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Glenda Adams Discusses Mac Gaming


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#41 Aika

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 01:56 PM

Steam is excellent now. Granted it took a few years to get to that status but it really proves that digital distribution does work. The money goes directly to the developer, there's more potential for impulse buys, it helps curb piracy and it keeps costs down. You don't end up in a situation whereby you have printed 50,000 copies and only sell half that. There are no availability issues either so gamers can continue to buy your games long after they've been out of print. Oh and it's a great method for distributing patches.

Then again, I do like having the packaging on my shelf... but really that's the only downside for me as a consumer.

I also don't see why gamer funded ports wouldn't work. I don't think anyone here is stupid enough to send off $50 or whatever to some random Nigerian for a HL2 port so that is a non-issue. If somebody reputable like Aspyr or Macsoft were to do this for ports that are a bit borderline as regards profitability then I think this would be good for Mac gaming and result in more choice. Ideally this wouldn't go on forever of course but it could be the kick up the arse that Mac gaming needs.

View PostDaveyJJ, on June 4th 2006, 04:32 PM, said:

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.

Aye I registered three hits also for the Sims 2 patch (I got my password wrong a couple of times) but yeah, it was clearly pirated more than it was bought! :(
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#42 Mister Mumbles

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 03:16 PM

I do not condone a model of complete digital distribution of games. The notion that everyone who has an internet connection has broadband acces nowadays is ridiculous. I'd wager that the majority is still in dial-up-land such as myself. To make games - especially the ones that float around at a size of one gigabyte or greater - only available online would probably hurt the publishers more than it would help them due to lack of accessibility; consequently, it might actually contribute to a loss in sales.

Secondly, I'd rather have the checks for the game discs instead of having to be connected to the internet every time I want to play a game. I would consider that an even greater hassle.

The only good and possibly feasible idea I've read about in this thread is showing developers/publishers that there is an interest in specific games. Some companies that produce board games have done it for quite a while already. They list the potiential games they might produce. Once one pre-orders a specific game and as soon as the number of pre-orders reaches a certain amount the project goes into production. Not to mention, the people who pre-order get a discount on the game in this model.

I certainly would not be too comfortable with giving  someone my money without there being a guarantee I would get it back if the project never is going to see the light of day.
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#43 bobbob

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 03:55 PM

View PostPegasus, on June 4th 2006, 02:16 PM, said:

rather have the checks for the game discs instead of having to be connected to the internet every time I want to play a game.

Steam does allow you to play when off line, as long as you've let it connect recently (only takes a minute). I think that's kind of onerous, because your use of the product still depends on Valve's continuing existence, server maintenance, and  good will, but it doesn't require a connection every time.

Developers such as StarDock have done retail, mail order, and internet distribution without DRM and have seemed to do OK. Like Steam, though, there aren't any discounts for giving your money to them instead of also to the store and the printers.

#44 cellophane

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 06:56 PM

First of all, every single anti-piracy measure frustrates people who pay and fails to prevent anyone from pirating a game, and I seriously doubt that "casual piracy" (borrowing and installing) is significant in comparison to internet downloading. The only effective method is to authorize a CD key for online play, but you will never stop someone from copying a game and playing it in single player mode without some form of DRM that would not be worth providing customer support for. Forcing users to have the DVD-ROM in their drive is completely ludicrous as is, since people who download the title and crack it wind up having a better user experience than those who paid. Where's the incentive?

The only solution for the Mac gaming market is to increase the overall Mac market share and to demand fully native, simultaneous Mac releases complete with fully cross platform interoperability direct from the original publisher. It's been said before in this thread, and it's true: Aspyr ports don't sell well because they're simply too little, too late, and in comparison to their Windows counterparts, they're way too expensive.

As Apple continues to transition to Intel, developers don't have a reason NOT to release Mac versions. As long as the Mac grows, developers will follow suit with studios like Blizzard, and Aspyr can move on to more important things, like selling music and never releasing an OS X version of Deus Ex.

Hey Glenda, think Aspyr would like to sign an industrial rock band?

#45 macgallant

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 07:21 PM

I have something to add.  Not every Mac gamer is a pirate.  I for one buy all my Mac games.  In terms of my purchases of commercial games- my most recent purchases are Harry Potter Deluxe, Tiger Woods 2003, and (First to Fight- which I bought used); however, my commercial games purchases has slowed down because my Mac isn't fast enough for them=less or no purchases.  On the Mac shareware games side, I purchased Kitty Solitarie and Jammin' Racer most recently (and I plan to buy more titles like-- Avernum4, the soccer game by Pheilos-- I think it's called "Kickin' Soccer," and Redline).

Many Mac gamers felt left in the cold because the commercial mac games can run well or at all on their perfectly fine systems-- i.e. Powerbook G4 1.67 Ghz owners wantly to play Civ IV.

If Mac games publishers/companies want Mac gamers to buy more games, design and make games for the Mac from the ground, then the mac gamer userbase purchases would be greater because the it would be more inclusive and allow more Mac users to run the games well and allowing for more potential customers.  

Porting PC games has its limitations, i.e. the Mac system requirements get so high that only a small percentage of Mac gamers meet those requirements=less customers. PC games run well on PCs because they were designed for PCs from the ground up.  Porting PC games to the Mac doesn't work also because it never gets the level of optimization as the PC, i.e. Metal of Honor:AA & Dungeon Siege runs well on a lowend PC but sucks on my PowerMac G4 and my brother's iBookG4.  

Mac game companies/publishers should make games designed for the Mac, then more customers will be able to run their games and virtually no mac gamer gets left out or left behind.
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#46 Belcarius

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 02:22 AM

It's one of those funny little ironies that the first thing I notice on getting back is a continuing debate about piracy. And I'm sure all of you are sitting here thinking "I would never support piracy because it directly hurts the Mac gaming experience I enjoy so much." Or something along those lines.

Well I've spent 4 months in Vietnam as an English teacher, and I can tell you most of the pirates are over here. Now I don't know how many Macs there are here, but I have never found single place that sells legitimate software. Not one. It is all pirated - windows, Mac, even the console games are pirated. Even in big westeren style department stores. Asia, ladies and gentlemen, seems to me to be where most of this piracy is centred. Sure, it still goes on in the West, but I doubt at the same rate.

And there is a slightly justafiable reason for it. Most inhabitants of asian countries are so poor that they can't really afford to pay for software. Do the maths: you can buy copies of most programs on disc for about $3 each. Instead of paying $90 for a copy. Bill Gates was recently over there to try and stamp out piracy, but when TEACHERS get about $100 a month to live on, how is a lowly student going to afford any software? For those of you wondering, most computers are secondhand, and they purchase the parts seperately because you get charged less on import taxes, so the comps all look older than the components inside. But once they're bought a comp, which takes them forever, they still need to pay bills and so on each month, so is it really fair to expect them to pay so much?

This is the case for windows software, anyway. As I said, I don't know how many Macs there are on the asian market. But the fact remains that if you owned a Mac in Vietnam, the only place you could buy software was from one of the cheap dealers of pirated cds.

If this is the source of the biggest pirates, how do we stop it? The answer is simple: I don't know...
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#47 Batcat

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 03:04 AM

As price is a barrier to Mac ownership for some even in the States, and only recent models run recent games very well, I doubt Aspyr loses many sales to Asian piracy. I'd guess you'd find 10,000- 100,000 pirate copies of Windows in Asia for every pirate copy of Stubbs.

#48 bobbob

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 03:20 AM

In the West you hear about the big software blunders. $1M to bin a working app and make one that is more 'enterprise' (that doesn't work), $500M to build a database and access point system (that doesn't work), etc. Ask around in China (People's Republic of, the other Republic of is fine), and their blunders are risked over paying $100k for a ready-built foreign system. It's not just that the people individually can't afford foreign prices, it's also that 'price parity' can't be met when they artificially set their own exchange rate to screw over themselves and foreign businesses. Foreign companies then have to drop their prices and their pants to even try selling there, and piracy or no they have a heck of a time competing.

Piracy in other countries might be worse, but at least in a floating currency exchange you can find a happy equilibrium.

#49 electricdawn

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 04:59 AM

I'm really concerned about the growing acceptance of DRM. Has nobody in here learned the lessons of the record and film industy (a.k.a M.A.F.I.A)?

Big music companies introduced DRM and wild, out of proportion copy protection schemes (Sony rootkit anyone?), to gouge even more money from the customers. I am, and will be always, totally opposed to these measures, and that's why I stopped buying from the companies that support them.

Mind, that I have over 200 legal music CDs at home, and I don't condone piracy at all. But I spend my money somewhere else now, and that is in the Indy market. Sites like Magnatune.com allow you flexible prices (50% of which goes directly to the artist), no copy protection and loss less formats. AND they allow you to give a copy of your bought music to three friends for free!

How can they survive, if piracy is so rampant? Obviously they can. I wonder why that wouldn't work in the Macintosh gaming market as well.

I'm not buying the argument from the publishers that DRM is going to save them, that piracy makes them loose so many sales. I'm simply not buying it. Period.

If people want to play a game, and they like it, they buy it. If not, they don't. I know, there will still be people who pirate stuff, just for the fun of it, but you will NEVER, repeat, NEVER be able to stop them. No matter what you do to alienate your legal customers.

Get rid of DRM and copy protection schemes, lower the price by the amount these schemes will cost to develop, and you will gain your customers trust again. Don't bother going the other route, because you will loose in the end.

My two euro-cents.

v/r, E.

PS: I DON'T condone piracy, just to make sure you get where I'm coming from.

#50 flargh

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 07:10 AM

View PostPegasus, on June 4th 2006, 05:16 PM, said:

I'd wager that the majority is still in dial-up-land such as myself.

Depends on who you're talking about. We discovered a while back that the majority of our reader base had broadband, which is why we discontinued the cover CDs that we used to include with the newsstand editions of our magazine.
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#51 OverLoad

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 07:15 AM

View Postelectricdawn, on June 5th 2006, 07:59 PM, said:

Big music companies introducing DRM and wild, out of proportion copy protection schemes (Sony rootkit anyone?), to gouge even more money from the customers. I am, and will be always, totally opposed to these measures, and that's why I stopped buying from the companies that support them.
Indie labels are a good place to get music if you don't like the DRM schemes the corporate suits seem determined to foist on the world. But there's a big difference between the amount of effort it takes to produce a music album and the amount of money it takes to create a good game. Are you saying we should all go back to playing Tetris?

#52 flargh

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 07:16 AM

View Postmacgallant, on June 4th 2006, 09:21 PM, said:

If Mac games publishers/companies want Mac gamers to buy more games, design and make games for the Mac from the ground, then the mac gamer userbase purchases would be greater because the it would be more inclusive and allow more Mac users to run the games well and allowing for more potential customers.  

This is a chicken and egg argument. What's more, the evidence doesn't suggest that you're right, at least not all the time. Blizzard's had great success with World of Warcraft, for example, but MacSoft's sales of First to Fight and Aspyr's Mac sales of Stubbs the Zombie haven't exactly set the world on fire.
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#53 ehuelga

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 11:05 AM

View Postflargh, on June 5th 2006, 09:16 AM, said:

…sales of Stubbs the Zombie haven't exactly set the world on fire.
I've got Doom3 and Quake4 on the shelf at home, waiting for the purchase of a spankin' Intel Mac Tower in the next six or eight months. I played them once through on the underwhelming 1.8 G5 in my office, but who want's to spend more time in the office? I'll buy Stubbs & CoD2 later. I wonder if Apple's stagnant tower sales have much to do with slow game sales while people like myself wait for machines that will better handle the system requirements?
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#54 Frost

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 01:29 PM

View PostGlendaAdams, on June 2nd 2006, 08:13 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 :(
That is pathetic.

It sure would be nice if there was some way to help lock out pirates without also being a pain in the ass to honest users. I've often wondered if something like the iTMS has wouldn't do well at deterring pirates. That is, you can have like 2 or 3 computers authorized for a particular code, and beyond those you can't really use it. Annoying for pirates, yet for people like me who use their product honestly it's pretty much transparent.

Or maybe have a rolling self-updating access code system like Ambrosia with their games. That's pretty quick and painless, and it seems to have made a major dent in the serial code crackers since they put it into effect.

Surely either system (or both together) would work as well or better than the silly, easily defeated CD-in-drive system, and it'd be more convenient for the end user too.
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#55 electricdawn

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 02:20 PM

View PostOverLoad, on June 5th 2006, 03:15 PM, said:

But there's a big difference between the amount of effort it takes to produce a music album and the amount of money it takes to create a good game. Are you saying we should all go back to playing Tetris?

Honestly, I don't see your point. I'm not saying that publishers should give away their games for free. I absolutely expect to pay a reasonable price for a Mac game. I just don't want any copy protection and/or DRM measures with that, no, thank you. I do have to accept them right now with WoW, which is my own decision. One not taken lightly...

I think that nothing will change if there is no copy protection on games or music. People will pirate, their numbers will stay about the same, but your legit customers will be much more happy. Who knows, in the end you may even make more money, because at least I'm more willing to buy from publishers who get rid of CDs-in-drive-needed or other copy protection measures, then from the ones that don't. At least, that's my humble opinion.


View Postflargh, on June 5th 2006, 03:16 PM, said:

<snip>but MacSoft's sales of First to Fight and Aspyr's Mac sales of Stubbs the Zombie haven't exactly set the world on fire.

I've bought First to Fight and still wait anxiously for an Intel patch. I WOULD've bought Stubbs if it had said Intel patch and I could save where I want. I'm the customer, my money talks. Period.

v/r, E.

#56 OverLoad

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 05:46 PM

My point was quite clear. It is obvious from Glenda's post that games publishers (especially Mac game publishers) have to do something to protect their profit margins, which are wire-thin in any case. If a company like Aspyr ends up losing money on games (even though fine paying customers such as you and me are paying a reasonable amount for the game) then that company will have to stop producing games; they're not running a charity for our benefit!

That is why I said, earlier in this thread, that I don't feel put upon when a game asks me to insert a disk or type in an access code. I would definitely not approve of an invasive rootkit-style protection measure, but frankly I think people who complain about having to put a disk in to play a game need to re-evaluate their priorities. There are people in the world who don't have a place to live, who don't have enough to eat; and you're wasting your time complaining about being required to put a disk in?

Stop playing the games, if you don't like it. I daresay the game publishers are more concerned about the thousands of sales they are losing to pirates than the ten or twenty sales they may lose to folks who can't put up with a couple seconds' inconvenience.

Sorry for ranting, folks, but people who gripe about picayune matters just get me riled up.

#57 the Battle Cat

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 06:09 PM

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.

View PostOverLoad, on June 5th 2006, 04:46 PM, said:

... I don't feel put upon when a game asks me to insert a disk or type in an access code.
I felt put upon before but after what Glenda said I'm willing to put up with just about anything it takes to keep Mac games from failing because of software piracy.  Those numbers are stunning.
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#58 flargh

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 05:36 AM

View Postelectricdawn, on June 5th 2006, 04:20 PM, said:

I've bought First to Fight and still wait anxiously for an Intel patch. I WOULD've bought Stubbs if it had said Intel patch and I could save where I want. I'm the customer, my money talks. Period.

Yeah, but it's not all about you, electricdawn.

Both games were out months before the Intel machines began shipping, and there's an installed user base of millions of systems that can play them.
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#59 ehuelga

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 08:32 AM

View Postflargh, on June 6th 2006, 07:36 AM, said:

…there's an installed user base of millions of systems that can play them.
But there are also millions of us nursing our dual G4s into old age, waiting for Intel towers to appear. :happy:
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#60 Eric5h5

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 11:41 AM

View PostOverLoad, on June 5th 2006, 07:46 PM, said:

There are people in the world who don't have a place to live, who don't have enough to eat; and you're wasting your time complaining about being required to put a disk in?

Sure I am.  The people who don't have a place to live or enough to eat will be in exactly the same place regardless of whether I have to put in a disk in or not.  Since I can't help everyone in the world, I'll very well complain about something that's a problem for me, thank you very much.  If enough people complain, perhaps something will change for the better.  Even if it doesn't feed everyone on the planet.

Quote

I daresay the game publishers are more concerned about the thousands of sales they are losing to pirates than the ten or twenty sales they may lose to folks who can't put up with a couple seconds' inconvenience.

It's more inconvenient than that.  Losing the ability to play the game entirely because of a disk that goes bad is a pretty big problem.  OK, not as big of a problem as not having enough to eat, but hey!  If we DO have enough to eat, then we start focussing on other problems.  

Quote

Stop playing the games, if you don't like it.

How about I keep playing the games, and complain about annoying copy protection punishing those of us who are legitimate customers?  The fact that I totally understand and sympathize doesn't stop me from wanting a better solution.

--Eric