Category Archives: Shaggy Writes
Hey all, with Movember wrapping up in the next week or so, I FINALLY got this year’s video out, and also wanna mention, if you want more Shaggy Reads [book about the pointy teeth folk], this is the LAST TIME I’ll be putting it up as an incentive… EVER!
Either way, let’s change the face of men’s health.
So if you read THIS post, you know I love messing around with any of those comic making print studio softwares. Well, the fine folk at pbskids.org have graced me with more reasons to waste time, with Arthur Comic Creator. Enjoy.
Just saw The Hunger Games. It was well done, but 2 complaints:
1 – unnecessary shaky camera. The first 10 minutes, instead of a steady cam rig, they duct-tapped the camera to the back of a happy wiener dog.
2 – the antagonist Tributes get all cartoon super villain / monologue bad guy, on the edge of “mwa-ha-ha”. I feel this was done to help in dehumanizing the ‘other Tributes’ who had to die eventually, and force the audience to not like them… I don’t like such blatant manipulation of the audience. >:(
Anyway, Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!
What is it?
Using the play mechanics of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, up to 8 players run around a city full of duplicate NPCs. Your mission is to blend in with the crowd and kill your targets without them knowing they’re being followed, all the while you too are being hunted.
- a different kind of multiplayer. Sure you can play it “run and gun” … but you WILL DIE!
- years of drama class finally pay off, as you have to act like an NPC… OR DIE!
- the leveling system with unlock-able abilities for custom load outs make this game damn addictive… to DIE for!
- there are some very tense moments when you know 2 or 3 hunters are right behind you, and you have to think WHEN should you run… andifyoudon’tyouDIE!
- only down side, online multiplayer companions aren’t often subtle in how they play, and end up rushing into every kill, ruining your stealth approach… and you want them to DIE!
If you enjoy playing as the Spy in Team Fortress 2… you should be playing this.
- Mature subject matter delt with fairly earnestly, with a good mix of horror and humor.
- A story that’s tied together by a climbing puzzle game, but a more organic mixture than Puzzle Quest did.
- I can tell you one thing, the decisions I made in this game got me feeling guiltier than the ones in Animal Crossing. (“I’m sorry I never wrote back to you Gruff! No Gruff, don’t go. Please don’t move away! Gruff! GRUUUUUUUUUUUFFFFFFF!”)
“Out with the old, in with… oh, wait, the old is still here?”
In the process of adapting the Norwegian folktale Tatterhood into a comic to be enjoyed by today’s audience, something occurred to me: modern copyright practices have really screwed our narrative culture.
No, I don’t mean “WE SHOULD ALL BE ABLE TO SELL ANYONE’S WORK AND MAKE MAD MONEYS OFF IT”, but… ok, here’s the set up.
Back in the day, people shared tales. The Brother’s Grimm where just some scholarly fellows who traveled around Germany (or where ever), collecting and retelling a lot of these cautionary and cultural stories. As they actually put their findings down in writing, their version of stories had often become the definitive versions we know today… at least until Disney did the same thing and became the new standard.
The point is, a story that one individual made up was shared, re-interpreted by ANYONE through either cultural sensibilities or ‘broken telephone’, and was presented through the mediums of the time.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one such tale that I feel has been re-interpreted, retold, and even referenced more than most. Written by Lewis Caroll back in 1865, the book has been out of copyright protection since 1907, meaning, it’s public domain. According to wiki: public domain refers to works, ideas, and information which are intangible toprivate ownership and/or which are available for use by members of the public.
(or) “free reign. Everyone get to re-making that shizz.”
And though there was a silent film and many book re-prints and translations prior to 1907, afterword and as technology evolved, every medium had Alice adventuring throughout.
Children’s picture books, tv series & specials, animated films, stop motion, live action feature films, stage plays, comics and so on. And no one owed anyone to do so. You wanna make Alice in Wonder Cereal? Go nuts. Hell, PUT nuts in it.
And don’t even get started on Japan, with the manga and anime. There’s something about a girl being ‘spirited away’ into another fantastical world that they love in their story telling. Interest in the tale of Alice also has an influence on the Victorian / Rococo period inspired Lolita fashion scene.
Now here’s the interesting part.
This will never happen to Harry Potter.
This will never happen to Buzz Lightyear.
This will never happen to… Idonno, the animals from Madagascar.
Where creative content in the past had a certain amount of years after being created or a certain time after the creator’s death before becoming public domain, today we’re living among companies that still exist and own properties that have long outlived their original creators, and are constantly pushing for revisions to copyright law so that it ensures properties never become public domain.
I could write more about his, but really, there’s two videos you can watch that cover it a lot better. Be sure to check out CGPGrey’s Copyright: Forever Less One Day, and Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix Part 4, for a better explanation to the end of public domain, and WHY it’s such a great loss to us all.
With all this talk of protecting copyrights, I’ve had many thoughts on the matter. This article is not entirely about the business or legal aspect of intellectual properties, and I doubt it’d be very accurate if I tried. What this article addresses is our need, as people, to create, and as you will learn in the following required viewing (Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix Part 3) to create is to copy, transform, and combine.
(be sure to watch previous episodes at: http://www.everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/)
Many of us grew up re-creating what we knew and enjoyed. A lot of my early drawings as a kid were Ninja Turtles. My sister’s first fan comics were of Archie and Sailor Moon. The songs we were taught on piano were all ones we know from childhood sing-alongs.
According to Kirby’s video, Hunter S Thompson re-typed The Great Gatsby, just to ‘feel’ what it should be like to write a great novel. Sounds crazy when you hear it, but in truth, many of us have attempted similar endeavors.
I was a fairly active member of the Voice Acting Alliance back in the mid 2000’s, and you know what largely took place there? Fan dubs.
People removing all the audio from selective scenes or even enter episodes of an anime, cartoon, and even feature film, and recasting all the voices with enthusiastic members, all wanting to some day be a voice actor. True, it’s a little specific to say “I want to voice act in anime and ONLY anime” but you gotta start somewhere, why not practice with what you know and like?
(one of my early ‘parody edits’ as it was long before “Abridged” became the word… and I wasn’t actually a ‘fan’ of Orguss… it sucked)
DeviantArt is a hugely popular site for seasoned pros and new artists alike. There, amongst many illustrations, comics, and photos, you can find fan art for just about every drawn or animated property enjoyed by the masses.
Whether any of these works have been sold at conventions or online, I can’t say, but for the most part, fan art is an act of tribute, and learning.
I myself have an audio series, Shaggy Reads Twilight, that originally started as a joke for a friend, but became a practice of reading a lengthy narrative out-loud, in preparation for one day to produce my own original narrative audio stories (betchya didn’t know that last part).
The problem we’re all running into is this:
Even though we don’t intend to make profit off of these projects, when we decide to share our work (usually for the need of critical response or just to give joy to others who share our interests) we enter the dangerous territory of Copyright Infringement.
Let’s return to the example from the video. Hunter S. Thompson retyped The Great Gatsby. Did he share his typed pages with his friends to read to show how good he could type? What are your thoughts if he did?
We can’t really talk about copyright infringement unless we know what it means. According to wiki’s opening line:
Copyright infringement is the unauthorized or prohibited use of works under copyright, infringing the copyright holder’s exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works.
But right there we’ve already run into a problem. Every country has different laws on copyright.
Whenever YouTube users runs into trouble for having copyrighted material in their videos, they can often defend themselves under ‘fair use terms’ which legally allows the use of copyright materials in the case of commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.
However, this is in regards to United States copyright laws, and other countries (I believe my own, Canada) aren’t as clear on when it is legal to use material for the purposes of satire and parody for example. Canadians have to be careful.
But let’s not get jumbled into the technicalities of copyright laws, let’s give these large corporations a human face, and consider why they would need to be so protective of their properties we enjoy.
Financial reasons are fairly obvious. They don’t want people reproducing and distributing their work as it’s a loss in potential profit. This is a large reason behind all the hate towards web piracy. In the case of fans generating their own work INSPIRED by these properties and selling them, the companies may likewise not be thrilled over the idea of others making money off of their characters and ideas.
But enough about money, here’s another reason: Image and product integrity.
To explain this, we have to address a truth that you may not want to hear. Ready? Here it is.
People… are stupid.
People are easily confused, they get angry over stupid things, and they complain. OH BOY if people are good at one thing it’s complaining.
Let’s take this fact and apply it to the creative works of others.
Let’s say someone makes a fairly risque fan drawing of Kitara and Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender… hell, y’know what? Let me just enter their names in Google… safe search off and HEEEEEY, I don’t believe THIS happened in the series
Now, with this image, we take a trip to Example Town.
Kid is on the computer.
Kid likes Avatar.
Kid searches for favourite characters.
This image pops up.
Parent walks in.
“Oh. My. God.”
Now, we have a problem.
These supposedly safe cartoon characters are posed in a fairly sexual context.
“They’re Nickelodeon characters you say?”
Nickelodeon gets a call.
“Why are you making porn for my child to watch?!”
“We didn’t create that work, fan art is not in our control.”
“It’s your product, you should BE in control.”
Parent groups rally.
Shame on Nickelodeon.
You get the idea.
[ SIDE NOTE: if you’re business is in children's ANYTHING (books, toys, cartoons, video games, comics, etc) you NEVER wanna piss off the parents. Kids may be the audience, but they are NOT the market. Because who are the ones with the money that buy the Happy Meals? ]
There’s a mixture of ‘protecting image’ and ‘profit’ that lead big media companies to shun down their fans. I recall back when the Harry Potter’s film rights were acquired by Warner Bros, Warner went after HP fan sites with cease and desist orders. I think Rowling got pissed at Warner for that.
Nintendo went after SuicideGirls for someone having Metroid listed as one of their favourite games in their profile. “Family friendly Nintendo, enjoyed by people on a site where woman pose nude? GASP!”
I remember all the excitement surrounding a Chrono Trigger fan remake, built in an engine similar to the N64’s (…I think). That got shut down by Squaresoft after a while. Similar deal with that Kings Quest fan project, kept popping up and being shut down.
Fortunately, a lot of this is slowly changing as shown by the support of fans from today’s most popular shows.
Because of the internet, the creative brains behind Adventure Time and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic are in constant contact with their fan base. SO much so that many conversations and ideas become canonical (Derpy Hoves and Fiona & Cake come to mind).
True, the parent companies my not understand this and are still VERY concerned with preserving image of the products they own (as example of CN fighting anything that suggested Princess Bubblegum and Vampire Queen Marceline had a subtext lesbian relation growing, as suggest in the episode “What was Missing”.)
But generally we’re getting to the point where fandom is having a direct influence on the source material.
There are many properties that have thrived from the world of fan recreations and tributes. Star Wars has a never ending library of fan films, using just about every film and animation technique there is. Live action, Stop motions, puppets, flash animation, recaps from memory, you name it. And many of these people, who cut their teeth on a fan project or two have moved on to create their own great works.
(also watch: Star Wars Uncut: Directors Cut)
Regardless of if we know the parent company is uptight with copyright or not, the general rule of the web for posting fan work and remixes has always been: you’re probably not gonna get caught. You are just one of thousands. Why would they go after you? And if they do, take your work down.
And though YouTube has taken down anime fan dubs and abridged series in the past, for the most part, anime companies were born out of fandom for the Japanese art, and thus wouldn’t bother to take down the tribute work. In a way it’s promotion. “All news is good news” as they say.
Just, some companies don’t actually say that.
When big names like Viacom get pissy and shut down our SpongeBob music videos, we respond with: “hey, if anything, my work was promoting their show. What the hell?!”
Hmm… well, take a second and try and remember that annoying kid you had in class. He was arrogant, loud, a little sexist, maybe racist… do you want him running around yelling at everyone about how good the comic you made is, or original song you recorded, or anything you’re proud of? Do you want your work to be associated with him at all?
Let’s be realistic, sometimes people just ‘don’t need your help’. And they’re entitled to take that stance. If they believe what you think is promotion is actually hurting their image, who are you to dispute it? It’s their property. If they want to be over protective, we can’t really fault them for that.
It’s just an unfortunate relationship, really. A conflict of interest. We wanna share our joy of a property in a creative way, but they wanna protect their property from the wrong impression.
Fan works can do great things for the communities surrounding a property. But they can also confuse the ignorant and potentially tarnish a brand. Often, the studio & creators of a property are cool with the fan work, while brand owners can be weary as they want to continue the success of the property they’ve sunk so much money into.
The world of web fandom is both a wonderful & unpredictable place. All we can really do is just celebrate what we love, and hope after sharing our work, no one gets pissed off.
Required reading: http://altdevblogaday.com/2012/02/02/i-feel-used/
(and check out some of the comments too, just to get a feel of the backlash)
A recent post from Jameson Durall, a game developer working at Volition, sparked a lot of feed back (‘retaliation’ really) regarding the next generation of game system and the hopes that used games will be abolished through access codes and technologies, etc.
Here are two common arguments thrown around in response to these statements that I wish to look at, one geared towards game developers who hate on used games, and the other towards gamers who support their right to sell a product they don’t feel lived up to expectations.
Argument to the developers:
“If developers are complaining about people selling their games (making them ‘used’), they should make better games so people keep them.”
My thoughts: This isn’t exactly fair or accurate.
TRUE, people who sell their games are often those who, upon purchase and playing, realize they made a mistake (or, in some cases, were misled) in buying the game, and want to get rid of it, but not at a total loss, as they want to buy a different game to replace it.
But for the most part, people sell their games once completed and don’t need them any more. Why take up space with a game you no longer play, when you can sell it, and with that money, buy a new game?
Many suggest a good method to dissuade consumers from selling their games to Gamestop or BestBuy is to constantly add more value and content through DLC. True, that works nicely for many titles, especially games with an emphasis on multiplayer (new maps, modes, characters, weapons, etc), but not all games fit into the model of the post release add-on.
When I finish a solid story campaign, I don’t always need another mission tacked on just so I can spend a little bit more time in this wonderful game world. For sure, new campaings worked REALLY well for Boarderlands, but sometimes I’m content at being at the end of an adventure. After beating BioShock, I wasn’t thinking, “MAN, if only I could download some more levels!” I feel that would mess with the narrative. I was satisfied with how the game ended.
However, I did purchase the DLC levels for Assassin’s Creed II right as I started playing because they made it so obvious that stuff was missing (“hmm, Sequences 12 and 13 are inaccessible, that’s odd”) which, to this day I DO feel was manipulative. Because, really? In a ‘completed game’ you’re gonna say “oh, some levels are missing, you better go buy them!”
To me, the extra missions were basically MORE things to kill, and didn’t really add anything to the story. They may as well have just been achievements (stop 9 vanities from burning in the bonfires). But I believe the reason they were so lackluster is because: developers CAN’T make DLC mandatory, and as such, they can’t have real weight on the storyline (well, souldn’t at least).
Making ‘insert DLC’ meaningful to the campaign means the game is incomplete without it, and admits that the publisher is charging full price for a intentionally incomplete product, in an effort to squeeze more money out of you.
I can’t say how the Mass Effect games or Deus Ex: Human Revolution has dealt with ‘insert DLC’ because I haven’t played them yet, but as far as AC2, it all felt very tacked on.
To conclude the original point, the argument of ‘make better games to combat used sales’ CAN apply to shitty games that were advertised really well, but I don’t believe developers are required to constantly add more value to their product to encourage consumers not to sell them. Some times you just have to say “the end” and move on to the next story.
To the gamer snubbed by a new game purchase:
“If you complain about paying full price ($60) for a game that you realize you’re not enjoying, it’s your fault. Do your research before buying.”
My thoughts: This ‘research’ you speak of is becoming increasing difficult. Gaming today is an industry set up in such a way that, for the most part, you’re going to be hearing good news and are encouraged to be excited and purchase a new game. It’s not impossible to find the truth of the actual quality of these titles, but there are more road blocks than the past few years had. Before I buy a game you may ask me:
Q. Didn’t you try the demo?
A. There aren’t demos for every game anymore. We the consumer don’t always get to ‘try’ before we ‘buy’.
I remember I was interested in the new Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. I didn’t want to buy it right away as I’d never played a NFS title before, but I enjoy the Burnout series and was really interested in playing another racing game that wasn’t a sim.
I went to download the demo from Xbox Live and… oh, wha? The demo was only available for a limited time? Now that the game is on sale I can’t try it?
Well guess what? Because of this, I never bought it. Not out of protest. Not out of anger. I just wasn’t able to try it. So why would I buy it? But there were those who did anyway, and could only realize after if they liked it or not.
Q. Why don’t you just rent the game before you buy it?
A. Rental shops are disappearing all over.
I live in Toronto, Canada, which is a pretty big modern city. Blockbuster Video up here is dead. Out of business. It’s only real competition Rogers Video is also cutting down on the rental shops (as they rather people use their ‘on demand’ movie service, so why have store locations). Where am I supposed to rent these games from to test them out?
Q. Did you read the reviews?
A: The review wasn’t available.
Game publishers came up with this brilliant strategy to help encourage sales. It’s called the ‘embargo’. A publisher can make it so that if a game media outlet (reviewer) isn’t going to give their new game at least the value of 80% in a review score, the reviewer can’t release their review until after the game is made available.
This is problematic to me for two reasons. One, if the review site says: “well, guess we can’t post the review yet”, then that’s that. I won’t know before launch day if the game is worth it or not (I’ll be in the midnight line up like a FOOL!).
But my true worry is that game sites KNOW they get the most hits when they have the newest game reviews first. They may fudge the facts of a review a couple percentages just so they can post asap. Now you may say, “won’t people know the sites lied after playing the games themselves? What ever happened to journalistic integrity?”
Well, I ask you this: why are there so many ‘second opinion’ review columns popping up these days? It used to be one review was enough. Hmmmmmmm…
Q: Well if you’re so unsure if you’re gonna like the game or not, why are you buying on day one? Why not wait for after all the reviews are in.
A: FREE DLC that I can only get from day 1 purchase.
What if I end up really liking the game and am glad I bought it new on day one because the DLC added to the experience?
What if I bought the game later and was like “crap! Now I don’t get the pre-order DLC!” (or worse) “Now I have to use more money and BUY the DLC later to get the full game experience I’m missing out on. I’m going to have to spend MORE on this game because I decided to wait.
So, to counter the ‘research’ argument, the game industry has made it pretty clear they’d rather everyone just pre-order and buy new games day one, instead of finding out if it’s actually worth keeping (or paying full price for) beforehand. They knowingly use marketing tactics and ploys that basically tell us if we don’t buy it NOW, it won’t be as fun, and we’ll be sorry, but at the same time are OFFENDED that we want to sell these games we were deceived into buying.
There are many more arguments in this used game market conflict. There is talk about the rights of consumers to sell their purchases if they wish (as mush as a DVD or car), there’s developers losing potential full price sale to retailers selling used titles, there’s the fear that the nostalgia market will be destroyed if used games can’t be played while new copies have long ceased being produced.
My bottom line is this:
I like to lend my games to friends. I borrow games from them too. Two of us pitched in and bought the Battlestar Galactica board game a while back, but we’re not playing it every day. If someone else wants to borrow it, I’d rather that than it collecting dust in the closet.
IF, for the next generation of game consoles, Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo decide they need to put the nail in the coffin of the used game market and use some technique or technology to end the use of one purchased game disc on more than one system, well… I can’t say I’m going to move onto any of these new systems.
There’s still plenty of classics I’ve yet to play, on X360, PS2, Dreamcast, PC, SNES, etc. And I’m pretty damn sure I’m going to be borrowing all of them from friends. That’ll keep me busy long past when game companies realize if they made a mistake or not.
For my 2012 New Years resolutions (of which there are many) my most ambitious would have to be: learn a new ability every month.
Kinda like Mega Man really.
Currently, as we’re only one month in, this will largely be through taking a one or two day course in some hobby or trade that I’ve been aware of, but never seriously tried for myself. On my list are: mixology (bar tending / drink mixing), stage sword fighting, video game programing in Unity, and… knitting.
Knitting has always been a part of my life, as it’s something my mom just does. While watching movies or TV, she knits. Everyone sitting by the fire in the living room, she knits.
And though I’d seen the hands moving, the yarn knotting, and needles shifting all around accompanied by quiet clicks and clacks, I never understood how it all worked. I couldn’t tell you how you start making anything, my assumption being you just tie a knot then… build a sweater around that? Or maybe you make an outline of the sweater in yarn and fill the gaps? All I knew for certain were the results, and they’re pretty damn warm n’ comfy.
So, I signed up for a 2 day beginners knitting course at Lettuce Knit, in Toronto’s Kensington Market.
It’s a nice li’l shop, with walls covers in colourful yarns, and books of patterns and ideas to keep you going forever. I actually had to go there in advance of the lesson to pick out my yarn and needles. I felt like Harry Potter in Ollivander’s shop, finding the wand that was right for me. Instead of magic, however, I was to conjure a scarf!
There was such a large verity of yarns to choose from, ranging in all prices, but I eventually landed on 100% Peruvian Highland Wool. One in red, the other in black. My scarf was to be Sin City themed.
The lesson was pretty chill. The shop was filled with people (mostly ladies, there was one other dude though) who may have crocheted before, but knitting was a new practice, so we were taught the VERY basics and were nurtured along the first 4 or so rows of our soon to be scarfs.
So, now with introductory knitting skills, and a yearning for some yarning, how had things gone since?
… I have NO CLUE how knitting can be a relaxing hobby. I’ve probably cursed more while knitting than playing Halo. SO MUCH can go wrong! For instance, every time you get to the end of a row, you have to start a new one above the original, so you-FUCK! The loop fell off the needle!
Ok. Ok. We can recover, just pull it together-SHIT! I fucked up AGAIN!? ARE you FUCKEN SHITTING ME?!
ALRIGHT, it’s cool, we got this, we got-aaaaAAAaaaah-ASS!
I had 30 knots before!
WHY the FUCK do I now have 42?! This is bullshit! What the hell am I even making!? Is this a scarf or some sort of forced perspective rug!!!
So I bring my masterwork to the 2nd lesson, get some questions answered, learned how to do the final cast off for when I’ll be done, learn how to make fringe danglies for the ends, AND how to bring in another colour yarn for stripes.
I’ve also notices that I’m a lot more relaxed with the knitting process now that I’ve gotten more accustomed to the flow of things, and don’t have to concentrate (or curse) nearly as hard anymore. Granted, my posture may need a little work, my left arm gets sore just holding up the main needle. It’s to the point that I’ve stated “I DON’T HAVE THE UPPER BODY STRENGTH TO KNIT!”
I’m not gonna lie. Beyond finishing my Sin City scarf, I’ll probably not continue to knit, because knitting isn’t just something you do to keep your hands busy while watching seasons of Friends on DVD. If I learned anything from seeing the laborious results of others and trying it myself, knitting is truly a work of passion. And though I personally don’t have that sort of dedication in myself for the craft, I’m glad there are those that do.
… need I remind you? This scarf is badass!
Piracy of movies, games and music has always been a hot topic, but now we’re a part of a fairly monumental time line. With SOPA, PIPA and ACTA all dancing about, being delayed, shot down or whatever, the threat of a censored Internet and the closing of boarders within our once open web still looms. Talk continues regarding our freedoms, the future of innovation, and the protection of intellectual properties.
For this article, I’d like to talk about the understanding that the web at large seems to have when it comes to those who pirate video games.
When game publishers tackle the piracy issue in public, they will claim that the illegal downloading of their game had cost them tens-of-thousands, millions, even billions of dollars in loss. At first, everyone pretty much understood why this was a problem. If a product is ‘stolen’, it’s bad as the company lost their product and profit. Simple.
But the attitude has changed in recent years. The common response today to claims of mass losses tend to be:
“The people who pirate games we’re unlikely to be customers in the first place. Since no ‘physical’ product was stolen, and no purchase was going to happen anyway, there is no loss.”
- Hypothetical Blog Response (we’ll call him “HuBeRt”)
The thinking goes:
- if an individual who was not going to buy a $60 game
- had acquired a digital copy of said game
- without leading to an actually product going missing without payment (ie: no physical game that was printed, packaged and transported to a store had been stolen causing all expenses to be a loss),
- then the companies haven’t actually lost anything.
How can one measure ‘loss’ by the lack in hypothetical ‘potential sales’? How can one clame to have ‘missing profits’ on the assumption that one day the individual in question MAY have enough money and MAY spend the $60 on a legit copy of the game, but won’t now since they downloaded it?
Ok, so that’s the thinking. Let’s just say, we all agree. No loss was made. No money spent was wasted. Let’s say: EVERYONE who would buy it, bought it, and EVERYONE who weren’t going to, didn’t.
Even if this was the case, there is something that is being over looked here. The basics of good business.
One receives goods and services at the exchange of currency, so that the providers of the goods and services can afford to continue providing goods and services and use profits to support themselves. Think about it, can a business properly function on the model of “oh, if you can’t afford it, you get it for free”?
Even on a more human level, people are gaining joy and pleasure (playing a game) from the hard work and efforts of another (game company), but the game company gets no reward or compensation.
Is this cool with everyone? Originally I thought so, not in regards to games mind you. I’m talking about bread.
Let me take you back to my high school days, when I worked in a grocery store bakery department. The hardest part of my job came at the end of the day, when we had to throw out all unsold product: breads, muffins, danishes, bagels, pies, EVERYTHING. I say this was ‘hard’ for me because mentally it felt shitty to be the one to waste so much food. Food that could feed so many, just gone. But we’re not here to talk about charity and ‘human decency’, we’re here to talk business.
Once and a while I’d ask if I could just have one of the things that we’re going be thrown away. These items are still good mind you, they just won’t last the night. A pizza bread for example. So, as I am moments from taking it to the dumpster, I ask if I can take it home. Eat it. In my tummy.
The answer: no, you’ll have to pay for it.
… ok, so let me get this straight.
In 1 minute, this pizza bread is going to become garbage. It’s literally going to be thrown into a trash bin. So as far as you guys are concerned, it’s gone. It’s a loss. Whatever. But if I want this item, this item that is about to go into the trash and become waste… I have to pay for it? Really?
I, someone who wasn’t going to buy it anyway and really had no intent on purchasing, wanted a pizza bread that was already marked for death, but the very thought that someone was to benefit from it without compensation was inconceivable? You, the grocery store, would feel better knowing that the pizza bread was in the garbage over the possibility that I get to eat it?
Yep. That’s pretty much it.
Now this may sound crazy (in fact, it IS crazy, I’m not going to lie) but that’s the basis of a business. If the company wants to throw things away, they can. It’s their product, they can do what they want. But if there’s potential for business, they’ll do business. They’re not a charity.
Whether you agree or not with this, the point is, EVEN if someone pirating a video game doesn’t technically affect the profit (based on our earlier assumption), the publishers just KNOWING that gamers are benefiting from their work for FREE, well… it doesn’t surprise me that this knowledge brings the piss of many game companies to a boil. Mostly because it’s not just one person. It’s never just one download. Thousands of gamers are doing it. Should publishers just be happy that people are playing their game? Imagine this conversation:
Employee A: “Oh yeh, everyone is loving the game, they’re all having a great time.
Employee B: “I’m glad everyone likes it. By the way, how much money did we make?”
Employee A: “Oh, not as much as we could have if everyone bought it, but whatever.”
Employee B: “I see…”
My final example just to bring this home, imaging you made a painting. And you’re sitting at a table in a street art fair. You made a couple print copies of this painting, and you’d like to sell a bunch of them. People come by and see your painting prints, and they like it. Some people buy them, but others, after hearing your price, admit they can’t afford to buy it. Instead, they pull out their camera, take a picture of it, print it, and put it up on their walls at home.
TRUE, you didn’t lose your product, no one stole it. But all these people now have your work on their walls and are enjoying it without repaying you for your efforts. How do you feel about that?
Well, that’s enough of my rant for now. I will leave you with this however.
When a game company decides not to release a game in your country, even though it’s already translated, if their game gets pirated because of this, that’s their own fault. I don’t endorse stealing games, but in an age where everyone can have knowledge of, and potentially access to something, but companies decide to withhold them for no clearly stated reason? They gotta modernize their distribution process.
… why can’t everyone just be more like Steam?
Note: I wrote this article a few days before Jim Sterling made his recent Jimquisition video on the same subject. Check it out below: