Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Stardock, GalCiv, and Copy Protection

StardockYou may be asking yourself, "Why is the H-Man about to talk about computer gaming?" Good question, and I have a fairly good answer. Because the computer gaming industry, much like the music industry (and the movie industry), has gone stupid regarding piracy. They believe that pirated product = lost sales. This is crap.

Fact is, most people pirating this stuff never planned on buying it, and don't ever plan on playing/listening to/viewing what they pirate. It's just a thing to beef up their collection - another piece of ammo in their bullet belt of w4r3z (wares, i.e. stolen merchandise). Sadly, it seems the software industry has gone the nuttiest on copy protection schemes, which only ends up causing problems for the people who actually buy the product (it is 100% ineffective at stopping the pirates).

Enter Stardock, a gaming developer who refuses to put copy protection on their software because they get it. They hypothesized that if you a) don't treat your customers like criminals right out of the gate, and b) make a good product, the rest will take care of itself. And they were right. Sales of their new game, Galactic Civilizations II, have been incredible. And hell, they're a small, independently owned company, who decided to self-publish a game that targets a very small subset of the gaming community (turn based strategy gamers). But lo, they are coming out of the woodwork, buying in droves, and making Stardock successful.

Let's hope all these companies take note and stop punishing their paying customers.


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