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Economics of Game Prices


JackKieser
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Well, Zircon, I start back up work tomorrow, so my personal time to discuss the merits, flaws, and particulars of copyright is about to plummet. Assuming I had the time, though, I'd be willing to do so; yes, I'm saying that I'd be willing to go over every point of copyright law... just that I wouldn't be the one having to prove anything, unless I was playing Devil's Advocate.

If what you're telling me is "copyright is a complex subject, and no one wants to really talk about it in depth", I'd have two responses: this is probably one of the most important issues of our generation, so it SHOULD be important, especially to anyone who uses a computer (seeing as the very essence of the internet requires breaking copyright law on a daily basis), and if no one wants to discuss it, then no one will post in the thread.

As to where we go from here: well, like I said, I'm willing to discuss. This subject (game pricing) has a lot of facets, and there's plenty we haven't even considered covering yet.

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What, copyright law? No, not at all. Copyright law and how companies can exercise their "rights" (forget the rights of the consumer) will determine in what ways they try to control the internet.

Like I said earlier in the thread, the government is trying to draft a bill that will require all internet users to authenticate their real-world identity to even use internet services. For instance, forums could require you to divulge your real identity before you're allowed to post. It would also give the gov't compete authority as to who gets a license to access the internet.

How messed is that? That initiative only exists because we're conditioning ourselves to think it's ok for private interests to control cyberspace and how WE use it.

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Well, Zircon, I start back up work tomorrow, so my personal time to discuss the merits, flaws, and particulars of copyright is about to plummet. Assuming I had the time, though, I'd be willing to do so; yes, I'm saying that I'd be willing to go over every point of copyright law... just that I wouldn't be the one having to prove anything, unless I was playing Devil's Advocate.

If what you're telling me is "copyright is a complex subject, and no one wants to really talk about it in depth", I'd have two responses: this is probably one of the most important issues of our generation, so it SHOULD be important, especially to anyone who uses a computer (seeing as the very essence of the internet requires breaking copyright law on a daily basis), and if no one wants to discuss it, then no one will post in the thread.

As to where we go from here: well, like I said, I'm willing to discuss. This subject (game pricing) has a lot of facets, and there's plenty we haven't even considered covering yet.

What I'm saying isn't that copyright law is complex and shouldn't be debated, but rather your argument would be considerably more productive if you addressed it from the perspective of WHY the original intent was good, rather than why all the changes were bad.

Again, I'm going to use the example of libertarian philosophy. Libertarians disagree with the vast majority of laws, particularly ones regulating the market. But they (generally) do not sit there and say "Well, those laws don't agree with original intent, therefore you need to prove them ALL WRONG, otherwise we win." Instead, they frame their arguments to address multiple laws in a way that is actually addressable:

* Governments are not efficient. Smaller governments 'waste' fewer resources (rephrasing of original point) while larger governments waste more. Thus, laws that increase the size of the government are bad, because they add waste.

* People have a moral right to the fruits of their labor. The use of force is morally wrong except in self-defense. Therefore, taxes should be kept at a minimum and used only in self-defense.

* Regulated businesses have to spend more resources on addressing regulations than non-regulated businesses. This means some businesses will be pushed into unprofitability due to regulations, eliminating potential competition/employers from the market. Therefore, regulation should be minimized.

Keep in mind I'm not libertarian at all (I just debate with them a lot) - I'm presenting their arguments to show how you can take a position calling for the repeal of a huge amount of laws without taking the unelegant, impractical stance of "Prove every single law is right."

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Keep in mind I'm not libertarian at all (I just debate with them a lot) - I'm presenting their arguments to show how you can take a position calling for the repeal of a huge amount of laws without taking the unelegant, impractical stance of "Prove every single law is right."

Jus' hang loose blooood. She goonna catch up on the` rebound a de medcide.

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What I'm saying isn't that copyright law is complex and shouldn't be debated, but rather your argument would be considerably more productive if you addressed it from the perspective of WHY the original intent was good, rather than why all the changes were bad.

Well, that's simple: because creative development depends on derivative works; in fact, Ignatio Götz defines creativity as "the concretion of insight" (to make insight physical), and insight relies on the the processing of existing information (be it a theory, a formula, or a series of notes) in a new or different way. This is the spirit of derivative works (for instance, everything on this site), and is impossible without the freedom to not only create a work derivative of another's, but distribute that work so that it can be experienced by society as a whole; what good is an idea if it's shackled?

The founders (Jefferson, in particular) understood this, and so they phrased the original copyright clause to apply not to art, but to science, and only for a limited amount of time (as I said before, this was so that inventors would have the time to perfect their work and teach others how to use / reproduce it). No one complained back then about how artists were getting screwed out of money (at least, we have no historical records of it), but that's because everyone else was too busy being creative.

Again, I'm going to use the example of libertarian philosophy. Libertarians disagree with the vast majority of laws, particularly ones regulating the market. But they (generally) do not sit there and say "Well, those laws don't agree with original intent, therefore you need to prove them ALL WRONG, otherwise we win." Instead, they frame their arguments to address multiple laws in a way that is actually addressable:

[Libertarian arguments excised for space]

Keep in mind I'm not libertarian at all (I just debate with them a lot) - I'm presenting their arguments to show how you can take a position calling for the repeal of a huge amount of laws without taking the unelegant, impractical stance of "Prove every single law is right."

Well, the theory is that they would have been proven right when they were first put forth as laws, but that didn't happen; I'm actually in favor of a system that revamps the entire body of laws every 10-25 years, excising unnecessary, impractical, outdated, or just plain improperly implemented laws. But, that's neither here nor there. The stance I've been espsousing the whole time is "original copyright law was fine as it was"; I've been tackling individual laws and statutes up until now as they come up, but I don't have to; I'm arguing a negative position, so it's everyone else's job to prove that the laws are necessary. I argued the negative position above for you.

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Well, the theory is that they would have been proven right when they were first put forth as laws, but that didn't happen; I'm actually in favor of a system that revamps the entire body of laws every 10-25 years, excising unnecessary, impractical, outdated, or just plain improperly implemented laws. But, that's neither here nor there. The stance I've been espsousing the whole time is "original copyright law was fine as it was"; I've been tackling individual laws and statutes up until now as they come up, but I don't have to; I'm arguing a negative position, so it's everyone else's job to prove that the laws are necessary. I argued the negative position above for you.

S'mo fo butter layin' to the bone. Jackin' me up. Tightly.

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Well, that's simple: because creative development depends on derivative works; in fact, Ignatio Götz defines creativity as "the concretion of insight" (to make insight physical), and insight relies on the the processing of existing information (be it a theory, a formula, or a series of notes) in a new or different way. This is the spirit of derivative works (for instance, everything on this site), and is impossible without the freedom to not only create a work derivative of another's, but distribute that work so that it can be experienced by society as a whole; what good is an idea if it's shackled?

You're making several enormous assumptions here:

1. The creative development of a society is inherently worth more than the rights of the individual (paraphrased: society has a right to all creative ideas.)

2. Aesthetic art is somehow equivalent to practical inventions.

3. Creative development and copyright are mutually exclusive. More copyright = less creative development.

All three of these are not universally-accepted in the least. For example, I assert:

1. The individual has, by default, the right to anything he or she produces. You are as a human being entitled to the fruits of your own labor. As humans, we've realized that societies are necessary for us to grow and collectively evolve, so we understand the necessity to contribute a portion of the fruits of our labor to our collective development. However, and this is tied with the point below, not all things are important to our collective development. Aesthetic art is not a necessity by definition, so if society is to take away the fruits of that labor from the individual, it should do so only slowly and gently.

2. Aesthetic art is not equivalent to practical inventions. Technology is inherently far more valuable to a society than aesthetic art, as the latter is purely a luxury and cannot, for example, cure disease or improve crop yields. The law CAN and SHOULD treat these differently (and it does.)

3. If this were true, the U.S. would lag far behind other countries in terms of creative output, as our copyright laws have been significantly extended. However, this is not the case at all. The U.S. has been the prime innovator in most technological areas and still produces more patents (and patents of a higher quality) than any other country. While this has been falling somewhat lately, we haven't had any corresponding changes in patent law that you could correlate.

Why is this? Because people want to profit from the fruit of their labor. I love creating music and sample libraries. If I could do it for the rest of my life, I would. But without the opportunity to profit from these things, I would be unable to output even a fraction of what I do now, as I would have to spend most of my time in a profit-producing job. Hence, lower creative output and development. Even if I weren't charging for my music at all, I would still have lower creative output because my time would have to be spent elsewhere to generate the money needed to live on a day-by-day basis.

Furthermore, there are always people - a sizable number of them - who want to give out their work for free. Open source software, Creative Commons, etc. These people add significantly to creative development on both the aesthetic and practical side, and their influence absolutely cannot be ignored. You assume that copyright inevitably leads to shackling, but in reality, this factually isn't true. At all.

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You're making several enormous assumptions here:

1. The creative development of a society is inherently worth more than the rights of the individual (paraphrased: society has a right to all creative ideas.)

How so? The original scope of copyright law simply gave content creators one less right: the right to control their content after it leaves their hands. It doesn't say they can't make it, or that they can't sell it, or even that society is more important then them (I don't know WHERE you came up with that notion): it simply says that content creators have control of their product up until the point where it leaves their hands, which is the same as every other form of production. If anything, current law treats artists in a special manner, treating them different than people who make anything else. I mean, Someone who designs a really good hammer can't tell you that it's against the rules to modify the hammer after you buy it, or that you can't use the hammer in unintended ways. Artists HAVE that right, a right the hammer maker doesn't.

2. Aesthetic art is somehow equivalent to practical inventions.

It isn't. I'm not making that assumption, and neither did the Founders. They knew that art =/= practical invention (the artisan crafts), and so they gave them different protections under the law.

3. Creative development and copyright are mutually exclusive. More copyright = less creative development.

Of course it does. A simple math proof for you:

The number of unique ideas that a person can come up with on his own is X (we know it's infinite, but assume it's not because a person's lifetime is finite)

The number of ideas that two people can come up with is 2X

The number of ideas that one person can come up with as derivatives of another person's ideas, therefore, would be an exponential function of X (because for each unique idea that one person comes up with, another person could come up with X number of derivative ideas)

Restricting derivative ideas means that these ideas cannot come into being

The purpose of copyright is to restrict derivative ideas by giving content creators exclusive rights to production and derivation of ideas

Therefore, copyright law causes less ideas (less creative development) by restricting what can and cannot be created.

A more practical example to go along with the math (if it's too existential for you): Mario in the 80's, when he was just in platformers. I could take the Mario character and make him a race car driver (Mario Kart). I could put him in a sports game (Tennis, for example). I could put him in an RPG (SMRPG:LotSS). Or, I could put him in a first person shooter, maybe cross him over with Mega Man or something and put them both in a different perspective. Unfortunately, it's impossible for me to do this because copyright law has restricted the creative development of Mario games to Nintendo, because Nintendo has exclusive rights. My idea can never happen without Nintendo. Creativity has been stifled.

All three of these are not universally-accepted in the least. For example, I assert:

1. The individual has, by default, the right to anything he or she produces. You are as a human being entitled to the fruits of your own labor. As humans, we've realized that societies are necessary for us to grow and collectively evolve, so we understand the necessity to contribute a portion of the fruits of our labor to our collective development. However, and this is tied with the point below, not all things are important to our collective development. Aesthetic art is not a necessity by definition, so if society is to take away the fruits of that labor from the individual, it should do so only slowly and gently.

Again, you're stating it as though, without copyright, an artist not only can't make money, but is somehow having his art forcefully taken from him. Not true. Whether art is a necessity or not is irrelevant to this fact. Artists made money before copyright; can you respond to that? Remember: it's YOUR job to prove that copyright is necessary, since it's the affirmative position. Why is copyright necessary for an artist to make art? Why is it impossible to sell art without copyright?

2. Aesthetic art is not equivalent to practical inventions. Technology is inherently far more valuable to a society than aesthetic art, as the latter is purely a luxury and cannot, for example, cure disease or improve crop yields. The law CAN and SHOULD treat these differently (and it does.)

I covered this above, but it did treat art and artisan crafts differently; art wasn't protected because it wasn't of practical use, while artisan crafts WERE, albeit for a limited time. I don't see how this point helps the argument for copyright, because why should we make special laws to protect something that isn't important?

3. If this were true, the U.S. would lag far behind other countries in terms of creative output, as our copyright laws have been significantly extended. However, this is not the case at all. The U.S. has been the prime innovator in most technological areas and still produces more patents (and patents of a higher quality) than any other country. While this has been falling somewhat lately, we haven't had any corresponding changes in patent law that you could correlate.

Patent law operates VERY differently from copyright law; it has different scope and deals with different subject matter. Comparing the worth of the two is a very slippery road. That being said, even patent law was never intended to be absolute; the purpose, again, of protecting work was never financial in nature, but rather educational. We give you a temporary patent to work out the kinks and make your product presentable, so that the world may learn how to use it properly. Afterward, the world makes edits, re-implements your original work, and new inventions are created.

Why is this? Because people want to profit from the fruit of their labor. I love creating music and sample libraries. If I could do it for the rest of my life, I would. But without the opportunity to profit from these things, I would be unable to output even a fraction of what I do now, as I would have to spend most of my time in a profit-producing job. Hence, lower creative output and development. Even if I weren't charging for my music at all, I would still have lower creative output because my time would have to be spent elsewhere to generate the money needed to live on a day-by-day basis.

However, if copyright law were in its original form, that would be balanced out by other artists creating derivatives of your work freely. You might only be able to afford to make one sample library, but 12 people could take your library and edit it freely, redistributing 12 new libraries that might not exist without your original work; meanwhile, this can happen simultaneously, while you work on something else (be it another sample library or, like, manufacturing textiles). There's still a net increase. Your work is just as valid as anyone else's, and theirs is as valid as yours; why should they be restricted from possibly improving on your work just so that YOU can have exclusive rights? Again, it's your responsibility that we NEED to have those rights go to the developer, and I've merely provided reasonable doubt of that by giving an equally valid example of how derivative work COULD lead to MORE net creative output than the amount coming from you working alone.

If you want a more practical example, look at the Japanese art of Doujinshii; it is, literally, IP theft. It's the practice of fans editing and remaking existing Manga, and it's so popular that it is the subject of Japan's largest convention; more Manga is sold there than at any other Japanese convention (even other Manga conventions), and it is because the people are free to create what the limited Manga creators can't possibly do by themselves. It's a thriving economy, too; even though Doujinshii is, essentially, IP theft, more money is traded there than at any other con. It's a booming market... that couldn't exist with strict copyright law.

Furthermore, there are always people - a sizable number of them - who want to give out their work for free. Open source software, Creative Commons, etc. These people add significantly to creative development on both the aesthetic and practical side, and their influence absolutely cannot be ignored. You assume that copyright inevitably leads to shackling, but in reality, this factually isn't true. At all.

Even one instance of shackling is still shackling; if the law restricts even 1 idea, even if it allows for 10, you still only have 10 ideas, instead of 11.

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Do you want a sentence, again, that describes my current argument? One that is a compilation of all of my arguments? One that succinctly wraps up the pros and cons of capitalism, the issue of piracy, the the dangers of over-restrictive copyright laws, and all of their relations, specifically, to the particular price points of video games? Or just a sentence about what we're talking about right at this moment (copyright law, and the effect it has on viable markets)?

If you want me to butcher my argument into a single sentence, I will to shut you up, but it's not going to be good, pretty, or accurate, because the topics I'm discussing are broad.

so instead of giving me a sentence, you gave me a bunch of dodgy questions

you lose, jack

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A simple math proof for you:

The number of unique ideas that a person can come up with on his own is X (we know it's infinite, but assume it's not because a person's lifetime is finite)

The number of ideas that two people can come up with is 2X

The number of ideas that one person can come up with as derivatives of another person's ideas, therefore, would be an exponential function of X (because for each unique idea that one person comes up with, another person could come up with X number of derivative ideas)

Restricting derivative ideas means that these ideas cannot come into being

The purpose of copyright is to restrict derivative ideas by giving content creators exclusive rights to production and derivation of ideas

Therefore, copyright law causes less ideas (less creative development) by restricting what can and cannot be created.

First of all, you can't just insert an "X" and line breaks into something and magically call it a mathematical proof. There's nothing mathematical about this.

Second, I'm not really sure what the issue is here. If every person has the capability to come up with infinitely many creative ideas, why should it matter if the derivative ones can never see the light of day?

Let's go with your Mario FPS game example: so I come up with a game that stars Mario and friends in a first-person shooter setting with all of the quirkiness that Mario titles usually entail. But wait: I can't use Mario and friends! So I'll draw upon my infinite creativity pool and create new characters. I'll replace mushrooms and super stars with my own ideas for items that have identical effects. I'll keep the same cartoony graphics and quirky gameplay; it just won't have that "Mario" stamp on it. Sure, it's likely less appealing to those mobs who will buy anything that has "Mario" in the title, but it's ultimately a title that could make hackneyed concepts seem a little bit fresher.

I'm almost tempted to argue that copyright restriction increases creativity by forcing creators to come up with something that is entirely their own.

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Wait what?

Just because you throw in variables means that it is a mathematical rule?

The number of arguments JackKieser can com up with is X.

The number of counter arguments that can be made by a person is also X.

Since Jack is the only one arguing for his position, and more than one person (lets say 5) are arguing against him, therefor:

Jack's position = 1X

Counter arguments = 5X

5X>1X

So, mathematically speaking, JackKieser is wrong.

Also, even with current copyright laws, there are derivative works that are perfectly legal. Mario begets Sonic. Dragon Warrior begets Final Fantasy. Ultima Online leads to EverQuest leads to World of Warcraft leads to Warhammer Online leads to Lord of the Rings online leads to Dungeons and Dragons Online...

Copyright laws work like davidoff says: it forces people who like a concept to rethink it so that while it remains derivative (A platformer that inspires a platformer for example) it also becomes something else. (A fat plumber fighting a giant dragon becomes a blue hedgehog fighting a rotund scientist.)

Wanna see games get boring fast?

Without copyright laws, if one company publishes a very successful game.. Lets say: God of War.

Company A publishes God of War, it is successful.

Company B rushes "Deity of Massacre" to cash in on the success.

Company C (a partner of company B) uses Company B's engine to create: The War Immortal.

When it comes time for God of War 2, the market is saturated, and it bombs majestically.

If you remove copyright laws, what the hell is the motivator for a company to create something new when they know what works and they can copy it? In fact, no company would want to pay for development of a new concept when they can just wait for a competitor to develop it, and then rip the idea.

Then you end up with 25 different versions of Pong and programing teams of 1 person with a 10 000$ budget and 3 weeks to knock off a very promising movie license game.

Been there, done that.

Got the fucking landfill to prove it.

Edit: Also, this is 2X versus your 1X. You lose again, JackKieser.

And finally:

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