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Bohemia Interactive: 100 pirates for every 3 legitimate buyers

CEO explains use of unorthodox DRM system

Bohemia Interactive's CEO Marek Španěl has revealed a shocking 3 to 100 ratio of buyers to pirates for its games.

"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," he told 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."

Bohemia Interactive's games, which include the ARMA series, use a DRM system called DEGRADE that makes playing the game more difficult.

"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 explains that while unorthodox, this system makes sure that legitimate players who have trouble maintaining a constant internet connection are not penalised. He also points out that games from the company's online store are DRM-free.

"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."

Bohemia Interactive is based in Prague and was founded in 1999.

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Rachel Weber

Senior Editor

Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.