Games (was: Pre-payware / ransomware)

Carsten Agger agger at
Fri Nov 9 15:53:32 UTC 2007

Hash: SHA1

Alex Hudson wrote:
> Nobody bought Quake from id software on the expectation that they would
> GPL the game, but offering to free the game as part of the value
> proposition changes the equation. And that's why I don't really think it
> will work. 
> The other problem is, when do you release? Do you:
>      1. release immediately as proprietary software, release as GPL once
>         the target is reached;
>      2. release as GPL once the target is reached.
> If you do 1., you're likely to never reach the target because the closer
> you get the more people will decide to hold off until the GPL release is
> made ...

I don't think game production at a scale and with the budgets of modern
commercial games will ever be possible in a comprehensive GPL framework.

I rather think (along the lines of what Stallman said of the matter,
years back), that we should consider a game as consisting of two things:
Software, the engine that drives the gaming, and art - the artwork,
music, world design, animation, gameplay and plot of the game.

The *software* should (or must, as Stallman would say) be free as in the
four freedoms, but the art doesn't need to.

As a matter of fact, I think the commercial gaming industry would
benefit tremendously from a number of free game engines. But the game as
a whole would still be sold as a package you are  allowed to run the
game and modify, change and distribute the software - but not necesarily
the artwork (the game's content) with it.

As far as I can see, it makes perfect sense. You still have to pay for
the game and have to pay a license to redistribute it, but the payment
for the redistribution license is for the game's *content*, not the
software, which is free software.

This should be satisfactory frm a software freedom perspective and could
coexist with the modern gaming industry - as well as with Creative
Commons-licensed, Shareware and GPL versions of licensing of game
contents as well.

best regards

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