"The Problem with Anti-piracy Schemes" - By Stardock's CEO, Brad Wardell
Posted: 03/07/2012 16:45 by herodotusComments: 0
An interesting point of view in Stardocks latest newsletter by CEO Brad Wardell. Thought you guys might be interested.

"When Stardock was running Impulse, we got to hear a lot from companies regarding to their feelings towards software piracy. In many cases, it was clear that the motivation to stop piracy was less about maximizing sales and more about preventing people who didn't pay for the game from playing it. I felt this was misguided.

When I see our games pirated, it definitely annoys me. I put a lot of myself into our software and seeing someone "stealing" it is upsetting. But at the same time, the response to piracy should be, to paraphrase The Godfather, "Just business". Simply put, the goal should be to maximize sales, not worry about people who wouldn't buy your game in the first place. I've said this in the past but until we were digitally distributing third party games, I didn't realize how prevalent the "stop those pirates" philosophy was.

Part of the problem with piracy is the terminology. There are really two, completely disparate groups that get lumped together. There are the people who just won't pay for software no matter what and there are the people who pirate software out of convenience.

The former group is much larger than the latter but it is the latter group that the lost potential sales really come from. Apple has become the world's most successful company by focusing its attention on the customer experience. iTunes songs don't even have DRM as most would define it today. They focus their attention on people who buy things. I think this is the most profitable way to focus ones efforts.

If game developers can focus more attention on improving their user experience and less on worrying about people who would never buy their product in the first place, I think they'd see their sales go up. That doesn't mean they need to remove all forms of copy protection, rather, they should ensure that whatever they do to protect their intellectual property doesn't materially affect the user experience."

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