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

Response to pirates

Ok, I did a lot of thinking about it, and rather than post it as a blog post, with all the inevitable crashing and website burning that would involve, I’ve posted my response


Feel free to comment here though…


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)

Most silly comment so far

on the piracy thing:

“Why don’t you do some googling on the subject. You clearly know NOTHING about piracy at all”

Why thankyou for your hugely helpful post. I don’t know how I’ve got by until now without your advice!

Genuine call for emails from pirates

Having read the Rock paper Shotgun coverage of this (different prices for games on PC vs Console) and the recent complaining about the price of braid, best characterised here…  added to the torrent of blog comments I get from people annoyed at my attitude to piracy, I thought it was about time to do this:

I want to know why people pirate my games. I honestly do.

This is not some silly attempt to start a flamewar, it’s not at attempt to change anyones mind about anything. I don’t want to argue my side of it, and there is zero ulterior motive. I’m not looking to ‘catch’ anyone, or prove any points.

I know what I don’t know. And what I don’t know is WHY people pirate MY games. I might be able to get a general idea as to why people pirate stuff *in general* from reading warez forums, and every other story on digg, but I’m not interested in the general case. I want to improve my business, and ensure I stay afloat, and to do that, it would be mad to sit in the corner and ignore the opinions of that section of the public who pirate my games.

Is it 10%? is it 95%? I don’t know. Are they generally kids, or adults? I don’t know. And most vitally of all, WHY do they not buy them, but pirate them. This is what I want to be told. More information and insight is never a bad thing.

So this is a public, genuine, honest request for opinions. Preferably by email, or you can comment here, but wordpress isn’t known for handling that many comments well. You can email me at cliff AT positech dot co dot uk. It helps if you put ‘piracy’ at the email subject.

What I will NOT do:

I won’t publicise who emailed me, or even store the addresses, share them, tell anyone them, or make any use of them whatsoever. I’ll just read them, nothing else. It will be entirely off-the-record and effectively anonymous. I won’t hand any email addresses to the RIAA, MPAA, BSA or anyone at all under any circumstances ever.

What I WILL do:

I will read every single one, and keep an open mind. I will listen to what you have to say, and how I can use that to make games that sell more, sell more copies of what I have, convert more people to become buyers, and generally make everyone happy

I will post a summary of the emails I got, without identifying anyone.

I will give genuine thought to what I could or should change about my business, me, my games, everything, in order to address the issues raised.

Please email me, and please be honest. Don’t try and use any justifications you think may just be self-justifications that you know aren’t true. If you did it just because you knew you wouldn’t get caught, say so. if you did it because you think the games crap, say so. This is only helpful if everyone is 100% honest. It would be nice to know how you made the decision to pirate. Did you look at the price? did you consider buying it? under what circumstances would your choice have been different etc etc. Please make sure its about MY games. If you pirate photoshop because of X, that’s no help. if you hate the MPAA and RIAA, and you pirate music, but haven’t pirated my games, that’s no help.

if you are one of the thousands of people reading this who bought my games. THANKYOU. I really appreciate it. without you, I’d be working as a boat builder, an IT support engineer, an guitar teacher, or something else that I wasn’t very good at. Thankfully I get to do what I love, which is design games. My company would not exist without you, and the last 4 games would definitely never have got made (Democracy, Kudos, Rock legend, Democracy 2).

Final note:

Please don’t post any links, suggestions or hints as to WHERE to pirate my games in any comments. Despite being genuinely interested to hear from you, I do NOT think it’s acceptable, and for obvious reasons (not least rising fuel and food bills in the UK) I want people to BUY the games, not pirate them.

If you came here from a link and think What games? Look here.


DIGG this story

avoiding work

You know you are trying to avoid doing real work (in this case kudos 2 gameplay tweaking) when you end up updating the analytics code for the website and finding a not too silly picture to add to the blog sidebar.


That picture may make me seem confused and out of it, but that’s what I’m like in real life, so it’s pretty accurate.

I can even justify the silly hat, as it’s taken in a rain forest.  Not on feringinar though.