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Are Game Developers Hypocrites?
February 6th 2004, 04:53 CET by G-Man

According to this article, Crytek the developer currently in production of Far Cry, was raided by German authorities on a tip from a former employee that pirated software was being used by the company. I figured we needed another warez thread.

Far Cry, the game, started life as a technical demo for the CryENGINE. But the amount of critical acclaim and positive feedback Crytek recieved from the demo after showing it at E3 convinced them to expand the demo into a full game. The PCGames.de article doesn't contain enough detail to determine the extent of the software piracy that had been taking place or what effect the investigation might have on the release of Far Cry. But if the German police are anything like the American police, it would be safe to say that a significant amount of computer equipment would have been siezed in the course of the investigation. Certainly such seizures can only have a negative impact on the active development of the game. Further, if as the article alleges, the pirated software was actually being used in the production of the game, then certainly there would be some delay in the development process due to the sudden and unexpected unavailability of the development tools.

But the big issue here isn't the fate of Far Cry, or the whistleblower, or even Crytek. It is the relationship between sophisticated computer users and software piracy. They seem to go together like peanut butter and chocolate. In the early history of the personal computer the only users were those who were capable and talented enough to literally build their own computers. Amidst this homegrown collective, software was developed entirely by the users themselves. The software that these pioneers developed was traded freely among the other users out of a sense of community but also out of necessity. The mindset and perhaps more importantly the infrastructure, for earning a profit from such software simply wasn't in place back then. Obviously, much has changed since then, not the least of which is the rise of the luser or newbie - the unsophisticated computer user - as the dominant consumer of software. Even after these changes the sharing of software continued, only now it was relabeled piracy and newly enacted laws made imposed criminal and civil penalties for those who continued the practice.

Likewise, despite the fundamental demographic shift in the userbase, sophisticated computer users continue to dominate the development of software. And I believe that sophisticated users also continued in their legacy of software piracy. Computer game development is a very challenging task that demands a high level of sophistication and knowledge regarding computer technology. Development of even the simplest and most rudimentary games requires a significant level of programming knowledge. Thus, it is safe to assume that game developers are composed of a fairly sophisticated crowd of computer users, among which the practice of software piracy will be higher than normal. Interestingly, software developers and game developers in particular are typically perceived as ardent opponents of software piracy, because their own livelihood is directly dependant on income from the sale of the software they develop. But I believe that despite this conflict of interest, many game developers have pirated software in the past or continue to actively pirate software.

Our own Warren Marshall has admitted numerous times that he began his career as a programmer writing cracktros for the Commodore 64 piracy scene. Likewise, Jason Hall, formerly president and CEO of Monolith, and now a Senior Vice President of a new Warner Brothers backed game studio, has acknowledged publicly that he pirated a lot of software in the past. Many employees of Remedy, the game developer behind Max Payne and Futuremark, were originally members of an underground graphics programming group known as Future Crew which has in the past been associated with software piracy groups. It is also worth noting that the tools used in modern game development are largely co-opted from the computer graphics industry and are thus prohibitedly expensive for the amateur user. So, it has become a common practice of many aspiring developers to pirate such software in order to become familiar with its use and operation so that they will appear more valuable and desirable to prospective employers in the game development industry. Thus, while most developers are not as open and candid about this aspect as Hall and Marshall, I get the impression that many of them have similar experiences and backgrounds.

So is this true? Do software developers as a group pirate more software than the average group of users? What about as businesses? Do game development studios pirate their business software more frequently than ordinary businesses? Obviously, because of the technical requirements involved in software piracy, there is a minimum threshold of competence required for a user to be a successful pirate, which means that more sophisticated users by their very nature will be pirates than than newbie population. But as we have discussed on numerous occassions that minimum threshold of required competence is constantly being lowered so that an ever increasing number of Joe Compaqs are capable of pirating software successfully.

Credit for the story goes to Bluesnews who in turn credited Fappin
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Home » Topic: Are Game Developers Hypocrites?

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#1 by Charles
2004-02-06 04:54:09
www.bluh.org
Everyone is a hypocrite.

EOD.

I have no excuses, least of all for God.  Like all tyrants, he is not worthy of the spit you would waste on negotiations.  The deal we have is infinitely simpler - I don't call him to account, and he extends me the same courtesy.
#2 by A_M_P
2004-02-06 04:54:09
maybe...
#3 by Charles
2004-02-06 04:54:24
www.bluh.org
It's just a matter of degrees.

I have no excuses, least of all for God.  Like all tyrants, he is not worthy of the spit you would waste on negotiations.  The deal we have is infinitely simpler - I don't call him to account, and he extends me the same courtesy.
#4 by Squeaky
2004-02-06 04:56:55
too many words

Problem talk creates problems. Solution talk creates solutions.
dvds
#5 by Matthew Gallant
2004-02-06 04:58:25
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Obviously, because of the technical requirements involved in software piracy

Hahahaha

"All I've ever wanted to be is a monkey of moderate intelligence that wears a suit. That's why I'm transferring to business school!"
#6 by Squeaky
2004-02-06 05:01:20
#5 Matthew Gallant
Obviously, because of the technical requirements involved in software piracy

Hahahaha

case in point: I know of many people that are barely able to turn on their computers, yet are able to download cd-isos, mount them with daemon tools, apply no-cd cracks from gamecopyworld (or equivilent).

It's not that difficult, not even for Joe-Compaq.

Problem talk creates problems. Solution talk creates solutions.
dvds
#7 by TheTrunkDr.
2004-02-06 05:02:02
I agree with squeaky, G-man needs to be far less verbose.

I kid cause I care.
#8 by Dethstryk
2004-02-06 05:05:53
jemartin@tcainternet.com
The point of this post is pretty moot considering that no arrests were made, and nothing was confiscated. Uh oh, piracy!

sunny days have funny ways of quieting the roar
#9 by lwf
2004-02-06 05:07:29
ruh roh spaghettiroh

We all try harder as the days run out
#10 by Jibble
2004-02-06 05:17:16
Wow.  What a horrible, quickly stalled-out topic.  Pretty much more of the same, really.  Thanks for keeping the bar low, G-Man!

Winner of the prestigious "Yotsuya's Gold Star Writer of the Week" animated gif award.
#11 by yotsuya
2004-02-06 05:21:31
I blame little wood in #9.

That's a beautiful way to go. Shot by Yot. In more ways than one. -mgns
#12 by jafd
2004-02-06 05:22:14
You dorks have embraced DKI and condemn G-Man? You all have been here too long, there's a splinter of Bob within you.

Ask me about your mother.
#13 by chris
2004-02-06 05:32:34
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
I think this is an okay topic but I don't really have much to contribute. It would surprise me more if you raided any random business, anywhere, and DIDN'T find some amount of pirated software, than if you did. Typically companies do a good job of trying to prevent it, but you're never going to have total control over every single employee, all the time.

This is doubly true in industries where the computer guys are going to want more control over their systems. A game developer is going to be less likely to take a stock box from IT and not touch it than Joe Accounting.

-chris
#14 by BobJustBob
2004-02-06 05:38:24
Do you have a little Bob in you?

...

Do you want to?

Dood.
#15 by G-Man
2004-02-06 06:26:32
Jibble in #10 said:
Wow.  What a horrible, quickly stalled-out topic.  Pretty much more of the same, really.  Thanks for keeping the bar low, G-Man!
I just write them, you kids decide what gets posted. I gave up writing the topic half-way through but didn't feel like scrapping the whole thing so I patched it up and submitted it. Since there were no arrests, confiscations etc., how about this for a mini-topic spin-off: Do businesses which pirate software get more lenient treatment than the individual pirate? Or is it the other way around? Individuals who are the subject of investigations often face property seizures and the prospect of jail time, whereas business face hefty fines. Which is the worse burden?

Or, how about this: According to a BSA study, the United States has the lowest piracy rate in the world and it is still declining. Most software is also produced in North America. And most copyright protection mechanisms are designed to foil the North American end users' piracy attempts. Is this vigorous use of copyright protection the reason for the low piracy rate?

Behind door number three: The Software Publishers Association (recently renamed to the Software & Information Industry Association) has unveiled a new program designed to provide whistleblowers with cash rewards. Now snitching on your former employer isn't just something you do out of spite or malice, it is a for profit activity. Also check out the t-shirt in this ad.
#16 by OwenButler
2004-02-06 06:29:21
http://blog.owenbutler.org/
this has more info about the "raid".
#17 by G-Man
2004-02-06 06:37:14
Interesting survey on Canadian attitudes towards software piracy, which apparently occurs at a significantly higher rate than in America (40 versus 25 percent of all software is pirated).
#18 by Charles
2004-02-06 06:39:01
www.bluh.org
I don't hold that as being particularly valid, since it claims copying music as a crime.  Which it is not, in Canada.

I have no excuses, least of all for God.  Like all tyrants, he is not worthy of the spit you would waste on negotiations.  The deal we have is infinitely simpler - I don't call him to account, and he extends me the same courtesy.
#19 by mnemonic
2004-02-06 06:45:43
xmnemonic@softhome.net http://jti.developer.graphyx.net
My opinion of Warren Marshall has been elevated significantly.
#20 by Warren Marshall
2004-02-06 07:12:18
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Any game development start up company has pirated software.  They just do.  Just the same as any mod group will be rife with it.  Once they get going and make some decent money they buy legit copies, but when they are boot strapping they tend to warez.

Not saying it's right or wrong, just saying how it is...

"Cheap Garbage Disposal Canít Handle Femur"
#21 by Warren Marshall
2004-02-06 07:18:49
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
#19 mnemonic
My opinion of Warren Marshall has been elevated significantly.

Whereas mine, for you, has stayed about the same.

"Cheap Garbage Disposal Canít Handle Femur"
#22 by Bailey
2004-02-06 07:47:10
Saying game developers are more prone to pirate software is like saying bank employees are more likely to pull off a heist. Anyone who actually wants to pirate software, and is willing to exert themselves insofar as typing in "google" can be swabbing the deck with leaked alphas inside of a day.

You got nothing coming.
#23 by Bailey
2004-02-06 07:51:59
Oh, and for those Crappers who live in BC, I saw Huun-Hurr-Tu on Vancouver Island tonight, and they put on a damn fine show. Tuvan throat singer quartet, they're playing Victoria on Friday, and Vancouver on Sunday. If you're at all interested in this vein of music, or just something radically different, I sincerely recommend checking them out. And if you do, pick up their 4 CDs and mail them to me, and I'll comp you for it. Damn Russian mafia manager wouldn't take anything but check or cash...

You got nothing coming.
#24 by Squeaky
2004-02-06 08:03:38
Where abouts are they playing?

Problem talk creates problems. Solution talk creates solutions.
dvds
#25 by Squeaky
2004-02-06 08:03:50
In Vancouver that is.

Problem talk creates problems. Solution talk creates solutions.
dvds
#26 by Bailey
2004-02-06 08:05:18
What am I, a Ticketmaster outlet? How many bands named anything remotely along the lines of Huun-Hurr-Tu can there be?

You got nothing coming.
#27 by Bailey
2004-02-06 08:06:29
That being said, they're playing at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. I'm not familiar with it.

You got nothing coming.
#28 by Squeaky
2004-02-06 08:06:36
my google-fu is weak and dying

Problem talk creates problems. Solution talk creates solutions.
dvds
#29 by Squeaky
2004-02-06 08:07:44
#26 Bailey
What am I, a Ticketmaster outlet? How many bands named anything remotely along the lines of Huun-Hurr-Tu can there be?

It helps if you spell the name right:
Huun Huur Tu

Problem talk creates problems. Solution talk creates solutions.
dvds
#30 by Bailey
2004-02-06 08:09:06
Baby, with me, everything is hurr, bluh.

You got nothing coming.
#31 by Your Friend
2004-02-06 09:05:30
OMG. WAREZ THREAD.

Comment Signature
#32 by Your Friend
2004-02-06 09:07:23
Also, Far Cry demo is awesome.

Comment Signature
#33 by Squeaky
2004-02-06 09:07:31
wow. that took longer than expected.

Problem talk creates problems. Solution talk creates solutions.
dvds
#34 by Your Friend
2004-02-06 09:08:55
Sorry, I was busy installing a warezed copy of 3D Studio Max for my fledgling game development company.

Comment Signature
#35 by Creole Ned
2004-02-06 09:14:17
Despite the tropical setting, the Far Cry demo made me long for a modern sequel to MidWinter.

"I don't bemoan the great paste" - LPMiller
#36 by lwf
2004-02-06 09:16:45
We can go together, Squeaky.

We all try harder as the days run out
#37 by lwf
2004-02-06 09:16:54
(not a date)

We all try harder as the days run out
#38 by Dumdeedum
2004-02-06 09:35:22
http://www.dumdeedum.com
Also, Far Cry demo is awesome.

I agree totally, well once you replace "awesome" with "passable" and "demo" with "beta" that is.

Those evil-natured robots, they're programmed to destroy us.
#39 by Bailey
2004-02-06 09:49:59
Seemed like a solid product to me.

You got nothing coming.
#40 by lwf
2004-02-06 10:04:06
Not printerjam bailey, the GI Joe cartoons.

We all try harder as the days run out
#41 by gaggle
2004-02-06 10:26:37
Stare at the radar for green dots, when found shoot said dots, when there are no more dots move forward. Rinse repeat. Yeah marvelous product for sure.
It's the gaming equivalent of "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", or any of the other pure-fluff action movies released all the time.

I think we've already had this discussion, but I missed it back then :).


Re: Piracy
Does everyone warez their software? I assume kids today are even worse at it than I was, but what about the older generation? I know my parents more or less activly opposed my piracy activity (arrr) back in the day..

Although, interestingly (well interesting to me) their attitude towards the whole thing rotated a good 180 degrees once they themselves aquired computers. It must've been a change induced by realising just how much Windows and Office costs (though today the whole shebang is actually legal, right down to the insanly boring Blackgammon game on my moms laptop, egads).

Anyway, boring family anecdotes aside, are there people out in the real world who don't warez? Any of them not warezing because he or she feels it's wrong, not because it's a company computer or some similar practical consideration?
#42 by deadlock
2004-02-06 10:59:49
http://www.deadlocked.org/
Dethstryk:
The point of this post is pretty moot considering that no arrests were made, and nothing was confiscated. Uh oh, piracy!

Not really, because G-Man was using the events surrounding Crytek as a jumping off point for a broader discussion about software piracy.

#43 by Duality
2004-02-06 11:09:54
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
#37 lwf
(not a date)

Gaaaaaaaay
#44 by E-ph0nk
2004-02-06 13:34:46
http://www.electrophonk.be
We used to have illegal versions of ms-office etc in our company, but since we became a microsoft partner (including 5x MSDN subscription) - most of our software is legal.

But it's a thin border for sure..
For example: I'm not a graphic designer, but sometimes I need to make some small graphical adjustements or splash screens for our software... So i've installed photoshop for that, because after all: we don't make our money using photoshop (like graphic designers etc), and I only use it like a few times when needed.

*sigh*
#45 by Warren Marshall
2004-02-06 15:23:26
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Does everyone warez their software? I assume kids today are even worse at it than I was, but what about the older generation? I know my parents more or less activly opposed my piracy activity (arrr) back in the day..

I think my Dad was morally opposed to my pirating in the C=64 days, but the constant flow of new and shiny games allowed him to push past that.

"Cheap Garbage Disposal Canít Handle Femur"
#46 by Ashiran
2004-02-06 15:24:40
Short hijack, I need help with a behavior question.

You have four lights A, B, C and D and a button. Pressing the button does something in the following situations.
A+B+C are lit => 2 yummy foodpellets.
D is lit => 1 yummy foodpellet.
A+B are lit => You lose a yummy foodpellet.
C+D are lit => You lose a yummy foodpellet.

You really like yummy foodpellets.

After learning these situations all four buttons will be lit. The questions are; will you press the button and why do you press it(or not)? What do you expect that will happen and how sure are you this will happen?

"Someday, someone will best me. But it won't be today, and it won't be you."
#47 by deadlock
2004-02-06 15:29:07
http://www.deadlocked.org/
The program crashes?

#48 by Gunp01nt
2004-02-06 15:42:21
supersimon33@hotmail.com
G-Man:
Do businesses which pirate software get more lenient treatment than the individual pirate? Or is it the other way around? Individuals who are the subject of investigations often face property seizures and the prospect of jail time, whereas business face hefty fines. Which is the worse burden?


I think businesses who pirate software are getting handled harder, since there's more to get from them than from most individuals. Besides, businesses use their software to make a profit, so businesses pirating software are even worse than individuals doing so.

I know those are the main reasons why individuals hardly ever get any trouble with the BSA in Europe. But as a business, you can expect a BSA inspector coming around every once in a while.

It's simple: businesses need the software they warez. Individuals just don't have the money to buy the software, or don't want to spend money on it. Individuals aren't going to buy more software if they would be unable to warez it.

I want a horse that ribbits and a frog that neighs... oink oink oink
#49 by Gunp01nt
2004-02-06 15:56:49
supersimon33@hotmail.com
Ash: I push the button, but only in the case the conditions can overlap (meaning: they don't exclude eachother). You'll get 3 foodpellets and lose two, so you end up with one foodpellet. Yummy!

I want a horse that ribbits and a frog that neighs... oink oink oink
#50 by Hugin
2004-02-06 16:01:16
lmccain@nber.org
I'd press the button.  Why not?  As far as I see (and I could well be missing tons of other variations), I can read the button combos 4 ways.  One way, one logical reading gets me pellets, two of the ways lose me pellets, and the last way either loses or gains me pellets.  But even acknowledging I love those pellets, the downside isn't onerous enough to keep from experimenting, and maybe I luck out and one of the two possible +pellet scenarios is the right one.
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