Every PC game is heavily pirated. Hell.....my wife and I lost friends when I overheard the sons of friends of ours laughing at how nice it was that Sins of a Solar Empire (the original) was so easily pirated and I took the sons to task over their comments. As a result, our relationship with that family is no more.
Yes, every PC game is pirated. Thats a matter of fact.
It is also a matter of fact that NO DRM has EVER been successful in stopping piracy. As a business man, I entirely failed to understand why companies where bothering themselves with things like Starforce or SecurRom... WASTED MONEY.... ANGRY CUSTOMERS.... and PIRATES WHO LAUGH THEIR ASS OFF.
For your information... Sim City 2013 is available freely available on the internet... has been since release day if you believe the date of some entries. Even more devastating... it is a working version.... if you beleive the comments on said entries.
Yeah... thats right.... people who pirated it had no issues playing.... something that could not be said about the - dumb - paying customers.
That is really a great DRM system.... it does absolutly nothing in stopping piracy... it merely hinders and annoys the paying customer.
So maybe it would be a good business decision to stop wasting money on DRM.... it is not doing anything besides pissing of the remaining legitimate customers and making it clear beyond any doubt to the pirates that pirating it was the right choice to begin with.
But then nowadays DRM is not really about piracy anymore.... it is way to ineffective to have any notable effect on piracy.
Piracy is the best thing that has ever happened to the industry... it allows them to justify measures that would get any other company in any other branch sued to death for fraud.
No, todays DRM is no longer about preventing piracy... that is just the official empty word that is used to justify it.... todays DRM is about CONTROLLING the customer.... YOU....... to take away as much of your rights as possible.... and that is a job it is quite good at.
Finding a cheaper retailer? Not happening.
Selling your old game? Not happening.
Refunding? Muhahahahaha, not this century
Modding? Of course not... good mods could divert your attention from the small shitty DLC we want to sell to you for just 30 €.
And if that is not enough... we kill the servers after a few years.... so you have to buy the successor if you ever want to play a similar game again.
And this is the reason for always online... not piracy... not DRM.... but killing the - pathetic to begin with - customer rights.
I don't believe it for a second that if a company puts less effort into attempting to secure their IP that it will be pirated less. I believe the pirate connections to the Demigod servers over the first few days played a large role in why the servers couldn't initially handle things. On various forums/websites it was stated that the pirate connections were in the 100K range, where as the legitimate client connections on day-one numbered less than 20K. So is the company to blame there when the 'paying customer' can't play their game? I think not. It always has been, and always will be the scum pirate who ruins it for everyone. Let's keep the blame where it belongs.
No it wont be pirated less.
But it wont be pirated more too. And you wont have thousands of people screaming bloody murder arround the internet and nuking your amazon ratings into oblivion.
If the servers of Demigod accepted pirated connections, you should rethink your multiplayer model.
The serial protected multiplayer is a proven, customer friendly way of keeping your servers clean of those pirates.
If on the other hand you release a game with online activation or worse always online "features" it is YOUR GOD DAMM JOB to assure that your servers can handle the load. Including the load by the unsucessfull attempts of the pirates to log in. That is your general business risk.
Besides, usually the piracy wave is quite similar to the release buyer wave.... so after a few weeks you can probably decrease the server range again, once the initial request storm has died down.
NOBODY FORCED EA or any other company INTO GOING FULLY ONLINE. THAT WAS THEIR BUSINESS DECISION, and for that decision THEY ARE LIABLE down to the last penny.
Piracy is a well known problem in this branch.... to be surprised by it is cleary a sign of lack of market understanding... in which case you dont belong on that market in the first place.
So yes... the company is partially to blame... because they should have known that many pirates will attempt to log in onto their servers, because that is what always happens.
On a side note.... I am again and again astonished at the audacity of many pirates... if I would pirate a game..... (I dont, mind you). I sure as hell would block it in my firewall instead of letting it phone home, transfering god knows what information.
Many things are stolen in many stores every day. That is a sad fact, but it remains a fact. So if you want to sell 100 pieces of something you order 102..... this is simplified how it works in most stores.
Of course you could reduce stealing to nearly zero when everyone leaving the store (customers, workers... ect) were to be stripped naked and vigoriously searched.
Nobody would steal from you anymore... but then... nobody would buy from you anymore, too. Unless you have a monopoly or everyone is doing it... which is unfortunatly the direction the gaming industry is heading towards right now.
Yes, it is a sad reality... yes pirating software is wrong.... but it is the reality.
As a company operating in this branch.... you have to deal with this reality.... in a way that does the minimal ammount of damage to your paying customers.
Do I support more and more stringent controls (which do also inevitably impact me the paying customer)? No, however something has to keep being done. Unfortunately we live in a world where if it can be taken without recompense, it is. Again, while I find many of the 'controls' put in place to attempt to stem such theft problematic myself I would not choose the alternative (no controls) since that just signals the world that everything is free for the taking (which so many are vigorously working to prove anyway).
IF DRM would work.... your point would be valid.
But it doesnt..... and dont let any Steamfanboy tell you otherwise.
A control that is not working is no more effective in hindering piracy than no control.
Yes.... there are some people who will never pay for anything..... I know one myself....
But the majority of pirates is not that criminal. The main reasons for piracy are imo:
- Lack of money - a bad world economy certainly not helping matters
- considerable price increases in the things of the daily need - leaving less and less money for fun
- Terrible reputation of some companies
If I would be interested in any game from EA, I certainly would do some very "extensive testing" before considering a buying. And this is something EA is entirely alone to blame for.
If on the other hand the company has a good reputation.... for example Stardock... I am more than willing to buy or even preorder it. And if you prove worthy of that trust as Stardock has, you can rest assured that Sins 2 will be bought without hesitation or reading any previews beforehand.
- Fraud bordering quality of released software
Similar to the above.... if you keep releasing buggy alphas you deserve to be punished.
No software is ever bug free, but I expect a reasonable finished product on release day.
My tolerance for obvious bugs also does decrease drastically with larger companies...... for example I will forgive Stardock things I wont forgive EA. Because EA can afford to sink another 2 millions into polishing and into a large beta test department. Stardock cant. That they deliver better quality software anyway is very embarassing for EA and the likes.
- Lack of a good source..... and this is where Steam has its largest anti piracy effect imho.... because while I hate it even I will admit that it is comfortable to use.... dont underestimate peoples tendency to be lazy. On the other hand if the local translation is shitty and you want to play the english version.... you are doomed with Steam.
- Is it that difficult to release a Demo nowadays?
What I don't understand is this. How do those groups in society who not only espouse such entitled viewpoints but also facilitate the distribution and consumption of pirate goods believe that newer product will be produced? I mean if those groups were to have their way then no one (even me) would pay for anything. Ok, so once that goal is achieved.......where to next? Nothing more will be produced because no one is paying for anything. So is that the end of piracy? When nothing more is produced?
That is an excellent point.... but for the hardcore pirates you will have to accept them as a business risk associated with this industry branch.... just like things stolen from the stores are a general business risk for the stores in real life. A risk that is priced in...... which is regrettable... but preferable over being vigouriously searched.
Instead you should do what all smart businesses do... focus on your PAYING customers. And if you treat them well.... you might notice that people who could easily pirate the game.... will actually buy it instead. Yes.... not all of them.... having stuff free is a powerful argument..... but enough of them.
Also your fans will praise your product on the internet... bless you with 5 star amazon ratings and so on. I dont think that Sim City 2013 current Amazon rating is helpful for sales at all, nor is the publicity.
Compare that publicity to Minecraft or FTL publicity.