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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
 
Spiderweb's Jeff Vogel Discusses Game Piracy
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Jeff Vogel has released the tenth installment of his View From The Bottom developer column for IGN. This time Spiderweb Software's popular RPG creator offers his opinion on the hotly debated issue of game piracy and efforts to prevent piracy using a variety of copy protection methods.

I've had to come to a grim realization. I do have a donation section on my website. It's called the order form. I am in the same boat as everyone else selling single-player games for the PC - as opposed to those like World of Warcraft that charge a monthly fee. It is so easy to pirate our work now that we can only get paid by two types of people - those who don't know that BitTorrent exists (a rapidly dwindling group), and those honest souls who give us cash when they know they don't have to. In other words, donate.

...So I do everything I can to keep it from getting to me. I don't like rainy days either, but there's not much point in trying to prevent them. And there aren't yet any good ways to make real money developing single-player games beyond selling licenses. Ads can generate some revenues, but nowhere near enough to keep a business afloat.

So, I am working to adjust to the new reality. People will only pay us for single-player PC games to feel good about themselves, like they are committing a virtuous act. Now that stealing them has gone from just easy to painfully trivial, how do we stay in business in the new reality?

...give up on DRM. This is nothing new. The big corporations have been told for years that their anti-piracy measures are not only pointless, but counter-productive. But, while I'm being redundant, saying the truth one more time rarely hurts. Spore has some of the most restrictive DRM ever. It's also one of the most pirated games ever. If you care about, you know, making money, then make people feel good about buying your product, give them real rewards for buying it (limited editions with plastic figures, anyone?), or both. Then, maybe, 12 percent of the people playing your game will pay for it, instead of 10. A tiny percentage difference, but a huge increase in sales... and profits.
Read the full column at the site listed below.

View From The Bottom #11
Spiderweb Software


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Archives  News  Spiderweb's Jeff Vogel Discusses Game Piracy