FilePlanet, Demos, and Piracy

If you are a software developer you should make it easier to download the demo of your software than it is to pirate the whole thing. Seriously. I wanted to check out Sid Meier’s Railroads! but the demo is only available via FilePlanet. FilePlanet prioritizes paid members, so my wait to grab the demo was 45 minutes. Out of curiosity I checked the availability of said game from a well-known torrent site. Fifteen minutes and I could have had the whole thing. What’s wrong with this scenario?

Oh, yeah, I know what’s wrong: it’s easier to do the wrong thing than the right thing.

One of my coworkers prevented me from becoming a temporary software pirate by suggesting FileFront. It seems that FileFront is just like FilePlanet, only way less annoying. I’m sold.

I say “temporary software pirate” because if the game sucks I’ll delete it, and if it’s good I’ll buy it. I won’t buy a software package unless I can try it out first, and I won’t continue using a good software package without buying it. Sometimes I can’t tell from demo software if the package is decent, or in the case of a game, worth the money. All too often a demo has the functionality I need cut out of it, disabled, or messed up in some way to encourage me to spend my money, but I won’t shell out cash when I don’t know for sure that I can do what I need.

In this case, the Railroads! demo appears to be limited via functionality and time, so I can’t tell if it’s worth the price. I guess that means I’ll wait for it in a bargain bin, and go back to playing Civilization 4: Warlords. :-)

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