Hasn't he really said he doesn't make much? Or so he seems to say when he goes off on one of his meltdowns? After bashing everybody, he goes for the sympathy thing?To put it another way..... Remaining is business. Growing staff. Continuing a business plan. Are far more tangible signs that a business owner is being truthful when they say they are doing good than intangible Internet activity on fringe (wargame sites in general) websites. For instance, if there were 20 or 30 very active posters on this forum. And a couple of dozen infrequent posters. And a hundred or 200 lurkers. Does that mean anything in the grand scheme of things? It would certainly look like a thriving Internet community but it would still boil down to a small number of people. And statistically a number that would mean nothing if you were running a business. Not that you wouldn't appreciate it....of course you would...but it would have to be less than the tip of the tip of the iceberg to make your business sustainable. And BFC being a sustainable business has to be a given at this point, correct? No one is denying that a this point, are they? If they sell 1,000, 5,000...50,000,.....100,000 or a million copies of each game becomes irrelevant. If they are satisfied (tangible evidence) then they will continue making their games. If they are not (intangible evidence) then they won't and they'd begin closing up shop or tightening the belt.
And, I doubt that 2-3% of the customers post anywhere. Traffic at BF itself is hardly jumping except after releases or big news. Steve has said as much and I believe him. I just don't believe he knows what everyone wants. His own admission that a very small minority of his customers post being the reason. As far as I know, they have never bothered with a questionnaire or email feedback etc.
As far as the particular business they run, basically distributed stay at home employees connected through the internet, the biggest money issue is salary. Salary might be $500K a year. In my best guess, given the release history, they probably have a customer base of 5000-12,000. If they can get 8500 to spend $100 a year, then BF's business model would be a success. Putting effort into low selling modules can put a hurt on that. Rework and other time-consuming efforts should be avoided. The DRM is nothing more than an effort to protect the sales they need to be successful. personally, I think CMBB and CMAK were hits and many people were playing it. They just didn't pay for it.
If I had his company, and I would use a DRM, I would also have the info fed back to me as far as how often and how the customers play etc. Identifying the majority and catering to them being the goal.