Why can't I use my Windows serial key with the Mac version?

I understand from the FAQ that the Windows serial key is not valid with the Mac version of DEFCON. However, I'd like to understand the simple why? Why should I have to buy two copies of the same game in order to play it on both my Windows PC and Mac (assuming I'm not using both simultaneously)? It feels unfair - especially given that:

a.) the Windows serial key can be used with the Linux version,
b.) the PC and Mac versions are intercompatible for network play,
c.) the game uses online authentication to check that a serial key isn't in use on more than one machine at a time (and therefore there's no reason you couldn't ensure that a Windows key isn't being used on two machines at once).

I don't understand it. Like I said above, it feels like an unfair and artificial restriction to make me buy two copies of the game.

As far as I'm aware, it's because Ambrosia did the work porting Defcon to the Mac, while Introversion developed the PC and Linux versions in-house. Therefore, Ambrosia should be paid for its efforts - not Introversion.

It's not limiting you for the sake of making you buy another license, it's limiting you because another company worked on it.

Ambrosia published the Mac version and provided the registration tool. That's pretty much it.

The porting, as far as I know, was done by John Knottenbelt, Miah Clayton and Steven Noonan.

@prophile, on Aug 4 2007, 02:15 PM, said in Why can't I use my Windows serial key with the Mac version?:

Ambrosia published the Mac version and provided the registration tool. That's pretty much it.

This is the key part of my beef; whilst I don't doubt some work was required in converting the game, the vast majority of the work will have already been done by Introversion in their original development. Certainly the work done by whoever Ambrosia hired can't have been greater than the work by Introversion, and yet the Windows version costs Ł10, whilst the Mac version is $25 (approximately Ł12.27 at current rates).

In any case, as a consumer, I don't really care about the intricacies of who did what work when; I see that two platforms are supported by a single purchase, but a third platform requires a separate purchase, and I conclude that this is unfair. I'd prefer an official response though; anything the rest of us can provide is going to mostly be speculation.

The work of porting adds a little cost, and then the work of publishing (which is what Ambrosia is directly responsible for) adds the rest.

That said, while I do support ASW (and purchased the Mac version), I would benefit from being able to use my Key on multiple platforms whenever I don't have access to my Mini. I don't, however, expect the situation to change. 🙂

@prophile, on Aug 4 2007, 09:15 AM, said in Why can't I use my Windows serial key with the Mac version?:

The porting, as far as I know, was done by John Knottenbelt, Miah Clayton and Steven Noonan.

Wait, our boys ported Defcon?

@kapowaz, on Aug 4 2007, 12:17 PM, said in Why can't I use my Windows serial key with the Mac version?:

I'd prefer an official response though; anything the rest of us can provide is going to mostly be speculation.

I'm sure one of the official ASW employees will eventually notice this and respond. Until then, well, you're quite right. 🙂

A while back this question was asked more frequently, and one of the mods here inquired about the official stance Ambrosia has taken. It's basically what Mackilroy said. Ambrosia did significant work on the software (I remember them re-writing pretty big parts and then sending that code back to Introversion in order to get multiplayer working between all OSes) as well as marketing, testing, support, etc., and they feel that they deserve to be compensated for it.

We are sorry for the inconvenience that this has caused, but it took a great deal of effort and resources to port DEFCON to Mac. We had in-house programmers working very hard (With those mentioned above) for rather substantial amount of time to bring the product to the Mac. We at Ambrosia wish we could offer you a code that could work on both Mac and PC, but unfortunately that option is not available as Ambrosia is dealing specifically with the Mac side of DEFCON, and the PC codes are purchased directly through Introversion's site. This has been the business arrangement with all the other products Ambrosia has marketing and published for Introversion. Introversion sold the PC version of Uplink and Darwinia, which codes did not work in the Mac versions of these games, nor did the Mac codes work for the PC version. It is just more inconvenient, and noticeable, with this game as it has inter-compatible network play that bring the worlds together.

Again, we are sorry for any inconvenience that you have encountered.

I'll try to address your questions specifically.

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a.) the Windows serial key can be used with the Linux version,

This was something that Introversion decided, that we have no control over.

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b.) the PC and Mac versions are inter-compatible for network play,

Which is why the Mac Version took so long to be created, there was substantial amount of work put into it by Mike Blaguszewski and others here to get it all worked out. That directly links into the difference in price between them both, which in turn also is a reason why there is a need for distinctive codes between the Mac and PC users.

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c.) the game uses online authentication to check that a serial key isn't in use on more than one machine at a time (and therefore there's no reason you couldn't ensure that a Windows key isn't being used on two machines at once).

I don't understand it. Like I said above, it feels like an unfair and artificial restriction to make me buy two copies of the game.

Officially Ambrosia asks all it's users to purchase the exact number of copies of the products for how many computers it will be installed on. That said, our main focus was getting the game to the Mac market and having it work flawlessly with the PC users. We weren't focusing on the scenarios where in people would be purchasing a Mac copy and a PC version, considering the PC market was the focus of Introversion. So, we assumed that if the person was using two machines (of any operating system) that the user would purchase the equivalent number of copies.

I guess it seems to make sense reading what you've said above. Whilst I don't agree with the pricepoint (i.e. more than the original Windows version cost for a game which clearly can't have required as much development time as Introversion initially spent), I don't think I'll get very far arguing the toss on that one. Perhaps I need to direct my comments at Introversion as much as Ambrosia, as they're likely holding all the cards.

Irrespective of the business realities of how the game was produced, however, it does feel unfair that in order to play the game both ways I have to pay additionally. But then this is only $25 we're talking about so maybe I should just cough it up...

@kapowaz, on Aug 6 2007, 03:00 PM, said in Why can't I use my Windows serial key with the Mac version?:

I guess it seems to make sense reading what you've said above. Whilst I don't agree with the pricepoint (i.e. more than the original Windows version cost for a game which clearly can't have required as much development time as Introversion initially spent), I don't think I'll get very far arguing the toss on that one. Perhaps I need to direct my comments at Introversion as much as Ambrosia, as they're likely holding all the cards.

Irrespective of the business realities of how the game was produced, however, it does feel unfair that in order to play the game both ways I have to pay additionally. But then this is only $25 we're talking about so maybe I should just cough it up...

Indeed. $25 is not all that much compared to a lot of other games out there.

Perhaps it's also best if you think of it this way; You pay a separate price per console.

@kapowaz, on Aug 6 2007, 03:00 PM, said in Why can't I use my Windows serial key with the Mac version?:

Perhaps I need to direct my comments at Introversion as much as Ambrosia, as they're likely holding all the cards.

You'd be surprised how many cards Ambrosia holds.

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