id CEO: PC makers quietly approve of piracy

A GamesIndustry.biz interview with id Software’s Todd Hollenshead took an interesting turn yesterday. Amid talk of QuakeCon and Valve’s Steam content delivery service, the id CEO shared peculiar views on the subject of PC game piracy. Hollenshead had this to say when asked how PC makers could stop copyright infringement:

There’s lots of things that they could do but typically just they just line up on the wrong side of the argument in my opinion. They have lots of reasons as to why they do that, but I think that there’s been this dirty little secret among hardware manufacturers, which is that the perception of free content – even if you’re supposed to pay for it on PCs – is some sort hidden benefit that you get when you buy a PC, like a right to download music for free or a right to download pirated movies and games.

The interviewer went on to ask, “You think [PC makers] are secretly happy about it?” Hollenshead said he does think so, although he took care to add that he doesn’t believe in an industry-wide conspiracy. “But I think the thing is they realise that trading content, copyrighted or not, is an expected benefit of owning a computer,” he added. (Thanks to Shacknews for the tip.)

Comments closed
    • sigher
    • 11 years ago

    It is true that piracy is a salesargument, I’d not buy such relatively expensive fast computers if I had to rely on having only software I could afford (hoping it was any good if there was no trial version) and if I had to only buy games I’d play a whole lot less of them, because let’s face it; most aren’t worth the asking price.
    I do buy software and games though, if it’s a good product and the price isn’t out there in the stratosphere.

    Oh and I agree that such matters are definitely not the concern of hardware makers, although in my opinion they already try too hard, audio codec makers are proud on installing DRM support in their chips for instance and video chips and GPU add macromedia and HDCP crap, there’s tons of hardware with such awful stuff in it, which the makers had to develop to run on their hardware at their own cost and seemingly proudly do so…

    • rechicero
    • 11 years ago

    I can’t understand so many praise of Steam. Today is convenient, yes. But nobody can assure you’ll can install your game tomorrow or next month or next year. If Steam close, all your games will be lost. And if the online music service of Microsoft can close and leave all its users royally fu**ed, something like that could happen with Steam.

    And you can’t lend them to friends or give them away if you want… I’m sorry, but I prefer old-school DVD-Games (without limited installs or calling home before every install, of course). If I buy something, I want to use it as I see fit.

    Calling-home DRM is the worse kind and Steam is just that, a calling home DRM with a great PR department.

      • A_Pickle
      • 11 years ago

      g[

        • rechicero
        • 11 years ago

        l[

          • A_Pickle
          • 11 years ago

          g[

            • rechicero
            • 11 years ago

            l[

      • sigher
      • 11 years ago

      Steam closing is not the big issue, it’s that they can at any time insert ingame advertising into a game, rendering it unplayable for any sensible person, they did it before and therefore you cannot trust they won’t do it again, and it’s enough reason to not buy steam games.

      Not that the announced battlefield patch 1.5 isn’t likely to have such crap, but there you can at least not install it whereas the ‘do not keep updated’ checkbox of steam games is as functional as writing an angry letter to the whitehouse.

    • Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman
    • 11 years ago

    Boo F***ing Hoo. Cry my a f***ing river, Hollenshead. Praytell, what obliges /[

      • A_Pickle
      • 11 years ago

      Hear, hear.

      This id fellow is getting kind of irritating, frankly. I agree that it’s incredibly funny that the only company that has developed an easy-on-the-user, innovative and non-intrusive content protection platform (Valve) is also the only one that doesn’t bitch about PC piracy. Huh.

        • rechicero
        • 11 years ago

        l[http://pc.ign.com/articles/858/858653p1.html?RSSwhen2008-03-11_141700&RSSid=858653<]ยง Stardock doesn't use DRM and they sell a lot adn without marketing campaigns... I wonder why

          • A_Pickle
          • 11 years ago

          Hey, and that’s great for them. I didn’t buy Sins of a Solar Empire, nor did I pirate it. I just don’t have it, because after I tried the demo… I… really wasn’t all that impressed. It just isn’t a game that I like.

          But mad kudos for them for not being a bunch of asshats like EA and Sony. I’m still going to buy most of my games on Steam, because it’s wonderfully convenient.

          EDIT: And even Stardock acknowledges that piracy is, indeed, an issue — according your own article.

          g[<*[http://forums.sinsofasolarempire.com/post.aspx?postid=303512<]ยง g[<*[

    • SHOES
    • 11 years ago

    make a good game price it right and you will make money. Make a moderate game at a moderate/high price and you will not make (very much) money. I used to pirate quite a bit and if the game was good I would buy it… I try and stay legit now and its getting easier with the availability of demos skyrocketing but odds are if someone pirated the game and liked it they wont mind dropping a few of thier hard earned dollars to your company for the software if for nothing else than a token of their appreciation of a “valuable” product.

    • Teddy Bar
    • 11 years ago

    Those who are going to buy a game will and those who are going to pirate the game will, DRM does not change that.

    What DRM has changed is my buying habits.

    DRM has done what buggy and unfinished games couldn’t do, stopped me from buying games. It does not induce me to pirate a game, but is sure has stopped me from buying a lot of games.

    Steam is in my opinion a bad example of DRM that works, is my view that these users are the people who would have paid for the game anyway etc.

    Piracy, piracy, piracy…. no matter how often they say it is not what is hurting their business.

    Cheers,

    Teddy Bรคr

    • A_Pickle
    • 11 years ago

    Maybe id should try making less repetitive games before they can bitch about piracy. Again.

    • Bensam123
    • 11 years ago

    So… he’s blaming hardware manufacturers now for their lack of new ideas to keep PC gamers buying.

    Can’t wait for HDMI inside the computer to protect us from the content!

    • albundy
    • 11 years ago

    “like a right to download music for free or a right to download pirated movies and games. ”

    using the net is not a right, its a freedom. that was and still is the point of the net. your free to do what you want with it. whether or not the mpaa or riaa stalk and terrorize your ip and info is another story.

    • Mr Bill
    • 11 years ago

    Many of us generate our own content. I take photographs, I record myself playing and singing, I write short poetry and prose. I make massive spreadsheets to model data. Family members record digital video. We all generate data that we want to exchange with others and a PC makes this easy. No piracy or infringing need be involved.

    That said, the RIAA and MPPA are following a failed paradigm. Someday this will all go away when congress pulls its head out and realizes that nobody can create anything new and useful because their ideas are entangled with patents and copyrights that should not have been granted. Fundamentally, congress needs to realize that nearly all technology is either knowledge of reality or derivative of prior developments. These temporary monopolies need to be narrower in focus and granted for much shorter lengths of time. Thats what has got to happen.

    • Jive
    • 11 years ago

    How about this for thought, The Elder Scrolls: IV, had no sort of copywrite protection, no DRM, and even no cd-key, only a cd checker which you can easily get by, sold copies in the millions? If the game is worth buying, people will buy it. Make crappy games with drm, people will be more then happy to pirate it.

      • indeego
      • 11 years ago

      One of these days when I win the lottery and have a few years to spare, I should give that game another tryg{<.<}g

    • MarioJP
    • 11 years ago

    Here we go again. Id at its usual statements. They have nothing else better to do than to talk trash again. Here is an idea??. Stop making crappy games. Second??. I find this funny as valve has not said a word about piracy.

    With that said I hope one day to see Id get bought out by Microsoft LOL. They need to get assimilated. The gaming industry are becoming too greedy. Case you haven’t noticed but piracy is not unique just pc’s. Everything else also get pirated. The goal is to make games that are worth buying. Even console games are crap. Again ID needs to get bought out and then everyone will be happy =)

    • jstern
    • 11 years ago

    I think Jesus would have no problems with a person getting a game for free if they were poor and couldn’t afford it. I also don’t think he would have a problem if a poor person also connected to a neighbors wireless as long as they don’t abuse it. I’m not religious, but yeah, but the little I know, Jesus would probably encourage it. I think he would also have a problem with the elites of the church living in gold, with the poor around the world fueling their life style.

    • frybread
    • 11 years ago

    People pirate because they know they won’t get in trouble.

      • Grigory
      • 11 years ago

      Yarrrr arrrr right. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • axeman
    • 11 years ago

    Here’s a wild theory:

    a) Stop coding lazy ass crap for PCs that needs a 500 dollar video card to run half decently (for the most part, except maybe close to a console’s release, consoles have hardware quite inferior to what many PC games require)

    b) Gamers have money left over to buy games instead from not needing 2500 dollar PC

    c) Profit.

    Proof:

    – best selling PC games don’t have heavy requirements

    Conclusion:

    – iD might have some of the best programmers, but don’t have a lick of common sense.

    – hardware vendors don’t encourage piracy, software vendors are lazy, hardware vendors profit from stupid software engineers, and piracy *might* be slightly higher as a side effect… as someone else pointed out, piracy isn’t exactly unknown on consoles. As yet, the PS3 hasn’t been hacked…. guess which console hasn’t sold as well as Sony would have hoped? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Of course I have no proof of this, but who knows.

      • no51
      • 11 years ago

      No game out currently requires a $500 graphics card. And “decently” is subjective. I enjoyed HL2 as much as I did when I first played through it on a Ti4200 @ 800X600 on low as was the last time with my G92GTS on 1920X1200 on ultra high.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 11 years ago

        ORLY? *cough* crysis *cough*

          • swaaye
          • 11 years ago

          Oh get over yourselves and your little beliefs and agendas already. Ever heard of the Radeon 4850? 3850/3870? GF 9600GT? GF 8800GT? Or even the old 8800GTS 640MB? None of those was ever anywhere near $500 (or even $400). They run Crysis completely competently. Nevermind that they can also run absolutely everything else out there superbly.

          I can’t wait for the next game that makes the high end cry. The day they stop making games like that is when things start to stagnate and PC gaming gets boring.

          If you think that games shouldn’t push the hardware as far as it can and that games haven’t been doing just that since the dawn of PC gaming, you are either a clueless fool or new to PC gaming. The reason the PC is the game machine it is today is that game developers pushed the hardware. Since the ’80s, since the 8088, game devs have been pushing what the PC could do and creating opportunities for companies to profit from designing and selling hardware designed to play games. And hell, id Software was undeniably a huge influence on the development of 3D hardware and its success.

          I know it’s tough to deal with: things cost money! Upgrading isn’t free! We should all still be running Voodoo Graphics! Yeah! Or “pick your favorite generation that you invested in and want to last forever”.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 11 years ago

            the 3800 cards are crap, the 9600 isn’t great, the only card you listed that makes any sense at all is the 4850, and that’s a fairly recent card that just came out.

            Even at that, crysis still does not perform 60 fps@1920×1200 with anything, and is outright slow with anything that’s not SLI’d, other than the 280.

            Crysis’s performance is beyond “pushing performance” and is outright bloated.

            Any recent dx10 card is fully programmable, and given proper support should run smooth as silk, and have great graphics.

            However, as we can see, that is not the case with crysis.

            • Kulith
            • 11 years ago

            people really need to stop using crysis as a means to compare cards

            I agree with swaaye completely

            • tocatl
            • 11 years ago

            Have you ever tought that maybe, maybe when crysis was made they tought people where going to play it at widescreen resolutions near “1280×720” and not 1920×1200 knowing that many people with a 8800gt a HD3870 where able to play it at high settings…

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 11 years ago

    I have a different opinion on piracy.
    I say that software makers drive people to piracy through severely inconveniencing the honest players with draconian drm.

    Steam is probably the absolute best drm system, as it doesn’t inconvenience the customer.
    Which is why steam gets more sales than other drm systems.

    Bioshock is probably one of the best examples of crappy DRM.
    The game won’t install or run if you are using microsoft’s process explorer, it installs some sort of hidden rootkit, even with this drm it still has a cd check, and limited your installations of the game.
    The 1.1 patch took around 30 minutes or more, probably because of a slow activation server or something.
    It was one of the worst drm systems I ever had to deal with.

    I pretty much downloaded the crack as soon as it was available.

    I won’t buy any games that use the same drm as bioshock now, so spore and mass effect are 2 sales that the game companies aren’t going to get from me.

    Consolitis and bloatware is another reason for poor sales, pc gamers aren’t interested in 75% of the games, because they’re horrible games. *cough* crysis *cough*
    When I bought Bioshock, I was hoping for something like system shock2, but I got a FPS.
    Not that it was a bad FPS, but it certainly wasn’t what I expected it to be.

    Also, you have to take into account people who stay with an old game and don’t play anything else.
    Consoles make you rebuy your games, and they don’t have much replay value, whereas on the pc you have people still playing CS1, TF1, quake3, ut2004, starcraft and diablo2.

    • Xenolith
    • 11 years ago

    What is the evidence? How are hardware manufacturers helping pirates? What is the crime? Are they responsible for fixing piracy?

      • Meadows
      • 11 years ago

      You’re misunderstanding this, hardware manufacturers don’t *[

        • Xenolith
        • 11 years ago

        So hardware manufacturers are “enablers”.

    • FubbHead
    • 11 years ago

    It’s also every car manufacturers fault that people are speeding.

      • CasbahBoy
      • 11 years ago

      He’s not saying that or anything like that at all. What he is saying is that car manufacturers don’t really /[

        • FubbHead
        • 11 years ago

        Well, that sounds pretty much the same to me.

    • blubje
    • 11 years ago

    Isn’t this the same argument some point (for and against) nuclear energy?

    • Krogoth
    • 11 years ago

    Piracy has always been the cost of doing business on an open medium and platform like the internet and PCs.

    Piracy is not the biggest reason why PC gaming has been on the decline and developers/publishers are shifting to consoles.

    It is a factor, but there are far larger elements at play. (changing demographics, budget and focus on eye candy going out of control, beta-quality programming with being released then later on gets patches if the game is a fiscal success. etc.)

    Yet, piracy is treated by the gaming industry like the biggest scapegoat ever.

    It is ironic, that piracy is part of the reason why some applications and games became so successful. The product in question was good and easy enough to pirate that it effectively killed the competition.

    • delsydsoftware
    • 11 years ago

    As a shareware game developer, I don’t support the idea of piracy, but it happens. That’s the whole beauty of the PC—it’s a general purpose computer. You can do cool things with it, or you can be a prick—it’s totally up to you. It’s nice to have that freedom, and I don’t think PC hardware should be restricted in any ways. Hardware DRM would fly in the face of the idea of general purpose computing.

    When we release a game or application, the full version doesn’t have any DRM, and we try to keep the price reasonable for the content you’re getting. In fact, I love it if people share the game with family members, because you can’t buy better advertising than that. As a result, we have lots of happy customers and extremely low rates of piracy. If you release a crappy, expensive game and then fortify it with titanic levels of DRM, you are pretty much asking people to pirate the beejesus out of it.

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 11 years ago

      Eh, no. If it is a crappy game, there is no demand and no need to pirate it. If it is ‘broken’, it is most likely just as an exercise to prove it could be done. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thresher
    • 11 years ago

    I find it ironic that a company that was started by people passing around copies of their shareware and later the full game would complain about piracy. Piracy built them into a profitable company because, while plenty of copies were pirated, plenty of copies were bought as well.

    This is sort of like when Microsoft turned a blind eye to Office being pirated. They would condemn it one minute, but at the same time, they did nothing about it. So Office becomes the defacto standard, beating out other competitors by force of piracy. Then when it’s the standard, MS started trying to trip up pirates.

    I do feel software companies should be paid for their work. But there will always be pirates and their will always be honest people. Id should know this better than anyone.

    • rythex
    • 11 years ago

    ugh, I can’t even be bothered to pirate an ID/Raven game for the past 5+ years, let alone buy it.

    Just sounds like more Crytekexcuseism (it’s my new word!)

    Do these guys ever think about what they’re saying in an interview before they open their mouth and realize it sounds reaaally dumb?

    • bcronce
    • 11 years ago

    I was at a LAN party once where RAVEN software developers stopped in as a guest appearance and they found out someone had a copied version of whatever FPS game was popular at the time. They were thrilled and told everyone to get it from him so we could all play death match with them. The person who got the most killed won an autographed copy of the game.

    • HiggsBoson
    • 11 years ago

    It’s a basic tenet of economics that one way to make you’re product more attractive, is to make the complementary products cheaper (or free). /[

    • FireGryphon
    • 11 years ago

    What a crock. How can he make a blanket statement about PC users’ intent? Did he do a survey, or is he rationalizing based upon his own unique experience?

    Sure, people pirate games on the PC platform. It makes sense that it’s easy, but it’s not unique to PC’s at all. I remember back in the days of the NES there were loads of pirated cartridges available, and you can still pirate console games.

    Pirates will pirate anywhere, from any industry. This idea that there’s some special condition in the PC world that makes it especially attractive is just Todd’s way of shrugging off his own responsibility to protect his games.

      • CasbahBoy
      • 11 years ago

      q[

    • herothezero
    • 11 years ago

    Funny how you don’t hear about Valve complaining about piracy.

      • cegras
      • 11 years ago

      That’s because for all intents and purposes, steam is pretty much foolproof.

        • TurtlePerson2
        • 11 years ago

        Steam isn’t exactly foolproof. I’ve met some people who have played Valve games without paying in more than one way.

          • A_Pickle
          • 11 years ago

          But it’s mostly foolproof — IE, the overwhelming majority of Steam users pay for their games. That probably isn’t so with other games not released on Steam, and while Valve will probably sack a person who’s pirating, they can focus their time, effort, and energy on making good games because for the most part — theirs aren’t stolen from them.

        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        Valve’s “Steam games” are pirated as much as anything else. I personally don’t like their franchises, but I know someone who keeps poking me telling I should try Half-Life, and he played all of them without ever paying a cent.

          • Usacomp2k3
          • 11 years ago

          I played throught HL2 for free, but that’s because it was gifted to me.

            • Meadows
            • 11 years ago

            I can assure you he wasn’t given the games by anyone. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • A_Pickle
          • 11 years ago

          g[

            • d2brothe
            • 11 years ago

            Perhaps that is because people feel they’re worth buying, but I can tell you, its not from difficulty pirating.

            • A_Pickle
            • 11 years ago

            I know how to get my hands on most games for free. I don’t, but I know how to. I don’t know how to do that for Steam.

            • Meadows
            • 11 years ago

            As I said, it works like for any other title. Torrent the games.
            Steam game torrents are not images, but rather the installed folders in a zip file – you unpack the folder, place it wherever you want and create a shortcut to the .exe.

            Obviously though, that doesn’t work with online functionality such as Team Fortress 2 or AudioSurf or what have you.

            • eitje
            • 11 years ago

            i would think the validation it runs when steam first starts up would pick these things out.

            • Meadows
            • 11 years ago

            My aforementioned acquaintance begs to differ. I’ll ask him about it if I ever get the time.

            • indeego
            • 11 years ago

            So basically It happens, but you have no proof other than a friend. Seriousg{

            • Swampangel
            • 11 years ago

            Cracked copies of Valve games don’t deal with Steam at all. You don’t (and indeed probably shouldn’t) login to Steam before playing. I don’t know what trickery is involved on the part of the cracker, but for the user it is just as simple as torrent, extract and play.

            My first exposure to HL2 was through a “no-steam” copy of the game. This game actually marked the turnaround of my stance toward game piracy. I played through about 1/4 of the game, deleted it, and bought it a few days later, because it was that good.

            I have a friend who did the same with the Orange Box … played cracked TF2, then went out and bought it. For him it was the difference between playing on open servers, which tended to be buggy and full of cheaters, and playing on VAC servers.

            Interestingly, though, we both noticed that the no-steam versions started faster and crashed less often than the legit ones. Steam as a platform is cool; Steam as a piece of software is still kind of a pain, and a good example of how DRM really can be more trouble to the paying customer.

            • rohith10
            • 11 years ago

            I’ll second this. Cracked copies don’t connect with the main Steam server at all. Instead, I think it tries to connect to localhost and accesses some crack file stored in your own hard drive. And this is done by running an exe file with the game’s own name – not Steam’s.

            I also had the cracked copy of Half-Life 2 once. I never really played it though. More like I never got time. So after a while I deleted it because I thought it was just sitting around wasting HDD space. Coincidentally in August 2007, I legally bought the /[

            • indeego
            • 11 years ago

            “Steam as a platform is cool; Steam as a piece of software is still kind of a pain, and a good example of how DRM really can be more trouble to the paying customer.”

            How is it “more trouble” to get the game delivered electronically and conveniently, updated on the fly, with very little end-user interaction?

            You could argue the following with pirated cracked games:
            1. You must virus scan and research the game/crack. Because your source is already untrusted, you must be extra vigilant with executables.
            2. The documentation for the cracks is somewhat lacking. You might spend some significant time figuring it out when steam players are already in their game.
            3. That is media you must carry around with you. Steam games follow you around.
            4. IIRC, steam games don’t run background processes that check for pirate tools/cracks. They simply expect hashes and encryption of the files to pan out.

            All in all steam is paying for much more convenience. It is well worth it to me to pay for every penny, because it truly is convenient for theend user, it rewards developers by reducing muiddleman B&M bullsh*t, and it’s the futureg{<.<}g

            • Swampangel
            • 11 years ago

            q[

            • indeego
            • 11 years ago

            Anecdotal. Typically a cracked version modifies the main executable to not look for cd/DRM scheme, and it in unpatched format. It is expected (unfortuneately) that on the PC platform Gold release games are going to be released slightly buggy, so I would wager that big picture wise, the steam game will be more reliable, less hassle, than any comparable cracked gameg{<.<}g

            • Swampangel
            • 11 years ago

            You’re right that big-picture-wise, the Steam experience is better than the piracy one. No argument.

            Let me put it this way: wouldn’t it be even better if you could buy and download games and patches through Steam, but didn’t need to launch Steam to play your single player games?

            If the answer is yes, and I really think it is, then Steam’s DRM is having a negative impact on paying customers. And in my admittedly anecdotal experience, it’s not stopping pirates from enjoying the game.

            • A_Pickle
            • 11 years ago

            g[

            • Swampangel
            • 11 years ago

            Really? TF2 crashes on me on a regular basis, but I’ll admit that’s probably got something to do with my usage pattern (alt-tabbing rather than closing the game most of the time).

            That’s probably Source’s fault, though, not Steam’s. But Steam likes to do things like pop up news announcements while I’m in game, stealing focus and making me drop out to the desktop — a day or two ago it did this repeatedly for the same news item. This wasn’t a quirk of my system, either, because other people in-game were complaining about the same behaviour. Every now and then I can’t get back in game after this and have to force quit hl2.exe. Once or twice in recent memory the in-game Steam overlay has refused to close, period — force quit again. When I launch a game, it takes 10-15 seconds while “Connecting user account …” and another 10 seconds while “Preparing to launch … “, which is just a little annoying. If I’d never played the cracked one, it probably wouldn’t bother me as much.

            You (and indeego) are talking about what I meant when I said the “Steam platform”. Convenient updates, product news, integrated friends list are all fantastic features, and well worth the price of the game. I LIKE Steam the platform. But Steam the process that runs on my computer … sometimes doesn’t work right. It’s the best thing we’ve got right now, but it’s still not seamless, and my experience was a direct example of the small sacrifices I made after paying for the game.

            Argument about DRM aside, I’m amazed that you call Steam “incredibly stable”. Looking at my games folder, the only one I’d consider incredibly stable is Guild Wars. Steam and Source certainly don’t come to mind. I guess you’ve just been luckier than I have.

            • A_Pickle
            • 11 years ago

            Actually, those symptoms sound INCREDIBLY familiar — there were times when that happened to me (namely, having to force quit Source applications, and having the game overlay UI not quit). You frequent this site, so I would assume you’ve taken your time to update your video drivers, and any other drivers that might affect video.

            Another thing that I did was made the switch to Avast Antivirus. I was using AVG, and… Steam has documented compatibility issues with AVG. That was the final kicker — my roommate had been using Avast for years and always told me to give it a try, and after I read that AVG had compatibility problems with Steam, I did. Turns out Avast has a slightly lower memory footprint and a much more responsive UI, too (and you can turn off the sounds if they annoy you — that was what kept me from trying it for so long).

            I also ditched Free ZoneAlarm for the Windows Firewall. A combination of those really helped, because… I haven’t gotten irritating Steam issues since then. ๐Ÿ˜€

            • Swampangel
            • 11 years ago

            I do update my video drivers fairly regularly, and I’ve used Avast antivirus and Windows Firewall as my security solution for at least the last two years.

            Obviously I was just chalking it up to Steam’s coding, especially since like I said I have a friend who’s had the same experience. Now you’ve got me thinking it’s other software, like drivers or maybe a conflict with something else I use.

            Do you use primarily ATI cards, Nvidia, or both? My main computer has an 8800GT and my older one has a 6600GT.

            • A_Pickle
            • 11 years ago

            I didn’t want to bring that up, as some folks can be hurt one way or another… but… I bought my laptop with a Radeon Mobility X1900 in it, specifically to avoid the issues plaguing Nvidia cards in Vista’s early days.

            • Swampangel
            • 11 years ago

            Maybe that’s part of the puzzle, then. I still use WinXP primarily. I chose Nvidia for their Linux drivers and because the 8800GT and the 6600GT were both good price/performance picks at the time.

            I read a thread on Shacknews recently where some people were complaining about the terrible Alt+Tab performance of the Source engine (which I’ve experienced) while others said they had absolutely no problem and it was always responsive. I wonder if ATI/Nvidia drivers or XP/Vista is the dividing line.

            “Research” sounds like pretty good justification for buying a 4870 …

            Edit: topic is here:

            ยง[<http://www.shacknews.com/laryn.x?story=54099<]ยง Doesn't really look like there's any obvious split by OS or graphics manufacturer.

            • A_Pickle
            • 11 years ago

            Alt+Tabbing out of… games in general seems more like a function of memory, and then a combination of OS, GPU, GPU driver version, and then CPU. In my experience, though, improving Alt+Tab performance out of fullscreen 3D games is most easily done by adding RAM.

            I don’t have too much of a problem Alt+Tabbing out of Source games, or back into them. It takes a little while (5, maybe 10 seconds each way) but… nothing unbearable. I have 4 GB, but only a 32-bit OS. ๐Ÿ™

            • Swampangel
            • 11 years ago

            3GB here. Alt-tabbing out is pretty quick, but switching back in takes usually 15-30 seconds when the game is running in fullscreen mode, and every now and then it will simple fail to recover. If I’m running in windowed mode, task switching is basically instant (with a second or two of hitching).

            Task switching works much better in most other games I play, although the only one that’s nearly as demanding as Source is Oblivion. It switches in less than 5 seconds each way.

            I’m prepared by now to just blame it on an unfortunate combination of software/drivers/hardware.

            • MattMojo
            • 11 years ago

            I tout Steam every chance I get and I have played my Steam games (which range from commander keen to GRID and TF2) on (4) different computers ranging from an AMD quad-core opteron system to a Intel 9000 series Dell XPS laptop and not once have I experienced a crash in-game related to Steam or a “news” pop-up while in-game ….. EVER. I have had crashes related to game engines on newly released games but those were quickly ironed out with updates to the GAME.

            3 of the 4 machines I play on are also Vista Ultimate (x32 and x64) btw.

            I would say that your “Steam” crashes are really game engine crashes and most likely have something to do with your rig(s).

            I would say after years of using Steam that it is the most stable platform I have EVER used.

            Mojo

            • Swampangel
            • 11 years ago

            Steam itself doesn’t crash on me often if ever. However, Steam’s behaviour has caused Source games to crash. I understand that there is a distinction, and talking to A_Pickle, it does sound like it’s a specific issue with my rig or a class of computers rather than the global problem I thought it was at first.

            • Palek
            • 11 years ago

            Just thought I’d chime in with what I learned from my own experience with Source-based games.

            Driver updates are of course routine for most PC gamers, but one thing that people often do not know is that DirectX itself has periodic updates, albeit much less frequently than video drivers. Microsoft releases “refreshes” of the current version from time to time, which some games or drivers (probably the drivers since they get updated so frequently?) go on to use and WILL crash if they do not find the refresh. Case in point: I had Half-Life 2 Episode 2 crash on me regularly with some error message about a missing DirectX file. I double/triple checked to see if I had the required 9.0c version, which I did. I followed the debugging steps on the Steam Support page and decided to download the latest DirectX update anyway just in case. Sure enough, Episode 2 ran without a hitch after that. The cause of the problem appears to be that latest ATi drivers needed the “August 2008 refresh” in order to run properly.

            • AlexMax
            • 11 years ago

            I use Steam because it’s more convenient than pirating.

            The most inconvenient way to get a game is the old fashioned way. You go to Best Buy/Gamestop/Wal-Mart and find that oh snap they’re out of a specific game you’re looking for. Or you lose your CD or CD-key a few months down the road. Or the game uses absolutely retarded DRM that refuses to work on my computer for whatever reason. Forget about it.

            The next most convenient way is to pirate the game. You look on Pirates Bay or Usenet for a copy of the game plus a compatible crack/keygen. You trade traveling between several different stores in your car with traveling between several torrent sites and usenet search engines. However, most pirated games can’t be played in multiplayer which is easily the most important feature in a game to me, and on top of that if it’s an old/obscure game then you’re out of luck because most torrents will have no/shitty seeds and usenet won’t have adequate retention to find it. Of course, if it’s REALLY old it might be on an abandonware site, but those are a pain to navigate and are usually ‘rips’ that are missing movies and other value-added things.

            At the top of my convenience list is Steam. You pay X amount of money for permanent instant access to a game. Doesn’t matter how old or new it is, doesn’t matter how popular or unpopular the game is, doesn’t matter how much shelf space it got on retail, if the game is on Steam I will have access to it now and forever just by double-clicking an icon in my Steam games list. No retention to worry about, no “0 seeds” staring you in the face, no media to lose. It’s perfect.

            • jackaroon
            • 11 years ago

            Speaking of Steam AND retarded DRM – if you buy bioshock through steam, does it still install securom?

            • Master Kenobi
            • 11 years ago

            No. STEAM uses its own DRM and does not play nicely with developers adding their DRM last I checked.

            • Swampangel
            • 11 years ago

            On the contrary, Bioshock through Steam still has Securom DRM in addition. This was used to control the activation limit system.

            ยง[<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioshock#Criticism_and_technical_issues<]ยง Otherwise, I would have bought it. :\

            • MattMojo
            • 11 years ago

            I never had to go though that step in order to “complete installation” with the Steam version. Nor did I have any of the “issues” related to the real retail version had (store version).

            Mojo

        • FubbHead
        • 11 years ago

        It’s also pretty much as convenient.

      • sroylance
      • 11 years ago

      Piracy used to be easier than purchase. You didn’t have to go to a crappy game store, deal with bad selection and upsell attempts. The real secret to steam, IMO, is that it’s easier to get a game via steam than pirate it.

        • DASQ
        • 11 years ago

        I dunno, there’s a pretty much a whole page dedicated to you paying for it vs. two clicks to start a download.

          • Swampangel
          • 11 years ago

          But on the other hand, you need to fiddle with cracks and trojan-infested keygens and worry about what patches you can and can’t install on a cracked game.

          On Steam, you pay for it, download it, and launch it. No hassle. I agree with the above posters that the success of Steam is thanks to making it easy to buy games.

        • Tamale
        • 11 years ago

        you sir, have nailed it on the head.

        the fact that my steam account keeps all my purchases for me and I never have to worry about how solidly backed up my media or computers are to keep that legit copy makes it totally worth the cost.

        it’s far easier to go legit and just enjoy gaming with a service like steam than any other method i’ve used.. legit or not.

      • axeman
      • 11 years ago

      Or any other company that knows the difference between a “game” and a “tech demo” for that matter.

      • xii
      • 11 years ago

      He basically complains about the PC being a “free” platform, one that can be used to do whatever you want to do with it.

      Nobody wants to get into locked down PCs, the way gaming consoles are. The whole point of a PC is the versatility of the hardware and the control the owner has over his property.

      Given the choice between no games on the PC or locked down PCs, I think it’s clear the majority of us would want to protect the freedom to do what we want on our PCs (though I don’t really play any games or own gaming consoles). If they want to lock down all games, so be it; but my data is mine, and my PC carries it exactly because it’s an open platform that I own, control and trust.

    • blastdoor
    • 11 years ago

    This sounds like a perfectly reasonable statement to me.

    One of the biggest advantages of “openness” is that piracy is easier.

      • CasbahBoy
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah, this makes sense to me too. Kind of like how ISP’s advertise “loads of bandwidth, download movies and music with ease” without suggesting many legitimate services to use if at all, because they probably don’t really care.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 11 years ago

        But you can download school research material faster!!!!!!1cos(0)

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 11 years ago

          l[

            • CasbahBoy
            • 11 years ago

            That was definitely a nice and unexpected touch ๐Ÿ™‚

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