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.”

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Comments on “Video Game Company That Does Everything "Wrong" Gets It Right”

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UbisoftHater says:


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.

Anonymous of Course says:

Re: 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.

Andrew Strasser (user link) says:

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.

alykhalid says:

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.

Corydorf says:

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.

Nismoto says:

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.

Adam W says:

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?

Wizard Prang (user link) says:

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.

labeeb says:

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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