Hi all. I hope you won't mind another long post - i tend to get carried away, but at least I can write good in english
I've read the blog post "1 month after the release of Amnesia" and 1st off, i'm VERY happy to hear that you have reached and surpassed your sales quotas and that you will continue doing what you're so good at.
I wanted to write something in the blog but for some reason it wouldn't let me, so i decided to write it here; hopefully I won't start a sh.tstorm by doing so (if yes, please remove this post).
I would like to write a few notes on the writer's perception of piracy in the blog post and my own expirience and point of view, but for that I'll first have to cover myself in ashes of shameful guilt and admit it: i got this game from a friend, who downloaded the pirated version, shat bricks and then forwarded it to me. I'm not making excuses here; i really didn't download it myself but even so, I didn't buy it (yet) for which I am truly sorry (more on that a bit further).
Now, on to my comments. For me it seems that the writer of this post probably hasn't pirated much/any stuff from the internet, since some of the views are a bit off from the real situation, regardless of what many of you might think... here we go:
"First of all, once you have played Amnesia there is little meaning to play again. A person pirating the game and finishing it has no real reason to go back."
Wrong - it totally depends on the individual person. If i take myself as an example: I got it for free, played it through and was so amazed, that after regaining my senses i immideately started to play it again, this time with the commentary
enabled, since I was so fascinated that i wanted to know the process behind this gem. I am now close to finishing it for the second time and I am very happy to have learned who did what, where and why (btw, the hommage to "Event Horizon" totally blew my mind, i loved the movie). Also, you didn't even take the custom story function in to account - I have downloaded Wake and Survival and I'm in the middle in each of them, so I'll definitely continue to play Amnesia in one form or another for quite a while. But even then I won't uninstall it - becouse your level editor is free and I can start making custom stories myself (thanks a million)!
"It is quite common to read on forums that people have downloaded a pirated version and say that they will probably buy it later. The question here is how many actually does this?"
I can sincerely say that I have ALWAYS bought the things which made a lasting impression on me, even if I have pirated them before; I have a whole 2m long rack of original CD's, movies and games at home to prove it. As an example: I downloaded and finished the whole Warcraft 3 saga TWICE and after that I was still impressed enough to go buy the Warcraft 3 Warchest set, which today sits on that rack, still unpacked and in original wrapping.
My problem with buying Amnesia is - it is only available over the net
My credit card is sadly not compatible for paying over the net, but even if it was, i just do not trust such payments (I'm over 30 and thus a bit old-fashioned). I simply like to go in to a shop, take the box from the shelf, go to the cashier and pay for it with cash - becouse then i can see the bills leaving my wallet and the box i got for them in my hand. Let me assure you: if i saw it in a store, I would have bought it in a moment's notice and put it on my rack.
I admit that there are a lot more people who never buy already pirated stuff - but believe it or not, some of us actually DO have enough of a conscience to try and help those who are really deservant of our support.
"So even if a player likes it and determines that it is well worth paying for, there is no incentive to do so. ... Even if you really liked the game and want to support the developers, it basically feels like money down the drain since you get nothing extra after paying."
Wrong again - it still depends on the individual person and his/her perception of worth.
My first incentive to actually buy something i have already downloaded is having the gratification that I can call myself a sensible pirate, the knowledge that I actually helped the artist and a fuzzy feeling each time I look at the original boxes on my rack. The second incentive which i have already mentioned before is the actual physical feeling of holding the product in my hand, to be able to flip through a booklet, watch the extras on a DVD and simply having a real 3D product on a shelf. Has anyone of you ever relishly smelled the fresh paint in a CD booklet when unpacking it? See, that's the feeling I'm talking about; you simply can't get that from a mp3 folder on your hard drive.
Again, sadly many pirates do not have such values and just download all they can just for the sake of being free, but please keep in mind that some people do think and act different.
Also I have to mention this: I know exactly how the guys at Frictional felt when being on their minimal wages - becouse I'm on my minimal wage too, for years now.
The times are rough, the monetary system sucks, companies are closing down and when all the monthly bills (for the appartment, car, gas, food, water, heat, electricity, health insurance etc.) are paid, many of us are faced with the decision of saving up the remaining money for the case the next paycheck will never come instead of spending it for original CD's, movies and games. But tell me this: just becouse my company isn't doing ok and I receive a minimal wage, does that automatically mean that I can't listen to my favourite music, watch movies and play games? What do i have left then? If I couldn't get some of that stuff for free, I would be forced to come home from work and watch TV, then go to sleep, then repeat this untill i loose my TV and appartment or bite the bullet. I'm sorry but I do not intend to live such a life, even if it means pirating stuff from the internet (HOLY SH..., this actually reminded me of Daniel's mindset, wow
So, what can we all do about it? In the global scale not much can be done except wait & see how things will evolve (like with the inception of radio, TV, VHS, CD's, and DVD's), but it helps to think and act as FLEXIBLE as possible and sometimes make economically doubtful decisions, even if they seem a bad idea in the short run.
In Frictional's case the developers bit the sour apple and decided to make Amnesia, even if it meant working a year on minimal wages (I salute your courage & decision). In order to cut the costs further they decided to make the game only available over the internet; becouse advertisement is also very costly, most of it would rely on word of mouth and viral marketing via YouTube videos. After Amnesia was made, all they could do was cross fingers and hope that they'll get their fair credit. And what happened? Despite all these economically bad decisions the game turned out a success: the sales have gone over the minimal required quotas and beyond, the game is played, praised and recommended everywhere and the 5 people who made it got their credit back, not to mention that they have become somewhat of a legend amongst the gaming community. I mean - everywhere you can read that Amnesia is probably the scariest game ever made untill today AND it was made by just 5 people! Frictional games have thus entered video game history and made a benchmark in horror games. Sure, it doesn't make paying the bills any easier, but you have become legends, at least in my book
(also think of this: Vincent Van Gogh lived, worked and died in poverty but today his work is priceless and he will be remembered forever.)
To wrap it up: I promise you that even if it will take a few years for me to get a internet-payment capable credit card or a pay-pal account, i WILL eventually buy Amnesia - simply becouse you guys deserve it. Untill then, I will recommend it to others whenever I can and try to get my friends to buy it, so you'll get more free advertisement, plus I'll participate here with new ideas & projects (hopefully).
Oh, and please don't flame me (too much), I am just being honest. Bye!