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
    minijedimaster, 3 May 2009 @ 4:11pm


    This case is interesting, however. Demigod hasn't met with wide acclaim *because* of piracy. Specifically, connections have been spotty to non-existence because Stardock based their server capacity on sales, not accounting for the huge number of pirates logging on.

    You obviously haven't a clue about this issue. The connection issues lasted for all of a few days. And those connection issues were not because of pirate users logging on, but because of a design flaw in the way the game looked for an update when you started it up, whether it was a legitimate copy or not.

    Ars Article on the Issue

    On Day 0 there were around 140,000 concurrent users, with 18,000 validated users. The pirates couldn't update their game or play online, but they could still "touch the servers."

    "So over the first 24 hours, we had to essentially scrap together a doppleganger of the infrastructure dedicated to Demigod's multiplayer network needs, release an update to legitimate users to point them to it..." he wrote. "Now today, day 3, it's pretty much taken care of. Users are connecting in multiplayer, the servers are pretty responsive and we're adding more in preparation for the weekend."

    Part of the issue was also due to the game being released before its street date by Gamestop (idiots) and so there were a ton of people attempting to log in before the servers were even up, which in turn also attributed to the fact that there were 140,000 "unauthorized" copies of the game attempting to connect on release day as it was available early.

    Personally, I think your claim of this game "not being met with wide acclaim" is complete rubbish just by looking at the numbers of both sales and pirated downloads. I'd say it's looking to be a pretty popular game with this kind of attention. One might go as far as to say because of all the attention the piracy issue has brought this game it's a much larger success than it would have been.

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