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The Hunter
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Skinning the frog » Demigod: So much for piracy

A mighty interesting read, confirming what's been argued for a long, long time. And also a call out to all the pirates, who should bow their heads in shame. I wish that at least they'd ban those bastards from playing online.

If I wrote a post saying that Demigod sales were far below what we had hoped for and I said that the reason was due to piracy and that the answer was that we should have put some nasty copy protection on those DVDs to have prevented early piracy what do you think people would say?

I know what my answer to that would be. I would say that Stardock couldn’t blame poor sales on piracy but rather the fact that the game’s built-in multiplayer match-making was totally broken for the first day of release due to its underestimation of network resources that a mainstream game would take and even when that got addressed, the multiplayer match-making for two weeks and counting has been incredibly flakey which affected reviews and word of mouth. That’s what I would say.

And yet…

Gamasutra - News - PC NPD Sales Feature Demigod Debut

Demigod debuts at #3 for top selling PC games at retail – bearing in mind that that was a partial week and that the majority of units sold were digital sales which weren’t counted.

But…but…what about those hundreds of thousands of pirates? Yep. Demigod is heavily pirated. And make no mistake, piracy pisses me off. If you’re playing a pirated copy right now, if you’re one of those people on Hamachi or GameRanger playing a pirated copy and have been for more than a few days, then you should either buy it or accept that you’re a thief and quit rationalizing it any other way.

The reality that most PC game publishers ignore is that there are people who buy games and people who don’t buy games. The focus of a business is to increase its sales. My job, as CEO of Stardock, is not to fight worldwide piracy no matter how much it aggravates me personally. My job is to maximize the sales of my product and service and I do that by focusing on the people who pay my salary – our customers.


Even Demigod, a game that shipped with no copy protection on the DVD, was massively pirated, and has had, to put it mildly severe launch issues with its multiplayer match-making which has had a negative impact on its Metacritic score has still managed to debut at the top of retail sales charts (not counting our digital sales).

Why is that? At that point I can only speculate but the first reason is pretty straight forward: Demigod is an awesome game. Second, while the multiplayer matchmaking that comes with the game currently sucks, our customers know it will get fixed. Part of that is the demographic of Stardock customers. They’re more experienced, they know that some of the issues with the MP matchmaking aren’t due to rushing the game out or negligence but rather the fact that complicated systems sometimes don’t scale well and there is no substitute for time when it comes to fix them.

I think there are many lessons to be learned from Demigod. For example, if I had to do it over again, I would be inclined to require a valid user account to play LAN even if it only has to be validated one time. That way, we could also make it a lot easier for a legal user to have a LAN party with a single license. Anyone who has played Demigod on Game Ranger probably knows what and why I'm bringing that up. :)

When the focus of energy is put on customers rather than fighting pirates, you end up with more sales. It seems common sense to me but then again, I’m just an engineer. :rolleyes:
 

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Level 9998
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9,384 Posts
But if no one implements DRM then... then... all those researches over the years are for naught? :innocent:

...yeah...

Ninja edit: this won't really prove any point and won't move anything in the industry, but it's an interesting read nontheless.

I tend to think that if we find a perfect way to distribute contents, then pray to god that piracy will be forced in a different direction... or starve to death. So DRM does help a little bit, but only with reducing piracy (or... delaying it as things are right now).
 

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Premium Member
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So I suppose the argument or excuse about draconian DRM leading people to pirate is null and void, complete fud..

Even the price excuse has little validity, even if you released a piece of software for $1 people would still rather pirate it for free than paying the $1.

Even decent releases with little bugs or issues without DRM are still pirated, each time the developers/publishers try to be lenient and cater to the consumers wishes, the pirates shoot themselves in the foot by proving these developers/publishers right each and every time.

It's nice for them to admit the minor faults with the game, and opt not to take the stance that most developers and publishers have taken with their games. Even if the DRM excuse has little to no validity to justify piracy, it still does not make draconian DRM any more welcome on games or other applications.

If something is not good enough to buy, then it likely isn't any good to pirate either. If a demo can not be found for a game, there's usually a wealth of ingame videos and reviews for a particular game to enforce your decision on whether or not to buy a game.

Once part I sorely disagree on is whenever piracy is referred to as thievery or pirates referred to as thieves, piracy always has and will always be regarded as copyright infringement since no physical object is being removed from someones possession. All your doing when pirating or file sharing is exchanging data that is nothing more than ones and zeros.

If you can't afford a game, it still isn't a valid excuse to justify piracy. Do you think I really like having to pay $50+ for a new release of a game I want? I cringe each time I see a release of a game going for $50 especially if it wasn't a good game to begin with. I also cringe whenever I see used/pre-owned games or older games that have been sitting on the shelves, that retail for almost the same price as new releases.

Even though I don't like it or necessarily agree, I still have the decency to pay for what I use. I tend to steer clear of releases that aren't worth my time or money, thus aren't usually worth pirating either. If I buy a game that has draconian DRM, I'll usually find a cr**k. After all I am entitled to do this under fair use laws, regardless of what the big corporations seem to deem or claim.

The retailers are the entity that sets these ridiculous prices, retailers can get copies of new games for next to nothing from the press/factory. If you are fed up with ridiculous pricing schemes, make your voice heard to the retailers. The only instance the developer or publisher has any say in pricing is when it comes to digital distribution, where they tend to price games around the same as retail.
 

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Banned
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I'd rather pirate then pay 99 fricking dollars for every new game tht comes out.

50 dollars is easier to come by.
 

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I'm not that big into Strategy Games, even though I purchased Sins of a Solar Empire New for $20, it's rare for me to buy Strategy games as I tend to suck at them.

Still maybe down the line I'll buy this game, just not at the moment, but I'm not going to pirate it either.
 

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i don't buy them new.....

but when they are still holding 80 fricking dollars after being out for 3 years >.>
 

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Ya'ver drink Brazilian bold from fkn dunkn donuts!
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f you’re one of those people on Hamachi or GameRanger playing a pirated copy and have been for more than a few days, then you should either buy it or accept that you’re a thief and quit rationalizing it any other way.
I liked this bit.

One of my friends is a serial pirate, hasn't paid for a game in years and he thinks he does nothing wrong, and that he is only testing the games. I always find it hilarious.
 

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...and now they do.
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I used to like the idea of downloading stuff, but I realized that most games suck. It's not too hard to afford a $50 or $60 game every couple months.
 

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Every Friday I look at Gamestop's weekend sales and Steam's Weekend Deals...

Sometimes I'm very happy *Orange Box $9.99 / Left for Dead $23.99* Sometimes I already bought the game *Unreal Tournament III Team Fortress 2*...
 

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And also a call out to all the pirates, who should bow their heads in shame. I wish that at least they'd ban those bastards from playing online.
And why don't you go in a ditch and die?
You know mudlord, that crackpot VBA-M developer? He is now in a warez group, cracking ****. Maybe you should yell at him, too.

But…but…what about those hundreds of thousands of pirates? Yep. Demigod is heavily pirated. And make no mistake, piracy pisses me off. If you’re playing a pirated copy right now, if you’re one of those people on Hamachi or GameRanger playing a pirated copy and have been for more than a few days, then you should either buy it or accept that you’re a thief and quit rationalizing it any other way.
And maybe you should STFU. You won't stop piracy, douchebag.
 

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God of Douchebagness™
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watch the language.
 

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No sir, I don't like it.
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5,571 Posts
That's what I do. Not like I have the PC or console hardware to play anything new anyways.
+1

I always buy used or wait for the bargain bin.
 

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God of Douchebagness™
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Look, douchebag, do I care? You already banned me once and failed. Whats going to happen next time? You do know TOR is the solution to all the world's problems?
banned before eh? well unfortunately for you, i always win. have a permanently fantastic time with ban #2.
 

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No People, No Problems
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648 Posts
I think it makes a good point, but nothing we haven't heard before. The industries are only now catching up to digital distribution and offering alternative methods to pirating. I used to pirate alot, heck i still do to some degree, most of the time it's not even for me.

Piracy for me was something that i grew out of as i started working and had a steady income with which i could afford to spend on things that i used to pirate. I would assume that most pirates can't even afford to pay for what they pirate. There are still a lot of holes in the system of digital distribution, i am still looking for a DRM free music store that has the music that i want and doesn't break my bank, and i refuse to use anything that is related to Apple so no iTunes for me. I download movies, but i do watch them in the cinema when they are released and i also buy DVD's that i know i will watch more than once. I will keep downloading tv shows because hulu should be free for all.

So in a nutshell, those that can afford it are damned if they pirate, but those who can't aren't customers anyway so i support the knowlege they gain, however small it will be, from getting content that is out of their financial reach.
 

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The Hunter
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I think it makes a good point, but nothing we haven't heard before. The industries are only now catching up to digital distribution and offering alternative methods to pirating. I used to pirate alot, heck i still do to some degree, most of the time it's not even for me.

Piracy for me was something that i grew out of as i started working and had a steady income with which i could afford to spend on things that i used to pirate. I would assume that most pirates can't even afford to pay for what they pirate. There are still a lot of holes in the system of digital distribution, i am still looking for a DRM free music store that has the music that i want and doesn't break my bank, and i refuse to use anything that is related to Apple so no iTunes for me. I download movies, but i do watch them in the cinema when they are released and i also buy DVD's that i know i will watch more than once. I will keep downloading tv shows because hulu should be free for all.

So in a nutshell, those that can afford it are damned if they pirate, but those who can't aren't customers anyway so i support the knowlege they gain, however small it will be, from getting content that is out of their financial reach.
Amen :)
I've seen poverty, and this is definitely one of those luxury markets where people can only invest money in if they have enough of everything else. It certainly isn't just if someone is able to purchase the latest SLI rigs, brags with it, and can't even be arsed to pay something for even his favorite game, there needs to be a balance there as well, at least, that's the moral me speaking.

I think it's only fair for those who don't purchase it that they are cut on features, especially those that cost the company a constant upkeep, such as keeping track of online servers. A good case of "you get what you pay for." Online gameplay of a great game can certainly persuade a pirate to make an exception.

Maybe it is indeed nothing new, but on the other hand, in this blind world some points can't be stressed too often.
 

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...and now they do.
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20,002 Posts
Piracy for me was something that i grew out of as i started working and had a steady income with which i could afford to spend on things that i used to pirate.
My cure was raising my standards for games. There's barely anything to play now, so I can afford them all! Haha.
 
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