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ZippyDSMlee's picture
Joined: 2006-09-30

[QUOTE]By Ben Kuchera | Published: March 20, 2008 - 11:17AM CT

One of the popular reasons given for sometimes-sluggish game sales on the PC is piracy. If people can get the game for free, why would they pay for it? Go to any popular torrent site and it will likely have many more games than your local gaming store. The situation led the community manager for Infinity Ward to recently complain about the number of people playing Call of Duty 4 online versus the number of copies the game has sold for the PC. Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock, has a much different point of view: the pirates don't matter.
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"So here is the deal: When you develop for a market, you don't go by the user base. You go by the potential customer base. That's what most software companies do. They base what they want to create on the size of the market they're developing for," Wardell writes on his blog. "But not PC game developers."

His approach is not to think only about the "cool" games, but to make sure what the company does create can be profitable. What good is spending years on a top-tier game that gets all the buzz, is on all the magazine covers, but that very few people have the hardware to run? Furthermore, the people who have spent that much on their PCs know where to find the game for free if they like. It's a small user base, with a smaller customer base.

The issue of these "cool" games seems to frustrate Wardell. "So even though Galactic Civilizations II sold 300,000 copies making [eight] digits in revenue on a budget of less than $1 million, it's still largely off the radar. I practically have to agree to mow editors' lawns to get coverage... [Sins of a Solar Empire] has already sold about 200,000 copies in the first month of release. It's the highest-rated PC game of 2008 and probably the best-selling 2008 PC title. Neither of these titles have CD copy protection."

So why aren't these games, which, combined, have sold half a million units on a small budget, getting more attention? Because they're not aimed at some nebulous idea of the "hardcore gamer." This is a market that may exist in the minds of people writing about games, and it may describe those who buy gaming magazines, but such gamers are certainly not a force at retail. "Heck, how much buzz does The Sims get in terms of editorial when compared to its popularity?" Wardell asks. "Those things just aren't that cool to the hardcore gaming crowd that everything seems geared toward despite the fact that they're not the ones buying most of the games."

The way to make money in the world of PC gaming, according to Wardell, is to make sure many systems can play your games, while continuing to make them attractive. Find a market where people want to buy and support the games, and don't go by what the magazines and the blogs seem to think are the big name titles. Don't let people who aren't your audience control the titles you make, and ignore piracy. This is much like Trent Reznor's strategy, although the execution is different. Instead of worrying about pirates, just leave the content out in the open. The market Reznor plays to will still buy the music; he's simply stopped worrying about the pirates. He came to the same conclusion: they weren't customers, they might never be customers, so spending money to try to stop them serves no purpose.

"The reason why we don't put copy protection on our games isn't because we're nice guys. We do it because the people who actually buy games don't like to mess with it. Our customers make the rules, not the pirates. Pirates don't count," Wardell argues. "When Sins popped up as the #1 best selling game at retail a couple weeks ago, a game that has no copy protect whatsoever, that should tell you that piracy is not the primary issue." [/QUOTE]

wow someone who gets it.


Ah modern gaming its like modern film only the watering down of fiction and characters is replaced with shallow and watered down mechanics, gimmicks and shiny-er "people".
Incoherence is my friend and grammar my bane, which is the fulcrum of suffering I place upon others!:ZippyDSMlee

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