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From: Bob Hubbard
Subject: Another Piracy Opinion
Date: 1995-03-21 03:08:06 PST

You know, all this discussion of the piracy problem is interesting, but
no one mentioned one of the other problems....General Apathy.

I've seen this discussed over & over again. (even did a paper on it in
college). You have the publishers who claim that they make very little
money on their games, give shoddy support, buggy problems, and justify a
$70 US list price for a game as fair.

Cost of a game = $70
Expences = roughly 9-25 $ US

2 DSHD 3.5 disks .50 Remember, they buy them in lots of 10,000+
Printing Aprox 1.50
Fancy Box 3.00
Advertizing 0-15.00 per copy.
Gen. Overhead 5.00 payment for in house teams
Rough total 9.50 - 25.00

Depending on the company (publisher) the independent developer gets a 2%
to 12% royalty from Their (the publishers) sale price, not the list price.
(ECA had a 2% or less rate in 1993 when I contacted them. SSI 10%+)
If the publisher's cost is $15, they sell to a distributor for $20. The
big distributor sells to a smaller distributor for $25. This may go 1 or
2 more levels. Your local software store (ELB, Babbages, SOft Ect) buys
from this smaller distributor (like Ingram Micro) for around $20-35 US.
They then mark the bugger up to $49.95 and cut themselves a nice big chunk.

Now, remember the royaltys??? The author who spent sleepless nights
wraping around to make it work, gets lets say a 10% royalty. Remember,
this is from publishers sale price. So if the publisher sold their SRP
$70 game (in stores for $49.95) for $15 to the big distributor, the
author(s) get $1.5 / copy sold. So, if the game sells 100,000 copies
they make $150,000. Unfortunatly, most games sell around 10-30,000
copies, and keep in mind this $45,000 is usually split between several
people on a team (lets say 4, 1 designer, 1 programmer, 1 grfx & 1
sound/music person). And lets assume a 1 yr. time period. Each person
GROSS'S $11,250 from this. Split that into monthly sums, Aprox $900 /
month. However, most publishers pay every couple of months. So the team
waits for their cash.

Welcome to the world of game publishing. We won't even get into the
money paid to retail stores to display products, & other insentives.

As to the apathy, sure we'd all buy Ultima 9 for $15. But Origin's gonna
spend a couple hundred thousand on development. They have to make that
back somehow. & hey, we know half the world has a COPY of Civ. That
game is unique in that 2 years later its still selling at $40 (aprox)
while games that came out 6 months ago are in bargin bins. I keep
running into people who claim "why should I buy it? I'll just download
it / copy it from my friend". These same jerks would (and usually do)
get bent way out of shape if some one did that to their own work.

It all comes down to this: If you Buy the game you support the programmers.
If you Download it, and like it, please buy an original.
If you download it and dont like it, delete it.

If you download it, play it & play it, & dont, youre a thief. Plain and
simple. If you were in a band, and got paid based on the number of
tapes/cd's were sold, and a friend of yours says "Great album. I taped it
from my friend" you would probably kill him. If you were an author, and
a friend photocopied your manuscript rather than buy the book, you'd be
pissed. Software is no different. And dont start on the "well a book is
only $6 and Wing commander's $50 crap". You don't need a K'hest'n $200
CD Rom drive, and a $100 sound card to read a G'Day'Ny $6 paperback!!!!
If you did, it would cost $45 friggin bucks! Think about it.

Good day.

[ Bob Hubbard | Coming Soon : ]
[ President - Centarius Software Co. | STAR EMPIRE 2179!!! ]

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