Stardock releases TBS without any DRM, grants free updates to buyers

Tuesday, 24th August 2010 18:58 GMT By Stephany Nunneley


Stardock has announced that Elemental: War of Magic, which releases today via its digital distribution site Impulse, will not include any form of DRM.

While the move may sound a bit surprising since its Demigod title was pirated over 100,000 times in its opening weekend alone, Stardock still doesn’t feel DRM “works,” and CEO Brad Wardell said the publisher has found a way around it without inviting pirates in.

This involves releasing free updates for its games to registered users. This way, said Wardell, pirates are discouraged because they’re not interested in a product without all of its features.

“If you buy it online, we know who you are,” Wardell told CNN. “If you buy it retail, there are concerns about being inconvenienced by (DRM) connections.

“We want to remove those concerns and try to focus on our customer.”

An account with Stardock grants users access to everything Elemental: War of Magic has to offer, including “the ability to make your own challenges and creatures and share them with others.”

This form of protection for a PC title is likely to go over much better than Ubisoft’s “always online” form of DRM – R.U.S.E. being the only exception.



  1. Jaxel

    Demigod was pirated a lot, in the same way Starcraft 2 was pirated a lot. If you pirated it, you couldn’t play it online. Lots of people pirated it, and ended up buying it because the game was THAT GOOD and they wanted to play it online. By the end, Stardock was treating the pirated version as a DEMO, and this model was actually very successful for them.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Callum

    They must be pretty confident in this game then? If they are so sure people will pretty much download the illegal demo like version, love it and then buy the full version? Crazy fools…have they met the internet?

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Elven_Star

    This is way better than DRMs which will be cracked, anyway.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Over

    The game is a TBS, not a RTS…

    #4 4 years ago
  5. DSB

    Yeah that game has nothing to do with RTS, Steph.

    I’m very, very bored with it so far though.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Patrick Garratt

    Sorry, my bad. I’ve edited it.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. hitnrun

    Some background would be useful:

    Stardock’s famous assertion is that piracy doesn’t matter; DRM is a foolish idea because it costs money to implement, stops zero (0) pirates, and angers paying customers, who are the only people who do (or should) matter.

    Good for them. DRM doesn’t work, even if Demigod was pirated 1,000,000 times. Even if the entire Internet downloaded it, not one sale was lost – people who are going to pirate a game are going to pirate it, while customers are going to buy it.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Zonejeu

    Got it over Impulse today, it’s good to say that there’s no DRM, but although the game is good, it is very buggy… seems the time they gained by not having a DRM didn’t allow them to release a clean game.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Lord Gremlin

    “Even if the entire Internet downloaded it, not one sale was lost – people who are going to pirate a game are going to pirate it, while customers are going to buy it.” – Exactly. At best DRM can alienate part of people who were going to buy the game. Or do nothing but diminishing publisher’s profit.

    #9 4 years ago

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