Tuesday, April 09, 2013

That's a stupid question, not a real one.

Tobold recently addressed the hot topic of DRM where he asks the question: "should a company be allowed to put restrictions on the use of their game software?" and once again, I think he completely misses the point. I don't think any reasonable person has ever suggested that a company doesn't have the right to put restrictions on their product to prevent piracy. It's their product, they have the right to wave it in front of our faces and say "nah nah nah nah nah nah" if that's what they want. The question should be: Does DRM accomplish what it is meant to accomplish? If you think DRM is meant to decrease or stop piracy, you're wrong.

The only reason a company wants to stop piracy is because they see it as a lost sale and a lost sale to them is money they could have had if not for piracy. Ultimately that means DRM is meant to increase the amount of money they receive. It's all about the bottom line. It's a numbers game. That's not an indictment. A company is in business to make money so it's easy to see if the company views each act of piracy a lost sale then for each act of piracy they stop, they effectively increase their bottom line.

Now a lot of people who discuss piracy want to throw ethics into the mix. It's stealing. It's not stealing. And while I do have an opinion on this it's not worth muddying the water because in the end, it doesn't matter. I can tell you right now, any given company could not care less about the ethical ramifications of pirating. They only care about the money going (or not going) into their pockets. And for this reason, it absolutely baffles me why companies don't spend a lot more time and effort into studying the reality of piracy rather than trying to boil it all down to numbers they can move around in columns.

One of the most comprehensive studies I've seen only had a one page blurb on gaming piracy that basically boils down to this: There is a lot of talking about the subject but almost no useful data. Funny thing though, even if there was ample data to draw a conclusion, if it isn't the conclusion they expect it's more likely they'd just close their eyes, put their hands over their ears and stomp their feet while screaming "I can't hear you!" This article written back in 2009 shows the ridiculous blinders they are willing to put up to keep their version of reality in place.

Here's the irony of the situation. If you give your customers (and potential customers) what they want, they will flock to you to give you their money. People want to spend their money, they just don't want to spend it on things they don't want. Apple has recognized this for years. It's not a difficult concept to understand. People started pirating music because they were tired of spending $15 for an album that had 3-4 songs they were interested in listening to. Apple recognized this and turned it into a multi-billion dollar industry that they dominate in ridiculous proportions to this very day. Steve Jobs then called out various music companies on their use of DRM and shortly after stopped selling DRM protected music and raised prices on popular songs. And their music sales continue to sharply increase. Now, after the music industry has really started to embrace giving you what you want, how and when you want it, via streaming sites, mobile devices and DRM-free use of their product, they are finally, after 13 years, seeing an increase in global music sales.

It took the music industry 13 years to start to recover from their stubborn stance against giving their customer what they want. Rather than learn from this example, the gaming industry is still trying to force DRM down their customers' throats. Gamers don't pirate games because they don't want to pay for them, they pirate games because they don't want to waste money on them.

The gaming industry is where the music industry was 10 years ago. Unfortunately, for both us and them, they don't seem interested in changing with the times.

Friday, November 02, 2012

My thoughts on the NFL trade scene

Recently read an article over on NFL.com reasoning that a later trade deadline would be more apt to generating more trades and that you simply have to look at the MLB and NBA for proof. I'm not so sure. See, unlike the other major sports, the NFL trade scene is hamstrung by its vast array of complicated schemes and playbooks; you can't just plug Random Good Player into your lineup and expect immediate positive results. Sure, you would much rather have Sam Bradford or Ryan Tannehill throwing to Dwane Bowe, but it takes time for any player to learn the playbook and then be able to execute it in sync with the rest of the team. While he's in the process of doing that, he could actually be more of a detriment to his team than an asset.

Case in point: Carson Palmer came on board for the Raiders a little more than a quarter of the way through last season. He threw six interceptions in his first six quarters of play. Comparatively, he threw nine in the next 32. This year, despite a new offense and new head coach, he's got five in 28 quarters of play. Time to learn and time to practice with your team mates can make a big difference.

Of course, Palmer is not one of the all-time greats. But he was obviously a significant upgrade over a player such as Gradkowski, the QB he replaced. Yet we can clearly see it takes time for even a good player to be able to utilize his skill set in conjunction with the scheme and plays being run by their new team. This creates an unfortunate environment where trading is largely nonconducive. There are simply a lot more things that have to factor into trades in the NFL and I don't believe an extra few weeks is really going to change much. If the NFL really wants to increase trading, they are going to have to provide incentives to make it more appealing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

There are precious few organizations I hate more than the MPAA. So when I ran across this story, I knew it was going to lead to something great. And let me tell you my friends, watching an object of your loathing squirm around after being caught in an act of hypocrisy is quite satisfying indeed. Unfortunately, nothing is likely to ever happen to the MPAA because of this, but the article led to something unexpectedly wonderful: free press for this film. You see, it wasn't just random hypocrisy from the MPAA, it was "oh shit, circle the wagons" hypocrisy. And if nothing else, that should make you gleefully giggle like a school girl. I know it sure did for me.

I can't wait to see this film.