a way to take a bite out of piracy

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by riot8ap, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. riot8ap

    riot8ap [H]ardness Supreme

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    The game publisher releases a game, but in two different versions: one is free and ad-supported, the other is not.

    Free Ad-supported
    You get to use the full version of the game FOR FREE as long as you want, but there will be product placement in the load screens and/or in-game but never interfering with the game mechanics. The load screens with product placement should be interactive (like mini games you have to solve) to reinforce brand image and make the user want to come back. The time limit should be no more than 3-5 minutes. At any time you can purchase the full game from the same service to remove ads and nags.

    Full Version
    The full version of the game will cost $40 (just throwing that out there, but it should be cheaper than $55-$60).

    Now, why wouldn't' someone just pirate the full version? Because you'll miss out on the online multiplayer that typically gets broken in a cracked version. The free ad-supported version has everything that the full version does, including online accounts and tech support.

    Let me remind you though, you will be watching ads and will get nagged. At the very start of the game, you get a 3-5 min pre-game. If you die (single-player or multi-player) you will have to watch a 1 min vid or do something interactive for that period.

    The key to making this whole operation work is to that the newest games have to be there, ready to go the same day the full version hits the shelves. Who knows, it may even be better to turn on the free one a week prior.

    I can't pretend to know enough to make up advertisement revenue based on this, but I can imagine companies of all kinds would want to pay big bucks for time alone with their targeted demographic.

    This solution can give the publisher 3 additional profit scenarios for the publisher is pretty good IMO:

    1. Player tries ad-supported version for 2 weeks, doesn't purchase game and stops playing. (profit from viewing ads)
    2. Player doesn't mind the ads and never purchases game. (profit from ads)
    3. Player tries ad-supported version, but later purchases full version. (initial profit from ads, later game sales)
     
  2. Guitarrasdeamor

    Guitarrasdeamor 2[H]4U

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    Great thread! A+ Will read again!
     
  3. apcviewer

    apcviewer Limp Gawd

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    There will be hacks/cracks to remove the ads. Pirates want things for nothing. From what I remember, there were ad hacks that removed ads from NetZero. I can't recall anything that happened in recent time though.

    While this concept could work, there are people who would ruin it for others.
     
  4. pfunkman

    pfunkman 2[H]4U

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    not a bad idea but that would probably hurt thier sales more than piracy or it would actually force companies to release quality games.

    Something tells me they would rather keep dishing out beta quality broken games and deal with piracy though.
     
  5. rcf1987

    rcf1987 2[H]4U

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    QFT
     
  6. PornoSatan

    PornoSatan 2[H]4U

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    Exactly. The focus will then turn to cracking the ads while maintaining game functionality.
     
  7. Eggothewaffle

    Eggothewaffle Limp Gawd

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    Easiest way for me personally is to put up your game on Steam.
     
  8. Zinn

    Zinn Guest

    QFT

    I haven't bought a boxed game in a long time now.
     
  9. pothb

    pothb [H]ardness Supreme

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    Really hacks to get rid of ads for NetZero? was this when the ads were not annoying or when they really went out of their way to bug the hell out of you?

    Anyway, this is a horrible idea, free game with ads? Bad....

    and I would hate if all games went on steam, I love owning the boxes and and extras.
     
  10. Negative Decibel

    Negative Decibel 2[H]4U

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    Viewing ads does not necessarily lead to profit.
    There was a version of Far Cry that was released for free but with ad-supported. I never played Far Cry, so I downloaded it. Played it for a few weeks. I didn't care for the game, and I never bought anything for the ads that I saw. IF the game were something that I really liked, I would of accepted the adds, and never purchased anything either a non ad supported version of the game or anything from the ads. I don't think that this is a singularity.

    And pirates would find workarounds for the ads, or not... and we are in the same predicament we are in now. If you want to play online, you have to purchase the game. I just don't see this method being effective at all. The main reason is that you would loose a large percentage of sales to people that would of normally bought the game, but would rather spend nothing to play a free ad-supported version of it.

    and besides, if I see too much of an ad, it will have an adverse reaction of advertisement, and I will go out of my way to purchase something from the competitor, because the other guy did not make me watch his ad over and over.
     
  11. phide

    phide [H]ard as it Gets

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    That's irrelevant for Ubisoft/Crytek. Odds are the advertisers paid for some sort of up-front fee for inclusion of their ads, and those ads would be triggered some number of times throughout the game. It really doesn't matter if you had any interest in what the ads were attempting to sell or not -- all that matters is that you saw the ad (an "impression"). That's what advertisers pay for, and that's how publishers stand to profit. It's a potentially viable model.

    Does the OP have a good idea here? Absolutely, granted the advertising system is absolutely uncircumventable (an infeasible concept). It's certainly something publishers should take a shot at.
     
  12. Zinn

    Zinn Guest

    Oh, didn't midway do *exactly* this with their new Free Area 51 re-Release? I heard it was ad supported... I accidentally deleted the ZIP file after I downloaded tho, so now I'm too lazy.
     
  13. Negative Decibel

    Negative Decibel 2[H]4U

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    yeah, but if they could make ads that were absolutely uncircumventable, then you would think that one could make copy protection that were also absolutely uncircumventable, which would also stop piracy.

    Steam is the way to go.
     
  14. phide

    phide [H]ard as it Gets

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    Realistically though, it doesn't hurt the publishers too terribly if it's easily circumventable. If there's a tradtionally-distributed version and an ad supported version, pirates are probably more likely crack/release the retail version. So, those who'd be interested in circumventing the ad supported version could just as easily grab the pirated retail copy.

    The key concept of doing things this way -- with two different versions -- is based around the fact that there will always be a free version in one form or another. Publishers can save would-be pirates a step and just give them the ad supported version (and really push the convenience factor) and profit a bit on the back end for those that don't end up bothering to circumvent the ad system.

    This is a quasi-Trent Reznor approach to game distribution. First, you accept the fact that people will pirate your product regardless of how fantastic it is or how inexpensive it is, then you build a distribution model around that. For Reznor, that means releasing albums for free, offering people the option to pay him for his trouble (more like a donation than anything else) for a bit of convenience, and offering tons of tangible goodies for those who actually go out and buy the physical product (love my $75 Ghosts I-IV Deluxe Edition swag). Same concept here. Accept piracy -- even embrace the technology behind it like BitTorrent -- and figure out a way to leverage it to your advantage.

    These aren't the good old days when piracy was a tiny insignificant blip on the radar. Minimizing it requires more than just writing checks to companies like SecuROM.
     
  15. Techx

    Techx [H]ardness Supreme

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    silly OP, everyone knows the best way to fight pirates is with ninjas
     
  16. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment [H]ard as it Gets

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    fail - wont work

    if copy protecton doesnt work why do you think ads would?

    cracker crack games because they can and if you introduce ad's it will be a race for the first group to crack the game, remove the ads and release it, period

    protection / ads only hurt the PAYING customers period, always have always will

    If it can be made, it can be broken.

    You clearly know nothing about hackers / crackers, they will release everything and anything just to say they can... and did... period.
     
  17. B2BigAl

    B2BigAl 2[H]4U

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    lol...ninjas :p

    Anyways, my idea has been to use in game advertisements to supplement the revenue of the game manufacturer, which could in turn lead to cheaper games. $60+ dollars is a lot of money to dish out for a game, and I realize that for many people it comes down to either not getting to play a game or pirating it. If game prices were cut in half, I think you'd see a lot more people willing to buy the game, rather than mess with the hassle of trying to pirate it. Maybe that's being too optimistic, but even putting piracy aside, you'd still get a lot more people buying the game if they were considerably cheaper. I know there are quite a few games that I'd like to pick up right now, but I just can't justify the price tag.
     
  18. riot8ap

    riot8ap [H]ardness Supreme

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    Copy protection does not work, you are 100% correct about that. But what happens when you do pirate a game? You run the chances of getting a virus, playing a glitched-up game, or at the very minimum the online aspect is locked out. This model gives you an online account so you can play with your friends. Simply put, if you try to remove the reason why somebody would steal your product by giving them a benefit not to, you may cut down on the number of incidents plus create some extra revenue through advertising.

    The only way this thing would work is if it had some mamma-jamma protection like steam does. Log in to your account, have a huge game catalog (ones with ads, ones without) zero fuss. There would be no option to play offline, don't think it would work.

    Adding to my earlier idea, you could even do a subscription model, sorta like pay $30 a month with same access but with 50% less ads.
     
  19. guitarguy6

    guitarguy6 [H]ard|Gawd

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    The thing that annoys me is that a lot of the time you can pirate a game before it's available in stores. It might not work but I know a lot of people who would purchase games via something like steam/direct2drive if it was available as soon as or before the pirates had it uploaded.
     
  20. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment [H]ard as it Gets

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    some game are already free and online... some of those giant mmopg what ever that are around, they arent great but they manage some how

    i do think most games do need to go to a steam based model, for online at least, but there are people who like a single player game now and then..... i love Gothic 3 - has no serial, no protection to worry about.....


    it is available because people with in the companies leek them out, they cant just say OH look it is on the internet, release the game!!!
     
  21. jonneymendoza

    jonneymendoza [H]ardness Supreme

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    your idea sounds like what ea are doing with bf heroes. free game filled with ads. surprised no1 has mentioned it
     
  22. Diplomacy

    Diplomacy [H]Lite

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    +1, although I don't see this being embraced because of consoles. consoles require physical media FTL.

    McGruff the internet watchdog here: support Stardock if you're tired of being treated like a pirate.

    Remember only you can take a bite out of piracy.
     
  23. pfunkman

    pfunkman 2[H]4U

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    You clearly know nothing about pirates to lump them in with crackers/hackers. Pirates are lazy leaches out for a free ride and they would go for the ad supported version if it meant hassle free multiplayer 99% of the time.

    Hackers/crackers do it for fun, challenge, epeen etc. but they are not and really should not be lumped in with your average pirates.

    He said pirates and pirates are lazy, they do nothing for the challenge they do it for a free ride.
     
  24. jonneymendoza

    jonneymendoza [H]ardness Supreme

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    clearly u lot forgot all about bf heroes
     
  25. Frostex

    Frostex 2[H]4U

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    Ad based games are already on the way, games like battlefield heroes are 100% ad supported.

    It wont be long before games are like american TV, which is crammed with ads and product placements, I refuse to buy a game with adverts in it,so if they go the hybrid route of paying + ads then I'm out.

    I'll only play an ad supported game if its exceptionally good, I can't stand adverts.
     
  26. firebane

    firebane Gawd

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    They tried this a year ago with a release of Farcry for free but it was ad based.

    Took someone 30 seconds to realize they could update a few files and remove all the ads.
     
  27. Unknown-One

    Unknown-One [H]ardForum Junkie

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    More like a nice surprise after installing the 1.3 patch :rolleyes:
     
  28. bigbadgreen

    bigbadgreen Gawd

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    I see nothing wrong with ad supported free versions of games. As long as the retail version has no ads. You could also throw in some extras with the retail version, like a dvd with concept art, making the game movie, interviews etc...

    On another note of security for games, I think game devs need to work with microsoft on the next version of windows to come out with a security standard for windows based gaming. Why can't they encrypt and hide the exe's, or make dummy exe's. I know every security measure will be cracked, but if they want a challenge give them one. How about hardware keys, if you make it complicated to crack it makes it harder for the average pirate to understand how to apply those cracks. Most pirates are clueless about computers in general, once things get a little complicated, like emulating hardware keys etc... it would deture the average pirate from applying a crack.
     
  29. Chombo

    Chombo 2[H]4U

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    Quoted for the McGruff reference.
     
  30. swatbat

    swatbat [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Yea they did it pretty much from the start. Same guys/gals that did it were also the ones that got netzero to remove the free unlimited internet. The people hacking it to remove the adds were also using the same tools to stay online 24/7 tieing up a line for netzero.


    For me it is all in how the ads are put into the game. Something like a racing game I would rather have real racing ads then the cource be plastered with sony signs everywhere. Makes the game more realistic.

    Take a game like a modern day duke nuken. Most of the fighting in it is based in cities. I wouldn't mind seeng verizon pay phones, pepsi machines, some normal bilboards, etc. Maybe have random new york times newpaper machines or have real magazines or books in a book store in it. Make the game glow better.

    Mind you I'm not talking about splinter cell where the cia had nvidia posters all over it. I'm also not taking about seeing nike ads in a game based in the past. Have coke cans in something like call of duty though? Sure why not. They have some random cans and shit on the ground.
     
  31. phide

    phide [H]ard as it Gets

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    Did you read the first post? The idea is that the ad supported version is free, so we're not talking about paying customers here. To those who buy the retail, ad-free version, the ad supported version may as well not even exist. It wouldn't "hurt" those customers one iota.

    And, like I said, that doesn't really matter. The only things publishers would miss out on would be the money required to supply the ad supported version, but with torrenting (think Blizzard), distribution of the ad supported version could be entirely free. There would be the initial cost of the implementation, some marketing and customer support and pretty much nothing else attached to it. We're talking a very low cost approach here.

    Many, perhaps even most people who download the ad supported version wouldn't bother to get rid of the ads unless they're severely intrusive or overwhelming. So, publishers would end up making some amount of revenue from the free version. Get it?
     
  32. jnex26

    jnex26 2[H]4U

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    I don't think microsoft would be too open to that, half the performance problems in vista were cause by the DRM in vista adding too it would only hamper windows 7

    Also hardware keys are pretty much useless (look up DVD JON) and most craks are automated install. which I imagine would stay the same when was the last time anyone whipped out debug to modify a exe.

    to go even further what about all code needing to be signed to execute, this would KILL microsoft O/S's which after a lenghty battle in the OS wars linux and OSX are gaining strength, and the last you want to do is give people reasons to switch.

    I do agree with the OP that ads in game like in bill boards and papers could and would add a level of realism and could bring in marketting revenue. unfortunatly it's a gobal marketand the advertising revenue would need to be pretty high or maybe a advert pak for your region (download the core game and when installing it ask's what region and you get adverts based on your region, this also would give back some infromation to sell back to the markettign comapnys.
     
  33. matrix563

    matrix563 [H]ard as it Gets

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    i dont;' want no damn mini games to crack that are not part of the game. i'll avoid each thank you
     
  34. Syndicated_Death

    Syndicated_Death [H]ard|Gawd

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    I admit I was one of those kids that hacked my netzero. one reason though. I couldn't play a full screen game if I hadn't hacked it. old netzero wouldn't let you cover the ads in any way.
     
  35. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment [H]ard as it Gets

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    the only DRM in vista is DRM to let you PLAY DRM content, with out it, you couldn't play any DRM items.... dont blame MS because they want to let you play your BluRay movie or Itunes song... cause if they didnt have the DRM you couldnt play it then you would complain that Windows doesnt let you play DRM.

    the ads could be good, but i dont think it would lost... i mean how many people really stop to read ads in game or for that matter, see an ad, stop, go to the site and buy the products?

    to me ads arent there, i dont notice the ads on [h] cause that is not what i am here for, and for gaming, sure, put ads in (didnt EA do this in some NF version and BF 2 or something?) i am gaming i dont care about ads so i dont see them...
     
  36. phide

    phide [H]ard as it Gets

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    Vista only has protected video and audio paths, and FairPlay (iTunes) has nothing to do with that.

    Doesn't matter if you see them or ignore them. If they're there, that's an impression. Impression equals revenue. That's it. It's literally that simple.

    Like I said before, you going out and buying a product advertised in a game has absolutely nothing to do with publishers earning ad revenue, so you not buying that product doesn't affect publisher revenues. This isn't any kind of per-click-based model like AdSense.
     
  37. Kidfinger

    Kidfinger [H]ard|Gawd

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    While I think the OPs idea does have merit, Im going to have to agree with some of the other posters here.

    Pirates in general are a bunch of slef centered bastards that only crack games for bragging rights. Why else would they plaster their "club" name all over the NFOs that are included with cracked games? Its all about the eweenie.

    I personally think that there should be some kind of repercussion against them but it is hard to do anything without also affecting the honest consumer at retail/e-tail. So I say we start a vigilante goup and hunt all those pirating bastards down and burn them at the stake. They are responsible for me having to deal with DRM in any form. I long for the good old days when the way to unlock a game was to turn to page 5 of the manual and type in the 3rd word of the 2nd paragraph.
     
  38. Eagle156

    Eagle156 2[H]4U

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    The best piracy protection is a good MP component.
     
  39. .cg.

    .cg. [H]Lite

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    Whether or not a viewer goes out and buys a product has everything to do with it. How do you think they determine how much to pay per impression? If those impressions aren't translating into sales, this idea will never get off the ground.

    They would need a method to further push the ads without interfering with the gameplay. For example, if you're playing a FPS and notice an ad on the wall that catches your eye, perhaps you can simply aim at it, hit F5, and a link is added to your browser favourites for that advertisement. They also need to be able to update the ads to reflect current products, etc.

    Either way, there's no way they can simply place a couple ads throughout the game, and generate enough profit to give away the game for free. It seems like a better strategy would be to deal with piracy.
     
  40. TekRok

    TekRok 2[H]4U

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    everything is meant to be broken