Companies use piracy and used game sales as an excuse to screw the consumer

This will probably be a little long.

I’ve been in and out of the hospital, doctor’s offices and all kinds of shit for the last few months. I’ve thought about pretty much everything from politics, religion, the economy, games, to seeing my son graduate and every where in between. With that said, I’ve had a lot of time to play games on portable systems and on my xbox lately so I’ve been thinking about this for a while.

Frankly, piracy sucks for everybody. It sucks because regular folks get put through the fucking ringer with DRM bullshit, and because DRM isn’t going to stop people from stealing software.

I just recently read about Sony starting up a program that would basically require a CD key for online play with Socom 3 on the psp. If you don’t have the CD key (or UMD key, in this case) then you have to pay sony 20 bucks to get one. Sony is saying that this is to combat piracy. I think that’s a bunch of bullshit. What they’re really doing is locking out the rental market, and the used game market.

Socom 3 on the PSP is pretty much worthless without online play. Sony is effectively locking out everybody who doesn’t buy this game new. Want to borrow the game from a friend to try it out? Fuck you, buy it new. Want to rent it to try it out? Fuck you, buy it new. Want to buy it used to save some loot? Fuck you, buy it new.

Even if you could get it for 15 bucks used, you would still have to pay 20 bucks to get it to play online. Upping your cost to 35. Might as well buy it new to avoid the hassle.

We’re seeing more and more game companies start to do shit like this. EA and Bioware did something similar with Mass Effect 2. If you buy the game used and you want access to the extra content available online you have to purchase a “Cerberus Network Card” for 15 bucks. You can still play the game without the cerberus card, but you won’t be able to download any extra content. The difference between EA/Bioware and Sony is that . EA and Bioware aren’t charging you more money to get the core gameplay of the title. ME 2 still plays like it’s supposed to, but you don’t get the extra shit.

Of course, if you buy ME 2 used and you want the extra character and all the small DLC stuff they have out currently, you gotta drop 15 bucks on a cerberus card since all the additional downloadable content is going through EA and Bioware. So if new DLC comes out for the game in 6 months, you buy a used copy of ME2 and want that DLC then you’re gonna pay an extra 15 bucks on top of whatever the DLC is.

I imagine we’re going to see more and more of this coming in the future. I can’t get mad at game companies wanting to make money off of their product, but something like what Sony is implementing is fucked. I don’t want to get shafted on the full experience of a game if I happen to buy it from somebody who didn’t like it, or if I want to rent it to see if I’ll even enjoy it.

In the case of EA/BioWare, if you buy the cerberus card, there is no refund. I imagine Sony’s system will be the same. So if you rent Socom 3 on the psp and want to try it out, you have to pay 20 bucks just to get the game online.

I feel like if I bought something, I should be able to do whatever the fuck I want with it. If I sell the game to my neighbor, he should be able to play the game fully. I don’t like companies having the ability to lock me out if they feel like it, just because they aren’t getting the money they feel they should.

What do you guys think of all of this?

Edit EA is jumping into the same style online pass as Sony with the new Tiger Woods game.

Of course, a bunch of people said that EA was full of shit and EA responded.

This is doing the same thing that the Socom code will do, not like what happened with Mass Effect with the Cerberus card. The cerberus card still let you play the core of the game. I know for a lot of sports fans, the online component is essential. This completely cuts out anybody from buying it used unless they want to pay EA for the ability to play online.

I’m curious how xbox users especially feel about this since they pay a fee to have the ability to play online.

Make no mistake, this is a cash grab on EA’s part. Pure and simple. It isn’t about giving the customer a better experience, and EA’s COO is full of shit too as well. I’m curious how EA would even track used sales and how he conjured up the figure of only 10 percent of used sales actually buying and redeeming a code. And the other reason he’s full of shit, again, falls back on games like ME 2. You don’t need to redeem the cerberus card to play the full game. It wasn’t like you got to the Omega 4 relay and the game said “Sorry, to get past this point you need to pay us 10 bucks.” What a bunch of bullshit.

Its understandable on the PSP, with how easy it is to hack a PSP i don’t know of a single person that has ever bought a PSP game, the software sales also clearly show how many people are actually buying PSP games. While yes it is a bunch of BS, Sony has their reason and understandably so to implement such methods.

As you said, it will probably be more prevalent in the future, but as long as they go the Mass Effect route of only locking the little extra features that not everyone will care about, instead of core gameplay that EVERYONE wants, then I don’t see the problem.

We have already seen it for years with the “Collector’s Edition” version of games, where if you don’t want to buy it new AND as soon as it comes out AND pay extra, then you miss out. However, very, very few “Collector’s Edition” games still have content that is actually worthwhile.

Also, despite 2 years working at Gamestop, and everything GS wants you to believe, Used Game sales still aren’t quite as big yet as to be a serious threat to the Game Industry.
It does kinda hurt some of the smaller niche games…the ones you won’t find at big retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart. Still, most parents buying games for their kids in America right now are buying them at the big retailers…many of them don’t even know what Gamestop is. Even during my tenure at a GS in a mall, I found a lot of parents who would just stroll into the store because they were at the mall and wanted to know what the store was.

I was just reading about Son’y new plan. And while I understanding they want to ensure they’re getting their money. I agree with you that, if I buy a game, I should be able to sell it to a friend or trade it in, etc. it’s my game, why shouldn’t I be able to? And if for some reason I decide to get a game from a friend, then I shouldn’t be penalized for it.

How about the Ubisoft DRM plan that will be taking effect with Assassin’s Creed 2 on the PC? It’s going to require you to stay connected to the internet constantly while playing the game, and if you disconnect for any reason (router reboot, server ping timeout, etc.), then the game will instantly stop, with all progress made since the last checkpoint being lost.

Not for the pirates. But overall I agree, the steps gaming companies are going through to battle piracy is a bit overboard. The people who are pirating will still find ways to pirate stuff. You’re only making things more annoying for legit rental companies and the used games market. You’re really only hurting the lower-income gamers, who will be forced to either not play your game AT ALL or learn to pirate the game.

On a sidenote: Hospital? You ok man? We don’t need another GD OG goin down…


I was reading about that too, earlier this week: I think that’s absurd.

and what happens to places like blockbuster and gamefly? would they just not be able to function anymore (for blockbuster in terms of renting games, not movies) if/when this becomes the norm?

Not that I disagree with your sentiment, but why would game companies care about the rental market, and ESPECIALLY the used game market?
Blockbuster is dead, I’m sure Gamefly doesn’t help most companies’ bottom line, and the Used Game market does nothing but HURT.

Also, outside of arcades in the 80’s/90’s, when has any company EVER cared about lower-income gamers?
Sony’s policy has always been: Pay what we want you to pay, or fuck off.

I hate it. It’s an excuse for them to make more money and cover it up with a story about piracy. The second hand market must be becoming a real pain for them to stoop to this length or maybe they’re just getting greedy but it’s sickening.

The Cerberus Network didn’t bug me too much since I paid for Mass Effect new, but it annoyed the hell out of my brother when he loaded his save up on my computer then back on his and it demanded that he get the required DLC or he couldn’t continue his save. It’s understandable because he loaded content up onto his save then tried to play on a system where it didn’t exist, but I didn’t want him sat in front of my Xbox all day and even when transferring my account to his and re-downloading the stuff he was still forced to start again because of how the DLC works on the Xbox. At the end of the day he started again without it, even a 12 year old didn’t like the idea of paying for it despite it not coming out of his pocket.

There isn’t a way for a company to determine everyones financial standings so they shouldn’t be allowed to fucking force you to pay for portions of a game (I mean in the sense of the full retail game, not extra DLC chapters). Not everyone can afford $60 release day titles and these recent attempts at boosting the figures they make from a game just annoy me.

The simplified answer to your question is this: Yes.

And I know it’s cool these days to highlight and focus and lambaste what Sony is doing, but everyone is getting in on this. You know how the PS3 allows you to copy your digital files on up to five systems? There are several publishers who want that stopped AND want Sony to charge for PSN (because they would rather pass off the bandwidth fees to the consumer) because they see it as a 80% reduction of potential sales, and they consider that piracy.

As for actual piracy, it affects the bottom line more than you would think. Wii, PSP, and especially DS have huge install bases, so you think that should translate to fantastic software sales, right? Well, it doesn’t. I think I am the only person in the world who still buys legit PSP and DS games these days, and I have seen some of the abysmal numbers for games that should have sold well.

I mentioned sony specifically because Sony has taken it, at least in this instance, further than anybody else. Don’t forget that this is the same company that gave us the root kit. It’s a bit difficult to believe they’re being altruistic and this isn’t about doing damage to the used game market.

Further, you are right. A lot of companies are getting in on this. It doesn’t make it less shitty. I still get irritated that my xbox won’t let me play certain games I’ve downloaded unless it can check to see if they’re legit, which brings up the point that most anti-piracy measures just piss off the people who bought the project in the first place. Pirates are ALWAYS going to steal and us, as consumers, are going to continue to deal with bullshit DRM because of it.

Bottom line is that these companies are crossing the line between wanting to be profitable and being fucking greedy, especially when they can practically say anything is piracy and create lockouts like the ones we’ve talked about, to make sure they’re getting their money.

sony’s 5 digital copies is pretty crazy
i had a 360 before a ps3 and when i found that out, i was amazed how many free games i coudl get from friends

and shit like that AC2 DRM thing is the reason people pirate games, aside from the obvious “cheap” factor

Oh, and as a further jab at the used game market, how much do you think that socom 3 on the psp is going to be worth if you trade it in at gamestop? Or if you sold it to somebody? NOTHING. That’s the point. The game doesn’t function as it should without the online component.

On another note, as I said before, I really hate having to be connected to the net to play something. When we were having a router problem at my house, I couldn’t get on Live, so Mass Effect 2 told me my save data was corrupted because it couldn’t get online and verify the content I downloaded was actually legit. That’s somebullshit. Guess who else is doing that, but with a whole game? Ubisoft. If you have Assassin’s Creed II on the PC you have the be connected to their servers at all times for the game to even function. If you get kicked off the net, your connection goes down, or you end up some where that doesn’t have a internet connection then you can’t play shit. The game won’t start if you don’t have a net connection and if your net connection fails during a game you’ll get kicked off and lose all progress unless you saved a few seconds before the game kicked you off.

THAT is some bullshit.

This shit right here? Hurt my heart. I thought it had been a joke, but as soon as people started confirming it, I cancelled my preorder. It’s stupid, because pirates will have that shit cracked in no time, just like the last one.

I have a friend of mine that went through the Bioshock drama and bullshit regarding the DRM for PC and wound up playing it for 360. The same thing happened this time around for the Bioshock 2 release, with Games for Windows Live giving her shit because she has horrible internet. The DAY OF release, pirates got a copy and it was a done deal: hacked release, from two major camps. This chick actually BOUGHT the game, only to wind up grabbing the pirated version so she could simply save/play. The lengths to which this is actually antagonizing legit gamers is some sad shit.

The only winners are the software pirates. They have and always will crack the DRM and get it for free, while the legit consumer spends their time and energy working within the rules while companies waste resources trying to develop more DRM :confused:

I honestly don’t see anything wrong with the ME2 situation. You get a complete game experience if you buy it used, but if you want the extra goodies, you gotta tip the developers for it. It’s actually a pretty cool idea.

Sony’s plan is also not bad in theory. I just think the charge is way too much. Drop it down to 10 bucks, and it’s far more reasonable.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to make a profit off of your product and protecting your IP. Shit, I buy most of my games used, and I still think that. There’s just a difficult balance between making up for profit loss and keeping fans happy. Still, I think I’d take this sort of thing over the draconian shit going on at the PC gaming front.

stupid DRM shit only MAKES people want to pirate games because its so fucking annoying to be legit

I actually saw the Socom 3 thing last night on PSN and thought it was fucked up. Didn’t Epic games want to make it so you couldn’t even play a game unless it was new? That would be the worst case scenario. If this does become the norm, I’d rather pay 15-20$ for a key than be forced to find a game new, years after release because I missed out on the game the first time around, while the prices on eBay/Amazon are in the 100’s of dollars because they understand that if the game isn’t new, you can’t play it at all.

I guess it depends on how it’s done? I can’t check the article unfortunately at work but if it’s an actual CD keylike what’s used for PCs you could just remember what it is and give it to your friend when they buy the game from you right? Or would it work as a one shot use number you’d enter online and it’s tied to your account and if someone else enters it it’ll say they can’t? Come to think of it I guess I answered my own question :rofl:

Even if Gamestop didn’t exist there would still be a used game market. GS is simply a convienient middle man.

I have a strong detest for piracy the most simply because it’s a copy of the game that NOBODY paid for. Used games do affect the game industry’s bottom line to a certain extent but the thing is inorder for their to be a used game someone had to have bought the game new in the first place. Piracy bypasses both new and used.