copy protection companies who make billions each year selling people like you the completely unsubstantiated idea that your revenue will go up if you just install malware on your customers' computers that make sure they can't run certain programs and they have the disc in.

It's like selling someone a car and telling them they can only drive it if they put a large block of cement in the trunk and if they don't already own a motorcycle.
This copy protection idea is infesting the competitive gaming industry so much that small independent game studios have actually started making it a selling point that their games are DRM-free. They can't prevent pirates from copying their games anyway, so they might as well make their customers happier and attract more of them.

Now, it's your money and your game and ultimately your decision, of course. Heck, if you wanted to you could just say that everybody who wanted to play Sam & Max had to come to your office and use a certain computer. That'd be pretty darn effective copy protection. You just have to frisk everybody to make sure they haven't brought a copy device.
Of course, you might make a bit less money on the international market than you are now, but it's the same basic idea.

Anyway, I just wanted to make my voice heard and let you know my honest opinion about this Securom scam you've been suckered into. Hope you'll get wiser :)


(As a sidenote, the EULA on the Season DVD doesn't mention 3rd party copy protection at all, and it also seems to be copy-pasted from the Ep1 Culture Shock one, and does not seem to cover the actual product on the DVD.)
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Comments

  • edited October 2007
    odd to know.. since bone used armadillo I think. But thats just an exe .. well never mind..
    Dunno about the cds to any of the games.. since i downloaded them via the store I never had a reason to open em.. Keeping em in the case with the other telltale stuffs
  • edited October 2007
    If you don't like the Securom protection, you're welcome to use the downloadable versions which don't require any physical medium.
  • JakeJake Telltale Alumni
    edited October 2007
    We don't consider SecuRom a scam, thank you kindly, and are aware of all the benefits as well as all the tradeoffs and annoyances present with the copy protection we use ... probably more intimately aware than any of our customers ever will be, since we live with it for months and offer any and all tech support for our products. All that said, for us the benefits outweigh the frustrations. Will we always use copy protection, or securom? I have no idea, but for the time being, and in the forseeable future we'll be securing our games one way or another. We're always looking for less annoying ways to deal with registration/copy protection/etc, and when the Season One discs started being discussed, an informal pestering around the office revealed that most found our current online activation stuff cumbersome and frustrating (we're working on it), but very few people were bothered at all by having to have a disc in the drive to play - it's a pretty standard practice for PC games acquired on a disc (vs acquired through digital distribution). Like with anything, it turns out that some people, we've discovered, are offended beyond our wildest expectations (like yourself), and your feedback is appreciated, and will now stew in peoples brains for months, until the next time we are going to ship something and have a discussion about how to secure a physical copy of one of our games and someone mentions that some people are bugged by SecuRom. So, thanks for that :) In the meantime, sorry you're feeling punished by having to put the disc in the drive to play the game. As Doug said, if you'd like, there is always the online activation versions, which you can re-download whenever you please.
  • edited October 2007
    Is it really that hard to just put it in the drive? You have to do that for every other game.
  • edited October 2007
    Why not use the same activation system for the CD ROM as you do with the downloadable version so that people won't need to put the CD ROM in every time they play the game.
  • JakeJake Telltale Alumni
    edited October 2007
    We're working towards that, or something like it.

    Also, for what it's worth...
    As promised on the forum boards earlier this year, the DVD didn't have the activation protection that the downloaded episodes do, and -- naive as I am -- I thought this meant no digital rights management (read: customer annoyance) at all.

    We made sure to say, as often as we could, something along the lines of "there's no online activation required - you just need the disc in the drive!" People seemed to gloss over the second half of that in their excitement, apparently. :(
  • edited December 2007
    tabacco wrote: »
    If you don't like the Securom protection, you're welcome to use the downloadable versions which don't require any physical medium.

    But the downloadable versions still have SecuROM, with all of the usual restrictions. For example:

    http://www.securom.com/message.asp?m=module&c=5024

    (I'm not allowed to use ProcessExplorer on my PC if I want to play Sam & Max)

    Regards
  • WillWill Banned
    edited December 2007
    If you download the latest version of Process Explorer, all you have to do is close all actively running versions of the program to play any SecuRom games. You don't have to deal with all that nasty rebooting process. I'm a PE user myself, so it disappoints me as well, but simply closing the program made it a lot more bearable.
  • edited February 2008
    While you may not consider SecuRom a scam, it is. Your consideration is not required. It is tantamount to hijacking someone's computer. And it is ineffective at preventing people from running pirated copies of your games. Why alienate the fanbase needlessly? The Sam & Max games are, in my opinion, really great games, and I'm rooting for their success, if only because I'm hoping that you'll never stop releasing new episodes! :-)
  • edited February 2008
    For what it's worth, I completely agree that Securom is a scam. It has never stopped any serious pirating. Cracks for securom games are easy to find. The arguement that copy protection of games stops casual pirating is one that always confused me. Those of us that still buy PC games are unlikely to give copies to our friends. Most of us know how to find pirated games and still choose to buy them. Why would we help someone else do something we wont do?

    Most frustrating, though, are the unrealistic restrictions Securom places on your computer. No process explorer and no disc emulation software!? I have a tablet computer with no disc drive (it's in the docking station). It shipped from Lenovo with disc emulation software installed on it. So, Securom games will not work with an new-in-box Lenovo tablet pc.

    That said, I bought the season one disc and Telltale does let us download the activated versions anytime we want. More over, they have updated season one to the new (and much improved) activation system. These signs of loyalty and customer care mean a lot.

    I loath Securom in principle and in practicality, but not even that will stop me from continuing to buy Telltales Games' games.
  • edited February 2008
    I largely agree with bpages comment (it's similar to the one I raised earlier) however, a few comments:
    bpage wrote: »
    The arguement that copy protection of games stops casual pirating is one that always confused me. Those of us that still buy PC games are unlikely to give copies to our friends.
    Well, not give copies maybe, but I do borrow games from friends (or lend them out) every once of a while. In my opinion, this is fair use. Note that the Securom DVD allows this kind of use, while the download with internet does not (or more accurate: it only works as long as Telltale explicitly allows it) which is why I'm much less opposed to the Securom protected disc than the activation-protected download. I don't need to be able to copy the cd if I can transfer my physical copy to other people without needing to ask Telltale's permission to do so.
    Most frustrating, though, are the unrealistic restrictions Securom places on your computer. No process explorer and no disc emulation software!? I have a tablet computer with no disc drive (it's in the docking station). It shipped from Lenovo with disc emulation software installed on it. So, Securom games will not work with an new-in-box Lenovo tablet pc.
    It's annoying and I agree with you, but on the pragmatic side: I've been running Daemon Tools with the Securom-protected DVD without problems.

    Finally I still think it makes much more sense to protect the downloadable episodes than the final DVD. The games are probably available illegally cracked and all before the DVD is shipped out, which makes protecting the DVD content rather pointless (the bonus content is, ironically, not protected). However, when a new episode is released there is a lot of anticipation, and I imagine a lot of people are willing to open their wallet if they can have the game earlier (as opposed to waiting for a cracked version). So I definitely see the advantage of copy-protection there.
  • JakeJake Telltale Alumni
    edited February 2008
    For what it's worth, you can "lend" a downloadable copy to your friend, they just need to be a real enough friend that you trust them enough to not abuse your My Telltale login information.
  • edited March 2008
    I just wanted to throw in my two cents. I almost composed an e-mail about this very topic. While I understand the desire to keep your games as secure as possible, it also should be understood that whenever these attempts start to cut into your customers enjoyment that should be a bigger concern. So far your copy-protections have seemed relatively fair but forcing me to play with the DVD in the drive was rather irritating. I just uninstalled the whole thing after finishing the first episode and downloaded all the episodes to play them that way. I purchased Season 1 with the idea of playing them off the DVD. I don't like the idea of digital downloads very much and prefer to have physical copies. It's somewhat ironic to me that I waited so long for the disc and I ended up downloading them so I could play them.

    It's not yet reached a point for me where I'd threaten to stop buying your products. Far from it. I've loved Sam and Max and I just purchased Season 2. I try to convince everyone I know to buy your products as well, however this is something that does seem to alienate your customers a bit. It's not a huge deal, but when you're almost accused of being a criminal by a game you purchased it's going to rub some people the wrong way. It reminds me a bit of the resistance online music stores found from people refusing to buy DRM files. That seems to be why iTunes and most other major online stores are focusing on DRM-free MP3s. There's little incentive to keep your customers honest if they can pirate, steal or copy your work with fewer hassles than those of us who are honest. Like I said, putting a disc in a drive is not the worst thing in the world. But, I did have the thought that this "protection" seemed like a hassle to the people buying your software and something those stealing it wouldn't even have to deal with. Putting a disc in a drive isn't enough to turn me to a life of crime, but I can see how things like this could keep those already down that path from turning back.

    Keep up the good work and hopefully a DVD serial can be worked out for the Season 2 release. Once again, I'm waiting for the DVD. Now I'm off to try and get the sound working in Season 1 again. Keep up the great work guys, I love these games.
  • edited March 2008
    I just read an article by the people at Stardock who make Galactic Civilization 1 and 2. The article is about gaming and piracy, you guys might want to check it out. They don't put any copy protection on their games and this article explains why.

    http://draginol.joeuser.com/article/303512/Piracy_PC_Gaming
  • edited March 2008
    That's how I see it too.
  • edited May 2008
    Honestly (I know this thread is about 2 months unreplied, but this is important), WHO CARES WHAT SECUROM DOES? My brother installed S1 through my DVD, SecuROM doesn't break ANYTHING on his own computer, that thing's running Vista, fer' crying out loud! Even stuff that's gone digitally unsigned isn't broken by SecuROM. In fact, only game SecuROM's ever given me trouble with is BioShock (2K might've modified that version of SecuROM 7.x). TellTale's made the right decision with SecuROM, it's not leaving any loopholes in your system like Safedisk and other copy protections do. That's the exact reason Maxis switched from Safedisk to SecuROM 7.x for The Sims 2. It doesn't leave any security holes.
  • edited May 2008
    WHO CARES WHAT SECUROM DOES?
    These guys, and most of these guys, me, the people who didn't buy the game because they don't want to willingly install malware on their computers, the people who use their computer for other things than playing Sam & Max.

    Copy protection is perfectly reasonable way to protect against piracy, that doesn't mean we (as customers) have to be happy about it. If the decrease in piracy leads to more sales or not (or less) is something that isn't really established (unless you think that one pirated copy = one less sale).

    What copy protection does is make it less convenient to pirate games, the downside is that it also makes it less convenient to be a paying customer. So in short, I understand the reasoning behind using copy protection, but as a customer, it lessens the value of the product for me.
  • edited May 2008
    Our SecuRom doesn't actually install anything on your computer.
  • edited May 2008
    Exactly my point. That's why Telltale's my favorite game company. They actually care about their customers with quality support.
  • edited June 2008
    The first thing I did when i was confronted with secuRom was go onto the net and download a hacked version of the game. it was easy to find, a quick goggle search and a bittorrent dl and I had a copy of the game with no protection. I would say securom only stops people who don't have highspeed internet and are somewhat computer illiterate, Maybe there are enough of those people buying the disks to make it worth your while protecting them...I don't know but I'm going to guess there are.

    ok so why did i need to get around securom? funny story... I was borrowing the DVD version from a friend of mine. It wouldn't have been an issue at all if I hadn't decided it would be awesome to play on my Fujitsu p1610 (It is, this game is BEGGING to be played on a touch screen computer) It has no cd drive so i have to use emulation software and thats how I got here..

    This wont be a problem for season 2 as I plan to download them them from the net as soon as I get back home to my highspeed. Right now I don't know if it will be from bittorrent or from the legit place. it really depends what kind of hassle the legit place gives me. Honestly I think it would be easiest if I buy the CD, put in on the shelf and then download the hacked versions.
  • edited June 2008
    The download versions from Telltale require online activation the first time you run them. If you're on Windows XP or Vista (the supported OS's) and haven't removed Internet Explorer from your system, you should be fine to activate them online. (Let them through your firewall, of course).

    As far as I understand it, once you've authenticated the game once, you won't need to be online to do it again to keep playing (unless you uninstall or reinstall).

    I'm sure the TT staff will correct me if I've made any errors.

    Please don't pirate the games. We all want Telltale to make money so they can keep on making more great games! Plus, it's only $9/episode or $35 for the whole season, which is very cheap.
  • OMAOMA
    edited July 2008
    The point still is, copy protection ONLY gives problems to paying customers, not pirate ones. People downloading the games from a "non-legit" place will get them with a cracked executable that will work perfectly, whereas customers who buy the disc version might have problems, such as this:

    http://telltalegames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4689

    If you read that thread you'll see that the game didn't work because of the copy protection, and the problem was fixed by using a cracked EXE. I know it might not be a common case, but it still happens! It's ridiculous that one has to resort to downloading cracks from illegal sites to get a legitimate bought game working.

    Users of the pirated version of the game will never know about those errors, but people who honestly bought the game get all sorts of problems. In my case, I didn't have problems with the S&M Season 1 DVD, but I did have problems with other copy protected games from other companies (namely, Ubisoft), which didn't work until copy protection was removed, so I know how incredibly annoying this is. This can happen to anyone at one time or another. Plus not all people will go so far to get the game working, so they'll be left with a non-working game!

    Lastly, there is an additional issue no one has mentioned. Copy protection schemes are very reliant in little features in the OSes they're targeted at. That means the game may stop working in newer versions of the OS just because of that extra copy protection code added to the game, even if the game itself could run with no problems otherwise. The less complications in the code, the greater the chance for "forward compatibility".

    And speaking of that, even it's not related to copy protection, another good step would be removing that IE-based launcher. Relying in third party system components that can be updated at any time is not good, because you don't have control over that. What if the next version of Internet Explorer breaks the behavior of the browser component? This has already happened to a lot of IE6-based applications, when the IE engine was updated with IE7. Having the games stop working just because of a browser update would be a shame.
  • edited July 2008
    I much prefer Securom to online activation. But I have several drives so I can leave the DVD in there for as long as I need to.

    But I would prefer this even if I only had one drive, I have a strong dislike for any kind of online activation.

    I *really* hope they continue to do it this way.. release downloadable versions with online activation and DVDs with disc based protection.. that way we get a choice at least.
  • edited September 2009
    Last week I was trying to burn backups onto CDR's (not game "backups" just backing up my work). For some reason reason I could burn DVDR's just fine, but not CDR's. Every attempt at burning a CDR in Windows produced a coaster. Oddly enough, when I booted into my Linux partition, I had no problem burning CDR's. So the problem wasn't with the drive itself.

    Then yesterday, when I was trying to locate my Windows Desktop from within Linux, I noticed a SecuROM folder in there. I've only had 3 games installed on this computer, so it wasn't hard to figure out which one had infected it with SecuROM. I have every reason to believe the SecuROM has interfered with my drive's ability to burn CDR's in Windows. From what I've read, it installs filter drivers and runs a service all the time, even when you're not running the "protected" game, so it's not surprising that it could interfere with other uses of the optical drive. Can someone tell me how to get rid of this cr@p in such a way that it won't hose the computer? Does Telltale have a SecuROM removal utility? I've heard of other game manufacturers supplying one. The convenience of being able to back up on CDR's within Windows is much more valuable to me than playing Sam & Max games.
  • edited September 2009
    Hi !

    Well, I'm personally quite annoyed by the Securom protection as well. As a Linux-only user, I play the game (Sam'n Max season 1) through Wine (it works perfectly), but I had to redownload "fixed" executables because of the securom protection + I have to put the DVD each time. So usually I redownload the digital versions (waste of bandwith + online activation + having to type the serial for each episode, at least under Wine).

    There are actually many windows games that would work "out of the box" under linux thanks to wine but that don't because of securom or other protections. Which makes me frequently download cracks even if I bought them :)

    Anyway, I can understand the motivation to use it, but I guess it mostly annoys the people who bought the games and not the ones who downloaded them easily from any bittorrent tracker.

    Edit : just bought season 2, doesn't seem to work because of the login screen/online activation. Or will require some tweaking, again :) I know you don't support other OSes, but it's sad that the only thing preventing it from working properly is the copy protection :( I'll either download "cracks" or wait for the DVD and hope the Securom protection will work properly...
  • WillWill Banned
    edited September 2009
    There's a handy guide for getting the various games up and running in Wine: http://www.telltalegames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10820

    I'm pretty sure they should all playable without any cracks necessary.
  • edited September 2009
    Thanks for the reply Will, well, I don't know why it doesn't seem to work with Season 2, but I'll receive the DVD anyway, which will probably work ! (if the copy protection doesn't require a patch, as the Season 1 DVD)
  • WillWill Banned
    edited September 2009
    If I remember correctly (which ain't exactly a guarantee), I believe the problem with S1's securom was just that it was so old. The newer version that's in Season 2 is a bit less futzy I believe. But it's been quite a while since I've fiddled with it so I could be misremembering.
  • edited September 2009
    I'd still like a utility from Telltale to get the SecuROM from Season 1 off my computer.
  • WillWill Banned
    edited September 2009
    Hey Pickle, did you get the cd directly from us? I'm fairly certain that none of our season dvds or our downloadable games actually install any securom utilities. Everything is either built into the disk or built into the game. Either way, I'll look into it on Monday to make sure I'm not making this all up.
  • edited September 2009
    I have to say that those who have 'legit' copies of the game and download cracked versions to bypass the security throught a torrent, are actually doing something illegal. YOU ARE STILL UPLOADING THE FILES TO OTHERS WHEN DOWNLOADING IT!!!

    If people are really bothered about having to put in the CD, like myself, then get GameJackal from here. It is a legal, secure way to play games without the need for the CD.

    I believe this should be encouraged as a way to get around the problem, and I hope the Telltale will encourage the use of it to those users that have admitted to downlading cracked versions.
  • edited September 2009
    Will wrote: »
    Hey Pickle, did you get the cd directly from us? I'm fairly certain that none of our season dvds or our downloadable games actually install any securom utilities. Everything is either built into the disk or built into the game. Either way, I'll look into it on Monday to make sure I'm not making this all up.
    Yes it's from the Telltale site.
    The only other games that have been installed on the computer are Oblivion Collector's Edition and Yoomurjak's Ring. Oblivion was on the computer since the day Windows was installed, and never caused a problem with burning.

    If you're correct and the DVD's from Telltale don't use SecuROM, that means the problem must be from Yoomurjak's Ring -- which is especially insidious because that game was a (very long) download and doesn't even use the CD drive to install or play. Yoomurjak's was installed at about the same time as Sam & Max, so it's possible I'm blaming the wrong game. If that's the case, I humbly and red-facedly apologize for cluttering up your forums (which is no easy task for a pickle).
  • WillWill Banned
    edited October 2009
    No worries! I'd rather just see your computer up and running again. You may be able to use a third party uninstaller program. Like at home I use Revo Uninstaller whenever I'm worried that a program will be leaving behind annoying reg keys and such. It's trustworthy and free. To fix it though, you will probably have to reinstall the program and then use the uninstaller to uninstall it.
  • edited October 2009
    Do you plan to infect (;)) the DVD version of ToMI with DRM too? While messing around to make the downloaded version work in CrossOver on my Mac, I stumbled upon Securom references (was it a directory or a registry entry? I don't remember). I still plan to order the DVD, but I'd be more than annoyed to have to keep around and handle the disc every time I want to play the game.

    With optical drives getting more and more obsolete by the day, I don't think that it is a good idea to tie your games to the media they were delivered on. The overall software/hardware compatibility will probably fade out with time anyway, and a TelTalTolVM will have to be created in order to play the games ten years from now ;-), but the optical drives are already absent from the netbooks and other portable computers today...

    I think I'll keep the downloaded versions too for convenience, but I'd like to know if unlocking the game with the serial instead of the login/password combination also requires network access... My concern here is that the activation scheme may be broken in the future, like it happened for some music distributed by Microsoft before they changed their music platform, leaving thousands of paying customers with files locked to the machines on which they had activated the music. I know that you don't have any plans to do such a thing, and that you'd probably go at length to prevent this from happening even if you were bought or had to close the doors... but you never know what will happen in the future.

    Here is an iPhone independent game developer discussing about the rate and consequences of piracy for two of their games. They embed an activity tracker in their game, and, by comparing the sales with the server hits, they were able to infer the piracy rate. Please note that, being an iPhone game, it had to be cracked before being dissiminated illegally. The stats at the top refer to their new game. The remarks at the bottom are based on their experience with the older one.
    Early stats about how pirates are owning our new app:
    • 85% of current users are using cracked copies (1 week after going live)
    • 7 of the top 10 entries in Google when searching under "Silver Skull iPhone" are links to cracked sites
    • 15+ tweets in the last 7 days linking to cracked copies in Twitter
    • 15x jump in unique users when the first cracked copies went live(off of a small base though)
    • Rapid sampling of game. Usage analytics tell us that most of these pirated users don't play deep into the game.
    Why we are not that concerned that our app has been pirated:
    • Rate of piracy declines rapidly. iCombat showed us that piracy rates trail off the more time the game is live (dropped to below 50% after 3 months). Since pirates are very early adopters, they tend to cycle through apps quickly. Novelty is the rush not free.
    • Piracy boosted paid sales. Our sales nearly doubled in the days following the release of the cracked version.
    • Any attention is better than no attention. It has become increasingly difficult to get noticed in the app store so having users, any users, is better than nothing (see our full post on this here).
    • Lite version is going live soon. This should deflate much of the push to pirate as again, pirates are more focused on sampling, not long term usage.

    The most important point for me here is the fact that piracy actually doubled the sales of the game (although it's hard to get the real picture since they don't give the sales volumes for the game. It was apparently a popular iPhone game, though). Word of mouth at play I guess...

    In a similar vein a band recently quadrupled their nightly CD sales by giving them away for free.
    Terry McBride of Nettwerk told this story at a recent conference:

    A band he was managing (Griffin House) was doing the usual thing of selling CDs for $15. They'd mention it once or twice from the stage, and sell about $300 per night on average.

    He asked them to try a completely different approach:

    Say to the audience, “It's really important to us that you have our CD. We worked so hard on it and are so proud of it, that we want you to have it, no matter what. Pay what you want, but even if you have no money, please take one tonight.
    Mention this again before the end of the show, adding, “Please, nobody leave here tonight without getting a copy of our CD. We've shared this great show together so it would mean a lot to us if you'd take one.”
    It changes the request from a commerical pitch to an emotional connection. (Replace market mindset with social mindset!) Allowing them to get a CD for no money just reinforces that.

    Terry said that the band did this for a while, and soon they were selling about $1200 per night on average, even including those people who took it for free! I think the average selling price was about $10.

    But the important part came next:

    Because every person left each show with a CD, they were more likely to remember who they saw, tell friends about it, listen to it later, and become an even bigger fan afterwards.

    Then, when the band came back to a town where they had insisted that everyone take a CD, attendance at those shows doubled! The people that took a CD became long-term fans and brought their friends to future shows.

    You could argue that a video game studio isn't a rock band, but there are similarities, especially since you already have an emotional connection with the players. You're operating in a niche, with long time core fans to the genre, and you're a small enough shop to have a real trusting relationship with your customers. Your tech support, for example is top notch. You're even helping people to run the game on unsupported platform, a thing that most companies wouldn't do :-). Using your website and shop is fun, and very much akin in excitement to handling a game box. Great stuff.

    I know that these examples are purely anecdotal evidence, but I thought that it would be interesting to be exposed to the mindset of people who consider the free distribution of the goods they otherwise sell (and not just samples) as a profit opportunity, especially since the pirates have no intention to buy them anyway. The majority them are people with a lot of free time and little money (teenagers or unemployed).

    I'm nowhere implying that you should release your games for free, BTW, but that protecting them is at best useless.

    At last, I'd like to echo a comment from the Hacker News comment thread about the blog post on the iPhone games linked above...
    by timcederman | link

    A nice sensible response, with some well-reasoned observations.
    The thing about piracy I've always found weird is how hysterical some people get about it for their medium and not others. For example, I am good friends with several software developers who get furious about people pirating their products, but have no qualms about having gigs of copied music personally.

    Piracy has been ingrained in the digital word since day one. Now that digital technologies are ubiquitous, everyone does it to some extent (I just read Tim Schafer's account on how he got hired at Lucasfilm Games ;-). I think that you'd be better off embracing it rather than fighting it. It's a perpetual defeat anyway.

    Actually, it seems that it's already partially your strategy, since it's so easy to share the paid downloaded copies with the people you trust... I don't understand your reasons for crippling the DVD releases with DRM... Is it required by third party distributors (Nintendo, Steam, Gametap, etc...)? Assuming that you can generalize the trend of the iPhone game, since the DVD comes late in the release cycle, it won't be pirated much anyway.

    Whatever, I'm back to ToMI... AaaaRRrrr!
  • [TTG] Yare[TTG] Yare Telltale Alumni
    edited November 2009
    The point of copy protection is not to delay the pirates so there is not a 0-day torrent. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory used a (now very old and primitive) version of StarForce that wasn't cracked for a year. This was a pretty sound victory for companies willing to use draconian DRM.

    Ultimately, PC game piracy will be defeated by Steam and its competitors. Once all PC games are released exclusively on digital services, they can require a user to be signed in to play their games much like a MMO. Or they could ban an entire user's account ( see: Microsoft and Xbox 360 ) if piracy is detected. Video game piracy will only be a problem for 10 more years, tops. Technology will handle technology.
  • DjNDBDjNDB Moderator
    edited November 2009
    [TTG] Yare wrote: »
    Ultimately, PC game piracy will be defeated by Steam and its competitors. Once all PC games are released exclusively on digital services, they can require a user to be signed in to play their games much like a MMO.

    There's OnLive with an extreme approach. The user's hardware is merely a thin client. The game runs on their servers and the user basically gets an interactive video of the game.

    The downside of both approaches is that the games die when the company decides to stop offering the service or goes bankrupt. I think a lifecycle of 5 or more years would be rare in these cases, except if the game is a major success such as WoW.
    Now imagine you could not play any games released prior to 2004 ever again. That would be a huge loss. No way to take a trip down memory lane while playing the classics.

    I know the developers and the users point of view, and whatever you do, it sucks for one of them.
  • edited November 2009
    [TTG] Yare wrote: »
    Ultimately, PC game piracy will be defeated by Steam and its competitors. Once all PC games are released exclusively on digital services, they can require a user to be signed in to play their games much like a MMO. Or they could ban an entire user's account ( see: Microsoft and Xbox 360 ) if piracy is detected. Video game piracy will only be a problem for 10 more years, tops. Technology will handle technology.

    There's always a way. Always.

    Really.

    In fact, I'm sure there's some Steam Games you can download illegally and play it without an account.

    Just like I said, there's always a way.

    The only way to actually "defeat" the pirates is do a game good enough so you have to buy it because you think is good and you want to support the developer, which happen with me and the Sam and Max Games. So, keep up the good work Telltale ^^!
  • DjNDBDjNDB Moderator
    edited November 2009
    GinnyN wrote: »
    There's always a way. Always.

    Really.

    Not if the game runs partially or totally on remote servers. In the first case someone might try to emulate the servers role, but that's a whole different story and requires a lot of effort, depending on how much complexity the server handles.
  • edited November 2009
    DjNDB wrote: »
    Not if the game runs partially or totally on remote servers. In the first case someone might try to emulate the servers role, but that's a whole different story and requires a lot of effort, depending on how much complexity the server handles.

    Another story is, of course, if the people will stand that (I will not for starters).
  • [TTG] Yare[TTG] Yare Telltale Alumni
    edited November 2009
    DjNDB wrote: »
    Not if the game runs partially or totally on remote servers.

    This is correct.

    People are already comfortable with this model, given the popularity of MMOs. There really won't be any resistance to it once high-speed Internet access becomes ubiquitous.
This discussion has been closed.