GameStop appears to have broken Demigod’s release date.Stardock has been picking up the pieces since the game appeared in GameStop stores across America last week, despite the official American release date being yesterday – 14 April.In a forum post, Stardock’s Brad Wardell acknowledged the issue, stating that “GameStop violated the street date of Demigod and released it last week.”Wardell told Gamasutra that “We’re still discussing with [GameStop] how exactly this happened. Obviously we’re very unhappy, as it has made getting online connectivity going a lot tougher than expected.This has caused Stardock problems for several reasons, not least because the servers weren’t up and running at the time – “We found ourselves back at work having to turn on and configure the multiplayer matchmaking servers (we had enough for a beta but not for thousands of people),” said Wardell in the forum post.Not pleasant after “eight weeks of crunch,” when you’re looking forward to having the Easter weekend off.Wardell is also upset at the problems this may have caused due to Demigod’s lack of copy protection. He comments that “the piracy on this title will, in theory, be maximized,” as Demigod has no copy protection at all, and Stardock is generally a proponent of not using invasive DRM. This may have a slightly unusual side benefit, however, in that “[Stardock will] get to actually see the effects of piracy. Since we know Demigod is an outstanding game with a wide appeal with equal retail and digital distribution to other titles that came out this year with similar demographics we can see how well it sells compared to them.”This also gave Wardell a platform to expound upon the issues with copy protection. In the same forum post, he also stated “We don’t think intrusive, obnoxious copy protection will result in more sales than we lose from people who don’t want to mess with it.””Imagine if Demigod had shipped with some nasty retail copy protection and got released early. Someone ‘cracks’ it but doesn’t do a good job and the game ends up crashing randomly or something. Most people would just assume the game was buggy and that would likely cause more lost sales than the initial piracy did.”For those who are loyal customers, however, this may have had an unexpected upside. “We have elected to make the digitally distributed version available today with beta testers and pre-order customers getting it immediately (as in right now). Those who have legally purchased the game can get the 0-day update that has all the game play changes that the beta group asked for, multiplayer match-making, and LAN support.”Demigod’s 0-day patch has been mooted as adding in all of these things, and the only way to access this patch is to get the game legally.As for the warez users, “[They] won’t be able to play much longer as we’re likely to switch the release servers to a different IP series in one of the next updates (which may be tomorrow) so the game will get slower and slower for them.”Demigod is being distributed by Atari in Europe, and is due for release in May. Those eager to get their hands on it can purchase it via digital distribution through Stardock’s Impulse system.We’ve contacted GameStop for comment, and we hope to have a Demigod review for you soon.

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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