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Thursday, July 10, 2008
Winter Wolves Considers Online-Only Option To Combat Piracy
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 5 comments

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has posted the results of an interview with Celso Riva of Winter Wolves Software. The developer is responsible for titles such as The Goalkeeper, Magic Stones, and Supernova 2. In the interview Riva discusses the history of the shareware developer, upcoming projects, and the possibility of making some future games online only to help combat piracy.

RPS: Obvious question. What are your current and future plans? Whatís next, sir?
Celso: Well at the moment I have 4 projects running. Planet Stronghold is a sort of Simcity meets Tower Defense that will use same wargame engine as Supernova 2, then I have Tower of Destiny (classic dungeon crawler RPG), a Princess Maker game and another card-rpg game.
Those last 2 could be made to be played online-only. While I donít like that idea very much, is actually one step I think many indies and non-indies will be forced to take in the short future. It means savegame will be stored on game server, so player could resume playing the game anywhere and anytime without worrying about backups, and more importantly would eliminate the piracy that is seriously damaging the pc scene nowadays. If I can implement such system I think I would even be able to reduce my games prices, since there wouldnít be the piracy problem anymore.

RPS: Actually, thatís really interesting. Whatís people response been like to it? Why did you decide to try the route?
Celso: Well to be honest right now is just an idea, an experiment I want to try. Worse case I can revert back to normal offline savegame. I decided to try this route in one of my future games (probably later this year) because honestly Iím a bit tired of seeing some honest people paying, and others getting away with the same game for free. I lose money everyday because of this, and also all the freeloaders consume server bandwidth just to download the demo to use their cracks, which damages me even more. Itís a matter of survival, really: I donít like particularly the idea, but probably will need to implement it soon, if I want to keep making this job to live.
Peopleís response (of honest customers) I think could be good actually. I often talk with other devs which are skeptical about this. But if you think about it, who doesnít have a permanent internet connection nowadays? everyone has it, and those who donít, arenít probably likely to know about your game or buy it either! Another argumentation was that if my company goes bankrupt and the server taken offline, players wouldnít be able to play my games anymore. That can be easily solved releasing an offline version for free in the remote case I should go bankrupt (but I have no intentions).
Also big companies like Steam are going to use that in the near future (have their games even the single-player ones going online only). I see nothing weird or problematic for the end user, and actually only advantages since a reduction/elimination of piracy could bring back more companies making games again for the PC, making continuous updates to the games, and so on.

Read the full Q&A by following the link provided below.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Winter Wolves Interview

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