Today seems to have brewed an interesting discussion on piracy. After Dylan Cuthbert and the Q-Games team mentioning how piracy is affecting their decision to put future PixelJunk titles on the PSP, which then sparked our lunchtime discussion on piracy, it seems that a certain developer has had a rather successful attempt at curbing it. Now I know that this is neither PS3 or 360 news, but the relevance of the news slotted in rather nicely with the rest of the days news.
World of Goo, by small team 2D Boy, had a shocking piracy rate of around 90% at launch, which most certainly had a financial impact on such a small developer. However, they have since experimented a little. For the games first birthday, they allowed gamers to purchase the game and pay as much or as little as they wanted, all the way down to a solitary cent. With it, they managed to sell approximately 57,000 more copies of the game. Now granted, a large proportion (around 16,000) or people decide to pay the minimum amount for the game, but not everyone.
As you can see from this graph, it’s an interesting variety of prices paid and rather than go into it in great detail (as I’m sure you can all tell from looking at the graph) some quick maths works out that this little experiment made 2D Boy over $100,000 (minus transaction costs). This seems like a win-win, as the developer has a good injection of cash that they may otherwise have never got, and a large number of gamers will get to experience their title and perhaps be convinced to buy their next one at full price.
Do you see this as a possible model for developers to investigate more?