90 percent of World of Goo installs are pirated

Written by Joe Martin

November 14, 2008 // 10:05 a.m.

Tags: #2d-boy #drm #indie #online #piracy #securom #world-of-goo

Ouch. According to 2D Boy, developer of indie puzzle-em-up and firm bit-tech.net favourite World of Goo around 90 percent of all installs for the game are pirated.

Naturally, two thoughts run through our head. First, what did they expect for not putting any DRM at all on the game and distributing digitally? Second, how did they come to that figure? Thankfully, the 2D Boy blog explains.

According to the team, the figures were gained by looking at automatic uploads of online scores and recording which IP those scores came from. The number of unique IPs is then divided by the number of sales, resulting in a 90 percent piracy rate. The team admits that this method neglects to take dynamic IPs or multiple legit installs into account, but reckons it must roughly balance out with those who have multiple pirate copies behind a firewall or who disable online scores.

What's super interesting though is that the team at 2D Boy compared their piracy rates to a similar indie game called Richochet Infinity which had used a similar method to estimate piracy. Other than the games themselves the only real difference was that while World of Goo is totally DRM-free owing to the teams belief that DRM only hurts consumers, the second game was not. The result?

"Ricochet Infinity shipped with DRM, World of Goo shipped without it, and there seems to be no difference in the outcomes," says 2D Boy's Ron Carmel, who also points out that effort used to prevent 1000 piracy attempts of a game will only result in a single additional sale.

"We can’t draw any conclusions based on two data points, but we're hoping that others will release information about piracy rates so that everyone could see if DRM is the waste of time and money that we think it is."

We hope so too, Ron. We hope so too. Tell us your thoughts about game piracy in the forums.

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