Hey folks, remember when I said that pirates never were and never will be paying customers? Well, here is a proof of that. Back at the begging of May a company called Wolfire had a really cool promotion: The Humble Bundle, which allowed you to name your own price for a bundle of popular indy games.
Wolfire did not set any required minimum price, which meant that you could get all the games for $.01 if that was what you wanted. Yep, you could get the full versions of the excellent World of Goo, Samrost 2, Penumbra Overture along with bunch of other less known games for the price of a single penny. Guess what happened?
Well, for one, the bundle was hugely successful generating over $1.2 million in profits (part of which will be donated to charities and EFF). But the bundle also got pirated. By comparing the number of unique downloads with the number of donations Wolfire noticed that people were obviously sharing download keys, posting them on message boards and etc. In other words, quite a few people out there were to cheap, or to lazy to pay even a single penny in order to obtain these games.
This just goes to show that price is not a factor for pirates. You can lower your price down to a single penny if you want to but it wont help. It may convince a fraction of pirates to become paying customers, but majority is not going to care. They are not your customers. They will never be your customers. They don’t care if you lower the price. They don’t care if you put restrictive DRM on your product – I mean, it’s not like they will ever even know about it. The only reason why pirates even know about that crazy Ubisoft DRM because we bitched and moaned about it on the internet for days.
Of course, selling your digital goods at a competitive low price is good for variety of reasons and will definitely increase the number of customers you get. It is just not going to magically convert all the pirates. Nothing will. People who were going to buy your software no matter what will buy it. People who never wanted to buy it, won’t. Those on the fence can and will be influenced by your actions though. You can lure them with an attractive price, promotions, extensive demos, boxed extras. You can also scare them away with crazy DRM scheme that will eat their computer if they smile at it the wrong way. It’s up to you.