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Glenda Adams Discusses Mac Gaming


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#21 AlanH

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 07:52 AM

View PostOverLoad, on June 3rd 2006, 01:14 PM, said:

I have never been bothered by a game requiring me to put in a disk.
I agree. Having an intermittent requirement for the DVD/CD would be more annoying in my view, as the chances are that you won't have it the one time in ten when you are asked for it.

#22 the Battle Cat

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 08:08 AM

View PostGlendaAdams, on June 2nd 2006, 06:13 PM, said:

Piracy is a big problem.  A recent game we released has 5 to 6 times as many downloads of the patch as units we've sold.  Now I know every pirated copy isn't someone who was going to buy the game, but say even 20% of them were- that would double the sales of this particular game instantly.  Thats pretty sad :(

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At this rate Mac gaming is doomed.  This is the most troubling thing I've ever read concerning Mac gaming.
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#23 iRolley

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 08:27 AM

View Postthe Battle Cat, on June 3rd 2006, 08:08 AM, said:

At this rate Mac gaming is doomed.  This is the most troubling thing I've ever read concerning Mac gaming.

Indeed it is. I read it yesterday and did not know what to answer.

It is even more frustrating because I was glad/happy to see that the Mac version of CoD2 was cheaper than CoD2 for XBox 360, 49$Can against 70$. MAYBE a student rebate of 10$ might be something to look into.

#24 Zwilnik

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 09:22 AM

View Postteflon, on June 3rd 2006, 10:55 AM, said:

The way I see it, there only a few ways to avoid piracy, and all of them are risky for business. The first is to lower the price point. Even just dropping $5 makes buying the real game that bit more attractive and accessible, of course, $10 would be even better. But also introducing a kind of bargain bin scheme where the games gradually depreciate in cost over time, say $10 every 4 months or something (depending on the sales of that game Sims2 would not go as cheap as quickly).

Unfortunately lowering the price point doesn't avoid piracy. On the Mac, budget shareware titles gets stolen just as much as full price titles. If anything the lower price may be making people think it's not as big a crime, so they're more prepared to use a stolen code or cracked copy.

The only surefire way of preventing piracy would be serious DRM, preferably hardware based on the Macs themselves. It won't stop everyone, there's always some idiot prepared to waste 100 worth of time to steal a 5 game, but it would stop the casual thieves enough to make the industry viable again. That or the other impossible option, which is a good advertising campaign that actually works in making people realise what they're doing when they copy a game is wrong.

My favourite (although unfortunately not one we could probably use) option is one I heard mentioned by a dev recently at E3. Instead of wasting money on anti-piracy, we invest it in organised crime, so that whatever people steal from us, we get roughly the same amount back from the people who are stealing it from them :)

#25 Lord Brixton

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 09:55 AM

There's no real problem with the pricing of Mac games, or any games come to that...

Piracy (theoretically) only costs us proportionally as much as it costs our PC brethren, but it's frequently offered as the reason that there are so few Mac games compared to PC ones, even accounting for the massively different user base.

Having said that, I don't have the big problem with DRM that some people seem to:

What would be so bad about connecting to the developer's site on first run & inputting (automatically from sys profiler) your MAC address, then having the app periodically check in every now & then to make sure it's legal?

check happens at random intervals, and given that broadband is becoming so widespread as to be considered universal nowadays, need not take very long. if the check fails because your network is down, it 'remembers' & checks again next time. 3 strikes & you need to re-register.

Beats the hell out of having to find an insert a (scratchable) DVD every time you want to bust some alien butt.

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#26 biomaton

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 10:01 AM

Some Solutions to these the Mac Gaming problem:

1.  Apple needs to market a mid-range mini tower.  Something cheaper than the high end "Pro" towers, but more upgradeable than iMacs and Minis.

2.  OpenGL development:  I'm not in the industry, and I'm no programmer, but we've all seen the numbers.  OpenGL is slower than DirectX.  Mac ports are almost always slower than the original PC game.

3.  Original Game development:  The scraps of PC games are not going to cut it.  What we need is another "Marathon."  Basically some high quality Mac only game, that become "killer-apps."

4.  Improved component compatibility:  This is in the hands of ATI and nVidia.  They've been price gouging the Mac market for years.  The only thing preventing Macs from using many of the much cheaper and readily available PC graphics cards is drivers.  Maybe Apple could twist their arm a little?

#27 bobbob

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 10:18 AM

View Postbiomaton, on June 3rd 2006, 09:01 AM, said:

OpenGL development:  I'm not in the industry, and I'm no programmer, but we've all seen the numbers.  OpenGL is slower than DirectX.  Mac ports are almost always slower than the original PC game.

I'm pretty sure it's just that OSX is slower, because OpenGL on Windows runs pretty quick.

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Improved component compatibility:  This is in the hands of ATI and nVidia.  They've been price gouging the Mac market for years.  The only thing preventing Macs from using many of the much cheaper and readily available PC graphics cards is drivers.  Maybe Apple could twist their arm a little?

What's nVidia got to do with it? They make no cards. If the 'only thing' is the drivers, Apple should be twisting their own arm to make some that recognize PC cards and run PC roms. Glenda thinks Apple should ship Macs with Aspyr game demos. I think Apple should drop the pretense that the GMA950 'supports the latest 3D games' when CIV isn't supported at all. A turn-based strategy game, ffs, which requires nVidia's bottom-of-the-barrel card from 3 years ago.

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Original Game development: The scraps of PC games are not going to cut it. What we need is another "Marathon." Basically some high quality Mac only game, that become "killer-apps."

Are you a fan of Monty Python? They have a sketch on how you could cure all diseases. First, become a doctor and wow the medical community with your prowess. Then, once they'll listen to you, tell them what to do and it'll get done right away. Basically, your solution requires solving the problem first. The problem being that the Mac games market can't pay for middleware licenses or porting rights for major titles, let alone developing a whole major title of its own.

#28 Tesseract

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 03:52 PM

View PostZwilnik, on June 4th 2006, 01:22 AM, said:

The only surefire way of preventing piracy would be serious DRM, preferably hardware based on the Macs themselves.
Hmm. Here's the thing: workable digital restrictions management requires that my computer be ultimately controlled by someone other than me. I'm not fond of that idea; I'm sure you can come up with a few reasons why. I understand consoles are rather popular among game developers precisely because the platform is locked down.

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My favourite (although unfortunately not one we could probably use) option is one I heard mentioned by a dev recently at E3. Instead of wasting money on anti-piracy, we invest it in organised crime, so that whatever people steal from us, we get roughly the same amount back from the people who are stealing it from them :)
Ah, the ever popular stealing-from-the-thieves scheme. :)

I propose a more radical solution. Accept that bits are made to be copied. Don't try to stop people from doing what an overwhelming majority of them have demonstrated a desire to do and an acceptance of others doing. Then ask, "Given the realities of the situation, how can we make a living?"

Art used to be funded by patronage. I suggest that we update that model and allow everyone to be a patron. Imagine if Aspyr could simply say, "We need $X to port Game Y," and when they received enough money, from anybody who cared to give it, they would do the port. Even better, imagine original development using the same model. The best part is, the game would be paid for upon release, so everyone could copy it as much as they like. The developer would probably sell copies digitally, for a small fee to cover the cost of running the download servers, or as a boxed disc for the cost of production and shipping (plus a small margin). Ideally it would include the source (for all the assets), so ports could be done for every platform that anyone desired, either by volunteers or as a job paid for by whoever wanted it.

There are two main things that would be needed for this to work. One, a way for prospective patrons to easily find out about proposed projects. What is being planned, who is doing it, what they have done before, how successful their projects have been in the past. Two, a system for managing the actual payments. People need to get their money back if a developer fails to do what they have promised to do, and developers need to be sure that they will get the money they have been promised. This would probably boil down do some sort of escrow service, though a system of contracts might do the trick given a good enforcement agency.

Yes, there would be problems with this approach. But I think if it were implemented with care, the problems would be much less problematic than the ones we have now.

#29 Zwilnik

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 04:10 PM

View PostTesseract, on June 3rd 2006, 10:52 PM, said:



I propose a more radical solution. Accept that bits are made to be copied. Don't try to stop people from doing what an overwhelming majority of them have demonstrated a desire to do and an acceptance of others doing. Then ask, "Given the realities of the situation, how can we make a living?"

We do expect that there will always be people who will steal anything that's not nailed down. The problem is that when everyone expects to be able to get the games without paying for them and will steal them if they aren't free.

View PostTesseract, on June 3rd 2006, 10:52 PM, said:

Art used to be funded by patronage.

and most of the great artists died in poverty.

Not that I mind a model where someone pays my team a year's wages and a small profit to write a game for them, but there aren't that many game players out there with that sort of budget ;)

#30 FortranDragon

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 06:13 PM

View Postnagromme, on June 2nd 2006, 09:44 AM, said:

In figuring out why "a successful Mac game might sell 50,000 units" and not more, I'm curious:

1. What is the number for a successful Windows version?

I believe anything less than 100K is considered a failure.  You want at least 500K or 1 million units sold to be successful.

#31 Eric5h5

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 06:29 PM

View PostFortranDragon, on June 3rd 2006, 08:13 PM, said:

I believe anything less than 100K is considered a failure.  You want at least 500K or 1 million units sold to be successful.

So, you're talking 10-20 times as many units.  If you went solely by those numbers, with 50K being a successful number for the Mac, then Mac marketshare would be 5-10% of the PC market.  Considering it's supposed to be 3%, that's not as bad as all that, it would seem.  The piracy figures are still depressing though...clearly, there would be more Mac games if even a percentage of the pirates would stop.  Don't they realize that?

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#32 AlanH

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 06:44 PM

View PostEric5h5, on June 4th 2006, 01:29 AM, said:

The piracy figures are still depressing though...clearly, there would be more Mac games if even a percentage of the pirates would stop.  Don't they realize that?
Of course they don't. The want a free ride, but if the bus isn't running they won't bother. However, I don't altogether buy Glenda's stats. It's amazing how many people download the same file twice or three times or more. Heaven knows why - maybe they forget they did it already, or they figure a second copy might come in handy, or they want to upgrade copies on their laptop and on their desktop and it's easier to get two copies online than to transfer a copy from one PC to another ... :shrug:

#33 iRolley

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 12:44 AM

View PostLord Brixton, on June 3rd 2006, 09:55 AM, said:

Having said that, I don't have the big problem with DRM that some people seem to:

What would be so bad about connecting to the developer's site on first run & inputting (automatically from sys profiler) your MAC address, then having the app periodically check in every now & then to make sure it's legal?

I am with you on that one. It already happens everyday when I check my email...

It is called services. That's what the next web revolution is about. Obviously people are scare of it, with valid reasons, but like it or not, all your PERSONAL DATA ( ;) ) is moving though a bunch of different servers. So compare this to a Game that sends your Mac address every now and then for confirmation.

I wouldn't mind a DRM like iTunes', that would let me install the game at least on 2 different computers. The thing is give and take: iTunes gives me the possibility to get songs directly from my computer, in exchange I adhere to their DRM scheme.

#34 calroth

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 03:12 AM

View PostiRolley, on June 4th 2006, 04:44 PM, said:

I wouldn't mind a DRM like iTunes', that would let me install the game at least on 2 different computers. The thing is give and take: iTunes gives me the possibility to get songs directly from my computer, in exchange I adhere to their DRM scheme.
There's a word for this: Steam.

I would love it it Aspyr set up a Steam-like service for us to get games over the Internet. However, unlike Valve, Aspyr didn't develop (most of) the games they publish, and I'm guessing that you need special rights to set up a download service. Licensing issues again.

I've even thought up a name they could use for the service: Aspyr Game Agent :D

#35 hambone

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 08:25 AM

View PostZwilnik, on June 3rd 2006, 06:10 PM, said:

We do expect that there will always be people who will steal anything that's not nailed down. The problem is that when everyone expects to be able to get the games without paying for them and will steal them if they aren't free.
and most of the great artists died in poverty.

Not that I mind a model where someone pays my team a year's wages and a small profit to write a game for them, but there aren't that many game players out there with that sort of budget ;)

i dont think you are giving this proposition enough of a chance. what the guy is talking about is what is empowered by the "network" aspect of the internet: micro payments. under this proposed patronage system, it is conceivable that 50,000 (or more!) gamers could contribute, say, a minimum of $15 (or more!) directly to the port crew. this would completely bypass all sorts of middlemen and avoid the costs of physical distribution. in return, gamers effectively get <insertselectedgame> for the amount they contributed to the project (and hence what its value is to them), and the producers could still sell the game to non-investors for the regular rate of $50.

with this structure, i imagine you'd have mac gamers clamoring to participate. hell, you could even set-up the game selection process as some kind of American Idol-styled contest where gamers vote with their dollars. it will virally market itself across the mac gaming internet for sure, and having all that self-selected data would be a marketers wet dream.

as to the comments that concern themselves with making the games more accessible, Mac gaming should embrace digital distribution wholeheartedly. as a long-time Mac gamer, the #1 impetus to pirating games when i was a kid was the difficulty in finding Mac games on a shelf, and the high product costs associated with the smaller economy of scale. mail order was a bit of a stop-gap, but in the end penalizes the buyer with shipping costs that can be 1/3 the price of the game itself. for the love of God, ditch those stupid paper boxes and give the gamer near-instant downloadable gratification at their convenience.

#36 Zwilnik

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 09:01 AM

View Posthambone, on June 4th 2006, 03:25 PM, said:

i dont think you are giving this proposition enough of a chance. what the guy is talking about is what is empowered by the "network" aspect of the internet: micro payments. under this proposed patronage system, it is conceivable that 50,000 (or more!) gamers could contribute, say, a minimum of $15 (or more!) directly to the port crew. this would completely bypass all sorts of middlemen and avoid the costs of physical distribution. in return, gamers effectively get <insertselectedgame> for the amount they contributed to the project (and hence what its value is to them), and the producers could still sell the game to non-investors for the regular rate of $50.

"Hello, my name is Dr UMBIGUI MOLASE, I am currently a software developer in Nigeria, where I have come into holding of the rights to port HALF LIFE 2 to the Macintosh. Unfortunately to complete this port, I am in the requiring of some funds from you my friend"

It might work once, for a big name port title (although the license holders would be way too sceptical and by the time you raise the $, the title would be 2 years old). For original games though, it's not a valid funding model yet.

View Posthambone, on June 4th 2006, 03:25 PM, said:

with this structure, i imagine you'd have mac gamers clamoring to participate. hell, you could even set-up the game selection process as some kind of American Idol-styled contest where gamers vote with their dollars. it will virally market itself across the mac gaming internet for sure, and having all that self-selected data would be a marketers wet dream.

and the worst case of game design by committee ever. There's a reason you pay professional game designers money, it's so they can afford the expensive headphones that block out the sounds of managers and wanabees coming up with stupid ideas. It would be fun to be Simon Cowell in a contest like that though :)

View Posthambone, on June 4th 2006, 03:25 PM, said:

as to the comments that concern themselves with making the games more accessible, Mac gaming should embrace digital distribution wholeheartedly. as a long-time Mac gamer, the #1 impetus to pirating games when i was a kid was the difficulty in finding Mac games on a shelf, and the high product costs associated with the smaller economy of scale. mail order was a bit of a stop-gap, but in the end penalizes the buyer with shipping costs that can be 1/3 the price of the game itself. for the love of God, ditch those stupid paper boxes and give the gamer near-instant downloadable gratification at their convenience.

It's called shareware and because it's easier to download it's getting stolen more. Shareware devs are having to create more and more complex systems to protect their games to break even profit wise. A lot of the retail games have got download options too now, but unfortunately that just provides a nice internet shaped disk image for the thieves to share.

If there was an Apple backed DRM system (ie a central company that's not releasing competing games) that worked fairly well like the iTMS one, it would mean that publishers could actually be a *lot* nicer to gamers and let you install games on multiple machines etc. for personal use. As they'd know you're running a version you've paid for, they can relax and get on with writing the next game, while you can get the most out of the current one.

#37 DaveyJJ

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 09:32 AM

Hmm, in regards to Glend'as thing about getting far more downloads of a patch than sales of the game. I'm at least partly responsible for downloading three Sims 2 patches. One to get the update done, then one to archive just in case (cause I threw the first version out), then rtepeat step two again because I forgot I'd alrteady archived the patch. But 6X the number, wow. I had no idea.

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#38 Tesseract

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 09:43 AM

View PostZwilnik, on June 5th 2006, 01:01 AM, said:

"Hello, my name is Dr UMBIGUI MOLASE, I am currently a software developer in Nigeria, where I have come into holding of the rights to port HALF LIFE 2 to the Macintosh. Unfortunately to complete this port, I am in the requiring of some funds from you my friend"
That is certainly one of the pitfalls. That's why the escrow is needed.

Quote

It might work once, for a big name port title (although the license holders would be way too sceptical and by the time you raise the $, the title would be 2 years old). For original games though, it's not a valid funding model yet.
Yeah, it's kind of like being an indie band. You have to produce some good stuff while working a day job before you get the big record deal. Only, without the record company trying to rip you off.

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and the worst case of game design by committee ever. There's a reason you pay professional game designers money, it's so they can afford the expensive headphones that block out the sounds of managers and wanabees coming up with stupid ideas. It would be fun to be Simon Cowell in a contest like that though :)
I'm certainly not suggesting that the end users should get to design the game. But I guess you could do that if you wanted to, it might have amusing results. :)

#39 Zwilnik

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 10:10 AM

View PostTesseract, on June 4th 2006, 04:43 PM, said:

Yeah, it's kind of like being an indie band. You have to produce some good stuff while working a day job before you get the big record deal. Only, without the record company trying to rip you off.

Except this time it's your potential customers ripping you off.

The games industry suffers badly for the sins of the record and movie industries. Because the big record and film companies have treated the public so badly in the past, people aren't at all worried about stealing their games too. The games industry isn't like that. While there are big companies, they're not all staffed by cocaine snorting executives trying to rip off their customers and make them pay each time they play their music.

#40 Dark_Archon

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 01:26 PM

I like the idea of setting an iTMS DRM style thing up for games where you could have the game installed on 2 machines, as long as there is a way to de-authenticate a machine when you delete the game so you don't find that you can't install a game after a reformat.

I can't stand it when I can't make a backup of a disc, because I am always afraid that I'm going to accidently scratch the disc so I like to have an extra copy.

View PostZwilnik, on June 4th 2006, 12:10 PM, said:

The games industry isn't like that. While there are big companies, they're not all staffed by cocaine snorting executives trying to rip off their customers and make them pay each time they play their music.

I've heard some pretty bad stories concerning Valve and Steam.
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