recognizing Arthur C. Clarke’s third law

Blocked piracy = increased sales?

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Gamers have been buzzing about developer 2D Boy’s claim that 90 percent of World of Goo playersworldofgoo acquired the amazing puzzle-based game illegally. Gamasutra is on the story, and pointed to a subsequent explanation on the developer’s site explaining the cocktail napkin math by which they derived that statistic.

While that controversy will run and run, one particular part of 2D Boy’s blog is worth highlighting in neon. The 2D Boy duo (Ron Carmel and Kyle Gabler) note that Reflexive Entertainment found a 92 percent piracy rate for its Ricochet Infinity based on similar math, but then observe: “One thing that really jumped out at me was his estimate that preventing 1000 piracy attempts results in only a single additional sale. This supports our intuitive assessment that people who pirate our game aren’t people who would have purchased it had they not been able to get it without paying.”

Perhaps that observation should be shared with the RIAA and the MPAA, which persist in the belief that piracy has a direct correlation to sales.

2D Boy goes on to point out that piracy levels seem very similar between Ricochet Infinity and World of Goo, even though the delicious little Goo balls aren’t protected with DRM. They then call for others to release piracy rates “so that everyone could see if DRM is the waste of time and money that we think it is.” Good idea.


Written by chris

November 17, 2008 at 6:26 pm

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