Super Meat Boy Creator: DRM Causes More Losses Than Piracy

In a lengthy blog post, Super Meat Boy developer Tommy Refenes expressed his opinion that the effect of piracy is overestimated by publishers and that DRM solutions are causing more losses than piracy ever did.

“I think I can safely say that Super Meat Boy has been pirated at least 200,000 times,” he wrote. “... As a forward thinking developer who exists in the present, I realize and accept that a pirated copy of a digital game does not equate to money being taken out of my pocket. Team Meat shows no loss in our year end totals due to piracy and neither should any other developer.”

People who pirate videogames may or may not buy those games if they couldn’t pirate them, but there is no actual way to calculate that lost revenue, Refenes argued. “It is impossible to know with certainty the intentions of people. With the SimCity fiasco and several companies trying to find new ways to combat piracy and stating piracy has negatively affected their bottom line I wonder if they’ve taken the time to accurately try to determine what their losses are due to piracy.”

Refenes affirmed that retail stores such as Kmart are able to calculate their losses precisely because their stock consists of physical items that can counted and valuated. But “in the digital world, you don’t have a set inventory. Your game is infinitely replicable at a negligible or zero cost. [... ] Digital inventory has no value. Your company isn’t worth an infinite amount because you have infinite copies of your game. As such, calculating worth and loss based on infinite inventory is impossible.”

“You cannot, with any accuracy, state that because your game was pirated 300 times you lost 300 sales. You cannot prove even one lost sale because there is no evidence to state that any one person who pirated your game would have bought your game if piracy did not exist.”

Refenes then questioned the logicality of using expensive DRM solutions to reduce the intangible losses caused by piracy. “You spend $X on research for your new DRM method that will prevent people from stealing your game. That $X is a line item in accounting that can be quantified. Can you then say “This $X we put into research for our DRM gained us back $Y in sales”? There is no way to calculate this because it is not possible to quantify the intentions of a person. Also, there’s no way of accurately determining which customers would have stolen the game had there not been DRM.”

In addition to the R&D costs required to develop new and more effective DRM solutions, those solutions usually lead to direct and quantifiable losses due to refunds and loss of customers. “I’d take any amount of pirates over one return due to disappointment any day,” affirmed Refense.

The whole blog post can be found here.

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No lame excuse please

Why even play the game then? I pirated a few games before, not gonna justify it by making a lame excuse, I did it because I wanted to. I pirated fallout 3, and bought fall out 4 first day, even though I was a tad disappointed with fallout 4....

They are still trying to turn

They are still trying to turn 1s and 0s into a tangible product that can be shelved with out its associated media and packaging. it's just an image. take a mirror into best buy. now put a game in the mirror at such an angle that you can see it clearly in its reflection. now try to leave the store with it. you cant and the retailer has lost no money due to your efforts. same with taking an image of something on the internet. we shouldn't be called pirates, we should be called imagers.

Rockstars and Bikes

Im with him but, he is going out of his mind when he actually talks about R&D and money placed into DRM... Thats not rockstar programming/thinking as Guy Kawasaki would say.

I pirate games all the time,

I pirate games all the time, but I purchase the ones I like. With some games, the reputation of the developer can sway me to purchase a new game without needing to try it first. Maxis is one of those developers, and yes I did swallow hard and installed the virus known as Origin on my system. This is a slight digression from the topic, but since so many people here share my anti-DRM perspective I would like to tell you all that with Sim City, you aren't missing anything at least at the moment. It is a buggy, broken mess and is essentially still in beta. Right now people are just maxing out their regions in preparation for when the game actually works, to get ahead of the curve so to speak. One thing Maxis did because of EA's fuckup was to convince them to give everyone a free game from the Origin store. I chose Mass Effect 3, a game I would never consider purchasing with money and did think about pirating but decided not to since I know the despicable organization that Bioware has become. I downloaded the game from Origin on my laptop while I was at work, then came home, copied the game directory to my Origin folder on my desktop and tried to play it, but Origin wanted me to re-download it on my desktop. All the files were in the correct place, and I never ran the game on my laptop because it's not a gaming laptop. But Origin refused to see the game files in the Origin folder. "Fuck this," I said, and came here, grabbed the v1.5 game fix, and the game loaded right up! I exited out to change the graphics details to my liking and noticed that now, AFTER CRACKING THE GAME that is shows as installed in Origin. Works flawlessly. Apologies for my slight digression, moral of the story is DRM is the scourge of the earth.

Put that in a microwave!!

This technology will make the paranoid people"you know you pot smokers" refuse to capture such technolgy in a group of people one or two people will quickly find out how faithfull their friends are when the told to get the fuck out.discrimination of our rights freedoms & feelings. Put that in a microwave!! When a new game copy is played, the console ties the game copy to itself by writing its ID on the disc’s RFID tag. When that game disc is inserted into another console, the console’s RFID reader will read that info and refuse to run it. wont it suck when my daughter wants to play a game and because she first installed it on my 60 gig playstation it wont work on the new 500 gig for example. If the use only on the one machine and the "newer one that the allways release a few months l8rz sonys ceo can then suck my lillie white Cock-a-dodol-do. Like come on you put a baby in a microwave What on earth do you think will happen! “As a result,” the hacking has commenced! _________________________________ In hackers we trust;==========

So you release one successful

So you release one successful title and you a expert on the gaming industry!? Give me a fucking break... If it wasn't that bad then why are company's going out of there way to create awareness of this issue. At a business stand point its not profitable to address piracy cause it will only increase the curiosity in people. No company's are now stepping out in desperation to raise awareness of this ever growing issue. If you worked years on a title just to release it and see it being torrented that same day, How pissed would you be, Super meat boy is not a pricey game so its easier to swallow spending 15 bucks on something you may enjoy. But most triple A titles, 87 percent is being downloaded. Many clam the reasons for piracy is because they want to try before they buy, or its not worth the price or anything like that. Its not about getting something for free poeple. Its about supporting the hobbie you love to do in your past time

One thing.

You're quite wrong. He may have released only 1 game but that doesn't make him stupid or a noob to the industry. I agree with this comments due to the fact that I don't buy games with DRM and have instead turned to indies. Most AAA titles are pirated and that's something that will always happen, it's been like that for years now so hurting the customer isn't going to take them anywhere. I didn't buy EA's latest trio (being Dead Space 3, Crysis 3 and Simcity) simply cause of the DRM, It doesn't mean I pirated them either cause I'm not. If they removed the DRM it would be a totally different story. Another thing I'll point out is a particular game The Witcher 2 which is an AAA game and without DRM that sold well, with the 3rd one coming next year. Also Skyrim's steam was cracked instantly even before official release, guess what it sold over 10 million copies. You look at big companies in your post, just think if the games from EA didn't need origin or have drm, I'd have bought all 3 and I would be supporting them, they're losing money at their own fault. I realize not many people think it the way I do but I'm trying to make you understand if DRM is removed there would be more honest customers.

Look, EA may have its issues

Look, EA may have its issues but they are trying to make sure they are not getting ripped of by people like yourself. They are only trying new techniques to make sure they are properly compensated. AND that is pissing off the honest people, because they are used to buying a game with all its features, and pissing off the Dishonest people cause its harder to enjoy a stolen title because of DRM. Look no matter what a person says about any game company. They are apart of the gaming industry and bottom line piracy is slowly destroying it. Is that what any true gamer wants? What will happen is, gaming company's will going out of business due the fact of lack of revenue. At that point there will only be a select few company's that will still be open and selling titles. Because of the lack of completion games will ever increasingly get more expensive. With piracy being so easy and games being more expensive then before, those company's wont stay open ether. Its business 101, people please stop and think before you steal because your only helping destroy one of best things in this world, games.

"pissing off the Dishonest

"pissing off the Dishonest people cause its harder to enjoy a stolen title because of DRM" do you play games? the dishonest people dont deal with drm one person cracks it and the rest never have to deal with it. drm only makes the honest suffer

Look, EA may have its issues

Look, EA may have its issues but they are trying to make sure they are not getting ripped of by people like yourself. They are only trying new techniques to make sure they are properly compensated. AND that is pissing off the honest people, because they are used to buying a game with all its features, and pissing off the Dishonest people cause its harder to enjoy a stolen title because of DRM. Look no matter what a person says about any game company. They are apart of the gaming industry and bottom line piracy is slowly destroying it. Is that what any true gamer wants? What will happen is, gaming company's will going out of business due the fact of lack of revenue. At that point there will only be a select few company's that will still be open and selling titles. Because of the lack of completion games will ever increasingly get more expensive. With piracy being so easy and games being more expensive then before, those company's wont stay open ether. Its business 101, people please stop and think before you steal because your only helping destroy one of best things in this world, games.

omg DRM is there to slow down

omg DRM is there to slow down people like you, omg you been stealing so long you act like you entitled. DRM only hurts the honest people, not you. Buy games and support the gaming community as-well and the gaming industry.

Always a reason

I pirate less and less. There's so many Humble Bundle like sites that its plentiful to spend a few dollars and get plenty of bulk to enjoy. My main reasoning behind pirating? I want to try a final product and see how well that product will run on my ancient PC before I buy and get screwed (has happened to me). A lot of triple AAA games don't have good demo's of the game, and I really do miss those full version trials they used to have for games. Play for 2 hours the full version, and if you want to continue just purchase it. Besides that I think the only way to really force DRM is the way Gizzard did Diablo 3. The crackers were only able to create client side server that would get you through most of act 1, not the entire game. In reality its more of a demo than a fully cracked game, and thus less people would pirate it.

GREAT !

He'll be shrugged off as being a noob to the industry. He does have valid points though. I pirate games that i'd never end up buying in the first place. i DO buy games of course, if they have multiplayer that i want to play (every Battlefield ever made i've bought). But these games that come out with very low reviews or bad graphics, i'll pirate just to see how bad they are, but i'd never buy them. So there is NO loss sale there. I've played every single Sim City, but because of this crap lately, i won't ever buy the new one. When the pirates finally make a playable offline copy (which they found in the java code that it was taken out at the last minute) then i will pirate Sim City. Again, NO LOSS SALE here, as i'd still never buy the game.

DRM does hurt

Good to see another developer coming out to point out the lunacy of DRM/copy protection. It's been annoying legitimate users for over a decade, and doing absolutely nothing to stop real piracy along the way. And he's right. DRM does put off end users who would otherwise pay money... I'm very cautious of certain publishers and DRM systems now. I've been stung too many times (and even requested a refund from Steam over a game using GFWL which kept wanting to download the same update over and over and wouldn't let me play until it "downloaded" it). So now I pirate stuff, and if it turns out to be good, I'll buy it later. If it's really pathetic, I don't buy it (and the vendor doesn't have to deal with my complaint or refund request). And even when I buy software, I often keep using the pirated copy due to not having to worry about the DRM...

Agreed my friend.

Your last sentence describes what I used to do for years however even that is changing. I realized if I kept buying DRM games and cracking them to play I'm still supporting the developers and encouraging them to keep implementing DRM since their game is sold anyway. Skyrim was my very last DRM game and that was back in 2011, after that I haven't bought a single DRM'ed game and turned to indie games. Surely I'm missing on the latest and awesome AAA games but I don't regret it. Tommy is right DRM does cause loss of sales, I'll take myself as example. All those new and cool games Crysis 3, Dead Space 3, Tomb Raider just to name 3, I haven't bought these cause they either need Origin or Steam to run (in this case both), Why ME as a legitimate customer have to install these 2 software that I don't want on my system while pirates can perfectly play without?

Good

Nice to see another person who isn't just looking at it from a business model... Oh, and Megagames, FUCK YOU for making your site unusable with "Adblock Plus."

Okay

Then it must be on my end. I recently got a "browser hijacker" I got rid of but it left any left clicks disabled for MG, and it seems to have affected ABP. A new Ad blocker has fixed it for some reason.

PS I did buy super meat boy

PS I did buy super meat boy tho :) and cortex command, prison architect, project zomboid, kerbal space programme..... All incredible games and the most expensive is like £19.99 yet contains maybe 50-100 times more game play than say, what COD? Is it COD or MoH that has AI team mates that play the game for you? Lol. Or that max payne game, which I remember playing. I put it on the hardest setting, died instantly, and then had to watch the 8 minute cut scene all over again? SkyRim was the last big commercial game I got more than 5 hours fun out of. I purchased it, and actually, the sound track. So take your DRM to fuck you cunts.

Well said mate, I would never

Well said mate, I would never buy these latest AAA games. They are all shit, but I might play them for a couple of hours. That is literally all they are worth. Played Tomb Raider last week, I made it to a cliff edge thing, then I turned it off as it was terrible. Reminded me of Crash Bandicoot. Dumbed down as much as possible. I would not pay for that shit.

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