Last year, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell took a huge anti-DRM stance when it came to its games, but it looks like this may have come back to bite them in the rear end.
Stardock's latest release, Demigod, is now out for PC. The game, an action real time strategy hybrid, was recently released but is facing a huge problem. The game that is ignoring the pirates is now getting hurt by them. There are over 100,000 more players than anticipated on their servers, and the reason is clearly piracy because the number of legit connections is only around 18,000.
"The system works pretty well if you have a few thousand people online at once. The system works... less well if there are tens of thousands of people online at once," says Wardell on his blog. The online system crashed causing many people (including those who legitimately purchased the game), to have several connection issues. This was just one issue as Gamestop broke the street date, causing the game to be played earlier then expected.
The servers were just not meant to handle this much load at once. "Our stress tests had counted on having maybe 50,000 people playing at once at peak and that wouldn't be reached for a few weeks by which time we would have slowly seen things becoming problematic... So during the day today, people couldn't even log on, and in some cases, the Demigod forums, which use one of the affected databases for some piddly thing were even down," he wrote. "Even getting the game running was a pain today because a simple HTTP call to see what the latest version would get hung leaving people looking at a black screen. Stuff of nightmares."
The Stardock team is currently working around the clock to solve these issues. The team has also come up with a way to validate the legit users and give them a way to update their games which would give them, and only them, the ability to play online. "So over the first 24 hours, we had to essentially scrap together a doppleganger of the infrastructure dedicated to Demigod's multi player network needs, release an update to legitimate users to point them to it... Now today, day 3, it's pretty much taken care of. Users are connecting in multi player, the servers are pretty responsive and we're adding more in preparation for the weekend."