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#ActualRavyne

Posted 26 September 2012 - 03:14 PM

Not at all a new idea, and for the most part being tethered to an internet connection for a single-player game is met with scorn by gamers. This is sometimes called "phoning home". Sooner than later, someone out there in torrent-land will release a version that doesn't phone home, and then all you have is a broken anti-piracy mechanism that doesn't affect pirates (who play the "cracked" version), and limits legitimate, paying customers to not be able to play the game they payed for while they're away from an internet connection. It's literally worse than doing nothing, because the pirates still don't pay, and you spend plenty of effort and money policing only the players who were honest to begin with, and even penalize them for it.

Here's the deal. Even if 90% of your user base are pirates, 99% percent of those people aren't going to pay for your game, period. If it weren't available on the torrent sites, they might not ever play it, and you might feel less cheated out of a payday, but in the end its no revenue either way. Not to give this behavior a pass, but having all that free word-of-mouth and visibility would probably do you more good than any anti-piracy measure ever could. Say someone sees your game being played by their friend who pirated it, and buys a legitimate copy, or that the reputation of the game, whether from pirates or not, causes it to be noticed by review sites. In a multi-player game, it might even be that the pirate's keep the active user numbers high enough for the experience to be enjoyable by the paying customers (presuming you aren't paying to run all the servers yourself). You can even monetize on pirates in other ways with only an optional internet connection (thereby sparing legit customers), by selling them services like character slots, expansions, or micro-transaction goods -- though, if that's your main revenue stream, you should just make the game free2play anyhow (In fact, free2play is popular in part precisely because it removes the piracy concerns from the equation).

Anti-piracy measures make essentially no sense for an indie, because the bulk of an indie's sales tend to come from the "long tail", after any anti-piracy measure will be cracked, and pirates will have unfettered access anyhow. For AAA titles, who make 90% of their money in the first month of sales, advanced piracy countermeasures make sense because they only have to delay crackers that first month to protect the bulk of their profits (which come from gamers who are too anxious to wait for a crack, or who have pre-ordered).

Therefore, the best thing you can do to actually increase revenue is not to thwart pirates, but to increase the number of people who will enjoy your game, and the amount of which they enjoy it. More happy customers turning their friends into happy customers. You do that by spending every ounce of effort you have available towards making the best game you can -- a week or even a day spent building some doomed anti-piracy system is wasted potential -- a week or day spent *not* making your game better; a week or day spent *not* making more and happier customers.

#1Ravyne

Posted 26 September 2012 - 03:11 PM

Not at all a new idea, and for the most part being tethered to an internet connection for a single-player game is met with scorn by gamers. This is sometimes called "phoning home". Sooner than later, someone out there in torrent-land will release a version that doesn't phone home, and then all you have is a broken anti-piracy mechanism that doesn't affect pirates (who play the "cracked" version), and limits legitimate, paying customers to not be able to play the game they payed for while they're away from an internet connection. It's literally worse than doing nothing, because the pirates still don't pay, and you spend plenty of effort and money policing only the players who were honest to begin with, and even penalize them for it.

Here's the deal. Even if 90% of your user base are pirates, 99% percent of those people aren't going to pay for your game, period. If it weren't available on the torrent sites, they might not ever play it, and you might feel less cheated out of a payday, but in the end its no revenue either way. Not to give this behavior a pass, but having all that free word-of-mouth and visibility would probably do you more good than any anti-piracy measure ever could. Say someone sees your game being played by their friend who pirated it, and buys a legitimate copy, or that the reputation of the game, whether from pirates or not, causes it to be noticed by review sites. In a multi-player game, it might even be that the pirate's keep the active user numbers high enough for the experience to be enjoyable by the paying customers (presuming you aren't paying to run all the servers yourself). You can even monetize on pirates in other ways with only an optional internet connection (thereby sparing legit customers), by selling them services like character slots, expansions, or micro-transaction goods -- though, if that's your main revenue stream, you should just make the game free2play anyhow (In fact, free2play is popular in part precisely because it removes the piracy concerns from the equation).

Anti-piracy measures make essentially no sense for an indie, because the bulk of an indie's sales tend to come from the "long tail", after any anti-piracy measure will be cracked, and pirates will have unfettered access anyhow. For AAA titles, who make 90% of their money in the first month of sales, advanced piracy countermeasures make sense because they only have to delay crackers that first month to protect the bulk of their profits (which come from gamers who are too anxious to wait for a crack, or who have pre-ordered).

Therefore, the best thing you can do to actually increase revenue is not to thwart pirates, but to increase the number of people who will enjoy your game, and the amount of which they enjoy it. More happy customers turning their friends into happy customers. You do that by spending every ounce of effort you have available towards making the best game you can -- a week or even a day spent building some doomed anti-piracy system is wasted potential -- a week or day spent *not* making your game better.

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