World of Goo has 90 percent piracy rate

Only one in ten people playing World of Goo has actually paid for it.

Or so says 2D Boy’s Ron Carmel, a member of the two-man team responsible for the hit puzzler.

“Last we checked, the piracy rate was about 90 percent,” said Carmel in a Rock, Paper, Shotgun posting.

Joystiq contacted Carmel yesterday to confirm the piracy estimate, and he said the figure is “about right.”

“We’re doing okay, though. We’re getting good sales through WiiWare, Steam and our Web site. Not going bankrupt just yet.”

In good faith, 2D Boy released the PC and Mac versions of World of Goo without digital rights management, controversial software that aims to prevent piracy. The so-abbreviated DRM has been the focus of debate since the release of EA’s DRM-laden Spore in September.

World of Goo costs $15 on Wii through the Wii Shop Channel. It is available for PC and Mac users for $20 on 2D Boy’s official site.

40 Responses to World of Goo has 90 percent piracy rate

  1. Rauelius says:

    Jeez…I understand Pirating games for Draconian evil companies like EA, but it genuinely pisses me off that people would pirate a small fun and awesome game like World of Goo. I picked it up on Steam and loved it, please, either on Wii or PC buy this excellent game

  2. videoanime says:

    For these reasons is so difficult to create games without go to bankrupt. No mamen, buy it, don’t pirate it \_/ :oX

  3. deepthought says:

    @ Rauelius

    hahahahahahaha pls tell me your joking. the evil draconian EA? so let’s rip off their games?

    yeah. that’s sticking it to the Man. or wait…. maybe it’s about you just wanting games.

    pro tip: ripping off EA doesn’t make you a social crusader.

  4. Brian says:

    Let’s try not buying from EA.

    Anyway, this is really sad to hear. It hurts the smaller developers the most.

  5. Rauelius says:

    not saying that I am pirating EA games, just with stuff like installing virus like DRM under consumers noses, and not allowing you to actually OWN the game you purchased, I understand why someone would pirate stuff. I don’t pirate games, but I also don’t support the Draconian efforts of EA, Ubisoft and Take2(Bioshock issue from a few years ago…UGH) I mostly get my PC games from Steam or Gametap, and buy games that don’t have Virus-Like DRM schemes like Stardocks games. I guess thats a good reason that Consold are taking off, no DRM (at least for now) but with BS like Gears of War only allowing you the old maps if you purschased the game new, and Rockband 2 doing somthing simular, I see consoles going down a simular slippery slope.

  6. Rauelius says:

    Oh, and I didnt buy any Game on Steam that for some bizarre reason had DRM on it….It made no sense, because Steam is already a sort of DRM authetication service….GOD EA and Take2!!! Why!?!?!? I want to buy your games.

  7. Sean says:

    I’ve never had any bad experiences with DRM software, personally – so I have a hard time relating to the opposition. 2Dboy’s situation is exactly why I’m against piracy, it does hurt companies – the only reason it’s visible in this case is because 2Dboy is so small. If you like a game enough to play it, you like a game enough to pay for it.

  8. Rauelius says:

    I agree!….But I tell ya, I’m a HARDCORE pc guy and rebuild my system twice a year and reinstall Windows every 3 months, and because of that I have 12 systems in my house, Heck I give away my old boxes sometimes. If I bought Spore In a little over a year, I can’t install it anymore and am screwed….I prefer Steams DRM, where you can install it as many times as you want, but you have to be signed into your Steam Account to play it. works for me!

  9. Liraco says:

    More reason to rely online services like WiiWare (and the other console’s shops) as well as Steam to combat piracy.

    I also agree that it’s sad to say “it’s ok to steal from the big companies”. Stealing is stealing, no matter what you say to comfort yourself.

  10. El Hajjish says:

    Gamers: We hate DRM! It infringes on our rights and shows that companies don’t trust us! Companies that use DRM are evil! If a game is good enough, people will pay for it!

    Gaming company: here’s a great game – and we’ll be cool: no DRM.

    Gamers: Oh, this game is awesome! (Steals game)

    El Hajjish: sighs…

  11. king says:

    Now that is just wrong.
    I won’t say that I dont use piracy sometimes, but its only for games that are not worth it, or games that are not being sold by the company any more(retro).

    But here are two guys working very hard for a great game that is sold for a very reasonable price, there is no need to hurt them that much!

    heck am thinking of buying the game just to support them

  12. Brandon says:

    they should remove their statement on the site that says “100% Region free & DRM-free :-)” The smiley face in there is included and it kind of makes you think they’re for spreading the game around. *for the record I did purchase the game for Mac and Wii. 🙂

  13. Paul says:

    I saw this yesterday and I still think that 90% is an insanely inflated number. DRM or not, a game will be pirated, but I can’t believe 90%.

    And besides, I’m on the side that thinks that people who pirate the game aren’t a lost sale. I also believe the $20 price point for the PC is an inflated price (especially considering that the Wii version is $15).

    That said, it’s still wrong to pirate.

  14. Jamie says:

    DRM is a good idea if you ask me, if your install count goes over the limit, don’t be such a lazy bum and just phone them, it’d take less than 10 minutes and if you explain the situation 99% of the time it’ll be sorted just like that. I’m all for that, game companies lose a LOT of money because of cheapskate jerks out there, they should go and get themselves a job and buy the games that people have worked hard making.

  15. Jonkind says:

    Stuff like this is why PC gaming is dying a slow death or at least can’t keep up with consoles. Developers/publishers don’t want to put out games for a 10% return on the potential market. Why would they? It’s the same reason why subscription based models are so appealing.

    DRM sucks for the user but I do understand why they would want to have it. I still think the Steam model is the best I’ve seen in a long time. At least there you can download your game as much as you want as long as it’s you who’s logged in, not this stuff like with Spore where if you install on it on too many computers it stops working.

  16. Paul says:

    First off pc gaming isn’t dying, console gaming is growing. PC gaming has always been more of a niche market than consoles. It’s just that the technological edge that pc gaming use to have in abundance has long since passed as technology continues to grow faster and faster. Think about how much better arcades use to look from console versions. That gap is no longer there.

    @Jamie: I don’t know how DRM that is only limiting the person who bought the game is okay. I’m not completely against DRM (it’s a publishers option if they want to go that route), but the policy of having to call and ask to install something you already bought is just flat out idiotic. Where else in the world do you need to call and ask for permission to use your property as it was meant to be used?

    The reason a company like Stardock doesn’t use drm is because it doesn’t work. It stops no one.

  17. Rauelius says:

    DRM doesn’t work. Sins of a Solar Empire was a bonafide hit and it had no DRM…at all…nothing. For the people who say the DRM doesn’t bug them now, I only have the following quote.

    “In Germany, they first came for the gypsies, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a gypsy. Then they came for the Bolsheviks, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Bolshevik. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics. I didn’t speak up then because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up.” – Martin Niemoller, A Lutheran Pastor arrested by the Gestapo in 1937

    This DRM issue is one that will effect you at one point whether you know it or not.

  18. ejamer says:

    “… I’m on the side that thinks that people who pirate the game aren’t a lost sale. …”

    I don’t believe this.

    A small percentage of pirated copies might not be lost sales… but many others are. Many gamers would’ve done whatever it took to play this game, especially after all the critical buzz it received. Unfortunately, many gamers simply won’t pay for things they can get for free instead (even when the “get for free” means stealing).

    2D Boy offered a very generous demo, created a great game, made it incredibly easy to purchase and download, and did everything possible to accommodate gamers. Their reward? Rampant piracy.

    What makes it worse is when gamers accept this as being normal behavior. It’s not normal or socially acceptable to steal goods in the real world… but online all responsible disappears due to annonimity and lack of consequences.

    Sorry – rant over.

  19. Wii Wii says:

    That is crap.
    Come on people support the little guys !

  20. Jonkind says:


    As I said, it’s either dying or not able to keep up with consoles. I think PC gaming could be a much more competitive platform, growing and competing better with the consoles than it does. And one of those reasons is this pirating stuff we’re talking about.

    Now I don’t doubt people are playing PC games, but how do you precisely monitor how many are playing, and which ones? Not by sales numbers, apparently – if we take this number as a norm then could as many as 90% of PC gamers be pirating their games? There aren’t that many modded consoles, that for sure.

  21. Joshdad says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but I’m not at all familiar with DRM. I think from what I’m understanding, DRM will prevent you from using a game on more than 1 or 2 systems?
    If that is what it is, I have no problem with it (I only install my games on one system usually, or at the most 2), but I do have a question.
    I always buy all the games I play (no piracy), but if possible, I usually buy them used (like from Amazon or Ebay) would DRM cause a problem if I buy a used game that someone has already installed. Would I not be able to install / play a used game if it is DRM protected?
    Again, sorry for my lack of understanding about this whole thing, but this is the first I’ve heard of it.
    I should also probably add that I don’t do hardly any gaming at all on-line, so would that make a difference either?

  22. Joshdad says:

    Oh yeah, I should probably mention that I’m talking about PC games (just in case it wasn’t undestood).

  23. Joshdad says:


    Thanks for that link. Very interesting stuff. I still have some lingering questions (like buying a used game that has DRM on it, it it’s already been installed how easy / difficult is it to change the setting, etc…) but I’ll now at least have an idea of what being talked about.
    Unfortunately piracy is such a huge issue that something needs to be done, I just don’t know if something like this is the answer.

    I remember buying “Pool of Radiance” for my Commodore 64 many years ago. The game came with a mult-layered deciphering code ring that required you to decipher a certain hieroglyphic like word in order to play the game. Without that decoder ring, you couldn’t possibly decode the word. It seems like manufacturers have tried countless ways to defeat piracy throughout the years.

  24. Paul says:

    @Joshdad: In terms of used games, it depends on the DRM. EA’s current policy only allows the game to be installed x amount of times (I believe they pushed it from 3 to 5 now), which is tracked by their server(s) and then when you go over that limit you have to call them to authenticate it. Microsoft has done that for years with Windows.

    So, if you buy a used pc game, such as Spore, you may not be able to install it if the installs are used up. To be honest, I don’t know if you call EA and tell them you bought the game used if they will allow you to install it or not.

    And passwords in manuals was the worst. Manuals did seem to like to disappear around my household. *cough cough* I mean, I never lost a manual in my life. 😉

    @ejamer: “A small percentage of pirated copies might not be lost sales… but many others are. Many gamers would’ve done whatever it took to play this game, especially after all the critical buzz it received.”

    I think it’s the other way round. Sure, some are lost sales it absolutely has to be, but with friends of mine who pirate games they only pirate ones they never planned on buying. So, they’ll buy Fallout 3, but not GRiD.

    I just can’t buy the 90% number. Perhaps it is true as the game is rather small. People who were turned away by 8gb downloads probably jump on the 100mb download bandwagon.

    @Jonkind: “I think PC gaming could be a much more competitive platform, growing and competing better with the consoles than it does.”

    Perhaps, but I don’t think console and pc gaming should be the same. Certain games are better on pc’s and others are better on consoles. I love rpg’s, but a game like Oblivion where you can spend 100 hours playing is probably better suited to a console where you sit on a couch. However, I prefer fps on a pc though they are equally fun on a console. Sports games are better suited for consoles. Racing games on either. Strategy on the pc. And so on.

    Anyway, I’ve written a ton on this subject now. We don’t know how many people are playing pc games because downloaded sales aren’t measured in NPD’s. Regardless, I don’t think its just pirating that’s an issue. It’s the developers. Crysis, which has sold over a million copies, was a slower burn because people couldn’t play it on their pc or didn’t want to until they upgraded. Sins of a Solar Empire sold really well out of the gate, but it insanely low minimum specs on it.

    Perhaps 90% of the people really did pirate World of Goo, but I don’t think it’s humanly possible that a million people bought Crysis, but 9 million pirated it. That’s too many people.

    In the end, the topic is more complex than pirating is killing pc gaming and comment sections on a blog is probably not the place to discuss it, so I’ll just shut up now. 😉

  25. Paul says:

    Oh, and one clarifying remark. The way 2d Boy determined how many people pirated it was by taking the number of logged ip’s they have on the leaderboard and divide it by how many games they’ve sold. This does not take into account dynamic ips and other reasons different ips will log.

    “Of course, there is a lot of opportunity for error, like ip’s that change, playing at work/home/wherever, multiple copies being played from the same ip, etc, but it seems like a good enough fast and decent estimate. . . . Even though our game is widely pirated, I still maintain that DRM is a useless symbolic gesture, like taking your shoes off at the airport and crawling under your desk when a bomb is about to go off.”

    That’s from Kyle from 2d Boy in the comment section over at Rock, Paper Shotgun.

    I’m out. I swear. 😛

  26. LocoTank says:

    Am I the only one guilty here? I did download it from a torrent and fell in love with it, and that’s why I bought it on Wiiware and last week I ordered a physical copy from amazon for my nephew’s birhtday…..:)

  27. Sean says:

    @Rauelius: I think it’s a bit strong and premature to compare DRM, a last ditch effort against pirates, to Nazi Germany, the reason the word “Genocide” exists.

    In my case it’s not a “I said nothing” scenario, but a “Of all the games and software I have purchased that had DRM, I have not encountered any problems with it or had anything to complain about” scenario. that’s not to say that problems with it to do not exist, but I have trouble relating to people who speak out against DRM from a non-piracy standpoint, because I have not had those experiences myself.

  28. Red Mozzie says:

    This is really interesting.

    They were going to release the PAL version of World of Goo on disc, but changed their mind and went to Wii Ware.

    Since it’s easier to pirate Wii Ware than the discs, so they can’t be too worried.

  29. XCWarrior says:

    I’ll be buying the WiiWare version down the road for sure, I played the demo and loved it, but I have other games that need beaten first that I’ve owned for over a year (and some more than 2 years). You’ll get my money in due time 2D Boy, don’t worry.

  30. Damien says:

    Did world of goo really get pirated that bad? Now I feel bad, sorta, not really.

  31. Paul says:

    Dun dun dun. They knocked the number down to 82%. That’s still insanely high.

  32. whitjm5 says:

    Sorta makes DRM seem justified, heh? Makes me glad I bought it though, even though I haven’t had much time to play it. :-/

  33. bOB says:

    Paid my dues. I’m legit and supporting quality titles! 🙂

  34. tylor says:

    do these figures apply to the wii or the pc version? or just the game cross platform in general? pretty shitty however you slice it i guess.

  35. ejamer says:

    These numbers are for the PC version. That is why arguments about region don’t make sense to me – the Wii release might not have shown up in all regions at the same time, but anyone should be able to purchase and download the game from 2D Boy’s website.

    “I think it’s the other way round. Sure, some are lost sales it absolutely has to be, but with friends of mine who pirate games they only pirate ones they never planned on buying. So, they’ll buy Fallout 3, but not GRiD.”

    Excuse the language, but I’m calling bullshit on this statement. If you don’t plan on buying the game, then why do you deserve to spend hours playing it? (Answer: You don’t. So only play the games you deem worthy of buying instead of stealing the ones that apparently aren’t as good!)

    If the game is good enough to download and play, then it’s good enough to pay for. World of Goo offered a lengthy, free demo too so that pirates can’t claim that they needed to “try before buying”.

  36. ejamer says:


    That said, I might have to eat some crow after reading the actual 2D Boy article.

    “preventing 1000 piracy attempts results in only a single additional sale”

    This isn’t directly related to World of Goo, and I suspect that their conversion rate might be much higher than that number if piracy wasn’t an issue… but it definitely supports your claim more than I thought previously.

  37. InvisibleMan says:

    DRM doesn’t work because it doesn’t stop its target from pirating: hackers that specialize in breaking the DRM. It only stops, ironically, honest users that have to switch computers or have more than one computer.

    I never pirate games or multimedia that are available to purchase legally, and I am always screwed by the different DRM schemes that companies release whenever my MP3 player dies and I have to get a new one, or when I have to get a new computer. Problem is, I don’t see a solution: as long as people keep pirating products that are available through legal purchasing, companies will keep investing money in new ways to digitally protect their intellectual property.

    The way to fight DRM is not by punishing big corporations… just stop getting stuff for free that is not supposed to be free, and stop buying stuff that include “draconian” DRM schemes.

  38. […] I freely admit piracy is a huge problem – how can anyone justify stealing a game like World of Goo, made with love by a tiny developer probably just scraping […]

  39. Nasal says:

    But if you think about it… if noone pirated it at least 70% of those people wouldnt have bought it at all.. then it wouldnt have been a big hit like it was, woulda been another indie flop… large numbers of people playing something makes it popular. ask idsoftware, they made an entire company based off of piracy making their products popular. If it wasnt for the 90% piracy rate not enough people would even be playing it for them to show up on the radar at all.

    Infact these days alot of upstart musicians are releasing their music for free purposely just to get it out there and for people to hear it.. Everything is a double edged sword. Piracy is good and bad for the indie game maker. the first step to selling something though is getting it noticed

    Theres better games out there than world of goo that went completely undiscovered.

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