As some people know, Gamestop violated the street date of Demigod and released it last week. There have been plenty of discussions about whether Gamestop did this intentionally or not which I won’t go into here.
Obviously there have been some significant consequences as a result:
First, it was Easter weekend. And many of us had just finished a good solid 8 weeks of massive crunch and were looking forward to the weekend to recover. Instead, we found ourselves back at work having to turn on and configure the multiplayer matchmaking servers (we had enough for a beta but not for thousands of people).
Second, since Demigod has zero copy protection on it, it meant that that piracy on this title will, in theory, be maximized. Stardock’s position on piracy is pretty straight forward but to repeat it here: It’s not that we don’t think piracy is massive. We just aren’t convinced that it results in that many lost sales. Or more to the point, we don’t think intrusive, obnoxious copy protection will result in more sales than we lose from people who don’t want to mess with it.
Imagine if Demigod had shipped with some nasty retail copy protection and got released early. Someone “cracks” it but doesn’t do a good job and the game ends up crashing randomly or something. Most people would just assume the game was buggy and that would likely cause more lost sales than the initial piracy did.
The good news, however, is that we’ll get to actually see the effects of piracy. Since we know Demigod is an outstanding game with a wide appeal with equal retail and digital distribution to other titles that came out this year with similar demographics we can see how well it sells compared to them.
Third, while the game won’t be on the shelves at other retailers until tomorrow morning, we have elected to make the digitally distributed version available today with beta testers and pre-order customers getting it immediately (as in right now). Those who have legally purchased the game can get the 0-day update that has all the game play changes that the beta group asked for, multiplayer match-making, and LAN support.
I want to thank the Stardockians who came in on their day off (we are supposed to have the Monday after Easter off) to make sure people who pre-ordered got the game today as well as the beta testers.
See you guys online!