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Using cheats in video games now being called theft

Posted by joeboosauce, 07 February 2013 · 260 views

You may have heard of this exploit in Dead Space 3. The addition of micro-transactions already raised a stir. Well, because they have started this crap, it's causing some to reframe simple cheating into a perceived crime. Calling exploits and cheats in a video game theft is twisting things around. No, sloppy development and rushing out games is not the issue people.

Because we have not fully come to terms with what a digital "thing" is, we have been simplistic and incorrectly applied the conception of physical objects to them. Digital theft is completely different than physical theft. Now, we are here on this slippery slope. What new imaginary things will be called crimes?

When I buy this, I won't update it until I'm done with the campaign. Oh no, I've incriminated myself!


Dead Space cheat undermines in-game micro-transactions
http://www.bbc.co.uk...nology-21367852

Exploits in the bestselling video game Dead Space 3 are allowing users to obtain in-game items for free.

The "cheats" could prove costly to the title's publisher, Electronic Arts (EA), which has introduced a system that charges users cash for extra equipment in the sequel.

The move has proved controversial with some, since the title already costs about £40.

EA has the ability to issue an update to remove the workarounds.

However, a spokesman said the firm had no comment on the issue.

Dead Space 3 is an action-horror third-person shooter set on a frozen planet.

Part of its challenge is locating scarce in-game resources needed to create ammunition and medical packs in order to tackle the title's monsters.

In previous games in the franchise, the user needed to find credits in order to buy upgrades. However, the new game introduces real-money micro-transactions as a way of allowing players to add equipment faster than would otherwise be possible.

Ethical dilemma
The bugs were first reported by the news site Game Front, which subsequently posted a video online showing how they worked.


News of the exploits did not take long to spread online
One involves the player's character walking into a specific building, picking up an item, walking out - and then returning to find a new item has appeared. This can be repeated an unlimited number of times.

The other requires the user to go to a different destination, to pick up an item and then to select save and quit before returning to the game.

Within hours of the discoveries, news of the exploits spread to other gaming sites and social media networks.

Several users commented that they did not believe using the cheats was unethical because Dead Space 3 had already been priced as a "premium title".

Bolt-on costs
The rise of micro-transactions in video games can be traced to Asia, where they were introduced as part of efforts to combat piracy.

Rather than charge users to buy software, publishers opted for a "freemium" model, in which the basic product was given away but premium add-on services or features involved payment.

It has since become a common feature in the wider smartphone market.

Console titles have long offered the ability to buy additional downloadable content (DLC) such as extra levels, characters or clothes. However, it is relatively rare for them to charge money for items intrinsic to a character's progress through core content.

Dead Space's developer, Visceral, has stressed players do not need to buy items in Dead Space 3 in order to finish it - but gamers have been concerned about what the innovation signalled.

"People are wondering why do you have to pay more in order to get a weapon that is in the main game anyway," said Keza MacDonald, games editor of the IGN news site.

"The way EA is presenting it is that if you want the weapons earlier then you can buy them. But it's a slippery slope because if most games start adopting this as a tactic you're effectively devaluing the money gamers have had to lay out in the first place."

Legal questions
Cheats have long been a feature of video games.

Magazines such as Zap Attack used to publish pages of tricks in the 1980s to help gamers boost ammunition or health points. Websites offering walkthroughs and other cheat sheets now continue that tradition.

However, one solicitor told the BBC that the practice became "legally grey" once micro-transactions were involved.

"If you go into a baker's to buy a bun and they give you the wrong change and you walk away knowing you have been given more change than you handed over in the first place, that's theft," Sara Ludlam, an intellectual property expert at Lupton, Fawcett, Lee & Priestley told the BBC.


Buying in-game content lets players spend less time having to hunt for hidden in-game resources
"So, arguably if you go into this game knowing you are supposed to be paying for these weapons and you notice a glitch allows you to accumulate them without paying, that's theft as well.

"But it is arguable because it's a new area."

There is no suggestion that EA would pursue such a case.

Game Front has also made clear that it believed the "farming" of resources within Dead Space 3 should not be equated with in-game purchases.

"Game Front is committed to providing its audience with walkthroughs, easter eggs and cheats for popular video games," said its managing editor Mark Burnham.

"This video was an example of Game Front providing that service, and did not present an ethical dilemma.

"The strategy described in our video merely allows players to efficiently gather resources freely available in the game; the only way to instantly gain resources in the game is to purchase them through the micro-transactions feature."




You may have heard of this exploit in Dead Space 3. The addition of micro-transactions already raised a stir. Well, because they have started this crap, it's causing some to reframe simple cheating into a perceived crime. Calling exploits and cheats in a video game theft is twisting things around. No, sloppy development and rushing out games is not the issue people.

Because we have not fully come to terms with what a digital "thing" is, we have been simplistic and incorrectly applied the conception of physical objects to them. Digital theft is completely different than physical theft. Now, we are here on this slippery slope. What new imaginary things will be called crimes?

When I buy this, I won't update it until I'm done with the campaign. Oh no, I've incriminated myself!


Dead Space cheat undermines in-game micro-transactions
http://www.bbc.co.uk...nology-21367852

Exploits in the bestselling video game Dead Space 3 are allowing users to obtain in-game items for free.

The "cheats" could prove costly to the title's publisher, Electronic Arts (EA), which has introduced a system that charges users cash for extra equipment in the sequel.

The move has proved controversial with some, since the title already costs about £40.

EA has the ability to issue an update to remove the workarounds.

However, a spokesman said the firm had no comment on the issue.

Dead Space 3 is an action-horror third-person shooter set on a frozen planet.

Part of its challenge is locating scarce in-game resources needed to create ammunition and medical packs in order to tackle the title's monsters.

In previous games in the franchise, the user needed to find credits in order to buy upgrades. However, the new game introduces real-money micro-transactions as a way of allowing players to add equipment faster than would otherwise be possible.

Ethical dilemma
The bugs were first reported by the news site Game Front, which subsequently posted a video online showing how they worked.


News of the exploits did not take long to spread online
One involves the player's character walking into a specific building, picking up an item, walking out - and then returning to find a new item has appeared. This can be repeated an unlimited number of times.

The other requires the user to go to a different destination, to pick up an item and then to select save and quit before returning to the game.

Within hours of the discoveries, news of the exploits spread to other gaming sites and social media networks.

Several users commented that they did not believe using the cheats was unethical because Dead Space 3 had already been priced as a "premium title".

Bolt-on costs
The rise of micro-transactions in video games can be traced to Asia, where they were introduced as part of efforts to combat piracy.

Rather than charge users to buy software, publishers opted for a "freemium" model, in which the basic product was given away but premium add-on services or features involved payment.

It has since become a common feature in the wider smartphone market.

Console titles have long offered the ability to buy additional downloadable content (DLC) such as extra levels, characters or clothes. However, it is relatively rare for them to charge money for items intrinsic to a character's progress through core content.

Dead Space's developer, Visceral, has stressed players do not need to buy items in Dead Space 3 in order to finish it - but gamers have been concerned about what the innovation signalled.

"People are wondering why do you have to pay more in order to get a weapon that is in the main game anyway," said Keza MacDonald, games editor of the IGN news site.

"The way EA is presenting it is that if you want the weapons earlier then you can buy them. But it's a slippery slope because if most games start adopting this as a tactic you're effectively devaluing the money gamers have had to lay out in the first place."

Legal questions
Cheats have long been a feature of video games.

Magazines such as Zap Attack used to publish pages of tricks in the 1980s to help gamers boost ammunition or health points. Websites offering walkthroughs and other cheat sheets now continue that tradition.

However, one solicitor told the BBC that the practice became "legally grey" once micro-transactions were involved.

"If you go into a baker's to buy a bun and they give you the wrong change and you walk away knowing you have been given more change than you handed over in the first place, that's theft," Sara Ludlam, an intellectual property expert at Lupton, Fawcett, Lee & Priestley told the BBC.


Buying in-game content lets players spend less time having to hunt for hidden in-game resources
"So, arguably if you go into this game knowing you are supposed to be paying for these weapons and you notice a glitch allows you to accumulate them without paying, that's theft as well.

"But it is arguable because it's a new area."

There is no suggestion that EA would pursue such a case.

Game Front has also made clear that it believed the "farming" of resources within Dead Space 3 should not be equated with in-game purchases.

"Game Front is committed to providing its audience with walkthroughs, easter eggs and cheats for popular video games," said its managing editor Mark Burnham.

"This video was an example of Game Front providing that service, and did not present an ethical dilemma.

"The strategy described in our video merely allows players to efficiently gather resources freely available in the game; the only way to instantly gain resources in the game is to purchase them through the micro-transactions feature."
How is digital theft completely different than physical theft? I guess video game/music/movie piracy is totally cool too. You're an idiot.
Digital theft is different because all that is lost is your potential sale. If you steal a physical item than the retailer now can't sell that item to anyone. If you steal a digital item then the retailer just can't sell the item to you, if it's something you weren't willing to pay for anyway than no money is lost.

In the case of Dead Space 3, I'd never use the micro-transactions. I'd either play through normally or use the exploit, in both cases EA doesn't get any extra money from me... so it shouldn't matter to them which one I do.
If this were such a big deal, EA would have already issued a patch. Anyway, if I already paid for the content on the disc and this allows me to get that same already paid for content without the publisher putting their hand into my pocket, I see no issue. I guess they shouldn't have implemented this lame, greedy bullshit in their game, to begin with. This isn't pirating software because I already bought the content and I'm not reselling these ill-gotten digital goods, anyway. Oh yeah, and Fuck EA
EA has been moving towards this all along. With DS 1 and 2, there always were more DLC, which in my view was the old gameshark stuff. Except of course, that now it was real money going back to EA for larger health packs, better weapons. etc.

With DS 3, they've simply taken it to the next level. I'll gladly play the game without any update, and use this glitch to avoid paying EA any extra money.
Man, F EA. EA's one of the worst offenders of microtransactions & the anti-preowned movement, and now exploiting glitches is as immoral as baby eating?
make a better game EA or do more QA testing and STFUDLRLRABStart
Are you getting the items you have to pay for or are you getting more materials to craft with? One I understand, the other is BS.
Cheats are now theft? Ha. Screw these companies. Let people "cheat" from them and let them all go under for all I care. I have a backlog leading back to the PS1. I can last years without new games.
I'm usually not against microtransactions, but a full-priced game like Dead Space 3 really doesn't need them. Very lame that they're included in the game...
@SolidSnake86
Yeah, I got a HUGE backlog. I decided I won't entertain a new console until I finish most of the games.

EA is taking it too far. Microtransactions make sense for the free games. DS3 is a $60 game AND they have additional paid DLC. This is greed plain and simple. If people don't fight this crap, then we will have to pay for levels/stages.
@PenguinMaster
Thanks for saving me the effort of having to explain the difference to such idiots. It takes just a little thought to see the clear difference.
so by that logic you will have no problem if I digitally move some numbers from your bank account to mine.
Hahahah, what kind of justification is "Oh, it's not a physical good, so it's okay to take without paying?" What kind of justification is "Oh, I wasn't gonna pay for it anyways, so it's fine if I just take it without paying." You're still stealing, regardless of whether the product is physical or not.

Who raised you pieces of shit?
I guess with a name like "I worship the accumulation of money 662" no surprise you're just parroting garbage. I guess you infer things that are not there often, just like now. Key word here kids is DIFFERENT. So, it's different, yet we apply the same (or in some cases harsher) conventions. Wow, tough concept to grasp there momoney!
People will accept anything, as long as it's a 'big' entity, be it company or government, etc making the 'rules'. Thanks to years of conditioning, few question anything anymore.

If EA said that gamers would have to get ass-raped by the head developer in order to play the last level of Dead Space 3, I'm sure we'd still hear some of these fools obliging them.

Micro-transactions are perfectly fine in some cases. This is not one of them, and I question the mental competence of anyone who believes otherwise.
Why is this not one of them? Because it's completely optional and unnecessary to enjoy the game?
I fail to see the logic here, if I don't intend to pay for something, it's okay to take it for free as long as it doesn't take away the opportunity for someone else to get it? Taking something without paying is theft, physical or digital. The justifications people find to make themselves feel better are interesting.
@gravel
Here is the KEY point you miss. One is theft of a physical good. One is theft of profit or potential profit. Like I said slippery slope. Not one and the same. Therefore they warrant different penalties. It should be conceived differently. You see this on the world stage with various WTO rulings in favor of businesses over nations which argue "loss of potential profit." This is a business-driven definition and most people just lap it up like obedient dogs. Even the concept of IP is contested. But, that is a topic that is well beyond the understanding of those who can't even understand the difference between physical and digital objects.
Micro-transactions like this also show a lack of confidence in the quality of the game.
Every game should have the option to skip levels and unlock everything from the beginning. If the entire game is high quality then I won't have a desire to skip anything. If the game has tedious stuff then I'll want to skip it.
A game's primary purpose is to be fun. If I find some part of the game isn't fun I shouldn't have to trudge through it to get to fun parts later.
Having micro-transactions pretty much says "we know parts of the game are so tedious that people will be willing to pay to skip them."

Additionally exploits like this will never be illegal so to anyone calling it theft: the law is not on your side.

@4nik8tor: When you pirate something you make a copy, you don't take anything away. If you can figure out how to make a copy of the numbers in my bank account without removing any of them feel free. As long as I don't lose anything it doesn't bother me.