Roughly 88% of Peak Hour Demigod Users Pirates

By Chris Faylor, Apr 17, 2009 9:19am PDT Update: Stardock has asked the press to clarify that the below figures don't represent overall sales, but simply the breakdown of pirate-to-legitimate users at peak hours.

Original: While around 140K people tried to play Gas Powered Games' Demigod (PC) online Wednesday, only 12% or so were legitimate buyers, claims publisher Stardock.

"We ended up with 140,000 connected users, of which about 12% were actually legitimate customers," reads a status update from Stardock CEO Brad Wardell. An earlier message had put the percentage of pirated users at about 85%.

While pirates are unable to partake in multiplayer, the initial version of Demigod pinged a server for updates when the game started. That was changed in yesterday's patch.

"We spent a lot of time today trying to isolate out the warez users from the legitimate users," Wardell wrote, noting "it would require a lot of surgery to actually break them and even if we did, there'd be no friendly 'ha ha pirate' message which would result in people just saying the game is buggy."

Developed by Gas Powered Games, the RPG-RTS hybrid was officially released this past Monday. However, retailer GameStop began selling it late last week, causing issues as Stardock's matchmaking servers were not yet ready for so many players.

"Our stress tests had counted on having maybe 50,000 people playing at once at peak and that wouldn't be reached for a few weeks by which time we would have slowly seen things becoming problematic," explained Wardell.

As with past Stardock releases, the game shipped without any on-disc copy protection, as the company is strongly opposed to invasive DRM that hurts actual customers.

"It's not that we don't think piracy is massive," Wardell wrote in a forum post on Monday. "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."

"We aren't blaming piracy for the fact that the day 0 multiplayer experience absolutely sucked," he stressed in a later message. Stardock simply wasn't prepared for the influx.

"The roughly 120,000 users that weren't running legitimate copies of the game weren't online playing multiplayer or anything," Wardell explained.

"The issue with those users was as benign as a handful of HTTP calls that did things like check for updates and general server keep alive. Pretty trivial on its own until you have 120,000 of them. Then you have what amounts to a DDOS attack on yourself."

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65 Threads | 341 Comments*
  • I'm a fellow developer and in all honesty, my heart goes out to the developers of this game. I know for fact, it takes a lot of work to get things moving and off the ground and hurts like hell, in all directions, to come to opening day, after using all your time, imagination, creativity and talents, to make it the best you've ever seen, to only have it flop - in all means and directions.

    For me, it has happened once and I know how stomach sickening it is. It feels like you, not just your talents and creativity are being taken advantage of, but you are, as a developer ..... and that can be the worst feeling in the world.

    If these people who take these games, were to actually sit down, spend the hours and talent to make their own, just like the developers who get paid for it do, then have it stolen (yes, stolen), just like this game, they would really think twice before stealing another.

    As they say, "It takes one to know one."

    As for the game, it's 5 stars all the way around, offline and on. It IS worth the purchase.

  • There are people with enough ethical fabric to try a game for two hours and then buy it or delete it. I'm not going to say they aren't as rare as unicorns or anything - but they exist.

    Demigod has no demo. It is insanely hyped, and rightly so, it's great! It has reviews that are already outdated and therefore misleading. The Gamespot review marks it down to 6.5 for an issue that was resolved three days ago. Not to mention the fact that most reviews nowadays are damn near worthless anyway. People aren't rich, some are scraping up barely enough to buy one game a year, and they need to see for themselves before making a purchase decision. Do these people not have the right to game? Do they not have the right to be an informed consumer? PC Games cannot be returned, so they need to be absolutely positive.

    I am absolutely positive Demigod is awesome, and I purchased it. I won't be purchasing another game for several months, maybe even a year, but I'm sure that Demigod can keep my hobby rolling until then. It has so much replayability and ... well I won't get into an off topic rant on the quality of the game. Needless to say - it's great.

  • if i cant play a demo and see how it runs on my pc, i dont even bother getting interested in the game. pc gaming isnt console gaming where you buy a game and itll work right when you put in the disc.

    my faith in gas powered games is dying . supcom was and still is incredible, but everything theyve made since has been boring retreads. space siege sucked balls, which is saying alot because i love action rpgs and hack n slashes. demigod is a game based on a warcraft 3 mod... for a guy who swings his name around so much, taylor doesnt seem to have any originality left.