Thursday, May 03, 2012


Miles Jacobson, studio director at Sports Interactive, recently wrote a guest op-ed for Game|Life.

In short, it was excellent.

Jacobson wrote about piracy, but instead of using piracy as an excuse for unsubstantiated rants, he gathered data, and cleverly. Take a look:
...we released our Android game a couple of weeks ago. It went straight into the top 20 in many European countries, both in the “paid app” and “top grossing” charts, and a 4.4/5 rating. Which sounds like a pretty good start, right?

Because of the fragmentation, we created a handful of “skins” for the game to cover the majority of device resolutions. Once a player has installed the game on his phone, the handset senses which resolution the phone can handle and downloads the appropriate skin.

...As our sales passed the 10,000 mark, I asked to see the figure for skin downloads; it was up to 113,000. Because every installed copy of the game — legitimately bought or not — needs a skin, we were able to make a pretty direct comparison between our sales figures and our actual user base.

I like to believe the best in people, so I imagined to myself that everyone who bought our game downloaded it twice; once for their phone and once for their tablet. Even if this were true, that still means a piracy rate of 83 percent. But it’s not true — the majority of people who bought it downloaded it once, the rest downloaded it illegally.

Once you gather legitimate data, a discussion about piracy becomes possible. Without data, it's just a bunch of philosophers standing on soapboxes in the town square.

In this case though, Jacobson is level-headed and thoughtful, and his editorial reads as an honest discussion of the issue.

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