Arma dev notes piracy to buyer ratio of 100 to 3

Thursday, 17th November 2011 23:25 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Bohemia Interactive has observed massive piracy of its games, despite an unusual DRM system.

“Our statistics from multiplayer show that for every three legitimate buyers playing their game in multiplayer, there are 100 (failed) attempts to play with a pirated version,” Bohemia CEO Marek Španěl told PC Gamer.

“This indicates that piracy is an extremely widespread problem on PC, and it’s also really worrying for us as a mid-sized, independent, PC-oriented developer. We do not have any such data for single-player, but I’m afraid there the ratio of pirates to legitimate gamers is undoubtedly much worse,” he added.

“It’s very difficult. Companies and teams invest a lot into game development, and with such widespread piracy, it’s extremely tough to get the investment back.”

Bohemia has gained an element of notoriety for its use of a DRM system called DEGARDE (formerly known as FADE), which introduces bugs to pirated copies of the game.

“The motto is: Pirated games are not worth playing, original games do not degrade. Some of the symptoms are funny, usually annoying,” Španěl explained.

“In the Arma series, players with pirated copies have lower accuracy with automatic weapons in both single player and multiplayer, and occasionally turn into a bird with the words ‘Good birds do not fly away from this game, you have only yourself to blame’” While we know we will never stop piracy, we use this as a way to make our stand that piracy is not right, that it has a serious negative impact on PC games developers.”

Španěl described DEGRADE as a “supplement” to more common DRM systems like always-on and online registrations, which are often required by publishers before they’ll sign off on a PC game.

“Our approach is to remove conventional DRM not too long after the initial game’s release to ensure as smooth an experience as possible for our legitimate users and still appeal to our distribution and publishing channels,” he commented.

“We’re trying to cut off this vicious circle where piracy hurts owners of legitimate copies ‘protected’ with annoying copy protection DRM systems, which may lead to more piracy. That is why, for example, nearly all games on Sprocket, our online store, are DRM-free. Arma 1 and 2 are already copy-protection-free everywhere, and have been for a long time.”

Bohemia’s latest title is Take on Helicopters, available now on PC.

Thanks, Shack.



  1. vermin

    100 to 3 is obviously not the ratio he describes. players and attempts are not the same thing. he was so careful not to call each of those attempts a unique pirate as well.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Droid

    I bet they still made a massive profit anyways.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. IL DUCE

    Solution: make your games for consoles (even if it’s not until next gen)

    …and show Codemasters how it’s supposed to be done

    #3 3 years ago
  4. DSB

    Considering how bad Bohemias games tend to be on release, that’s hardly surprising. Why spend money on a game just so you can wait for the community to fix it, or for Bohemia to release one of their “expansions” that actually work?

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Moue666

    And the only way they’ll make money on consoles is to make the game as casual as Call of Duty.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Phoenixblight


    Yes because Dark SOuls is totally for the PC market…Oh wait, its not.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. DonnerKebab


    So that’s alright then? That is the attitude of people who don’t have to put thousands of man-hours into creating something.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. GrimRita

    I always love when publishers/developers pull the ol’ ‘its the pirates’ card out of the deck when their games simply do not sell. The console market has its fair share of pirating but nothing is mentioned about that because in some cases the sales of (insert name of game here)are high enough not to worry.

    This excuse not to support the PC as a platform is because publishers/developers are just too lazy to develop for it because its probably a headache for them to offer support for the variety of set ups out there.

    Whilst this does need to be simplified, I cant help but wonder how companies like Blizzard are PC only, Creative Assembly have done very well (despite their last offering being crap)and #4 is right – why should be part with their cash when a game is half finished?!

    #8 3 years ago
  9. YoungZer0

    So stop releasing shitty games then.

    I actually have a friend who buys their games only because he finds the bugs so hilarious. He actually plays their games FOR the bugs.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. freedoms_stain

    That headline is really quite unacceptable given that it’s entirely misleading without the line about 100 failed attempts.

    The headline insinuates that the vast majority of ARMA players are pirates which is simply a complete fallacy.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. albo88

    arma 2 fucking sucked thanks god that piracy exist
    that game is so unstable the patch so far haven’t fixed shit but they have made the game worst

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Droid

    @7 Yes it is. If they’re in it for the money they should either become bankers or a lot better developers. They wasted a fortune on development of that game.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Joe Musashi

    @8 Piracy isn’t some ‘excuse’, it’s a real issue. Whether a game sells or not doesn’t affect the issue of piracy. Prices and quality don’t affect piracy either as I’ve seen great freeware games being pirated and even charity bundles being pirated. The argument that piracy is a response to quality or price is completely undone by this behaviour.

    As for Blizzard – they may not be exclusive to PCs forever. However World of Warcraft is a subscription model product. You can still pirate the software but you won’t get onto their servers to play it.


    #13 3 years ago
  14. GrimRita

    @13 – I wasnt talking about WoW. Blizzard were/still are a huge success on the PC without WoW being included.

    The music industry blamed the pirates for destroying it, which turned out to be a load of crap since the arrival of itunes showing that people will pay for what THEY want and not the crap being shoved down our throats.

    The same is true for gaming. With lots of releases being launched half finished, bugged to hell, yet all scoring 9/10 is it any wonder some folk download a game first to see if they like it? The games industry needs to take a long hard look at how it goes about its business and stop demanding their arses being kissed by the gaming media to secure a high review score in return for advertising revenues.

    That of course is only part of the problem but the main reason is as I have stated – developers/publishers are just too lazy to develop for the PC and use pirating as an excuse. If you look on the pirate sites, its full of xbox/ps3 games as well.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Joe Musashi

    @14 – iTunes hasn’t eradicated piracy. The point I was making was that good pricing and good quality are not going to stop (other) people pirating. So the whole idea that these things motivate piracy is a falsehood. Music piracy is still rife, as is all other type of piracy – because people will take ‘free’ over ‘good value’ if they think they can get away with it.

    And Blizzard’s PC games require server access – even to play offline.

    Piracy is about greed without risk. It won’t stop at a consumer level because people are greedy bastards and are quite happy to concoct endless excuses that make themselves look like victims whilst they help themselves to things they know they aren’t entitled to. Like claiming “it’s bugged, so I’ll download it to ‘test’ it”. Sure. You’re fooling nobody but like-minded pirates with that line.


    #15 3 years ago
  16. GrimRita

    There will always be a minority who will always pirate stuff no matter what. The point I was making was that the music industry led us all to believe that pirating was killing the industry, when the truth of the matter is – people will pay for music and itunes proved it.

    I am all for server access to play my games on or offline as I( and the millions of others) use Steam so that isnt even an issue for me. It is funny how the vocal minority who complain about DRM are probably the pirates who get their way in the end.

    Bottom line, if you like a product, you should support it by purchasing it.

    And price DOES play a part in it. Im still trying to figure out why BF3 is £40 on the PC as a download, Anno 2070 is £35. Neither of which I have bought. Could I download them? You bet but I cant be bothered to waste my bandwith. Both games do not justify their price tags.

    So maybe the mood is shifting towards people who dont buy on day #1 and wait for price drops and with so many games crammed into the final quarter of the year, is it any wonder some games simply wont sell.

    There’s more to this than just dropping the blame at the foot of the pirates, when it clearly is a whole host of issues, of which, the industry only have themselves to blame (NOT for pirating, but for not using their brain with their release schedules).

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Joe Musashi

    I don’t think iTunes has solved anything with regards to piracy. It’s a closed vendor to a uniquely successful closed product.

    Let’s put it this way, how many iTunes users have a library of music that features nothing but legitimately purchased content? I guarantee you that that is the minority.

    All these excuses why people feel it’s their right to take another’s work without paying the asking price. They’re nothing but an excuse to make the pirates feel better about what they do.

    End of the day: People know right from wrong. They know piracy is wrong. They still do it.

    People can add as many layers of excuses/arguments/reasons on top of that but it doesn’t change that simple fact – it just hopes to bury it.


    #17 3 years ago

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