Help Pirates, Says Preloaded’s Phil Stuart

By John Walker on January 28th, 2011 at 1:11 pm.

Phil Stuart, creative director at Preloaded speaking at A Winter World Of Love, explained to the audience that the secrets to indie success include, “Work with pirates.”

Pointing out that reaching a large audience is essential for free web games, he explained that if developers want people to play their games, they need to make it easy for the pirates to steal. He recommends making sure your game is a single .swf, and make sure it will work on unofficial sites. Preloaded’s historical browser wargame, 1066, was released in association with UK broadcaster Channel 4 last year. You play it here, and read our own Tim Stone enthusing about it (as well as fox beards and puny potlickers) just here.

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28 Comments »

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  1. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    You Only push one but ten!

    Sorry, I can’t help myself

  2. Mccy_McFlinn says:

    Indie game development is much like the indie music scene. Give as much away for free as possible when you’re starting out and then charge, charge, charge once you’ve got a following.

  3. Urthman says:

    Indie game development is much like the indie music scene. Give as much away for free as possible when you’re starting out and then when you’ve got enough people who enjoy your work so much they want to give you money, find ways to let them give you money.

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      elegant

    • Mccy_McFlinn says:

      Well played, sir.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Then behave like pricks and sue your core audience and major fans that made you big in the first place, by doing what made you big in the first place, i.e. copy your stuff.

      Oh wait, we weren’t talking about Arctic Monkeys?

  4. Brumisator says:

    I don’t pirate games, I break into developers’ houses at night and steal their cash, then use that money to buy their games.
    It’s less controversial that way.

  5. DSDan says:

    I don’t know much about Preloaded–what is their business model?

    • Quintin Smith says:

      I can’t speak for their early work, but a skim of their site right now implies their business model is various bodies approaching them and saying “Hey would you to make an educational game for us in exchange for this jar of rolled up pound notes”.

    • Bhazor says:

      So… they practice what they preach by working for commissions from huge corporations? Huh.

  6. rayne117 says:

    Indie game development is much like the indie music scene. Except not at all because apparently everyone on the internet hates indie music. Stupid hipsters, amirite?

  7. Fwiffo says:

    Indie game development is much like the indie music scene. Everyone says ‘pretentious’ a lot.

  8. Tom OBedlam says:

    The Indie game scene is much like the indie music scene. I’m wearing very tight jeans.

  9. Xercies says:

    The indie game scene is very much like the indie music scene because they all look and sound pretty much similar

  10. JFS says:

    I’d say, it all comes down to indie music being much like indie games, because I’m into both.

  11. Kadayi says:

    If it’s being given away free is is technically theft/piracy?

    • steviesteveo says:

      Age old reply: of course it’s not theft. I’m not sure what can be done to stop people calling copyright infringement theft because sending them all to law school seems like an extreme option.

      It can still be piracy (in the copyright infringement sense rather than the Arrr sense) because that’s not really talking about the cost of things. You can infringe copyright in things that are free very easily (see my business plan for re-publishing the contents of the Metro free newspaper). You’re not allowed to copy things onto different sites just because you didn’t pay to see it in the first place.

  12. Spacewalk says:

    The indie game scene is very much like the indie music scene because they’ve all got funny hairdos.

  13. The Bag says:

    One thing to mention about this, as someone else who was there, is they said 70% of their work is on commission. So they get all (if not all, the vast majority) of their money for commissioned games upfront so piracy isn’t an issue as they already have their money. They might have a different opinion if they had to make their money from the game post-release like most developers.

    Another interesting point was the last speaker talking about the limited editions which actually are and are personal in some way, e.g. NIN and the Ghosts $300 2500 copy limited edition – it was also downloadable for free. Why isn’t the indie scene trying something like that.

  14. Robin says:

    I found it very peculiar that Phil Stuart kept referring to “stealing” content and “pirates” in his talk. It’s common practice in the free-to-play Flash game market for games to be propagated over thousands of hosts, benefiting the publisher through additional ad impressions, gameplays, or clicks back to their home site.

    (Likewise encapsulating the game in a single .swf is the conventional approach – it would be more complicated and fragile to rely on files residing elsewhere and reached through hard-coded URLs.)

    Although I suppose it makes for a better headline and has more impact for an audience mostly involved in selling games. And apart from that quirk, the talk had a ton of useful information for those wanting to publish free games.

  15. Baf says:

    The Indie game scene is much like the indie music scene. They’re both dominated by platformers. Except the indie music scene.

  16. Lightbulb says:

    Really really enjoyed playing that. Viking improve all things.

    Right up until a really nasty bug where my soldiers just floated off to the right of the screen… I had that Norman Bastard!

    Man I hate buggy games. Right off to play my new purchase Magicka – not played it or read anything about it (hate spoilers) because I’ve been doing coursework all this week. Really loved the trailer and bought it straight away.

  17. terry says:

    The indie game scene is very much like the indie music scene, you swill a lot of lager and fall over.

  18. RegisteredUser says:

    .

  19. Premium User Badge

    kregg says:

    The indie game scene is very much like the indie music scene, they both communicate by the rhythm of dance.

  20. Bhazor says:

    The indie game scene is very much like the indie music scene, they are both heavily involved in antique fairs. This is except for the indie game scene and the indie music scene neither of which have any part in antique fairs.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Flimgoblin says:

    Yeah, have to point out he did qualify that this was for “games where the sole point is to get as many people to play it as possible” – in which case you want pirates doing your work for you.

    If your goal is to get as many people to PAY for your game as possible you might choose a different tactic (though you might choose to get the pirated versions to help funnel people to your website to pay you money rather than do your best to make it hard for them – might not be so good if you’re just selling game X for $Y though)