Is the only way to fight piracy through Digital Rights Management, copy protection and industry pressure?
A small games company called Stardock decided it made no financial sense, and decided to offer their newest game, Galactic Civilization II, without any of it.
According to Techdirt, which quotes company officials, the game is now the top-seller at WalMart, BestBuy and at other outlets, with sales exceeding the sell-in orders.
But this apparently did not please one of the DRM companies. Stardock's own forum has a fascinating post up right now, charging that Starforce, which makes DRM for games, linked to the locations of pirated GalCiv code. A story based on the posting, written by a gaming journalist with a blog, is rising on DIGG's ratings right now, charging Stardock wants the game pirated.
Not true, says Stardock. Instead of protecting its game with copy protection or a DRM, Stardock is protecting its game with frequent updates, and other valuable services which only go to registered (paid) users. This is something online gaming companies have understood for years. They let their clients out freely then charge for game play. But now Stardock has extended this to a client-only game, using updates instead.
The business model implications of this are immense. What Stardock is doing, it seems to me, is taking a page from the anti-viral industry, which also has few problems with piracy. Now the question becomes, how do we extend this business model into other areas?