Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…


It looks like my conversation with web pirates has drawn in an amazing amount of replies, many of them very interesting.

It also looks like the number of comments knocked by blog out too. Oh well, to be expected in some ways.

I was also interviewed by the business part of CNET, and the link for that feature is here:

I’ll be posting a full article in a day or two about what people said, what I’ve learned, and what I intend to do about it all. A big thanks to everyone who emailed me (even the bastards who stole my games!). There are just too many of you to reply to by email I’m afraid. I am supposed to be working on my new game (kudos 2)

9 thoughts on BLOG MELTDOWN

  1. I am working on a response that works both for and against your general constructive free response request. I’ll get that along soon enough. Dumb overnight shift here in the US.

  2. The reason for the piracy is clear, and in my opinion there’s only one: the price of the videogames. We don´t live in the Monopoly World, and most of the gamers simply cant afford to pay 40-60$ for a game that will last a few hours or a couple of days. Just take a look at the piracy rates of companies like FXinteractive with games like Runaway 2. That´s an intelligent company! They sold that (and others) game for about 15$ and the sold really much than expected. It´s so simple! And I´m not talking about cutting the price of a game that has been in the stores for months, I mean NEW games. Cut the prices (but for real, not a couple of bucks) and see your selling numbers increase!

    Daniel Lopez

  3. @Daniel: uh.. I’m pretty sure he was interested in piracy of HIS games (not $40-60 retail games), which ARE around $15.

  4. First off, I found this on a news site. I’ve never played your games, but I am a gamer, so here’s my take:

    Developers have to realise that pirates ARE NOT YOUR CLIENTS. Sounds silly, but that’s the root of the problem, and here’s the elaboration (sorry for my bad English, im Spanish).

    People pirate because:

    – The prices are too expensive.
    – They get pissed off when developers use securom or other retarded security stuff that will get cracked the next day anyway, but will cause “legit players” to be screwed with the numbers of installations or internet checks, etc. I’ve known people pirating and or applying cracks to games they /bought/.
    – People want to try a game because someone told them “its good”, so before buying it, they download it to check it out.
    – People pirate because they can, and they are cheap.
    – People pirate because “they wouldnt buy that crappy game anyway”. Like when you speak about movies: some are worth seeing in the IMAX, some are not even worth seeing, but if im zapping and nothing better is on tv, then why not.

    You, as a developer may think that pirating is the worst thing ever, me, i think it can be the complete opposite.

    Pirates (i say it again), are not your clients, but you can TURN them into your clients if you are intelligent enough.

    Make good games, make additions to your games (in the form of patches, for example), just make a game worth playing! Do NOT assume your clients (the people that actually buy your games) are filthy pirates by adding securom.

    There’s a big possibility that if your games is super cool, the pirates, the ones who just download to “try the game” will end up buying it and recommending it to their friends.

    So you see, the issue is not screwing your clients over by trying to stop people who dont give a crap about you and your games from copying them. The key is to give a GOOD product and turn people into your clients.

    Play it intelligently!!! :)

    Best regards, and kudos for your initiative! :)

  5. One comment I’d like to make on the cnet story is from this section:

    “They think we are fairly silly and stupid that if we dropped the price we’d sell a lot more copies of the games and make a lot more money.”

    I think there’s a big dichotomy between what the average gamer thinks “drop the price” means and the average developer means when they talk “drop the price”. Lowering the price from $50->$45 isn’t going to make a big difference in number of sales, lowering the price from $20 to $5 is… although there is also a big hurdle to overcome there, because of the bargain bin and the horrible games that regularly get priced at $50->$10 inside a month or two a lot of mainstream gamers assume that lower price is lower quality, if gamers get beyond that assumption then lower price will yield more sales, but not until then.

    Course, I generally don’t feel bad about buying a game for $10 if it sucks… it’s when I spend $50 that I get angry about it sucking.

  6. I use to pirate stuff for a few reasons
    1.) $$$ I would use it as a free demo to try it out, I don’t want to blow my $$$ on some game that sucks. Almost every demo will be good cause they put the best part of the game in the demo, and often the rest of the game sucks.

    2.) will it run. I recently bought Supreme Commander figuring it would run, my computer was better than the specs said it should be and I loved TA when what do my wondering eyes behold a game that runs at some ungodly slow speed. So I have a $50 paper weight till I upgrade my computer (for when they eventually make a computer that can run that thing)

    3.) No CD needed. I have about 1 billion games… and about 20 CDs…. aka I have lost/destroyed/mutilated about 999999979 CDs. I can’t find my AoE2 or its XP, RoN, Tribes, Tribes 2, ect CDs so if I still have it on my computer I still can’t play it and if I want to play it again I have to go buy the CDs again. (BTW I play WoW ALOT cause there is no swapping of CDs at all… yes a lot. I have 6 70s and 1 of every other class 65 or higher 3 of them are rdy for Black Temple)

    4.) Anti Piracy stuff / licensing. Isn’t it odd that the stuff to stop anti piracy is causing people to go pirate? If I buy BioShock for my PC it puts a nice root kit on my computer (I don’t know about this root kit but a lot of the root kit’s are incredibly insecure and put up tones of security holes). Oh yeah… and you can only install it 3 times before you have to buy a new copy… and for those of us who rebuild our computers once every 2 months that’s not very good

    Well those were my reasons. I have always tried to support the people who made the games I like same with music, there are videos called AMV hell that have short clips of music on the. More than once I have heard a song that I liked and ended up going to Itunes and buying everything they have. I have found a lot of fun music that way (I love the Gothsicles… have you ever heard of the Gothsicles?? Neather had I till that AMV) After I heard that I went to Itunes and got everything they had.

    There are some people who do it just cause they can but not all of us are low lifes who just want to steal your stuff.

  7. I’ve been following this story closely and with all the comments I’ve seen about “game sucked, lost money” I started to wonder if a solid return/guarantee policy is in order? I remember when Steve Pavlina was running Dexterity Software it was something that he pushed. If I remember right he had a 100% money back guarantee for 90-days.

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