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Any chance of activation-free release?

posted by Laser Eyes on - last edited - Viewed by 1.1K users

I'm sure you've heard all the arguments for and against online product activation. So I won't go over them all again. All I'll say is I extremely dislike online activation for games and I will not buy any game that requires it. My main gripe is that I require your continuing support simply to play the game that I have paid for. Yes I've heard the story that a patch will be made available if you ever go out of business. But that's like a cheque from a company you've never done business with. Maybe it will be honoured and maybe it won't. Who knows? There are no guarantees in life. BTW if Telltale ceases to exist who will release this patch? And is it a legally enforceable promise against someone? You see what I mean?

But I didn't come here to gripe about online activation. The main purpose of this post is to say this to Telltale. I sincerely hope that in the future you release a version of your games that do not require activation. Think about it. There are no disadvantages to you from doing this. After your game has been out one or two years you have already made the vast majority of sales. By releasing the game without the need for online activation all the people who would not previously buy your games for that reason will then do so. I am one of them and there are bound to be others. The risk from piracy long after initial release is minimal.

This is becoming a trend. Enlight have recently released a new version of X3: Reunion without the previously used Starforce copy protection. No doubt one of their reasons is to sell their product to gamers who were put off by Starforce: http://www.enlight.com/cmsel/press/view.php?id=52 Other companies are doing the same thing.

So how about it Telltale? Can I hope that some day in the not too distant future you will release a version of your games that do not require activation?

19 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • We have to do what's best for our business. Some people don't like activation, but on the flip side, if we didn't protect the games at all, we might not be able to afford to stay in business.

    We pay careful attention to how the activation system works for people, and are always talking internally about how it can be refined to be better.

    [quote]There are no disadvantages to you from doing this. After your game has been out one or two years you have already made the vast majority of sales.[/quote]

    Maybe in two years we'll feel differently about it, but after only two months since Culture Shock came out, we haven't reached that point yet. ;)

  • Yes we understand the need for a good activation system...

    And the need for a good payment system. Emily, thanks for your email!

  • I'm afraid I find LaserEyes's post just a tad hypocritical. He is obviously willing to run an OS that 'phones home' every time he changes his hardware config, and has to be activated within 30 days of installation or it will cease functioning. An OS that costs around £200 (based on the full version of the lowliest version of Vista.) Yet he is moaning about activation of a game that costs £20.

    Come on, LE, get your priorities straight! Telltale are tiny, and yet you begrudge then £20 for a game because of PA. Yet you are more than willing to line the pockets of the Rogue of Redmond to the tune of £200 (or so) for an OS that has an even more rigid and restrictive PA policy.

    You can't have it both ways. I would gladly pay TT £20 for a game. What I *WON'T* do, however, is pay MicroShaft £200 for an OS.

    Yes, I am forced to use a Windoze box in order to play the games (Hint to TT: - Port to Mac, please! ) but it isn't mine, it belongs to my parents. But my days of paying hundreds of pounds for an OS that treats me with utter contempt (i.e. like a criminal) are over. I run three Macs and the MacOS does NOT have any form of PA. Never has and never will (Steve Jobs has stated that categorically). It's also cheaper than Windows (for the price of one Windows licence I can buy FOUR separate MacOS licences; or for £100 I can purchase a 5-licence 'family pack').That's what I call value for money!

    Y'see Apple trust their customers, they know if they treat them with contempt (like M$ does theirs) they're not going to want to come back. So they don't. And is there a huge market in pirated Apple software? No, there isn't.

    I only have two applications on my 2G5 that require activation: - One is Adobe CS2 and the other is, surprise, surprise, Office. The latter I only have installed at the insistence of my parents (who prefer using the Mac version to the Windoze one.)

    My intention is NOT to incite a flame-war, I just wanted to point out that LE's OP smacks of duplicity.

    Sarah

  • @Sacharissa said: I'm afraid I find LaserEyes's post just a tad hypocritical. He is obviously willing to run an OS that 'phones home' every time he changes his hardware config, and has to be activated within 30 days of installation or it will cease functioning. An OS that costs around £200 (based on the full version of the lowliest version of Vista.) Yet he is moaning about activation of a game that costs £20.

    And why is this hypocritical? Most users have no choice with regards to Windows XP's own activation (try buying a PC with Win2K or Win9x installed nowadays) and Telltale aren't helping by labelling S&M as requiring WinXP (reviews and download sites mention Win2K also so it presumably works on that too). Of course, that is assuming that he is running XP in the first place... @Sacharissa said: Come on, LE, get your priorities straight! Telltale are tiny, and yet you begrudge then £20 for a game because of PA.Well I'm going to begrudge them also (along with anyone else requiring activation) and for the same reason. I expect to be able to play games I purchase 10 or more years from now and anything requiring activation fails that test. If anything, people should have more reason to be tougher on a small company since they are less likely to survive, leaving users with software they paid for and can't use. The only form of activation that could avoid this happening is the "one time only, ever" variety (such as a product key you could save for future use which is how most commercial software works).

    Yes, by all means criticise Microsoft for their obnoxious activation policy (which is the sole reason why I don't run XP and won't run Vista) but don't let this be a reason to let other companies compound the problem.

  • Is it really hypocritical for me to run Windows XP while I refuse to purchase games that require online activation?

    There are some important differences between Windows XP and a game.

    First, as AW pointed out I have no choice but to accept activation for Windows XP. The alternative would be that I wouldn’t have a computer at all and I would never be able to play ANY games from ANY company. Is that what I must do to avoid being labelled a hypocrite? Must I give up not only playing games but using a computer for any purpose? I my view I don’t think that using Windows XP disqualifies me from complaining about a game that uses PA.

    Second, there is no chance of Microsoft going out of business. Let’s face it, that’s just not going to happen. I will always be able to activate Windows XP. On the other hand game companies go out of business all the time. It is a regular occurrence. There is no guarantee that I will be able to play any product I purchase from Telltale that requires activation if they go out of business. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen of course.

    BTW you’ll notice that my questions weren’t answered: If Telltale cease to exist who will release the patch? And is it a legally enforceable promise against someone? I wasn’t really expecting an answer, as they were mostly rhetorical questions. But it’s like I said, the promise of a patch is like a cheque from a company that you’ve never done business with. Maybe it will be honoured and maybe it won’t, you just don’t know.

    I don’t begrudge Telltale the price for their games. I like to support small game companies especially those that make adventure games. I would happily buy a copy of Bone and Sam & Max if they provided me with a copy that did not require activation.

  • Refusing to purchase something is fine as long as you don't pirate it.

  • @Laser Eyes said: I'm sure you've heard all the arguments for and against online product activation. So I won't go over them all again. All I'll say is I extremely dislike online activation for games and I will not buy any game that requires it. My main gripe is that I require your continuing support simply to play the game that I have paid for. Yes I've heard the story that a patch will be made available if you ever go out of business. But that's like a cheque from a company you've never done business with. Maybe it will be honoured and maybe it won't. Who knows? There are no guarantees in life. BTW if Telltale ceases to exist who will release this patch? And is it a legally enforceable promise against someone? You see what I mean?

    But I didn't come here to gripe about online activation. The main purpose of this post is to say this to Telltale. I sincerely hope that in the future you release a version of your games that do not require activation. Think about it. There are no disadvantages to you from doing this. After your game has been out one or two years you have already made the vast majority of sales. By releasing the game without the need for online activation all the people who would not previously buy your games for that reason will then do so. I am one of them and there are bound to be others. The risk from piracy long after initial release is minimal.

    This is becoming a trend. Enlight have recently released a new version of X3: Reunion without the previously used Starforce copy protection. No doubt one of their reasons is to sell their product to gamers who were put off by Starforce: http://www.enlight.com/cmsel/press/view.php?id=52 Other companies are doing the same thing.

    So how about it Telltale? Can I hope that some day in the not too distant future you will release a version of your games that do not require activation?

    My experience, actually, is that unlike other game genres, adventure games have a tendancy to have more drawn-out sales and not so much of a burst at the beginning. In other words, quite a few of their sales may be 3 or 4 years down the road.

  • @Sacharissa said: You can't have it both ways. I would gladly pay TT £20 for a game. What I *WON'T* do, however, is pay MicroShaft £200 for an OS.

    Mac fanbois..nothing worse, they always forget to mention that Apple have charged $129 for each OSX iteration (read service pack) since it first came out, of which there have been 4 so far (with number 5 due anytime soon). Strangely enough 'evil' Bill Gates and the foul minions of Microsoft don't charge for minor OS upgrades (having gone through all 4 OSX versions..they are very minor) . For the record I'm a pro mac user (Graphic designer), I just don't blindly think the sun shines out of Mr Jobs ass (unlike some).

    Slightly offtopic, but I dislike people talking BS about how uber great macs are. It's a robust OS, but the boxes themselves (save the workstations)are destined for the scrapheap after 2 and a bit years because they blow bigtime when it comes to after sales upgrading, and they age rapidly. Not that apple mind at all because their real business is selling boxes, not software (the only Pro app they have is Final Cut..the rest are junk compared to other 3rd party apps).

    As regards activation, personally I don't have anything against it assuming that once it's done you have access permanently. I have to say however that so far I've been wholly unsuccessful in actually purchasing an activation code as things seem to fall down at the payment confirmation screen (despite numerous attempts). I've no idea who the eseller is, but given I have no problems buying from Steam or Amazon, or anyone else for that matter it doesn't seem like they are the most competent firm to handle your business. I'm almost half expecting to find 8 charges for Sam & Max on my next CC statement next month, given the complete lack of responsiveness their system delivers.

    I'd have to say that perhaps you as a company should look at selling S&M through Valves Steam software. I'm not sure what the cut is for Valve, but certainly in terms of exposure you'd garner a lot more notice.

  • Let's not turn this into an OS war please.

  • I guess the bit about the present purchasing system blowing chunks and the company maybe being better off selling it through Valves Steam system escaped you there. Sure Valve take a slice, but your getting access to something like 8 million users and inclusive advertising at each game launch. Psychonauts has gone down a treat on Steam, the market for RPG is there.

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