Stardock CEO: Focus On Your Customers; Don't Worry About Pirates

from the exactly dept

Given our earlier posts about Stardock's new game, Demigod, and how the company was dealing with the fact that there were plenty of unauthorized copies, this shouldn't be a surprise at all: The company's CEO has taken to his forums to make it clear that, while no one likes unauthorized copies, his job is not to worry about "pirates," but to focus on pleasing his customers. And on that front, the game has been a huge success. In his post, he points out that even if the game had been a failure, he wouldn't be blaming it on pirates, but on the company's own mistakes -- but, of course, the game hasn't been a failure. It's been selling like crazy.

This isn't new or surprising. It's what Stardock has always said. And it's the same sort of attitude that others who have found success with content these days have had, as well. It's never pleasant to find someone is copying content/software/whatever you've made, but you can't worry about them. It's a waste of time and effort. People will always make unauthorized copies, and any effort to stop them will only hurt those who actually want to give you money. So focus on providing real value for those who want to buy, and stop worrying so much about everyone else.
The reality that most PC game publishers ignore is that there are people who buy games and people who don't buy games. The focus of a business is to increase its sales. My job, as CEO of Stardock, is not to fight worldwide piracy no matter how much it aggravates me personally. My job is to maximize the sales of my product and service and I do that by focusing on the people who pay my salary -- our customers.
You can waste an awful lot of energy and resources "fighting pirates" and losing, or you can focus on actually serving your customers and making money. Which seems more intelligent?
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Filed Under: business models, customers, demigod, piracy, software
Companies: stardock

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  1. identicon
    Jason, 3 May 2009 @ 12:22am

    Piracy? Or a better demo

    For me, I buy lots of games yearly... well maybe for me it's alot. About 10 to 15 or so. Many of those, with the exception of Steam based distributed games, I sometimes will download a pirated version. Later I will buy it if I'm going to play through it. Before I get flamed, allow me to defend this. The most recent installment of Total War (Empire: Total War), had a laughable demo. One combat scene on ground and one pathetic naval battle. During the naval battle there was this horrid graphical error making the game unplayable. The game itself is completely different however. So for me, aquiring a pirated version is much like a better form of the demo.

    Besides all of this there is one thing that most people don't consider. Those that download the game would probably not buy it anyway. It's not lost sales. For single player games, who gives a rat's arse. For the online games there are generally validation measures in place. So Stardock didn't do it. I'm sure however that for those that were online and got a taste of it online before they fixed it, they actually increased sales.

    Back to other distribution platforms like Steam. They often allow full use of the full game for a weekend or so. It's enough to let you decide to buy it or get you hooked. Now days though, as I already stated, the demos are laughable and don't reflect the real gameplay.

    Moral of the story... build a better game... make a decent demo... and give people a break. Honest people will make you money. Unlike real copies, digital copies aren't really lost, or lost revenue. More, it's just not captured. It's not like somebody went to Wal-Mart and stole a physical copy.

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