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 8)
on Mar 12, 2008
I think it's nice to see people looking at piracy as something more than a black and white issue here... Game companies so often just consider every pirated copy as a lost sale when in fact nothing could be further from the truth...

The reality is no matter what platform you go on you will have pirates, right now it's MUCH easier to pirate a PC game whereas pirating a console game requires a fairly sizable investment and some skill or social connection... I honestly believe as the industry switches over to consoles the people pirating todays PC games will move over to consoles and pirate those games as well...

The problem in my mind is that so many game makers these days will cry foul when a pirate downloads their games but consider it fine to release a bug ridden game and virtually blackmail game magazines into giving them good previews... But of course thats ok, sure we may complain on some forums about "the man" or "the industry" but largely we accept it and move on...

I personally haven't bought a PC game in probably about 3 years now with the exception of Stardocks products because I know what they represent and now pretty much any game they would release I would buy even if it wasn't my thing..

I don't consider myself a pirate because I don't really download games either, I used to but there are so few good titles out there that whats the point? So here I am with a quad core cpu and a 42" 1080p computer monitor playing SoSE, updating websites and watching tv shows because quite frankly theres nothing else worth buying or downloading..

I do hope that the industry comes to it's senses but thats something us humans don't seem very good at doing in large groups...

on Mar 12, 2008
Excellent thread!

As an indie game developer, I will certainly take all of this into heavy consideration. Though i must admit i really am a strong proponent for Steam, simply because as a developer i can insure that everyone playing my game gets an updated version as soon as i release it.

As for the DRM, it is quite possible to disable those features, or simply just side-step them... and i wouldn't miss them. Steam doesn't force developers to use DRM; it's their choice entirely. The way i see it... Steam can now be used as a parallel service to XBOX Live, which i love. The only real difference is that most PC games are still being developed for cutting edge PC configurations, leaving many people out.
on Mar 12, 2008
People are somewhat overreacting and being drama queens about this 'specs requirement' thing. Crysis is a heavy-demand game. Crysis is also not the norm. No other game has ever come close to requiring such space-age technology as Crysis, and none probably will. Crysis was supposed to be heavy demand. The appeal in Crysis, as I played it and found it very enjoyable, was in the immersion. The audio and graphical quality was completely top-notch, and that's what made it good.

Crysis is an exception, not a rule. Almost no other games have come out that require such hardware (I can't name any, actually), so I think people are being WAY too dramatic about this. If you can't run Crysis, stop being butt-hurt about it and deal. So you don't get to play it yet. Whatever. Crysis also didn't 'flop'. It had low sales expectations particularly BECAUSE of the high requirements, and it actually outsold those expectations. So there's that.

Reposting this because I'm getting bored of seeing Crysis brought up again and again. Crysis was intentionally high-end, it wasn't 'for' the average, or even the above-average gamer. They knew that when they made it.
on Mar 12, 2008
Oh, and as for the different interaction models between PC and Consoles... i think that is just a bunch of fluff... you can argue it either way. In the end it comes down to what kind of game you are making... Would it be fun to play a plaformer using a mouse and keyboard? Maybe, but experience tells us relatively securely that Consoles are the way to go there. Would it be fun to play an FPS with a wiimote? Maybe, but likewise experience tells us that a Mouse and Keyboard would be the way to go.

Are you designing your game to "Fit" into the status quo of the industry? Historically, chances are high you are doing exactly that... we are all creatures of habit i suppose, but it doesn't mean we have to be. I advocate for developers to branch out and experiment... and plan ahead for contingencies because there is risk involved. I want to see games like Shadow of the Colossus thrive on the PC, which means we have to rethink how people interact with games using a mouse and keyboard.

Or, if you prefer... let's roll out more FPS's and Strategy games... i don't think i have enough of them. /sarcasm
on Mar 12, 2008
I give Stardock my gaming dollars because 1) they make awesome games and 2) I don't have to worry about intrusive copy protection.

He also fails to mention the business tactic of releasing games without copy protection so users can install it on all their friends' computers... and then requiring a unique CD-key to download bonus packs and patches, as well as to play online. Once you're hooked, it's too late... you need to purchase the game to fully enjoy your new addiction. Clever bastards! I love it! Like giving the first "sample" of crack out to potential customers for free.

on Mar 12, 2008

You'll see no apologies from me...

just a headshake in wonderment... sounds to me like you have WAY too much money and not nearly enough expertise in building a box like that...

it's been in the "shop" for FOUR weeks while they what?

I'm confused here... Sounds to me like you need to find another shop or fire up Google and figure out the problems for yourself.

My friend & I just built a box superior to that one & it has a pair of 30's, for about half the price bro... so, tossing around financial info on what it cost to "build" your system... color me still unimpressed.

What kind of problems are you having with Vista 64 & DRM? Can't run Rhapsody? o... that's tough.

& really the box you built however long ago as you call it, bleeding edge, is probably worth about or 1/2 what you have in it or a little less... but that's the nature of spending your $$ on the "latest & the greatest" isn't it?

So put your E-penis back in your pants there big guy. Don't want to be brash, but you ARE the one that's all like "I'm sitting here beside my $15,000 dollare "rig" " & what do you know, it doesn't even boot ...

Anyways, this isn't the place or the time.

so ya... that's great enjoy your computer.

I'm going to go get in my $80,000 M5 and Drive home now...
on Mar 12, 2008

Aquiantus it has nothing to do with communist lolif you want to know why alot of them pirate software than you should go vist china and other asian countries and live in their shoes. There aren't that many computer hardware and gameing stores nearby unless you go to a huge major city, that are heavily influence by european country,the trip which is a very very long. and Chinese communist are a bit different than other communist countries and no they don't believe this "Communist believe everything is everyone elses" unless with permission other wise your a THIF(that will be the first thing I'll will call you if you touch and use any of my things) fyiand what with the 90% pirating? china isn't the only communist country you know?communist aren't the only places that pirate you know? noncommunist does it too you know? There alot more hard core gamers in asian country you know? and there alot more profits from selling games even tho there are alot of pirating you know? if there is 90% pirating in china I don't think how all those hard working game developers in china, korean and japan going to make a living, especially japan.some of the reason china has a huge pirate number than the USA and other countries are because of they have a huge population than any other countries in the world. also the one that does the most pirating is the mobster and not the everyday people. I believe alot of you heard the news with microsoft that they are soo mad with a group organized crime that make over billions with pirated windows.everyone saying chinese who care about communist. communist has nothing to do with gaming or software. and when somebody use popular software created from a communist contry I don't hear any complaining XDso please don't say brainless things and brainwash people because of this kind of talk people don't get along and started to hate each others.

I'm well informed by the rants of Chris Taylor, Epic and Iron Lore blaming me a North American consumer as some type of pirate. I am well within my rights to say I am not in the 90% pirate consumer base they are talking about, because I'm not a chinese communist or russian communist.

I am also aware of the research done by independent studies on piracy as a whole. One noteworthy independent study shows 90% Piracy in Asia 80% Piracy in Russia and surrounding countries. While only 20% in North America and 36% in West Europe. Everywhere else the Piracy is so high, it is unbearable to even distribute to those countries.

Companies should cater to me a North American, because I don't pirate their game, so language of all games should be only english, no other version should be available. Since they wont get their money back in investing in foreign language versions of the game. Another thing is, I don't want hand-me downs from companies trying to distribute world wide. I want a quality plastic box, with a nice and neat place for the manual and a place you put the dvd in that doesn't get scratched like a paper sleeve would. I refuse to buy COD4 because it isn't in a plastic box, it probably has tons of anti-piracy, and I'll lose the cd-key in a day, and it isn't a dvd.

Piracy is a Global issue, not a Domestic one, and I'm sick and tired of being blamed by these companies for their global distribution in hostile foreign markets. Thank God Stardock stands up for me.
on Mar 12, 2008
I don't have the time this afternoon to read through all the replies (sorry) but I wanted to jump in here and post that I am very impressed with this article. Very insightful and well thought out. I work in a different segment of the software world, and i have shot this link around the office to have some of our sales/marketing people give it a read. Very impressive stuff.
on Mar 12, 2008

I don't have what you would call a gaming Computer, but never had a problem playing a PC game. Except for two games and they are not even High Graphic demanding games. 

1 -Sega Twin Pack

2 - Soul Reaver…

And I guess I would not be a hard core gamer too? Half the games mentioned here I never played. Even though I do have a few PC games never played on line well I did with Chaser but was not all that... and tried to play Half-Life but no severs was ever found.


My PC is the same old age as XP is 2001

System when I got it was

Hewlett-Packard (hp Pavilion xt948)

XP home… Now XP Pro /SP2

Bois is whatever it was is still that.

Intel Pentium 4 CPU 1600MHz

1.59 GHz, 128MB RAM?  Now 1.00GB RAM with only 3 Slots and all 3 full

Hard Drive 80GB… Now 160GB Main and 400GB Slave (Storage) 80GB (storage)

Graphics 64MB.To Nvidia GeForce FX 128MB.Now ATI Radeon 9550/X1050 Series 256MB

Now Monitor is 19” LCD but no Built in Microphone.

Now all my games played with the Nvidia GeForce FX 128MB I just wanted more and still do. 

Here are the Games I have.  Am I a gamer, or not who’s to say or what games make you a gamer, or system, or how often you play, or is it only it you play online?

Grand theft Auto 3  (5 star rating)

Chaser   (5 star rating)

Tomb Raider   (5 star rating)

Halo (Combat Evolved)  (5 star rating)

Hit man (Contracts)  (5 star rating)

Hit man (Codename 47)  (2 ½ star rating)

Half-Life   (5 star rating)

Half-Life (2)  (5 star rating)

Splinter Cell (Pandora Tomorrow)  (5 star rating)

Medal of Honor (Allied Assault)  (5star rating)

Battlefield (1942)   (4 star rating)

Secret Weapons over Normandy……..Need Joystick Really hard to use Key-B or Controller  

SWAT 4 - Special Edition DVD  (Have to be a good guy, I want to Kill)

Star Wars - The Phantom Menace  (looks to OLD school)

Need for Speed Carbon Collectors Edition (4 12/12 star rating)

Nascar Thunder 2004  (2 7/8 star rating)

The Lord of the Rings (The Battle for Middle-Earth) …… Never Played

Tetris (Worlds)  (1 11/12 star rating)

RollerCoaster (Tycoon) …… Stupid

RollerCoaster (Corkscrew Follies expansion pack) …… Stupid

Road Wars …… Never Played

Galaxy of Arcade Classics   (3 star rating)

100 XP Great Games (volume 2)  (1 star rating)

Sacred …… Never Played

NHL 2004 …… Never Played

NBA Live 2004 …… Never Played

Madden 2004 …… Never Played

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 …… Never Played

Sega twin Pack   (5 star rating) If I could Play Vectorman and Vectorman 2

Soul Reaver   (3 star rating).

Popcap    (Could have put a small country thought collage) Ok a little exaggeration

Game House    (Could have put a small country thought collage) ”                          

Reflexive Arcade   (Could have put a small country thought collage) ”                          


But as you can see I do have some games that Like Graphic usage but all run good here

Excepted two that don’t use much..

I don’t play them too much anymore when I got Play Station2 Much better

But then again If I would just go out and spend at least $30.00 for a PC game controller instead of the cheap $10.00 one I have then maybe my PC would see it.. And then I too would play more on my PC too..

Hell I have more freeze ups running a program then playing a PC Game go figure.


on Mar 12, 2008
I believe that the article - though informed and thought provoking - misses the point somewhat. Piracy doesn't kill the PC market, it kills the PC market in relation to the console market. The Bioshock numbers are shocking...

Rather, Draginol does talk about it, but in my opinion ignores it when pursuing the main thrust of his argument.

The points about hardware specs are very good. Supreme Commander is an excellent game, but it probably should have waited a few years until dual cores were more common. Crysis was a financial disaster in the making; the engine will probably be useable 7 or 8 years from now.

I'm sure many people here have read the article posted up by the THQ rep who worked with Iron Lore entertainment. He pointed out that even a few percentage points difference on piracy could turn a financial loss into a great success.

I should make the point that Company of Heroes (A THQ/Relic game) shipped with no DRM. Company of Heroes, like Dawn of War before it, scales well enough to run on below average computers, so its not hammered by hardware requirements. Yet apparently the piracy #s were apalling enough that DRM reappeared on Opposing Fronts, CoH's expansion.

on Mar 12, 2008
@Bryitis - You should content Frogboy about getting your products on SD new Steam like service. It looks great so far.

@NameLips - Ssshhh!!! That is the subterfuge marketing plan. It is strictly a none mentioned subject.

@Unrokeme - I have spent nearly the past year trying to get it to work. As far as I understand things (I'm no expert to be sure) the first couple months it was driver issues with Vista 64b. After the drivers were "fix" the real problems with the hardware were exposed.

This took a few more months and replacements of PSU and Mobo as well as one GPU. The mobo was replaced 4x times (I feel bad Asus) then I bought another top shelf brand board and it failed as well and was replaced once. Then the PSU was replaced twice and again I decided to by another top shelf one. Yet the problems would not go away then last month it simple refused to even turn on. I had the electric company come to my office and test my lines and even upgrade my lines since the whole system pull about 2Kwts with everything on.

After that it still did not work so I decided to give up and send it to a HPC company for testing. They have replaced a couple parts and they think the GPU are the final issue. We are waiting for the replacement parts now. I also have to send the RAM back since they told me it had issues as well.

You are right I do not enough about this stuff to even try to deal with it that is why I pay others to work for me on the issues and paid a premium for everything. I only mentioned because of the comments of the "hardcore gamer" definition that people tend to use now. Back in the day it had a different meaning. So I was illustrating I fit both meanings but consider the original the correct one.

Additionally as you pointed out it is not bleeding edge anymore hence my comment about getting the DDR3 RAM and the new GPUs. I would even have to get a mobo dual socket quadcore mobo if I go that route. It is a never ending rat race to be sure.

Anyway, sweet car! I considered one of those. I would tell you what I want to get when it is for sale but I'll spare you. Never let it be said I cant keep it in my pants. I will send you some picts of my custom built all chrome, bored out Hog if you like however.
on Mar 12, 2008
on Mar 12, 2008
i'm interested in seeing it actually.

I had issues with Asus mobos in the past myself. RMA'd 3 times... finally got it right on the 4th try.frustrating to be sure.

DDR3 is SO expensive... ugh... my wife just rolls her eyes when I talk about building a new system.

Your system is sweet to be sure... I only wish I was "allowed" to build something bleeding edge like it myself. Whenever I bring it up my wife is like "no" . "but..." "no."


anyways... keep plugging away, you'll get'er figured out.

Sorry if I came off a little brash... just irritated here at work today.
on Mar 12, 2008
I'm a life-long PC gamer but I'm also a console gamer. I've done my fair share of piracy, most at LAN parties when someone yells out "Hey! We need to try this!" Most of the time, it would sit on my system for about 3 days and then get uninstalled. A lot of that was attributed to the price of games. Back on those days, I barely had gas money and built my gaming rigs out of 3rd hand pieces that I got for either free or on the extreme cheap. For eexample, I got my first Voodoo1 card during the time most gamers were installing their Voodoo3's.

As I got into jobs that paid a decent wage and I could afford a good machine and a few games from time to time, my piracy stopped and I'm glad to say I buy all of my games now. The problem for me is that I still cringe at spending $50.00 for a game that may be good or may be a crappy console port (which, sadly, seems to be the way of development for PC games anymore...) I bought Sins because of some website reviews I trust and I loved Homeworld. Sins just seemed to be something cool in that same genre. I do say that Sins beats Homeworld hands down just in the interface department alone. But this isn't a game review, so I digress.

I like the notion Draginol brings forward that DRM and copy protection haven't hurt the sales of an obviously good game and the reasons behind that. Plus, he didn't add the time and resources that go into licensing the copy protection software to add on the discs and the time in testing and development that would have been spent on just testing the copy protection to make sure it worked as well as the actual game. That adds a chunk off the profits very quickly and when you're working on a lower budget game, every chunk helps. Also, anything that can bring a game down to $40.00 helps a lot. For me, that's my safe price range and I'm much more willing to pay out for a game at that price than $50.00 or $60.00 (yes, I did buy the Crysis special edition... I wanted the audio CD...)
on Mar 12, 2008
Yeah but CoH: OF shuns those who buy games off Steam and even legitimate customers. A steam d/l of COH which is patched means they can not get into the game because they have no DVD. They can't get online and register because they don't have a DVD. They just wasted money on COH and OF.

As a legitimate customer who bought it at a store, I remember these problems of it always asking for a DVD, only the DVD didn't work properly. So I had to switch from my OF DVD to my original COH in order to register. Every 2 days it would ask me for the correct DVD again. So I would have to switch from the COH to the OF. Then it was stop working mysteriously again in 2 days asking me for the correct dvd. Guess what, I bought the game, it is the original dvds, but it wont play unless I 'trick' it by switching the expansion for the original and vice versa.

I won't buy another Relic product, that is for sure. And Bioshock, I wont even go near it because of Securum, and I didn't buy Heroes of Might and Magic V because of Starforge or whatever its name was.

If companies dabble heavily in anti-piracy, I simply wont buy their game.