No Software Copy Protection Hurts Sales?!? Sins of a Solar Empire...
Look at all these lost sales due to a game shipped without any software copy protection (other than the usual unique keycode):
IGN's review of Sins of a Solar Empire (they gave it an 8.9):
I guess having a kick@$$ game does pretty good for sales too (along with a $40 price tag). ;)
I ordered it on friday and it'll be at home waiting for me today after work. :D
Stardock's reason for not having copy protection is that fighting piracy isn't going to make those peple buy the game so don't worry about trying to get sales from that segment. Rather make a great game that'll sell to as many people who will spend the money.
On an "unrelated" note, i finally bought Bioshock (for the PC of course). However it's unopened and i'm still having a hard time convincing myself to open it and install it (because of it's stupid SecuROM copy protection scheme).
I bought multiple copies of NWN1 just because I liked the game enough, and the fact that Bioware patched out the CD-ROM copy protection.
Too bad they are now part of Atari so fat chance seeing NWN2 be unlocked like that.
As for working copy protections (a lot of publishers want *some* sort of mechanism built in), the least troublesome I think is a unique CD key, where two identical serial numbers are not allowed on the game's multiplayer game network at the same time. CD-ROM copy protection ends up getting hastily cracked and/or bypassed. The more Draconian CD-ROM protection gets, the more likely people will just write the game off as not worth it.
Baen Books has a similar policy on a large library of their Ebooks. They release full versions for free. Since they did it, Dead Tree copy AND EBook sales have gone through the roof. :D
I posted this over in the Stardock forums on a big thread about Piracy and the "dying" PC gaming market.
How to "revive" PC gaming market:
1 - Make good games
2 - No DRM that punishes legit users
3 - ?????
4 - Profit
I'm pretty sure that software companies have to pay to license (OMG there's that word again) DRM software to implement in their own software. No DRM would mean more $$$ into their own pockets instead. http://images.stardock.com/smiles/Wink.gif
I have zero problem with having to put in a disc when i want to play a game. You gotta do it for consoles anyways (and i have my share of them). I also have no problem with putting in a key during installation (or sometime after like for SoaSE).
I see nothing wrong with combating "piracy", espically not in the short term while the game is still new and popular. However, there's a problem if it's done at the expense of legit users/buyers.
I've always liked how Epic does it with the Unreal Tournament series. They disable the disc check with a patch after the game has been on the market for a year or two (essentially after the majority of legit buyers has already purchased the game).
Actually, there's 2 things that would definitely revive the PC gaming market. First (and most importantly), make good games. They don't have to be the latest/greatest creations requiring bleeding edge hardware, they just have to be fun. Secondly, if retailers allowed opened software to be returned, you can be sure more people would be willing to purchase PC games. Returning a crappy game is very similar to returning other things you're dissatisfied with or disfunctional stuff. I know, i know, the argument is "But you can just buy a game, copy it, and return it". But if the game is genuinely good, most people won't feel the need to do so. I myself am hesitant to purchase games unless i've done a fair amount of research by reading multiple reviews and impressions.
All i can say is props to Stardock and Ironclad. They've got my $$$ and i'm tempted to buy 2 or 3 more copies for schnitzngigglez (well, to give to friends or to have handy if a LAN party is in order). http://images.stardock.com/smiles/Smile.gif
And now for a related lolcat:
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