Game Development Politics/Government

More Copy Protection Questions

At Joe Indie, Dicto Simpliciter, Narcissism and Piracy warns developers about being overzealous with copy protection. I think it goes well with my DRM post from yesterday.

Regarding the stats some large companies and organizations throw around about “lost sales” due to piracy:

Regardless, the conversion rate demonstrates the basic idea that most of the people who look at a piece of software don’t buy it.

So, with that in mind, making the assumption that every download of a cracked version of your software/game is a lost sale is simply narcissism. Egomania, even. What else would you call the belief that your software/game is so good that everyone everywhere (even if they don’t speak the same native language you do) is going to just love it and spend hours upon hours enjoying it and cheating you out of your money?

Narcissism and egomania sounds about right. It’s a weird trick to know that you need to work on marketing or make a better quality game in order to increase sales while simultaneously convincing yourself that every pirated copy would have otherwise been a sale. A person who makes a copy of every mainstream game doesn’t magically have the hundreds or thousands of dollars to pay for it all, so how can you believe that every illegal copy of your game would have been a sale if you had better copy protection in place?

He essentially argues that you should aim to “keep the honest people honest”. Taking the time to make the copy protection stronger means that you can’t use that time to make your game better. Your game demo will be less effective, people won’t want to talk about your game as much, but hey, those darn pirates won’t “steal your livelihood”, right?