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On Demigod Sales & Piracy

So much for piracy is a post to the Demigod Forums where Stardock's Brad "Frogboy" Wardell describes a commercially successful Demigod launch in spite of the game's early troubles and the rampant piracy of the DRM-free game. It turns out the action/strategy hybrid debuted at #3 on the retail PC sales charts, in spite of that covering only a partial week of sales, and not counting the considerable number of copies that were digitally distributed. Brad says, "The reality that most PC game publishers ignore is that there are people who buy games and people who don’t buy games. The focus of a business is to increase its sales. My job, as CEO of Stardock, is not to fight worldwide piracy no matter how much it aggravates me personally. My job is to maximize the sales of my product and service and I do that by focusing on the people who pay my salary – our customers." He concludes saying simply: "When the focus of energy is put on customers rather than fighting pirates, you end up with more sales. It seems common sense to me but then again, I’m just an engineer. =]"

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45 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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45. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 2, 2009, 03:27 OpticNerve
 
Game's quite buggy in multiplayer at the moment (broken Favor Points system, unresponsive clicks, sound issues slowing down the game to a crawl and Comp AI who sometimes seems prone to having outrageous speed, regen and attack speed) but regardless of all this, the game's damn fun and really addicting, especially if you have friends who have copies.

Haven't been this addicted since well.. DotA for Warcraft 3. And I'm sure that eventually most of the issues I've mentioned will be patched up and fixed.
 
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44. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 2, 2009, 01:22 Jerykk
 
A rough quote was something like "we saw vastly increased sales in the titles first weeks" though I have no idea what they were comparing it to exactly.

I'm guessing they were comparing the sales of the first weeks to the sales after the first few weeks..? Unfortunately, that doesn't really prove anything since games always sell the most when first released.

I haven't seen any sales data for Riddick at all and it's NPD numbers aren't due for what, a week?

Riddick came out on April 7th, I believe.

Here are the relevant sales charts:

http://kotaku.com/5210825/pc-sales-charts-tales-of-sales-valor
http://kotaku.com/5223608/pc-sales-charts-zombies-vs-nazis-vs-lich-kings
http://kotaku.com/5230347/pc-sales-charts-oh-hi-demigod

To be fair, it looks like Riddick did make it onto the Direct2Drive charts for a couple of weeks, though it dropped pretty quickly. It was a no show on the more encompassing NPD and Steam charts.
 
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43. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 2, 2009, 00:42 Prez
 
No, I haven't played it, so I'll trust that what you say is true. But I think that if you re-read Creston's point, it is more about that Blizzard is still building on an existing franchise as they have done with Starcraft and Diablo. They haven't done much that can be considered completely new in quite some time. Granted, WoW is a very different property than anything else as it is an MMO, but it is still tied to the Warcraft franchise.  
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42. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 23:25 Dades
 
No, I'm saying it's a new product from Blizzard. Have you played it? Lich King is bigger than some entire worlds in other MMOs. He was being all nitpicky about how Blizzard doesn't make "new" products or something silly. And again for the third time, SC2 is going to hit this year, Diablo 3 most likely in 2010. You could say any developer who hasn't made a game in 6 months hasn't made anything "new" but that's just being pedantic.  
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41. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 21:41 Prez
 
Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but are you actually claiming that Wrath of the Lich king is a new game separate from WoW? Seriously? WOW indeed.

 
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40. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 19:42 Dades
 
Creston, Wrath of the Lich King is new and if you don't think it constitutes a new game then you need to rethink what content is. It's roughly the size of the last expansion + 400 quests. As I already mentioned, Blizzard is releasing a new title this year as well, most likely Starcraft 2. I'm sorry that doesn't fit into your rigid definition but you seem to be the only person who really cares about it anyways.  
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39. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 17:38 Prez
 
I know that if Riddick was released without DRM, it would have gained at least one sale: mine.

Make that 2. I thought the first one was fantastic; one of the best if not THE best console port ever on the PC. It kills me not to be playing the sequel, but the DRM is keeping me from buying it.
 
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- Mahatma Gandhi
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38. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 17:36 Creston
 
A rough quote was something like "we saw vastly increased sales in the titles first weeks" though I have no idea what they were comparing it to exactly.

Yeah, exactly. Vastly increased sales compared to what?

Blizzard has long development cycles but that doesn't mean they don't release new games, it just means they take longer to do so. They've got Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, an unnamed MMO project and some secret thing in the works right now

How is any of that NEW? What about these games is new? The guy I quoted said that Madden and Halo are not NEW games, they're just polished versions of previous games. How exactly is that any different from what Blizzard does? When was the last time Blizzard actually released a NEW game? Answer : World of Warcraft.

Creston

This comment was edited on May 1, 2009, 17:40.
 
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37. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 15:29 Than
 
Fortunately, Impulse uses 7zip (http://www.7-zip.org), so just open the archive with 7zip, enter your Impulse account name as password and unpack the data.

You are my new favorite person.
 
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36. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 15:20 Kajetan
 
Unfortunately, archiving is encrypted with your account data.

Fortunately, Impulse uses 7zip (http://www.7-zip.org), so just open the archive with 7zip, enter your Impulse account name as password and unpack the data.

This comment was edited on May 1, 2009, 15:20.
 
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35. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 15:08 Than
 
I've never done it myself, but I believe what you need to do is archive an up-to-date version of Demigod via Impulse, then use Impulse on the other machines to install Demigod from the archive file.

Unfortunately, archiving is encrypted with your account data. So you still have to be logged in to impulse and activate in order for it to work. Additionally, archiving only works for the original OS you've got on, and the only machine with a net connection has vista, everything else is on xp.
 
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34. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 14:52 Dades
 
Riddick's non-presence on the top 10 charts

I think he meant what charts. I haven't seen any sales data for Riddick at all and it's NPD numbers aren't due for what, a week?

What was true? That games sell better when they have uncracked DRM?

EA and Bioware said this about Mass Effect which gave the piracy community considerable trouble for awhile and to this day remains an annoyance to pirate considering the multitude of non-working cracks that were spread around. A rough quote was something like "we saw vastly increased sales in the titles first weeks" though I have no idea what they were comparing it to exactly.

I'm not saying Blizzard makes bad games, far from it, but saying they're one of two developers that make "new and interesting" products is just crazy.

Blizzard has long development cycles but that doesn't mean they don't release new games, it just means they take longer to do so. They've got Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, an unnamed MMO project and some secret thing in the works right now. We'll likely see SC2 this year. Also while I don't care for WoW, I wouldn't say it doesn't count just because I don't play it.

This comment was edited on May 1, 2009, 14:57.
 
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33. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 14:36 Creston
 
I'd say Valve and Blizzard have been the 2 companies that have continued to release new and interesting products that are outstanding creative works on their own.

Er, what? Valve, okay, they released L4D and Portal. But Blizzard? When has Blizzard released something NEW, since World of Warcraft? Everything new that they were going to release, they've cancelled.

I'm not saying Blizzard makes bad games, far from it, but saying they're one of two developers that make "new and interesting" products is just crazy.

Creston
 
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32. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 14:33 Creston
 
I spend WAY WAY WAY less on pc games today than I did just a few years ago. I used to be excited to see what new games are coming out, ready to drop dollars on release to see if I liked them. Today that is not the case

Well said, Tumbler. Same for me. I think the only game I'm going to buy full price this year is Dragon Age. Everything else I'll either wait until it's on sale, or I'm simply skipping it because of the retarded DRM implementations.

Creston
 
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31. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 14:27 Creston
 
I <3 Brad.

I'm glad the game has been a success, despite all the problems and bad press that has surrounded it.

I'm really waiting for the demo to see if it will run on my laptop...

Creston
 
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30. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 14:20 Steele Johnson
 
I think DRM is really for publishers who don't know if their game sucks or not and making sure that everyone buys it either way. Maybe if they have some clue during development, they'll be able to help to make the game better if it's lacking.  
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29. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 14:05 Bucky
 
But for the life of me, I can't figure out how to actually play on a LAN without activating the game on every machine.

I've never done it myself, but I believe what you need to do is archive an up-to-date version of Demigod via Impulse, then use Impulse on the other machines to install Demigod from the archive file.

Actually, a quick search yielded this thread, which looks helpful:
http://forums.demigodthegame.com/345651/page/2/#2147410
 
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28. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 13:53 GT
 
What would be ideal for me would be a Steam-like client and folder structure
Actually what would be ideal would be an SVN-like client where users could selectively download, update, and rollback their games at their own choosing. That's one reason why I love open source game projects which use SVN because it's so easy and flexible to download and update a game. There's no Windows installation necessary. Once you have the files, you just click on the game's executable and run it.

I think it's about treating your customers with respect, like Valve
Valve certainly doesn't treat its customer with respect. Its games are laden with DRM including decade-old crap that shouldn't have any, it's inattentive at best (no telephone support, slow to respond to support requests, and far too few employees handling game updates and Steam support issues), and it throws the Steam Subscriber Agreement and its zero-tolerance policies in its customers faces when they complain or request refunds. That's not respect for the customer. That's disdain.

This comment was edited on May 1, 2009, 14:03.
 
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27. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 13:45 Than
 
I've gotta say that I was actually pretty disappointed by Demigod and Stardock in General. This was the first game that I purchased from them where the DRM actually got in the way of my enjoyment of the game, which seems to go against the very ethos of Stardock.

I think most people would agree that multiplayer is really the core of this game, and the manual, the official forums, etc, all say that there is no restriction of PC's that are allowed for LAN play on a single copy of the game. Being that I often play LAN games at the office, this was one of the prime factor for me picking up a copy, the other being that I love supporting Stardock. But for the life of me, I can't figure out how to actually play on a LAN without activating the game on every machine. Looking on the forums it seems there are a number of people with the same issue. Everything I can find says that it's impossible. Kind of silly that they say this game has no DRM IMO.
 
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26. Re: On Demigod Sales & Piracy May 1, 2009, 13:40 GT
 
Pretty much. I wonder how Riddick has fared sales wise, considering it has yet to be cracked.
Riddick has been cracked for over a week.

As far as its sales go, the delay of the crack won't make any signficant difference in sales just as it didn't for True Crime: Streets of L.A. which took six or seven months before it was cracked. The lack of a crack isn't going to propel a pirate to buy the game. He'll just wait or get something else which is cracked.
 
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