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A Question Regarding Telltale's Digital Distribution Format

posted by Edgy_McSpoon on - last edited - Viewed by 189 users

I thought I'd bring this question up in light of Assassin's Creed II's latest DRM scandle. My question is this:

Does Telltale Games lose any money by allowing their users to download multiple copies (now PC and mac) of their games and use them on various machines? Could a user actually play one copy of their game on one machine while simultaneously playing it on another?

What's Telltale's stance on their format of digital distribution? Does their form of DRM work to their advantage? Also, what's your view on how they distribute their games?

Let me also add, I'm well aware of the fact that piracy happens no matter the DRM, and that DRM ultimately sets-back the legitimate consumer.

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  • @Edgy_McSpoon said: Does Telltale Games lose any money by allowing their users to download multiple copies (now PC and mac) of their games and use them on various machines?

    I doubt it, but who can tell, really?
    Could a user actually play one copy of their game on one machine while simultaneously playing it on another?Probably. IIRC you only need an internet connection once to register it, so there's no way it'd know.
    Also, what's your view on how they distribute their games?I think the level of DRM is appropriate. I believe you need a minimal amount of DRM to avoid the most widespread level of casual copying and make people remember they shouldn't be doing it. Going further than that is pointless; it doesn't further reduce piracy by any appreciable amount and only annoys legitimate customers. I think Telltale understands that and I'm very happy that they avoid all of the more egregious forms of DRM.

  • The problem comparing Assassin's Creed 2 with Tales of Monkey Island is that they're two completely different genres (action-based vs. puzzle/dialogue-based) offered at a time when adventure games are still overlooked and undervalued. Both companies want to earn a profit, but their methods and priorities are going to be different because the circumstances for each company are different. TTG wants to spread their product around while Ubisoft wants to minimize loss. Whether or not the methods employed are effective is debatable, but I think it's difficult to compare these two distribution models.

  • The serial keys given after buying an episode/season can be usable for limited times. I remember Will mentioned about it. There is no way one single individual can hit the limit, but if one tries to share the serial in a forum or something, it'll be really easy to hit it.

    Personally I believe this kind of a distribution is really appropriate. Fast and reliable. I've got to admit I shared serials of Sam and Max Season One with one of my adventure-loving friend, but it was after I re-bought Season One for 5$.

    Well, it's kind of about trust. It's hard to see something like that in other genres of gaming. I guess adventure gaming is special like that.

  • @Edgy_McSpoon said: Could a user actually play one copy of their game on one machine while simultaneously playing it on another?



    You could already do that with just the PC version. So unless you mean it will be a problem because they wanted people to have to pay twice if they owned both types of computers, that shouldn't cost them money, no.

  • You all make some great points, some of which I hadn't considered. However, I compare TTG's distribution service to the "old days" when most PC games came in boxes and on discs. Nothing really stopped you from copying the entire disc, at worst, to maybe finding a crack/security bipass option to replicate them.

    However, I remember as a kid, I used to share games with friends at school, and that was just the accepted way of doing things. Most likely because the internet was not as wide and fast as it is today, that our form of piracy then was never really a problem.

    However, even with physical products still being produced not just for the PC but of course, it still remains the #1 method of distributing products to consoles, this form of "sharing" can and still does occur. Does this sort of "illegal" product distribution cause any wide-spread concern for the studios? Say if one person had one copy and shared it with 10 friends, and assume that each friend had one copy of something and shared it with 10 different friends?

    I'm still really curious, because TTG's form of digital distribution works on an honour system of sorts. Do they expect to lose money in this methodology, but for a better cause than just over-protecting their games?

    I also understand the one comment about unfairly pitting one genre against another, as one is more popular than the other. I am more interested in knowing whether a lack of super-secure DRM would still provide beneficial results to game companies in general.

  • Well, it's hard to say specifically since we don't know.
    But it's possible that the people who say "hey, would you let me play your game" and borrow it from a friend might go "wow, I liked that game, I want more of these/I want to support the company that made it".

    In the first case, if your friend has different tastes, you might need to buy the game since they don't have it. In the second one, your friend owns the other game too but you want to buy it anyways.

    Does that make up for the fact you can share it? Well, I'd say if their limited about is something like 10, how is that different from other time of sharing groups? You know, like you've got ten friends, they each buy a video game, play it, then bring it and each person takes a different games home and plays it, and so on.
    In the end, 10 people bought one game each and yet played 10. And these things aren't that uncommon, my brother was in such a group, they actually even shared the consoles themselves at first, which was more restrictive (you could only have one console at the time and there were more people than consoles) while also allowing them to play console games period since none of them could afford to purchase a console on their own.

    I don't think the way they do it is too bad. It would really suck if you computer crashed and you had to replace it, but couldn't play any of the old games anymore because you used the activation on the previous computer you had.

  • @Edgy_McSpoon said: I am more interested in knowing whether a lack of super-secure DRM would still provide beneficial results to game companies in general.


    I heard a company called... "Stardock" I think it was made some good money just because it made their game DRM-free and offered good support. Galactic something-or-another.

    And it doesn't look like TTG isn't doing too bad either...

  • @Edgy_McSpoon said: I am more interested in knowing whether a lack of super-secure DRM would still provide beneficial results to game companies in general.

    The thing is that as soon as a crack is released, any benefit the company has out of the DRM being extra secure is nullified. And historically they all get cracked, most of them very soon. Spending millions on researching more effective DRM is throwing money away, IMO.

  • @Hassat Hunter said: I heard a company called... "Stardock" I think it was made some good money just because it made their game DRM-free and offered good support. Galactic something-or-another.

    And it doesn't look like TTG isn't doing too bad either...



    I think you're thinking of Sins Of A Solar Empire. Or Demigod.

    TTG's DRM is basically SecuROM with a 20-ish activation limit. The thing is, I haven't heard any problem with this DRM outside someone failing to get the launcher open on Linux and Wine. Plus, you'll probably get better service from TTG than from (for example) Microsoft if you do run out of activations.

    Personally, I have no objections to this DRM. I've yet to have SecuROM problems and I can't honestly see how to exceed that 20 activation limit within a decade without sharing the serial out far & wide.

  • @Harald B said: The thing is that as soon as a crack is released, any benefit the company has out of the DRM being extra secure is nullified. And historically they all get cracked, most of them very soon. Spending millions on researching more effective DRM is throwing money away, IMO.



    I hear what ye mean. look at Assassin's Creed 2. The DRM on it requires you to be connected to the internet whilst playing a game. So if your internet drops you're going back to the last checkpoint. That to me is unacceptable, even Steam lets you play your games offline!!

    I think things like Steam that are not just good for the industry (copy protection, multiplayer framework, DLC distribution) and the consumer as well with Steam's obvious benefits (sales, access to games anywhere) could well be what'll put a lot more energy into the PC market.

    Also if onLive works it could kill piracy completely on the PC if it's got a reasonable price tag behind it

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