Bohemia: "For every three legitimate buyers" of Arma 2 there's '100 pirates'
Posted: 18.11.2011 11:39 by Simon Priest Comments: 1
Arma 2's Bohemia Interactive has revealed a depressing figure of PC piracy, that there are "100 (failed) attempts" to play a pirated copy of Arma 2 online to every legitimate 3.

This shows an "extremely widespread" piracy problem on PC, especially for a "mid-sized" PC focused studio like Bohemia. The stats are "undoubtedly much worse" for singe player.

The developer believes it's better to "not to try to prevent counterfeit" copies from running at all but instead "degrade the end user experience" - pirated Arma 2 has 'lower accuracy'.

"The motto is: Pirated games are not worth playing, original games do not degrade. Some of the symptoms are funny, usually annoying," Bohemia Interactive CEO Marek Špan?l told PC Gamer.

"In the Arma series, players with pirated copies have lower accuracy with automatic weapons in both single player and multiplayer, and occasionally turn into a bird with the words “Good birds do not fly away from this game, you have only yourself to blame." While we know we will never stop piracy, we use this as a way to make our stand that piracy is not right, that it has a serious negative impact on PC games developers.

While the studio hasn't any figures for offline play, they do for online: "...our statistics from multiplayer show that for every three legitimate buyers playing their game in multiplayer, there are 100 (failed) attempts to play with a pirated version."

"This indicates that piracy is an extremely widespread problem on PC, and it’s also really worrying for us as a mid-sized, independent, PC-oriented developer. We do not have any such data for single-player, but I’m afraid there the ratio of pirates to legitimate gamers is undoubtedly much worse."

Bohemia use more traditional DRM methods initially for their titles but remove it after a certain period so their legitimate customers don't feel punished for what pirates might be trying to do.

"Our approach is to remove conventional DRM not too long after the initial game’s release to ensure as smooth an experience as possible for our legitimate users and still appeal to our distribution and publishing channels. We’re trying to cut off this vicious circle where piracy hurts owners of legitimate copies “protected” with annoying copy protection DRM systems, which may lead to more piracy," explained Špan?l.

Bohemia recently released helicopter simulator Take On Helicopters where pirated copies would suffer a degradation of visuals overtime the longer it was played. Should more studios adopt these methods to strike back at pirates? Check out the full interview between Marek Špan?l and PC Gamer.

Source: PC Gamer
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By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Nov 19, 2011
I'm afraid the best anti=piracy tool Devs have on the market is but ensuring their product degrades, malfunctions or fails when a pirated version is attempted to be activated online. Copying and downloading a game is simple, and getting a crack not far behind (something many do with legitimate purchases to avoid standard DRM).
It's a definite concern, however what is not mentioned here by Španěl is the quite substantial number of pirates(?) who download and install an illegal copy of the game basically to test it out as they would with a Demo.
Best idea to really get an idea is to follow discussion threads on these sites where, in an ironic contradiction these pirates are quite open, candid and honest amongst one another. The number who download and ATTEMPT to play games online are many, and the numbers that fail are about equal.

Regional Pricing and invasive DRM are top causes for piracy, aside from the usual "why pay, when I can get it for free" nonsense. The other is the constant internet connection required by some game, that many gamers simply don't have (that's where cracks come in).
Three words BI: Know thy enemy. Equally important, know thine enemy's motivations.