For the latest Gamasutra feature
we present an exclusive interview with Stardock's Brad Wardell about the future of his Galactic Civilizations
franchise, upcoming MMO Society
, the trouble with copy protection, and the need for a creative revolution.
Wardell is the president and CEO of Stardock, head of the TotalGaming.net subscription service, and the developer behind Galactic Civilizations
and Galactic Civilizations 2
, as well as the upcoming MMO Society
, and expressed strong opinions not only on the creative direction of the market, but on its use, or overuse, of copy-protection to the detriment of the consumer.
In this excerpt, he discusses some of the numbers behind his choice to forgo conventional copy-protection means:
"BW: I find it annoying on principle. The question is "would they have bought the game anyway?" If they wouldn't have bought the game, then why should I be concentrating on them? I should be concentrating on maximizing my overall sales. Don't inconvenience legitimate users but inconvenience illegitimate users. Some percentage of them will buy the game.
GS: You don't waste that time and money stopping someone who won't buy your product anyway.
BW: Right. Did you hear that twenty eight percent of gamers won't even buy a game? This was a study put out by one of the copy protection companies as proof of why copy protection isn't negative. This study says that ONLY twenty eight percent of gamers won't buy a game with copy protection. I was thinking "HOLY COW, that's a disaster!"
GS: That's a huge number of people.
BW: I never thought it was that high. I would have thought five or two percent. That makes it a no brainer. [...] If piracy is really killing sales that much, as we're constantly told, then why did Galactic Civilizations 2 just pass the two hundred thousand sales mark worldwide? I think that's pretty good for a game made by a half dozen guys."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject
, including more on Wardell's thoughts on classic licenses, digital distribution, and what XNA means for developers. (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).