Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  1. I might have meant to post this link: Resources for disabling Windows 7 / 8 / 10 Telemetry & Data-Collection
  2. The latest furor over Blizzard's actions surrounding the release of Warcraft 3: Reforged could be relevant to game ownership violation arguments. There are two major issues going on with the Warcraft 3: Reforged release: - Reforged turned out to not be anything like what was advertised and is a case of false advertising - Blizzard has replaced original Warcraft 3 with Reforged and has forced owners of original Warcraft 3 to download Reforged to keep playing with the original graphics Original Warcraft 3 is around 1.4 GB in size, while reforged is something like 28 or so GB in size. This means owners of the original game have to download about 27 GB of data they have no use for just to keep playing the same game. Actually, they have to throw away 27 GB of their storage drive space to keep playing the game while losing many of its features, because Reforged lacks a bunch of features that the original game has. I think that taking away people's access to original Warcraft 3 through Battle.net and forcing them to download ~27 GB of data that is useless to them while they lose many features that original Warcraft 3 has and that aren't included in Reforged would be a case of theft, or at minimum of game ownership rights being trampled by a software publisher. People have discovered that, for now, the original Warcraft 3 can still be downloaded and played by installing a Blizzard test realm. I wonder if Blizzard will continue to leave that avenue open. There is also the claim of Blizzard's that any custom maps or game modes created in Warcraft 3: Reforged are the property of Blizzard. I don't think that could carry legal weight and if I owned Reforged I'd want to release something in it just so I could then release it elsewhere as well and wave it in their faces. Interestingly, after initially refusing to offer refunds, Blizzard has caved to the demands for refunds while people talked on Blizzard's forums about related topics such as potential class-action lawsuits and how it's illegal to deny refunds in Australia. I expect Blizzard allowed refunds in the face of the undeniable evidence that the delivered Warcraft 3: Reforged product does not match the advertised one.
  3. EULAs are not legal contracts and are not legally binding. This has been tested in court multiple times with the courts ruling that an EULA cannot overrule actual laws and ownership rights. Some countries also have it as law that any terms which are not displayed on the exterior of a package cannot possibly be agreed to and therefore carry no weight. I think Ross has that part understood. He goes into detail about it in his videos. Jim Sterling recently put out a video about a game becoming unplayable due to its DRM-authentication servers going offline, upsetting many people still playing the game. In this case, I think Disney is looking into patching-in a solution so owners can still install their game. Something similar happened with TrackMania Sunrise, where the decrepit DRM doesn't work on OSes newer than Windows Vista and so people can't easily install and play the game.
  4. This could help with game preservation arguments in the EU: The EU adopts new right to repair laws
  5. I'm not meaning to suggest that there's any content locked behind a 2nd-hand activation fee. The 2nd-hand activation fee is to make use of a platform's digital delivery service to download and play the game through that platform. Buying a game entitles a person to play the game. However, it doesn't entitle a person to get free services from a 3rd-party platform. Somewhat similarly, buying a car doesn't entitle the car-owner to free gas from gas stations. Yet, gas is needed to use the car. With games, digital delivery from a platform might not be needed to use a game, if the game can be downloaded elsewhere. But in order to use a platform's services you'll become subject to their term for usage of their services (which games purchased through them are not a part of). In the same way that games purchased through a platform are distinct from the platform's online services, having a right to play a purchased game is distinct from having a right to use a 3rd-party's own servers and services. The idea that buying a game includes a right to use 3rd-party servers is associating the game ownership and the right to the game with the servers, just like when a platform or publisher tries to argue that people don't own their games. It's saying that companies don't own their own servers and service infrastructure, and is implying that buying a game means you also bought the 3rd-party servers the game can be used with or downloaded from and so have rights over those servers.
  6. Do you have a source for that? A second-hand activation fee doesn't say a part of the game isn't owned, it only says that the digital delivery service that a person wants to use a game with isn't owned by the purchaser of the second-hand game. A 2nd-hand activation fee also doesn't interfere with selling a game, as 2nd-hand activation only occurs after a game has already been successfully sold. A game and the online servers a game can be used with are two distinct properties. The game is sold and bought separately from the online servers. So, currently, both before and after the Paris High Court's judgment, Valve's servers belong to Valve. If they want to charge to let a 2nd-hand license make use of their digital delivery services, then that's really up to them. The same understanding regarding the distinction between already exists with multiplayer games, where a person buying a game that has a multiplayer component doesn't mean that they own the online component host's servers that the game needs to be played online. A company that runs online servers for a game is entitled to shut-down their servers whenever they choose, which leaves the part of a game that depended on those servers inoperable. If companies couldn't charge 2nd-hand activation fees for the right to use their digital delivery services, then they couldn't shut-down their multiplayer servers, either. A host of a multiplayer game or component of a game is also entitled to deactivate a person's account on their servers for the same reason of their servers and their online service belonging exclusively to them and buying their game didn't transfer any ownership over the servers to whoever bought their game. And this another reason why game ownership has to be defended: If digital platforms choose to close or restrict somebody's account or to refuse digital delivery of a game, if you own the game then you are entitled to use your license by other means, such as by cracking any DRM. But if you don't own the game, then companies can attack you for bypassing artificial DRM restrictions, claiming that playing the game apart from their permission through their approved methods is illegal and piracy.
  7. Here's some more information about this specific point. The possible points to charge for fees that I've mentioned before are: - listing fee - payment processing fee - game account de-activation fee - 2nd-hand license activation fee on a different account - a fee to cover maintenance of a registry to keep track of who owns and is entitled to have on their account which game Things like listing and payment processing fees are just standard for marketplace services (eBay, Amazon, Paypal). The other listing fees are specific to a 2nd-hand games market, and as they're services that require development and maintenance costs, a provider of those services is entitled to recoup their expenses and likely to charge extra for providing the service - just like with every other service. A 2nd-hand license activation fee to play a game on a different account is not a new concept. It has been considered by companies before: https://www.cinemablend.com/games/Xbox-One-Used-Game-Activation-Fee-52-56040.html https://www.engadget.com/2013/06/06/xbox-one-used-games-always-online/ https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/thq-to-charge-second-hand-users-for-online-play And the idea was even implemented by some companies, including EA: https://www.ea.com/news/online-pass-for-ea-sports-simulation-games So, it can be done, and it has been done. There is actually a 2nd-hand games market in development / early-access existence right now, called Robot Cache. Interestingly, it's founded by PC RPG legend, pioneer, former publisher, and CEO of InXile (now owned by Microsoft), Brian Fargo. Their website has an option to sign up for early access: https://robotcache.com/ And their latest blog post is from 1 month ago: https://www.robotcache.com/blog So, clearly, there are some different views on reselling games among game developers. And possibly also among publishers, with GoG being a supporter of people owning the games they purchase: "You buy it, you own it". Ownership typically means the right to choose to dispose (to get rid of, such as by selling) of the thing that you own. So, I wonder what CD Projeck's view on the Paris ruling is. I notice that the typical FUD about the market disruption a 2nd-hand market would pose presumes that the disruption specifically means that there would be no adaptation to it by platforms and publishers and that suddenly only 2nd-hand games would be available and no revenue would be going to publishers and developers. I see that scenario as like watching The Road Warrior, where everybody supposedly decided to not rebuild but to just mod and drive around in their modded cars all the time and act crazy, and it all just happens somehow despite them being in a desert with no food production and no means to extract oil and make gas (there's just a magical never-exhausting supply of old cars with enough gas remaining in them around). Well, that scenario, just like the FUD of the existence of a 2nd-hand games market, isn't realistic and isn't plausible or even possible. In reality, when disruption occurs, so does adaptation. A 2nd-hand market doesn't mean that platforms and publishers are suddenly unable to make money, especially when 2nd-hand market games still need to be activated with those platforms. It just means they set up new revenue avenues that apply the second-hand market. And that idea isn't new. Microsoft originally planned to do it with the Xbox One, I think there have been cases where the multiplayer component of 2nd-hand console games required an additional activation-pass purchase in order to use.
  8. Music and movies are commonly available via streaming and subscription services now. In fact, it may be the most popular way to access them. However, that hasn't stopped music and movies from also being sold. It will be the same with games. I'm pretty sure Ross brought up the point of MMORPG saturation in the market. It will happen with subscription services, too. But that doesn't change whether or not game-reselling is facilitated, and that's something publishers are doing regardless. And if the Paris judgment still stands after appeal efforts, then a perpetual-license game which is always-online will have to be able to be resold just like a one that doesn't use always-online DRM. Since there is no increase or decrease of publishers' control over a 2nd-hand market based on whether games use always-online DRM, I don't see always-online DRM plans changing around whether there's a 2nd-hand market or not. If sold games use always-online DRM and it's law that games are the personal property of the people who buy them, then there's at least the avenue for people to pursue a right to have always-online DRM removed from their games upon the shutdown of the DRM servers. Without game ownership, people who pay for games don't have that. If platforms and publishers are able to come up with a system that maintains their revenue streams, such as the fee system I explored the idea of, then I think that they'll prefer to do that and maintain their revenue streams. Especially if the only reason that publishers oppose game ownership rights is because otherwise events could occur that would cut into their profits. Craigslist actually can legally charge people to sell their items through Craigslist - just like eBay, Kijiji, Amazon, and other other companies charge people to sell through their marketplaces. Craigslist doesn't charge for sales or for most listings through their marketplace because that just isn't their chosen business model, which is instead ad revenue and harvesting and selling user data. But, they could make it their business model.
  9. Fighting it is what Valve was doing for the previous 4 years, and yet the Paris High Court's judgment has happened. Regarding subscription services, we already have them coming out of every corner of the industry with there being no signs of that practice slowing down. So, they're here already. But it's unlikely that gamers will be willing or able to pay $50 every month to be on every subscription service that has a game they like. And subscription services cannot accommodate all games and all developers, anyway. That business model will only go so far - and it could be pretty far, but there will continue to be a for-sale game market. Regarding the always-online part of your post, I don't see how online / offline changes anything about the Paris court ruling or game ownership. And so I don't expect any changes there. Regarding games getting made, I don't think publishers will decide they don't want to make any money anymore just because people can resell their games. With proper fee systems in place, I think they should have their current revenue streams pretty much stable in an environment where 2nd-hand sales are enabled. Smaller developers will be protected in a 2nd-hand market situation if there are 2nd-hand game activation fees on platforms that ensure that 2nd-hand games are not cheaper than buying new from a "grey market" reseller.
  10. I don't see any inherent problems with being able to resell your digitally-purchased games. The concerns I see expressed about the threat to developers, especially indie and small-title developers, seem to me like they're FUD, and are dependent upon a view where it's assumed that being able to resell games means that the platforms, publishers, and developers are not making profit off of the 2nd-hand sales market. Well, that's an impossible scenario. First, every transaction that involves selling a game that's currently registered on a platform necessarily has to use that platform's services in order to be transferred, and likely also for the listing and the payment processing. And that's just for the sale of the game. Then, if the sold game key is specifically for that same platform (as is the case with purchased new games), then whoever purchases that game has to use the platform's services in order to activate the game with that platform to be able to download and play it. This means that platforms can charge listing, payment processing, transfer, and 2nd-hand license activation fees. And then platforms can split the revenue from those fees with games publishers along the same lines that new game sales are split with publishers. A 2nd-hand market can be done in a way that it's a guaranteed revenue stream for platforms and publishers, and can also be done in a way that pretty much maintains their current revenue streams. Ross' video questions whether platform fees for 2nd-hand game transactions would run afoul of anti-trust laws in the wake of the Paris High Court's ruling. That concern misses an important detail. But first, let me say that a company is entitled to charge fees for the development and usage of its services. A company cannot be forced to be a charity, and doing that would be paramount to state seizure of the company or an aspect of the company and turning it into a public resource, which only the corporation pays for. It would be like slavery of corporations. Now, the important detail which that concern of platform fees running afoul of the Paris court's ruling misses is that not all of the prospective fees are related to selling a game. A 2nd-hand activation fee is entirely unrelated to the ability to sell a game. That technical difference is what law is about. It is necessary for a person to activate their 2nd-hand license with a platform before they can possibly use it with that platform. And if 2nd-hand games are like new game purchases are, then a purchased 2nd-hand game could be activated only with the specific platform its key is for - which means that the platform a 2nd-hand game is purchased from will necessarily also be the same platform that it gets re-activated with. That means the platform which sold the game and likely made profit on the selling of that 2nd-hand game also gets to make profit on the account activation of that 2nd-hand game. In the case of a 2nd-hand digital games market, it is literally unavoidable that a platform's services be used. Therefore, it is also unavoidable that platforms will be a part of any 2nd-hand digital games market. And they could charge fees for their involvement in the market. Setting minimum fees, whether it's just for 2nd-hand game activation with a platform, or for all of listing, payment processing, transferring, and 2nd-hand game activation, will protect indies and small-title developers, and can easily make it so that it's cheaper to buy those games today brand new from "grey market" game license resellers than it would be to buy them through a 2nd-hand digital games market. Fees could be hard-set, or they could scale as a % or a tier bracket according to the listing price or the current non-sale retail price for a game. There could be minimum fees. And additional fees could be justified by platforms having to maintain a registry of who sells what, who is lawfully entitled to activate which license, and that registry might need to be one that is shared by all digital games platform hosts, to prevent fraud, theft, duplicate activations (though, they already can't happen when a key can only be activated on a specific platform), and to settle disputes. So, platforms, publishers, and indie developers can all be protected in the face of a 2nd-hand games market, and can make a 2nd-hand games market lucrative for themselves. I don't see the Paris High Court's ruling as reckless, clumsy, or not thought-out by the court. I instead view a lot of the responses to the ruling as being knee-jerk reactionary alarmism which is hyping up fears ahead of examining what the realistic changes to the market are likely to actually be. Now, there are some arguments I've seen people bring up that makes digital goods seem like they're a whole new concept and are different than physical goods because they don't degrade, but they're actually neither new concepts or different in terms of degradation to property that has existed for centuries. And so here are refutations for some common misconceptions about digital goods and ownership concerns: 1. The concept of non-degrading property is not new: The first patent for an industrial invention was handed out in 1421 in Italy (1790 in the US). Since then, individuals and businesses have been benefiting massively from possessing property that doesn't degrade. IPs, copyrights, patents, are non-degrading property. Record labels have non-degrading digital masters. Book publishers have non-degrading manuscripts. Non-degrading property never was a complaint or cause to claim that the law has been thrown for a loop so long as it was businesses and copyright-holders who were gaining more and more benefits over the decades from having non-degrading property. The idea that non-degrading property changes everything suddenly in 2019, only when consumers have suddenly realized that it can mean something for them, too, suggests to me there is unfair play at hand and that we are witnessing the expression of a conditioning of the masses by big businesses who have long acted as though the law is their private tool to be used only to set themselves up as evermore-domineering masters over consumers, who they see as their subjects. It's like the "consumer" people are imposing it upon themselves at this point after having been conditioned that they are just corporations' resources. Regardless, non-degrading property isn't new. Businesses and copyright-holders have been benefiting themselves by it for centuries. So, the concept when applied to consumers shouldn't cause any hysteria or confusion. It's old-hat. Regarding degradation, though, computing standards mean that an older program degrades in functionality as hardware and software standards evolve. Also, the appreciability of older software products changes for the market at-large due to new developments that make the older products seem more archaic, limited, unappealing graphics-wise... not to everybody, but to a huge chunk of the mainstream market. So, there is degradation with software products, but it is manifested in unique ways - unique ways that physical products often escape. So, it's like there the degradation merely expresses itself through different avenues. 2. Regarding the idea that the first-sale doctrine (which stipulates that people are entitled to resell their copies of copyrighted works) applies to instances, and that there is something about a copy being non-degrading that makes it not an instance: So... when George Lucas sold Star Wars to Disney, he didn't actually lose his right to distribute Star Wars and can right now sell Star Wars again, and again, to other companies who can then make their own Star Wars movies? Of course not. There is nothing about a property being hard-physical or intangible that decides whether the first-sale doctrine applies to it. And there has never been a qualifier that each copy has some unique flaw or condition to make a copy a particular copy. Each copy that exists is a particular copy, and each copy that a person owns is a particular copy. Does the significance of having access to one copy versus another diminish when each copy is a perfect replication of the others? Yes, in a good way. But that's neither here nor there to the law's reason for stating that the first-sale doctrine applies to particular copies, and I think that detail actually has nothing to do with the identification of particular copies and doesn't factor into the first-sale doctrine. The particular copies are the definitive instances that belong to specific people. 3. Regarding the idea that software might be different because it is not materialized, or is intangible: A thing's physical or non-physical state doesn't determine whether it can be owned, sold, and purchased. What does everybody think Intellectual Property is? IPs are not really or necessarily materialized but they are still transferable property and goods when they are sold in transactions. What do people think a patent is? A copyright? Just like with non-degrading property, intangible property has existed for centuries, and even millennia. Further, data has even more presence than something like a patent or copyright. Any defined data, such as a software program or any particular function of a software program, has a defined form to it, and when it's stored on any storage medium, it takes up real space and technological capacity. It has size, it has a specific form, it takes up presence, and it has specific identifiable capabilities and features. When it is being transferred between end-points in a network, it exists as particles, and particles have physical properties. A computer program is a defined form of data, and data has quantifiable presence. And if data suddenly is different than hard-physical property and so it can't really be said there's ownership of it, then how does the publisher own it? And then how can people be arrested and charged for hacking of a state's computers and possession of their data and secrets? Obviously, in pre-existing law, data property is treated no different than a hard-physical property where it's the state, or big corporations, or somebody with a lot of money, who is the victim and is seeking action against whoever infringed upon their data property. The idea that it's different exclusively for the lowly peasant consumers is Stockholm Syndrome, and it means that our societies are not ones of justice and equality, but which are made up of different rules for different castes. FUD is not helpful to any game ownership rights-based goals. Ownership means the right to make decision-making ownership over a thing. If you throw it out because you think doing so is necessary to protect developers and the creation of more games (and as shown in this post, it isn't), then you lose everything that goes with ownership including any right to preserve games which, in the case of non-ownership, would then not be yours to have any right to demand and seek legal enforcement of preservation over them.
  11. Oh, I should've mentioned in my previous post that even though LTSC doesn't come with any UWP programs (LTSC has Win32 versions for things like Calculator), UWP programs can be added to LTSC. But why would a person want to do that? Not having UWP in LTSC is one of its big attractions. Here's a video showing how to add Microsoft Store to LTSC: But, again, why would a person want to do that? I think that Microsoft Store only offers UWP programs. And just as Microsoft has reinstated Win32 as an / their current official API of preference (Microsoft Office isn't even available as UWP), Microsoft have also pledged to release all of their upcoming PC games on 3rd-party platforms. https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2019/05/30/microsoft-approach-to-pc-gaming/ So, UWP, which is a serious downgrade from Win32 in that it's much more restrictive and runs slower than Win 32, isn't needed for anything. UWP is pretty much just Microsoft's failed attempt at creating a walled garden ecosystem and I won't be surprised if it has completely disappeared five years from now.
  12. Regarding the topic of Windows 10 LTSC (Long-term servicing channel): Windows 10 LTSC is simply Windows 10 Enterprise without UWP, without Cortana, without pre-installed bloatware or in-OS adds, and which doesn't receive feature updates (but receives security updates). Literally, anything outside of UWP that you can do on Windows 10 Home, Pro, and Enterprise, you can do in LTSC. And UWP is a dead API now with Microsoft abandoning it because it sucked and was a downgrade from Win32 to begin with, and so it doesn't even matter that LTSC doesn't have UWP. Further, you can do a lot more in LTSC than in either Home or Pro because there are no restrictions on the Group Policy editor. LTSC is also more stable and reliable than other editions of Windows 10 because it has received more testing and doesn't have unnecessary things installed. Windows 10 LTSC also let's you turn off Microsoft's data-harvesting, or at least to the "security only" level (same as Enterprise). Microsoft's data-harvesting can be completely stopped by taking further steps: Resources for disabling Windows 7 / 8 / 10 Telemetry & Data-Collection Windows 10 LTSC is the equivalent of what Windows 7 Ultimate with SP1 was in 2011: It's the full OS without restrictions, and with WU that receives only security updates. Basically, Windows 10 LTSC is the Windows 10 that everybody wanted. And in all honestly, Windows 10 LTSC is the only version of Windows 10 I'll consider installing. If LTSC wasn't available, then I'd install Enterprise and configure it to behave like LTSC does out of the box. Thankfully, there's no need to pirate Windows 10 LTSC because people can legally buy a license for Windows 10 LTSC on eBay for $5 - 15 USD. After all, software licenses are the personal and private property of whoever purchases them, and whoever owns a software license may resell it per their sole discretion. eBay knows this, and that's why they cannot remove Windows 10 LTSC licenses from eBay regardless of what Microsoft would prefer. Here are Windows 10 LTSC licenses for sale for just $3.69 USD: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Winsdows10-Enterprise-LTSC-2019-32-64-bit-lifetime-genuine-License-Key-INSTANT/383049397282
  13. Gothic 1 and 2 are mentioned on the previous page, and I support that suggestion. I think they could be gold-mines for a good AF review. They've got character and quirks oozing out the everything and are also just amazing games - in many ways the pinnacle of Western RPGs, never again as of yet matched. They're also unknown to a lot of North American gamers as Elder Scrolls was the big thing over here and Gothic 1 and 2 didn't have big marketing campaigns (or any?). I stumbled across them entirely by happenstance when I decided to play whatever random thing I could come across while perusing a torrent site and G2's English release had just come out - and it blew me away within minutes of playing it. They were hidden gems in their day. Of course, Gothic 3 was a major disappointment and not done at all in similar vein as G1 and G2.
  14. Nice video. Coulda been neat to mention something about Canyon Platform, the classic TrackMania game mode which was added to Canyon in an update, and which Nadeo even later broke and never did anything to fix again. I recall some fuss about the car handling in Canyon being revamped at one point, and people complained about it. I think I also preferred the original. https://forum.maniaplanet.com/viewtopic.php?t=40834 Ross, you said in your video that you didn't play the original TM games and didn't find them visually attractive. TMO has some cool handling, but I recommend checking out TM Sunrise and also with the TMS Extreme expansion. Its graphics are a significant step up from the first TM game's, and still look beautiful. Plus, the sense of speed in TMS is greater than in any other game. TM Sunrise also has what I think are the best music and menu presentation in the series, and a lot of the coolest tracks. It also has 3 game modes: Race, Platform, and Puzzle. In my opinion, a TM game isn't a TM game without all 3 modes - even if Nadeo has been making Race-only TM games for longer than they made them with the other modes included. Platform is my favourite mode. It has no timer but presents challenging platform-based tracks with checkpoints that a car can be respawned to if something goes wrong. Gold, silver, and bronze awards are given based on how many times the player resets their car at the most-recent checkpoint (which they do whenever they fall off the track, turn upside down, or anything else that prevents progress). And some of the Platform tracks get really crazy (timestamped video): TM Sunrise is Nadeo's peak as a developer, IMO, and the studio has been putting out mediocre and half-baked releases since being bought by Ubisoft. And to anyone who would suggest playing TM United instead because it has samples of the same environments as TM Sunrise: TM United isn't comparable to TM Sunrise, it's a much worse package, worse music, worse stages, worse presentation. I think it also has less content. Even importing the TM Sunrise maps into TM United isn't nearly as great an experience as playing TM Sunrise. Because of the horrible Starforce DRM Nadeo put into TM Sunrise, to get TM Sunrise to work on a modern PC, either a virtual machine of Windows XP, Vista, or maybe Windows 7 is needed, or some other method. I've seen people get it to work using various methods. I've also bugged Nadeo to release it without Starforce on GoG, but they seem to be pretty stubborn in not doing that, so far. http://www.tm-forum.com/viewtopic.php?t=24517 http://www.tm-forum.com/viewtopic.php?p=211090#p211090
  15. Hey, thought people here would appreciate this. There isn't even a debate about ownership with GoG - they outright say on their website that you own the games you purchase from them. "You buy it, you own it". Keep in mind that many of the games sold on GoG are the same ones sold through Steam and other platforms, and by the same publishers.
  • Create New...

This website uses cookies, as do most websites since the 90s. By using this site, you consent to cookies. We have to say this or we get in trouble. Learn more.