Digg is reporting that a website is implying that we want Galactic Civilizations II to be pirated. Absolutely not! Of course we DO NOT want our game to be pirated. We're a small company, every lost sale hurts us.
This got started because sales reports on Galactic Civilizations II have been much higher than anticipated. We've now outsold the first Galactic Civilizations in North America in the first 10 days. Last week we were apparently the #1 PC game at Walmart.
Naturally, some peple have taken the conclusion that because we don't have copy protection on our game, that we invite piracy. That is not the case, we simply think there are other ways to stop piracy than CD checks, strict DRM, etc.
What we do is provide a serial # that users can choose to enter when they install and use that unique serial # to download free and frequent updates.
Our license allows you to install the game onto as many machines that you own that you want as long as only one copy is being used at once.
How many sales are lost because people want to have a game on their laptop and desktop and don't want to drag CDs around so choose not to buy the game?
Our company also makes utility software. We've been around a long time -- 14 years now. Our software gets pirated. We don't like it but piracy is a fact of life. And not every pirated copy means a lost sale.
The question isn't about eliminating piracy, it's about increasing sales. It's about trying to make sure that people who would buy your product buy it instead of steal it.
Our primary weapon to fight piracy is through rewarding customers through convenient, frequent, free updates.
If you make it easy for users to buy and make full use of your product or service legitimately then we believe that you'll gain more users from that convenience than you'll lose from piracy.
We realize that some people or companies might feel threatened at any evidence that implies that draconian DRM schemes or CD copy protection may not make that big of a difference in sales.
For example, we were quite disturbed to discover that the company that makes Starforce provided a working URL to a list of pirated GalCiv II torrents. I'm not sure whether what they did was illegal or not, but it's troubling nevertheless and was totally unnecessary.
All software is pirated, there's no way around it. We've been making software for over 10 years. We don't like our software being pirated. Like I said, every lost sales has an impact on us. But there are other ways to reduce it than through draconian copy protection systems.
Incidentally, the site that Starforce's forum admin linked to "prove" how much our software was being pirated we visited, followed the instructions on the site to get our game removed and the links were removed within a couple of hours. We'll continue to follow-up with them.
Update: Starforce has removed the URL to the illegal files.
Update: View follow-up.