Roughly 88% of Peak Hour Demigod Users Pirates

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. nope

"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."