Posts Tagged xbox live

The Death of Piracy…and online cheating?

Following Kotaku’s recent interview with an ex-pirate who chose Steam over BitTorrent, I figured it high time that the death of piracy should be upon us. In a world moving more and more into the cloud, services like Steam are providing a place to buy, collect and socialise as a gamer. With a friends list requiring a scroll even on a 1920×1200 display, a sale nearly every week and a constantly patched and updated game Steam offers a complete gaming solution. Why buy anywhere else? Where to buy is not the problem. Choosing to buy at all is the biggest issue on the PC as some simply choose to download for free via torrent, especially with games often appearing on torrent sites days before Steam/retail stores.

Piracy statistics from torrentfreak.com

Looking at the piracy statistics for 2010 (above) at first glance piracy seems to be up over 2009 for this years Call of Duty (see stats below). 4.27 million illegal copies of Black Ops were downloaded this year vs 4.1 million copies of Modern Warfare 2 last year. So in 2010 there were 170 thousand more illegal downloads of Call of Duty over 2009 through the first two months of release. However, if we look at sales a massive 5.6 million copies were sold in 2010 within 24 hours of release (across all platforms) vs 4.7 million in 2009. I’m no accountant (ed. lol?) but that’s almost a 20% increase in legitimate paying customer demand over last year, yet pirated figures show only a 4% increase. So is this a sign of a slow down in piracy? I think it is. Piracy as a whole does appear to be getting bigger, but so too is the industry and at a faster rate. The number of gamers willing to pay, at least if not only for Call of Duty are increasing.

2009 piracy statistics from torrentfreak.com

The question is why would piracy slow down as we all become more digitally download aware? If digital downloads are slowly taking more and more of the market especially on PC, why are people choosing to pay for digital downloads over torrenting them for free like they have been for the last near decade. Steam is why!

Retail purchasing on PC died along time ago for me, first the high street and then even online ordering became a chore. Leaving the house to purchase a physical disc, having an optical drive hooked up to your computer, getting the disk out of the box to install it, manually finding the latest patch…very 1990’s. Steam offers one central ‘app’ for the gaming community, you know what your friends are buying, what and when they are playing, what they have played for precisely how long, what they have achieved and now even what they want to play if they had the money a.k.a Steam wishlist.

Gifting on Steam is a joy. I often buy gifts for relatives and friends, with a few clicks Christmas and birthdays are sorted without having to leave my seat, delivered direct to their email/Steam account. And don’t even get me started on Steam sales, games for a few pounds, why even waste time torrenting and searching for key gens and nocd.exe’s? Steam have perfected the process so well, I would rather pay for a game on Steam than to get it for free not on Steam, that’s capitalism at its finest.

Another reason for piracy decline and the eventual death of piracy is the big brother account integration of these services like Steam as well as Xbox Live and PlayStation network. If you are caught using pirated games or even cheating, the risk is you lose your entire account, either a ban or complete account deletion. All those achievements, digital downloads and the ability to play with all your friends, gone in an instant! All to save a few pounds by pirating? It’s just no longer worth it.

This year has seen a huge clamp down by the powers that be, with the most extreme example when Blizzard banned over 5,000 Starcraft 2 players for cheating. Back in 2009 Valve even gave everyone a gift for not cheating, a free hat which I wore with pride, obviously the cheaters didn’t get anything. With more recent and a touch more serious tone Sony is attempting to sue the hackers who opened up the PS3 for all manor of piracy, which this year has been a constant battle by Sony releasing countless patches to stay one step ahead of the pirates. Will I patch my PS3 to play Gran Turismo 5? Of course I will, I did straight away even though GT5 sucked! Do I want to lose any of my online accounts to save a few pounds and spend hours illegally obtaining pirated software? The answer is no, my time and my avatar is worth more than that and most importantly I want to support the games industry, and so should you.

I’m not anti-pirate although I may sound it. Piracy has changed the world often for the better and I highly recommend a favourite book of mine The Pirates Dilemma which covers this subject in far more depth. When there is a solution out there that is better than piracy, I’m all for it. After all that’s usually why we pirate in the first place, a rubbish system. Now if only the movie industry would take their fingers out of there ass…

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Forza Motorsport 3 – How to move up the leaderboard

Want to rise up the leaderboards? Make sure you are top of your class!

Forza Motorsport, the greatest car simulator series on the Xbox (we don’t have Gran Turismo) has taken the most hours out of my consoles apparent short life span. I missed out on Forza 1 as I skipped the first generation Xbox. So I first came in to contact with the series, like most with Forza Motorsport 2, and could not put it down until I worked my way up past level 35’ish, only to retire as soon as my pre order of Forza Motorsport 3 arrived.  Although it has a more arcade feel, is slightly easier to drive and forgivingly lets you rewind when you screw up, Forza 3 is a lot more fun and less of a trudge. Easily the best car game on the Xbox for the enthusiast or casual driver.

I’m currently a level 42 driver working my way to the top through the season play. One day casually pottering around the leaderboards, to my horror I found a new Xbox Live friend (who had only just bought the game) high above me. In fact everyone I knew was above me on the leaderboards, yet everyone was a lower driver level than me and had put less time into the game. I initially thought either my lap times must be poor or everyone else was The Stig. On closer inspection I had some decent hot laps above most of my Xbox Live friends. Puzzled I examined the way the scoreboards work and spent a few hours claiming back my throne.

The trick is simple, if you are going to do a lap, and want a chance of posting a decent time on the leaderboards to maintain your position or climb higher up, you need to have the fastest car within the class. Using a low in class car is going to have a negative effect on your overall leaderboard position no matter how well you drive. All those career mode events where I used a slow in class car, pushed me down the leaderboards. It is so obvious and simple that I overlooked it!

The leaderboards are divided up by car class, R1, R2, R3, S, A, B, C, D, E, F, take a quick scroll to the top of any leaderboard and you will notice everyone up there has the highest possible number next to there car class letter. So whenever I race now, I pick a car near to the class limit from my garage, and modify it as hard as I can to get as close to the next class as possible without going too far to rollover from say B to A. So get modifying, maximise your car to within the class limit and the rest is down to you, your skill as a driver and how you hit that apex, see you at the top!

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