You Bitch At Piracy, But What About Those Who Sell Beta Keys

You want to talk about ethics and double standards? You want to open your mouth and say that piracy is bad; it kills the industry; and it leaves companies without money? Have you ever stopped to consider that piracy isn’t the worst thing happening in the industry?

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Christopher3661d ago

Worst isn't so much a quantifiable element. What is quantifiable is the reach of the issue. Beta keys are limited, piracy is not.

Essentially, to use a crappy analogy, we're talking about two different felony offenses but one happens 50x more often than the other, so which do you think is going to be the primary focus for the police?

NitrateZA3661d ago (Edited 3661d ago )

Thanks a lot for the comment. I'll try explain my view, as the author, as well as possible. :-)

Well, piracy is considered theft whereas beta keys are unethical.

I'm coming from a standpoint which considers the factors involved. For example: piracy harms developers who make tonnes of money anyway. (Still not right - bare with me).

Selling free beta keys harms the Community (you and I) as we're now paying for something that was intended to be free. Following that, it harms the developer because they are putting their resources into something which they are getting no return on, whereas other people are getting money for it. This can be see as undue enrichment as they actually have no real right to the money. It's almost like selling the pirated games. Still 'legal' but there could be a civil claim somewhere here (obviously the amounts are low per player selling, but it adds up).

The developers, if the intention was money, could easily sell the beta keys themselves. Let's be honest -- the developers and publishers, say Steam, has a MUCH better platform to sell games than the beta-key enthusiast using forums and PayPal.

It boils down to: piracy doesn't hurt the community.
Selling beta-keys hurts the community (as they need to spend extra on stuff which wasn't intended to be sold) and it hurts developers are they cannot get money. That, to me, is unforgivable. Whenever you hurt the community which is already being suckered by developers with their DLC packs, etc, it makes the problem far, far greater.

Without the community there's no gaming. They should actually be cherish, not turned against each other.

Nitrowolf23661d ago (Edited 3661d ago )

" and it hurts developers are they cannot get money."
The Beta was free anyway though Plus as Cgood said, beta is on a much smaller scale. Your not gonna see some guy selling thousands of beta. Also how exactly does this harm the community? If it's a beta it's meant for testing out bugs, if people are paying for the beta it's their choice. In a way PS+ is somewhat selling you Beta considering that they are usually a way to get them now on PS3.

Comparing Beta keys and piracy aren't really the same. Everyone who has a beta know's that it's only a tiny tiny bit of the game. Developers aren't getting hurt since it was free to begin with. Ragardless if someone is making money off of it, the item was meant to be free anyway. Developers were never making money to begin with. They were only securing a beta spot for Xnumber of key out there, which there still are. No duplication or anything like that has occurred with keys being sold.

The pirated gamne falls on a completely different factor, since they are selling the game, which means for every X copy they should see a specific amount of income coming.

Also if someone buys a beta key then it's there fault. I don't see where this is hurting the community at all. This is only hurting (not really, their choice to pay) individuals who do that. Did I get punished for my friend buying a beta key? No.
Piracy is another story, if this game sells 500 copies and somehow there are 2,000 players, then developers are going to see this and possibly drop support for any future content.

That's called hurting the community. They aren't going to drop support because some users have paid keys.

The main purpose of a Beta isn't for developers to profit on, but to fix bugs, stress test the servers, and see how people feel about the controls.

NitrateZA3661d ago

@Nitrowolf 2


Beta on a much smaller scale? Dota 2:

You'd be surprised how many beta's people sell. If you sell 100 beta keys at $10 - that's $1,000. Quite a lot of money, don't you think?

Beta's, depending on what beta, is aimed at bugs etc. Dota 2's beta is massive and it aims at more than just bugs. Furthermore, Dota 2 beta isn't a "little" bit of the game. Diablo 3 was, and a few others are. But not this.

Developers aren't getting hurt, directly, but you need to understand that if the player is making money they could just as easily be making that exact same amount of money. Instead, they take the stance that it's for the community and they want it to be shared. This can damage them indirectly monetarily, or by players with keys not really participating in betas, or those who can't, and giving feedback.

Sure, they should see money coming in for piracy. But because its free and they don't want the money for the game it doesn't mean that /you're/ entitled to get that money for the game. Does it? I hardly doubt it does. You are limiting the community and who gets to play and enjoy the game by being unethical and selfish. It's damaging a players freedom to play something that's free.

Of course it's their fault for buying it, but it wouldn't be anyone's fault if it was used as intended. Given away. I commented in the original article with there are psychological reasons as to why players will buy the keys. It's worth it.

Did you get punished for your friend buying the beta key? No. Did you get punished for your friend pirating the game? No. They don't ever drop support for games due to piracy. They only make other provisions for it. Frankly, they go where the money is anyway.

But, I ask, did your friend who didn't buy the beta key get punished for not buying a key? Yes he did, because he could have easily obtained it for free. Instead, now he must pay for it. That seems somewhat damaging as the scope of the beta is limited and the player number and number of friends playing is reduced.

They won't drop support because players bought keys no, but they might have limited feedback and stress testing which damages the game. Furthermore, their wishes are being destroyed -- to have free access to certain people. That hurts the developers. The community gets hurt when they need to pay extra for stuff others got for free and what is for free. That's two-fold.

The main purpose of the beta is what you said, but that doesn't mean that it cannot go over and above that, namely, what Valve does to actually grow the game and the community. They want the game to be free, so they are doing this to be free, to grow it and get people involved, for free.

All I'm saying is that this is highly unethical. And instead of poking fingers at the piracy factors like developers do, community members must poke at the other community members who are doing wrong directly to them.

It's almost as if gamers like being shafted by developers and other community members for money, it seems. Having developers give us on-disc "DLC" is bad enough. Now we're hunting each other?

Nitrowolf23661d ago

I'm gonna make this really short, third time writing this N4G is so slow, keeps deleting comment.

You don't see developers taking drastic measures for an issue that isn't an issue.
THE COMMUNITY Is not getting hurt by this. If someone wants to pay for the key that's their own choice. Whether they feel that it was worth it or not is for them to decide, but that's why it's called buyer remorse. No one forced them to buy it other then themselves and falling to peer pressure.

Any way things developers have done to help with Piracy: Keys, Passes, DRM, Punkbusters, auto ban on legitimate users. DRM is the worse though since that could potentially break an amazing game,

Look at Bullet storm for PC: It will not be receiving a sequel for two reasons: Poor port and Piracy (google it).

The PSP:

that's called dropping support. Deciding that there won't be localization for certain titles do to piracy, that's damaging a community.

You aren't ever going to see developers say "Oh you know what, to many people are buying free beta keys, we have to use something that is going to hurt legitamate users to".

Your blowing something over proportion that isn't even an issue at all. Gamers screwing gamers, both parties are just as responsible as the other. Your points and comments make it appear that your trying to say that this is mroe damaging then piracy.

DarkTower8053661d ago

@NitrateZA, have you ever considered that people who buy/sell betas are helping the community? Think about it, the dev only wants ONE thing when releasing a beta, feedback from the community. If I get a beta from DoTA (which I'm not a fan of) there's no way I can help the devs build a better experience, however, if I sell the beta to a hardcore fan (who are the ones paying for betas) who will give feedback, the dev will ultimately be better off, as will the community.

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Zha1tan3661d ago

they could stop piracy very easily and simply by increasing the convieniance of their service.

NO online passes, I put in starhawk last week and I had to sit through a long download, Then I had to download the starhawk online pass then after 20 minutes wasted I finally got to play my game and im a paying customer.

Online passes are just a big inconvieniance.

More platforms need to take a look at steam.

They offer a better service than pirates, they cracked the russian market which is notorious for pirating by having a severe lack of anti piracy features.

If you push people away they will go away.

Christopher3661d ago (Edited 3661d ago )

Many Indie developers have gone completely DRM free. Heck, some have even sold their games for as low as $0.01. But, in every single case, people still pirated the games by a noticeable percentage.

People pirate because it's what they do. It's what they've grown into. It's the same as going to buy groceries, they just go to a torrent to get their games now.

Zha1tan3661d ago (Edited 3661d ago )

That is true but at the same time you are never going to solve those issues with DRM or anything else that affects paying customers.

But I will say this, I only pirate games if they dont have demos (which these days seem to be going out of fashion) because I want to see how the game runs, and wether or not I like it and If I do il go out and pick up a copy, if not I delete it off my HDD.

EDIT: @ FLashXIII Steam does not have control over those aspects, that is Rocksteady who made the game deciding what way you can download and play the game. You cant blame steam for devs content which is hard to acess

FlashXIII3661d ago

I think a lot of it is to do with age (maturity) and income. Not justifying piracy in the slightest but about 7-10 years ago I'd pirate every single game almost without a care in the world, now at 25 with a well paying job, I haven't pirated a game in over three years. I know a lot of my friends come from very similar backgrounds and when they can, support developers.

catfrog3661d ago

people pirate games because they want to try them before buying them also. you mentioned a case of having games sold for $.01, well we live in a capitalist state: if you support a publisher by buying his game even if it was for $.01, youre telling them that you want to see more of that.

how can you really make that decision before playing the game? now im not saying publishers should be giving their games away, but studies have shown pirates buy more media than any other demographic, so piracy seems to be helping capitalism. sure, some companies wont make good games and people wont buy them after they pirate them, but thats capitalism.

Christopher3661d ago

***how can you really make that decision before playing the game?***

The mass majority of things require that you pay for them before testing them out. Not a good excuse for that.

*** SIDE NOTE ***

I should note, and I've replied to a few in PMs about this, that I'm not anti-piracy. I'm against the concept that no matter what you do, people will continue to pirate and it will likely grow/shrink with the size of the current gaming economy.

So, either way, there's going to be pirating. People make a ton of excuses for what they do, but that doesn't make it. Nor does it make it right that companies do so much to deter piracy but end up only harming those who have bought the game. Blizzard being the biggest offender of this right now, IMHO, which isn't just their desire to prevent piracy but their desire to monetize in-game sales of items which they can control the rate of drop and gain money for each sale made.

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FlashXIII3661d ago

Three weeks ago I'd have agreed with you that online passes are a pain in the ass and services like Steam are the way to go.. that was until I bought the Batman Arkham package in the steam specials... Pay for the game, install the game, download games for windows update, re-enter my cdkey to link it with my GFW account, re-enter my Robin and Nightwing DLC keys in GFW, download the DLC through GFWs.. all in all it was a huge pain in the ass. While I personally think Microsoft and GFW is the main culprit here, I'd have thought Steam would have found a way to save me the damn hassle of going through all those steps just to play a game and it's dlc.

vortis3661d ago

Good examples.

I don't even bother buying any game with an online pass. It's utterly pointless. 10 or 15 years from now when I want to play a game (and us real gamers do this every now and then) I don't want to find out that I can't access the game because the DRM servers are down, or the passcode is expired. Piracy bypasses that issue.

Like you mentioned, if Steam can do it so can others. It's not hard being consumer friendly and always pointing to the number of pirated torrents (which does not equate to lost sales) is absolutely ridiculous. Unless of course you're Crytek and the game is a Crysis sequel where paying PC gamers actually came together to pirate the sequel because it was a farce of its former glory, and Crytek was just in it for a cash grab.

supremacy3661d ago

These are 2 completely different issues. I am not going to write much more but to express my opinion on the matter I will say Nitrowolf2 said it best.

Pirates are stealing practically, while the whole beta key argument is just about self entitlement.

Like Nintro said the devs were never going to see a penny of betas in the first place. Why? because betas are meant to be free anyways, so what does it matter if the publisher who has to financially push and market the end product makes a little more through beta keys.

This argument is on the redundant side. No offense.

mafiahajeri3661d ago (Edited 3661d ago )

Stupid article and heres why. These people who "obtain" beta keys dont find them under their pillows when they wake up. It takes ALOT of time and stress to get these beta keys (trust me I know) and like they say time is money.

If their providing a service which people are willing to pay for whats the problem? These people who want these betas and dont want to work to get their keys will need to pay up.

"What’s even worse to note is that Dota 2 has been hinted at a free release. A game which Valve might not make money off, players are making money off"

What is this guy talking about? Valve wont make money off? Dang LoL and HoN are making tons of money and their F2P. From Characters and costumes. Heck they might even make more money since more people will be playing and buying chars and costumes etc.

I dont think this guy is a gamer or maybe he doesnt know how simple business works... comparing selling beta keys to piracy LOL!

NitrateZA3661d ago

Do you even read what you write?

So, basically people who "obtain" the keys work for them. By ways of what, hacking others accounts to get their keys etc? Very stressful if they cannot hack it, yes. You're right. /sarcasm.

Hacking another person's account is so highly wrong and not to mention illegal. So basically you're justifying that because it takes time and some stress to hack the accounts it's alright?


Providing a service people will pay for at the DIRECT expense of other people who would like to use their beta keys with their friends, for free, as intended? Note: their beta keys which they have being stolen. That's the problem, right there.

They don't need to work to get their keys because they already have keys. They don't deserve to have it stolen from their accounts. Don't believe me? Many have complained that their accounts were compromised. That's totally unfair.

Valve hasn't announced how they will make money yet -- so it's speculated that it's for the greater good at the moment. Thanks for the input with that though. They probably will go the route of TF2.

I don't know how simple business works? Please. Where's the simple business? You believe that business is highly unethical, impractical, and illegal? Interesting. There's a little thing called Corporate Governance. Look it up, it'll tell you why certain things are wrong.

This is unethical and is often involved in theft and users private information being compromised. I believe that's also in the Constitution.

So, I'm not sure what you're actually saying. You should read what you said and how it came across..

mafiahajeri3661d ago

What the heck are you on about!? How are you comparing something such as piracy that is so wide spread to something like selling beta keys? Your the one that should re-read what you wrote.

Im talking about giveaways my misinformed friend. Yes there are legitmate ways to obtain beta keys Hacking huh? thats the best thing you came up with? hmmm all I can say is LOL. You know how tough it is to get hacked now adays? through steam or whatever "accounts" your talking about. The victims only need to report them to get them banned. I think you mean people that get scammed who have themselves to blame.

They get scammed when they want to trade or sell their beta keys I have rarely seen someone complain about having a beta account stolen or hacked.

This article is plain stupid weather you like it or not. What? All the disagrees you got havent changed your mind? Well wise up my friend and think before you write in the future. You win some and you lose some and you dont need to be a genius to see what happened here...

ReconHope3661d ago

I swear if they wanted to stop piracy all they need to do is hire a pirate.

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