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ryanbatcund

Products lose activation with BIOS changes

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Ok... back to the actual discussion regarding DRM.

 

Here's the problem:

 

Cause: People steal addons.

Effect: Developers add DRM to deal with theft.

Effect: Users have to jump through DRM 'hoops'.

Effect: Developers end up being the 'bad guy'.

 

I miss anything?

Have software developers considered that product distribution on a "pay per copy" is not a sustainable business model? 

The print media learned long ago that the revenue- and hence profit - is derived by selling advertising and giving away free, the software product. 

The more copies you can distribute, the higher prices you can charge advertisers!

One would suspect for example,  that airlines and auto manufacturers might consider simmers to be a very interesting target.

Would it work? Well I read Bloomberg Net News daily and pay nothing for the privilege- but I accept that being exposed to advertisements is the price I pay.

Why not a Boeing promo each time you start up a PMDG product? Might even deter the so-called pirates since they would have to watch a commercial before using the software.

Complaining about pirates is a waste of effort- change your business model!

january

The business model is not the issue. Your post is yet another attempt to lay full blame upon the developer and say it's all their fault. Your reason as to why it's their fault is different... I'll give you that much.

 

Oh, and I really can't see how shoving advertising throughout an addon (it really would have to cycle ads non-stop to make sense) would work. What, your PFD has a constantly revolving ad strip at the top?

 

Oh, and print media... you mean like a newspaper? Where they sell both advertising space and charge for a subscription to access the articles?


Ed Wilson

Mindstar Aviation
My Playland - I69

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As I've stated above... if someone thinks they know how to do this... I'll give them a flat cost for a quality addon... after payment I will deliver said addon with NO PROTECTION... and then they get to tell the rest of us when they've started to actually make a profit.

 

Why must arguments jump to the extreme example like this?  I do not wish to go back to the original post and read this entire thread again, but I will say with some confidence that the theme from those of us who are end users is not a request for NO PROTECTION.  It is instead relief from REPETITIVE HOOPS when making incremental system changes.   Now I only capitalized both of those two phrases to illustrate the difference.  I believe 99% of us understand that piracy exists and thus 99% of us understand licensing keys and such.  Just not the repeated hassle.

 

And if somehow at the developer end of the hoops processes, customer installations counts, re-validations and such, those are deemed and being measured as piracy installs then that in and of itself is exacerbating the problem.  i.e. are you including our hoops as piracy counts?  Please note that I started this final paragraph with "And if somehow".  I am not making a claim, but the defense in this thread of forcing users to jump through hoops, and the mentality of a pirate behind every shadow seems to imply some other problem underlies this issue.  As much as WE like it, this hobby is just not that big.


Frank Patton
MasterCase Pro H500M; Z490 WiFi MOB; i7 10700k 3.8 Ghz; H100i Pro; 32GB DDR4 3600; RTX 3070 TI 8GB; Gold RMX850X PSU; ASUS VG289 4K 27"
Honeycomb Alpha & Bravo, Crosswind 3's w/dampener.  
Former USAF meteorologist & ground weather school instructor. AOPA Member #07379126
                       
"I will never put my name on a product that does not have in it the best that is in me." - John Deere

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Oh, and print media... you mean like a newspaper? Where they sell both advertising space and charge for a subscription to access the articles

 

Ed-

My local newspaper is delivered free to my front door, twice weekly. My wife receives a free thick glossy magazine monthly, in the mail- it is a relic of an old paid subscription- the publishers of which, decided to continue for free some years ago after not receiving any renewal fee from us. Presumably the advertising revenue justifies printing and mailing costs even without any subscription fee. 

The business case here, is that maintaining distribution volume means higher revenue from advertisers- so better to give it away free!!

If a business model seems broken- try something different.

january

Oh- and I get much of my daily news via radio- free!

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Oh, and print media... you mean like a newspaper? Where they sell both advertising space and charge for a subscription to access the articles?
 

 

And are losing their collective rears as circulation drops dead?  It seems to me unlikely that any simmer will run out and buy a Boeing, Airbus, or any aircraft brand as a result of built in advertising - rather, they would complain about the product and developers introducing adware to their systems. B)

 

DJ

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I think Ed brings up an interesting point about using physical mediums.  I remember in the early days of FS9, back when download speeds were too slow for the size of the programs we were buying.

 

There another reason for using disks. Some of us lowlifes that live in little towns only have a 1.5 Mb/s connection, or worse. The telecoms haven't seen fit to upgrade my area....yet. That's why I buy the disks, which by the way, are getting harder and harder to purchase these days as these lazy software developers begin to rely on downloading just to sell their software. Waiting a week or more for some of these huge downloads is just not feasible, especially for scenery and terrain downloads. I'd rather watch paint dry. I've already had to leave my system on for days because many of these new games are essentially released as beta, which then requires the buyer to download a huge patch(s) just to fix the unfinished software. :angry:

 

In reference to the original thread, I just cloned my OS drive to install it to a SSD. My FSX installation is still on my D: drive, which is an HHD. Some changes were made in the BIOS to do this of course. I'm almost afraid to fire up FSX after reading this. Am I going to scream when I do and have to reinstall all of FSX just because of the DRM of my addons?

Edited by n4gix
Removed excessive quote!

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Some of us lowlifes that live in little towns only have a 1.5 Mb/s connection, or worse.

 

Corvalis?  Incredible.  Since it is the home of a major university.  Do you not have a cable alternative for competition?


 

 


It seems to me unlikely that any simmer will run out and buy a Boeing, Airbus, or any aircraft brand as a result of built in advertising - rather, they would complain about the product and developers introducing adware to their systems.

 

If that ever happened some enterprising developer would devise an ad blocker..... <grin>


Frank Patton
MasterCase Pro H500M; Z490 WiFi MOB; i7 10700k 3.8 Ghz; H100i Pro; 32GB DDR4 3600; RTX 3070 TI 8GB; Gold RMX850X PSU; ASUS VG289 4K 27"
Honeycomb Alpha & Bravo, Crosswind 3's w/dampener.  
Former USAF meteorologist & ground weather school instructor. AOPA Member #07379126
                       
"I will never put my name on a product that does not have in it the best that is in me." - John Deere

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The only scenario that I know about where developers and publishers don't care about piracy are usually the "free to play" content that is driven by advertising revenue ... can't be a thief when the product is free.
 
Luke's thought process doesn't make any logical sense to me, especially given the data my company has gathered and our ROI improvement based on the decisions we've made by knowing our thieves.  

 

Apologies for the delay. Glad to see AVSIM is back.

 

There are plenty of other scenaria where it makes sense not to care about piracy. Please re-read post #32. If you're seeking to establish market share, it makes sense to play a long game and tolerate or even facilitate piracy - it's a loss leader. It makes exponentially more sense if you have good margins based on another product and can afford it. If you're a small player for whom every dollar TODAY counts then yes, I could see why a dollar today seems worth more than five dollars next year.

 

Why do I not try and measure theft? It's partly because of scale. We have nine figures of revenue and a very healthy margin. I would guess that the margins on new sales of existing services are pushing 90%, if not 99%. The infrastructure and software have been built and paid for and all I need is some additional bandwidth. So DRM or any sort of theft prevention needs to have the same margins - if it costs me 1% in revenue from annoyed customers it probably could eliminate 100% of unauthorized data access and even so not pay for itself, since our marginal costs for each additional byte or download are so low. (Same thing with monitoring it - the cost to tie up an architect, developer plus a sysadmin or two for a few weeks adds up quickly.)

 

Bottom line, it's far less effort to get a million dollars (or hundred thousand, etc) in new revenue than it is to cut my losses, especially when the financial losses from data theft are so low.

 

Another good strategy is to recognize that it might be better to keep a customer from your competitors by "stealing" your product, then catching them next time around when a new product comes out or it's renewal time. This of course makes a lot more sense when it comes to services, but in a zero sum game I would prefer that my product be stolen than my competitors get revenue.

 

While you think you have "knocked down" my logic, I think the reality is that we're talking past each other. I have a market of millions of customers that hasn't tapped out, unlike flight sim. I have lots of competitors, whereas in the flight sim world there are dozens or hundreds of de facto monopolies around a particular aircraft or piece of scenery. Most importantly - I'm in the services business. If I don't get someone's money today, getting them attached to me is almost as good because my costs are next to zero, and I have a chance to get them down the road. I suppose with download products it's a different story.

 

The reality is that charging people money to download a particular binary blob is a dying business model, especially when combined with DRM or anything that isn't consumer friendly. Look at the major players in technology today, and I can't think of anyone that's actually charging for code - they're all providing services which can't easily get stolen and at the same time don't require the consumers to jump through hoops. The only exception is Apple, and it's telling that they do NOT lock down their music with DRM.

 

At some point the digital software business is likely to die or become unprofitable, and it won't be because of people who wouldn't pay money in the first place getting it for free. It will be because of the people who COULD and WOULD pay choosing not to.

 

Cheers!

 

Luke


Luke Kolin

I make simFDR, the most advanced flight data recorder for FSX, Prepar3D and X-Plane.

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Why do I not try and measure theft?

 

But Luke, without gathering any metrics how would you know what revenue potential you are missing out on?  So far your argument is based purely on prediction and conjecture ... you're not bothering to discover because "revenue is good at the moment" -- nothing wrong with that, but you really can't make the conclusions you are making because you have no metrics.

 

 

 

they're all providing services which can't easily get stolen and at the same time don't require the consumers to jump through hoops.

 

Agree, services and support (recurring) are valuable revenue streams for us ... in fact key revenue streams for us.  We haven't out sourced our support and kept it local ... this has been a MAJOR contribution to our success.

 

But still, more data means a more informed decisions process ... good or bad times makes no difference to the process and the expenditure to monitor theft is minimal (certainly pays for itself).  But I've heard "XYZ is dead" so many times over the decades and it never really is, just shifts and changes to meet business goals/markets ... markets are rarely the same and can't be generalized in sweeping statements.

 

Cheers, Rob.

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I don't see why the software business would die as long as people keep using more and more gadgets, and still relatively few people know how to program/code software, but it will certainly change. The Internet has changed a lot of industries and some will profit from it while others will crumble and fall.

 

I think the big issue is the cultural change that is taking place which can't be stopped by the industry. Kids today don't value news, software, music or photography like us old geezers do. The torrent of apps, music and images is a hyper infaltion making the individual program, song and photograph worthless to almost anyone, except the ones creating it.

 

You may dislike it, but things they are a changin'. That doesn't mean you can't be successful. Niches are more accessible than ever because of the Internet. You can run a mom and pop store from the absement of your home and sell stuff all over the world with very affordable digital distribution.

 

Apple is a prime exaple of a billion dollar success that saw a market for lovely designed products with good usability in a climate where almost every other actor went to war with their customers. They have proved that millions of people do pay for hardware, software and digital content if you make it easy for them to do so. Apple is far from perfect, but they have taken a major step in the right direction, and the next big think will take it a step further whomever it will be.

 

Kodak, Microsoft, Nokia, Warner Borthers and others will remain eternal textbook examples of regressive thinking and unwillingness to adapt to changes in society. They only cared about themselves and had no empathy for their customers. Luckily the majority of customers do turn their back on such companies eventually, even with billion dollar advertising budgets.

 

Getting rid of piracy is wishful thinking. It has been a major "problem" since the invention of floppy disks, just as music piracy started with the invention of the casette. All software can and will be hacked, so I regard any DRM and copy protection purely as an annoyance. It is a futile implementation that only serves to choke sales. Thieves will be thieves until you make it easier for them not to be. The problem is that young peple don't regard themselves as thieves, and that mindset my friends, you can never change. It is as rootet as "American pride" is in most Americans, "Russian pride" is in most Russians, "French pride" is in most French etc. Today we're seeing second and third generation pirates. Good luck fighting the next wave!


Simmerhead - Making the virtual skies unsafe since 1987! 

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I can change their 'mindset'. Put them in prison for a few years. The only reason they steal is because the internet protects them from smaller companies. Those who are pursued for music and film downloads end up with major financial costs imposed upon them because that industry has a huge cash stockpile to use to go after pirats with.

 

The only 'change' I see is one of conscience... as in a great deal of people no longer have one.


Ed Wilson

Mindstar Aviation
My Playland - I69

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I can change their 'mindset'. Put them in prison for a few years. The only reason they steal is because the internet protects them from smaller companies. Those who are pursued for music and film downloads end up with major financial costs imposed upon them because that industry has a huge cash stockpile to use to go after pirats with.

 

The only 'change' I see is one of conscience... as in a great deal of people no longer have one.

 

Prison? Ain't gonna happen, simply because there's too many of them doing it, and in most contries downloading pirated content is a minor offence. I don't think US taxpayers (or taxpayers anywhere) want to pay for 20-30 million prison sentences - and don't forget, lot's of them are juveniles. Who they need to target are the original pirates themselves and I don't see them getting anywhere there either. For each service or pirate they catch 100s more pop up. Pirates are like Rats and the only way to get rid of piracy is to forbid the Internet and all media to which content can be copied and distributed.

 

In Norway they taxed all sharing media a long time ago. Each time you purchased a reocordable cassette, VHS, CD, DVD etc. you paid a tax that went into a fund for performing artists. Artists could then seek grants from the fund that sponsored tours, recordings etc.

 

As for people's conscience being absent, well, it's the oldest story in the world after Adam and Eve. Old people mostly think everything was better before and that moral and ethics are spiraling downwards - yet society today is the fruit of their labour. The paradox is that despite all the ######ing about piracy there has never been more or better software created, never been more CDs recorded and released, never been more concerts to go to, never been more working artists, never been sold more cameras, guitars, recoring equipment, TVs, yet people complain.

 

I'm nostalgic too. I remember a time when people weren't obsessed with money and judged people for their free contributions to society, and not by the size of their wallet. When people spent time with their familes and loved ones instead of pursuing a career or living out their dreams. But those times are over and I'd rather swim downstream than upstream.


Simmerhead - Making the virtual skies unsafe since 1987! 

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Which is why I use DRM, and why I will continue to do so.

 

As for obsessions, no one gives me a roof over my family's head for free, no one gives me food to feed my family for free, no one provides absolutely any of the basic necessities of life for free. No one, not even you. So, your false cries of 'obsession' are just that... false. I don't want to make tons of money... I want to support my family.

 

Nothing in society has ever been free, ever.


Ed Wilson

Mindstar Aviation
My Playland - I69

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Nothing in society has ever been free, ever.

 

True, but I was speaking about goods and services being traded for currency, not blood, sweat and tears. But I'll leave the philosophical issue alone so we can get back on topic for those inclined.


Simmerhead - Making the virtual skies unsafe since 1987! 

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Kids today don't value news, software, music or photography like us old geezers do.

 

This is pretty accurate, but ask yourself why kids don't value it?  Not many parents are teaching them value - so how could they have an appreciation?  I've seen this exemplified in my own family/relatives where the parent does NOTHING to install any sense of value -- in fact, in most cases the parent sees their kids (my nephews and cousins) have a new game, it didn't cost the parent anything, it keeps the kid occupied and out of the parents hair, therefore parent doesn't care and thinks all is good.  The theft problem is propagated by parents that are just not interested or don't care or in some cases are actually "glad" the kid stole software so they don't have to pay for it.  Of course the parents might care when they realize their CC was compromised because of some hacked software their kid downloaded, but the are dis-associated with what their kid(s) do they probably would never make the connection.

 

Theft/piracy is much more than just getting a game for free, if parents were more interested they'd understand hacked software is the best and fastest distribution process for key loggers, viruses, malware ... does the kid know exactly what was changed in a "hacked" version ... I'm willing to bet most of them have no clue, they don't code or even understand what a key logger is and how it works without them or anyone on that computer ever knowing.

 

But like I've said in most of this thread, IDENTIFICATION seems to reduce the problem considerably.  It can be that simple.  Plenty of data to back that up ... don't need to send them to prison, just need to identify.  But to be clear, the goal has never been to stop theft, the goal is to reduce it from a 60-70% rate to a 10% rate (more inline with typical theft numbers from retail stores).

 

But you've also neglected what "could be" in the software world, because of a 60-70% theft rate, investments are NOT made - (not many investors look favorably at theft rates) software is NOT produced ... trust me when I say the software of today could be SO SO SO much more if theft was reduce to 10%.   There would be more money in the business, more developers, more resource and who knows maybe Aces would still be around today.  So yes, there are real consequences for 60%+ theft rate (beyond the high likelihood of CC theft or identity theft).

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I agree, parents do play a role, but lets not forget, many of those were using cracked software in their youth. When I grew up all my friends had Commodore 64s and later Amiga 500s. I don't ever remember a single original cassette or disk, yet everyone had 100s of games. I don't think we even knew that original software existed.

 

Piracy hurts I'm sure, but lost sales do too. I remeber before Apple launched the iPod and iTunes how many companies tried to create digital music players and stores. Most of them failed miserably because they chose protection over usability.

 

Usbility will win in the end. I have a 10000+ LP and CD collection. I never use it anymore. I stream all my music now from Spotify and Wimp. Same for cable TV. Don't use it. I use Netflix and web TV solutions that I play on my TV via my iPhone or iPad. Compared to the teenages I know I'm way behind the curve. Once you get used to accesible and ease of use, it is very hard to go back. Same for software. Once used to Apple's App Store I don't use much else and rather play simple games on my iPad than going through all the hoops to get something up and running on my PC.


Simmerhead - Making the virtual skies unsafe since 1987! 

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