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Anti-DRM Experiment not to blame for Game Publisher Bankruptcy
February 2, 2009
Thomas Mennecke
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There was a bold experiment for independent game developer 2D Boy back in October of 2008, when the small San Francisco start-up launched the highly popular game "World of Goo". The game has been a success on both the Wii and the PC, and also highly popular in the piracy world. According to the game developers, the game has a piracy rate of about 90%.

When news broke that World of Goo's publisher Brighter Minds Media declared chapter 11 bankruptcy, it might have been easy to allege that 2D Boy's anti-DRM experiment could have played a significant role.

Despite the rather high piracy rate estimate, 2D Boy was content with the situation. In a article featured in Gamasutra, 2D Boy explained a recent analysis of DRM didn't necessarily mean better sales; instead, they found that such protection only netted 1 additional sale per 1,000 thwarted piracy attempts.

"This supports our intuitive assessment that people who pirate our game aren’t people who would have purchased it had they not been able to get it without paying."

With no DRM, "World of Goo" has been easily copied and distributed throughout the PC gaming world. But did it contribute to Brighter Minds Media's decision to declare chapter 11?

It doesn't appear so. According to Brighter Minds Media's bankruptcy affidavit in PACER, there are a variety of reasons for this setback: "growing level of indebtedness" and a soggy world economy.

"...[Brighter Minds Media] due in large part to the worsening economy and less than expected retail sales activity, was forced to incur significant returns, credits, mark-downs and deductions on its products, resulting in drastically reduced borrowing capacity..."

Chapter 11 only requires Brighter Minds Media to restructure - not to dissolve their assets. Even if Brighter Minds Media vanishes tomorrow, 2D Boy told Slyck.com that their anti-DRM policy is staying put.

"I don't know what the future holds for Brighter Minds, but the DRM policy will definitely remain in place. Brighter Minds' filing for chapter 11 is not only unrelated to our DRM policy, it's entirely unrelated to World of Goo."

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: DRM

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