Parley with pirates

Cliff took up the challenge to better serve his customers, and has used the responses to tweak how he sells his games. He removed copy protection from the game he was working on, and took it out of Democracy 2 as well. He says: “I’ve read enough otherwise honest people’s complaints about DRM to see that it’s probably hurting more than it helps.” He’s reduced the price of the original Kudos, and is even considering selling the follow-up at a lower price. He’ll provide longer game demos to show how the game plays in more detail. He’s also considering how to make his games better.

Above: Kudos 2 was made with the some of the responses in mind

“My games aren’t as good as they could be. One of the things that reduces your enthusiasm to really go the extra mile in making games is the thought that thousands of ungrateful gits will swipe the whole thing on day one for nothing. It’s very demoralizing. But actually talking to the pirates has revealed a huge group of people who really appreciate genuinely good games. Some of the criticisms of my games hit home. I get the impression that if I make Kudos 2 not just lots better than the original, but hugely, overwhelmingly, massively better - well polished, designed, and balanced - that a lot of would-be pirates will actually buy it. I’ve gone from being demoralized by pirates to inspired by them, and I’m working harder than ever before on making my games fun and polished.”

Cliff’s income depends entirely on his ability to sell his games. The responses he’s received are helping shape the games he makes to better satisfy the people who would otherwise pirate them, and the long-term result of Harris’ experiment may not just help Positech Games, but benefit the entire PC gaming industry as well, by persuading developers and publishers to combat piracy in creative and constructive ways, while avoiding the self-defeating antics of the movie and music industries. You can read Harris’ account of the responses here.

Nov 10, 2008