Yay! We have a new podcast from Metareality. This one will likely be controversial. Some old arguments come up. But, in the context of this discussion there are new aspects and energy. This is definitely one you will want to listen to. If you are considering purchasing SimCity then this is a must listen.
There are some deep concepts that will react with people’s individual philosophies and ethics. If you are one that has not has not examined your philosophy and concepts of right and wrong (Plato – unexamined life), this cast may bounce you all over the place. In which case, I suggest you ask yourself why you react as you do.
However you approach this cast, take time to think before reacting. I was going to put my comments and thoughts at the end. But, decided that will take too long and I want to get this out.
Remember. I am paraphrasing what I heard for the index. So, listen to the podcast before acting, especially if something in the index pushes your buttons. Also, while proofing I realized it might be hard to tell when I am paraphrasing or speaking for myself. Just assume it is I speaking for my self, because it is just too tedious to make it clear in some places.
01:22 Electronic Arts (EA) discussion starts. This is about the super-hyped SIM-City release that sort of failed. Reed explains the corporate buyouts and takeovers by EA that is pretty much trashing games. He and I see a pattern in how EA handles games.
Gianna points out that with SimCity5 EA has made the most pirated game ever. But, this game was made to be the least ‘steal-able’ game possible. Conversation veers into DCMA and software piracy.
05:30 Focus shifts back to SimCity5.
6:15 Gianna comments editing out the swear words will delay publication of podcast. Lots of beeping to do, thanks Reed. Well, what the (bleep).
6:45 Back to SimCity5.
8:50 Reed is describing SimCity5 going live. It was a (bleeeeep)ing disaster. Reed got a refund. (If you Google SimCity 5 release problems, there are 24+million hits. Not all about the problems, there are a significant number of false hits in the search.)
12:00 Gianna adds that the cost of Sim City is US$80. Xbox games are $40 to $60. Reed points out he doesn’t trust EA and expects them to abuse their customers.
Karl gets into what people would pay for a good game IF they thought is was worth it, if they thought it would work, if they thought the company would treat them right.
Reed points out that EA is all about how to get money out of the customers.
13:00 Discussion gets into what the servers are ACTUALLY doing. It is pointed out the game saves are ONLY to the servers. And that is about it. The little bit of online play is ridiculously limited. I think from our point of view from being in SL that we would not consider this online play. We would find the online play promotion disappointing hype.
14:00 Apparently the whole point of all the online stuff is an attempt to protect the game from theft/piracy.
15:30 Drax into the content protection stuff from his content creators viewpoint. He makes a point about the ridiculousness of protection alienating customers.
16:30 Karl describing how companies keep making the same mistakes in regard to software protection.
18:00 iPhone and the App Store’s low cost stops pirating.
19:40 Reed explains what people are finding as they disassemble the games code. (Which is another DCMA violation.) The servers are not really needed. Almost everything is done in the local computer the game is being played on. At 20 minutes in, the game checks to see if the server is there. If not, the game shuts down. Some players now hack that code so they can play the game.
21:00 People are going to have to pay for land, subways, etc., and other parts of the game that some consider basic parts of the game. So, the game is literally chopped into pieces and sold part by part driving the cost even higher.
22:30 The panel eventually fealls this all needs to be tied into Second Life. The tie is about people in SL wanting more protection for their content within SL.
Karl points out there is no protection system possible. None have ever worked. All that have been tried created problems for customers and been cracked. The result is games were stolen by players that would have purchased them were it not for the hassle of dealing with the protection.
DCMA is an attempt to keep people from publishing the cracks and hacks to get around software protection. In reality it is a major violation of the US Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech. But, it has been allowed.
25:00 Drax points out a parallel in Germany where newspapers are dying and the government is trying to protect them. Drax thinks 3 years ago we saw this in the US but, this something we saw start in the US decades ago with the arrival of TV news. The death rate increased with the arrival of the Internet.
In Germany the response to the decline in profitability of newspapers is to limit speech even more by fining people for publishing anything that might be considered news on their blogs in an attempt to protect the news media. The German constitution allows for speech to be controlled but not censored… however that works. See the Wikipedia for limits on German speech.
26:20 Gianna starts the discussion on Linden Lab™ contacting select educational groups that have left Second Life with a 50% off tier offer. Karl asks why is it being kept so secret.
Gianna has a client is pulling out of SL because of cost. They might have stayed if the offer were open to them.
28:20 Tying the EA and SL server problems together, EA is moving very little data compared to SL. But, their servers are being overwhelmed. Delivering the massive data required to display Second Life is a field of Internet technology that the Lab excels at, regardless of what tech ignorant users may think. EA is finding out that even their miniscule data demand for a massive number of players is no trivial task.
29:40 Drax cimes in on what creative people are experimenting with in SL. Other companies don’t realize what SL is dealing with to create a platform with the potential for these creative people. So, EA is walking into the data delivery problems SL is solving everyday and failing.
30:20 Karl chimes about other companies not realizing how hard it is to deliver something like SL to a massive number of people. I’ll point out that Cyan Worlds the creators of Myst Online have their servers limited to 50 concurrent players. Myst Online is a 4gb download so all the content is already downloaded and still they are limited to 50 players for good response time.