Archive for September, 2008|Monthly archive page

Digital Rights Backfire

for those of you who’ve been living in a cave, spore’s got itself some hellacious drm.  there’re rumors it’s so bad it rewrites your dvd drive’s drivers, it installs a rootkit and probably even purposefully throws out a bsod for good measure.  i hear it’s so bad that it even kills kittens!

anyway, pc gamers of course hate, hate, hate this.  duh.

but the funniest part?

Ironically, the game was leaked several days before the official released date and a quick search seems to indicate that pirated copies, along with mechanisms for bypassing the copy protection mechanisms, are freely available on the Internet. So it seems that the copy protection schemes only inconveniences legitimate customers.

so, by trying to prevent piracy, they’re driving legitimate users to pirate their games because pirates make a better product — one that’s not wrapped in malware.

please take note:  drm doesn’t stop anything.  and, the money you save by kicking your legitimate customers in the collective groin, you lose because you pay to get them on a first-name-basis with your technical support people.  meanwhile, pirates are still pirating your game.

and they’re doing it with possibly with even more bile and determination because YOU threw down the “screw you pirate!” gauntlet.



Missing the Browser as an OS Point

chalk another one up to completely missing the point of my explanation of the browser as an os.  business week aparently doesn’t understand the idea of applications as plugins that run in a local execution space directly against the underlying os.

Let’s start with the operating system. What’s your favorite flavor? Windows, OS X, Linux? Whichever your allegiance, for at least the next several years, you’ll need an operating system to boot your computer and store the applications that are still too large and unwieldy to run from inside the cloud. Take iTunes, Photoshop, or PowerPoint. While online equivalents exist, they just can’t match the processing power and functionality that come from the applications you run from your computer’s operating system.

in other words, in the “browser as an os” world, photoshop is a browser plugin.  it’s really about the separation of logic and data.  the application runs and is installed locally, but the the data is stored in the cloud.  not all applications will run in the cloud.

i’m pretty sure they would have said windows couldn’t exist because it can’t run directly from your motherboard like a standard bios can and has to be installed to this clunky thing called a hard drive.


WAR Success

this was originally a comment on mark’s new blog.  it was getting a bit verbose, so i just thought i’d turn it into a full post.  hate when that happens.

if war is to succeed, you have a few real issues to overcome:

1) people (any substantial number anyway) have room for one monthly sub.  plain pure fact.  that means you don’t get to be “second choice” for anyone.  you have to be the only choice for your subscriber base.

2) because of the network effect, war will not only have to be better than wow, but much, much, much better with lots more content — right outta the gate. and, it will need to sustain the “lots more content” continuously and forever.

the one and only one instance off the top of my head where someone has successfully done that is facebook to myspace. the features and quality bar difference between the two were not iterative. they were not evolutionary. they were revolutionary.  because of facebook, we now have game developers targeting facebook as a platform.

3) yes.  you have to “beat wow.”  see #1.  if you have a monthly sub and aren’t trying to beat wow, you are simply setting yourself up for failure.  if you were serious about not caring about beating wow, you’d be releasing a free game.  the reason being because people (again, in any substantial numbers) won’t have two paid subs.  that means you either need to allow for people to play your game in addition to wow (meaning it’s free) or you have to take wow’s subscribers — aka beating wow.

4) you’re not just competing with wow.  you’re also competing with free.  you have to convince people beyond the first free month bump that your game is not only better (see #2) than wow, but it’s several orders of magnitude better (not simply better) than something like requiem — which is free and high quality.  not to mention something like runescape which is both free AND has over a million subs.

i wish you luck, sir.


When Does a Browser Become an OS?

there’s much hub-bub about the new google chrome being a threat to ie… wait, no.  it’s a threat to firefox and opera and safari.  afterall, it’s a browser.  or even worse, it’s not even a threat to ie6 much less windows!

and then, you have the guys who are saying that it’s a threat to windows.  they, of course, are right, tho none of them have really articulated why it’s a threat to windows.  there’s some “google os!” talk, but no one really lays that out.  it’s kind of a tricky thing to explain it, really.

and, you know me…  i’m here to make things that are hard to explain simple!

so, why is chrome a threat to the traditional os?

1) it has the web.  duh.  the primary activity people do on their computers these days is surf the web.  commerce, entertainment, news — chances are most of your computer-ing day is spent in a browser.

2) it has installed applications.  they’re just now called plugins.  (especially chrome’s new compiled, accelerated javascript!)  and, with google’s new sandboxed, tabbed-process, compiled, hardware-accelerated, non-traditional-browser-windows, non-crashing uber application thing, you have an os.  developers can now have their plugin fire up in an entire, stand-alone tab — erm. excuse me.  an entire, stand-alone “window.”  that means, you have local, “applications” that are “installed” and run in an “os”.  so, imagine a “microsoft word” plugin that runs in the browser.  they can do this where other browsers can’t because each tab is a separate, multi-threaded, hardware accelerated process — just like in a real os.

3) true write once, deploy anywhere.  just like today’s adobe flash player is very, very write once, deploy everywhere type of thing, so too will be plugins.  this is EXTREMELY true with these new-fangled compiled javascript applications chrome allows for.  think about that last bit mixed with #2 above.  so, there will only be ONE application that needs to be written and everyone — no matter if they’re on a mac, windows, linux, whatever — can use it.

4) the flavor of traditional os underneath won’t matter anymore.  just like the bios and drivers and all the other computer plumbing underneath your traditional os doesn’t matter, windows, linux and osx won’t matter.  nobody (other than the occasional SERIOUS nerd) cares about all that stuff because they don’t actively use it.  it comes pre-installed on their computers and worst case, they have to click some sort of “update reminder” thing.  windows, linux and mac will all become boring middleware that the average person doesn’t care about.  because, as #3 above states, they just get their full applications as plugins that work on every single traditional os.

still having issues visualizing all of this? just read back through that comic book and where they talk about a tabbed browser bar think “windows task bar” and where they talk about plugin, think “installed windows application like outlook or word”.

we are on the very cusp of a brave, brave new internet os enabled world and it has nothing to do with any of the profit centers up in redmond.