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 Download.com. 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 2)
on Mar 11, 2008
I love my PC. I built it with my own hands; i installed the hardware and the software and got it to work and ironed out the kinks and the problems with pure and utter work. I bought everything out of my own freaking wallet using money from mowing lawns and picking up horse crap (i live on a ranch). I made this computer to play some serious games, and it does. Crysis, all high, dx9, 40fps. So to hear that PC gaming is in such a state of disrepair just....hurts me. Go to IGN.com and read the article about Tim Sweeny, CEO of Epic Games (Gears of War, Unreal). He basically dogs on the PC becasue it can't keep up with consoles and says it is not good for gaming.

Well, i disagree, obviously. Lets say i was playing some shooter my Xbox 360 (and i do have one), it doesnt really matter which shooter, just a shooter. As i am playing, i continually get annoyed because the AK-47 does less damage than the damn 9mm Beretta handgun. I am forced to bear it because i can't do crap. Now lets say i was playing the same game on the PC. I notice the gun problem and it annoys me so i go delve into the program files and probably find some .txt file in which i can go ahead and change the amount of damage the Ak does to my liking. And if i dont find a .txt file? Well there is probably an SDK out there that will let me change the stats on the gun, and it will let me change the gun alltogether if i so please. And taking this further, there is probably 500 mods out there somewhere that got to it before i did and make the game more balanced. This is just one example of how great gaming is on a PC compared to a console. Another is graphics. Yes, consoles may have a monopoly of new graphics options that run very well, but lets say they dont run very well. For example, Mass Effect, a very popular and widely loved game. hell, even i adore that game. Well, needless to say, that game has some serious framerate and texture pop-in issues. I bet anyone anything that it will run ten times better on my PC than it does on the xbox.

Speaking of Mass Effect and technical problems, i think its about time that game developers everywhere finally realized that graphics DONT FREAKING SELL GAMES!!! They impress people, and make people go ooooohhh and aaaaahhhh but then go, DAMN, THIS FRAME RATE WON'T STAY ABOVE 15 AND I CANT PLAY SO PC GAMING MUST SUCK!!! Well the PC is not the only machine that shows that graphics arent everything. Look no farther than the Wii people. The graphics on the Wii have nothing on the Xbox 360 or PS3 or Computer, yet people buy the damn little white box because...i know this may sound strange.....ITS FUN!!

This can be directly related to Stardock's opinions stated above. Sins sold, not because the graphics were absolutely awe inspiring, but simply because it was no-sh*t impossibly, amazing, inexorably fun and it still is after probably a few hundred hours of play and will be for years, i am sure.

And concerning Pirates, well, Stardock has it right on the ball and everyone knows that so i am not going to waste time talking about it.

So, basically what i am going on about, is that Stardock is right, again, for the tenth time concerning pirates and gaming graphics related to selling games. I honesty feel that the folks over at Stardock and Ironclad need to write a book or guide called "HOW TO SELL COMPUTER GAMES FOR DUMMIES" because they seem to be the only smart commpanies in the video gaming industry, which is a freaking vast sea of dummies and bad business decisions. So go you Stardock and Ironclad. I will never pirate your games (nor any game for that matter). But i will make damn sure to buy anything you throw into the market simply becasue i like you. You truly are the steven spielberg of video games.
on Mar 11, 2008
And I won't even get into the hours lost in WoW.


Yes lets all sweep that under the carpet and just forget it EVER happened...

Back on topic... whenever I read rants about piracy the thought always crosses my mind "adapt or die." Blizzard adapted. So, in my opinion, has Sins. All my best it's a great game you've made. Happy to buy the download so you get every penny.

on Mar 11, 2008

Great post, Brad, but I'd just be repeating the conversation from the office with anything else I had to say.

One note to Uranium, though, as sort of a tangential conversation to the point of the article: comparing the aggregate review scores on multiplatform games is a pretty silly thing to do. Even if you took into account the varying number of reviews and sources that aggregate sites take into account, there's still the fact that, in some cases, completely different sites review games differently. That's not even taking into account the differing number of samples taken for each game; for instance, Bioshock for the PC (on GameRankings) had 59 reviews included in the overall score whereas the 360 one had almost double that number. And, in some cases, these review sites are comparing games across consoles/PCs where, in a lot of cases, the game was clearly designed with console gamers in mind. And then you have games like Halo 1 and Halo 2 where the PC port was an absolute abomination of otherwise enjoyable Xbox games.


Really, you can't use the aggregate score of games across platforms to determine whether or not PC gamers or console games are more critical of "quality." As a, primarily, PC gamer, I still enjoy console games and my choice of platform for certain games is purely dependent solely on which platform I feel like playing the game on. I would never play Command and Conquer 3 on the 360 just like I would never play Halo on a PC. And then when it comes to games like Call of Duty 4 I just make a choice based on which platform will have more of my friends playing it on (360 in this case) or whether or not playing the game on a couch is enough of a benefit to outweigh intrinsic PC benefits. My parents got me Oblivion and its expansion pack for my 360 after I had already played the PC game (though not anywhere near to its completion). After playing that game on my 360 for a while, I think it's the better of the two experiences. I miss the cornicopia of mods that I'm allowed access to on the PC but, at the same token, I would never use most of them and, for a very time-intensive, vast RPG I'd much rather sit at my couch after a long day of work sitting at a desk for a game like that.


Really, what it comes down to when you're talking about multiplatform games is: which platform, as a gamer, do you feel like buying the game for? There's no need to think of PCs and consoles like you do political parties or religions; it's easy to have a PC and a console. There are a great deal of features available to PC gamers and developers that could never be replicated on a closed gaming platform like the 360 or PS3 and PC games should accentuate these things. And, as can be seen from recent games, the games which appeal to PC gamers and are well-made, innovative, and, most importantly, fun are the games which will motivate customers to actually pay money for games instead of pirating them. Games like Sins of a Solar Empire, Galactic Civilizations 2, Orange Box (even if it was technically multiplatform, I still consider this a primarily-PC series), Civilization, World of Warcraft, Company of Heroes, and the forthcoming Starcraft 2 are all games which I'd consider uniquely PC games that embody the strengths of the platform.

on Mar 11, 2008
Well said Draginol. I have been saying this for years. Get rid of this insane copy protection, make a quality game, and gear it toward a wider market and you will do well. That isnt to say a company like EA doesnt rake in the dough with titles like the sims, but seriously, how many people actually pirate the sims? The "hard core gamers" are the only likely candidates. Most players of the sims are casual gamers (like my sister) and they each pay for every expansion that comes out. So why does EA put such stringent copy protection into their games? I have found that it annoys more people then it protects of their assets. Further, requiring a DVD/CD in the drive now a days when there are terabytes of ROM available is ludicrous. Many gamers play on laptops (including myself) and how many of them want to carry 16 disks around with them in order to play whatever they have a hankerin for at the moment? I, myself, am more of a hard core gamer then a casual gamer and I will play 6 or 7 different games at any given time. The ones I play most (sins of a solar empire, galactic civ 2, orange box, etc...) are all games that dont require disks in the drive to play. Many casual gamers will play 1 or 2 games at a time, but will get annoyed when their DVD drive isnt loading the game properly and it says, please insert disk, or the copy protection prevents the game from loading. This person bought the game for a reason: To play the game. Not to worry about whether it will load this time or not. And many of these companies (EA is notorious for) have extremely poor customer service. So when something does go wrong, the customer is up a creek without a dingy. I, personally, support companies like Ironclad and Stardock that produce games that are meant to be played with little hassle. I purchase what I can afford and promote the games I like to my friends. That isnt to say I dont purchase games like the sims, civ, or DoW, but the ones I get the most use out of are the ones that are the least hassle and best quality as well as avaible immediately. I do have one positive thing to say about piracy though. It has been nice in the past when there was no demo avaible and my system specs were borderline to test to see if a particular full version of a game would run and if it was decent. I have saved alot of money by not buying heavily advertised but poorly developed games. I have also found games that were all that they were said to be and I would delete the downloaded version within 24 hours and go out and buy it. I have bought all the games worth buying and let the ones that werent whither and die as they should. Companies need more accountability and piracy is one of the checks and balance systems available. I dont condone piracy as a form to get something in place of purchasing it. If the product is sound, fun, and reasonably priced, go out and buy it. Support those who made the quality product so that they can produce more. It's a simple concept really. In my view, aggressive advertising of a poorly made, buggy game with little support is just as bad as piracy, so any company that complains about piracy should make sure their product is worth the profit they are going for. -- edit -- I appologize for the lack of paragraphs. The darn system isnt letting me return. I'm not sure why, but anyway, Sorry.
on Mar 11, 2008
Okay, alright... I just have to ask... what games target the Chinese market?
on Mar 11, 2008
There's no need to think of PCs and consoles like you do political parties or religions; it's easy to have a PC and a console


As a, primarily, PC gamer, I still enjoy console games and my choice of platform for certain games is purely dependent solely on which platform I feel like playing the game on


I agree with you here. I have both an Xbox 360 and a great gaming computer. In fact, i use the same monitor and sound system for both and the Computer Case and 360 are inches from each other (I am considering modding them together in the same case). I sit in the same chair for both. For me, PC gaming just feels right. I like the feel of being right there close to the screen and i love the mouse for first person shooters. But i love my 360 as well, ESPECIALLY for games like Rock Band (proud expert drummer) and racing games like PGR3, or fighting games like Dead or Alive 4. These kinds of games just would not be right on PC. But, like 'mittens' said, the PC is just better all around for strategy games. And i enjoy computer based American RPG's because they generally have more depth and length to them and are more mature (The Witcher anyone?) as compared to those girly japanese console RPGs where teenage boys have the strength and will of Arnold Schwartzenegger x50 and seem more concerned with their spikey organge hair than acting like normal human beings (although Final Fantasy 7 is my favorite game of all time).

But for me the deciding factor that makes me angry to see PC dieing is that i enjoy first person shooters better on my PC. Half-Life was born on the PC and it should stay there. FEAR was also born on the PC and it should stay as well. I can go on about games like the Battlefield series, Doom 1-3, Call of Duty, and others but i would just make a fool of myself. Furthermore, there are some great games that just feel right on consoles, like Halo, which 'mittens' mentioned (even though i hate halo 3), and Gears of War, which doesnt feel right for me on the computer, and Dead Rising, or soon to be Fable 2. I just overall agree that both computer and consoles have their uses and neither of them should be allowed to die away because game developers don't know what they are doing.

So as i stated above in my other reply, developers need to pay attention to Stardock and Ironclad and learn a lesson. Piracy can't be blamed for everything. There are other factors at work that are killing the PC quicker.
on Mar 11, 2008
WOW does pretty damn well in china... I think it has like 2 mil in us, 2 mil in china...

The chinese government is now opening "gaming addiction clinics" to handle the loss of productivity, and anti social behavioral crippling the nation's youth.

As an MMO, wow is impractical to pirate (custom servers with broken and outdated content are the only way to play), so it makes sense for it to target china.

Honestly I think this article sugar coats the situation too much to try to talk sense to stupid members of the industry. Games don't sell because they are pure crap. Sins sells because its fun, not because its OMFG EYE CANDY on a 5000$ machine. 99% of people who "pirate" the game would have downloaded a demo / played it elsewhere before buying, and then not gotten the game because its not fun, buggy, and has system requirements that don't match.
on Mar 11, 2008

Smart man, that Brad Wardell.

I've certainly met many dumber...and not too many who'd be cleverer....

Yes, treating the potential customer-base  correctly is what it's all about.

Treat 'em well and you'll be rewarded.  Presume they're all evil warez-users and you're in for a lonely time.  One of my fave games is GTR ....horribly protected via rootkit.  Fortunately Simbin got it 'right' [or better] with GTR2...at least it does NOT install what probably classifies as the ultimate low-point for PC Game copy protection.  Since GTR2's release I have hardly run GTR....simply for that reason....

on Mar 11, 2008
99% of people who "pirate" the game would have downloaded a demo / played it elsewhere before buying, and then not gotten the game because its not fun, buggy, and has system requirements that don't match.


As a professor of mine always asks when we toss out warrants:

What evidence do you have to support your claim?
on Mar 11, 2008

I think something definitely needs to be approached differently about anti-piracy techniques. My Own example goes to the fact that I love Neverwinter Nights, and was completely excited to pre-order a DVD copy of Neverwinter Nights 2. The day comes I finally get my DVD in the mail open it and plop it in my computer, and what the hell it won't play. It turns out that atari's Anti-piracy software completely fried my DVD-RW drive. (I'm not the only person who suffered this unfortunate fate) so I'm forced to buy a new DVD-RW drive for my less then 6 month old computer. Then re-order the game on PC-CDRom so now my $50.00 game has cost me almost $200.00 to play. Safe to say I along with a few others we're not very happy about this. To Make matters worse they now have released an expansion pack for the game, and from what I understand the same anti-piracy software is still in use, and you can't purchase it on anything by pc-dvd, something I solidly refuse to do because I don't want to have to go out and buy a new DVD Drive for my brand new computer which I just spent $800.00 on. So they have kinda killed part of their own sales if you ask me because I'm scared to death to place any more of their DVD games on my system. I'm sure I'm not the only consumer who has this fear.

on Mar 11, 2008
Speaking as a person with a relatively new $15K rig on my right side and an older (3 years) $10K rig on my left, I think I easily qualify as the definitive hardcore gamer and I must say I have not felt like games have been targeting me. This is of course for a number of reasons. The first and foremost is that I have one utterly frustrating time getting all the stuff to work as a system without anything going other then the OS and drivers. Then getting support for the hardware and OS is a major bitch to say the least.

However once things get working all should be good in gamerland for me right? Not likely. This is where the software and DRM issues come into play (no pun intended) in a big way and often just frustrate and enrage me to the point I kick the box and punch the monitor and pound on the keyboard or all three in some cases. I spent many thousands on replacement hardware over the years because of this situation but that is a different story.

I stated prior that I as a hardcore gamer don’t feel the games are targeting me because I don’t see hardcore gaming as one in the same as high performance computing (HPC). That is a major reason I'm a StarDock (SD) maven.

SD makes games with a solid gaming experience in mind. It addresses both complex and detailed oriented players as well as the simple causal mindless player with its products and offers both an enjoyable experience. As a hardcore gamer that is what I want more than anything. Let me rephrase that to make it more clear - High quality game play is the key at least for getting my money.

So when a games is dumbed down for the masses, content is geared for kids and the controls are gimped and modding is outright off the table you will not see a dime from me and I have lots of them for this stuff to be sure.

Speaking of which why is it that everyone seems to assume that console gamers are not PC gamers? When I see stats that show two or three to one sales for consoles vs PC it makes sense to me given everyone I know that has a console is also a PC gamer and when they buy a title for the console they don’t get it for the PC or am I just missing the obvious here?

With regards to Brad's overall point I have to agree completely. The DRM aspect of the industry is the #1 reason why I have not bought many games that I would have otherwise and then for the ones I do decided to get I always wait to purchase until there is a "cleaned" "pirated" version available from somewhere. I refuse to put disks into my rig to be able to play a game. I refuse to accept multiple levels of security checks and aggressive active monitoring.

Only recently have I went to Steam since it started to carry some games I liked and did not have legitimate access to living outside the US. It still has some DRM issues but it is far better than other systems right now and since my rigs are always online I don’t mind the passive checks. That however is as far a compromise as I'm willing to make.

I want to state more but I don’t have time now. More later.....
on Mar 11, 2008
here is an article on ign about the problems with pc gaming.
http://pc.ign.com/articles/858/858259p1.html
on Mar 11, 2008
My view is if the game can run on many systems on not just a select few like Crysis you aren't going to do to well and there are too many games moving to the stereotype that you should upgrade and play the game at its best or not at all on an older system. I Love my PC, I have been building my own PC's for 13years now and I will never buy from dell or any one else cause what I put my machine together for was literally 3g less than Alienware and 2.5g less than dell. Now not every one can upgrade every few years like I do, I am just lucky enough to be with a wife that understands that this isn't just a computer to me its an entertainment utility not just for games, but movies, music and so much more. I know I am lucky and I am thankful for the things I do have.

Then this runs into how much knowledge you have to maintain your own machine and since I have been doing this for so long there hasn't been too much I haven't seen and granted somethings do stump me from time to time but my wife knows little to nothing when it comes to troubleshooting a computer problem, because of that she is willing to pay for things like warranties cause she doesn't want to bother me with those kinds of problems cause I only get calls from her family or mine regarding fix there computer and cause were separated from several states it's always over the phone or I remote in and she knows how much that annoys me.

I know I am running of topic a little but think about it just a bit how much easier is it to put in a console versus a computer? Interestingly enough I saw an article where Tim Sweeney said "Now, 60% of PCs on the market don't have a workable graphics processor at all. All the Intel integrated graphics are still incapable of running any modern games. So you really have to buy a PC knowing that you're going to play games in order to avoid being stuck with integrated graphics. This is unfortunate, and this is one of main reasons behind the decline of the PC as a gaming platform. That really has endangered high-end PC game sales. In the past, if you bought a game, it would at least work. It might not have been a great experience, but it would always work."

This I 100% agree with, my wife wanted a laptop and all she wanted to do was play her Sims 2, AOE3 and a few other games on it. Any laptop starting for gaming is about 2g plan and simple, I found a deal on HP site for about $1700 and that was the cheapest every one else Dell, Alienware, Gateway & Bestbuy all wanted 2g or more. So where is this need for piracy coming from? I say it's coming from people who spend the money on laptop or desktops who think they are getting a deal from the manufacturer and think it is the game studios screwing em cause they don't make games to work on there budget machines, hence they say screw them I'll just download the game and show them cause they don't give a damn about me! This could be rectified and AMD with there new 780g chip set has set out to do just that make games at least playable with an IGP with at least a medium setting.
on Mar 11, 2008
Ill be honest, hell yeah i downloaded a pirated copy of this game but when i found out how wonderful this game was i ran out and bought at copy (using my rent money none the less) i think about eh three days after i had started playing the riped copy. I personaly know alot of people who use pirated games to play a game to even see if they would want to buy it. Demos just dont cut it most of the time. I have played alot of demos where the devs put in all the cool stuff so once you got the game there was nothing exciting about it at all. Also there are many games that are released a little half finished so why would you want to go waist money on that? Personaly i love this game and even if there was some nominal fee to play online you would be getting my money every month. Every game i have ever DLed that i actualy liked i bought. Though be it i am one of them people with a $8000 computer
on Mar 11, 2008
I'll just say one thing.

"Piracy made me buy this game"

That's just how it is... I would never have known, liked or buyed Sins of a Solar Empire if it hadn't been pirated.
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