Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on March 10, 2008 By Draginol In GalCiv Journals

Recently there has been a lot of talk about how piracy affects PC gaming. And if you listen to game developers, it apparently is a foregone conclusion - if a high quality PC game doesn't sell as many copies as it should, it must be because of piracy.

Now, I don't like piracy at all. It really bugs me when I see my game up on some torrent site just on the principle of the matter. And piracy certainly does cost sales.  But arguing that piracy is the primary factor in lower sales of well made games? I don't think so. People who never buy software aren't lost sales.

Is it about business or glory?

Most people who know of Stardock in the gaming world think of it as a tiny indie shop. And we certainly are tiny in terms of game development. But in the desktop enhancement market, Stardock owns that market and it's a market with many millions of users. According to CNET, 6 of the top 10 most popular desktop enhancements are developed by Stardock.  Our most popular desktop enhancement, WindowBlinds, has almost 14 million downloads just on We have over a million registered users.

If you want to talk about piracy, talk about desktop enhancements. The piracy on that is huge.  But the question isn't about piracy. It's about sales

So here is the deal: When you develop for a market, you don't go by the user base. You go by the potential customer base.  That's what most software companies do. They base what they want to create on the size of the market they're developing for. But not PC game developers.

PC game developers seem to focus more on the "cool" factor. What game can they make that will get them glory with the game magazines and gaming websites and hard core gamers? These days, it seems like game developers want to be like rock stars more than businessmen.  I've never considered myself a real game developer. I'm a gamer who happens to know how to code and also happens to be reasonably good at business.

So when I make a game, I focus on making games that I think will be the most profitable. As a gamer, I like most games.  I love Bioshock. I think the Orange Box is one of the best gaming deals ever. I love Company of Heroes and Oblivion was captivating.  My two favorite games of all time are Civilization (I, II, III, and IV) and Total Annihilation. And I won't even get into the hours lost in WoW.  Heck, I even like The Sims. 

So when it comes time to make a game, I don't have a hard time thinking of a game I'd like to play. The hard part is coming up with a game that we can actually make that will be profitable.  And that means looking at the market as a business not about trying to be "cool".

Making games for customers versus making games for users

So even though Galactic Civilizations II sold 300,000 copies making 8 digits in revenue on a budget of less than $1 million, it's still largely off the radar. I practically have to agree to mow editors lawns to get coverage. And you should see Jeff Green's (Games for Windows) yard. I still can't find my hedge trimmers.

Another game that has been off the radar until recently was Sins of a Solar Empire. With a small budget, it has already sold about 200,000 copies in the first month of release. It's the highest rated PC game of 2008 and probably the best selling 2008 PC title.  Neither of these titles have CD copy protection.

And yet we don't get nearly the attention of other PC games. Lack of marketing on our part? We bang on the doors for coverage as next as the next shop. Lack of advertising? Open up your favorite PC game publication for the past few months and take note of all the 2 page spreads for Sins of a Solar Empire. So we certainly try. 

But we still don't get the editorial buzz that some of the big name titles do because our genre isn't considered as "cool" as other genres.  Imagine what our sales would be if our games had gotten game magazine covers and just massive editorial coverage like some of the big name games get.  I don't want to suggest we get treated poorly by game magazine and web sites (not just because I fear them -- which I do), we got good preview coverage on Sins, just not the same level as one of the "mega" titles would get. Hard core gamers have different tastes in games than the mainstream PC gaming market of game buyers. Remember Roller Coaster Tycoon? Heck, how much buzz does The Sims get in terms of editorial when compared to its popularity. Those things just aren't that cool to the hard core gaming crowd that everything seems geared toward despite the fact that they're not the ones buying most of the games.

I won't even mention some of the big name PC titles that GalCiv and Sins have outsold.  There's plenty of PC games that have gotten dedicated covers that haven't sold as well.  So why is that?

Our games sell well for three reasons.  First, they're good games which is a pre-requisite. But there's lots of great games that don't sell well.

The other two reasons are:

  • Our games work on a very wide variety of hardware configurations.
  • Our games target genres with the largest customer bases per cost to produce for.


We also don't make games targeting the Chinese market

When you make a game for a target market, you have to look at how many people will actually buy your game combined with how much it will cost to make a game for that target market. What good is a large number of users if they're not going to buy your game? And what good is a market where the minimal commitment to make a game for it is $10 million if the target audience isn't likely to pay for the game?

If the target demographic for your game is full of pirates who won't buy your game, then why support them? That's one of the things I have a hard time understanding.  It's irrelevant how many people will play your game (if you're in the business of selling games that is). It's only relevant how many people are likely to buy your game.

Stardock doesn't make games targeting the Chinese market. If we spent $10 million on a PC game explicitly for the Chinese market and we lost our shirts, would you really feel that much sympathy for us? Or would you think "Duh."


You need a machine how fast?

Anyone who keeps track of how many PCs the "Gamer PC" vendors sell each year could tell you that it's insane to develop a game explicitly for hard core gamers.  Insane.  I think people would be shocked to find out how few hard core gamers there really are out there. This data is available. The number of high end graphics cards sold each year isn't a trade secret (in some cases you may have to get an NDA but if you're a partner you can find out). So why are companies making games that require them to sell to 15% of a given market to be profitable? In what other market do companies do that? In other software markets, getting 1% of the target market is considered good.  If you need to sell 500,000 of your game to break even and your game requires Pixel Shader 3 to not look like crap or play like crap, do you you really think that there are 50 MILLION PC users with Pixel Shader 3 capable machines who a) play games and will actually buy your game if a pirated version is available?

In our case, we make games that target the widest possible audience as long as as we can still deliver the gaming experience we set out to.  Anyone who's looked at the graphics in Sins of a Solar Empire would, I think, agree that the graphics are pretty phenomenal (particularly space battles).  But could they be even fancier? Sure. But only if we degraded the gaming experience for the largest chunk of people who buy games.


The problem with blaming piracy

I don't want anyone to walk away from this article thinking I am poo-pooing the effect of piracy.  I'm not.  I definitely feel for game developers who want to make kick ass PC games who see their efforts diminished by a bunch of greedy pirates.  I just don't count pirates in the first place.  If you're a pirate, you don't get a vote on what gets made -- or you shouldn't if the company in question is trying to make a profit. 

The reason why we don't put CD copy protection on our games isn't because we're nice guys. We do it because the people who actually buy games don't like to mess with it. Our customers make the rules, not the pirates. Pirates don't count. We know our customers could pirate our games if they want but choose to support our efforts. So we return the favor - we make the games they want and deliver them how they want it. This is also known as operating like every other industry outside the PC game industry.

One of the jokes I've seen in the desktop enhancement market is how "ugly" WindowBlinds skins are (though there are plenty of awesome ones too). But the thing is, the people who buy WindowBlinds tend to like a different style of skin than the people who would never buy it in the first place.  Natural selection, so to speak, over many years has created a number of styles that seem to be unique to people who actually buy WindowBlinds.  That's the problem with piracy.  What gets made targets people who buy it, not the people who would never buy it in the first place. When someone complains about "fat borders" on some popular WindowBlinds skin my question is always "Would you buy WindowBlinds even if there was a perfect skin for you?" and the answer is inevitably "Probably not". That's how it works in every market -- the people who buy stuff call the shots.  Only in the PC game market are the people who pirate stuff still getting the overwhelming percentage of development resources and editorial support.

When you blame piracy for disappointing sales, you tend to tar the entire market with a broad brush.  Piracy isn't evenly distributed in the PC gaming market. And there are far more effective ways of getting people who might buy your product to buy it without inconveniencing them.

Blaming piracy is easy. But it hides other underlying causes.  When Sins popped up as the #1 best selling game at retail a couple weeks ago, a game that has no copy protect whatsoever, that should tell you that piracy is not the primary issue.

In the end, the pirates hurt themselves. PC game developers will either slowly migrate to making games that cater to the people who buy PC games or they'll move to platforms where people are more inclined to buy games.

In the meantime, if you want to make profitable PC games, I'd recommend focusing more effort on satisfying the people willing to spend money on your product and less effort on making what others perceive as hot.  But then again, I don't romanticize PC game development. I just want to play cool games and make a profit on games that I work on.

Comments (Page 15)
on May 09, 2008
Personally, I am a video game pirate. I use noCD cracks, I install from ISO's, anyway you look at it I am a bad bad person. Of course, lets ignore the fact that all of those ISO's are for games I own. Regardless I'm doing something naughty that some people thing is wrong.

Why? Because installing from ISO's is faster (and quieter), the noCD cracks mean I don't need to cart around my game collection with me just because I fancy firing up on the train, plane or friends house. Yep, laptop gamer. Linux laptop gamer to be exact. Ohh and just a little thing, minor really (doesn't apply here but hey), but you know best mention it. I GOT REALLY HACKED OFF BEING TREATED LIKE A GOD DAMN THIEF! I BROUGHT THE SODDING THING SO WHY SHOULD I PUT UP WITH A SHODDIER EXPERIENCE THAN SOMEONE WHO RIPPED YOU OFF? HELL. NO.

I agree with the comments about it being the publishing houses killing off PC games. Look, I understand that console gamers are really impressed with 'uber l33t graphics' but personally I'm not. Here are the 'jaw drop' moments that spring to my mind:

Unreal, dropping out the Vortex Rikers in to the open area, the birds squark and Shared Dig starts playing. Boom, the original 'look at me ma' upon which every other bloody FPS has copied to a degree.
Homeworld 2, the hyperspace core intro.

That's IT. I've played Doom 3, HL2, Quake 4 and so on and so forth. They're in their boxes or sat on my steam list all uninstalled. Now STEEM (Atari emulator) and Deuteros have been on my system for a long time, so's Neverwinter Nights. Simple little games or games with plots and storyline keep me trucking, stock FPS's are throw away titles for me.

I'd also like to add that stores have a lot to answer for. Did you know I couldn't buy games locally? Not one single store in my area (including, ASDA, Tesco, GAME and so on) stock PC games. If you aren't selling it... how can I buy it?

But yeah, blame little old me for the death of the PC gaming industry, I just don't want MY game phoning home, spinning my laptops DVD drive needlessly or rampaging around my WINE install causing problems. But that's cool gaming industry, blame me, I'll just stop buying your crap (and consequently downloading a backup thereof obviously) and watch you burn.
on May 09, 2008
Linux laptop gamer to be exact.

What games do you have? Why not play the games in Windows?

the noCD cracks mean I don't need to cart around my game collection with me just because I fancy firing up on the train, plane or friends house.

This is why I like Stardock Central and Steam. I think they show where gaming is going in the future.

Look, I understand that console gamers are really impressed with 'uber l33t graphics' but personally I'm not.

Same here. I'm not impressed with the consoles' graphics. When I first saw a demo of a game on a 360 in a store, it had zero antialiasing and frankly it looked no better than Half-Life 2. I was getting better graphics with antialiasing with my GeForce 6800. Frankly, that's unacceptable. Maybe today's games look better and turn on AA, but it's too late now. I've been upgrading my computer fairly regularly, and my current computer is more powerful than any Xbox 360 by any standard you care to use. That's one of the largest disadvantages of consoles: Their technology is static, so they get outdated quickly. You can't just keep upgrading them with new technologies like you can a PC.

Unreal, dropping out the Vortex Rikers in to the open area, the birds squark and Shared Dig starts playing. Boom, the original 'look at me ma' upon which every other bloody FPS has copied to a degree.
Homeworld 2, the hyperspace core intro.

Never played Unreal single player, but I've played Homeworld 2, and it's very impressive. One of the things you get when playing either of the Homeworld games is an enormous sense of scale. Lots of things in Homeworld are aboslutely mind boggling. There are structures that are many AUs, perhaps even light hours, large. So large that it's part of the background texture - a background that wraps around the player.

Did you know I couldn't buy games locally? Not one single store in my area (including, ASDA, Tesco, GAME and so on) stock PC games. If you aren't selling it... how can I buy it?

Totally agreed. With the exception of Wal-Mart, I can't really find a PC game in the game stores anymore. Well, I've got news for them: If they won't sell me any PC games, I'm not buying anything from them. Period. I'll just buy games direct from the publisher, or through Steam or Stardock Central. They certainly are not going to get my money, no matter how convenient they are.


That's the problem with not just game DRM, but DRM in general: You're treated as a thief, unless you go to great lengths to prove otherwise. DRM completely ignores any exceptions in copyright law, and even enforces things that are not a part of any law anywhere. DVD regions come to mind: There are no laws anywhere giving companies the right to create artificial barriers between nations, yet they do it.

DRM is not enforcing any known laws: DRM is creating its own laws.
on May 19, 2008
i have had some problems with lost CD keys but the main problem for me is that the support from some companies (EA) that when combined witht the bugs drive me insane. With 2142 i have had to re install it and northen strick 3 times because ive needed to pach it, it drives me mad to need to re install the game to patch it and to get NS running first time i had to cleen install, pach to 1.5, install NS then patch to 1.6 to get the game to work. I have the same problem with CnC3 and its endless buggy parches that make the online unplayable every other patch. The only PC companies i like now are Relic, massive and Stardock as they have games that work when i install them instead of wasting my tiem trawling formusm to find solutions to problems as they are too cheep to have decent customer support that helps instead of just saying keep reinstalling it!!!
on May 21, 2008
Every developer deserves to be compensated fairly for their hard work, but you folks seemed to have gone above and beyond to provide ridiculous value. Expansions that are like complete new games in their own right, massive support through patches, seeking out user feedback, and above all making a terribly engrossing, finely-crafted game with amazing replayability.

I already had a cracked copy of DA 1.8, but as we speak I'm waiting for the digital download of the Ultimate Bundle to finish. Definitely $60 well spent.
on May 25, 2008
A bit off topic but, I'd like to see what Stardock could do with a sports game like hockey that EA has managed to mess up for the pc for the last five years or so.
on Jun 02, 2008
I think you are right on the money with this post, and I think that some other game developers would do well to stand up and take notice.

There seems to be an assumption in the game industry that the formula for money you lost to copyright infringement is simple: L = N * S where L is your loss in dollars, N is the number of copies downloaded and S is the price you sell it at. Using this, you get these staggering figures for how much you are losing. Oh my goodness, we are losing $100,000,000 to downloading on one title! A title that made only $20,000,000! Clearly if we could just stop that we'd be rich!

Of course, reality isn't so simple. It's more alone the lines of L = N * S * P where P is the percentage of people who would have bought it had they not been able to download it. There isn't any way to measure P, but it is going to be a hell of a lot smaller than most companies seem to think. Most people would simply do without.

Then of course there is the fact that you've noted that people don't like copy protection, so you can actually lose sales. For example I won't buy any game protected by TAGES. Reason being is it hates my system. I'm not sure why, I don't have any virtual drive programs or the like (though in my opinion that should be my own business) but it simply doesn't like my drive. Ok, fine, you don't want to run, I don't want to give you my money. There are plenty of other games out there.

There's also the cost of the protection itself to consider. I've never looked in to copy protection schemes, but I am 100% certain they aren't free. Macrovision, et al. are in it to make money. As such there is a non-trivial cost just to protecting your game, even if you assume it costs you no lost sales.

It seems to just be a matter of faith that you make more money by copy protecting games, which is something I really wish companies would actually do some research on. I have a feeling it is probably not nearly so cut and dried. After all, a visit to any torrent site shows that you can get an illegal version of anything you want. Disc copy protection, dongles, challenge-response, none of it does a bit of good, it's all been cracked. So it is pretty clear people can download games if they want. Thus it seems that protecting it may do nothing at best, or perhaps even worse than nothing.

So I'm glad to see that this is working out for you, and I hope you continue on as you have. Maybe others in the industry will start to take note and spend less time worrying about if people can copy a game and more time worrying about making a game people are willing to pay for.
on Jun 15, 2008
After dealing with the stupidity of Mass Effect PC's DRM nonsense, I managed to come across this article.

I'd just like to let you guys at Stardock know that it inspired me to such a degree that I decided to take a break from Sins and start up GalCiv2 and buy Twilight of Arnor.

I love you guys.
on Jun 25, 2008
This article was just brought to my attention and I've got to say: Finally someone in the gaming industry realized that customers don't like being treated as criminals. Thank you! I love your attitude.

Too bad I never really liked RTS, or I might just be buying Sins of a Solar Empire right now. I'm more of a turn-based strategy player (love the Civilization series too. and Alpha Centauri, and Master of Orion...). I'll be sure to take a closer look at Galactic Civilizations 2 though - still have to read a decent review about that and decide whether to get it with or without the expansion(s). I'll also be looking out for future game titles from Stardock from now on.
on Jun 25, 2008
Let's get cracking

The fascinating story of how software piracy became an art form

Words: Pavel Barter, PC Zone UK

Let’s say, just for argument’s sake, that you happen upon a hacked version of a PC game and run installer.exe. To the plonky sounds of synth music you might read, “Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 (c) Aspyr. Enjoy another nice game from your friends at Class.” After that, you open the accompanying .nfo text file. Beneath an ASCII art graphic, you read details about how the game was ripped, and a ‘help wanted’ section, seeking partners in crime like suppliers, distributors, and the elite of videogame lawbreakers: crackers.

Back in the day, cracker groups were borderline famous. With names like Criminal Disguise, X-Static, G-Force, Now5 and Automation, they sounded like south London grime crews - but instead of laying down ‘wicked rhymes’, these posses gouged out the guts of PC games, wedged a few personal mementos inside, then sewed them back up again. Some pirates have little more than mischief in mind you see, in stark contrast to their public image of morally repugnant individuals who somehow manage to fund terrorism.

“There is a strong social aspect to the cracking scene,” says Ben Garrett, who runs, a site dedicated to the computer underground counterculture. “It’s part of the reason why people contribute so much time, effort, even money into their various roles and why they often find it hard to detach from it. Today’s scene is nowhere near as social as it was in the ’90s and ’80s. Back then, consumer piracy was a civil, not a criminal issue and the risks and paranoia just weren’t there.”

In fact, home piracy began in 1975 with the first commercial program for a microcomputer: Microsoft’s Altair BASIC. “Most users of this now legendary system were hobbyists who actively encouraged the copying and sharing of programming code,” says Garrett. Mass piracy wasn’t exactly a burning issue, though, since cassette games deteriorated after each copy. In 1978, Apple’s Disk II floppy disk drive changed all that, and software publishers, seeing a fleet of marauding brigands on the horizon, hurriedly introduced copy protection.

Ironically, it was the challenge of figuring out how the copy protection worked, and how it might be disabled, that spawned the cracker scene. These proto-pirates left their mark, like dogs peeing on lampposts, in the form of colourful introduction scenes: crack intros or ‘cracktros’. “Being a cracker soon became a source of pride, and the best names were known worldwide,” says Tamas Polgar, author of FREAX - The Brief History of the Demoscene, a book about the history of cracking.

By the mid ’80s - the time of the Amiga and the Commodore 64 - crackers were organised into large crews that could distribute their wares without much difficulty. Europeans mostly spread their releases by mail, while Americans used modems and bulletin board systems (BBS) because of cheaper phone rates in the US. This resulted in a serious division in standards, explains Polgar. “European crackers achieved a higher quality because they had time to get the original software in the morning, work on the crack all the day, let the C64 compress it during the night, and mail it the next morning. American crackers did not have time. They had to do it quick, and sometimes dirty, because the competition could upload work to a BBS at any time.”

Today, speed and quality remain the main areas of competition among cracker crews: “Pirate scenes have always been highly competitive,” continues Garrett. “It’s competition, not free software, that is often the driving motivation for top pirates. Over the years the computer systems, participants and group names change, but the goal is always the same: to release the product in an acceptable form and to do so before anyone else.”

During the height of the cracktro era, the scene split into two groups: pirates proliferated warez, while demoscene programmers stayed on the right side of the law. These cracker cousins use game graphics, animation and music to create non-interactive videos, running in real time on PCs - art gallery cracktros, in essence. “A demogroup is usually made of a programmer, a graphic designer, a musician and a 3D and 2D animator,” says Stephanie Cornilleau from

“People confusing the demoscene with warez are mostly journalists,” she continues. “To the games industry, the demoscene is a fishpond of creative and technically talented people. There’s no bad feeling between us and the industry.” Sure enough, development studios often recruit visual effects programmers from the scene. Will Wright has cited the scene as a major inspiration for Spore, and the team behind Max Payne are reportedly former scenesters. Demogroups get together at an annual bash in Germany, where the Awards hand out prizes to the best demos of the year. “The demoscene has its codes, its rules, its stars and as a result, its history,” says Cornilleau.

These arty crackers have evolved over time, and now create demos on platforms like mobile phones and iPods, as well as old-school emulators like the ZX Spectrum. But while the demoscene has become a shining example of new media art, piracy has turned all seedy. In the ’90s, BBS gave way to the internet, which revolutionised cracker communications. “The downside was that it exposed many more people to what was previously a little-known activity,” says Garrett. “Many people, often kids who couldn’t join a top-tier group, would start their own group, releasing products of dubious quality that other people wouldn’t touch. There was a surge in quantity and a decline in quality.”

Furthermore, game piracy became a massive legal and moral issue. Law enforcement bodies like the FBI started hounding down and locking up pirates, while gamers became genuinely concerned that piracy could lead to the downfall of the PC game industry. Despite all these concerns, however, the irony is that the cracking scene itself has hardly changed. “The groups who crack, package and release titles have nothing to do with the seedy sites that populate the internet,” says Garrett. “Groups who release titles, release for themselves and for their inner circle. The filtering down of releases onto peer-to-peer networks, websites and into the general population is probably an unfortunate consequence. The problem is not that piracy or the scene has gone dirty, cheap and commercial, but rather that piracy has finally been exposed to the greater world.”

Jun 9, 2008

the reference link to this article is

on Jun 25, 2008
Good article elias001 ! That article presents what is an unpopular view, and many interpret it as supporting or "glamorising crackers". It is in fact an intelligent, well written article on the problem.

Be absolutely clear - Crystal Clear - give me an anti-cracker ray-gun, and I will fire it without hesitation at any Cracker in range without warning.

To a Hacker, I will probably add "stop or I fire", as there is a world of difference between a Hacker and a Cracker. Even that article got the two genres mixed up at one point. A Hacker has no intent to cause damage, their sole motivation is being able to quietly go in where they shouldnt, sometimes leave a polite calling card. More often they dont leave the calling card, as the "Kudos" end of the equation is showing they can go in and out whenever they want without anyone knowing they are there.

"I beat the system" is the Hacker's driver, "I destroyed them" is the Crackers driver. Niether is acceptable behaviour, but nonetheless, there is a clear and important difference. Many who are today called (or claim to be) Crackers, are in fact Hackers. Its important because if you end up dealing with these people, you need to know which one you are pushing back on, get it wrong and you can make the situation worse.

Three years ago, at the end of a long saga, a couple of us went on line to meet up with a very well known Leading Hacker in the Hacker underground, who had been causing grief on a family orientated Site. The Site had a certain public notoriety to it, so it had become a "Kudos" target for Hackers. We explained the end result of what he was doing and the effects on people who just wanted to come on line and have a bit of fun, and asked "why?" - pretty much got the "Kudos" reply in return.

However, during the ensuing conversation he suddenly pulled up short, asking "say that again?", and we explained a particular type of attack that was going on - "thats not me...." he replied, and got very annoyed. It turned out that one of his Bots had been abused by a teenage "wannabie", and it was causing us immense grief, and the wannabie was in this guys Hacker Group. The wannabie was a serious problem causing serious damage, the Hacker we were speaking to was doing it for "Fun" causing little damage but being annoying ("Fun" is a relative term in these circumstances).

He flipped, went off line, and we heard nothing for about a week. Then the attacks stopped.

It turned out he had become very angry at the abuse of his Bot by this wannabie, a Bot which he had originally written. "Their Code of behaviour" had been broken, and he had legged it to sort out this other guy, which it transpired happened not only by his hand, but also by the rest of that particular Hacker Group. They were outraged at the effects this wannabie clown had been causing, as it reflected badly on their underground reputation as a Hacker group.

Does it excuse the behaviours of "polite hackers"? Of course not, but by the same token its important to understand who we are dealing with in incidents, get it wrong, and we apply the wrong solutions, causing even more issues. Emotional popularist responses to Hacking/Cracking does not cut it as a solution - it makes it worse.

on Jun 25, 2008
"Pirated" copies/downloads ARE NOT Potential Buyers most people that download Pirated software are not after just that one game, they download a bunch of games hello!! if they can get it for free then why not?? maybe only one out of 5 games they would of actually bought!. So out of the "Pirated" customers of the product I would say maybe 10% would of actually bought the game lets admit it we would all try something for free if it was just a click of a button away.....

Not too many piraters just
Out of a games population base less than 10% is pirated software. Soo you can just not worry about them or have the next poss. situation plus inconvenice..

Having it as DVD, most likely probably within a year n half there will be some damaged dvds thus making some peoples game unplayable and after that long they wont spend money on the game again just to have it.

You don't need evidence to support my claims but I am basing my claims off my experience in multiplayer games the past 12 years going back to the original warcraft!

Forgot!! also... Making something downloadable like this game cuts costs well in half of making the overall product comparied to putting it on a shelf.
Lets put it this way......
$2 shipping (be in a box with a bunch others)
$7 to make the case/dvd/box/manual
and as a customer with high gas prices average trip to go pick the game up.. is $2 in gas(we can argue about it if you want even if you live a mile away fromt the store worst thing for your gas is doing short trips then nothing most of the gas is spent heating your engine up more than driving it during the first few miles.)

So right there spending that 12 bucks spent is a difference between someone that can afford to spend $40 for a game vs $52+. Ive stayed with pc so long myself due to the price tags of everything on x-box 360.
on Jun 25, 2008
Ahem! The very few statistical studies checking sales against disabled illegal copies show that it's around a thousand to one for sales.
on Jun 28, 2008
They release games that have ridiculously high system specs despite the fact that most people own mid to low range pcs.Just an example that they are targeting that tiny fraction of the market which is the hardcore gamers section.
From original post:Our games work on a very wide variety of hardware configurations. This is what's called targeting the largest potential market, why do you think WoW was designed to run on a wide range of PC configurations.
In contrast, consoles are easy. Pop in the disk and off you go. Maybe some patching will happen, but you're not dealing with file directories and mucking around. the hardware is the hardware and it's all sight unseen. With what a mess a lot of games for PC are released in, is it any wonder people are fleeing PCs?I don't agree here, consoles are junk (my personal opinion), not least the limited interface, and the singular purpose, gaming!The reason many prefer the PC is that is has other uses as well, not just gaming, but it's basically a shiny tool box with a lot of different uses. If you have a PC, you don't NEED a console!If you have a console you MAY NEED a PC!The reason consoles are becoming a huge potential market, is that a lot of people buy them for their kids, just buy the box, hook it to the TV and you know it's the thing the kid wanted, because they tried this "fantastic" game at a mates place. Console releases tend to be many, stream lined, too much alike, and there is not really anything new in any of them except for better graphics, new special moves, or smashing effects. In short the games for consoles are all covering the same few themes just in different wrappings.

and because consoles are so weak and ineffective you KNOW little timmy isn't gonna be surfing the internet on it or getting something else that is suspect. You buy X games and thats all he can play with. It is the ultimate in parental control.
Although I prefer parental supervision, i have yet to have any kids, so I cant tell..

on Jul 06, 2008
This post is going to get me flamed, possibly get my account locked, get people trying to email me to tell me how much of a "********ing ****** mother******" they think I am.

Here goes:

Right now, I'm downloading Sins of a Solar Empire via *************. I stumbled upon this topic while googling for a review, or preview of the game's content. The truth is, no matter how pretty, or fancy, or fun, or epic a game's content may be, you never really know whether or not you will like the game. I don't have alot of time to play games. I don't have alot of money to buy them. What I find is that there's about 20 of over 200 PC/console game titles I that I bought and purchased legally (at a time when I could afford that shit) that I don't regret buying. That puts me at about (180x20 $3600 of software that sits in the original box on a shelf, and will sit there until I decide to have a yard sale or wholesale it out on E-bay.

Many of these titles were half-assed, high-budget, rushed development titles that bore the name of another title I love to death. (take, for example, Resident Evil: Dead Aim... What a piece of crap...) Of all the games that get sold, there are still only a few that can be considered "best of all time". Of course, after having bought Final Fantasy X, I realized it's probably a good thing I didn't buy it until 4 years after its release. Originally, I pirated Morrowind and Oblivion, NOW, these are legitimately owned titles that sit on my desk instead of the shelf. Diablo II, now played out. I own 3 copies (I had alot of not-so-financially fortunate friends.)

So, here we sit, looking at gaming magazines I see all this hype about Mass Effect. It sounds like a game I'd buy, if only I could afford a $2000 custom gaming rig. (I know, "you got to know where to buy it..." ...shutup...

If only I could have reversed all those regrettable gaming purchases, maybe I'd have a nice PC. But I can't.

Ahh. Here's a solution. I can download it, try it, get more than a few levels out of it, not have to worry about "Only in full version" nagging screens. I can see the full product without having it sit on my bookshelf for the next ten years because I discovered that it sucks ass.


If I find I like this game, I'll get my own copy. Every time I burn a pirated copy of a game, every time I spend ten extra minutes installing a game to copy *game*.exe to the Program Files directory. Every time I have to waste a half an hour looking for a cd key... It sucks. I don't like looking for a blank DVD with 'DOOM 3' handwritten on top (By the way, Doom 1,2, and 3 sit on my desk in their legitmately bought cases). I like to open up a box, and bend the disc like crazy trying to pull it out of a brand new box, look at the instruction manual, and be able to say, "I own it".

I'm not a pirate because I'm a cheap ****ing prick bastard trying to get something for nothing. I'm trying not to waste my money on cheap ****ing bullshit game titles because I saw a commercial showing a bunch of crap cinematic footage that, in no way whatsoever represents the actual game content. If I find that this game is a must own title, I'll buy it. If I don't like it, it'll get tossed with the yearly 'coasters'.

I've learned already, after 15 years of gaming, if I'm not sure if I'll like it or not, I won't buy it. I didn't buy Halo 3, and I probably won't (I didn't bother downloading it either). Meanwhile, I've got a high-speed, high-ping connection to the internet. I can't use it much for online gaming, but I'm not gonna let the bandwidth go to waste.

Another thing: WoW sounds like fun. I'm boycotting 'monthly fee' MMORPGS.
What the **** happened with
Diablo III's probably gonna be the same way...
I own a legitimate copy of Guild Wars, (I think you pretty much have to...)

Oh, shit. File part #6 isn't available to download anymore... Looks like I gotta try again somewhere else. Maybe I should just buy it before I try it... Nah, **** that.
on Jul 06, 2008

Please keep the language usage to PG-13. There are kids as well as parents reading this forum at anytime.

Thanks for the understanding.
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