A word from Spectrum HoloByte
When we talked to Atari users, we learned that many wanted to see our best-selling air-combat simulator, Falcon, converted to the Atari ST. They also wanted us to take full advantage of the machine's capability, rather than just doing a simple conversion from the Macintosh or IBM.
Many of our competitors warned us that within weeks Falcon would be up on bulletin boards, and our sales would fall to zero. We chose to disregard these comments and felt that the piracy problem only existed with a handful of users. However, within 30 days of releasing Falcon ST, pirates had put the product up in the bulletin boards—complete with diagrams for the code-wheel protection, keyboard layout and mission maps.
The real cost of such software piracy is not the lost $49.95 sale, but rather the lost industry support for Atari ST.
When development, marketing, advertising and production are included, it costs anywhere between $250,000 and $500,000 to introduce a new product. After retailers and distributors take their shares of the purchase price, the publisher receives in the range of $12 to $20 per each copy sold. In addition, publishers must support their products with updates and offer telephone and network support for users.
There is no clear-cut solution to the problem of piracy. All we can ask is that if you like a program, buy it. Think of it as an investment. The more invested, the more and better titles you'll see for the ST. Help us send a message to the rest of the industry that there really is an ST market willing to buy good software. Spectrum HoloByte will continue to monitor the ST market and keep a close eye on what happens with Falcon ST. It's a shame that a few users can hurt a market as badly as the ST pirates can and deprive thousands of good ST users of the product support that other machines receive.
—Gilman G. Louie