London studio Sports Interactive has enjoyed an upwards surge in digital sales for the latest Football Manager title, having employed various anti-piracy technologies.
Studio head Miles Jacobson said each annual Football Manager game is typically cracked five days before commercial release.
But this year, having employed a package of antipiracy technologies, including one-time Steam authentication, hackers were unable to crack the game for about ten days after launch.
“I don’t believe that one pirated copy equals one lost sale, but we definitely converted some people,” Jacobson told Develop.
“We were reading comments on piracy sites where people were saying ‘I can’t wait any longer I’m going out and buying it’, which was great.”
The PC market has fallen by about a fifth since last year, Jacobson said, but the latest Football Manager was up “significantly” on projections.
“This year we have seen a big upswing in digital. Last year it was 10 per cent digital sales, but this time we’re 20-25 per cent,” he said.
“It’s a huge swing and part of it is down to our piracy measures, I think. We don’t know this for sure – it’s an educated guess – but the first ten days of release we saw a huge upsurge in sales compared to normal. Particularly four and five days after release.”
Sports Interactive and Sega “needed to buy as much time as possible to convert some of those pirated copies into sales,” Jacobson added.
The extra money allows Sports Interactive to re-invest in staff and technologies.
The studio, which has a particularly employee churn rate, is looking for about ten new people, particularly engineers.