Independent developer Cliff Harris, of Positech Games, asked pirates why they choose to pirate his games, promising them immunity and anonymity in exchange for their honest rationales, which he would aggregate and post on his blog. They reciprocated, and of about six reasons, a righteous indignation at DRM seemed to lead the list. Harris is actually responding to the gripes in both the pricing and de-DRMing of titles in the future, with his own reasoning why it's a good idea.The reasons pirates traffic his games, Harris found, were roughly (list quoted from Ars Technica) • The information wants to/free anarchists think copyright shouldn't exist. • Games are too expensive. • The quality of gaming is too uneven. • DRM is hurting the legitimate customers. • Going to the shops is annoying. • Because piracy is easy to do with low risk for getting caught. Harris' response: • Zero DRM. He said he only used it in one game before. He sees it as counterproductive, giving honest gamers an experience that treats them like criminals while the pirates have a cleaner, superior version. • Longer demo game experiences. • Reduced pricing: He dropped the cost of Kudos to $9.95 and will consider selling its sequel for far less than he'd planned. • Regarding quality:
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 actually inspired by them, and I'm working harder than ever before on making my games fun and polished.
It's an intriguing back-and-forth involving pirates who aren't treated like thieves, and a victim who won't portray himself as such. Genuine Call for Emails from Pirates [Cliffski's Blog, Positech] Talking to Pirates (Harris' reply) [via Arstechnica]