Say no to DRM?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Desktop Gaming, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    12
    I know DRM has been discussed a few times before but I'm interested in the experiences of those who don't use DRM, but have in the past.

    The way I see it, you're going to pay $300+ for SoftwarePassport or similar. Its no massive secret that SoftwarePassport can be circumvented in no time at all so I personally do not really see the point of it - tantamount to putting a "no entry" sign on your front door instead of locking it, and expecting the burglars to take notice.

    The other issue I have is the inconvenience to genuine customers; Can only play on one PC, can only install X number of times, need to be connected to the internet, can't change PC hardware, need to provide blood and urine samples etc etc. Isn't it a bit 'off' to treat a paying customer like a criminal?

    Does not having any DRM increase/encourage/facilitate piracy?

    Does not having DRM have any direct affect on sales?

    [edit] Arsecakes. Posted in the wrong forum. :mad:
     
  2. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was using Software passport, and most of the games weren't cracked quickly - however there were additional support issues (vista, etc).
    I recommend just using demo/fullversion. A simple serial can be shared, a fullversion (if is several Mb) is harder, and in any case you can take it down from the various rapidshare etc with 1 single email.
     
  3. CasualInsider

    CasualInsider New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    0
    We had an activation system like Puppygames uses ready to go, but decided not to use it. Demo/fullversion has been great.
     
  4. princec

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    4,873
    Likes Received:
    0
    Never had any bother with our activation system, beyond the odd support request from people who didn't realise there was no code to enter, and I think maybe a handful of people stuck behind firewalls or proxies. I could have worked around both by switching to a more widely recognised HTTP based protocol but I'm lazy.

    As no-one has ever complained ever, I assume it hasn't had any effect on sales (and indeed, conversion rates are above average for all our titles).

    Cas :)
     
  5. Xathia Vastar

    Xathia Vastar New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    0
    What's demo/fullversion? Are you talking about two separate downloads?
     
  6. JoKa

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    Messages:
    467
    Likes Received:
    0
    I used demo/full for some time and noticed no negative effects after switching to Armadillo. I like the system and had no noteworthy technical problems so far. However, I may switch back to demo/full, because you have to pay again and again for every major update of Armadillo. Painful even with their upgrade discounts (which are also limited to a short time). It's ridiculous to me, when the DRM is more expensive than all developing tools in use...
     
  7. Greg Squire

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, that's what they are referring to; A demo download and a separate full version download (once they purchase).
     
  8. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    12
    Thing is, the demo might be quite large. Wouldn't it be an inconvenience to have to download the whole full version? Not everybody has super-fast broadband. I know of people that are still on dialup (and not through choice).
     
  9. papillon

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    0
    Demo/full doesn't work as well if you can't manage to organise your code+resources in order to make the demo substantially smaller, that's true. Done right, it can be to the benefit of the slow downloader, since they get the demo to try out more quickly. Having to download the whole thing just to try it out can be a big hurdle.
     
  10. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bionic Heart demo is "only" 45-48mb. The fullversion since has the voices is over 180mb. If I just used a serial code I would have used x4 bandwidth and probably reduced the number of people that try the demo and then buy it.
    I don't think there are many people without broadband that buy games online, anyway I remember that with my old ISDN I was able to download even 200-300mb, just needed a bit of more time :)
     
  11. GolfHacker

    GolfHacker Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1,073
    Likes Received:
    0
    I originally thought this might be a problem too, so I setup Dirk Dashing so that when you purchase the game, you download a "part 2" setup file that only contains the remaining game assets. That way you don't have to download a huge file that contains everything in the demo version again. But I have had a couple of customers who were confused about that, and didn't realize they still had to have the trial version installed (because that was the one that contains the executable).

    I set up my other games as demo/full, and haven't had any issues about the file sizes. The full version of Rick Rocket is about 43 MB.
     
  12. chillypacman

    chillypacman Guest

    How about leaking broken copies of your game? I know it might sound silly but it's goign to end up on torrent sites and whatnot anyway. Engineer in a little memory leak here, a fake crash bug there and so on and so forth. People who pirate it will not benefit from the game much and if you've done a good job of circulating it it will get difficult for anyone to know which is the correct verson. If people ask support questions you might find they are pirates based on their problems being artificially created in the leaked copy.

    I really don't understand why bigger publishers won't take the fight to the pirates in this manner...
     
  13. bosun

    bosun New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Because it's a really bad idea. You get bad publicity from players who use the cracked version, costing you sales. People who see/try the game at a friends house may not even know it's a cracked version. Sometimes even reviewers use pirated copies costing you further sales. Pirates contacting you for support will cost you time better spent doing something productive...

    You gain *nothing* from such an approach while it can cost you a great deal.

    Now 'leaking' non-cracked demo-versions as the real thing on the other hand can reduce piracy by making it harder to find the real cracked copies.

    Regarding DRM, I mostly steer clear of buying anything with it and I know others do too. So of course it has an effect on sales. Now how much of an effect is impossible to say and no doubt varies with genre and target audience.
     
  14. chillypacman

    chillypacman Guest

    You're talking about it costing you in sales, but then you can actually gauge how many people are pirating your game and in the end of it all you can expose them all simultaneously.

    'Yeah umm, my game stops working after 5 minutes with an out of memory exception, also I don't have a legit CD key for the game', mmhmm.

    Not all games have demos.


    Once it becomes established that publishers are doing this pirates will end up cornered since it will get very easy to expose them.

    Heck, don't evne release a working copy of the game, just upload padded files of old encoded movies.

    You seem a bit bitter about the idea of having pirates hit where it hurts, if Ubisoft and friends are already hurting in the sales department because you won't buy their games because of DRM then what's to lose doing this? Well besides lots of inconveniencing for you and your friends who pirate games with DRM.
     
    #14 chillypacman, Feb 26, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2010
  15. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    1,635
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't agree with this at all. We gained a sale or two from pirates after tech support. It cost us nothing, and we had no bad press from it. Word spreads fast about game issues from cracked versions. If you have a community, they'll happily tell everyone for you, once it's made known.

    The chance of that happening and going unnoticed is about as slim as a normal crash from a bug, or computer issue. If you track your review copies, that also helps deal with something like that, on the extremely rare chance does happen.

    Like... making a sale? Plus, it's also incredibly entertaining to watch.
     
  16. Bad Sector

    Original Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes Received:
    5
    Nobody thinks like this. Almost all the people i know pirate games, software, etc (in Greece piracy is very high). Whenever i mention that, you know, maybe its the crack/pirated version, etc people tell me i'm nuts.

    The argument was about reviewers using pirated copies, not reviewers making pirated copies. The latter happens sometimes, but the former is much more common.
     
  17. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    1,635
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes I know, but both are one and the same. My comment was an extra note that should it happen, you can respond to it properly by saying, "Hey, that wasn't a legit version they were using."
     
  18. chillypacman

    chillypacman Guest

    Well if it's apparent they are using a cracked version and can't prove otherwise then who cares? They know it, you know it, don't bother helping them. they can cry about it all they want, you can offer them a demo version which will work so you can prove to them double over they're pirating.
     
  19. bosun

    bosun New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    No you can't. Having a crashing crack will tell you nothing about how many people have been pirating your game. Even those who contact your support won't be much more than a very vague indication. Exposing them? What, you think you can send them a fine if you think they are using a pirated copy?

    Or kid A asks kid B if he has tried WhateverGame, and the reply is "Yeah, but it kept crashing. Try WhateverSimilarGame instead".

    Few players would try a legit version to resolve an issue with crashing that may well be faulty software, faulty drivers or some conflicting software. They'll just browse on and find some other game instead, and some will even buy that game.

    This will do nothing to 'corner pirates'. And even if it did, so what? Again, you still can't do anything about it. What world are you living in?

    A reply that shows how you just don't get it. This would be obvious from the start that it's not the actual full game. Pirates would not be fooled for an instant. Whereas with a demo-version they would (at least for a while) spread your demo for you as well as try it themselves.

    You truly are a moron. I point out how you're just plain wrong and you pretend I'm arguing that you should give me free Gam3z. This whole going to war against pirates is just a childish response to an inevitable fact of software these days. People *will* pirate your game if it is remotely successful. Any game-producer, indie or otherwise, just needs to realize this and focus on how to maximize profits rather than be derailed by a childish notion of getting back at the pirates.

    What's to lose? Your reputation and paying customers.
     
  20. bosun

    bosun New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    And how would you know? Are you going to respond to every reviewer mentioning crashing that he must be a pirate since only the cracked version can crash? No one will take such a response seriously. Nor should they since crashing can depend on so many things specific to individual computers.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer