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Company creates, then deletes NFTs of retro games it didn't own the rights to

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Summary

Back at the end of April, MetaGravity Studio minted a set of "playable" NFTs called the Retro Arcade Collection. The problem? MetaGravity doesn't own the rights to some of the games it was auctioning off. 

 

Quotes

Quote

Back at the end of April, MetaGravity Studio minted a set of "playable" NFTs called the Retro Arcade Collection. The problem? MetaGravity doesn't own the rights to some of the games it was auctioning off. 

Waypoint reports that the rights for games like Blizzard's Blackthorne and Remedy's Death Rally still belong to their respective developers, which never authorized MetaGravity to turn them into NFTs. 

 

The CEO of MetaGravity, Rashin Mansoor, said in a statement to Waypoint that the games the team chose for its collection were "freeware mostly, and in some cases, game demos." MetaGravity claims that its intent is to "preserve abandonware" in the way "a lot of abandonware sites are doing." 

The big difference, of course, is that MetaGravity was selling the games as NFTs. Even sites that offer so-called "abandonware" for free aren't necessarily in the clear copyright-wise, but the "abandoned" aspect means no one really cares if they're not charging money for them. Freeware software isn't necessarily uncopyrighted just because it's free, while abandonware is unsupported software whose copyright status may be unknown. 

 

My thoughts

How did they even remotely think they could just do this without any consequences?

Do they really think there is a NEED to store "abandonware" on the blockcain just to save it?

 

And you have to pay hundreds if not thousands just to Download a "Game/program" they stole, to play or use it

This is yet another example of why NFT's are utter garbage.

There is absolutely no need to turn everything into a NFT shilling machine.

 

If I want to use a old program, I will find it trough Web-archive, which is at least 100x more legal, and completely FREE.

Web-archive exists for this reason, to preserve and keep old programs/games/sites ALIVE.

 

Sources

https://www.pcgamer.com/uk/company-creates-then-deletes-nfts-of-retro-games-it-didnt-own-the-rights-to/

https://www.thegamer.com/crypto-retro-video-game-nfts-rights/

 

Webarchive DOS GAMES

https://www.techtimes.com/articles/245720/20191016/internet-archive-adds-thousands-of-ms-dos-games.htm

https://archive.org/details/softwarelibrary_msdos_games

 

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║ motherboard_______ ║ asus crosshair formulla VIII______________________________________║
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║ memory___________║ CMW32GX4M2Z3600C18 ______________________________________║
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║ SSD______________║ Samsung 980 PRO 1TB_________________________________________ ║
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5 minutes ago, darknessblade said:

How did they even remotely think they could just do this without any consequences?

Crypto is a scam, NFTs are a scam. They intend to take advantage of people when they sell these things, breaking the law is not important to them.

 

5 minutes ago, darknessblade said:

Do they really think there is a NEED to store "abandonware" on the blockcain just to save it?

Are these game NFTs even stored within the Blockchain? Bored apes, for example, are stored on a public server, and the NFT itself is just a record of the transaction. That's how I thought most NFTs work

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10 minutes ago, Fasauceome said:

Crypto is a scam, NFTs are a scam. They intend to take advantage of people when they sell these things, breaking the law is not important to them.

 

Are these game NFTs even stored within the Blockchain? Bored apes, for example, are stored on a public server, and the NFT itself is just a record of the transaction. That's how I thought most NFTs work

The question always is: what legal rights do the NFTs imply. Bored Ape NFTs grant full usage rights to the owner of the NFT, so while the pictures themselves are public, if you were to use one of the pictures in a comic, the owner of the NFT could sue you. But on the other hand, anyone could mint a "Mona Lisa" NFT that allows the owner of the NFT to view the Mona Lisa. Well that's not really anything special, everybody can go to the Louvre and view it, the NFT doesn't make you the owner of the Mona Lisa. So if the Retro Arcade NFTs imply any rights, that the company behind them doesn't even have, that's just fraud, like selling something you don't even own, without the actual owners permission.

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25 minutes ago, Alvin853 said:

The question always is: what legal rights do the NFTs imply. Bored Ape NFTs grant full usage rights to the owner of the NFT, so while the pictures themselves are public, if you were to use one of the pictures in a comic, the owner of the NFT could sue you. But on the other hand, anyone could mint a "Mona Lisa" NFT that allows the owner of the NFT to view the Mona Lisa. Well that's not really anything special, everybody can go to the Louvre and view it, the NFT doesn't make you the owner of the Mona Lisa. So if the Retro Arcade NFTs imply any rights, that the company behind them doesn't even have, that's just fraud, like selling something you don't even own, without the actual owners permission.

The problem is NFTs are designed to bypass any countries legal system, which effectively means you'd have a real hard time suing anyone for breach of anything regarding NFTs as the whole point is for NFTs to avoid the legal system.

 

Obviously if you sell an NFT of something that is already copyrighted, that's different as the original item IS protected under law.

It just makes no sense to design a system to bypass countries bureaucracy then expect that bureaucracy to protect you.  Same reason that off-shoring your money to avoid tax should NOT be protected, as its the tax that pays the insurance.  Of course corrupt governments have made the whole thing a sham by bailing out people who have deliberately avoided paying for that insurance.  Its how utterly broken the current system is.

People who think NFTs give you more rights are completely missing how we got those rights in the first place, by laws.
 

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15 hours ago, Alvin853 said:

The question always is: what legal rights do the NFTs imply. Bored Ape NFTs grant full usage rights to the owner of the NFT, so while the pictures themselves are public, if you were to use one of the pictures in a comic, the owner of the NFT could sue you. But on the other hand, anyone could mint a "Mona Lisa" NFT that allows the owner of the NFT to view the Mona Lisa. Well that's not really anything special, everybody can go to the Louvre and view it, the NFT doesn't make you the owner of the Mona Lisa. So if the Retro Arcade NFTs imply any rights, that the company behind them doesn't even have, that's just fraud, like selling something you don't even own, without the actual owners permission.

The problem I have is that NFTs don't provide any rights and you would have to go through the legal system to actually grant those rights at which point the NFT is no longer necessary as what gives the rights is not the nft but the paperwork filed to get said rights. I mean it would be like if I sold a car and went through all of the proper paperwork and then used an nft to create a receipt for something that already has paperwork documenting everything in which case all you did was creat more pollution just to mint the useless nft. And I know someone is going to say that governments will catch and use nfts to replace their existing systems bur honestly I highly doubt that especially with just how much it costs to mint an nft. 

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I don't disagree with the IDEA of creating NFTs of games (especially indie games) since a lot of those games are shorter or have little replay value (not all but most I've played)

If you were to use the original purpose of NFTs to have a first sale buyer buy the game from the company with full company profit, finish the game and be able to "resell" the game with most of the profit going back to the original creator and some profit for the first sale buyer (ie used game resale) it makes sense. This can also provide tiers of players who are interested in the game but don't want to (or can't) pay for a first sale copy but could afford a second or third sale NFT of the game as it gets cheaper per resale. Creator still makes money off each sale, first sale buyers get to play the latest games and eventually everyone gets a chance to play the game, wins all around.

 

How NFTs are being used is an insult to the whole purpose.

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1 hour ago, GhostRoadieBL said:

I don't disagree with the IDEA of creating NFTs of games (especially indie games) since a lot of those games are shorter or have little replay value (not all but most I've played)

In an ideal "version" of how NFT's work, what would have happened is that every asset would have been indexed as a NFT, including the game engine and game script. 

 

Then when a "new version" is released, or asshats pirate it (cause they will), it's easy to follow the path of what assets belong to the game, and what are mods, unofficial localizations of the script/assets, or cheats/hacks. Likewise people can be paid directly both for producing stuff for your game, and you also get paid because they need your game.

 

Hence, you could select which parts of the game you actually want (eg "Engish UI", "English Captions", "Japanese Voices for character (A/B)", "English voices for character (C/D/E)", etc etc. If some of these are "DLC" type content, or fan content, it doesn't matter, you can tell it depends on the game. And if things worked exactly as they were supposed to, these assets would be "bittorrent" style, where the seed never goes offline.

 

In practice however, NFT's are basically a signpost, or a receipt. Not the asset. That's the real problem. You do not own the asset, you own a pointer. Since everyone knows the pointer's address, they don't even need to pay anyone to see it.

 

So let's say, you had a game like Skyrim, or minecraft, where there's thousands of mods for it, and dozens of versions across consoles and computers. How do you know a mod will work with that version? Well presumably you'd have a program that can tell the forking points (eg like on github) to know what version of an asset is needed, and download them.

 

However this just will never materialize unless the games themselves are free to download in the first place. Sure F2P games exist, but F2P games are in direct contradiction to NFT's. A F2P game, you pay the developer for assets that the developer retains ownership of. In a NFT Free-to-Download game, you pay everyone who contributed to the game individually, and then package it and publish it on your more conventional shop.

 

Music and Film/TV could also track their third party assets and not have to deal with individually negotiating contracts for every 2-second piece of video or sound used in the show. Just download it, use it, and when you publish it, you pay everyone based on the ownership tracked.

 

It just won't happen. Rights Agencies, Recording Studios, and so forth won't let it. Just look at ContentID right now. I can download music from Kevin MacLeod and then resell it as something else, right now, and then hammer everyone on youtube using the track. That's exactly what happens now. Now if the musical compositions had a universal-means-of-indicating-who-created-this-asset, third parties couldn't just steal from other artists and claim it as their own.

 

But more to the point, what if I want to make something new, and really like that "phaser" sound effect used by Star Trek TOS? I have no idea who to contact to get a digital original, I don't know how it was made originally to re-create it myself, so the path of least resistance is to just sample it off a DVD. But how do I properly license it? Hell if I know.

 

What a NFT could in theory do is an automated rights clearing to use an asset, and that would be a goldmine ... if it wasn't attached to cryptocurrencies. The attachment to cryptocurrencies is what ultimately destroys any practical use of NFT's. There's pretty much no way to "license a few hundred sounds and image assets" to make a music video from scratch when the transaction costs are greater than zero, and the cryptocurrency value fluctuates. An individual song might have dozens of instrument and vocal samples, and there might be hundreds of images used. So let's conservatively say you had 300 assets, and each asset only cost $10, but the transaction cost is $20. It doesn't make sense.

 

Anyway, NFT's ultimately are a grift. Nobody wants "Bored apes" or any other algorithm generated artwork. These have zero value except to the creator. It's a Rug-pull, every time.

 

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3 hours ago, GhostRoadieBL said:

be able to "resell" the game with most of the profit going back to the original creator

To is the one thing I whole heartedly disagree with.

It doesn't happen with physical good why should it happen with digital ones?

When I buy a car and decide to sell it 5 years later I don't give part of what I received to neither the car manufacturer or the dealership who sold me the car. Yet for some reason in the digital world reselling used good should come with a permanent percentage going back to the creator. It doesn't make a lick of sense

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9 hours ago, suicidalfranco said:

To is the one thing I whole heartedly disagree with.

It doesn't happen with physical good why should it happen with digital ones?

When I buy a car and decide to sell it 5 years later I don't give part of what I received to neither the car manufacturer or the dealership who sold me the car. Yet for some reason in the digital world reselling used good should come with a permanent percentage going back to the creator. It doesn't make a lick of sense

First sale doctrine is embedded in American-way-of-thinking.

 

The rest of the world, and many media industries in the US do not however.

 

The Recording industry and Film industry, if they had it their way, would have you pay full price for their physical media, and pay every time to watch it, and forbid seeking the media, so you have to play it again from the beginning for another payment.

 

Go ahead, go to your DVR, and record something that is airing in real time, and then try to skip the commercials. You can no longer do this in many cases. VOD? Sorry "the fast forward feature is not available"

 

Like one of the reasons streaming is becoming popular right now is because the streaming services have largely not figured out how to do advertisements properly, and only really introduced them in the last year. The streamers generally don't care if the viewers skip or block the ads, because their revenue comes from tips given on-stream, or paid subscriptions to their channel. They usually have another job, and the number of people actually making reasonable money streaming can be counted on one hand. 99% of streamers make less than $100 in a year from the stream itself.

 

Music, Games, software, films, television shows are "licensed" to you. You do not own them. Without laws guaranteeing that you will have perpetual access to anything you buy, the company who made it can always take it back with language in their license (such as with Microsoft ceasing support for their products.) NFT's do not guarantee you anything, not even perpetual access. Do you think those IPFS links will still be working 2 years from now let along 20 or 50? They won't.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Kisai said:

The Recording industry and Film industry, if they had it their way, would have you pay full price for their physical media, and pay every time to watch it, and forbid seeking the media, so you have to play it again from the beginning for another payment.

 

Didn't EA kinda  try to do this with SPORE, by limiting the times you can install the game

 

https://www.eurogamer.net/ea-responds-to-spore-drm-concerns

https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/boards/926714-spore/45205898

https://www.destructoid.com/spore-drm-is-no-more-unless-you-have-a-mac/

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║ cpu ______________║ ryzen 9 5900x_________________________________________________ ║
╠═════════════╬═══════════════════════════════════════════╣
║ GPU______________║ ASUS strix LC RX6800xt______________________________________ _║
╠═════════════╬═══════════════════════════════════════════╣
║ motherboard_______ ║ asus crosshair formulla VIII______________________________________║
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║ memory___________║ CMW32GX4M2Z3600C18 ______________________________________║
╠═════════════╬═══════════════════════════════════════════╣
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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, suicidalfranco said:

 It doesn't make a lick of sense

I'm coming from the perspective of a creator, specifically for games. You buy a physical copy of the game, play it, resell it. You usually can't get full original price because it isn't "new" so you mark it down by a few percent (unless you are a pathetic person scalping) which sets the new value of a "used" copy of the game where the reseller makes 100% profit (compared to keeping the game) and the creator gets nothing.

 

Creator of the game only profits from the original sale and nothing else unless they make it subscription based, add micro-transactions or add paid dlc (all things which hurt everyone in the industry) which are all ways for the creator to continue being profitable and support the game longer. Why support a game you are not profiting from anymore? ("because you love the game" doesn't support the creator)

 

Digital assets are the same, but worse for the buyer because you often can't resell the game and alienates many gamers due to price, or promotes piracy where the creator makes no money, or causes sites like steam to make 90% off sales which degrades the value of the games even more than reselling used.

 

The best solution is allow resales, creator gets a cut, seller gets a cut and everyone profits. Noone can say they don't have games they would gladly resell if it was an option, I'm just stating a method of spreading the profits back to the person/people who actually put the effort into making it.

 

I have heard every excuse from clients when they ask about reselling my photos, I get a cut because I put in the work. It's not even my primary job but it's my effort, why should games or any art be any different?

Edited by GhostRoadieBL
Clarified "profit"

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24 minutes ago, GhostRoadieBL said:

100% profit

Minor quip, I feel like that should be revenue seeing as Profit is Revenue - Cost of business.

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1 minute ago, J-from-Nucleon said:

Minor quip, I feel like that should be revenue seeing as Profit is Revenue - Cost of business.

True, I should have been clearer with "100% profit compared to keeping the game"

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20 minutes ago, GhostRoadieBL said:

The best solution is allow resales, creator gets a cut, seller gets a cut and everyone profits. Noone can say they don't have games they would gladly resell if it was an option, I'm just stating a method of spreading the profits back to the person/people who actually put the effort into making it.

yeah no. The creator sold the game, the moment the exchange happens he's entitled to nothing afterward. If he can't make ends meet, the he set the wrong price to begin with.

If i go to an artist, buy a painting from him for 300 doritos, then someone comes at place falls in love with it and is ready to give me 1000 doritos to take it, why should i go back to the artist and tell him "yo dog, here's 100 more doritos for your painting you sold me a while ago that i gave away for 1000 doritos". It's the most retarded concept ever and makes no sense at all.

The artist and I decided the price, or the artist decided it himself and i simply agreed to it without haggling, we shake hands, exchange our goods and the the encounter ends there. What i do afterwards with that painting it's on me and only me. The same way i don't go check on him to see what he did with the money i gave him.

Same applies the game creators, music creators etc...

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14 minutes ago, suicidalfranco said:

yeah no. The creator sold the game, the moment the exchange happens he's entitled to nothing afterward.

 

If i go to an artist, buy a painting from him for 300 doritos, then someone comes at place falls in love with it and is ready to give me 1000 doritos to take it, why should i go back to the artist and tell him "yo dog, here's 100 more doritos for your painting you sold me a while ago that i gave away for 1000 doritos". It's the most retarded concept ever and makes no sense at all

 

https://artzid.com/the-resale-right-of-the-artist-and-its-importance/

 

Might want to read up on IP rights before getting into this

 

Don't like Malta, here's Canada

http://www.canadaipblog.com/2013/07/author-resale-rights-in-canadian.html?m=1

 

What you are talking about is "first sale doctrine" and is one of the worst things the US has spread around the world and stifled creatives in every field.

https://smallbiztrends.com/2013/03/resale-rights-you-bought-own.html

FSD is from horrible people who have never created anything worthwhile in their lives and support the exploitation of creatives in a toxic "capitalism above all else" mentality. It's sickening what people like that do.

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6 minutes ago, GhostRoadieBL said:

https://artzid.com/the-resale-right-of-the-artist-and-its-importance/

 

Might want to read up on IP rights before getting into this

And i completely disagree with it and stand in opposition to such premise.

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11 minutes ago, suicidalfranco said:

And i completely disagree with it and stand in opposition to such premise.

That mentality created micro-transactions, paid game and OS updates, subscription games and F2P gatcha games. Starved millions of artists trying to get into the industry, destroyed amazing game companies and directly resulted in "games as a commodity" games like Fifa, CoD, and all the other 'same game different skin' products which are poisoning the market.

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2 minutes ago, GhostRoadieBL said:

That mentality created micro-transactions, paid game and OS updates, subscription games and F2P gatcha games. Starved millions of artists trying to get into the industry, destroyed amazing game companies and directly resulted in "games as a commodity" games like Fifa, CoD, and all the other 'same game different skin' products which are poisoning the market.

no it didn't. Revenue models changed over time. The same way now, artists no longer need to seek out a rich or noble family that will give him food, money, a place to sleep and all the tools he requires the embellish their residence in exchange for his work

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2 hours ago, darknessblade said:

Oh, it's old as dirt. Physical copy protection measures such as dongles still exist (eg Davinci Resolve has one, or you can pay for the serial, and lock it to the computer.)

 

Actually, that's a good example of how to meet every demand without being a greedy company.

1. You release the full version of the software, minus some licensed parts for free

2. You tie the licensed parts to either a hardware sale, dongle, or a software key

3. If you choose the dongle option, you can resell it, or move it to other computers you own in the future.

 

Now, I'm not suggesting that the "cloud services" style software key is inherently bad. Everyone whinebitchmoaned about Adobe moving to cloud services, and yes, the way they did it, just like Microsoft and Autodesk is inherently bad. Because if you have no internet access, your software stops working or features of the program are disabled. However if you stuck with the hardware dongle, you don't have that problem (unless you lose/break the dongle.) Companies like Adobe and Autodesk actually hate the dongle method because it allows people to sell the products on a secondary market when the people who originally bought it only buy enough licenses that they need, and others sometimes buy them from the secondary market when they don't have enough. 

 

But most "dongle-oriented" copy protection is pretty flimsy really. They can afford to do dongles because the software itself is usually pricey. You're not going to see dongles for $20 steam games. Only $400-$200,000 software, or software that is unique to the client.

 

But ultimately the physical dongle was the "correct" way to protect a product, because it allows people to upgrade the product and use the same dongle until the vendor decides you need a new license. However, like "no cd" type of cracks, they are sometimes trivially defeated, so you're still ultimately just buying the dongles to be honest. What would improve the situation would be to leverage the FIDO authentication and to store your "license key" like you would a password. So you login to to your paid products once, and then it just asks you to login if you change computers after that. As long as you're still using the FIDO device to login to the computer, it wouldn't need to ask you again. As a bonus, now you can login to your other computers with the same key and don't need to find anything.

 

But yeah "limited number of installs" is something that  comes directly out of using the physical disk (eg CD or floppy) as the DRM. There was a game I can't remember the name of, that did this with floppies, where you could only install it to the hard drive 2 times or something, and if you didn't uninstall it, it wouldn't let you install it again.

 

Some software vendors really need to get over themselves. Release the software for free, if you want people to use it, otherwise they will just migrate to the less annoying product.

 

I've seen both Autodesk lose to Blender, and Adobe lose to Davinci Resolve/FinalCut and Clip Studio Paint in market share because Autodesk and Adobe mistakenly believe their "market leader" position means they are the standard. Sure, "Photoshop" is the standard for photography, but not for art, which most artists can be persuaded to use another product since ultimately the result is still a bitmap.

 

People do not use "cost" as the reason to switch products, they use "ease of use/ease of transfer/upgradability", if one can't switch between old product and new product, they likely won't ever use new product, at any cost.

 

At any rate, yeah, the ideal DRM for games would simply be "none". It would be ideal if everyone who contributed to a game, tv show, or film could be both credited and paid royalties for their contribution every time a purchase is made, but people readily give away those rights because it's too much of a hassle to calculate all the pennies someone is owed. Better to just buy out their rights and assume the resulting product will at least break even. If you have a really successful product, then the people who worked on it will feel cheated if they're not paid royalties on it. If you have a product that is a market failure, and they only negotiated royalties, they're going to feel cheated if the product was poorly marketed.

 

You can't win. This is why you seldom see artists agreeing to anything that amounts to "exposure." Exposure buys you nothing, and unless you're already in the position to not need the money, no amount of exposure will guarantee success. Hence, piracy and exposure tend to be the same thing. "It's free exposure", no it's not, it's piracy, and your piracy of the thing only stays out there because the copyright holder doesn't feel they will gain anything from taking it down.

 

That's why you see Nintendo, Disney, Warner Bros, Kodansha, Toei, etc aggressively go after unlicensed use of their IP. They are in a position where they are in the right, and any "fans" that complain can be lost and it won't fundamentally hurt their bottom line. They will come back, they have the market power to compel them to.

 

We should really be seeking the breakup of Disney, Warner, to split their licensable IP from their other assets so other people can license the IP if they want to instead of things being locked away in the "Disney Vault" for a decade to sell it again.

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19 hours ago, suicidalfranco said:

Revenue models changed over time.

That's only looking at the surface, what caused the revenue model to change? It was clearly working with physical media game sales and resellers were making a huge profit from used games.

Companies got greedy, they didn't want second hand sales because it took away from primary sale profits. If they were still making profit from second hand sales (impossible for some low value physical media) they wouldn't need to be against second sale companies and people.

 

The idea that a game is disposable (ie the IP of the game ends after the first sale) leads to making games like cars when every year you need a new model with minimal effort to make it better. Which directly leads to the other profit methods like dlc and subscriptions.

We're seeing exactly this in the automotive industry with subscription heated seats and software locked batteries. It can't be hard to see how this is a problem, and the cause is clearly companies attacking second hand sales because of the mentality that the creator is owed nothing for their work after the first person buys it.

 

It doesn't even change how much the second hand seller makes off the item, they can charge more knowing the profit is split between the person who did literally all the work and the person who did exactly nothing but try to profit from someone else's labour.

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On 5/16/2022 at 1:39 PM, darknessblade said:

How did they even remotely think

I mean, we are talking about NFTs here. Thinking is not part of the operation, only the Grift matters.

Line Goes Up has a great quote from an NFT developer stealing because "It's on the blockchain now, there is no going back."

 

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