Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
What a crazy day
Published on March 11, 2006 By Draginol In Gaming

Well, today GalCiv2.com got both slashdotted, Digged, and Neowin'ed at the same time.

Why? It started earlier today.  Someone over at Digg.com made an article that implied that Stardock wanted people to pirate our game, Galactic Civilizations II.  Which is definitely not true.  We need every sale we can get.

But the argument was essentially that because our retail game has no copy protection that we essentially invite piracy. And since sales of the game have been so good, that piracy somehow "helped" the game.  I doubt that very much.  I think sales have been strong because of positive word of mouth of people who bought the game in the first place.

Meanwhile, someone over at Starforce's site made a point of telling them how well GalCiv II has done.  At that point, the admin of the Starforce forums did something...something I am still stunned about.  They put up a working URL to a site that was listing illegal torrents of our game to "prove" how much it's being pirated (wow, there's piracy? Gee, no kidding, thanks for directing all the people who didn't know about it to that link -- even I didn't know about it).

When I responded to the Digg article, I included this annoying fact that Starforce had linked to a site listing warez of our game.

This in turn caught the attention of a lot of people. What on Earth was Starforce's people thinking linking to a site with links to Warez copies?  Especially given that Starforce is one of the leading makers of anti-piracy software. I don't know what their motives are and I won't speculate. But we were deeply troubled by it.

When our guys started hearing about this yesterday afternoon, I asked them to contact both Starforce and the site they linked to and politely ask them to remove the links.  Starforce didn't remove the URL until tonight -- only after it got Slashdotted.  The site they linked to removed it and all other Stardock warez links in their list (they're a search site, they don't host the stuff) that could be found and did so within a few hours.

I don't want to make it out that I'm some sort of kumbaya guy. Piracy is a problem and it does cost sales. I just don't think it's as big of a problem as the game industry thinks it is.  I also don't think inconveniencing customers is the solution.

What we do with GalCiv II is pretty straight forward -- we include unique serial #s with each game. Those serial #s are then used to get updates. Our server knows which serials are out there and can send up a flag if, for instance, it's being used 100 times a week in 100 different locations.  It's a system that works very well and is largely invisible to users and still allows them to install the game on their laptop, their desktop, their work machine, their backup machine at home, etc. without being hassled.

The idea being that we win people over through providing better service through free updates with meaningful new featuers after release. 

But it doesn't mean we're naive about piracy.  We just think it's a) overstated and that CD copy protection isn't the best solution in many/most cases. 

Update: This is why JoeUser.com's availability (and WinCustomize's) has been spotty.  New, fast servers are on order so we should be in better shape soon.


Comments (Page 1)
on Mar 11, 2006
Someone over at Digg.com made an article that implied that Stardock wanted people to pirate our game, Galactic Civilizations II.


What a ridiculous mental leap to make.

They put up a working URL to a site that was listing illegal torrents of our game to "prove" how much it's being pirated


Were these people auditioning for "Where The Idiots Are 2006"?

What on Earth was Starforce's people thinking linking to a site with links to Warez copies? Especially given that Starforce is one of the leading makers of anti-piracy software. I don't know what their motives are and I won't speculate.


The obvious motive that leaps to mind is enough to damn them for me.

on Mar 12, 2006
Saw this on dailytech.com

Link

I'm kinda confused, but is Starforce trying to blackmail (or extorte?) Stardock into using it's copy protection? Or are they trying to prove a point? That if you don't yuse their copy-protection you're gonna get pirated? So much for respecting innovation.
on Mar 12, 2006
i knew starforce ppl were idiots since they cant come up with real working anitpiracy software that actually hinders the PIRATERS instead of the ppl that actually buy the game but this just clinches it
on Mar 12, 2006
But it doesn't mean we're naive about piracy. We just think it's a) overstated and that CD copy protection isn't the best solution in many/most cases.


I agree that INTRUSIVE copy protection, or INEFFICIENT copy protection is not the solution. A non intrusive and efficient copy protection would be ideal.

Today I read so much about copy protection being useless...maybe today, but companies cant just stop trying, they might someday get the magical solution.

Also, bigger piracy increasing sales? I read this too much today as well... this is just lunacy, for every person you see that says that bought the game because of his pirate copy there are dozens that dont give a damn, and would/could buy the legit copy otherwise.
on Mar 12, 2006
Well I have said it bfore on other forums and I will say it now... ahem (cough cough, deep breath) "STARFORCE IS THE DEVIL AND ITS PROGRAMERS ARE FROM MALEBOLGE!!! " ... ... thx and have a uber super day.
on Mar 12, 2006
Citizen Dansk Kidanski , Stardock's copy-protection is the most unintrusive copy protection ever

Think about it. It doesn't install anything. It doesn't require you to put a CD in the drive, it doesn't even ask you for a cd-key to INSTALL or PLAY the game.

What it asks you for, is a CD-key to access update and extra content. A proof that you paid for the product and deserve to have access to goodies and product betterment.

What other kind of copy protection can be more un-intrusive AND efficient than that?
on Mar 12, 2006
Maybe some form of telekinesis detection? In which you register you mental brain pattern .... ok, stardock's solution is best.
on Mar 12, 2006
Gah, that sucks, HARD. I knew about the digg article and wrote a blog about it, but I didn't know that the other copy protection people had done that. I've actually chosen NOT to buy games that had their copy protection. You can't tell them that, though, they'd just accuse you of being a warez kid. I think their assumption is that only theives complain.
on Mar 12, 2006
P.S. I note that Digg STILL hasn't removed the offending article. As far as I am concerned since the person that posted it admitted he fabricated the quote, he shouldn't have the right to post news to their site.

I keep seeing people say Digg is supposed to be the Next Big Thing, but if they keep putting their bullshit cold-fusion, perpetual motion, 'here's where to get warez' crap on there, it's just going to be the retarded cousin of slashdot. Their concept is flawed if they think they can be reputable and let the unwashed masses decide what's on their front page. They'll just have a day of reckoning like Wikipedia has about once a month.
on Mar 12, 2006
I agree the amount of game piracy is overblown by the copy protection industry. They count every pirated copy of a game, as a lost sale. Truthfully only a very small percentage of pirated software users would have bought the game legitimately. I bet if they had to reimburse game developers for lost sales due to their copy protection being circumvented they would admit that there lost revenue estimates were misleading.
on Mar 13, 2006
P.S. I note that Digg STILL hasn't removed the offending article. As far as I am concerned since the person that posted it admitted he fabricated the quote, he shouldn't have the right to post news to their site.


Digg isn't very good at removing offending articles actually. Their system isn't as good as Slashdot.

Digg tends to be more youth orientated and quick to say stuff that is catchy; not truthful.

It wasn't always like that, but I hope with some of the new features (and maybe some new attitudes) things will change.




I never played GalCiv, but now even I WANT TO BUY IT.

Anyway, I think the big story here is that Starforce linked to a warez site AND inadvertantly showed games that were supposedly protected by Starforce on the site in question along with StarDock's game!!!

They basically prooved nothing with the link other than people pirate games that have and don't have copy protection.

LMAO!!!
on Mar 13, 2006
Draginol, you should put this on the front page of JoeUser when it comes back on line fully... sometime next week! lol I would love to see the statistics on how many people wanted to come to the sites.

Knowing you, you''ll post that. Lets hope the front page news doesn't get 'The Digg Effect'. Better have those new servers ready.




I wonder if their will be a win-fall for WinCustomize??? More Subscriptions?
on Mar 13, 2006
Link

Another blogger picked it up... I think this will be in the internet news for a while.
on Mar 13, 2006

Just so you know, I will not buy a copy of any game that uses starforce ever.  Even if its a great game, forget it.  I have had issues with thier copy protection. Issues that were never resolved.  I was informed on one occasion after I sent the email and got a response that no such email or response were ever received.  I will never deal with those people again.

on Mar 14, 2006
Stardock also uses a kind of copy protection.
"Mutual Respect" for lack of a better word.

They respect their customers enough to not implement any copywrong measures on their software, and as a result their customers respect them enough to
a) Tell other people to buy it
Tell their pirate friends to buy it after they've tried it
c) Advocate it

In short: Stardock is not AGAINST Copy Protection, they are using the best protection there is.