people are good (an update on our DRM experiment)

ball-and-chain.jpgas some of you already know, world of goo will be released DRM-free on our website.  once a purchase is made, a download link is sent out and there are no restrictions on where and how many times the game can be installed or additional hoops to jump through before it can be played.

so far, the experiment is going well.  we’ve sent the full unprotected game out to the few thousand people who pre-ordered it before this past monday and we haven’t yet found the game on any torrent sites.  we were told about one warez site where someone posted the chapter 1 preview and their magic key (the key is needed because the preview did have some homebrew copy protection, it came out before we decided to go DRM-free).   frankly, we’re pretty amazed and encouraged that this is the extent of the piracy we’ve seen.

so a big 2D thank you to everyone who’s helping us show that if you treat gamers with trust and respect, the same treatment tends to be returned.

i’d like to end with a request for help: if you see world of goo being freely distributed somewhere, please send us a note about it from our contact page.  it’s not something we intend to fight, we’d just like to be able to share the data from this experiment with the rest of the game development community, hopefully to encourage more DRM-free games.

[update: i’ve gathered some data from the last 24 hours about how many people tried to use the license key posted in the warez forum.  there were a total of 77 activation attempts from 17 unique ip addresses.  8 of them from argentina, 2 from israel, and 1 each from australia, denmark, ireland, netherlands, UK, south africa, and USA.  this data doesn’t really say much on its own, but since i already collected it i figured i’d post it. ]

65 Responses to “people are good (an update on our DRM experiment)”

  1. JonRico Says:

    I was consider giving my copy of the preview to a couple of real life friends – hopefully to encourage them to buy the full thing.

    Would that be acceptable?

  2. Chris Grenard Says:

    Major congrats on this, that’s actually quite the achievement. And I say this as someone who has pirated “big name” software in the past. But I tell you what, you guys deserve every penny from this gem you’ve produced, and I think that the community knows that.

  3. Cap'n Lee Says:

    hopefully the chapter1 preview being available will result in a few sales on top of that as well, it was enough for me to be happy that i’d made a good purchase.

  4. Martin Coxall Says:

    I like to believe that people are basically decent, and so it seems do you.

    I don’t know what sort of people would want to pirate this game given how easy you’ve made it to get and how affordable you’ve made it.

    People do, however, like downloading Torrents of games to see if they’ll like them as an ad hoc demo.

    Since everyone who does that will love the game, you need to find a way to let them order the game after they’ve torrented it so they can express their 2D boylove too.

    *** PS ***

    Why are there no timebugs on the Chapter 4 level “The Server Room”? You people are EVIL. Yes, EVIL.

  5. Tinus Says:

    Sounds goo’d. It’s nice to see the battle against DRM showing positive results.

    Also: I LOVE THIS GAME. SO MUCH. I want to have its babies. Crazy human-goo mutant babies. Yes. They’ll be normal children at first, but at a sudden age they’ll gaze at the skies and suddenly merge together into gigantic pyramid made of blood coloured goo and vaguely recognisable limbs. Either that, or they’ll try to squeeze their face into the kitchen sink.

    Anyway, I’ll hopefully inspire some of my friends to get the game when I show it to them the coming weekend.

  6. lumpi Says:

    I love you, 2D Boy!

  7. billyloner Says:

    That is great. Thank you for choosing to go DRM-free.

  8. X-Tender Says:

    *2D HUG*

    That shows us the real Indie Love!

  9. Little Green Man Says:

    I love this game more than it is healthy to. It’s not just the amazing soundtrack, refreshing visuals or actually funny jokes. It’s the fact that whenever i play it, I’m gasping in wonderment, or grinning like a madman, simply because of the genius present in this game. Sirs, I salute you.

  10. Gu Says:

    I’ve considered giving a copy to a few of my friends to show them it since they haven’t heard about world of goo so that they can check it out and then buy it. However I’m grappling with the moral implications since I really don’t want to condone stealing such a great game.

  11. Matt Oakes Says:

    It’s great that so far it’s not up on any torrent sites however I think you could have a go at putting a demo up on all the major torrent sites. Maybe just the first chapter or something and then a link to buy it from your website. It could rum up a lot of support for the game.

  12. FunkyLlama Says:

    @ Matt Oakes

    I’m not sure it’s good to attract that kind of audience to the game. Once you get the interest of the kind of person who’s likely to browse torrent sites…

  13. Nicky Says:

    F.A.O: Ron & Kyle,

    Congratulations on making a very enjoyable and addictive game!!!

    In one of my previous posts I asked about the boxed version and if it was possible to get that version instead. I have recently had a re-think, I have decided to buy the boxed version when it’s released on this side of the pond. I feel it warrants being purchased again, as I sincerely appreciate the time, effort, and love you have put into this game.

    Regarding your DRM experiment. I am glad to see that people seem to be respecting your trust you have in them. I hope it continues like this.

    I better get going… as since I have full version now, I can get back to completing the second chapter ;)

  14. Cunningbeef Says:

    As much as I hate to say it, once it’s released proper it’ll probably shoot onto torrent sites in no time. Although that all the pre-orderers are good enough to have not put it up is really heart-warming. Probably too floored by the FANTASTIC GAME they just played (seriously, it’s the most fun I’ve had in a puzzle game ever. And yeah, I played portal and all that).

    Have you thought about putting up the chapter 1 preview as a demo? That will probably go a very long way to curb any piracy you might see. Like Mr. Oakes said, but not on torrent sites, that would be baaad.

  15. Daniel Purvis Says:

    There’s a few reasons that I believe World of Goo hasn’t made it to torrents yet, and they’re rather simple.

    1) You’ve made a thoroughly polished and enjoyable game that is worthy of purchase
    2) You’re selling at an affordable and not wholly unreasonable price
    3) Some of the communities most excited about World of Goo (such as those that frequent sites such as RPS) appreciate and understand the problems with piracy and won’t willingly pirate or aid in pirating — understanding the damage it does to the industry
    4) We love 2D Boy
    5) You’ve been extremely transparent and approachable and thus trustworthy and respectable. You’re the perfect con-artist, so charming and witty we’re willingly giving you our money!

    BTW, how will we be able to download the Mac and Linux versions on release? I’m using the Windows XP version on pre-order at the moment but would love not to have to reboot my MBP to play.

  16. Zack Says:

    Right on, guys! Well done on taking this leap of faith in your productions! I wanted to digg or /. the article….but then it’d drive so much traffic to the site that in a lot of cases, it’ll crash the server

    –no bueno!–

    Also, I think that generating that _much_ attention to something like this would eventually lead to somebody spoiling it just to be able to go, “HAH!”

    On that note, I just hope that this becomes rather widespread in the sense that it’s a prime example of how there’s still good an honest people out there despite of just how badly the DRM issue has gotten (Yes, I’m looking at you, Spore)

    Congrats, and thank you for the hard work you put into such a wonderful game!

  17. Samich Says:

    Well i was thinking about posting up some first two chapter OCD tutorials just to give people a good idea of how awesome this game is.

    i already posted level 1-1 and 2-1 and will continue one by one sooner or later as it progresses. and i will go through other chapters soon once the game is released and people get a taste of the goo’dness of the game :)

  18. Alex Says:

    @ Samich: Where did you post the levels? I would like to know.

  19. Samich Says:

    no i didnt post the actual levels i posted videos of them : )

    Lvl 2-1 tutorial:

    Lvl 1-1 tutorial:

  20. Alex Says:

    ah, thanks for clearing that up.

  21. Zebreu Says:

    Maybe it’s only because I’m one likely to browse torrent sites (well, “we” aren’t that evil), but I don’t think putting the game on torrent sites would be bad. There isn’t any demo, so it is fair to think someone could decide to not buy it because he could not like the game. Also, demos can be very short, and doesn’t always give a good idea of the whole game.
    Another point : It’s good for some people (like students craving for cents-many friends of mine) who would not have bought the game anyway. It’s just giving fun, and it’s not costing you anything. Sure there could be some people not buying because of a free download, but I think it would be small in comparison to the ones buying it because of the fun they had playing it because of a torrent.
    And especially students don’t have a regular income. I only bought Darwinia 1 year after I completed it, and without the torrent I would not have cared about the game, and I would not have bought the sequel Multiwinia ( by the way, another great indie studio : so you can see what fantastic games I’m talking about )
    I pre-ordered the game (and was mindboggled by it) and won’t put it on torrents since 2D Boy doesn’t want to, but I believe torrents could help the game, more the studio, and even more some poor gamers, than the opposite.
    Oh, what a lengthy comment…

  22. ninjarat Says:

    Piracy to the extent the corporate DRM pushers want you to believe in is a ridiculous claim. There aren’t that many pirates, and the ones who exist can defeat DRM anyway, making it fairly worthless. Like the jillion-bazillion torrents of Windows. Yeah. That worked. It’s nothing but huge hassle for everyone, and a prototype control package to exert power over users. It’s just part of the whole world-wide totalitarian push lately. 1984 is comin’ bitches! Maybe. But the point is, it’s good that you didn’t DRM this sucker. It’s worthless, inconvenient, and insidious. World of Goo is way too awesome to be touched by that crap. I’m still replaying it and I’m on my third run through. :)

  23. John McCann Says:

    Actually I was very disappointed by the lack of piracy if it had been pirated I could have downloaded it faster!!

  24. Paul Says:

    Excellent game, I only just got onto the Second world.
    I have been playing on the train while I commute but using a touchpad makes the levels even harder!

    As has been said, some kind of demo I can point my friends at would be great, at the moment I am trying to describe it but
    “It’s like this puzzle type game where you stick little blobs of goo together to make structures and things to get other bits of goo to a pipe which is the end of the level but sometimes you get differnt colours of goo which do different things and it uses the cool gloopy physics model and oh yeh the music is really catchy and the graphics are cartoony.. phew”

    Makes me come over as somewhat odd.

    Nice work on the DRM freeness too. It is crazy the number of games I have bought but had to download a crack so they would run on my CD-ROM less laptop.

  25. Evo’s PC Gaming Blog » Blog Archive » World of Goo - No DRM Success Says:

    […] 2D Boys behind World of Goo have posted an update regarding their no DRM experiment with their game. so far, the experiment is going well. we’ve sent the full unprotected game out […]

  26. pkt-zer0 Says:

    Adding another recommendation for the demo. Heck, just make chapter 1 freely downloadable for the weekend before release, without having to preorder. I’d expect that to boost pre-orders a bit, actually.

  27. Jim Says:

    I’ve found myself actively trying to avoid DRM-encumbered games lately, and I’m sure a lot of other people have as well. It actually works out pretty well, considering there are so many good games coming out this season. It’s like the companies choose for me which games I should buy! It makes my life much easier.

    So far, just this month, I’ve gone out of my way to avoid/cancel preorders of Spore, Red Alert 3, Crysis Warhead and Stalker: Clear Sky. I was really looking forward to those games too, well in advance. It honestly feels like they don’t want my money!

  28. eurobean Says:

    havent seen any yet… except on some sites which I dont trust.I only trust “the world biggest bittorrent tracker”

  29. Ballisticsfood Says:

    Well, Crysis Warhead and Clear Sky are both on Steam without any extra DRM, and to be honest I’d prefer a steam game to a DRM full disc release game like Spore (only just managed to get SecuRom off my goddamn system) but I prefer WoG’s drm freeness to all of them. I’m probably going to make myself a backup disc copy before the physical disc copy comes out in europe (moon chapter FTW!) and i’ve given a copy of the Beta 2 to the friend to convince him to buy it, but the disc would be mine and the copy is on my USB stick, safe in my pocket.

  30. eurobean Says:

    the longer we wait to the box edition,the more we get torrents!release da box in 3,2,1 now!

  31. World Of Steamy Goo | Rock, Paper, Shotgun Says:

    […] they’re being very sensible about this. If/when it does start to appear, 2D Boy have asked that people let them know where they’ve seen it. They’re treating their release as a significant experiment, […]

  32. Kasi Says:

    You guys rock! The whole game, especially the story is absolutely marvelous (in a “gee, i want these drugs you took as well”-way). So you absolutely deserve our money for this pearl. This at least is the main reason why I do not distribute my copy among friends but instead tell them to spend the money in order to get it (hey, it’s only twenty dollars, which will roughly equal two to two-and-a-half euros after this stock-market crash :) (just kidding))

  33. Mike Says:

    I probably will send out the Chapter 1 Preview to some friends, because I think that’s the perfect lead-in to them immediately buying the game. I think if you confirmed a demo release date, I probably wouldn’t bother, and I think that’s the same for a lot of people. We want to be able to share the love! But we can’t!

  34. eoy Says:

    I’ve been desperately looking for it on all torrent trackers known to man, but without any results. I do however expect to see it around by at least tuesday (all it takes is just one “respectless” person) and I can tell you here and now that I’ll sure as hell download it and try it out.

    If it appears to be a good game, I’ll buy it for myself and some friends, just like I did with Audiosurf.

    However, a demo would make me reconsider torrenting…

  35. eurobean Says:

    I’ve been doing the same as you.and Im going to download it but still gonna buy the box when it comes(moon chapter :D )

  36. Jim Says:

    “Crysis Warhead and Clear Sky are both on Steam without any extra DRM”

    Sorry, but as far as I’m aware this simply isn’t true – you may have been mislead somewhere along the way. They both have extra intrusive DRM on Steam, or else I would have considered buying them. I actually think Steam is a pretty decent distribution platform, but it’s definitely not devoid of DRM measures.

  37. Jim Says:

    “Crysis Warhead and Clear Sky are both on Steam without any extra DRM”

    Sorry, but as far as I’m aware this simply isn’t true – you may have been misled somewhere along the way. They both have extra intrusive DRM on Steam, or else I would have considered buying them. I actually think Steam is a pretty decent distribution platform, but it’s definitely not devoid of DRM measures.

  38. Little Green Man Says:

    Jim: You are correct, at least with Crysis Forehead. In the EULA it says you are only allowed to install it on so many computers, against the message of Steam.

  39. Jim Says:

    Not only that, Crysis Warhead installs intrusive software (Securom) that forcibly limits how you use it. Same with Stalker Clear sky, which installs software called TAGES. To be honest, even with a 50 install limit I’d refuse to buy these games, on the basis that they install this software “on the quiet” with the sole purpose of preventing me from using the games I’ve bought. If people don’t show these publishers that it’s unacceptable, who knows how bad things will get? To be honest it’s pretty bad right now.

    The fact that developers like 2DBoy are fairly rare in their forward thinking views is pretty scary. It means that many companies have no respect for their customers at all.

    Something I find interesting is that 2DBoy’s “experiment” is aimed at finding out whether having no DRM helps sales. Call me ignorant, but this seems to be the wrong way around! I haven’t found any experiments that showed that *having* DRM helps sales! All these companies releasing games with DRM surely have no clue just how much harm or help it will do. 2DBoy shouldn’t have to do this experiment – unless I’m shown evidence otherwise, the burden of proof lies with copy protection companies to show DRM helps, or else publishers are using DRM on “gut feeling” or “common sense”, which from a business perspective is scary indeed.

  40. Aubrey Says:

    This is such a fantastic game that, experiment or no, I am going out of my way to convince friends to buy it. And if they do anything less than buying it, I shall try certain hard sell techniques, which may or may not involve nipple clamps.

  41. FlonZ Says:

    I am embarrassed to find Denmark on the list ! :(

    If I find any other Danish “pølse”eaters ill report it right away ! :D

  42. Sean Says:

    “one warez site where someone posted the chapter 1 preview and their magic key”
    Lol good ole WBB.

    I’m going to admit that i did download the chapter one preview and with it successfully activating from WBB and has me wanting to buy the game, annoying I’ll probably have to order it into a store here.

    Thanks for making such an addictive entertaining game :)

  43. dsp4 Says:

    Great experiment. Just wanted to share a tought. There are a lot of countries where game aren’t bought at all. Countries in development like north africa, south america, etc. People the usually can’t afford the games so shop don’t even sell them. The only way for them to play a game is to buy a bootleg at a tenth of the price, or downloading it. You’re probably already aware of this, but I think offering them a price that matches their market conditions would help lower piracy even more. Just a suggestion tough. You guys already made a lot more than we usually see from publishers, and the whole community thanks you for that!

  44. hogofwar Says:

    It’s a fact of life. It will get pirated, cracked and distributed on the DAY it comes out even if it has drm or not. Look at what happened to spore. probrably one of the most pirated games ever thanks to its DRM. There will always be someone.

  45. yutt Says:

    Will the Greenhouse release of this also be DRM free?

  46. pkt-zer0 Says:

    So, I was hesitating about buying the game, due to the lack of demo and relatively high price: I don’t have loads of cash to spare, so 20$ is not in the range where I’m willing to spend it on just about anything. In fact, it’s about as much as I’m willing to spend on games on a somewhat regular basis.

    Pre-ordered it anyway, and turns out it’s a pretty neat puzzle game. I’m only through the first chapter in the demo, though. Was it worth the 20$? I don’t know, but I do know that we need more games like these.

    Also, I managed to get my father to play the game, and he liked it, too. The last time that happened was about twelve years ago, with Lands of Lore. It’s good to see that the game is the “true” sort of accessible, not the “massively dumbed down” sort of accessible.

  47. Will Says:

    Everything is gonna be on the internet for free if enough people like it…

  48. eurobean Says:

    even evil pirates(like me) respect you in some stage!every torrent has an description(Im not sure is that the right word because my english sucks) like this:
    Install Notes:

    “1. Unpack release
    2. Mount image or burn it
    3. Install game
    4. Play the game

    Indie developers like the ones who are behind this cool title
    needs support. Think before you choose not to pay for the
    software you enjoy. Worst case senario is a dead PC game iso
    scene, just like that happened with our beloved Amiga game

    People called it evolution, perhaps, but dont let it be
    exclusion of our perfered game scene. Microsoft, Nintendo and
    Sony wont let the same mistakes happen again, so think twice
    before you choose not to support an PC developer.

    Dont let the consoles win! Rise of the PC machines!”

  49. Robert Says:

    Is it okay if I buy it here and get the 6th chapter from a warez site? I think it’s only in the Wii version(I want it on PC, I don’t like my Wii) and on Steam (stupid region lock, I’m in Europe).

  50. Niall Says:

    I think this is a great idea. With major companies like EA and the like using the rubbish only 3 activations per cd code drm method it would put me off buying big games like spore because im a gamer and i like to upgrade my p.c and i perform full system wipes every few months. So thank you 2d boy for leading the way and thank you for a great game.

  51. Hallas Says:

    I have already decided not to buy games with aggressive DRM such as TAGES StarForce or Securom that gives nothing to player and with huge probability will cause problems on his PC (and, of course, it is doing nothing to pirates). And if we are talking about EA and Ubisoft – I will boycott all products from them but it looks like I will be forced to boycott others publishers too.

    It’s their loss, not mine.

    Still I want to play on PC and that’s why I am looking for games from smaller developers. There is a chance that they are doing their work with passion so their games are… better, full with no signs of scissors held by men in black suit saying ‘This is to difficult to gamers’ or ‘What are these? Nipples? We don’t care that everybody has one (or two). Cut them from game right now’.

    So I will buy World of Goo as soon as i will have may PayPal account.It’s good, it’s fun, it’s accessible and it’s DRM-free. Should I want more? I don’t think so.

  52. World of Goo und das DRM Experiment - - Foren Says:

    […] das DRM Experiment Wie die Macher von World of Goo ( Review in K

  53. Frustrated Says:

    If you are using the net through a proxy you won’t be able to register first-time even if you purchase the game legitimately. :(

  54. jeran Says:

    I say, i did play the demo. I got the tower of goo games before, loved them, then i came across the World Of Goo, and thought this looks like WIN. so me, being a cheap-o, i pirated it. It was unavoidable. But i loved it so much, I bought a second copy with real money.
    make another sweet game so i can do the same thing again.

  55. World of Goo | Fatalitility, where Logic ends... Says:

    […] Sehr löblich ist übrigens auch der Ansatz das Spiel komplett ohne Kopierschutz auszuliefern und somit dem Kunden nicht wieder eines von diesen unerwünschten Mogelpaketen unterzujubeln. Mehr dazu und über den “Erfolg” des Verzichtes auf DRM auch auf: […]

  56. Nick Says:

    grr. pretty much all my friends have pirated the game :(

  57. icStatic Says:

    Thanks for an excellent game! Hopefully the success of a clever game without DRM from a tiny indie company will send the message to the industry fat cats that they should be concentrating their efforts on innovation, new IP and treating their customers with respect – rather than shovelware licensed garbage and overused franchises that we are becoming accustomed to. One can only hope!

    Madden NFL: 2056 anyone?… anyone?… I thought not…

  58. Zombie Says:

    This is the first game in quite a while that I haven’t pirated. Well, actually, to be honest, I did pirate it first, but then when I had such an enjoyable time playing it and saw that it was $20, from an Indi developer, and with no DRM, even I couldn’t resist paying for it legitimately.

    Bravo guys, I hope you do well out of this, and thanks for such a gem of a game!

  59. drmgotohell Says:

    I´m honest with you. I downloaded a pirated copy of this game as i wanted to give it a test ride. But now i kinda fell in love with it, just played it for 1 and a half hours straight.

    What a great and wonderful piece of art you produced. Your game reminds me about Lemmings on the Amiga, addictive gameplay and heart warming music. Thank You!

    What more to say? Oh yes, I just purchased the boxed version of World Of Goo on Amazon.

    DRM can go to hell, i stopped buying drmed games alltogether.

    Again, Thank You!

  60. J-F. Says:

    Dear 2D boy,

    So I bought your game on Wiiware already, but I would like to play it on my laptop. Should I feel bad for dowloading it by torrent? I already paid for the game after all… I think that if I already own a license, I should have the freedom to play it on every hardware I got.

    Maybe you should put every version on the DVD (Wii, Mac, PC, Linux) so buying the game would give you the freedom to play it on the hardware – OS of your choice.

    I don’t think you would loose much by doing so.

    Thank you for this great, addicting game!

  61. Jimmy Z Says:

    I purchased this game thru Amazon and love it, but heck, my IP is static and I used to watch it change numerous times a day, every day. That means after owning this game for a month, these ‘pirate’ researchers are going to have a result of worse than 99.99% piracy just from me and my single legitimate copy of a the game! Needless to say I have now switched off reporting scores, but too late now. This 90% piracy figure spreading like wildfire is complete crap, and it is highly irresponsible for the researchers to allow this flawed half-truth to be perpetuated. More unfortunately, it will now be used to justify the invasive and destructive measures used by EA and DRM software like SecuROM. I would’ve thought you ex-EA employees who authored this game would have had a few more clues than that, but apparently not.

    Love the game, but really not impressed by this flawed ‘research’. DRM punishes legitimate users and does not stop pirating. I don’t buy any EA titles any more after having SecuROM disable a USB combo drive and some older software, and eventually having to wipe and reinstall my entire o/s to get rid of it. Anyone who says DRM software is harmless are liars, and furthermore, when I buy a game, I own it – not after 3 installs only, but forever, otherwise I should get a full refund if I return the software once the installs are used up. Period.

    I am strongly against pirating software and those who support it by buying pirated copies, but if there has been anything that’s pushed me towards changing my view, it is SecuROM and EA.

  62. Ron Carmel Says:

    @jimmy z: you clearly didn’t read the whole story. the dynamic IP argument doesn’t hold, look at the methodology outlined here and you’ll see:

  63. Carsten Says:

    I fell in love with the game after trying the demo and bought it right away.

    I got to know about the game by word of mouth:
    It has been mentioned by “O” in the podcast “Extra Live Radio (ELR)” episode 215 from and with Scott Johnson and also with Brian and “O”.

  64. lars Says:

    17 or so, unique ip adresses? thats close to nothing,and this is very good, it proves that people pay for quality like this ,probably because it is not as expensive as the other games out there. Two thumbs up:) This game rules, i bought several copies, one to give away and 1 for myself, and one extra backup that are placed on the coolest spot in the bookshelf :):)

    now you guys -have- to make a sequel :) if not, ill make a petition and gather millions of signatures and shove it up*Cough*..i mean , yeah. -we want a sequel:)

  65. calin Says:

    I am one of those who actually downloaded the game from a torrent after seeing some youtube videos and being impressed by it. Now i actually want to pay you even if there is nothing forcing me (serial numbers and whatnot). Its just that i love this game so much i cannot just steal it from you guys. You deserver every penny and i really hope that your message is heard by as many people as possible. Also all of them should do like i am doing now.

    Congratulations for making this awesome game. Perfect message too! Love it and i hope you will consider making World of Goo 2