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RPG Superstar 2015

The next generation of consoles will require Internet connections. No preowned sales allowed.


Video Games

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Scott Betts wrote:

Because we, as a society, have decided that a greater good exists in encouraging the free (if somewhat controlled) spread of knowledge in the form of libraries than there is in ensuring that every rightsholder is compensated for every person who enjoys the fruits of their work. That doesn't mean the latter isn't a good. It's just less of one.

By the way, I've explained this at least twice in this thread already.

Yet you haven't explained why one is "less" a good than the other.

And, I would point out that, just as we, as a society, have decided that a greater good exists in the form of libraries, so have we decided that a equally greater good exists in the first-sale doctrine.

The irony is, libraries charge money, be it in the form of membership fees or taxes, to lend copyrighted materials, whereas friendly private lending typically doesn't. That would seem, on the surface, to make libraries less ethical than friendly private lending.

Scott Betts wrote:
Again, it is an issue of balancing goods against one another. You clearly believe, personally, that copyright extensions are unethical because the good of public domain access to creative works outweighs the good of private financial gain and creative control, past a certain point in time. I don't necessarily disagree, but I also don't necessarily agree that the point in time in question should be fifty years.

I don't necessarily agree on fifty years, either. The original 28 years (14 with a 14 year extension if manually renewed) is just fine. Anything longer disadvantages the public good.

Scott Betts wrote:
Sure. And I'm telling you that my ethical framework, for the reasons outlined in this thread, dictates that the free sharing of creative works without compensation due its creator remains unethical (except in the circumstances outlined above re: libraries and the like). And, in outlining those reasons, I am encouraging you to reexamine your own ethical framework.

Oh, I have. And that constant re-evaluation dictates that the first-sale doctrine is fair and just, that copyright holders, especially contemporary copyright holders, enter willingly into that social contract knowingly, and that my behavior is entirely ethical, and, as attested to by both creators and customers alike, my behavior of lending my private library of books/DVDs/videogames benefits those copyright holders. Ultimately, too, to answer the question of "shouldn't those copyright holders have the "right" to determine if their works get lended?" Nope. And that's why we have the first-sale doctrine, to dictate that those copyright holders do NOT have the right to limit us thusly, and that WE have the right to determine the disposition of our legally purchased property.

Further, that constant re-evaluation reaffirms the belief that support of current operationally-unlimited copyright terms is, in itself, as unethical as the operationally-unlimited term.


Indeed. Putting ethics into this discussion leads, to me, to only one conclusion. Copyright does NOT in any way, shape or form trump either freedom of information or freedom of expression. It does by law now, which means the law is unethical. Stranger things have happened.

We want a growing and massive public domain. The more people who can benefit from a huge shared knowledge, applied and theoretical, the better off we will all be. The companies too, if they merely opened their eyes. After all: Building their things on the sum of ALL human knowledge is far better than building it on only what they themselves can build while dodging already-copyrighted works.


Sissyl wrote:

Indeed. Putting ethics into this discussion leads, to me, to only one conclusion. Copyright does NOT in any way, shape or form trump either freedom of information or freedom of expression. It does by law now, which means the law is unethical. Stranger things have happened.

We want a growing and massive public domain. The more people who can benefit from a huge shared knowledge, applied and theoretical, the better off we will all be. The companies too, if they merely opened their eyes. After all: Building their things on the sum of ALL human knowledge is far better than building it on only what they themselves can build while dodging already-copyrighted works.

This is a very radical viewpoint to take, and essentially means that creative works cannot be owned by anyone. What incentive, therefore, does any individual have to produce creative works?

Creative works are inarguably the product of effort. Similarly, physical goods are the product of effort. If we are to decide that creative works - the product of one's effort - are not owned by their creator, by what consistent rubric do we simultaneously decide that a different product of one's effort - physical goods - can be owned by their creator?


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It is growing less radical by the day, Scott. The copyright-corruption is growing more and more obvious with each passing moment. I understand the idea behind the original copyright principles: That creators (note, creators, not publishers, distributors and other bean-counters) gain a relatively short period of time where their work is protected and others can't use it. In return, their work enters the public domain after this period, free for ANYONE to use. In the discussion back then, copyright was granted for longer periods than patents, because patents were seen as more important than copyright. I would argue that this is not the general viewpoint today, or that there is at least very good reason to consider both parts equally important. 14 years, then, seems like a very good start. If the creator can't market his/her work within that time, well, tough. It is still a very good chance to do so. And the very point of the protection is that the work then becomes public. Under the current "publishers and distributors take all" doctrine, sure, there won't be much incentive to create... but doctrines change, and they would change with blinding speed in a changed situation.

Why should making creative works entitle you to work-free income for THE ENTIRETY OF YOUR WHOLE REMAINING LIFE, when no other work does? Accepting that is a tough one for most working people in the world, wouldn't you say, Scott?

I should also add that this is regarding the commercial part of copyright protection. I see nothing at all wrong with keeping the right to be credited with the original work in derivative works, for at least a very long time. Making a name is extremely important to people doing creative work, and this doesn't harm anyone, so should be kept intact.


Sissyl wrote:
It is growing less radical by the day, Scott. The copyright-corruption is growing more and more obvious with each passing moment.

The problem is that your position two posts ago - that copyright does not trump other freedoms we hold to - dictates much more than the elimination of copyright corruption. That's a standpoint that would kill copyright law - and intellectual property law - in general. The alternative, of course, is that you come up with an arbitrary length of time (as the original enshriners of intellectual property law did) under which those properties are protected. But as long as it's arbitrary to begin with, I don't see much of a defense being mounted for keeping it permanently static despite the growing importance of intellectual property to business (including entire businesses producing nothing but intellectual property).

To give you an idea, imagine a franchise like Superman. Superman is a work of corporate authorship, and first appeared in 1938. It remains a tremendously strong body of work, in terms of brand strength and sales generation, 75+ years later. It is reasonable that the rightsholders of Superman's body of past work might want to hold onto that past work. After all, until 1998, 75 years was all that works of corporate authorship received in terms of protection. Once that duration expires, the earliest works in the Superman collection would have passed into public domain, allowing anyone to begin making free use of Superman stories, including for commercial gain! It is undeniable that creative works and franchises have lifetimes, in modern times, that blow anything from the founding fathers' time out of the water. Where once 14 years might have seemed reasonable, very few of those aware of the ramifications of copyright protection limits agree that 14 years is sufficient anymore. It's worth reading up on the Superman copyright issues that have arisen over the years, as they've tracked rather closely to the extensions that have been added on. Without these extensions, we would have a sadly diluted Superman body of work, with derivative authorship by any number of uncontrolled authors.


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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

See, the thing that gets missed here is that even though the work is in the public domain, allowing anyone to make free use of Superman stories (and yes, *gasp*, eve for commercian gain!), nothing precludes the original creator of that work from continuing to do so.

If it's reasonable to suggest that the rightsholders of Superman's body of past work want to hold onto that work, and it's reasonable to suggest that they should, then it's equally reasonable to suggest that patent be extended to equally ridiculous terms.

I also argue the concept that Superman would be "sadly diluted".

Much of the Cthulhu mythos is in the public domain. Paizo, another rightsholder IP, makes use of that public domain work (as do many others) - that use does not dilute the original, sadly or otherwise.

H.G. Wells' The Time Machine is in the public domain, but that didn't stop a commercially successful movie from being made (ironically directed by Simon Wells, the great-grandson of Herbert George).

In fact, there's a TON of derivative work from The Time Machine that is just simply fantastic stuff - little to none of which would exist if this work HADN'T been put in the public domain.

I argue that the cultural icon that is Superman would be drastically ENHANCED were it placed in the public domain (and cite as evidence the sheer number of public domain works that have been enhanced by their very nature as public domain). Countless new stories about the Man of Steel could be told that will, given past experiences, quite likely, never see the light of day in our lifetime because of the corrupt extensions that have been enacted (and will likely be extended again).

Who knows - maybe we'll get lucky in 2033 and the Superman works will start falling into the public domain, and we'll be able to see just how awesome things could be.

The public good is not served by these horribly restrictive terms, and it's pure hubris to suggest that the inclusion of these works into the public domain would somehow ruin them when there's so much evidence to the contrary.


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An equally sad aspect of these draconian copyright terms are so-called "orphaned" works - works that the rightsholders cannot be found, or have been established as deceased with no legal heir.

With the way the law is structured, it's illegal to reproduce and distribute orphaned works, which means there's a very good chance that such works will be lost as time goes by.

But, hey, this is a GOOD thing, right?


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Apparently, in the United States, we're in a public domain "freeze" - nothing will enter the public domain until 2019.

Awesome.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Scott Betts wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

Ok, so same issue, just less pronounced :)

I'm rewarding authors/publishers for putting out a mediocre book, and encouraging them to continue to publish mediocre books. And I'm still doing it with money that would have otherwise gone to the authors and publishers of good books.

And this is the part where I say that I don't care. You still have an ethical obligation to compensate the book's author/publisher/whatever.

See, that's the problem with having an ethical framework: you have to follow it, even when it's personally inconvenient.

So you're saying that if I borrow a book (say, from the library) and read it, I am absolutely ethically bound to compensate the author/publisher by buying another book from them? No exceptions?

Can I buy a different book, or do I have to buy the same one I read? It seems to me that the former wouldn't actually get me off the hook, ethically speaking, since I'd be getting to read two of the a/p's books while only paying them for one (unless I chose not to read the new book, for some reason). I'm still in debt. So I should buy a copy of the same book then, yes?

Doesn't that pretty much negate any benefit the library provides? Wouldn't I be better off just buying my own copy of the book? If I can't afford to buy the book, should I avoid checking it out from the library in the first place?

To take this in a different tangent--What if I purchase a book and read it aloud to my not-yet-literate child? Is my child indebted to the book's a/p for hearing their story? Should I buy him his own copy that he can't yet read? What if my blind friend purchases a book and asks me to read it aloud to him? Should I buy a separate copy for myself? Or, to flip it around, what if that blind friend purchases an audiobook and listens to it while I'm in the room? Do I owe the a/p the price of an audiobook?


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Nope, see, he's said that since society has determined that libraries serve a public good, you ARE NOT ethically bound to do so, but that since society has deemed private lending (i.e. a right of first-sale) a public good, you ARE ethically bound to do so.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Though, I am curious - if you do feel ethically compelled to compensate someone for a work that you purchased for which they did not receive compensation (such as a book from a used bookstore), how do you compensate?

(Yes, I do see that Benchak is asking some of these same questions above.)

One could argue that a purchase of a new book of the same title isn't just compensation, because you still have the originally purchased used book for which no compensation was received.

If you believe that to be acceptable, do you ensure that you buy a copy of the same title from the same publisher?

Do you attempt to track down the original bookseller, so that they receive part of the compensation?

What if the publisher uses a different distributor and typesetter? Those folks aren't being compensated by your purchase.

What if the original book is no longer available, and the only way to purchase that title is via a reprinted collection, which has a new editor? How can we ensure that the editor is justly compensated?

Or do you just cut a check for the cover price of the used book, and send it to the address inside the front cover?

How far do you go, and where do you draw the line? Because there's more than just the author involved in the creative process, and the publisher is a huge part of getting that work into your hands. If you feel someone needs compensated for such a purchase, then everyone involved that originally received compensation deserve part of that compensation.

It's not fair, nor does it seem ethical at all (in the context of a discussion on compensation ethics) to simply buy a new copy of the work (or worse, a DIFFERENT work) from the same author, regardless of all of these factors.


Brian E. Harris wrote:
Nope, see, he's said that since society has determined that libraries serve a public good, you ARE NOT ethically bound to do so, but that since society has deemed private lending (i.e. a right of first-sale) a public good, you ARE ethically bound to do so.

Is that what you wish I had said, or what?


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Scott Betts wrote:
Is that what you wish I had said, or what?

It's a summary of your statements, and you well know it.

You've insinuated or outright stated that it's not unethical to utilize a public library without compensating publishers/creators, while at the same time insinuating or stating that it *IS* unethical to lend/borrow from an individual's private library without compensating publishers/creators.

I'm trying to wrap my head around how one societally-deemed public good is ethical, but another societally-deemed public good is not.

Can you clarify that?


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When doing this, they are limiting their market. I live in West Virginia, and half of my state is still on dial-up. Half of us literally *can't* play online games. Even though I live in town with a cable connection, we couldn't take the console to my mom's for this very reason.

Star Voter 2013

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I see the copyright extentions of as stealing from the public domain, so in effect corporations have been paying congress to steal from the public.

Superman should be in the public domain. Mickey should be in the public domain. Star Wars should be in the public domain. People would then be allowed to enhance those stories with their own vision. The public does it anyway and it is more or less universally accepted (fanfiction). If it was in the public domain, people creating fanworks would be allowed to be compensated for their work. Those fanworks build the IP and help it retain popularity and grow. Instead, works are being forgotten and lost because their copyright holder doesn't have the resources or doesn't even know it exists. We've lost knowledge that will never be reclaimed.


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Even worse, when people look back on our time, the CDs and DVDs will be useless, and the information has been centralized rather than copied and distributed, increasing the risk for destruction. It's not impossible that the late 1900s and beyond will become a void when people try to study it. Compare the durability of a DVD (20 years?) with that of the Gutenberg bible...


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Scott Betts wrote:
Without these extensions, we would have a sadly diluted Superman body of work

Untrue, and undefendable.


Sissyl wrote:
Even worse, when people look back on our time, the CDs and DVDs will be useless, and the information has been centralized rather than copied and distributed, increasing the risk for destruction. It's not impossible that the late 1900s and beyond will become a void when people try to study it. Compare the durability of a DVD (20 years?) with that of the Gutenberg bible...

When you do compare where and how they are kept as well though. Details such as that do make a difference.


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Well, for the first few hundred years, the bible wasn't stored in particularly inspiring high tech conditions, I would say...


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Abraham spalding wrote:
When you do compare where and how they are kept as well though. Details such as that do make a difference.

Oh, definitely, but there's more than just long-term storage degradation with a DVD or CD.

With a book, all that's needed, beyond keeping it physically sound, it the ability to read/comprehend the language it's printed in.

But digital media?

Will a reader peripheral still be available and functional?
Will a host device (PC) still be available and functional?
Will an operating system for the host device and drivers for the peripheral be available?
Will the file formats still be valid/usable?
Will the output device be conducive to utilization of the file?
The list goes on and on...

I'm willing to bet that most folks here don't have ready or timely access to an 8" floppy drive or a 5.25" floppy drive.

3.5" floppy drives would be slightly more available, but those are getting scarce.

Optical media is great, and thanks to the music and movies industry still producing in that format, they're not going away tomorrow, but this very thread is a harbinger of, if nothing else, the desire to do away with physical media.

If and when our software, music and movies are no longer distributed on such media, it's simply a matter of time before those peripherals fall by the wayside.

Heck, as soon as the movie industry abandons DVD, it won't be much longer until Blu Ray players are no longer backwards compatible with DVD - why pay royalties to the DVD Forum for compatibility when the media is "dead" ?

Solid State Storage (such as USB or flash) is great, and probably a better long-term medium than optical disc, but how long is that going to last? Physical formats for flash change all the time, and when the USB form factor hits its limitations, we'll start seeing USB quietly disappearing from computers, much like the game port and floppy drives has.

Dead-tree books are great, because I only need to store them like I store everything else in my house - keep them dry, keep them clean, etc. As long as we can read the language they're printed in, I (and those that inherit them) are set for life.


Any optical disc that uses aluminum as the reflective surface is susceptible to degradation. If the aluminum becomes exposed at all (scratch or flaw) it oxidizes and basically disappears. Discs that use gold don't oxidize, but can still get scratched.

DVD's are built better than CD's. I've had a few 15-20 year old CD's basically just lose their reflective surface. I doubt that many will last 100 years. DVD's might survive a bit longer.


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But still... Very little of our information will probably survive for long. This is a huge problem, and the current insane IP regime will only make it worse.


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I don't know about you guys, but I'm all about going to the library to wind up buying books. As opposed to, ya know, a book store. /sarcasm

I'm not ethically bound to buy anything. IF I enjoyed the book/movie/etc, I'm MUCH more likely to buy another from that author/distributor/etc. But I'm not bound to at all. That's my choice. Woohoo capitalism.

I don't remember signing any contract when I signed up for my library card saying I had to buy anything. You can argue ethics all day long, but maybe my ethical views are different from yours.

Anyway...

I've gone on to purchase many games because I borrowed a previous iteration of a series and enjoyed it. Same as the example above; someone let me borrow Batman: Arkham Asylum, I enjoyed it, so I went out and bought Batman: Arkham city. Before the Arkham games, Batman games had a pretty bad reputation for being terrible. I made it a point to not purchase any Batman games after playing so many stinkers over the years.

Had someone not let me borrow Arkham Asylum, I never would have ended up buying Arkham City. Bam. IP holder got my money and compensation for their work, because I played a used copy of a game.

Star Voter 2013

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Irontruth wrote:

Any optical disc that uses aluminum as the reflective surface is susceptible to degradation. If the aluminum becomes exposed at all (scratch or flaw) it oxidizes and basically disappears. Discs that use gold don't oxidize, but can still get scratched.

DVD's are built better than CD's. I've had a few 15-20 year old CD's basically just lose their reflective surface. I doubt that many will last 100 years. DVD's might survive a bit longer.

It doesn't even need a defect. Oxygen can diffuse through the sillicone over time. Burnable CDs are the most susceptible.


Yup, a significant amount of data will be corrupted and lost by 2030, hopefully we've got it backed up in another format.


The European Union has ruled that when gamers buy a game, they are a buying a game, it is theirs and they are legally entitled to resell it if they want. Gaming publishers are not legally entitled to deny that right of resale through any means, including calling games 'licenses' or 'subscriptions'. This applies to both boxed copies and digital, online copies.

In short, Sony and Microsoft's plans for some kind of lock-out on second-hand games for their next generation consoles just took a fatal shot through the heart (in Europe, anyway).


Werthead wrote:

The European Union has ruled that when gamers buy a game, they are a buying a game, it is theirs and they are legally entitled to resell it if they want. Gaming publishers are not legally entitled to deny that right of resale through any means, including calling games 'licenses' or 'subscriptions'. This applies to both boxed copies and digital, online copies.

In short, Sony and Microsoft's plans for some kind of lock-out on second-hand games for their next generation consoles just took a fatal shot through the heart (in Europe, anyway).

The EU ruled that right of resell transfers to the purchaser after the initial sale. That's very different from dealing a fatal blow to any hypothetical plans to functionally eliminate second-hand game sales.

For instance, the EU ruling does not, in any way, require that publishers or console manufacturers make it possible to actually transfer ownership of games in any technical fashion. So while they wouldn't be able to prevent you from taking someone's money and telling them that they own your old game, they don't have to provide you with a way to actually give that game to the person you sold it to.

Dark Archive

I grew up swapping Nintendo cartridges with the kids at school, if they make it so you can't buy used titles then I'll just stick with my ps3...God knows I've got dozens of games to still work through.

My understanding (and I certainly may be wrong) is that a lot of developers get screwed by their publishers. Amm I to believe that the additional money the publisher makes from used game sales being killed is going to make it into a developer's hands?

Personally I love waiting a few months and getting the games from gamefly or Hastings. I don't play video games enough to justify spending $60 a title, and if there's someone out there who's played em up and down and wants to sell them off to me then I figure they're probably just using that money for more new titles anyways...

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

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Sissyl wrote:
Even worse, when people look back on our time, the CDs and DVDs will be useless, and the information has been centralized rather than copied and distributed, increasing the risk for destruction. It's not impossible that the late 1900s and beyond will become a void when people try to study it. Compare the durability of a DVD (20 years?) with that of the Gutenberg bible...

That is one of the reasons, germanys cultural storage archive is copying books (I don't know the exact requirements, but most new books are copied and they work their way to the extensive history of literature) on microfiche for storage in an undrground facility - I guess there is a similar project for scientific publications. If you kee microfice more or less dry, they are quite resilient and you don't need more then a light source and a flat surface to read them.


Quote:
For instance, the EU ruling does not, in any way, require that publishers or console manufacturers make it possible to actually transfer ownership of games in any technical fashion. So while they wouldn't be able to prevent you from taking someone's money and telling them that they own your old game, they don't have to provide you with a way to actually give that game to the person you sold it to.

Well, it does, because if the publishers attempt to restrict the right to resale of the product, they will be breaking the law. Certainly Microsoft, Sony and other companies (such as Valve for Steam, CDProjekt for GoG, EA for Origin etc) can require people to sign up, link games to accounts and so on, but they also cannot prevent people from being able to transfer ownership of the item. Steam actually allows this already and appears to be fairly straightforward to implement.

The big question mark would be the impact on shops, which often rely on second-hand sales to survive. If second-hand sales through transference of ownership have to go through an online process, it doesn't really help them and could still see them go bust.

Quote:
My understanding (and I certainly may be wrong) is that a lot of developers get screwed by their publishers. Amm I to believe that the additional money the publisher makes from used game sales being killed is going to make it into a developer's hands?

No, or at least that's highly unlikely. The culture of gaming is that developers have to sign insanely draconian deals with their publishers and that publishers will often simply ignore their side of the deal when it suits them, since the time and money it will cost the developer to take legal action against them would be ruinous to the developer. For example, Obsidian have been screwed over by almost every publisher they've ever worked with (apparently excepting Square Enix and currently THQ) because the publisher pays them and keeps them afloat during the months or years of game development and can simply withold their money if they don't like how they're being treated.

That's why the cleverest developers take steps to insure their independence through other sources of income: Valve through Steam and CDProjekt through GoG, for example. Otherwise we see that even the biggest and most powerful developers can still suffer from having to work with publishers (Blizzard with Activision and BioWare with EA, for example).


Werthead wrote:
Well, it does, because if the publishers attempt to restrict the right to resale of the product, they will be breaking the law.

That is not yet established. A system designed to ensure that only legitimate owners can access game material also makes it difficult or impossible to transfer ownership. The ruling, as it stands, clarifies that it is perfectly legal to transfer ownership of software from one individual to another. It does not compel software publishers or developers to facilitate that transfer, however.

Unless you have a legal expert saying otherwise.

Quote:
Certainly Microsoft, Sony and other companies (such as Valve for Steam, CDProjekt for GoG, EA for Origin etc) can require people to sign up, link games to accounts and so on, but they also cannot prevent people from being able to transfer ownership of the item.

Again, this has not yet been established. A court would need to rule that developers/publishers cannot implement systems which make it difficult or impossible to transfer access to software titles.

Quote:
The big question mark would be the impact on shops, which often rely on second-hand sales to survive. If second-hand sales through transference of ownership have to go through an online process, it doesn't really help them and could still see them go bust.

That's been a long time coming.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Anyone else seen OUYA on kickstarter?


Caineach wrote:
Anyone else seen OUYA on kickstarter?

Everyone should read this before getting too excited over the OUYA.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Scott Betts wrote:
Caineach wrote:
Anyone else seen OUYA on kickstarter?
Everyone should read this before getting too excited over the OUYA.

Yeah, they level some very good complaints against it. I saw others adding that they have significant doubts over their ability to price it at that point and make cost.

Without game developer commitment, its going to be shaky. But if they can get current android apps to work without creators needing to do significant ports, they may be able to do some good things. $100 for something that can access the internet to stream video to my TV could be a lot worse.

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