Stardock 2008 Report

By on October 16, 2008 9:08:33 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

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Like most companies, Stardock puts together an internal business plan for setting up goals and objectives for the company for the forthcoming year (Stardock's fiscal year begins its execution phase every October 1).  As part of this business plan is an appendix that acts as a critical analysis of what Stardock customers can expect to see and what challenges the company faces to better satisfy customer expectations. 

For this year, it has been decided to make this appendix available to the public. The Stardock 2008 customer report goes over some of the successes Stardock has experienced but also looks at the failings with a considerable amount of criticism in areas that the company needs to improve on.

The contents include:

  • Impulse digital distribution status report
  • The status on Stardock game projects
  • Stardock's position on "DRM" and copy protection explained
  • An update on the Gamer's Bill of Rights
  • The status of Object Desktop
  • A look at the dock technology now used by Dell and others.
  • The results of the 2008 customer survey report (VERY interesting results)

If you're interested in the inner workings of a consumer PC software company, you may find this document to be very interesting.

URL: http://www.stardock.com/media/stardockcustomerreport-2008.pdf

 

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October 16, 2008 9:54:03 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

That little pic of the new fantasy rts your making god u just love rubing it in WHAT IS IT!!?!?!?!? Otherwise nice update.

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October 16, 2008 10:44:38 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Great report.  Good to see you are looking at the survey and focusing on customer satisfaction.  Can't beat that business model!

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October 16, 2008 11:07:00 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Since the 'Strategy Game 2010' sounds like something completely new does that mean that Society has been canceled (which stinks since I was looking forward to it)?

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October 17, 2008 9:53:52 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

There's multiplayer matchmaking in Impulse now?

The hand-drawn style style on Not-MOM looks nice, you tease.

What happened to the not requiring the CD to be in the drive part of the bill of rights?  It's a small thing, but quite nice I thought.

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October 17, 2008 10:27:42 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Wasn't this thread longer yesterday? Did I hallucinate a bunch of replies before Hawawaa's

That little pic of the new fantasy rts your making god u just love rubing it in WHAT IS IT!!?!?!?!? Otherwise nice update.

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October 17, 2008 10:35:29 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

It's a copy reposted here. Original.

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October 17, 2008 12:44:20 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Really, I have the power to remove replys YA KEEP ON HALLUCINATING! But sadly no... that would be cool...

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October 17, 2008 3:36:35 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

It's a copy reposted here. Original.

Ah, as long as it's *deliberately* confusing

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October 17, 2008 4:19:36 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

I actually read all of that, and my opinion is that I liked the wording of the original Gamer's Bill of Rights considerably more.  It is nice to see a little clarification on Stardock's stance on DRM too though, and I recently have been realizing just how big Stardock has become in just 15 years.  You must be proud, eh Brad?

My last thought was that you must really want a Java programmer.

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October 17, 2008 5:39:09 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Interesting read. For me, the most important aspect of Stardock and the one that differentiates it from most other corp's out there is that they take customers seriously and treat them with respect.

As a side note, I respectfully disagree with your stance on DRM. Although I fully appreciate your point of view, I think the whole issue must be looked at in the broader context. DRM is poised to become a pervasive element of every-day life used by the Big Boys to exhort and cheat honest people effectively enslaving them. Your observation that a customer buying at $50 doesn't 'own' the software might be true legally, but it it missing the point regarding what DRM is all about. I would consider this a valid complaint and principal matter.

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October 17, 2008 8:33:24 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

I think this is the first time I've ever seen a companys internal business plan.

 

I say you're right about the DRM stance. Owners or authorities need to see exactly WHO is using the software to prevent unauthorised use. And the cdkey for updates are just grand

 

About the types of games that we want you to create. I thought it would be a majority for the TBS games since you are like the only company that make those types of games. Other companies give us the other genres.

Am happy with the answers there though. Real-Time Role Playing games are really good (KotOR, Diablo, Sacred) though other companies have covered that good (Titan Quest and upcoming Diablo 3 f.i)

02:30 in the morning so I got to sleep. Will perhaps type a bit more tomorrow.

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October 18, 2008 10:40:28 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

I agree with most of what was written in the document, but one thing caught my eye that I found odd.  It said some high percent of people want them to get rid of the impulse dock.  I, personally, actually really like how the impulse dock is laid out.  I have all of the hundreds of shortcuts, that used to be cluttering my desktop, organized into impulse dock tabs.  Perhaps there are better ones in existance, but this one is just fine.  To improve it, I would say adding the ability to place it where you want on the screen would be good.  Also replacing the windows sidebar would be good.  Launching the impulse program from the dock tends to freeze upon initial launch, but after an end task and relaunch it works fine.  Fixing that would be good.

But I see alot of potential with the impulse software and the dock.  I hope they dont get rid of it.  There is always the option to turn it off, so people who dont use it can just do that.

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October 20, 2008 11:56:48 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Congradulation Stardock. I am very impress by your company. Whith everything you do for the gaming industry and for your gamers and all gamers.

 

Keep up the good work.

 

 

PS The Not mom game.... I HATE YOU!!!  (such a small picture now I am dying for more)

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October 23, 2008 6:24:20 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Quoting ender1983,
Your observation that a customer buying at $50 doesn't 'own' the software might be true legally, but it it missing the point regarding what DRM is all about. I would consider this a valid complaint and principal matter.

Well, my first post here was about that and I don't think it's legally true at all. If a vendor sells software to me for $50 it's mine. No, not the intellectual property rights of course, but the copy of the software is mine, after all that's the item that was agreed being sold.

If some vendor denies you access to your property, wether it's by a "Accept license or shut up" or by actual DRM, you have even the right to force you access to your property. Take the DeCSS case: the entertainmaint industry tried to prosecute DeCSS author John Lech Johanssen, however, the Norwegian court ruled that John owned his DVD. Therefore, developing DeCSS to get access to the unencrypted data was considered legal, because John owned the DVD and thus the data, thus he had the right to force access to the unencrypted data which was his property.

DRM (in its traditional narrow definition of encrypting and allowing only trusted software/hardwere decrypt it) is fundamentally incompatible with the rights you have as an owner of a piece of software.

Basically the issue is as simple as: A company should have every right to protect its intellectual property but in doing so it should not prevent a customer to use his property in every way he likes. Basically Stardock understands this actually rather well, but sometimes you read some weird comments like the one you are referring to.

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October 23, 2008 7:26:51 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

dmantione - that is demonstrably NOT true in the US. In fact, if the consumer did own the software, any DRM including Stardock's minimal approach would be considered illegal. It would create an unfair restriction on the secondary market, which would be an anti-trust violation.

If your national laws say otherwise, that could be an interesting legal battle, one that nobody could actually win. Either A ) the publisher gets raped, B )  your national law does, or C ) said publisher stops selling software in your country, which is a lose/lose for everyone.

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October 24, 2008 3:23:56 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Well, no, DRM is not illegal, it is tradionally just not protected by law (but nowadays we have DMCA and EUCD). Traditionally, copyright laws simply don't protect DRM, and you simply have the right to use your property in any way you like.

By the way, Stardock does NOT use DRM in the traditional meaning of the word (=allowing only trusted hard/software to play the content).

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October 24, 2008 10:30:28 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

I've been patiently waiting for your Turn-Based Fantasy game for I think over a year now, since I first heard about it.

I've seen what you guys have done with Galciv, and I can't wait to see what you come up with.  Thank you THANK YOU for making these types of games.  No one else is doing it nearly as well as you guys, and with such enthusiasm to boot.

I'm hoping that if I order the game in advance I might be able to play the Beta in June, like how you've released the GalCiv expansions in Beta before their release?

Have I been obvious enough with how excited I am for this game?

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October 24, 2008 10:54:26 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

[quote]

I've been patiently waiting for your Turn-Based Fantasy game for I think over a year now, since I first heard about it.

I've seen what you guys have done with Galciv, and I can't wait to see what you come up with.  Thank you THANK YOU for making these types of games.  No one else is doing it nearly as well as you guys, and with such enthusiasm to boot.

I'm hoping that if I order the game in advance I might be able to play the Beta in June, like how you've released the GalCiv expansions in Beta before their release?

Have I been obvious enough with how excited I am for this game?

[quote]

 

Me too me too.

 

I can't wait for that game....  I want it now now now  (I know I'm like a baby! I have three at home who give me a great example on how to throw a fit when I do not have what I want )

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October 29, 2008 2:27:04 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

The report is nice and all, but I find it interesting that Linux was an option for what people want Stardock to focus on, while actual Linux users couldn't honestly complete the survey.

 

If I remember correctly, there was a question on what operating system you use.  But it only listed Windows OSes.  I tried to leave it blank, but it wouldn't let me.  So I chose the last version of Windows I used, which was Windows XP.  There was another question that asked what non-gaming Stardock utilities I used.  Since I use Linux, I don't use any of them.  But even though it was a "Check all that apply" question, it refused to let me go any further until I checked at least one of those options.  Since I don't use any of those products, I couldn't possibly answer the poll honestly, I would be forced to lie and say I use a product I've never even seen in action.

 

I own GalCiv2 and both expansions, and I attempt to run them in Wine (though they're very buggy), and that's really the only Stardock product I've ever owned.  I would love to make it clear that I want more Linux support, and I wish I had the chance when it mattered.  But the poll I was sent was very much broken in the sense that I couldn't be completely honest and complete it at the same time.  It just wouldn't let me.

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October 31, 2008 8:14:53 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Interesting - yea... Surprising - not really.

The most interesting thing for me was this:

Most popular wishes from Object Desktop users were:
a. Registry cleaner
b. Anti-spyware
c. Defragging
d. CD/DVD burning
Guess that explains all the tons of mostly useless such software out there.

Another note - It appears that I am a part of the majority in like 90% of the cases.

So with me considering myself a typical and knowledgeable user, I'd say the survey is pretty indicative and accurate on just about every point.

And I agree with Murrdox - Stardock is just about the only company that makes high quality turn based strategy games on a regular basis. And also supports them actively.

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November 1, 2008 11:26:48 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Quoting Benjamin Low,
Since the 'Strategy Game 2010' sounds like something completely new does that mean that Society has been canceled (which stinks since I was looking forward to it)?

read page 14 for your answer

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November 1, 2008 11:31:18 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Quoting Zeikcied,
The report is nice and all, but I find it interesting that Linux was an option for what people want Stardock to focus on, while actual Linux users couldn't honestly complete the survey.

 

If I remember correctly, there was a question on what operating system you use.  But it only listed Windows OSes.  I tried to leave it blank, but it wouldn't let me.  So I chose the last version of Windows I used, which was Windows XP.  There was another question that asked what non-gaming Stardock utilities I used.  Since I use Linux, I don't use any of them.  But even though it was a "Check all that apply" question, it refused to let me go any further until I checked at least one of those options.  Since I don't use any of those products, I couldn't possibly answer the poll honestly, I would be forced to lie and say I use a product I've never even seen in action.

 

I own GalCiv2 and both expansions, and I attempt to run them in Wine (though they're very buggy), and that's really the only Stardock product I've ever owned.  I would love to make it clear that I want more Linux support, and I wish I had the chance when it mattered.  But the poll I was sent was very much broken in the sense that I couldn't be completely honest and complete it at the same time.  It just wouldn't let me.

I have to say that is the ONE thing that this poll lacked A LOT

no, no, no, no I'm not talking about linux at all... I mean that if you had something which wasn't in the poll answers you couldn't answer at all, or some answers were approximations

I said it multiple times before: Providing "OTHER"options in a poll or survey is a necessary evil, so that people have the ability to fill the poll (or survey) without errors... (that doesn't mean that people won't make errors though...)

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November 1, 2008 11:58:43 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

you guys forgot this in the legitimate complaints : if a program needs to install additional "something" on your computer, the user should : know about it, prior to buy AND upon installation, this "something" should NOT in any case pave the way for hacks/cheats/viruses/trojans and malware in general, and this "something" shouldn't in any case be able to make the stability of the computer at risk (which in turns makes data loss a possibility)

 

if you want to know what I'm referring to, I'm referring to the known SONY entertainment case with a certain CD AUDIO copy protection which included a rootkit  + drivers with unsafe uninstalls, and said rootkit was used by others to hide things from other programs/games (like World Of Warcraft "cheats") and other malicious uses ...

see : http://www.f-secure.com/v-descs/xcp_drm.shtml

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/11/sonys_drm_rootk.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Sony_BMG_CD_copy_protection_scandal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_Copy_Protection

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/10/sony_drm_trojan/

 

and finally the original blog from mark russinovitch : http://blogs.technet.com/markrussinovich/archive/2005/10/31/sony-rootkits-and-digital-rights-management-gone-too-far.aspx

(an independant expert which developped powerful windows utilities like process explorer, rootkit revealer... and his talent was finally recognized by microsoft so he's now employed there (and his tools remain free) )

 

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November 6, 2008 8:06:22 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Mark's blog highlights another reason to get a 64 bit version of Windows, and this is true for Vista as well as XP: Kernel patch protection.

By the way, if the Wikipedia is accurate most antivirus vendors, including Microsoft's own Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, will detect the Sony rootkit and remove it.

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