Amongst the rubbish propaganda spewed out daily by the entertainment mafiaa is the notion that digital content must be protected by digital restrictions management (DRM). If you don’t use DRM, so many people will pirate your work that you’ll barely make enough sales to cover the cost of production. Or so they seem to believe.
It’s a good thing reality doesn’t work that way. Out here in the real world, DRM does not hinder piracy. The only people who encounter DRM are the people who buy the content. After the DRM is defeated and the content lands on pirate warez servers (and this always happens. Always), the DRM has been removed or disabled.
Out here in the real world, even if the DRM worked as advertised and prevented all attempts at making unauthorized copies, it still would not matter. The people who download pirated entertainment won’t buy it if they can’t download it. They will simply download something else.
In other words, it doesn’t matter if people pirate the content. Those people weren’t going to buy it anyway.
The market has just proven this.
One of the justifications for DRM used by the mafiaa, especially in the context of video games, is that the DRM is there to hinder unauthorized copying right after release, when sales of any new game will be strongest. Whenever circumstances force them to admit that DRM doesn’t stop piracy, this is how they attempt to justify using it anyway, despite the hassle it causes for legitimate buyers.
A new game, Demigod, was released recently. Its publisher is Stardock, a company whose CEO is adamantly opposed to the use of DRM.
Game retailer, GameStop, accidentally jumped the gun and started selling copies of Demigod a week early. Unauthorized copies of the game, inevitably, made its way to warez servers.
In the mafiaa’s fantasy world, what happened to Demigod would be a recipe for disaster. According to the mafiaa’s logic, this game will never generate any significant revenue because “teh ebil piwates” had a week’s head start to upload the game to warez servers. It just won’t sell, game developers will go hungry, children will weep and democracy will collapse.
Again, it is a good thing the rest of us live in the real world. The mafiaa’s make believe universe sounds like an unpleasant place.
Demigod, despite the goof by GameStop and despite the piracy, has debuted as the number three best selling PC game last week, according to research by the NPD group.
Stick that in your ear Jack Valenti.
Even better, however, is that NPD tracks only boxed copies of video games. Their numbers don’t even include digital download sales. Stardock distributes games mainly through downloads, using its Impulse download software. Impulse, in other words, is Stardock’s version of Steam. This means that Demigod most likely had far better sales numbers than is reflected by the NPD’s list.
So the next time some brainwashed little minion of the mafiaa is trolling your favorite message board or blog with their “piracy hurts sales. copy protection saves jobs, rah rah rah” propaganda, remember that he is full of shit and use this URL (and this one) to shut him up.
/update: Reworded a bit after reading this and discovering it sucked the way I wrote it the first time.