Video Game Company That Does Everything "Wrong" Gets It Right

from the good-work dept

tk writes in to point out that video game company Stardock did everything "wrong" according to many who try to sell video games: "they use word of mouth marketing, has no copy protection (the serial is needed for updates) with a (relatively) cheap price and they listen to what users want." Despite all of these "mistakes," however, the results suggest that such an approach worked. As tk notes, "they have managed to gain the top spot in Walmart. Best Buy, EB, and Gamestop are ordering stocks above their sell-in orders." The source of this info is the company itself on their own forums, so some may question the accuracy of it. It would be nice to get confirmation (or proof that this is incorrect). There is also an interesting follow up to this story. Since the company decided not to use copy protection, some are claiming that they want the game to be "pirated." It also apparently upset employees of a Starforce, a company who doesn't exactly have the best reputation when it comes to providing copy protection for video games. Stardock is now accusing Starforce of pointing people to cracked copies, in an effort to hurt the software provider for not using copy protection. As the company itself points out: "Our software gets pirated. We don't like it but piracy is a fact of life. The question isn't about eliminating it, it's about reducing it and trying to make sure that people who would buy your product buy it instead of steal it. Our primary weapon to fight piracy is through rewarding customers through convenient, frequent, free updates. If you make it easy for users to buy and make full use of your product or service legitimately then we believe that you'll gain more users from that convenience than you'll lose from piracy."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    giafly, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 2:19am

    Reading TFA

    The referenced article shows as black text on a dark background - a technique that is sometimes called "invisi-text". To read it, press Ctrl A.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 3:32am

    Re: Reading TFA

    Sorry, black text on a dark background? The text is quite clearly white...

     

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  3.  
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    Cam Wyatt, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 4:52am

    Re: Re: Reading TFA

    However, when using Firefox 1.5 with the NoScript extension plugin the text is black on a dark background... set to NoScript to "temporarily allow" and it changes to white text, at least it is in my browser.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Cam Wyatt, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 4:52am

    Re: Re: Reading TFA

    However, when using Firefox 1.5 with the NoScript extension plugin the text is black on a dark background... set to NoScript to "temporarily allow" and it changes to white text, at least it is in my browser.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Cam Wyatt, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 4:52am

    Re: Re: Reading TFA

    However, when using Firefox 1.5 with the NoScript extension plugin the text is black on a dark background... set to NoScript to "temporarily allow" and it changes to white text, at least it is in my browser.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    UbisoftHater, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 5:07am

    Hooray!

    They also have a downloadable version that you can buy over the net. I'm gonna go buy myself a copy right now just to show my support for these guys.

    I might just be overly optimistic but if more game publishers start making their games available over the net then we should see a drop in game prices, due to the reduced price in publishing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    thecaptain, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 5:15am

    I agree. I've been looking at Galactic Civ II for a while and wondering if I should get it.

    Reading this pushed me over the edge, I'm picking it up to show my support (and play what is, by all accounts, a pretty damn good game).

     

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  8.  
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    Andrew Strasser, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 5:30am

    The part they didn't say.

    Our primary weapon to fight piracy is through rewarding customers through convenient, frequent, free updates. If you make it easy for users to buy and make full use of your product or service legitimately then we believe that you'll gain more users from that convenience than you'll lose from piracy."



    We can lock out those people once we catch them with the next update so why pay for something that we already know can't be protected weather you say it is or not.

     

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  9.  
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    Tom Donnelly, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 6:21am

    Borland proved it long ago

    Publish high quality, reasonably priced software and there is no need for copy-protection. Those who pirate won't buy no matter what. Most of the others will pay for it voluntarily. Borland proved this long ago with its original Turbo Pascal product. All others who have used the same model have been similarly successful.

     

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  10.  
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    alykhalid, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 6:59am

    Use priracy protection

    In pakistan, software piracy is so common, that people dont even know that you are buying a pirated copy rather than the original think. It makes my job as software developer very hard cause you can get any software for 1 dollar. I think international companies should have piracy protection and should enforce it in third world countries, so that other people can better appreciate the work of software developer.

     

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  11.  
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    Pierce, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 7:51am

    Puchase

    Hmm, Digtial Download $44.95. Retail copy from Best Buy is only $39.99... me thinks I will get the Retail CD and save 5 bucks :)

     

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  12.  
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    Andrew Strasser, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 7:58am

    Re: Puchase

    You forgot you got a back-up cd as well with it.

     

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  13.  
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    Corydorf, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 8:00am

    I bought it

    I was torrenting this game, I'll admit. I was dling it to see if it was any godd, but after reading about these wonderful people and how smarrt they were, I went online and ordered the game, since it's sold out everywhere near me. I'll admit, I do trial a lot of stuff, but most of my torrenting is legit. We need to support these guys, and maybe more companies will take the hint and realize that this buisnesss model is the best one there is.

     

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  14.  
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    Nismoto, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 8:47am

    piracy != lost sales

    OK. So it does, but not as much as companies would have you believe.

    My budget for games is very small. I can't afford to run out and buy every game that comes out. So, yes, I have copied/pirated games and played them. However, if the game kicks @ss I'll buy it; if it sucks I won't. Simple.

    I think that's the message here. Cr@ppy games and obtrusive, disasterous copy protection are what equals cr@ppy sales, not piracy.

    "Build it and they will come."

    Remember the Sony rootkit fiasco?

    P.S. - @Pierce:
    The price of gas, the contribution to pollution and the time it would take (assuming you must drive) is not worth the $5 savings. If I don't have to remove my lazy butt from my chair, I'll spend the extra 5.

     

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  15.  
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    Ed H., Mar 13th, 2006 @ 9:20am

    Minor Editorial Quibble

    You say Stardock accuses Starforce of pointing to "cracked" copies, but if the game isn't copy protected, then there should be no such thing as a cracked version. Call it pirated, copyright infringing, or whatever, but not cracked.

     

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  16.  
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    Jo Dancer, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 9:25am

    AT A PRICE i CAN AFFORD.I'll buy it.Price too high then it never was.
    See Ya

     

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  17.  
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    Wizard Prang, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 10:13am

    It just works

    I do not see a demo for this game. While it would appear that it can be pirated easily, to continue playing it requires a unique key... which requires a purchase. The flip-side is that continued support drives continued sales. This is a welcome change from publishers who put out bug-ridden eye-candy, release a patch that does not help the problem, then leave the users stranded while they work on the sequel (Electronic *COUGH!* Lord of the *COUGH!*). It looks like the business model is "Pay for the Service, a la Cellphone or Cable TV"; As strange as it may seem, this works - the Publishers get paid and the punters get frequent updates. I like it.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous of Course, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 10:21am

    I'll buy that!

    I'm going to buy this game. Their enlightened
    attitude is a good omen for a fun game.

    These guys are spot on, it's the bennies that
    make people want to buy the software- well
    that and a shred or morality.

    As for copy protection... some people crack
    for fun, others crack for profit. Copy protection
    screws with an honest person's use of the product
    and creates an industry for dishonest crackers.

    I purchase software that I like. Even some
    big ticket items like photoshop. I wanted the
    books, on-line support, etc... But before dishing
    out the cash I did try it out thoroughly, call it
    non-consensual shareware.

     

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  19.  
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    Jobe, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 1:27pm

    Copyright protection only hurts the honest custome

    And is largely ineffective.

     

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  20.  
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    Adam W, Mar 13th, 2006 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Minor Editorial Quibble

    > You say Stardock accuses Starforce of pointing to "cracked" copies, but if the game isn't copy protected, then there should be no such thing as a cracked version. Call it pirated, copyright infringing, or whatever, but not cracked.

    Maybe they are pointing people to "illegal" serialz so they can obtain the protected updates?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    labeeb, Sep 28th, 2006 @ 6:12pm

    pirated games

    I hate it when we (in Pakistan) have to buy pirated games and then end up installing crack files for the game to run. We only get the installation cd's and are deprived of all the goodies included in the pack like manual booklet or the whole box itself. I hate all that procedure. I don't know what's the reason that people are selling this pirated stuff instead of the original.

     

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  22.  
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    |333173|3|_||3, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 5:57am

    Re: pirated games

    because it is a much larger profit for the vendors, although if you only pay $1, they must have found a better source of cases than are availiable where I am.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Overcast, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 6:44am

    Gal Civ 2 kicks tail... I played a 'pirated' copy for a bit... But I will without doubt buy this game.

    It rocks - you can pay them... if you ever need a copy of the game again, you simply download it. No CD's to get scratched, etc..

    See, THAT'S VALUE - and that's what people are willing to pay for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Heidi, Feb 10th, 2008 @ 8:47pm

    I fail to see how $60 for a game is cheap...

    And how $20 for a game is cheap compared to all the *other* PC games that are selling at the same cost O_o

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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