Monday, December 22, 2008

If you can't beat them...

A few weeks ago I heard about a game called World of Goo. I went to their site, played the demo, and fell in love with it. That night I shelled out $15 to buy the game for my Wii.

I happened to come across the game developer's blog, and added it to my RSS feed. I noticed one of their posts reported on the piracy of their game. You see, unlike many other games, they shipped their game with no DRM. In other words, if you wanted to install it, and then give it to your friend, you could. You could install the game on 50 computers, and only 1 of you would need to pay.

So what happened? Well, just what you would expect. According to their estimates, about 90 percent of the people who were playing had pirated the game. Only 1 in 10 had purchased a legitimate copy. Despressing, right? Sort of, but there is more to this story that meets the eye.

The developer's compared their game to another similar game, Ricochet Infinity. Ricochet shipped with DMR. It was much harder to copy that game. And guess how many people pirated it? That's right. About 90 percent.

In other words, in many cases, DRM does nothing. Pirates will be pirates, whether there is DRM or not.

Now, all of that being said, on a happier note, even with 90 percent of the folks playing with a pirated copy, check this out.

That's right. Ship a game, leave off DRM, and they are the second highest selling game on Amazon right now.

I think it's time we rethink DRM, digital copyright, and patents. Because nothing makes sense anymore.

No comments: