World of Goo Co-Creator Claims 90% Piracy Rate

By Blake Ellison, Nov 13, 2008 1:53pm PST 2D Boy's World of Goo (PC, Wii) is being pirated at the rate of "about 90%," according to co-creator Ron Carmel.

The statement came from Carmel in the form of a user comment on a RockPaperShotgun story about the game's pending European release. 2D Boy cohort Kyle Gabler explained in another comment that the figure was established by looking at the number of unique Internet addresses connecting to the game's leaderboard server.

In the face of staggering piracy, Carmel is keeping his chin up. "We're getting good sales through WiiWare, Steam, and our website. Not going bankrupt just yet!" wrote the upstart developer to Joystiq.

Carmel wrote that a few players had illegally downloaded the game and then decided to make a purchase, but added that those buyers formed a "very small percentage."

2D Boy won the 2008 Independent Games Festival for World of Goo. The physics-based puzzler has quickly risen to popularity among indie game fans on Nintendo's WiiWare service as well as Valve's Steam.

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35 Threads | 218 Comments

  • I am always amazed at the people who say they are justified to pirate games because the game isn't good enough to pay for. Software piracy just sounds like one sided mafia negotiations to me. The mob demands 'protection' money that the business cannot afford and takes it anyways if the business refuses.

    Joystick: "Gamers demand fresh content from indy developers, so let's make a game called World of Goo!"
    Gamers: "I would never pay $20 for this shit, good thing I have a free download waiting right here. I am going to stick it to the man!"
    *downloads and plays game*

    The vast majority of things you can buy in developed countries have a set price and you can choose to buy or not to buy. Yet when it comes to games (and software in general) there is this third option of don't buy but still use the software. It really just blows my mind. If the game isn't good enough for your elite standards to pay retail, wait for the price to come down or don't buy it.

  • While I do feel it's a shame that so many people decide to steal copies of games instead of paying for a developers hard work ... I think that a lot of developers are misrepresenting the facts of what it actually means when someone pirates their game. I'm a former PC developer myself and have a lot of friends in the industry, indie and otherwise (I only mention this because I understand where they're coming from), however there are definitely two sides to the coin. To be clear this is not a "pro-piracy" post.

    Here is the thing that I think most people forget - Pirates don't pay for games, period. That's why they are pirates. It doesn't matter if DRM is in place or not, if someone wants to steal your game, music, movie, whatever they are going to do so - it sucks and it's a shame, but that's the way it is.

    The other thing people forget is that the reason that the percentage of pirates that then turn around and make a purchase is so low is because THEY ARE PIRATES! By very definition they are not making the purchase to begin with, nor do they have any intention to.

    What kills me about statements like this is that developers like to count the pirated copies of their game like all of those people were going to buy the game had they not pirated it. WRONG! They never intended to buy your game and they never were going to ... so to count that against your earnings is quite flawed in my opinion. It's like counting every single demo download as a purchase, it just doesn't make sense. It's the same problem when NBC counts all the YouTube views of SNL against what they could have made from commercial spots during that time if the clips weren't "stolen" and people had be watching it on TV instead (due to the fact that higher ratings is equal to more money per commercial spot). It's idiotic, since those people were likely never going to watch it on TV anyway. I'm generalizing here but you get the point.

    The saddest truth of it all is that DRM and Anti-Piracy measures ONLY HURT THE CONSUMER. People seem to conveniently forget that Pirates don't give two craps about DRM, SecureRom or any other anti-piracy measures. They crack it, steal your game anyway, and move on. We - the customer who paid for the game then get to deal with virtual limitations, and sometimes have to jump through hoops to do basic things with a product that we legitimately purchased. How many Pirates had to call EA to get additional activation codes to install Spore? Exactly 0.