World Of Goo Piracy Rate: “82%”

By John Walker on November 15th, 2008 at 12:03 pm.

Too much effort went into this one.

The post yesterday reporting World of Goo’s 90% piracy figure drew a surprising response. The P-word regularly generates comments threads that scare our hosts, but this one was odd. It became a discussion about whether one could disprove the 90% figure, and then extrapolating this to reach peculiar conclusions. Some could see this as people claiming there were far fewer stab wounds than first predicted and therefore there hadn’t been a murder. Others might suggest that fighting over the exact number is completely irrelevant, as that’s not the point of the issue. Now 2D BOY have responded with new look at the figures.

In response to the vociferous arguments that dynamic IPs and multiple installations could be responsible for a lot of the 90% of registered IPs against sales, 2D BOY dug deeper. While it’s true that a dynamic IP, or second installation, would appear as a unique user, that doesn’t take into account the player IDs. The majority of those whose IP rolls around with each connection would still be using the same player name. So based on player names, 2D BOY discovered that there are 1.3 IP addresses per player – not the figures that many were spuriously claiming.

The stats are these:

76% of players have contacted the server from 1 IP
13% from 2 IPs
5% from 3 IPs
3% from 4 IPs
1% from 5 IPs
1% from 6 IPs
1% from more than 6

Of course it will be pointed out that each game has room for three player IDs, and they took this into account too.

“we also looked at how many players IDs were created (rather than used) from each IP address. given that the vast majority of player IDs are associated with only a single IP, this is a fairly accurate measure of how many profiles the average user created. on average, a player has 1.15 profiles per installation.[Their emphasis]

It then completely nerds out to get the figures. I’ll not summarise, but paste their maths:

when we take the total number of player IDs (which is smaller than the number of unique IPs from which leaderboard entries came) and divide it by 1.15 (the average number of profiles per installation) the number of estimated unique installations drops by about 35% as compared to the estimate based on unique IPs. let us further say that the average user installs the game on 1.25 computers with different IPs (i.e. not behind the same router), which i think is a high estimate. that lowers the estimated unique installations by another 20%. after factoring both of these in, the piracy rate would still be 82%, and we should keep in mind that this number doesn’t include those who never opted to submit scores to the leaderboard (it’s an option that’s off by default). so while it’s possible that the actual piracy rate is lower than 90%, it’s unlikely that it’s significantly lower. 2d boy hopes this satisfies the more rigorous number crunchers out there :)

A drop from 90 to 80% makes one difference: it means there are twice as many legitimate copies out there as previously thought. But twice 1 out of 10 is 2 out of 10 – it’s not the most enormous leap.

I’m sure that many will pick at the maths above and argue their reasoning why they think this number might be lower (or even higher), but I’m not sure that’s relevant. Unless there’s a dramatic proof out there that slashes this figure into a quarter, it strikes me as a distraction. If one can’t destroy this number, and therefore the 82% figure is close enough to accurate, given that it might be slightly lower or higher, what then? That’s the interesting discussion. Is this piracy a problem?

2D BOY certainly don’t believe that adding DRM to their game would have made any difference. (I would argue that logic dictates this – something that is always cracked on Day 0/1, and only affects the legitimate customers and not the pirates, is going to do nothing realistic. But clearly very few publishers agree, so there’s still much debate to be had). But have they been robbed of 86% of their sales? Again, the implication from the company is they think perhaps 1 or 2 of every 1000 of those pirated copies could have been a sale. But there’s still tens of thousands of people with a copy without paying for it, far more than those who did pay.

Here’s another question. If piracy figures don’t represent lost sales, what do they represent? Is it an indictment of humanity? Are they free advertising? Could 2D BOY have benefited in any way from them? Or are they causing active harm?

Whatever the significance of the PC’s piracy rates, the results from 2D BOY make one thing very clear: While some of us are paying for our fun, a lot of us are not.

Edit: A rather significant statement from 2D BOY’s Ron Carmel appears below in the comments. It’s helpful to put it up here:

“by the way, just in case it’s not 100% clear, we’re not angry about piracy, we still think that DRM is a waste of time and money, we don’t think that we’re losing sales due to piracy, and we have no intention of trying to fight it.”

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614 Comments »

  1. Nny says:

    Ouch. That sucks :(.

  2. Sam says:

    Firstly, I’d just like to note that I’m glad 2DBoy did some proper rigorous analysis of their data. Now we have something we can actually talk about sensibly.

    Here’s another question. If piracy figures don’t represent lost sales, what do they represent? Is it an indictment of humanity? Are they free advertising? Could 2D BOY have befitted in any way from them? Or are they causing active harm?

    Piracy figures represent the fraction of people who will download anything if it is free – the 1:1000 lost sales ratio strongly suggest that pirate copies represent the fraction of people who believe that the value of digital media is significantly less than the asked-for price (and, presumably, is close to zero, based on the Radiohead music experiment). This has been easily inferable for a while.

  3. beetleboy says:

    I gotta say, I remember having a NES 8 bit system, and no way to pirate games. The end result was that I bought or got around 2 new games per year, since they were very expensive compared to my limited budget. So I played less NES and did more other stuff.

    If every pirated copy is a lost sale, you are implying that people have some pretty hefty resources for their entertainment. However, it would probably be equally unlikely to claim that a pirated copy is never a lost sale.

    That’s all really a side thing, though, isn’t it? The question is, where do we go from here? DRM does not seem to work. Many gov’ts seem all too happy to start monitoring all internet traffic in search for pirates, but instating a 1984 on the internet seems a bit on the harsh side for chasing pirates. At least those gov’ts could make some half-arsed excuse re. national security, that would sound a tad more reasonable?

    What I’d like to ask 2D Boy is whether they see the sales of World of Goo as good enough? Are they raking in cash, making just enough, or is this pushing them into the red? Because we’ve seen successful examples of no-DRM online sales, e.g. Nine inch Nails previous album “Ghosts I-IV”, where the modest price of 5$ per album still led to sales of 7.5 million dollars in the first week. Since no record company was involved, I’d think that would keep Trent et al afloat for a while, at least?

  4. Kadayi says:

    90% or 82%, it’s a pretty despicable percentage either way. Some what amusing that in the previous thread people were more up in arms about the validity of the 90% than anything else. Give a man enough rope and he’ll tie you a noose it seems.

  5. Little Green Man says:

    Well, I preordered it and it was awesome. Frankly I think more people bought it because it was shipped without DRM, but obviously people could pirate it more easily. Really I would have thought that most pirates won’t buy a game regardless of worth or their current financial standing. This chimes with the 1000 pirates = 1 lost sale thing. Still a bit sucky, but definitely not out of the ordinary if you look at how much some games gt pirated (e.g one’s with install restrictions).

  6. Mark-P says:

    It’s good to see some solid data collection and analysis behind the stats. And depressing. :(

  7. Smurfy says:

    I think this is a very interesting result.

    Here’s another question. If piracy figures don’t represent lost sales, what do they represent? Is it an indictment of humanity? Are they free advertising? Could 2D BOY have befitted in any way from them? Or are they causing active harm?

    This is the part that struck me the most. It’s very possible that there simply is no way to stop pirates. They break DRM within minutes, and as they pointed out on the WoG blog, one DRM’d game still had a 92% piracy rate.

    I think publishers need to start thinking hard about this. To quote the Spy-Engineer, “Maybe we should just give up, pardner.”

  8. Asbestos says:

    What do the piracy figures represent?

    They represent that 2DBoy made a game people want to play. I know that’s not much of a consolation but no one pirates garbage.

  9. Tom says:

    I could imagine word of WoG spreading to people who don’t normally play games, as it’s such a quirky, casual game – male and female. Most people will stay quiet about playing Gears of War 2 or Half Life (in particular I’d imagine, due to it’s name) in the office however I could easily imagine people going “oo check this out”.
    I think 2D Boy brought this themselves tbh. “Know your audience” springs to mind. Because they made it so easy to share the game with friends, this has happened.
    I find it slightly baffling that in the face of this level of piracy 2D Boy would say DRM’s pointless. I don’t think it is. I think the market they were dealing with was an entirely different one.
    Personally i think DRM is very important as has been clearly demonstrated here.
    All the morons in the previous thread who started attacking 2D Boy’s figures really need to… well.. do something… God knows what or where to start though.
    The fact that an Indie dev can make such an entertaining game and see next to nothing profit wise is just plain old wrong. They should have protected themselves. They should have used something Steamworks.
    It was perfect. Friend shows friend some game play. Friend likes what they see, spots it on Steam, realises it’s dead cheap and says “oh why not”.
    As it stands, friend shows friend game, friends says do you want it?

  10. arqueturus says:

    Thanks John for echoing my own thoughts over the insanity of the last comments thread relating to this. I don’t think anything on the internet has ever made me so angry as the apologists it contained.

    I don’t believe that DRM makes any significant difference to piracy and it’s not that I have never pirated anything, from my 8 Bit days with cassettes to when I first got broadband 6 years ago and went a little crazy but not as I’m older I find myself respecting and valuing acts of creation so much that I would rather pay for them.

    Maybe I’m going senile? Or maybe I’m just jealous of the extreme talent demonstrated in a work of art like WoG…

    P.S I think you mean benefitting not befitting?

  11. Will Tomas says:

    I suspect that given rates like this and the uselessness of DRM, we’re going to end up seeing things like in-game ads take off much more. Possibly in a less intrusive way than you might think, a la Battlefield: Heroes, but there needs to be a secondary funding method for games. Now it’s probably the biggest entertainment industry in the world I suspect it wouldn’t be a hard sell to get advertisers involved, and that way even if the game’s pirated the advertising still gets across.

    I want to make it clear that I strongly dislike this idea, but it’s the only idea that I can see satisfying publishers once they realise DRM isn’t cutting the mustard.

  12. drewski says:

    But then a lot of people who could have bought it can’t, because they don’t use Steam.

    And then some hacker cracks the Steam code and releases it and 100,000 people pirate it anyway.

    Anyone who wants to pirate can pirate. The distribution and DRM are completely irrelevant.

  13. BaconIsGood4you says:

    Since we’re dealing with an infinite supply now that we have digital distribution, the industry must think of how they can provide a service rather than a product. You have an audience, use it.

  14. TheDeadlyShoe says:

    String em up!

    *pats rope meaningfully*

  15. Gap Gen says:

    There are probably plenty of people who are completely oblivious to the point of consumerism. It’s entirely possible that the vote you cast with your wallet is more powerful than the vote you cast with the ballot. If people pirate games, then the argument is that they dislike the product and do not wish to see any more of them in the future.

    On the value of DRM: It was quoted in the last thread that the piracy rate of a DRM-protected game was about the same rate as World of Goo. As long as it can be cracked, it can be pirated, so why offend your actual customers? It would be interesting to compare different levels of DRM – from CD keys to full-blown SecuROM stuff to Steam, just to see what difference it makes.

  16. TheDeadlyShoe says:

    Why discuss DRM? Since World of Goo didn’t use it, I don’t think it’s relevant to the piracy of World of Goo.

  17. Quirk says:

    Good stuff.

    Their initial release was, simply put, bad science. Bad science is going to draw complaints, and it’s nothing to do with people being apologists for piracy. And, yes, it appears now that most of the people submitting high scores either were on static or sticky dynamic IPs, or did so only once. Without that data being provided though, the claims being made were unsupported.

    These figures are much better, and they should’ve released them at the start. We now have a quantifiable baseline for piracy; we can say with a measure of confidence that piracy of World of Goo is at least 82%. It very probably is more than that, given the optional nature of the checkbox, and possibly significantly more, but we don’t have any way to get a meaningful figure on that.

    Now we have a number of data points suggesting that piracy of smaller games is > 80% (Introversion, 2D Boy, Reflexive), and at least the first two of these points (I don’t know enough about Reflexive’s calculations to comment on them) are based on relatively sound metrics. This gives us something to work off when considering the effectiveness of different anti-piracy measures.

    And yes, four or more freeloaders for each paying user is a depressing statistic.

  18. Andrew Wills says:

    So the game:

    1. Wasn’t expensive.
    2. Was unique, fun and interesting.
    3. Came from an independent developer.
    4. Had no DRM.
    5. Was available from multiple outlets and easy to get hold of.

    And still people pirated it. So sad…

  19. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Nice to see our statistics nerdrage taken seriously :)

  20. Duoae says:

    @ Gap Gen:
    If people pirate games, then the argument is that they dislike the product and do not wish to see any more of them in the future.

    Actually, it’s the opposite. If you pirate something you’re sending the message to the producer that you want that product, you’re just not willing to pay for it at the offered price point. This is why pirating movies is a terrible idea…. industry execs think that people want more of the same dross and so keep peddling it.

    Not aimed at Gap Gen:
    Love the people who like to bash those who like scientific methodology rather than the stats reporting standard of The Sun and Daily Mail. It’s funny to see how they correspond with the people who will believe anything spoon-fed to them by anyone in a position power.
    People who question one set of information (say from EA) would be hypocrites to not do the same thing from a more ‘respected’ member of the development community such as ‘the little guy’. Don’t get your panties in a twist because they keep to a standard.

  21. Heliocentric says:

    I complained about the 90% as there was no scientific validity to it.

    User id’s are something. But i’d wager the true piracy was worse. Pirates being uneasey with clicking the online button.

    So, yes i now like their maths as they seem justified and as a result i am even more horrified.

    All i can do to console this is quietly whimper “i paid, i paid”.

  22. caramelcarrot says:

    I think the main threat to a sale is if if a person is introduced to a game by a piracy-friend. This means that the person who might buy the game doesn’t have knowledge of appropriate channels to buy it, and is probably inclinced just to get the copy used by the pirate. This is probably more of a problem with cute games you might tell people about more – I certainly showed most of my friends World of Goo, one who went and bought it himself. By getting the game out in as many legit channels as possible, you might hope that these people will be got to by advertising before by their friend. Hopefully.

    As for the other pirates, they’re a lost cause.

  23. John Walker says:

    Tom, a couple of things. How DRM would have helped, given the published figures, and the comments made by 2D BOY? I think DRM would have prevented *sharing*, but not torrent/downloading piracy. (I’m a big fan of sharing, and find its outlawing in the last few decades one of the saddest developments imaginable).

    Also, I’m not sure where you get your figures saying they’ve not seen a profit By my maths, if there’s 150k copies out there, and they estimate 82% are not paid for, that means 27,000 legitimate copies are sold. Adjust by the 1.15 IPs and that’s 23,500ish. At $20 each, that’s $470,000. Cough.

    I suspect the real number is lower than that. But I also rather strongly suspect it’s a little bit more than next to nothing.

  24. Jim Rossignol says:

    If you pirate something you’re sending the message to the producer that you want that product, you’re just not willing to pay for it at the offered price point.

    No. No. NO. There is no “message” sent. You simply take something for free that other people pay for. Waiting for budget releases, only buying cheap games: these things create demand, and therefore encourage supply. Taking something for free because it can be copied infinitely at no risk to yourself does nothing at all to inform producers of your wishes, intentions, or consumer behaviour. It does not infer demand, it does not create a market pressure. Piracy as it exists on the internet is *outside* the market. If you were buying pirated games on DVD at a fraction of the cost – as was the situation in, say, Russia until recently – then you could make this kind of claim. You *cannot* make it for bitorrent piracy, in which no money changes hands.

    The only possible good piracy can have is to promote the game and drive a tiny fraction of people to buy the original game.

  25. Sheepye says:

    People in a general sense are bastards who will always try to make a quick buck for nothing (look at me talking like a yank!).

    The internet can’t be regulated or taxed without the innocent suffering and the pirates themselves complaining, and even then you can’t limit what people can do on pc’s in writing codes and hacking.

    Hence, this is the price PC people pay. Our format kicks the consoles asses, but consoles are a helluva lot easier to regulate as your regular joe consologs cant just go and get a copy for nowt with an internet search.

    Personally I’m just too moral a person to go and pirate things. If a game is too expensive I will wait for it to drop in price or haggle, as I’m a dullard that doesn’t see the need to break the system of finance, though it seems bankers and crooks will do that for me. Look at me getting exasperated and all. The non-voice of the silent majority.

    Ah well, tis the beauty of humanity in balancing the gits and the good. I think I’d be bored if I had my way of no pirates whatsoever, but it’s bad when it’s at an 82% PERCENT RATE OHMYJOLLYGOSH. Seriously, a little pirating is to be expected by any company but that’s just getting silly. Is it because WoG is a niche gamers game rather than a casual game that non-gamers know about? So the people who know how to get it for free can as it doesn’t feel like a big-budget fancy muddy graphics game but rather an indy game to them? So some sort of thinking that “This is just a novelty game that I see done for free by bedroom programmers on the internet every day”? A lack of empathy to their financial difficulties?

    Sorry for the long post guys. Ferero Roche for you all if you read this far into my drivel.

  26. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Everything is a message. If I rape 10 year old girls, I’m sending a message to the establishement that I am heterosexual, I’m just not willing to wait until the offered age point.

    It’s still fucking despicable.

  27. MeestaNob! says:

    RPS: Do 2dboys stats differentiate by continent? Europe’s release was a clusterfuck, I’m wondering if this shows in the IP records?

    For what it’s worth, I’m still very skeptical that even 82% is correct.

  28. Jim Rossignol says:

    Jochen: I don’t think that’s a message anyone would understand. Likewise, if pirates think they are “sending a message”, it is not one anyone would receive.

    Also: that’s kind of a creepy example to use, let’s be a bit less weird, eh?

  29. Ed says:

    I’ll admit to have pirated the odd game over the years. I guess, I would probably have bought some of them, if I couldn’t have pirated them… I think for anyone to say otherwise is silly – and I can’t believe the 1000 pirates = 1 sale thing. I mean would those 999 pirates honestly not buy any games if pirating them was impossible?

    The issue is people have got used to pirating games and getting those people to pay is hard work. In the same way, most console players have got used to paying for games…

    I’d say games like WoG where the developers are indie and very up front about things will suffer less than games from EA etc. If WoG has 82% piracy, I’d bet EA’s RA3 has 90%+ piracy… Cost obviously has something to do with it, as does the ease of obtaining it. I’ve bought many more games via Steam than I have in the shops – I’ve probably got 5 games on DVD on my shelf here, but about 30 on Steam…

  30. Pags says:

    MeestaNob!: I’m curious as to how the European release might affect the IP records. Maybe I’m an idiot but I don’t quite understand your logic.

  31. Klaus says:

    Jochen, that message just says you’re, or rather, that person is a pedophile. The last thing on my mind is sexuality.

  32. Malagate says:

    Using John Walkers money figures (which obviously aren’t exactly precise) I worked out a rough estimate that if all those 82% paid for it then 2D Boy would have $3,000,000. Of course, who’s to say all those pirates would have paid for it if they had to? Of course if even a third of the total number registered online paid to play then 2D boy would have more than one million dollars.
    Roughly. Probably. I’d still be pissed if I could potentially be a millionaire.

  33. SwiftRanger says:

    ” If piracy figures don’t represent lost sales, what do they represent? Is it an indictment of humanity? Are they free advertising? Could 2D BOY have befitted in any way from them? Or are they causing active harm?”

    It’s definitely not good and doesn’t speak well for the ‘respect’ a lot of people have for developers. It’s also unbelievable some say WoG wasn’t worth its money, there are plenty of other, more expensive, less fun and shorter pastimes the same people are willing to pay up for.

    Some exceptions aside (like caramelcarrot said, availability is key), in this case the pirates shouldn’t be considered as part of the games bizz idd. They’re just leeches.

  34. EyeMessiah says:

    Piracy probably says something about “want”, but strictly speaking it has nothing to do with demand in the purely economic sense because its more like stealing than purchasing.

  35. Hoernchen says:

    There’s a big difference, 90% sounds like ‘omfg’, but 82% is what i’d expect from a small indie game where the full is game just 150mb and as easy to get as the demo. Releasing it in the middle of crysis and far cry and all the other games was probably not a good idea, either. I guess there are as much people who buy a game after pirating it (hello, bioshock !) as there are people who wish they pirated a game after they bought it (damn you, gothic 3 !), and then there are those who just pirate everything and if they can’t they don’t care. Conclusion: They didn’t lose potential customers, but they’ve got a free ‘omfg look 90%’ ad campain all over the internet.

  36. Klaus says:

    The key word is ‘potentially’, and I don’t think this game would have made them millionaires. But I haven’t bought nor pirated it so I could be (but am probably not) wrong.

    Potentially, almost anything could have happened.

  37. Kadayi says:

    DRM and piracy are related issues, so of course they are worth discussing together. Plain truth of the matter is you have a large vocal group on game sites who extol the virtues of DRM free releases and run down ‘The Man’ at every opportunity for trying to protect his interests with DRM. Here and now you have a group of guys who decided to honour that philosophy and they’ve been shat on royally by pirates.

    Sure not everyone who pirated it was ever going to pay for the game, sure not everyone who pirated it probably even played it. Perhaps 2Dboy did over-estimate what people were prepared to pay at the end of the day. Sure releasing it only on Steam wouldn’t have ultimately stopped it from being pirated eventually. But unlike Dylan Fitterer of Audiosurf fame, it seems clear they’ve hardly reaped the benefits of their hard labour over the last couple of years. 4/5 people not paying you a dime has to stick in the craw some. I just hope that this doesn’t dissuade them from carrying on tbh.

  38. Arnulf says:

    Well.

    We PC gamers aren’t that evil as originally estimated.

    I’m only a 82% pirate, not a 90% pirate. I’m relieved.

  39. Pags says:

    @Klaus: I’m going to use that line of argument all the time now. Of course some might argue that it doesn’t really prove much. But they’re not using the same line of argument so I could be (but am probably not) wrong.

  40. James G says:

    I’m wondering how many of the pirates actually realise they are pirating. Imagine if I decided to mail the game to my Mum (as it was, I mailed her a link to the demo), now she plays it and enjoys it and decides to show it to her boss and so on. My Mum would have been completely removed from 2D Boy, and may not have actually twigged that this was a product that should be paid for. There are enough freeware games on the market that suspicions wouldn’t necessarily arrise.

    In many ways I think World of Goo is going to pick up this casual and accidental piracy far more often than, say, Darwinia. It is unfortunately that some level of DRM, even just a magic key, would have protected against some of this. At least people wouldn’t have been able to plead ignorance. I suppose another alternative would be adding a message to the installer, a “Thank you for purchasing World of Goo! If you obtained the game though other chanels, and yet find yourself enjoying it, please can you purchase a legitimate copy.” However that may have the unintended effect of actually legitimising piracy.

    Overal though its a damn shame, especially for an Indie title where developers can have so much to lose if a game doesn’t sell as well. If only the creation of awesomeness itself spontaneously generated money, and then games could be distributed for free anyway.

  41. qrter says:

    This is great. Well, not the stats themselves, ofcourse, but that 2D Boy took some time to come up with more reliable numbers.

    I too complained about the bad science but only because it damages the chance of a healthy debate on piracy. It wasn’t about 2D Boy saying something wrong (in fact, it wasn’t 2D Boy’s point anyway) but how the rest of the internet will then adopt that wrongness as fact and keep promoting false information.

    John Walker:

    I’m sure that many will pick at the maths above and argue their reasoning why they think this number might be lower (or even higher), but I’m not sure that’s relevant. Unless there’s a dramatic proof out there that slashes this figure into a quarter, it strikes me as a distraction. If one can’t destroy this number, and therefore the 82% figure is close enough to accurate, given that it might be slightly lower or higher, what then? That’s the interesting discussion. Is this piracy a problem?

    Well, the number is relevant because it indicates how large problem is – I do agree with John about his follow-up questions though, what now is the actual effect of this piracy? The data perhaps suggests that developers/publishers should ‘write off’ copies ‘lost’ to piracy and just keep focusing on the people that actually pay.

    Tom:

    I think 2D Boy brought this themselves tbh. “Know your audience” springs to mind. Because they made it so easy to share the game with friends, this has happened.
    I find it slightly baffling that in the face of this level of piracy 2D Boy would say DRM’s pointless. I don’t think it is. I think the market they were dealing with was an entirely different one.
    Personally i think DRM is very important as has been clearly demonstrated here.

    I find it more than slightly baffling that you call other people ‘morons’, Tom, yet you seem to have missed 2D Boy’s main point completely and then seem to base your conclusions not on what 2D Boy have been saying but something inside your own head, I guess.

  42. MedO says:

    > Also, I’m not sure where you get your figures saying they’ve not seen a profit By my maths, if there’s 150k copies out there, and they estimate 82% are not paid for, that means 27,000 legitimate copies are sold.

    Sorry, but I cannot follow you here at all.

    2d Boy KNOW how many copies they sold. This is not the variable we are trying to get at. They didn’t magically sell twice as many copies with the new estimate of 82%. What we DON’T know is how many pirated copies (or overall copies) are out there. The new estimate means that the number of pirated copies in the equation is now halved.

  43. Tom says:

    @ John Walker:
    My reasoning is that I’d imagine WoG has been played by far more casual gamers than hardcore types. These people are going to be, I’d imagine, less savvy to the various means of obtaining software for free, and probably more easily put off attempting to crack it if it appears rather difficult to do. 2D Boy didn’t even try to counter that and as a result their software has spread, hand to hand, like wild fire.

  44. Dan Lawrence says:

    To the people once again saying that an 82% piracy rate doesn’t represent any lost sales I say that is just wrong headed madness.

    If there was no piracy at all I can’t imagine that the people currently pirating games would just say ‘ah sod it, I guess I’ll just go outside and play in the road’. Some fraction of pirated games is lost sales. People who pirate games can afford an expensive enough computer to play modern PC games and an expensive enough internet connection to download them, these are not starving mouths. They may be choosing to spend their money on other things but thats only because they see games as free. Its highly unlikely a multigame pirate would be able to buy everything they download or even if they could that they would, the cost would make them more discriminating. They would still however buy some games.

    A piracy rate represents some fraction of a games lost sales due to piracy.

  45. Tom says:

    On top of that, because DRM has become such a hot topic (even my mum and sister know of it for Gods sake – two of the PC illiterate people you’ll ever meet) as soon as you stick that “DRM FREE” label on your software, music or whatever, people know they can share it without concern, and so do. The whole DRM thing has gone full circle. Because of idiots on the internet kicked up a far bigger fuss than it deserved in the first place, DRM became a big issue and public knowledge, so now when devs release DRM FREE software people start sharing it like nudists because they think the DRM FREE label is another way of saying “go on, knock yourselves out”.
    It’s gone full circle. Can’t help but wonder if this is what publishers wanted to happen all along to be honest.
    It’s a freakin’ conspiracy I tell you!
    We, the gamer, have made DRM important imo. Not the pirates or sat quietly by, occasionally chuckling. It was the people who love to kick up a fuss.

  46. Klaus says:

    I say I’m probably correct because I can’t seriously entertain the idea that this game would have made them millionaires if no one pirated it, it’s a nice thought though.

  47. Gap Gen says:

    Duoae: No, my point was that the money you spend determines the products that you want to exist. If no-one bought toothpaste, toothpaste would cease to be sold. If no-one buys from a given developer, that developer won’t make games any more.

    Publishers and developers like recognition, sure, but recognition doesn’t buy motion capture suites and high-end workstations.

  48. Pags says:

    @Klaus: You can say you’re probably correct simply because you can’t seriously imagine something to be possible? Awesome. What are your thoughts on Jesus Christ then, maybe we can clear that whole matter up right now.

  49. John Walker says:

    Malagate – They might as well say, “If we’d sold a million copies, we’d buy our own island.” That 82% would never have been bought (best indicated by the fact that it wasn’t).

    Hoernchen – I’m quite bemused by your emotional response to 90 vs 82%. Is an 8% difference that significant? More than 4/5 people pirating the game, rather than 9/10, and it’s whatever?

  50. Dan Lawrence says:

    Yeah to John W I believe 2D boy already stated that they only sold 15,000 which at $20 spread between the 2.5 main people at 2D boy gives them about $120,000 each assuming that everything else about selling the game was free which it undoubtably is not if they manage to get more than £50,000 each from downloadable sales (note the switch to english man comprehensible pounds) I’d be suprised. No idea what the development time was but it looks to have been around 2 years from concept to completion. Luckily the chaps at 2D boy can suplement that income with some small proceeds from Wii and retail sales plus any future sales that trickle in now the main hype has died down. They won’t starve but they likely haven’t made enough money yet to comfortably finance another game unless they live in their parents house and eat only dried bread.