The auto-track back system our IT guys developed certainly got a work out over the weekend with the copy protection news item.
We received email from StarForce today apologizing for the incident. We appreciated them taking down the link. It also gave us the opportunity to request the various meta-torrent sites to remove links to illegal torrents.
In every case, the torrent list site in question responded quickly to our request. One might make the argument that a simple polite email to a meta-torrent search site is as effective as copy protection.
There is probably some irony that this whole thing occurred just before last week's EBGames.com top selling games list got posted on their site. They list Galactic Civilizations II as the top telling PC title and the #2 overall (all platforms). And that was before this incident.
I don't want us to come out like we're on some sort of anti-copy protection crusade. We just don't think CD copy protection is an effective means to increase sales.
Here's the basic question that every publisher/gamer/developer could ask: By requiring the CD to be in the drive to play a game, even assuming that protection unbreakable, do you increase your sales?
I ask that because many gamers who are on the fence on a given title won't purchase a game if it requires them to treat their CD like a dongle key. Why? Because let's face it, we lose our CDs eventually. Or we damage them. And so what happens is that people who are on the fence on a given title simply choose not to buy the game.
By not having any CD copy protection, people who are on the fence about our game can see that it's only $40 and once it's installed on their machines (plural) they don't have to fuss with the CD anymore. And we do have a type of copy protection -- free updates for customers. Tomorrow we'll be posting the v1.1 feature list based on your suggestions.
So which method gains the most sales? There's no definitive answer for that. I think a given game's demographics have a lot to do with piracy rates in the first place.
Meanwhile, Gamespot followed-up the issue. I spoke to them briefly today on the issue. You can see that in the link below.
I think the most effective way of increasing sales is probably to make games people want to buy. But I'm an engineer, not a marketer so what do I know?