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The Internet Entertainment Games

How Piracy Affected the Launch of Demigod 613

Posted by Soulskill
from the might-need-more-than-three-bullets-this-time dept.
Demigod is an RTS/RPG hybrid developed by Gas Powered Games and published by Stardock, a company notable for their progressive and lenient stance on DRM. The game was set to be released on April 14th, and shipped without any form of copy protection. Unfortunately, retailer Gamestop broke the street date and released it earlier in the week. A day after pointing this out, Gas Powered Games posted some numbers about the players hitting their servers. Roughly 18,000 connections were made from legitimately purchased copies; over 100,000 were made from pirated copies. Meanwhile, the servers, which were not yet ready for that level of traffic, buckled under the strain, resulting in poor experiences for people trying to participate in multiplayer. While some reviews were positive, others criticized the game for the connectivity issues. After another day, they were able to stabilize the servers to the point they'd planned on for the original launch.
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How Piracy Affected the Launch of Demigod

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  • by Norsefire (1494323) * on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:17AM (#27624779) Journal
    There goes the argument that games are only pirated because companies insist on draconian DRM.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by the_one(2) (1117139)

      Yes but maybe the argument that people who do it mainly do it because they want to try before they buy still hold.

      PS. I'm not saying that I believe it. It will be interesting to see the stats in a month or so.

      • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:37AM (#27624877)

        Yes but maybe the argument that people who do it mainly do it because they want to try before they buy still hold.

        PS. I'm not saying that I believe it. It will be interesting to see the stats in a month or so.

        Use occam's razor and go with the simplest explanation: People pirate because they want free shit and it's easier in some cases than going to the store.

        If you've ever seen the breakdown of law & order (Iraq right after invasion, New Orleans after Hurrican Katrina, LA after the riots, false Craiglist ads [racetalkblog.com]), you should know a lot of people are freeloading scavengers as soon as they don't think their actions have any consequences.

        Do you think the internet, especially, which promotes the feeling of such an environment is immune from that? I don't think the explanation is complex at all.

        • by malkavian (9512) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:50AM (#27625559) Homepage
          In this case, occam's razor says they wanted the game, but could not buy it... These stats were produced before the legitimate release date in all shops, so the purchase vs copied ratio is going to be very seriously skewed. Be interesting to see what they are a month or so post official release...
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DittoBox (978894)

            Then wait a week and buy it like everyone else. I can sort of maybe understand "sticking it to the man" when it comes to DRM but infringing copyright just because they didn't release it when you wanted is a bullshit cop-out.

            I buy all my music (I like mostly indie, non-big-label stuff), movies, games and other forms of entertainment. I also voted with my dollar for a very long time and never bought music online music when it was DRM'd, nor did I download it. I avoided CDs on RIAA labels. I told them with my

        • by anothy (83176) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @09:54AM (#27626211) Homepage

          Use occam's razor and...

          ...try not to cut yourself. occam's razor is a prohibition against needlessly multiplying entities. your version of explanation does nothing to remove any entities from the parent's explanation. instead, you simply substitute one set of motivations for another.

          i actually agree with your argument. but it's more compelling because the motivation is more base, not because the explanation is less complex.

          i wish people would stop abusing poor old occam. his razor's getting dull from misuse. i blame Contact.

      • by Computershack (1143409) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:10AM (#27625005)

        Yes but maybe the argument that people who do it mainly do it because they want to try before they buy still hold.

        Bullshit. If they've got a copy which seemingly works 100%, most of them won't bother buying it because whats the point? In a month or so, the stats will be even worse. Guaranteed. So already IN ONE SINGLE WEEK, Gas Powered Games and Stardock have lost 80% of the potential revenue of the game and had its reputation tarnished by the freeloaders because of the server load issue.

        • by VinylPusher (856712) <vinylpusher@gmai ... minus physicist> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:20AM (#27625073) Homepage

          Yes but maybe the argument that people who do it mainly do it because they want to try before they buy still hold.

          Bullshit. If they've got a copy which seemingly works 100%, most of them won't bother buying it because whats the point? In a month or so, the stats will be even worse. Guaranteed. So already IN ONE SINGLE WEEK, Gas Powered Games and Stardock have lost 80% of the potential revenue of the game and had its reputation tarnished by the freeloaders because of the server load issue.

          You assume those 80% of people would have purchased the game, had it been impossible for them to obtain a pirate copy.

          I find this a difficult concept to accept. There are a whole bunch of digital media on my laptop and desktop that I would never have purchased, had free copies not been available.

          I buy things that are good. If I pay e.g. £24.99 for something, it's because I want to reward people with their hard work. I guess a lot of non-pirates pay for many things which they later feel were not worth the money? I'm not happy to accept this.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by bluesatin (1350681)

          So already IN ONE SINGLE WEEK, Gas Powered Games and Stardock have lost 80% of the potential revenue of the game and had its reputation tarnished by the freeloaders because of the server load issue.

          Who said the people that have downloaded the game would have bought it?

          I know at least one person that said specifically to me "I'd wish they'd bring out a demo for that, I really like DotA on Warcraft 3", but he didn't want to download it.

          I cannot fault you on your statement about their reputation being tarnished, and was very confused that they would let pirated people play online using their servers. Usually pirated copies of a game don't cost the company anything, while due to them letting them on the s

          • Doesn't matter if they wouldn't have bought it. It costs them money to have a player, in server costs and tech support costs. They'd much rather have no piracy and much less sales I'm sure - it'd just work out better financially.

        • by Guspaz (556486) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:32AM (#27625135)

          You, and everybody else, seems to be missing the point. The game wasn't OUT at the time. GameStop leaked it, pre-orders got activated, and the rest of the game buying public still couldn't buy it.

          When a game is only really available to pirates, of COURSE there will be more pirates than paying customers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Ihmhi (1206036)

          Stardock is known for being very open about the piracy issue - even lackadaisical. What I'm wondering is why they even bother distributing games anymore.

          No, this isn't a "They should just give up" post. We all know that the physical media isn't all that important considering that it can be ripped and uploaded.

          So why bother with distribution at all? Put your game up for free. Let people download it. And sell the serials. Boxed copies come with some sort of physical extra to make it worth it along with the CD

      • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:16AM (#27625049) Homepage
        The whole try before you buy thing is a load of shit. You won't buy a game you've completed for free and quite often it's teenagers using this excuse. Do they expect me to believe they can actually afford the ass load of music, movies and games they steal without a decent paying job if they even have a job?

        I do know some people that have downloaded things and then bought them. It does happen but there is a huge amount of people that are just tight wads or think they deserve more entertainment than they can afford.

        If we want to save the internet from DRM we have to find a way to get rid of this dead weight so they don't ruin it for the rest of us.
        • by Draek (916851) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:07AM (#27625333)

          I agree with your second and third paragraph, which is why I believe your first paragraph is just a steaming pile of trolling crap. Yes, there's plenty of idiots that download anything that tickles their fancy and even many that don't (but hey, it had lots of seeders so it'd be fast anyways) and they should be taught the idiocy of their ways, mostly because they're driving the costs of broadband up for the rest of us, but the fact remains that both the prices of games have stayed way up, and the availability of demos has continued its trend down.

          Case in point, the game featured in TFA, looked cool, searched for the demo, nothing. Do you seriously expect me to shell $39.99 for something that I'm not sure I'll like? 'cause that money would pay for an awful lot of indie and even big-name games that do have demos available.

          Don't be so quick in blaming the BitTorrent-addicted idiots for this one at least. Plenty of reasons to go to TPB with this one, even if I won't. And yes, I'm one of those that download from TPB and, if I like it, buy retail and *then* buy on Steam again if its cheap enough (or the game was just *that* good), replaying it each time, and if I don't like it, trash can it is.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

          If we want to save the internet from DRM we have to find a way to get rid of this dead weight so they don't ruin it for the rest of us.

          Or, to put it more realistically and less pejoratively, companies need to come up with business models that don't rely on scarcity of non-scarce commodities.

    • by Urkki (668283) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:22AM (#27624803)

      Now now, let's not jump to conclusions. I'm sure all of those 100000 pirates just want to test the game before buying. All of them will either stop playing, or they'll buy a legal copy.

      What, you think they won't? Ooh, but that would be... stealing? They'd never!

      • by someone1234 (830754) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:28AM (#27624829)

        Eventually, they will stop playing. Just wait!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Carrot007 (37198)

      That was never the argument.

      it was more, piracy will happen. Don't increase the no of dodgy copies by pissing off your legitimate customers with a substandard version pushing them onto piracy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by onion2k (203094)

      I don't think anyone has really argued that. The main argument "in favour" is that piracy doesn't affect sales - most of those who download the game wouldn't have bought it in the first place. This example is interesting for me in two ways:

      Firstly, and somewhat negatively, it demonstrates that people pirating your game can increase the cost of running the servers for it considerably. That is a strong argument in favour of anti-piracy techniques such as DRM (assuming the DRM costs less than the cost of addit

      • For server based games, you can simply deny access for pirated copies.
        If your server is capable of handling the free copies, you could even let them have limited access with nag screens, messages etc. to buy the legal version.
        Just stomp down any pirate server versions of your game.

        • For server based games, you can simply deny access for pirated copies.

          Yes, this is clearly the right thing to do. Frankly, it's amazing that they didn't do it, and furthermore, that their servers collapsed under the load.

          It sounds to me like shoddy preparation for the launch. Blaming the pirates is just a convenient way to ignore that.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sonicmerlin (1505111)
        Did you even bother to read the summary? Their servers couldn't even handle all the people who connected. The ones who legitimately purchased the game ended up with a sub-standard, laggy experience. And Stardock's game suffered rating drops in the various gaming magazines and websites because of that. Obviously that affected their bottom line.
      • by brit74 (831798) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:14AM (#27625039)
        I don't think anyone has really argued that.
        Yes they have.

        The main argument "in favour" is that piracy doesn't affect sales - most of those who download the game wouldn't have bought it in the first place.
        That's not an argument "in favor" of piracy. Example: A company has zero piracy and 100,000 sales. Along comes piracy. Now, they have 1,000,000 pirates and 10,000 sales. In the second case, you can truthfully make the statement that "most of those who download the game wouldn't have bought it in the first place". In this imaginary example, 900,000 people wouldn't have bought it. But, another 90,000 people pirated it INSTEAD of buying it, causing sales to plumet 90%. Nobody's going to seriously accept the "most of those who download the game wouldn't have bought it" argument because even if it's true, it doesn't address what companies are REALLY concerned about: losing sales due to piracy. All "most of those who download the game wouldn't have bought it" really tells you is that each pirated copy wasn't a lost sale, rather, each pirated copy represents part of a sale - but that can still add-up to huge losses.

        A community of 18,000 would amount to empty servers a lot of the time especially if the game is available globally.
        Yeah, because 18,000 players means you'd never find anyone to play against. Anyway, the "enough players to play against" is the kind of argument a pirate might think is great (because it legitimizes their piracy), but no smart company is seriously going to accept that answer.

        Only a very detailed statistical analysis of the numbers could tell you if it was a good or a bad thing, and even then people would still argue with the result.
        In general, the people creating the media thinks it doesn't help. People who pirate like to pretend it does help.

        I can make a pretty good guess at who's more biased between those two groups. The companies want to maximize their profit. This means if piracy helps them, they will want piracy. If piracy doesn't help them, they won't like piracy. So, companies benefit by following the facts wherever they lead. They have an interest in finding out the truth - whatever it is. And most companies agree: piracy harms them.

        Pirates, on the other hand, benefit from piracy regardless of whether piracy hurts or harms companies. This puts them in a position where they should always claim (or convince themselves) that piracy helps companies - which makes them biased towards one single conclusion.

        In the end, I don't buy that there are two sides to piracy claim.
        • by damienl451 (841528) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:55AM (#27625267)
          Only a very detailed statistical analysis of the numbers could tell you if it was a good or a bad thing, and even then people would still argue with the result.

          We should beware of physics envy. Do we really need pseudo-complex econometric studies that probably fail to control for many variables (most of which might not even be clearly identifiable in the first place)? I'm always amazed when people argue that a statistical analysis or econometric study is what we need, when all it takes is 5 minutes of rational thought.

          • The demand curve for video games is downwards sloping
          • Pirated video games are perfect substitutes for legit copies. The only exception would be games that derive most of their value from the multiplayer experience (e.g. UT, Quake III, etc.) AND have implemented an effective way to prevent pirated copies from accessing the multiplayer part of the game.
          • If the cost of pirated video games (including the opportunity cost of the time spent finding ways to bypass DRM, etc.) is lower than cost of legit copies, it is rational NOT to buy a legit copy.
          • The total cost of pirating video games is close to 0, since cracks are easy to find

          Maybe not everyone will always act rationally. Maybe *some* people will say "I've been playing for 1-hour, I should buy a legit copy". But most people will behave rationally and not buy what they can get for free. The precise percentage of people who will still buy video games is unknown, but it is lower than if piracy did not exist (the availability of free perfect substitutes causes the demand curve to shift to the left).

          I think the pro-piracy movement should learn more about economics. They seem to assume that people either would be willing to buy a game or would not. In the real world, people make decisions at the margin. Maybe you're not willing to pay $50 to play the game now but, in two years' time, when it costs $10, you'd be willing to buy it. Is it a lost sale or not? Perhaps not at current prices (thus, "I'd never have bought it anyway"), but a lost sale indeed at a lower price.

    • (Btw: Piracy has nothing to do with it. Copying stuff has.)

      I think if you do not hurt anyone, there's nothing bad in people copying stuff they would not buy anyway. Because that is the very point of all this.
      The only problem was, that the company created an open server that they had to pay for, and did not ask the players for any money. I would have made them have unique accounts. Accounts that do not require anything other than the code in the game box, an e-mail-address and a password. People could not gi

  • Anybody still doubting, that piracy is a real threat to content-producers?

    • by broken_chaos (1188549) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:27AM (#27624825)

      100K pirated because it was not legitimately available at the time to most people. You can't draw any other conclusions from this.

      This is GameStop's fault for breaking the street date by such a large margin, and it's invalid as a measure of the effect of piracy.

      • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:41AM (#27624899)

        Why, oh why is it that everyone is so gullible around here and just assumes that the data, as presented, has any relationship whatsoever to reality? Can any one of you verify this claim of hundreds of thousands of "pirates"?! Isn't the man telling you this a rather biased source, who has, based on his Stardock forums posts long since regretted not putting DRM in his stuff and has been increasingly draconian about the updates, activations, use of Impulse update software and what not? How is it that no one bothers to ask these questions before simply taking these dire proclamations at face value?

        Do you guys start pulling your hair out and beating your chests in penitence every time some Sony or Warner announces that they "lost" 20 times the GDP of France to "piracy" last week?! Do you?

        • by Delkster (820935) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:36AM (#27625161)

          Well, if these guys really used to have a more lenient stance on DRM and have only moved towards stricter attitudes over time, you'd think there might be a reason for that.

          The main reason why people wouldn't trust Sony or Warner making such a claim is that they tend to believe the motivation these companies have for pushing DRM isn't the piracy figures alone; they're also used as an excuse for schemes that give the big corps more control over the market and ways to milk the same product for more cash. The motivation was always there regardless of the piracy figures, and thus there's also more incentive to make the figures support those other motives.

          If Stardock indeed used to have a lenient stance at least in the past, clearly they didn't have these motivations. If their opinion has changed, they've either picked up these ulterior motives over time (which, I suppose, is also a possibility), or they've actually come to believe that it's necessary due to the piracy figures. If they believe in that themselves and also state it as the reason in public, they would seem to have less incentive to forge the figures than the big corps who also have completely different reasons for wanting to yell "omg pirates!111".

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Well, if these guys really used to have a more lenient stance on DRM and have only moved towards stricter attitudes over time, you'd think there might be a reason for that. ... If Stardock indeed used to have a lenient stance at least in the past, clearly they didn't have these motivations. If their opinion has changed, they've either picked up these ulterior motives over time (which, I suppose, is also a possibility), or they've actually come to believe that it's necessary due to the piracy figures.

            Actual

      • No, it indicates a piracy rate of around 80-90% which is in line with what other game developers report, regardless of ship dates.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Joce640k (829181)

        How many "pirates" were foreigners who have no way to buy the game legally even if they wanted to?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Fumus (1258966)
          You can buy the game online via StarDock's Impulse system. Works just like Steam and accepts the same payment forms from what I know.
    • Non sequitur.

      It may be true, but please provide a more meaningful argument.

    • While I'm not saying that piracy doesn't hurt content-producers, or that all the people that pirated wouldn't have bought it, a lot of people pirate games to play them risk-free, games they wouldn't have bought otherwise. Those numbers don't really tell us what the lost sales are, because many pirates were never going to purchase the game to begin with.

      A worthless anecdote that says NOTHING, though: I randomly downloaded Neverwinter Nights when it came out because I was bored and wanted to play an RPG. I

    • Yes.

      In more words: it's funny how more people on slashdot seem to be suddenly anti-piracy after the pirate bay verdict. I can't help wondering if these people would be against eating, if the media told them it was bad.

  • by Carrot007 (37198) <Carrot007.thewibblereport@co@uk> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:23AM (#27624807) Homepage

    And they could not have the server respond with a message built into the game.

    This would not be DRM. Just sense.

    1. Game asks server for connection.

    2. Server responds. game not released, kindly piss off. (and this could not be interfered with since they server knows the time and then closes connection with failure message)

    3. Customer goes back to doing something else for a week and returns when server is working and it mildly mad at retailer for selling game early.

    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:05AM (#27624985) Homepage

      Even though gamestop were the evildoers here, some 18.000 customers DID buy a legal version of the game.
      Most likely most of them didn't know it was sold before the official release date.
      Would you, as the company selling this game, want to deny your customers access to the server because somebody else broke the rules?

      • Even though gamestop were the evildoers here

        And what, pray tell, is so evil about supplying a product you have when customers want it? This game release date thing is no better than DVD regional release dates, which everyone rightly hates.

    • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:31AM (#27625129)

      Irritating the few legitimate purchasers at that date is guaranteed to irritate those legitimate customers, who have personally done nothing wrong.

      An announcement that "GameStop released early, my god a lot of people jumped on, we're bringing the rest of our servers online ASAP" would be reasonable.

  • Figures! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BikeHelmet (1437881) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:28AM (#27624827) Journal

    This is so typical.

    The same thing happened to the game Titan Quest. I've never seen a game so stable and masterfully crafted before. The devs listened to the community and actually added features and tweaks to the game just for them.

    Yet all the reviews I saw were negative. "Yet another Diablo II rehash", "plagued with crash problems - can't even get past the cave in the starting area". Well, it's a rehash in the way WoW is a rehash of EQ or UO, I suppose.

    Unfortunately for them, the guy cracking their DRM failed and didn't care, so every torrented copy crashed 5 mins in. Also, he released it 1 month before TQ went on sale, giving time for thousands of people to download it (millions if it hadn't crashed 5 mins in :P )

    Ever since I bought three games that wouldn't run because of DRM, I've been a bigger supporter of Piracy - but seeing my favourite companies go down because of it makes me less happy. :/

    • by Zironic (1112127)

      I think it only shows that the person designing TQ's DRM didn't think it through, all the people downloading TQ assumed it was the developers fault that it was so buggy and spread really bad PR leading to poor sales.

      • Re:Figures! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:40AM (#27625181)

        Possible. But if the cracker released the game a full month before the official launch, there could have been other reasons for the problems. For instance, he somehow got his paws on a beta that was not fully debugged.
        And then there are games where the bugs are the fault of the developers, or even the fault of uncracked DRM. My copy of X2 (original without any cracks) went from stable to reproducably crashing when I installed the patch to version 1.4. In the same patch, the copy protection was upgraded to a new, more aggressive version of StarForce. Coincidence?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      Unfortunately for them, the guy cracking their DRM failed and didn't care, so every torrented copy crashed 5 mins in. Also, he released it 1 month before TQ went on sale, giving time for thousands of people to download it (millions if it hadn't crashed 5 mins in :P )

      Ever since I bought three games that wouldn't run because of DRM, I've been a bigger supporter of Piracy - but seeing my favourite companies go down because of it makes me less happy. :/

      Isn't what happened with Titan Quest precisely DRM working as designed? The bootleg copies didn't work right, thus making the game unplayable for pirates. Seems like the publisher got bit in the ass by unintended consequences of DRM doing exactly what it was designed to do.

  • by corsec67 (627446) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:29AM (#27624833) Homepage Journal

    If one person who could crack the game had gotten it a week early, would DRM have helped prevent this?

    One store sells early, and then there are a bunch of downloads.

    One person breaks the DRM, and then there are a bunch of downloads.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:31AM (#27624837) Homepage Journal
    In this case does having a copy of the game entitle you to use the servers? Maybe they should charge for the service and use the revenue to expand their server farm.
    • by rhizome (115711)

      Maybe they should charge for the service and use the revenue to expand their server farm.

      This is what I was thinking too. Treat the whole operation as a razors-blades model, charging and giving away the game in order to make money off of game hosting.

  • +1 Star Trek! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:32AM (#27624847) Journal

    Forget ... the William Shatner jokes.

    Star Trek nailed it right on the money here.

    "Oh, we don't work directly for material things. The Replicators can make almost anything. So we live for other values".

    So, we have a Replicator for Books/Music/Movies/Games/Software.

    Give it 20 more years for the 3-D form printers.

    IANAE (I am not an economist) but Trek portrayed a kind of Location Meritocracy. You worked to get good, and earned the right to be on the group that could make you better. (Enterprise). All the niceities became De Minimis Fringes.

    Dr. Who aside, *physical premises* are not replicatable, so that became the new equation.

    • by maroberts (15852)
      Yes, but then along came the Ferengi and crrupted everyone's morals...
    • Re:+1 Star Trek! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by brit74 (831798) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:31AM (#27625133)
      Star Trek nailed it right on the money here.

      "Oh, we don't work directly for material things. The Replicators can make almost anything. So we live for other values".

      So, we have a Replicator for Books/Music/Movies/Games/Software.

      The problem with that is the fact that you still have to design things. Design can be a major investment. The basic business model for (say) software is invest X dollars and sell Z copies for Y dollars in profit (each). Essentially, you'd splitting up your development costs into Z parts and having each customer pay for a single chunk. You'd better have X smaller than Y*Z, otherwise you just lost money. Of course, if everyone treats software like it's freely replicatable, the whole things falls apart because no one contributes to the development cost, the software won't get written (because it's too easy for people to rip-you off), and society is worse-off for the it's selfishness on an individual level.
  • Were probably caused by the game type - basically DotA with a new graphics engine. Multiplayer/skirmish only, no story, no campaign, hell, the game didn't have a tutorial!

    Having skirmish multiplayer as the only play type makes people less willing to throw down $50. Sure, if you like that game type it's awesome, but if you don't you're out you $50 and you have another game for the shelf.
  • Early releases (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Andtalath (1074376) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:40AM (#27624893)

    Actually, it's not that weird that people want to try a game at the earliest possible moment.
    The problem here was that the game was leaked.

    A leaked copy will naturally spread, people are interested in new games they can't get their hands on.

    The sad part is that some will se this as proof that DRM is necessary, nevermind the fact that this would've happened even if they had DRM.

  • Patriotism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sonicmerlin (1505111)
    This situation reminds me of the 9/11 blood donation issue. For a few months after the attack, people were extremely willing to donate blood, more than the Red Cross even needed. But after the initial passionate feelings faded away, the Red Cross found itself having severe shortage issues once again. People claim that they only pirate because of DRM, and when a company like Stardock makes a big PR splash by releasing a DRM-free game they encounter a great deal of initial success. But once the feverish a
  • by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:10AM (#27625009)
    From arstechnica: Correction: Stardock contacted us to say that the 18,000 number referred to concurrent users, not sales. We have corrected the sentence accordingly. Brad Wardell also released some new information that clarifies the issue. On Day 0 there were around 140,000 concurrent users, with 18,000 validated users. The pirates couldn't update their game or play online, but they could still "touch the servers." "So over the first 24 hours, we had to essentially scrap together a doppleganger of the infrastructure dedicated to Demigod's multiplayer network needs, release an update to legitimate users to point them to it..." he wrote. "Now today, day 3, it's pretty much taken care of. Users are connecting in multiplayer, the servers are pretty responsive and we're adding more in preparation for the weekend."
  • Pirate Mr. T says: Stop usin' the word "piracy" fo' somethin' that is not piracy [imageshack.us], ya foolish landlubbers!

  • Piracy? Bonus! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:57AM (#27625275)

    I read this from a developer's perspective and I see something different than most of you: Piracy helped them!

    (I can hear the collective 'What!?', so you can save those replies.)

    They were only prepared for dismal sales. They said the server initially ran 'less well' with 10s of thousands of people online at once. They sold 18,000 copies. All of those people will want to be online at once at the start, so they weren't even really prepared for the real sales they got.

    Then they got 5x that amount because of the piracy. This let them see exactly where the system needed to be improved to handle the load.

    They managed this improvement -in a single day-.

    In my world, anything that can help me make that kind of improvement is a massive help.

    And lastly, I'm a -very- avid gamer and I had never heard of this game. Now it's on Slashdot's front page. You cannot -buy- that kind of advertising.

    Last note: Anyone that publishes an online game without a serial code is a fscking moron. Most crackers will not write a keygen for an online game specifically because it costs the developers money when they do so. They only write keygens for offline games.

    And 1 more: Note that there are only 6,000 players on the rankings for the tournament. http://pantheon.demigodthegame.com/rankings/tournament/8/page/182 [demigodthegame.com] Are we really supposed to believe that only 6% of the people playing an online strategy game are interested in its first tournament? Or maybe that 100,000 was pulled out of their ass.

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @08:26AM (#27625713)
    Shareware games were how stuff like Wolfenstein/Doom and others pretty much built the PC game industry as we know it in the 90s. So I ask whatever happened to shareware? You'd download what was pretty much the full game without significant limitations (for example the shareware version would have only the first episode of several) and you paid a comparatively small fee to get the full version. If you didn't like the shareware game you were neither likely to pirate the full version nor end up with a regrettable purchasing decision. It was a great business model and it grew the market.

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