Payback: Game Dev Tycoon Fights Piracy With Piracy

By Nathan Grayson on April 30th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

We may have reached a point where many developers are attempting to coexist semi-peacefully with the big, bad, money-chomping wolf that is piracy, but that certainly doesn’t make the situation ideal. Pirates are still sauntering away with sloshing tubs of developers’ blood, sweat, and tears, so I think a little (or more than a little) spite is only fair. In the past, that’s meant theft-thwarting failsafes like Batman: Arkham Asylum’s flight-impaired hero and Serious Sam 3’s immortal pink scorpion, but Greenheart’s recently released Game Dev Tycoon might just be the best yet. In short, the pirated version makes your games crash and burn once they’ve hit the market because of – wait for it – piracy.

Greenheart explained its equal parts hilarious and depressing approach in a blog post:

“The cracked version is nearly identical to the real thing except for one detail… Initially we thought about telling them their copy is an illegal copy, but instead we didn’t want to pass up the unique opportunity of holding a mirror in front of them and showing them what piracy can do to game developers.”

“So, as players spend a few hours playing and growing their own game dev company, they will start to see the following message, styled like any other in-game message: ‘Boss, it seems that while many players play our new game, they steal it by downloading a cracked version rather than buying it legally. If players don’t buy the games they like, we will sooner or later go bankrupt.'”

As you’d expect, pirates proceeded to leave sticky red fingerprints all over various forums, complaining completely unironically that piracy was draining their piggy banks while they toiled away in vain. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, as of now, this story doesn’t have a particularly happy ending. Apparently, guilty parties aren’t finding the page Greenheart made especially for them, so many aren’t getting the message. Moreover, day one data put genuine sales at 6.4 percent and cracked copies at 93.6 percent. That’s not a gulf. It’s a goddamn ocean. And it’s not like Greenheart’s done anything egregiously wrong (at least, from a business standpoint; I can’t speak for the quality of the game itself), either. Game Dev Tycoon is DRM-free and entirely bereft of obtrusive microtransactions. It’s also offering a free demo.

For its part, Greenheart is doing its best to give their less satisfied “customers” the human angle in addition to the brilliantly fitting one, but only time will tell if pleas can push them over the edge. You know, that incredibly steep precipice overlooking the decision to part with eight whole dollars? Ugh. Time to strap in for a long, exhausting uphill battle.

“We are not wealthy and it’s unlikely that we will be any time soon, so stop pretending like we don’t need your 8 dollars,” wrote Greenheart. “We are just two guys working our butts off, trying to start our own game studio to create games which are fun to play.”

, , .

298 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Premium User Badge

    Luringen says:

    He put the game on a popular piracy site, of course there were illegal downloads. He has no advertising and no press, of course he had zero sales. This seems like a marketing stunt to me, and the reason the game is pirated is unrelated to the reason he has (had) so few sales.

    Edit: my point is that 96% piracy makes headlines, and is easy as hell to reproduce. No publicity gets you about 4 sales, while people 96 people downloading random apps from the new section on TPB gets your game, is a result from that being the only popular site where your game is mentioned, and creates your publicity stunt 96% figure without much piracy at all.

    • Premium User Badge

      Crimsoneer says:

      How does that matter? That excuse doesn’t fly at all. Yes, he probably made it slightly easier to pirate – appearing on TPB a day earlier or so – but a huge majority if people decided to download the game for free instead of paying for it. That’s still a little sad.

      Side note – behavioural economics has shown some very interesting stuff regarding how we value things. We feel very, very bad when stealing money, but less bad stealing tokens we can exchange for money, and even less bad stealing products bought with money, no matter the value. The further removed from cold, hard cash it is, the better we feel stealing it, no matter the value. I guess a video game on TPB is pretty damn far removed.

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        But in trying to preempt the pirates, he’s sort of created this entire scenario. It’s all a bit silly.

        • Giuseppe says:

          It’s more than a bit silly. It’s downright stupid. Unless, as the OP said, this is just a marketing stunt from a game dev that knew his game wouldn’t really get many sales in the first place (which it probably is).

          • JarinArenos says:

            Yeah, this is pretty much my problem with the whole deal. It looks like they made a terrible game as a publicity stunt. If they’d spent more time making a decent game than they did making a “statement”, maybe they’d actually have a game worth buying.

      • Premium User Badge

        Luringen says:

        I’m arguing why the 96% figure is useless and doesn’t mean anything, not that piracy is morally right. Edited my post to clear up the confusion.

        • Cooper says:

          World of Goo.

          Had a decent amount of marketing behind it and was talked about by a lot of websites, blogs and magazines. It’s distributed widely and is on Steam.

          Piracy rate is over 90%.

          A 90%+ piracy rate afflicats all games, no matter their lineage. Don’t dismiss this figure simply because it’s from an unknown dev with regards to an unpublicised game.

          • ulix says:

            They still sold a couple million copies on several platforms. An incredibly feat for an indie game, it would even be a good performance for some AAA-games. So really, how many of the people who pirated it would have actually bought it?

          • TechnicalBen says:

            They closed their own store down, and stopped selling the game. Think of that when you post “90% piracy rate”. Still not bought that game, as I was there with card in hand to find they just sold an “exclusivity deal”. Wow, fat lot of good it did them.

          • aepervius says:

            The piracy rate number are meanignless. What is important is how many % of those 90% pirated are people which would have paid if the copyright infringement was not possible. And THAT is the number you never ever see cited anywhere and the only important number. Is it only 0.1% of sale conversion ? 1% ? 10% ? Nobody knows. One thing I can tell you, is that when I used to download a game (when I was a decade younger, it has been enarly 10 years I haven’t copied anything except game from which I have a scratched DVD), it was almost always because I would not have paid for it in the first place. I said almost because once or twice I decided to fork the money after having played with the copyed game.

            So what is the conversion number ? In the case of the game this article speaks, it could very well be that those 96% , NONE would have paid for the game otherwise. So attributing a LOSS to a copyright infringement (which is not stealing by the way as the guy in the web page pretend) is meaningless unless you know conversion rate.

          • TCM says:

            @TechnicalBen

            …Uh, no they didn’t? Where the frig do you people get your information?

            http://2dboy.com/games.php

            Obviously not from any official source, or, as I say later on another page, TWO MINUTES OF GOOGLING.

            Once again, I reserve the right to be a condescending, passive-aggressive dick to people who make anti-dev statements without a clue what they are talking about.

          • El_Emmental says:

            Well, Cooper, according to your links, 2D Boy said “90% of piracy” because they detected 10 times more different IP addresses than purchases, on the highscore board.

            1) Basing your statistics on IP addresses is extremely silly: depending on the country and ISP, the IP address is dynamic or not.

            2) Installing the game on more than 1 device will count as piracy.

            3) Networks structure can mean several users can be identified under the same IP if you look at it from the outside.

            4) Submitting to the scoreboard is deactivated by default, leaving thousands of legitimate users and pirates out of the equation.

            When they crossed their initial claims with players IDs, and used a lot of guesstimate stats, “piracy” rates suddenly weren’t at 90% (they only lowered it to 82% to not lose face). The “9 out of 10 ‘copies’ of World of Goo were pirated” is bollocks.

            @TCM: 2 MINUTES OF GOOGLING could have let you know 2D Boy did its marketing campaign also by giving out “early access” keys through various offers/competitions, letting a few hundreds of people play the game before the public release.

            It’s obvious that making a good game, properly marketing it to the press, to the potential customers and players, then letting a few people play it while leaving thousands waiting at the gates, will make these people super curious and frustrated – something a pirated copy can fix.

            You’re not being a passive-aggressive dick, just a fool :P

          • TCM says:

            @El_Emmental

            Man context is a fun thing, isn’t it? It’s almost like I wasn’t even talking about the piracy at all! Why, it might even seem like this conversation wasn’t one I was participating in, and I was just correcting someone’s mistake. Shoot though, you got me.

          • Phantoon says:

            I liked when RPS was a bunch of gentlemen (and gentlewomen) just talking about PC games and mentioning interesting facts and ideas. Now it’s a bunch of assholes that need to be right about everything. You know what? I don’t care what your stance is, the moment you need to be a dick to get it across, you’re wrong.

      • SuicideKing says:

        You know, this isn’t stealing, really. Unlicensed use of a product is the most fitting term i can come up with.

        Stealing implies:
        “Take (another person’s property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it”
        or
        “Dishonestly pass off (another person’s ideas) as one’s own”

        Pirates are doing neither.

        Piracy is, however:
        “The unauthorized use or reproduction of another’s work”

        So yeah.

        • sassy says:

          Stealing implies:
          “Take (another person’s property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it”

          You’ve taken that as meaning a physical object, most likely because of the word property and the inability to return a download. If we look at the definition for “property”, according to thefreedictionary.com property is “Something tangible or intangible to which its owner has legal title”, other dictionaries have similar wording. Software clearly comes under intangible and we know the license holder (likely the dev in this case) has the say on legal use.

          Now as for the “without intending to return it”, many definitions don’t include this but as you have taken it from the oxford dictionary we’ll work with it. As mentioned you cannot return a software download so when hitting the download button, the pirate knows they had no way of returning the property and therefore no intention of doing it.

          Ignoring all of this though, what matters isn’t the English definition but the legal definition since we are discussing a legal issue. I’m no lawyer, nor do I have any education in it so I had to look it up. The definition I looked up doesn’t make any claim of whether it is a physical good or not, nor does it make any mention that of the intention of returning it.

          So in conclusion: yeah it is stealing.

          • kud13 says:

            no, it’s not. I never get tired of this argument.

            copyright infringement is just that. Stealing is depriving someone of possession of their property. it is a crime. Copyright infringement is violation of someone’s copyright–in particular, depriving them of potential profits selling the infringer the rights to use a copy of the work.

            Copyright schemes themselves were foisted onto societies by governments who wanted a monopoly over published works, in parts for purposes of censorship. There’s nothing “innate” about copyright. There isn’t a universal consensus that it’s a good thing.

            So no, as much as it may suit your black-and-white understanding of the issue, piracy is not theft. it’s far more nuanced than that.

          • kikito says:

            While I understand that the devs wrote in agnst, I also think that the term “steal” is not the correct one.

            First of all, even if they are the copyright holders of the game, the Law on every country is different. In some countries, if a digital copy is made without the intent of selling it, that’s just legal. One could argue that there is a theoretical loss of value on the intellectual product every time a (free) copy is made, but most legal systems don’t consider that. If the game is distributed with the intent of making money from the copies (or page views in a website hosting copies of the game) then THAT’s a crime in most countries. That’s why you get websites closed, but you don’t get that many individuals condemned for downloading films/videogames.

            Note that I’m talking about pure legalese here. Morally, I think copying games is wrong, and I have done so, especially when I was young. The fact that the Law is not able to keep up with these digital times should not be a detriment for that. You want a game, you pay the price the dev asks. Or find a simpler game. Or go outside and just have a walk or something. It’s not that difficult.

            On the other hand, though, on this particular case, the developers themselves where the ones who uploaded the game. In that case, I would say that it’s not even immoral to copy it (especially given the fact that the copy they uploaded is mangled). Putting it there for everyone to download and then crying about it does not even give them any moral grounds for making any type of claims.

          • aepervius says:

            There is a reason the LAW don’t call it stealing but copyright ifnringement. YOu can argue until you are blue in the face that it is stealing, but the law says it is not. Soooooo.

          • SuicideKing says:

            You can’t “return it” partly because you’ve not taken anything away from the developer; you’ve only copied it.

            The dev still has their copy, which they can sell.

            If you broke into their office and stole their HDD with all the game files before it got released (or hacked into their computers, copied the game and deleted their original material), and then put it up for download, then you’d be stealing the game.

            Otherwise, you’re simply using a copy of the software without their consent, as you’ve not obtained it in a way that they’ve deemed appropriate, and they have full right to decide that since it’s their work.

            I’m not a lawyer either, i’m arguing on the basis of logic.

            I’m not sure “stealing” is defined so plainly by the “law”. Remember if you go into legal definitions you’ll have to wade into state/country/global laws, so i don’t see much point in that.

            I’ll give you that it’s stealing if you’re making money by selling/renting the pirated copy, since then you’re stealing their money.

            Otherwise they’re not necessarily losing a sale. They *may*, but i think chances are less.

          • sassy says:

            “So no, as much as it may suit your black-and-white understanding of the issue, piracy is not theft. it’s far more nuanced than that.”

            Reread what I wrote, at no point did I state my opinion on the issue. I was merely replying to someone debating whether the term “stealing” was appropriate based on definition, SuicideKing saw the definition one way and I saw it another. I stated in a very real (and I hope clear) way in why I believe it is fitting based on the current, accepted definition of the word.

            “Copyright infringement” and “stealing” are both blanket terms, which what we are now doing is debating whether they overlap. Specifically whether the act of downloading software without authorization by the legal owner counts as copyright infringement or stealing, I’m debating it fits under both terms and piracy as well.

            I don’t think it’s up for debate whether this is copyright infringement or not, at least in any country that recognizes copyright. That is black and white, downloading the software without the copyright owners expressed permission is infringing on the rights secured by a copyright.

            For stealing, my last comment was fully on why I believe the term fit so I’m not going to repeat that.

            Now their is a whole lot of moral, legal and marketing issues that come of this that are incredibly complex. Far more complex then I can believe the general public can conceivably understand, not saying that’s a bad thing, just that to develop an informed opinion on such matters requires a great amount of study and thought, much more then you would expect a group of random people commenting on a games website to have. This includes myself but I’m willing to admit that, hence why I only am willing to enter debates on little bits and pieces.

          • hotmaildidntwork says:

            “Stealing” was a good enough word when the CIA and the KGB were doing it with intel documents, it’s a good enough word for this.

            The whole conversation reeks of a desperate attempt to change subject and self-justify.

          • Sordarias says:

            How is it an attempt to self-justify? No one is justifying piracy within this thread — just pointing out, correctly, that it is not ‘stealing.’ it is copyright infringement. To steal means there is a lost sale or product. Piracy does not ‘take’ the product away, even one bit of product away, and if you’re arguing ‘it’s like stealing money out of the developers pocket,’ is also incorrect, as piracy does not indicate a lost sale at all. Indeed, many pirates — though not all — like to support the devs they like, who make good games.

            Do I agree with piracy? No. But agreeing with it and understanding why people pirate, rather than just buying, is a key difference; some obviously just want shit for free. These were never your consumer base. But pre-empting the ‘all pirates want shit for free’ arguement, studies have shown that people who pirate do so either because they cannot get the content in an easy, legitimate way — Steam, for instance — or, if the product does not have a demo, or something to indicate the quality of the games content and mechanics, they will pirate so they can get a handle on the game, and whether they enjoy it or not. If so, they then buy the product to support the developer, as well as merchandising or whatever they can, because they are fans.

            More than likely, next on the list is ‘pirates are not fans, they infringed on the copyright of the company they pirated from.’ Pre-empting that particular argument, they are very much fans; not only have studies repeatedly shown that pirates are willing to spend money on your product if it is good, they are willing to spend it in multitudes of ways if you just provide them the means to do so in a legitimate, simple way. Why do you think Steam is so successful? Because it combats piracy by offering a better service.

            Contrary to popular belief, things aren’t so black and white in this complicated part of life, where we are in a transitional historical period, where old business practices are being disrupted by new technology and innovative ways to communicate with your fans, and fan base while still making a hefty profit without resorting to shitty DRM or marketing stunts like this, that ultimately turn me right off of the game immediately. Intentionally leaking a terrible copy of your moderately okay video game, then being super duper surprised when people aren’t buying your product because of your awful marketing ploy should not be looked at as an effective method of fighting piracy, but an ineffective, stupid way to fight piracy by intentionally offering a worse product and service, in an effort to make people ‘feel bad.’

            The people who just want it for free? They won’t ever feel bad. The people who would’ve been fans of yours, provided you put out a quality game worth playing, were likely turned off by this tactic. That, and it looks like a glorified Facebook game being sold for 8 bucks.

            Perhaps the lesson here shouldn’t be ‘this is the best anti-piracy method’ but ‘this is the best way to completely ruin your sales figures and alienate hundreds of would-be fans from the get-go.’

          • kud13 says:

            I’m not 100% sure it’s the BEST way to alienate your fans–that Scorpion from Serious Sam 3 was pretty damn hilarious. Always on DRM with shitty server support is way worse, imo.

            @ sassy; my apologies if I misconstrued your post. However, I disagree with the idea that both “theft” and “copyright infringement” are broad definitions. As far as purely criminal, (man v society/law) charges, the definitions are pretty unambiguous, and “stealing” is an act that purposefully and actively deprives someone of their property. If I were to forge a will that would deprive you of an inheritance, that would not be “stealing”. it would be “fraud”. Similar, I realize, but details are important when dealing with such emotionally charged topics as piracy.

            Which is why I maintain that there isn’t an overlap between the two. I’m not aiming this against you personally–I’m just really sick of those people who immediately condemn pirates as “thieves”, because they were brainwashed by those moronic “You wouldn’t steal a car?” adverts. Although I’m sure that if they were asked “hey, how would you like to get a free copy of a car, while the manufacturer gets to keep all the cars they’ve made and you get to keep all your money?”, many of those same people would have a long, hard think about it before saying “no”

          • geerad says:

            No, by the legal definition, it is not stealing. Theft requires TAKING something. Infringing copyright does not TAKE anything away from anyone. It is unlawfully COPYING.

          • tetracycloide says:

            Copyrights are not titles to property. So no, even using your definitions it’s not stealing. This situation also was clearly not copyright infringement and that’s not up for debate. The distribution was clearly authorized by the copyright holders because they’re the ones that distributed it.

          • Josh W says:

            If we have to compare it to an old fashioned crime, I quite like trespassing: You gain access to stuff that people didn’t want you to have access to, without their permission. Maybe you don’t change anything at all, and it’s like you were never there, but they feel weird about it, especially if it’s personal to them (eg their house), or if they normally charge people to be able to come there.

          • mouton says:

          • steviesteveo says:

            Lawyer here. It’s not stealing, at least not yet. Stealing is a legal concept involving physical property.

            However, just because something is not stealing doesn’t mean it’s OK.

      • mrmalodor says:

        “How does that matter?”

        You forgot to boot up your brain today?
        The whole thing is staged, it’s a publicity stunt that backfired. The DEVELOPERS uploaded the game to a popular piracy site. Nobody else. That’s asking people to pirate. It’s like giving an alcoholic a bottle of vodka and expecting him not to drink it.

        • Triplanetary says:

          In what sense did it “backfire”? They’re probably selling more copies now than they would have otherwise. And the pirated copy of the game is broken, so that may lead to some conversions.

      • Scratches Beard With Pipe Stem says:

        OK, but if the copyright holder uploads a copy, intending for people to use it, and does not reveal that it is different from the normal version, isn’t that fraud?

        • aepervius says:

          No but they cannot call it stealing or copyright infringement since they , themselves, choose to distribute the work.

          • Arkh says:

            Exactly, Nothing was pirated, because they distributed it for free. IF they put a crippled version of their game (this version) in their site, to be downloaded, for free, would it be pirating? No.

            Marketing stunt.

          • steviesteveo says:

            It might even be classed as a free demo.

      • tetracycloide says:

        What do you mean how does it matter? If they offered it for free themselves there’s no legal or moral reason not to download it. Of course it matters.

    • Koozer says:

      That seems a bit disingenuous. Everyone who torrents it first has to know about it to find it, then quite happily plays it. They just don’t go to the developer’s site and actually buy it.

      Statement: This is such a delicious anti-piracy message.

      • ankh says:

        Wrong. You could have been browsing a torrent site and seen it there for the first time. I agree with Luringen although I guess this is their way of getting exposure on sites like this.

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          I’m unsure why you’d visit a torrent site without the intention to pirate. Granted, there are legal torrents (for, e.g., Linux distros), but you don’t visit torrent sites to find legal torrents.

          Granted, it’s possible that this is a publicity stunt, but the devs have no legal or moral obligations to people who violate copyright for their product.

          • ankh says:

            What? What I’m trying to say is that the number of “pirated” copies downloaded would be WAY less if they didn’t put it out there, but then they wouldnt have that nice “93%-4%” journalist bait..

          • Premium User Badge

            RobF says:

            To be fair, that’s a fairly normal and run of the mill figure for piracy rates.

          • ankh says:

            Yes that’s a normal rate for games that has had some media exposure.

          • Premium User Badge

            Gap Gen says:

            OK, I misinterpreted the original point (I suppose that’s what you get for starting reading a comment thread halfway through…)

          • Tacroy says:

            Yeah I’m guessing you’re not a habitual pirate.

            I had a friend who would pirate things just to pirate them – he would literally poke around places like TPB just to see what was new, and download anything that looked vaguely interesting.

            Yes, you won’t go to a pirate website and just download whatever catches your fancy – but there’s a ton of people who do just that.

        • BobbyDylan says:

          Yeah, cos people are browsing torrent sites for games to buy, right?

          • ankh says:

            Please could you explain to me what you thought I was saying in my comment? Or is this not a reply to me?

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        Nah, they’ll just click Recent, PC/Mac and browse the list.

        I don’t know where you get the idea that they’d need to know about it first to search for it.

        • Premium User Badge

          Crimsoneer says:

          Right, which kind of proves his point. They don’t even consider buying it, or even look at an alternative. There isn’t even a flicker of a conscience or the realization of the possible impact of nobody buying the game. Especially seeing that when you download a torrent, you also help redistribute it to other pirates.

          • qrter says:

            What do you mean, that proves his point? That just means that a considerable part of those downloads are from people who would never have bought the game in the first place.

          • Premium User Badge

            RobF says:

            Obviously! They’re browsing a torrent site, the whole reason they’re there -isn’t- to buy games. Expecting any other sort of behaviour is a bit mental.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Or on the flipside, you browse in such a manner because you already know it’s impossible for you to purchase any games using real money. If you don’t have a credit card, either because you’re an adolescent and are limited by the money your parents will spend for you, possibly none (“A computer is good enough, why do you need to spend money online? Buy real things.”) or you’re living in a country you’re not a citizen of, and hence cannot obtain a card you can use on the internet; then there really isn’t any other way to give your money. I guess this doesn’t excuse things in any way, there are certainly way more people who would just rather save their money regardless of who that harms, but I guess I worry about people like myself, who wouldn’t have ever gotten into gaming if it weren’t for piracy.

          • ukpanik says:

            Apparently Crimsoneer is a god and knows the mind of every pirate, and this pirate mind is a hive mind, like bee’s ~_~
            Idiot.

          • Premium User Badge

            cpt_freakout says:

            But it doesn’t prove the other guy’s point – with all the shitty and copycat games around from both the big publishers and the indies, along with the usually confusing or misleading reviews/previews from the press there’s just no telling what’s going to be to your liking or not. So, what if pirating the game off while browsing a list is a very conscious decision? Demos are usually curated, and don’t reflect how the game would work at large. I know lots of people hated the shareware method of doing things, but I still think it’s a very viable way of making your game known and getting it played without restricting the players as much as in demos and without giving in to piracy. Besides, games with little advertisement like this one (I for, one, didn’t even know of its existence) can’t just expect to flood the market with sales. I think it would be a more fruitful tactic to try to understand piracy as a conscious thing, instead of imputing it to childish irresponsibility, an argument that usually ends up reducing a complex thing to a manichean vision of good and bad.

          • Apocalypse says:

            @Kitsunin

            I am a foreigner, I have a credit card, that is not an valid issue.
            If you have no real income or are not old enough for a real credit card, there are still prepaid cards like visa electron.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_Electron

            Your argumentation is simply invalid.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Where do you live? I’m sure it’s not such an issue in other countries, but I live in Taiwan, and the banks all tell me that as a foreigner, I can get a debit card, but it will be a restricted one which it is impossible to use outside of Taiwan, or on the internet. Perhaps it’s possible somehow, but I’ve tried every bank in my area, and my foreigner friends say the same. Only recently did I figure out a way to get things working by wiring money to my US account and then being able to use it from a US debit card. And I wouldn’t even do that if I didn’t have family I trust to manage said US bank account.

          • tetracycloide says:

            On the contrary, if the numerous studies on the issue in similar industries are any indication ‘the pirates’ also overlap significantly with the biggest purchasers overall.

        • Lemming says:

          I guess the assumption is that people are going to torrent sites for something specific (I myself, do this for digital/cracked copies of things I own), rather than just refreshing a page waiting for something to pirate, which seems pretty slimy, tbh.

      • Ashen says:

        Lots of people tend to just look at latest releases and download them. How were you supposed to find out about this thing anyway? It’s not on Steam yet, nor has it been widely reported or reviewed. Given that it’s not on a popular digital distribution channel (except Windows 8 Store, now that was a brilliant idea), people are going to be wary about actually buying from their site.

        You win against piracy with convenience and in this case, torrenting was the more convenient route.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      I think this hardly qualifies as a honeypot, it’s not like they were prompting people to go there and download it.
      What’s interesting to me though is that the game was downloaded within a few minutes of being posted, which seems strange for a niche game. To me that suggests that at least a percentage of people will just download anything.

      It’s hard to really feel that sorry for the developers with all the publicity this has given them.

      EDIT: If anyone’s interested, they’ve responded to a couple of my questions.

      • ankh says:

        They were prompting people to download it by uploading the torrent and writing a full description.

        • Captain Joyless says:

          Correct.

          Piracy occurs when someone not licensed to distribute a piece of intellectual property distributes that intellectual property. The developer can distribute his own intellectual property.

          Otherwise you’re arguing it’s stealing when I put my stuff in a basket with a sign that says “Please take one” and then people do, indeed, take one.

          Even worse for this ridiculous “piracy” argument, I’m being accused of stealing something that is not even what was in the basket. You can’t put tangerines in the basket and accuse me of stealing an orange.

      • Dinger says:

        Once again, the problem with piracy lies at partly in the fact that few get the terms correct, and those who get the terms wrong, use the wrong connotations of those terms to make their point.

        The copyright owner hosted torrents and published the links with full descriptions to the torrent tracker sites. Their intention to do so is indistinguishable from everyone else who hosts a torrent and publishes the link to a tracker: they intended to distribute it freely, and they used a protocol that implicitly authorizes others to distribute it freely. By default, a torrent download is also an upload, and then a host.

        This can’t be a honeypot then, because the copyright holder authorized the distribution. In fact, using the software to track the people who downloaded it without their consent is probably illegal in many places in the world.
        The people who downloaded it aren’t pirates, even if the description said “PIRATE COPY” in 14-point type, because the copyright owner authorized it.
        This is just one of the millions of packages of data legitimately shared through the world’s torrent networks every day.

        It’s also good advertising for a game with pretty anemic numbers, even on the piracy side. Of course, if it were a compelling game, all it would take would be someone outside the US to develop a patch to fix the “anti-piracy” measures, and the world would have a perfectly legitimate free copy out there faster than you could say estoppel.

        • Noise says:

          What Dinger said

          This is a publicity stunt

        • SoRHunter says:

          Dinger said it perfectly: it was the developer’s choice to upload the modified version in the first place. No ‘pirating’ here…

        • Hungry Like the Wholphin says:

          If you download a game that you think is pirated, then you are pirating the game. If it turns out to be a way of drawing awareness to piracy by the developers, your intent was still the same.

          • SoRHunter says:

            I believe you are a little unaware of the law: it doesn’t matter if you know what you’re doing is illegal or not; what matter is if you brake the law or not. In this case, the modified version of the game in question was given for free by the developers – it doesn’t matter how people got it in the first place.

          • ankh says:

            It might not hold up in court but it’s true :)

      • tetracycloide says:

        It’s pretty much literally the definition of a honey pot.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      All they did was create a door, they didn’t force or persuade anyone to walk through it.

      • Premium User Badge

        Luringen says:

        You misunderstand, I’m arguing why the 96 % piracy figure is misleading, not that pirating is OK.

        • ankh says:

          And that is what I am agreeing with, nothing else. This confusion is confusing me.

        • Harkkum says:

          Isn’t it rather customary to have over 90% piracy rate for games according to statistics of most any games tracked? Whether such statistics are accurate, I am unable to answer, but at the very least, that is what everyone keeps on saying about piracy.

          • ankh says:

            I believe it is a normal rate but in this case it’s been artificially inflated or even completely false depending on whether or not you think downloading a “made for pirates” version uploaded by the devs themselves constitutes piracy or not.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I don’t think this is a falsely inflated figure at all, by all accounts there was no marketing attempt for this game, so the vast majority of people who stumbled across it on the pirate site (I’ll leave the debate as to whether people do or don’t browse them tot he other thread fragment) would have had no idea that this was uploaded by the devs or that it differed from the real version.

            Say what you will about piracy, but this certainly lends some credence to the theory that being distributed by pirates is fantastic publicity for your game. Anyway, as the pirates would not have known that this was being offered by the devs, the rate of piracy is surely accurate for a low to no marketing budget game?

            I would love to see accurate data as to how many of those pirated copies converted into actual sales though, and would like to see data on how many sales would result even without the piracy drain in game. Also, considering that I couldn’t get onto the site last night to buy the game, it was so flooded with people checking it out, I’d say that in this instance, piracy has benefited the devs.

          • Kitsunin says:

            But the numbers are artificially inflated: If they hadn’t uploaded their own “Pirate” version, the numbers would say 0% piracy, because nobody has even bothered to upload a cracked version of the game, making real piracy impossible.

            The point is the same though: If this doesn’t prove that piracy is a brilliant marketing tactic, I don’t know what does. Regardless of how many people will be introduced to their game thanks to piracy, they’re getting crazy news coverage because of this silly little thing.

          • Shuck says:

            The usual “90% piracy rate” is also somewhat misleading. It’s skewed by the inclusion of “super downloaders” who gulp down huge amounts of data – far, far more than they could ever get through. Which means some (significant, but unknown) percentage of illegal downloads are by people who never even looked at the product. It makes it hard to know just how many sales are lost (presumably there are some).

      • mrmalodor says:

        No. All they did was create a door in a place where a lot of people are looking for doors. Gee, I wonder why they walked into that one.

    • Harkkum says:

      I think that you are assuming that would they not have created a torrent themselves there would not have been a torrent of a non-DRM game. With reasonable likelihood, the amount of piracy would have been grosso modo identical to what it is at present even without their actions. The sole difference would have been that instead of being a dysfunctional copy, it would have been the full release version of the game without any limitations.

      Obviously, the release was done in order to amass publicity as there is no other reason to go the extra mile and code something just to mess with pirates. Thus, congratulations are in order for the campaign has been a success. It will have no impact on the levels of piracy but it might be that there are more people buying the game, which really is what matters to them.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        There would be no torrent because noone would heard about this game, and their sales would be next to null comparing to what it is now.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          I don’t know about that, Total Biscuit streamed it to 26,000 people last night, that’s a hell of a lot of publicity

          • thealienamongus says:

            after the story broke

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            “last night” part is the one where you didn’t pay attention. If not the scandal Total Biscuit wouldn’t bother with this game either.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            And you know that because….

            Considering TB didn’t mention it once, and he was talking a lot, even for him, I’m saying that the evidence point firmly towards him not knowing and discovering the game for himself!

      • ankh says:

        Do you think they would have an article on RPS right now if they didnt pull this stunt?

        • Harkkum says:

          As I said, they certainly have succeeded in their campaign. But they mention on their own blog post that even before the release there were instances of the promotional code being copied to more people than it was granted; so yes, there would have been piracy even if the game was no-name, no-interest, no-advertisement, no-whatsoever game (sorry for replying to both in one).

      • thealienamongus says:

        When green heart games broke the story there was only the torrents they put up, as the story developed they were reported/downvote etc and a new release popped up (by ALiAS) supposedly with out the anti-piracy ‘bug’.

      • Hungry Like the Wholphin says:

        There are torrents of even obscure games

        • El_Emmental says:

          Very few, actually. Even popular but old games rarely have their own torrents, all the abandonwares and pre-2003/2004 less-known games are either on ‘direct download’ servers or on very private trackers.

    • Siannah says:

      Yes, the amount of pirated copies is unrelated to their sales. But then again, how many of those 96% of users checked TPB because of legal stuff? Probably around 0.001%…

      Yes it’s a marketing stunt and a good one. It’s Batman Arkham Asylum with the toxic flooded room or Titan Quest with the first cave, only taken one step further.

      • Somerled says:

        That’s what I was thinking, it’s yet another Pirate Promo. Except in this case, the devs turned around and mocked their new audience generated from the torrent, for better or worse.

        • Hungry Like the Wholphin says:

          It’s not a promo since the game was deliberately broken.

          And they didn’t insult their audience. They insulted the people trying to steal from them.

          • El_Emmental says:

            Like it or not, the two groups overlap – plenty of people pirate before buying, plenty of people buy after pirating.

            There’s already several people mentionning it in the comments, but piracy is more than 14 years old kids going all “LOL FREE GAMES HUHU”.

            When you’re too young/in a restricted country to have a payment option (go read the Wolfire posts about piracy if you think such think doesn’t exist, also, quit ethnocentrism), it’s a way to still play games, become a gamer, and when you’re finally able to pay for your games, spend your entertainment budget on video games and video game devices (consoles, PCs, etc) and not on something else.

            When you’ve been scammed by the video game industry too many times, or when you’re on the fence regarding a game, or when you’re just curious, it’s a good way to see if the game is good, if you enjoy it, then get a legit copy to reward the rights’ holders. “Hur nobody do that” – not true, many people do that.
            Why buying a game (user license), getting no enjoyment/entertainment out of it, and not getting a refund, should be perfectly fine, while letting the user try the product before deciding, should be the worst thing in the world ? Why the customer-player has to take all the risks, and hope the publisher/developer won’t scam him/her ?

            If rightsholders are mad at piracy, then why there isn’t good demos for all games out there ? (it cost money and time ? Well, does it cost more than piracy and implementing & buying anti-piracy solutions ?)

            Why it is impossible to get a refund for most games, and when it’s possible, a real pain to finally get your money back ? Because the rightsholders are not trying to provide an entertainment experience service to their customers, they are trying to maximize sales – piracy grows on that. Valve understood it, many indie devs understood it (Wolfire being the most vocal about it with the Humble Bundle blog posts).

            Also, other examples of piracy:

            When you bought a game, but the publisher put the wrong discs in the DVD box (disc 3 not recognized, wrong version of the game), preventing your from using your legit user license. No easy refund, no online solution. Piracy fixed this.

            When you bought a game, but the copy protection (against the law in your country btw), prevents you from installing it on your computer (because of wrong DVD reader, or a “suspicious” software , installed on your computer, such as a process monitoring tool). No refund, no online solution. Piracy fixed this.

            Thinking there’s evil “pirates” on one side, and pure “legit users” on the other one, is just another version of the “good vs evil” manicheism – an easy-to-use but very untrue theory.

          • Sordarias says:

            Incorrect. They insulted their audience, as many people who do pirate often become fans of yours after seeing the product is indeed quality, and good. By insulting your audience, you doom yourself and your product to a dismal failure of one, and acting surprised when it turns out, it’s not effective and had the OPPOSITE effect you wanted, is kind of silly and nonsensical.

            Humans are not black and white; the world is not black and white. Stop pretending piracy is this black and white thing, when it’s extremely grey, and much harder to say ‘this is bad, this is good, stop doing this bad thing.’ when it has legitimate uses and often is used legitimately, and by your very own audience.

          • Somerled says:

            Broken or not, folks are still getting a taste of the game. Ergo, promo and audience. It’s far from ideal, but it’s been done before to great success.

    • Silva Shadow says:

      The most disingenuous thing about the piracy in the video game is that they present it as a black and white issue. That piracy actually kills video games. In real life, the pirates were never going to buy the game, the developer made a game and didn’t bother marketing it to people who want to support it. There’s no shortage of fans as kickstarter has proven, people want to buy games. The people who pirate games are mostly smart kids who have no money, why are games even being targeted at them for sale? Target it to people who will and want to support a good product, instead of going down the hollywood model route and tricking people who would never even play or like your product were it not for hype, and on top of that, no refunds for bad games.

      Every good game I pirated, I bought. Anyone who pirates and doesn’t buy the good ones they enjoy, they probably never would have bought anything or played it were it not for piracy, those people don’t even register as potential customers. I’m the real customer, the dude who pays for and buys games I want to support. The idea that piracy detracts from a games sales is bullshit. People on the internet are smart, if you make a great game, real fans will buy it if you communicate it to them. All it takes is some videos on youtube, your own website, and talk to rps and other websites, start networking, and building your fanbase instead of acting like you’re entitled to those customers.

      • CutieKnucklePie says:

        This!

      • Premium User Badge

        Malibu Stacey says:

        Every good game I pirated, I bought.

        and there’s the caveat every pirate uses to justify their actions.

        Why not just accept the fact that you’re scum & stop trying to justify your behaviour to yourself?

        • Not Marvelous says:

          I hope this is meant to be ironic, but it doesn’t feel that way.

        • El_Emmental says:

          Half the games I bought, were previously pirated. I spent more than 1 000 euros in video games (not counting the devices required to play them) since my birth.

          Thanks to piracy, I found great MP games that I recommended to my friends, who bought it too (immediately for most, after ‘testing’ it for a week or two for a few).

          Piracy allows gamers to fix an unplayable game because the publisher/copy protection software failed, it allows gamers to try a game before buying it, it brings fluidity to an otherwise rigid market, it counterbalances the abuses of publishers in the information war (sending early copies to some “journalists”, indirectly/directly corrupting them through threats (getting fired) and rewards (working as PR consultant, paid-trips), controlling them with advertisement campaigns).

          Still thinking “pirates” are the devil, “stealing” the developers (surprisingly, they’re only brought to the spotlights when it comes to the piracy topic – why the developers are never mentionned when it comes to how much % of the profits they make ? huhu), in 2013, is refusing to acknowledge reality.

          • Premium User Badge

            Malibu Stacey says:

            Irony.

            Whatever you have to tell yourself to justify your actions to yourself. Keep it up, seems to be working so far.

          • tetracycloide says:

            This from the smuggest person in the thread? How rich.

        • tetracycloide says:

          Why not just accept the fact that studies have consistently shown that people with the exact mentality buy more than average?

    • Yar says:

      First of all, it’s game dev tycoon. Buying a game in which you simulate making and selling games is ironic to begin with, before the piracy angle comes in. At best, you’re looking at a very niche market who wants to pay for this. Not saying people wouldn’t, just saying it’s quite niche. A game about making games. It would be a funny story if it sold a lot, too.

      Secondly, yeah, they made a fully playable “pirated” version (in quotes because the devs themselves created it and released it for free so it’s hard to call it pirated) themselves and released it before the game itself came out. That’s pretty hardcore piracy seeding.

      They made their point, but they definitely set it up for the purposes of doing so. This is more of a funny joke played on pirates, or likely a marketing stunt for themselves, not any brilliant revenge or social commentary.

    • DarkFarmer says:

      Luringen is correct. Of course the game has no legal sales, because it is totally unknown. People do not buy games that do not get prominent press coverage no matter what store it is on. I know this because I am an indie developer, and nobody buys my games unless they get prominent press or forum coverage. So this whole message is manufactured, and is a marketing stunt. No normal game with press coverage gets 95% pirated. I understand the developer’s frustration; there is very little way to get word about your games out there. Its really frustrating to make something and then have nobody pay attention to it. But is this the right way to go about doing it? A manufactured artistic statement? I guess. Whatever works.

      Related: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rogue-miner/id573401825?mt=8

      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.martianarctic.rogueminer

    • tetracycloide says:

      Illegal downloads? In what sense would downloading a copy the copyright holder explicitly authorized by uploading it themselves be illegal?

  2. Javier-de-Ass says:

    The version he released to the piracy site wasn’t the actual full version of the game, nor was it “cracked”, and it contained tracking properties. Those copies of the game are not what you pay for when you get that game, and I would hesistate to call that piracy at all. Especially since the developer himself released it. It’s more like a demo for that specific audience that downloads from that site (piratebay?), so he is marketing to pirates– and is expecting sales? I don’t understand any of this at all obviously.

    Edit: Also, I just noticed these guys seem to be under fire from gamers for plagiarizing game dev story.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Well, sure, it’s a honey trap or whatever, but I don’t think the developer is at fault for doing what they did. Like you say, sure, consider it an advertisement for the full product, or maybe just a “fuck you” to the pirates.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I will at least give them credit for their DRM-esque comedy penalty that makes the game unplayable failsafe in that while it won’t always trigger for every pirate, it should never trigger for a legitimate purchaser since it’s simply not there in the paid version.

        But it’s still kind of stupid because people will use pirated copies as a demo, and both they and just plain old pirates will spread word-of-mouth, so if you make the pirate version a broken game, the word on your game going around the Internet will be “it’s broken, don’t buy it”.

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          Possibly. But related to another comment I made, it would be interesting to see the conversion rate from a pirated game to a sale. My guess is that it’s quite low, but again I suppose as a developer all you can do is maximise your own income and ignore anything that doesn’t make you money, insofar as that’s possible.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        ” I don’t think the developer is at fault for doing what they did. ” – they are guilty of illegal tracking.

        Meanwhile users are NOT guilty of downloading an illegal copy as it was distributed by game developers themselves through torrents (and a very important thing: TORRENT DOES NOT EQUAL PIRACY).

        That’s the whole conclusion of this story.

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          Is collecting user data illegal? Or do they have to ask first? Note that I *assume* there was no EULA.

          Further – sure, it depends how it was done. If the developers said “have a free torrent of our game” then sure, they have some responsibility for their product. But I think seeding special versions of a game that will be broken for torrenters (who, unless the developers told them they could torrent, are pirates) is a fairly common strategy.

          Anyone with legal training want to comment on this?

          Also, saying “end of story” or something like that after you have expressed your opinion is very annoying.

          • Ninja Foodstuff says:

            I’m no expert, but I’m sure as long as the data is anonymised, it would fall under “implied consent”.

          • Milky1985 says:

            Even if its anonymised you need consent to collect the data, implied consent doesn’t count in the EU any more afaik, you need to say that you are collecting it at the very least even if its in a EULA.

          • El_Emmental says:

            It heavily depends on the country – even if the EU now has EU-wide rules (since 2011, updated in 2012)(implied consent is only allowed for very specific cases – afaik it’s no the case with the game).

            However, the game is probably not tracking very personal informations and just report an IP address and +1 cracked version ‘copy’, and the data is probably not sold or crossed with other databases/informations, so it’s very unlikely it would be punished in court.

            I really hope they’re really just sending a packet to count the “pirates” (“intended to be pirates” would be more accurate) and nothing more, otherwise some hackers will take it apart, look at the packets, report what they found, and the devs will be hacked if there’s anything wrong found in the packets.

    • Iain_1986 says:

      Nice semantics.

      “The developer uploaded this so it doesn’t count”.

      Ignoring the fact that the people downloading it THOUGHT they were pirating the full game. No no. Can’t include this as an example of piracy. It makes piracy look bad. Nope. This is just a demo. Doesn’t count. Lalalalalalala.

      • Javier-de-Ass says:

        The version the “pirates” downloaded is just a demo though. They didn’t actually pirate the game. Calling those copies “pirated copies” isn’t accurate.

        Edit: It looks like there are proper pirated versions of the game out there too. The devs probably won’t be able to track that version though?

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        It’s not just semantics, it does matter. There isn’t an automatic thing where every PC game made gets pirated, hundreds of thousands of games do not because no-one gives enough of a toss about them to bother. There’s every chance that as an unknown developer releasing their first game they would have had a fairly large period of time where no-one would bother pirating their game. Maybe if it hit one of the portals where people just whip and upload them from, maybe that would have broken the run, maybe if they’d got some decent media attention that would have broken the run.

        As it is, they got nearly 4k people who wouldn’t have been otherwise aware of a game from no-one in particular to lay eyeballs on it and get some publicity. And that’s fine. I’m sure they’re basking in a morning or two of increased sales now too, that’s fine also. But yes, it does matter that they put it there themselves. It matters a lot.

        • Harkkum says:

          I somehow doubt your argument of “hundreds of thousands” of games recently released without DRM that are not available from torrent sites. I would ask for statistics to support your argument, but as I know you have none I will use other arguments to counter your rather illusory argument. Firstly, the entire catalog of games released or in Greenlight section of Steam runs in thousands, not even tens of thousands. Desura adds a further thousand games (some of which are duplicates to those above). Indie games database has 800ish games. We are only missing some 95,000 games to even reach that first hundred in your hundreds.

          Certainly there are more databases and more services I could search for games. Still, there are no “hundreds of thousands” of playable games available that would be in any fashion recent or remotely functional. A quick search on torrent sites reveals that all of the games I randomly chose from the lists were readily available for download. It, thus, is indeed petty semantics of you to argue that there would be a marked difference with this and any other game. I would suggest that if you want to find an argument to support the illegal downloading of the game, you should do a better job. You are not too convincing.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            Wow, as if games WITH DRMs would actually be pirated less often that these without.

            You live in a different dimension.

          • ankh says:

            Ashes Cricket 2013 is a big budget game that nobody has bothered to pirate.

          • Harkkum says:

            I don’t think I said “games with DRM are pirated less”, I merely said that games without DRM are likely to be pirated for there is no effort at all. You draw a straw man argument there merely to set the focus elsewhere. I could find a copy of Ashes Cricket 2013, though, so not entirely sure whether your argument is well-established on that. I won’t download it to test does it actually work, but at least it seems to be there with quite a few downloads which likely refers to it having some validity.

          • Premium User Badge

            RobF says:

            I’m fairly sure I didn’t say recent, I didn’t say without DRM or any of the other frankly bizarre qualifiers you’ve thrown out there so I genuinely have no idea what you’re talking about. I have a personal repository of over a thousand games collected in just one tiny niche that passed through a forum I ran, I don’t think it’s a great stretch to extrapolate the amount of games made to an enormous one considering today alone there’s probably been hundreds of games made. I get anything from three to twenty in my mailbox a day.

            My ENTIRE point is that most exist off the radar, they don’t get featured in repositories, on portals or anywhere else and its only when they appear in certain places that anyone sits up and takes notice. There’s thousands out there sold on developers sites that you or I won’t stumble across. Yeah, I can’t prove that but cock me, it doesn’t take a genius to work that out from how the Internet works. Congrats, you searched some visible titles and found they’d been torrented. You couldn’t have had the point sail over your head harder.

          • El_Emmental says:

            @Harkkum:
            You never paid much attention to the cracking scene, right ? They went through so many eras, saw empires rise and fall, seemed to disappeared many times but reappeared elsewhere…

            Especially before the DRM went online, teams of crackers would fight to be the first team to crack a new protection, a new software or game – to make the first working crack (clunky but working), to make the first “proper” cracking (completely neutralizing the DRM).

            For these hackers, taking a copy protection/DRM solution apart, understanding how it works, then finding some ways to neutralize/disable/fool it, is a real challenge, a real game – like with a math problem, it requires a lot of skills, intelligence, experimentations and even teamworks.

            That’s why games (or devices) with DRMs will be prime targets for these teams, and will be released on the most important platforms. Meanwhile, the DRM-less games will be released by people not interested in cracking – and these people aren’t as dedicated as the cracking team.

            Adding DRMs on a game/device will only bring it to the attention of these teams, and the platforms they use for their release.

    • Arkanos says:

      That’s because it is a GIANT pile of plagiarism, at least based on first-impressions. GDS was awesome and to see someone bitching about “oh no, piracy” after ripping it off like that… it just sits ill with me. Steal a concept and (seemingly) add no innovations, then complain about theft? They deserve it.

  3. pRiM8 says:

    I played the demo and it is like an expanded PC version of Game Dev Story, which isn’t a bad thing. The problem was that when clicking the link to buy it I hit a brick wall with server/website errors. No wonder people looked for a version they could actually play.

    As of this moment I haven’t bought it or downloaded a ‘pirate’ copy so they still haven’t got any money from me.

    • marach says:

      You can thank Slashdot for that, rather than post a decent article and protect a small companies server they just linked the site and watched it burn…

    • teh_boy says:

      Piracy is bad, obviously, but it seems to me that there is something deeply ironic about complaining about piracy in what is essentially a straight up Kairosoft clone, though.

  4. reishid says:

    He should have added an event where a dev rips off your game and try to make money off from it. *cough* Game Dev Story *cough* Kairosoft *cough*

    • boldin says:

      This. Absolutely this.

    • mr.ioes says:

      http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/1dcah8/97_of_game_dev_tycoon_players_pirated_the_game/c9p13lu

      Overall, it’s probably worth nine bucks, particularly if you haven’t played Game Dev Story. Its heritage is pretty clear, but I think the developers did enough to make it its own valid game in its own right, rather than just a blunt ripoff.

    • adwodon says:

      Yea people should never take something good and iterate on it, all ideas should be 100% original.

      Also for the record, everyone and their dog has an idea for a video game, you’re paying for the hard work they put in to flesh out the idea. Unless they were stealing assets and source code its their work and they deserve the money.

      • ulix says:

        In spite of what I said below, I do not agree with your statement at all. Some games are clear ripoffs. They do not iterate, they clone. Developers of clones deserve no money at all, what they do is leeching. I don’t think clones should be illegal, but they are immoral.

        This game here however does seem to iterate quite a lot, so it (seemingly) doesn’t fall in the clone-category.

      • Dr I am a Doctor says:

        I have an idea for a video game.

        I think it’s an okay idea

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        Game Dev Story isn’t original anyway – Game development games have been around for decades (I played one on the spectrum!)

        • frightlever says:

          What was it called?

        • Kitsunin says:

          There’s a difference between copying the concept behind a game (Game in which you develop games) and copying the game’s mechanics as a baseline, rather than thinking of your own way to create a setting or situation. That said, I really don’t think copying (More or less, probably less) Game Dev story is going to harm Kairosoft whatsoever, at this point, so I don’t see what the problem is. It’s Vlambeer that is suffering because of people copying them.

    • ulix says:

      Without having actually played this game (neither pirated, nor original, nor demo), and having played Game Dev Story extensively, I want to say this:

      Judging from the screenshots of this game, it seems far more complex and deep when compared to Game Dev Story, which, like most Kairosoft games (which I love) is a fairly simple and shallow affair. Especially when compared to all these good old tycoon-style games.

      This seems, while obviously being directly inspired by Game Dev Story, to add a lot to it, especially in terms of complexity ald clarity of systems (also not a strong point of Kairosoft games).

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        I bought it and don’t regret – it’s really fun, quite complex, and surprisingly difficult (went through 3 playthroughs already – always go bankrupt somewhere before PS release :( )

    • The First Door says:

      I suspect you don’t mean it like this, but I was getting really annoyed with people using this excuse as a justification for not paying for the game. Even if someone has obviously cloned a game, you shouldn’t pirate the cloned game. You should not buy the clone and buy the original instead.

      Also, this attitude that Kairosoft are the only people allowed to make a tycoon game about video games seems rather strange. Having said that, if you’ve played both and you genuinely think they are too similar, then I’ll bow to your judgement as I’ve not played this one yet.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        There’s no piracy if game developers gives you a game.
        Just like there’s no piracy when you are given a steam codes for a game you got from Humble Bundle.

        • The First Door says:

          That really wasn’t my point at all! My point is that people use all sorts of excuses to avoid paying people money for things they probably should pay for. Like saying things like you just did, for example.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            There’s no such thing as “probably should pay”. Either I need to pay for something or not.

    • Consumatopia says:

      I guess this game isn’t a “ripoff”, but it undermines the idea that players had better pay for this game if they want to see more like it. It seems like we have plenty of game like this particular one.

      • Triplanetary says:

        Yes, two whole games. If only there were two whole, say, World War 2 shooters out there!

        • Consumatopia says:

          There are a lot of other management games with “Story” or “Tycoon” in the title. (Seriously, go to your phone’s app store and search for either of those words. It’s amazing.)

          I guess this is the only the second one I’ve heard about about game development specifically. Still, call me crazy, but maybe WW2 was a bigger deal than the video game industry.

  5. Shivoa says:

    “the pirated version” – Nope, the pirated versions will be copies that people have purchased and then illegally given away to others. The version that the devs are savvily using to generate this massive press attention is a demo as they themselves were the ones who modified it to make it play badly and then seeded it onto the torrent networks (as I understand their story). It could be worse, the other examples you give have a possibility of false positives as the DRM is on all versions but only breaks the ones it decides are not legitimate while this is just the devs releasing a bad version for free onto networks traditionally used to transport pirated copies.

    “cracked copies” – There are no cracked copies, the normal version has no DRM and so has no technological (only ethical) blocks between copies being made and used. Or is this saying that the demo the dev released which inevitably ends in failure and advertised as the full version was downloaded a lot more than they have purchases?

    I wonder which is the better trial: the “pirated” demo version the devs released to torrent sites or the demo they give out on their own site.

    • Iain_1986 says:

      Semantics. It is a pirated version when the people downloading it thought they were downloading the real game.

      Was it uploaded to torrent sites as “Demo”? No, it was made to look like the proper game, so the people downloading it were thinking they were pirating it. Just because the developer uploaded it (and altered it) doesn’t not suddenly make this count as a “Demo” so its all alright and this doesn’t count.

      • ankh says:

        That is not just semantics.

      • Giuseppe says:

        You’re stuck on the word “semantics”?

        If these game devs were to go to court to sue the people who downloaded their game via torrent sites, they would get their ass handed to them by any half-decent lawyer. You can’t call it piracy when the game developer willfully releases their product on torrent sites and seeds it. It’s not piracy when you purposefully give it away for free.

        You want to argue against piracy? That’s great, just pick a better example.

        • Triplanetary says:

          If these game devs were to go to court to sue the people who downloaded their game via torrent sites, they would get their ass handed to them by any half-decent lawyer

          But they have no intention of doing that, so what’s your point?

          • El_Emmental says:

            As usual, they’re using a fact (a fakely “pirated” game was downloaded using the torrent technology), to make it look like another one, much closer to what they want it to be (their game was pirated because people on the Internet are mean and “steal” developers).

            They published a torrent for a fake “pirated” copy of an unknown game, getting people who knew nothing about that unknown game to try it (plenty of people go the “New” section to see what’s going on in the gaming scene). They got “people lurking on The Pirate Bay, testing unknown games”.

            Then, they claimed these people were people pirating their game. Not true, as it was a “honeypot” demo version, not the full game. It is not piracy, it is a disguised demo.

            By claiming these people were “stealing” (nevermind the fact that copyright infringement or counterfeit isn’t theft – no one leaked the source code and the assets of the game), they turned the intent to pirate an unknown game (that they had no intention to buy – as they weren’t aware of its very existence), into an actual piracy of a specific game that they were refusing to pay for because they’re bad people or ignorant about the situation of developers not making enough money to stay afloat.

            In my book, they’re stretching facts so much to meet their goals (finding a good reason, out of their reach, why they’re struggling as an indie dev duo and/or getting the headlines by exploiting the love of victimization by the media, and the love of victims by the people), they’re reaching a point of bad faith and fabricated lie. That’s my opinion, not yours, and I fully understand many people won’t share a similar opinion – just let me have my opinion (it’s a lie) on the nature of the marketing stunt, you can have yours (it’s just a trick/it’s a genuine despair).

            The only thing their marketing stunt proved, is that people browsing The Pirate Bay:
            1) Will try and download unknown games.
            2) Will try and download unknown games, even if it means having to pirate it.

            Such surprising results, on a website called “The Pirate Bay”.

          • Premium User Badge

            darkChozo says:

            I don’t think that you can really say that the fact that they put up a “fake” pirated version of their game means that their data is invalid. Assuming that the people who torrented the game didn’t know that it was probably actually legal (I don’t know enough about the situation to say for sure but it looks like this is the case), then this should be fairly representative of what happens when a game gets pirated properly. If we’re talking in terms of scientific studies (sociological studies probably being most relevant), the fact that it’s a fabricated situation is irrelevant; it’s more a matter of whether the situation fits what they’re trying to say.

            Also, their statistics pretty clearly show that more people playing the game were pirating it than were paying for it. If you want a literal reading of the statistics, they showed that for this particular game, given that a paid version and a “pirated” version both exist at the same time at launch (as is common with many games nowadays), ~94% of people who played the game at one data point after release did so using the pirated version. Reading that as proof that people on Pirate Bay pirate things, and nothing more, is really biased, IMO. An absolute count of how many people pirated the game would “prove” what you’re saying, but that’s not what they gave.

            And note that none of this means that you can’t question their conclusions, particularly that piracy is a net negative and is responsible for any game industry woes. But nitpicking irrelevant shit and misrepresenting statistics doesn’t help prove that.

          • El_Emmental says:

            @darkChozo
            “I don’t think that you can really say that the fact that they put up a “fake” pirated version of their game means that their data is invalid. Assuming that the people who torrented the game didn’t know that it was probably actually legal (I don’t know enough about the situation to say for sure but it looks like this is the case), then this should be fairly representative of what happens when a game gets pirated properly.”

            You are right that the fact that the version is a “fake” pirated one doesn’t change anything about the experiment itself. However, the way it was posted – by the creator, rather than because the game made its way through the notoriety barrier and reached the piracy recognition milestone – greatly changed the setting and prevents us from using it to properly understand how games are pirated and posted on piracy-oriented websites.

            By posting it on a piracy-oriented website, before the game is popular enough to “reach” these places, over-exposed the game to an audience used to pirate video games when compared to the exposition this game had to users not usually pirating video games on a regular basis.

            Also, their statistics pretty clearly show that more people playing the game were pirating it than were paying for it. If you want a literal reading of the statistics, they showed that for this particular game, given that a paid version and a “pirated” version both exist at the same time at launch (as is common with many games nowadays), ~94% of people who played the game at one data point after release did so using the pirated version.

            But you need to take into account how both the pirated and paid version were exposed and marketed to people, the press and pirates in particular.

            If the game was mostly exposed to pirates, and stayed unknown to users more likely to directly pay for their games (because pirates can also purchase it after trying it), of course there will be more “pirate” users than “paid” users.

            Same with niche games not available on piracy-oriented websites: they’re only known by a very specific audience, very dedicated to that niche and ready to pay the price for their niche games, so you end up with a very low piracy %, as the few people capable of cracking these games know how these developers are precious for that niche genre and won’t crack their games – same with the fans, they won’t share/seed them because they really want to support the devs.

            Reading that as proof that people on Pirate Bay pirate things, and nothing more, is really biased, IMO. An absolute count of how many people pirated the game would “prove” what you’re saying, but that’s not what they gave.

            That experiment doesn’t prove anything else because all the other things it tries to prove do not have enough data nor take enough factors into account to not be unproven hypotheses thrown into the air.

            Simply because you have 93% of your total userbase using a special version, uploaded by the devs, dedicated to tracking pirates:
            – doesn’t mean that 93% of users is made of pirates
            – doesn’t mean that 93% of users pirate softwares rather than paying for them
            – doesn’t mean that 93% of users ignore that developers need money to run their business

            Otherwise, I could also say that games about game development mostly interest pirates and not users willing to pay, thus why most users are pirates. I could also say that 9 video game players out of 10 are pirates, putting the total amount of video game players (both pirates and non-pirating users) close to 2 billion of players. Nothing’s wrong here ?

            It only proves that uploading a fake “pirated” version of a game on piracy-oriented websites lead to a moderate-to-big amount of curious pirates testing that game.

            Everything else depends on many other factors, such as the notoriety of that game among the indie games fans, the gamers, the average player, the press, the game’s qualities (gameplay, longevity, replay value, etc), the current state of the video game environment (if there’s a big launch of an AAA, a similar game release, a lack of any new games, etc).

            Choosing to not take the other factors into account is either genuine incompetence (everybody makes mistakes), or plain bad faith (lying by omission). Since the developers are making a game about indie game development, and made the effort of making a honeypot version and publicly releasing their stats to the press, I don’t think they ignore all the other factors – my opinion is that they ignored them on purpose, in order to get a very high piracy rate, partially to explain the difficulties they’re going through as indie devs, mostly to build a marketing stunt and make the gaming press talk about them, now and every time piracy is mentioned in the next 3 months.

            As other indie developers already said, sure it is hard to get noticed in the ocean of indie (and non-indie) games, sure piracy exists, but putting the blame on piracy is not only untrue (in that form), it’s also counterproductive.

      • frightlever says:

        If you think something it’s a crime now?

        I am so fucked.

      • mrmalodor says:

        No, it’s not semantics. It’s facts. The devs uploaded a demo, therefore no piracy has actually occurred (as far as that particular torrent is concerned).

    • Harkkum says:

      I think that there are no claims of piracy by the original distributor of the file, however, any and all subsequent downloads from others (following good torrent habits) are, as a matter of fact, pirated. Thus, if your torrent downloads the file from someone else than from the game developer, you are using a pirated copy of the game. Sadly there are no stats to beef up the argument, but I could imagine that not all of those 3000+ copies were downloaded using the singular bandwidth of the originator. A right to distribute your own copyrighted material is not extended to those distributing it further.

      Giuseppe’s argument below also is not actually legally too solid. You do not renounce your rights to copyright simply by allowing distribution of your own material through the limited venues you provide. The moment someone else starts to distribute it without your consent, there is a violation of your rights. For example, Peter might give copies of his e-book for free on promotional purposes to press, yet this does not entitle the press to distribute said e-book for free to all of their readers without consent from Peter. A better argument indeed would be needed to support the acts of secondary distributors.

      • Giuseppe says:

        Your analogy doesn’t really work, because that’s not how the technology behind torrents works. The moment you have downloaded a piece of data from the original game dev, you’re automatically seeding (redistributing) it to everyone else currently using the torrent. The first few MB you’ve downloaded, you’re already seeding them to others while you continue with your own download; it’s something built into the technology and it’s beyond your control as a user. The best you can do is shutdown your torrent once you’ve finished downloading the whole thing. That’s the whole point of using a peer-to-peer technology – using connected computers to redistribute the data you’ve made available. So if a game developer uses torrents as a “limited venue for distribution”, they also accept the limitations behind the technology.

      • Shivoa says:

        I agree, anyone arguing this as public domain (by method of torrent) is mistaken about what public domain means and copyright.

        But I also see that copyrighted material was chunked and each chunk was originally only held by the creator who explicitly pushed it to a distributed distribution network where each chunk is passed on from downloader to downloader for the express purpose of recombining a complete set on every client PC to save the creator’s bandwidth. I’m not sure they get to stand up and say “look at all these people distributing our chunks” when each chunk only exist in that isolated form because they did the chunking and then put it into a pool of distribution that feeds it out to everyone. Legally I’m not sure exactly how it all resolves but I suspect this is new enough tech that is isn’t universal so where you are will determine how it is handled. Ethically it doesn’t feel like it should be illegal distribution as the creator knew what they were doing when they created the chunks, tied to into a tracker, and then uploaded the chunks fully aware of how the system redistributes then to any connecting client.

        If I gave a copy of my game to a member of the press and told them to host it on fileplanet/(insert modern distribution site) then I would not have recourse for copyright violation against anyone who downloaded it. The use of torrenting technology requires the client was aware of the redistribution system and so at least implicitly provided rights to redistribute.

        I’m not sure how it works everywhere but any copies that have been created before the originator tries to block the process of mass duplication they triggered could be considered a gift. Gifts are given and you don’t get to take them back. How do you even signal the revocation of your implicit mass duplication rights giving process? Do they take their torrent down from the tracker and that lack of a tracker for it indicates everyone else should top copying (or at least is doing it illegally now)? With trackerless torrenting then you’ve kinda got a fire burning issue there (that issue is almost certainly going to have local legal differences). Do you need to get a list of those who grabbed the files and send their ISP communications to be forwarded revoking their implicit right to redistribute granted when they connected to the tracker with the creator on it? This would be why I would only use a torrent to distribute something I was fine with a copyleft license (or weaker) attached to (which would be indicated in the license.txt file that came in the package).

  6. idiotapocs says:

    Also, the patched latest version is already cracked and living his own life in his peer to peer magical world.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Wow some legend cracked the non-existent protection of this game?
      Who is this giant amongst men? He must have a hacked a gibson or two in his time.

  7. MOKKA says:

    I don’t care that much about the moral implications (this whole issue of piracy is waay too confusing for me). But I did like the part of the story where one user, who apparently had pirated the game, asked if you could research DRM in the game.

    By the way, I’m pretty sure those figures will change over time now that the game got some more attention.

  8. bigjig says:

    “And it’s not like Greenheart’s done anything egregiously wrong (at least, from a business standpoint; I can’t speak for the quality of the game itself), either. Game Dev Tycoon is DRM-free and entirely bereft of obtrusive microtransactions.”

    Admittedly I haven’t played the game myself, but don’t you think this is a little too similar to Game Dev Story? I find it hard to be entirely sympathetic to devs that just ripoff other games and pass them off as their own.

    • ulix says:

      As I said above, judging from screenshots (without having played the game) it does seem to add a lot of depth and complexity to Game Dev Story, which like all Kairosoft games is quite shallow and intransparent when it comes to the actual simulation side of things.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I dunno, I’ve watched a colleague play GDS on his mobile telephone for a while. Tim Stone might laugh at it from the head-crushing depths of his subaquatic hexagonal lair, but it could have been a generic straight-to-budget non-Sawyer Tycoon title* in the ’90s.

        And the first thing I thought upon seeing the screenshots was that this was that game ported to PC.

        (*Comedy: I just realized what the title of THIS one is.)

  9. captainparty says:

    Bit cheeky to claim about stealing a game when what you’ve done is rip off Game Dev Story in mechanics theme and art style

  10. Lobotomist says:

    First off – putting your game onto Pirate Bay completely free – works perfectly.

    Anodyne went from completely unknown to Greenlight in mere days. And there were more examples I can not recall names right now.

    Second. Fake pirated version or clever pirate protection ( like pink Scorpion in Serios Sam ) work perfectly. How it works ?

    Well scene groups are only interested in 0day cracks. Once they crack the game they couldnt care less. And they are surely not doing QA to check if crack is working properly. So far they are concerned the game was cracked and they got the “cred”

    Problem is that such clever protection can be confused as for a bug. And can spread bad word of mouth. This happened to “Titan Quest” where protection was corrupting game saves.

    This was blamed on company as game breaking bug. The word spread out that the game was unplayable. And resulted in crippling sales that closed the developer.

    Still if its done cleverly , its best way to deter pirates.
    Since 90% people pirate games just because there are no demos that they can actually try the game and see if they like it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Is that 90% from research, or just your impression based on people you know (or just a guess)?

    • Premium User Badge

      Crimsoneer says:

      Seeing there is a demo, that obviously isn’t the case.

    • ankh says:

      Actually it’s become pretty standard for release groups to make a new crack for every major update the game receives.

    • NicoTn says:

      Second. Fake pirated version or clever pirate protection ( like pink Scorpion in Serios Sam ) work perfectly.

      Its already fixed on the pirated version tho.

    • ulix says:

      After I cracked my legitimately bought copy of Drakensang (just more convenient), the game destroyed all my savegames. Not nice.

  11. Eich says:

    Well with totaly f**** up games flooding the market, like Star Trek or Sim City, I don’t blame people for downloading a fullversion “demo” (aka pirated version) before buying the real thing. This way you would think that producers which create high qualitiy games will survive. Unfortunately more often then not you do not feel that inclined to buy the real game after you finished it, even if it was awesome.
    What I’m trying to say is, that publishers should also blame other publishers which try to rip off their costumers by releasing unfinished games and therefore driving people into piracy.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      100 times this.

      In modern world only difference between Pirate and EA is that pirate will have to pay for the consequences if someone will catch him – EA is impossible to touch.

  12. tehsorrow says:

    Piracy is theft but intellectual property is fair game, right Greenheart?

    • Harkkum says:

      Whose IPRs were violated here (if that is what you are alluding?)

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Stop stealing my thoughts! When I throw them at you in internet posts, you’d better not read them and use them! Give them back immediately! They are my property! How dare you copy them by “thinking” and using a computer with a writable memory system.

      /sarcasm

  13. Random Gorilla says:

    Step 1: Steal an existing game’s name, graphical style and concept
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Take the moral high ground.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Game Dev Story isn’t an original concept.

    • Harkkum says:

      – and analogically to your story here, no books would have received copyright for the past hundred years of any modern copyright protection as there certainly are books with similar themes published before. Copyright is no patent, there are no demands for originality or innovation here.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      step 2: Put in ridiculous amounts of hard work to design, create original assets and code to iterate on the original game.

      • Random Gorilla says:

        I’m sure Zynga put a lot of work into their games too. I’m also sure there’s a lot of pirates out there who put a lot of work into stealing stuff too.

        And the book argument doesn’t stand either. The naming of this game shows wilful dishonesty.

        • TCM says:

          I’m going to share with you a little story about a game named Plague Inc. But first, I’m going to go back and talk about Pandemic.

          Pandemic (no relation to the board game of the same name) was a pretty fun browser game about killing the entire world with a disease. You could evolve it, events happened, and the President of Madagascar shut down everything making it impervious to disease of any kind. Screw Madagascar.

          Pandemic 2, the sequel, expanded on the concepts of the original, adding new disease types, real time pausable gameplay, and made Madagascar even more annoying. Screw Madagascar.

          Pandemic 2.5, the iPhone release, came out and did pretty well. It was fairly bare bones all told, but nicely brought the game to iOS. It was on the top of the sales charts for a day or so.

          A week later, Plague Inc. came out.

          Plague Inc. had apparently been in development for some time, a direct clone of Pandemic, but with some new ideas, and moving it to a platform it wasn’t available on. Dark Realm Studios [creator of Pandemic] cried foul on their twitter and to reviewers, about the ‘obvious clone’ that was somehow getting higher reviews than Pandemic 2.5, and selling more. nDemic creations, creators of Plague Inc, freely admitted they were inspired by the browser game, but felt their game was different enough to stand on its own.

          Well, the truth is, Plague Inc. was just a better game. It looked better, sounded better, had more variety in its disease types, and played better. It had a nicer UI, and more basic user-friendly features, like save games. Pandemic 2.5 got one patch before falling into obscurity. Plague Inc is still receiving support, and still topping the iOS charts, the devs have been invited to talk with the CDC about using games to get out awareness of diseases and how they spread, and it’s overall one of the highest recommended games on iOS.

          The moral of the story is: It’s okay to clone a game if you make it better than the original in every way, add more diversity, expand on mechanics and create new ones, iterate on mechanics and ideas, bring it to a platform it isn’t available on, and continue support. You might even be wildly successful and displace the original in the minds of many.

          • Random Gorilla says:

            You defend this studio’s actions, pirates defend their actions. That doesn’t change that they’re both unlawful. They’re making money off Game Dev Story’s brand.

            It’s worth noting that Game Dev Story 2 for PC is awaiting translation as we speak.

          • Premium User Badge

            Nogo says:

            Ironically you’re the only unlawful person in here because of that little libel per se at the end.

            You can’t just go around accusing people of commiting crimes that they’re not even capable of being charged with, since ideas aren’t assets and all that.

          • Random Gorilla says:

            IP theft and libel are civil rather than criminal offences. They haven’t committed a crime and neither have I. Don’t accuse me of something if you’re clueless about the legal system.

  14. Uthred says:

    This isnt piracy, piracy is the illegal *distribution* of copyrighted software. The developer presumably owns the copyright to their software so by releasing it on torrent sites what theyve released is a limited version of the game, what most people would call a demo. Its funny, but not as funny as it first appears.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      I would say that it’s a perfectly legal way to distribute games, assuming that no 3rd party license was infringed.

  15. Chufty says:

    Keep forgetting what a bunch of dickheads the RPS community is, in those long weeks between each piracy story.

    • Merlkir says:

      If by dickheads you mean “people who will supply info omitted by lazy RPS and actually bring some amount of reason into the issue”, then yes.

    • ankh says:

      Yes it seems people are unable to discuss the specific issue at hand because they see it as an opportunity to voice their opinions about piracy in general, but nobody cares about opinions other than their own because everyone has discussed this topic to death so they’ve made up their minds.

      • Low Life says:

        “nobody cares about opinions other than their own”

        You seem to have described every “discussion” on the internet.

        • ankh says:

          Yeah every Youtube discussion maybe, usually RPS is a bit more open minded..

          • derbefrier says:

            No they aren’t
            . No one wants to admit they are thieves. That they are the same as a guy who steals from a house so they conjure up all this crap to try and convince people they are the victims not the bad guy even when the only people buying this crap are other pirates. We have chicken shit journalist to afraid to stand up to their reader base and pretty much condone piracy by not speaking against it. We have delusional children who think they arre somehow entitled to free games and when a company trys to protect themselves or take a stand against it these idiots come out of the woodwork play the woe is me routine. Its sad,pathetic, and really and a testament to how immature and dishonest the pc gaming community really is.

          • mrmalodor says:

            And you don’t want to admit that unauthorized copying isn’t the same as stealing.

          • ankh says:

            “condone piracy by not speaking against it”

            Yeah.. I have no idea what you’re on about

          • kud13 says:

            I don’t know which part of the world you’re from, but only 25 years ago at least a quarter of the known world didn’t know what copyright was.

            It’s people like you who insist on conflating the “moral” definition of “theft” with the actual legal definition, obstinately refusing to admit that there are nuances and the world isn’t black and white and is in fact quite grey that are the problem.

            It’s great to take the moral high ground, sure. But how many people outside the Western world actually think the way you do? They are the majority, you know.

          • Premium User Badge

            Nogo says:

            If we start calling it infringement will you guys shut up about it not being theft? Because every time this conversation comes up no one actually defends piracy, they just say “it’s not theft” and hope we all pretend that suddenly makes it not a crime regardless.

  16. famouscantab says:

    90%+ isn’t that unusual in terms of piracy rates unfortunately. I work for a major games publisher and we have metrics that capture userdata in all our games. For every legally installed via Steam copy of a game we’re seeing 8 people playing that game on PC illegally. These levels will almost certainly mean less traditional games and a mass lurch to F2P unfortunately.

    • jalf says:

      But why? Is there any indication that the piracy rate has gone up? Are traditional games harder hit by piracy than they were 5, 10 or 20 years ago?

      • Premium User Badge

        cpt_freakout says:

        “Why?” is the most important question to ask here, and it evidently (after the case of games like McPixel’s and Anodyne) needs a thorough approach, which is to say game devs and companies need to pose it as a research question. So far, to the question of ‘why’ they’ve only offered two options: people are bad (using ‘bad’ as a general indicator of ‘not lawful’), and people have no idea of what they’re doing. The usual anti-piracy adverts run on the second option, while the lawsuit kind of stuff goes against the first. Both are fundamentally incorrect, because they’re reductive assumptions.

        What we need is a more serious study and understanding of this – for example, where are all those pirated downloads at? If they’re at third-world countries, it needs a different explanation than if they’re primarily at first-world ones. What is the age of the common pirate in a first world country? How can the problem be framed contextually? Is piracy more common now that the economic crisis is widespread or not? Etc. etc. etc. Now this would be a perfect topic for games journalism taken seriously, don’t you think? (wink wink RPS)

      • Harkkum says:

        I think that the reason is that games are more expensive to develop at highest level with increased demands for graphics and other content. Even if piracy rate remains constant, the increased costs of producing the pirated material will hamper the growth of companies and lead them to direct their investments elsewhere. Obviously, such argument loses all credibility if player base has expanded hand-in-hand with costs (of which I doubt).

        Therefore, even if the piracy rates are constant the investment might appear gradually poorer. Certainly it is possible to simple state that graphics mean nothing, but it has been the driving force of games for quite some time and simply cannot be negated when speaking investments of bigger titles (those much maligned AAA titles). Moreover, even if the rates would have remained the same it is no reason why it ought to be justified in any fashion. Impunity of piracy and its clandestine acceptance by the gaming community has, and most likely will, always baffled me. There is no rational argument for piracy and everyone and their niece knows it.

        • SoRHunter says:

          “Even if piracy rate remains constant, the increased costs of producing the pirated material will hamper the growth of companies and lead them to direct their investments elsewhere.”
          It’s a nice argument to be made in an Economics class. But in reality, it’s way off target – please check the reported profits for the game’s industry and you’ll see that it’s a very lucrative place, even with ‘pirates’ and growing costs of production. Hell, just look at EA and its annual reboot of sports franchises which sell by the bucket-load! Growing costs of production? Check. ‘Pirated’ like there’s no tomorrow? Check. Profitable? You bet it is!

          “There is no rational argument for piracy and everyone and their niece knows it.”
          There are lots of rational arguments for ‘piracy’. You can educate yourself about copyright, what it means, its history and how it’s currently being used around the web. My favourite take is made by Aaron Wolf: http://blog.wolftune.com/2008/06/rational-view-of-copyright.html

    • Iain_1986 says:

      Good luck, that could well be an unpopular opinion on here. I’ve learnt my lesson trying to debate anti-piracy on sites like this and reddit.

      Just look at the sheer amount of people in these comments arguing semantics saying “this doesn’t count” because the developer uploaded it, and its not the actual game, so its a demo.

      Ignoring the fact that the people downloading it THOUGHT they were pirating the full game.

      • Not Marvelous says:

        People are arguing that it is not semantics, and that this case wouldn’t constitute ‘piracy’ in a court of law. Which is completely different from arguing in favor of piracy.

        On the other hand, people on this thread go around calling people who pirate scum. No matter what my stance is, I would rather talk to the former ones.

        • Premium User Badge

          Nogo says:

          They pretty much are scum though, and we just want them to admit it instead of pretending they’re somehow entitled to these games because “DRM” or “it’s a clone” or “I might buy it if I like it, therefore I’m entitled to an unrestricted free trial while I make up my mind” or the classic “copyright laws are messed up, despite obviously being necessary, and since I’m so smart and enlightened when it comes to the modern sharing of information I’ll just choose to ignore laws I find imperfect.”

          I’ve pirated games. I did it because I wanted to play them, but was too cheap to acknowledge the devs hard work and too weak to just not play it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Isn’t F2P effectively this, i.e. 90% of people play for near-free and a small percentage are whales that you make a considerable money out of?

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?

      ‘No!’ says the man on the internet, ‘It’s fair game for us to use your products without paying for them. We are scum who will use any excuse to justify our behaviour.’

  17. Premium User Badge

    innokenti says:

    Lots of people saying it rips off Game Dev Story… well, I don’t know if ‘rip off’ is the right word, but it’s THE game that inspired them to develop this:
    (From the ‘About Us’ section on their site)
    “Our first game to test the waters is Game Dev Tycoon, a tycoon style game where you can start your own game development company in the 80s. Game Dev Tycoon was inspired by Game Dev Story (by Kairosoft), which was the first ‘tycoon’ game we enjoyed playing on the iPhone; however, from the start, we wished the game would work and look differently. We wanted a game development simulation which would be less random, more about your choices and a little more realistic.”

    Kairosoft have moved onto other projects in their style and have no apparent interest in releasing on PC. Where’s the beef? They liked the game, but they wanted more out of it and are making the game they’d like to play. That’s an admirable goal. No game is made in isolation, and everything is inspired by everything else to a lesser or greater degree.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Granted, but I don’t hesitate to let my feelings known every time something like Call of Duty comes out that completely rips off Wolfenstein 3D.

    • JamesR says:

      I think Greenheart really have only themselves to blame for the criticism. I’m a pretty diehard Kairosoft fan and I’m always open to trying out new ‘tycoon’ style games, but when I went to their website they gave me no impression that this game was in any way unique or different to GameDevStory.

      What little media they provided just smacks entirely of intellectually bankrupt plagiarism. So of course, that’s all I’ve taken away from it. It could be a spectacularly brilliant iteration on GameDevStory, but they had an opportunity to tell me that and they haven’t.

  18. InternetBatman says:

    Well, I guess it’s a clever way to get advertising. But on a more serious note, cracking games is not the same thing as pirating them. If you don’t want people to crack your games, don’t put shitty DRM in them.

    • Giuseppe says:

      Funny thing: there are games that work better (for the end-user) when they are cracked.

    • Harkkum says:

      It is a moot argument in the present discussion where the game has no DRM. Or was that just some old record cracking there from the latest pirating debate you came from?

      • InternetBatman says:

        If it’s a moot point, why does the screenshot say cracked game? Why does the developer call it the “cracked” version.

        • Triplanetary says:

          I don’t know, but I can assure you that the game is DRM free. It says so all over the dev’s web site. I recommend you know what you’re talking about next time.

  19. Danda says:

    “Why are there so many people to pirate? It ruins me! I had like 5m and then people suddenly started pirating everything I made, even if I got really good ratings (that I usually get) . Not fair.”

    http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18m4oe2m2r4b3png/original.png

    Getting this reaction from a pirate was PERFECT.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Irony is awesome.

    • Convolvulus says:

      I have no sympathy for jerks complaining about stuff they pirate, but the game mechanic itself isn’t a fair depiction of piracy. It seems to be saying that the better your game, the less money you make, and I’m fairly certain the world doesn’t work that way. If the devs had earnestly tried to address DRM and piracy as game elements, that might be a more interesting story than this transparent publicity stunt.

    • Ravenholme says:

      Welcome to Facepunch, basically. He got banned when the mods worked out that he’d obviously pirated the game (When this story broke on Game Dev Tycoon’s blogs)

  20. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    I don’t think this article is getting enough comments. Perhaps RPS could, as an aside, affirm the equality of opportunity for all people regardless of race, gender or sexuality?

  21. Chalk says:

    The BIG point rarely addressed is whether those people would have purchased the game anyway. 90%+ of pirates, but how many sales would that actually had the game been impossible to pirate?

    Is piracy really that harmful? I own a record label and see my products all over the Internet. They are on Pirate Bay, they can be found for free with a 2 second Google search and they have been downloaded literally thousands of times.

    Personally this isn’t an issue for me – people are welcome to those pirated copies of my music.

    Fact remains I still turn a profit. Fact remains a huge chunk of those pirates wouldn’t purchase from me in the first place.

    I’m not saying piracy doesn’t cause problems, but without doubt it is blown out of proportion.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      It’s probably the biggest problem that it is so hard to judge how many sales were lost for any pirated product.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      So my uncle used to be a music producer, and he claims that the music production has become less profitable, to the point that bands are less likely to hire external producers. Whether or not that is because of piracy or because the market has changed in other ways I don’t know, and again this is just an anecdote. Perhaps it’s simply that much of the production role can be done acceptably on a normal laptop, so small bands save money by doing it on their own. That said, I’ve heard that the role of concerts and albums have reversed – concerts used to exist mainly to drum up sales for an album, but now concerts are fairly lucrative and albums are often ways to draw in a crowd. More difficult to pirate a concert (shitty bootleg YouTube videos don’t really count).

      • Chalk says:

        Hard for me to speak for bands or production studios – all my production is done on a PC with the occasional pieces out sourced.

        The entire entertainment industry is shifting, with game developers finding they can go independent make a good game and profit. The same has happened with music and books, which can easily be produced, published and distributed without a publisher. And in many cases the productions qualities of each respective type of media is as good, if not better than those released from the major labels. I can certainly imagine that profit for bands is harder to come by when you have a label or publisher to pay. So yeah, there’s more to the drop in profits than ‘piracy’.

        The only aspect of the entertainment industry yet to undergo the independent shift if the movie industry. But it’s only going to be a few more years until we start seeing high quality movies released for free on YouTube.

        Far as I see it – those entrenched in the established distribution systems have a lot invested, and stand to lose a lot by the shift to the independent model. The middle-man has no place there.

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          Yes, my impression is that the industry is doing itself long-term harm by not innovating now. The film industry in particular has shot itself in the foot by stalling over putting films online (which, granted, would take a huge effort to reform licensing and all the vested interests involved in that), as pirating films is so easy by comparison.

          Plus the term “piracy” was coined by Daniel Defoe, so it’s not like it’s a new issue. Rather, it’s something that’s wrapped up in the internet changing our relationship with information, and any shift causes casualties in business. It sucks for people who lose their jobs, but difficult to see what can be done about it.

    • Kobest says:

      Pretty much this. It echoes what one of Super Meat Boy’s creators said recently:

      http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/TommyRefenes/20130318/188683/

    • Delusibeta says:

      So, back in 2008 a casual game developer ran the numbers, since he had been increasing the DRM, and came to the conclusion that they got one extra sale for every 1,000 pirated downloads prevented. Essentially, “lost sales” due to piracy might as well be rounding errors. I realise this is one example, but still.

      http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/108301/Casual_Games_and_Piracy_The_Truth.php

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        That’s just a case of one game, and the assumptions taken into account for this “study” are silly to say at least, with next to null scientific value.
        And from a sentence “it seems clear that eliminating piracy through a stronger DRM can result in significantly increased sales” I quite clearly see that it’s a pure BS. I’m surprised you don’t.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          See 100 people jumping off a cliff and not returning? Gotta be a problem in my statistics. Not suggesting anything… surely. ;)

          See 1 person looking over the edge and going “better not jump off!”, and well, it’s not a statistically important if it’s a single data point, so off we go. :D

      • ZephyrSB says:

        Hmmm…Reflexive. I bought some games from their portal once-upon-a-time (including the mentioned Richochet Infinitty). They then completely changed the way they sold games. And I no longer have access to those games. Remind me of who is pirating who?

        (For a first-party game like Richochet, I may have had the opportunity to do something, but it was some byzantine process further compounded by not being in the US. Third-party portal stuff totally a loss. Not that they ever got their updates anyway.)

  22. Premium User Badge

    Fitzmogwai says:

    It’s quite extraordinary to see how many people there are here performing such incredible contortions to justify not paying a developer to play the game that they made.

    • Shivoa says:

      You mean correcting the original story to be accurate.

      I suspect many more people commenting on RPS are interested in being rather pedantic with this clear PR grab story than pirating this game (or maybe any game, I can’t speak for the RPS posting collective). Personally, I’m not interested in pirating games (http://steamcommunity.com/id/shivoa + GOG/Desura/etc/physical copies) but am interested in what is clearly the wrong terminology being used and how effective news-bait this was for the devs.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      I like how you dismiss valid arguments by just implying that everyone attacking developers doing shit like that are pirates.

    • Lemming says:

      Especially as it’s a fiver. For £5, you can afford to be wrong about a purchase. Many a time I’ve bought a cocktail for more than that, that I didn’t like.

  23. Delusibeta says:

    Probably the best publicity stunt I’ve seen in quite a while. Hell, it got to #2 most watched video game on Twitch, entirely due to Total Biscuit streaming it. Would have he bothered had they not attempted this stunt? Probably not.

  24. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    There’s an unwritten rule (actually it is written in every nfo) or sort of “pirate code” to buy it if you like it.
    I’m not sure how many pirates abide by that, but it does seem a popular opinion among my brethren.
    So if this game isn’t selling at all perhaps it isn’t so much because of piracy but due to quality? I can’t even be bothered to pirate this one to check it out though… and that hurts sales just as much as piracy.

  25. Sian says:

    I’m actually more concerned about devs tracking data when I play games. Apparently that’s the norm. Will I have to disconnect my computer from the internet if I want to play single-player games and retain my privacy?

    I wouldn’t object if the devs told their players in clear terms (i.e. not hidden away in ToSs or EULAs) that they were gathering data, what data they were gathering and what they do with said data.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      Add to this a fact that in most of EU countries it’s illegal to gather any data about users without their permission.

  26. Jenks says:

    Pirate apologists, assemble!

  27. namad says:

    what about the other side of the story that these devs have not made an original game and are just clone-game devs? https://itunes.apple.com/app/id396085661

    • TCM says:

      This sort of comment bugs the hell out of me.

      No, they are not clone game devs — the game in fact plays very differently, expands on several conceits of the original, and so on. It’s iteration, not cloning — look at Plague Inc. in the app store, a far superior game to Pandemic 2.5 (which came out first, and was made by the original developer of Pandemic). Frig, look at how entire genres came into being — FPS games used to be called ‘Doom Clones’ for God’s sake.

      It would be a clone if everything was identical, and no work was done to advance or iterate the form. That isn’t what is happening here — moreover, Game Dev Story isn’t even available on the PC, and likely never will be [GameBiz is, however, and that came out LONG before Game Dev Story — it’s a spreadsheet game rather than a casual one though], so this is just bringing an older concept to a new audience.

      It’s disingenuous and lazy to call this cloning, and serves only to muddle the debate. It’s done because you are pissed at the devs for this stunt, but not honest enough to say that outright, so you instead look for a way to damage their credibility.

      Have some balls. (Or Ovaries, I guess, if you’re a woman? I don’t think ovaries work the same as balls. It’s been a while since science class.)

      • Triplanetary says:

        Well said. Even if this were just “Game Dev Story on the PC” (which it’s not, it’s more than that), it’d be worth a few bucks for that alone. I played the hell out of GDS on Android, and I love it, but I bear no ill will against this game. I honestly don’t get the “hurf de durf it’s a rip-off” arguments. When the “game development business simulation” genre gets as crowded as the World War 2 shooter genre, you can start complaining.

      • Random Gorilla says:

        Game Dev Story was released on PC in 1997 *and then* ported to mobile platforms more recently.

        Game Dev Story 2 for PC has recently been released in Japan and will be out in English soon.

  28. BurningPet says:

    That great PR stunt managed to hide away two facts.
    1) Its shallow and boring and should have never left the mobile platforms.
    2) Its ripping off more than reiterating.

    • TCM says:

      So many people looking for any reason they can condemn the devs.

      Normally you wouldn’t see this thing for such a small game. I guess making people uncomfortable makes them hate you.

      • BurningPet says:

        So you say there’s a double standard at works here? they get a free pass because of the PR stunt and being indie? i fully agree!

        #1 i bought the game after seeing the stunt, without even bothering to check videos or trying demo. i just appreciated the genius P.R and thought it deserved financial recognition.

        #2 I am an indie developer with first hand knowledge of how hard it is to develop a game and bring it to the market and how nice, cosy and fun it would be if no one would ever pirate any game and just buy them.

        if all the people that pirated Towns would have bought the game, we would have sold more copies than most AAA titles. in our case a 90 % piracy rate is not 3000 people who just randomly downloaded a game they saw on a torrent site, its hundreds of thousands who actively look to pirate the game. all hail that small difference!.

        So trust me that i am not trying to bash the developers because they stripped pirates naked. i applaud them for that!

        What i don’t like is that Game Dev Tycoon is not a reiteration. its not inspired by and its not a progression to a genre. its a spiritual and mechanical semi-clone.

        if they had put that creative thinking from their PR stunt into their game design, they would have not needed to pull stunts like those.

        • Premium User Badge

          Nogo says:

          Most people present facts that back up their opinions, especially when they’re such strong, bizarre ones as “this game that was never developed for mobile should never have left mobile.”

          Also your inflammatory post has made me deliberately associate Towns with a bunch of overly opinionated jerks that base their decisions on how grumpy they’re feeling, so maybe you’re not the best brand rep.

          • wu wei says:

            I find these criticisms from anyone associated with Towns to be especially amusing when:

            1. It was notorious for initially launching on Steam without mentioning it was incomplete.
            2. It’s a “rip off not reiteration” of Dwarf Fortress.

  29. mrmalodor says:

    Somehow I don’t feel like even pirating this game, let alone buying it.

  30. cpy says:

    This is complete BS! If i can’t pirate some game that does not mean i will buy it! If someone pirated game and played first 5 minutes and dumped it because it was stupid they did not lost sale. But if you pirate game and you like it, you probably buy more from creator than without knowing their work. But ofcourse you might pirate because it is your style and if you’re from poor country like me :)
    I bought so many games i can’t even play them all anymore and it did not cost much, thanks to savygamer.

  31. rado_viden says:

    I remember watching Burch’s (Borderlands 2 writer) stream and at one moment you could see his VLC player’s recently played files. They were TV shows clearly designated with scene markings and a couple of porn parodies (also scene releases).
    I wonder what percentage of people that are in someway involved in game development download/watch online for free TV shows and movies.

  32. honky mcgee says:

    An article relating to software piracy not posted by John Walker? John must be out sick this week, feel better buddy!

  33. Premium User Badge

    strangeloup says:

    I’m not going to touch the piracy can of worms, but when I first heard about the story yesterday, I decided to check out the demo, having only heard the tiniest bit about the game previously.

    Turns out that it’s a tremendous amount of fun and I’m certainly going to pick up the full version when the site is a bit more stable. I was talking to a friend who said he’d played Game Dev Story and thought it was similar, but when discussing the details, it was clear that there were substantial differences between the two titles, even if they share the same basic idea.

    For a mere $8, I’d wholeheartedly recommend it.

  34. drvoke says:

    Since no one is actually dumb enough to believe that 1 pirated copy = 1 lost sale, this is obviously just a promotional gimmick. This says nothing about piracy or its effects on game development. You simply can’t force people to buy your game. I know it would be nice to put every person at gunpoint in a line to buy your game, but that’s not how it works. Many more people are going to not buy your game than will buy it, whether they pirate it or not.

    Many of the people who would look at your game and what you’re charging for it and say “No, thanks,” will see it for free and say “I’ll have that.” And as many people won’t even bother to pirate it. But none of those people were going to buy your game anyway.

    This argument is stupid, and I feel diminished for having participated in this marketing scheme by posting this comment, but this topic and the self-righteous blowhards it attracts never fail to wind me up.

  35. Faxanadu says:

    Is game piracy really a big problem still?

    I open Steam. I see Rockstar products on sale. Like 5x Grand Theft Auto games for something like 10 euros. Sure, lets get ‘em.

    Games are SO cheap if you just wait for the sales, and SO easy to use with Steam. Can’t ever imagine myself bothering to mess around with cracks patches keys serials torrents reading installation guides whatnot anymore.

    Now if only movies would work the same way. I’ve no intention paying more than 2-5 euros for 2hrs of Hollywood crap that has 9/10 likelihood of being bad.

    • TCM says:

      The strange and bizarre mentality of some people is “If I can get it for free, it is worth any amount of time invested, even if the time I spend is worth more to me than the money I would have to.”

      • Premium User Badge

        Malibu Stacey says:

        This is something I’ll never understand.
        I have over 200 games on Steam & whenever I start a new game I basically have to consider whether it’s worth not playing something I already enjoy with almost infinite replay value like Dota 2 or Crusader Kings II.
        Just because something is free, doesn’t mean the time you spend on it is worthless.
        I guess this must be one of those things you figure out as you get older.

  36. Blackseraph says:

    Is this really even a piracy, that is technically not even a illegal copy in that torrent site, since creators put it there themselves.

    Of course those who download it wouldn’t have known that.

  37. Mephz says:

    tbh, the funniest thing imo is the fact that they stole way to much from another dev game and sold it under a different name. They are pirates themselves :)

    • TCM says:

      Wow, another one.

      I would start a drinking game, but I fear for my poor liver.

      • SoRHunter says:

        You can always drink water, boiled with some leaves or just plain ‘vanilla’.

        • TCM says:

          I already have a glass of the former, and it’s why my dental bills are so high.

  38. MadTinkerer says:

    Counterpoint:

    Dear Greenheart,

    Your game is apparently only available on the Windows Store. Something that some are actively boycotting while others, for one reason or another, simply don’t have Windows 8 installed. You devs need to be aware that just like when Vista first came out and people kept XP installed for four extra years, there are people who are refusing to infect their systems with Windows 8.

    Tying your game to the latest operating system’s closed app store is the main reason I haven’t bought it yet. Put it up on Steam, GoG, Desura, Impulse, GreenmanGames, or something that gamers actually use (NOT Origin, GFWL/Xbox thingy, Origin).

    Do NOT bitch about piracy if you’re refusing to provide a version that’s convenient to buy. I’m not installing Windows 8 just to play Game Dev Tycoon.

    I am typing this on a motherfucking laptop. A Real Fucking Computer. Not a goddamned toy for the computer-illiterate. Put your game on a real game service and we’ll see what your piracy stats are.

    P.S. I haven’t actually downloaded a cracked version, I’m just pointing out that Win 8 store exclusive titles kill interest.

    • TCM says:

      “Your game is apparently only available on the Windows Store.”

      Wrong.

      In fact, about 5 minutes of cursory glances over the game proved that wrong.

      http://www.greenheartgames.com/

      What does the top link say?

      Oh? “Get it for Windows, Mac, and Linux?”

      What have we learned about reading comprehension and Googling before writing a rant, class?

      [And yes, I bought it — it gives you an installer for each OS, and yes it works on Vista and 7, at the very least.]

      ([I reserve the right to be a passive-aggressive, condescending dick to people who don’t bother spending two minutes to read prior to writing an anti-dev rant.])

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      FAIL OF THE DAY.

    • Lemming says:

      direct link to the game to buy from their site DRM free for whatever OS you want. For some reason, their front page is fucked up:

      http://www.greenheartgames.com/app/game-dev-tycoon/

  39. Jimbo says:

    Ironically, this’ll probably be one of the few cases where piracy actually does help.

  40. Premium User Badge

    tumbleworld says:

    This is the gaming version of a Chick Tract.

  41. kud13 says:

    So, wait a minute, the devs themselves put up a crippled, pseudo-cracked version of their game on TPB, and THEN they cry wolf about piracy?

    I’m sorry, by making your game available for download yourself, KNOWING the consequences (Torrent clients work in such a way that it’s virtually impossible to avoid seeding/redistribution), they’ve waived their rights to demand any compensation.

    And as for the moral high ground…. they got free PR out of it. It was clearly a calculated move. Why should anyone feel sorry for them?

    • TCM says:

      It’s not about feeling sorry for the devs (this was clearly the cheapest marketing they could get, and it’s probably going to work out for them) so much as it is amusing incongruity.

      The forum post asking “Can I research a DRM or something (to stop lost sales)” is particularly priceless.

  42. CorpseFX says:

    the video game market is so filled with games (from AAA to indie) that most of these – STOLEN OR BOUGHT – probably arent even played ever, or to capacity. people only have so much time to play this garbage even if you’re the greasiest-out-of-shape-crap-bag on the planet.

    i have multiple friends who have thousands of dollars spent on steam for games they never even played.

    “oh no, poor dev’s.”

    this is just like the music industry. every crappy band thinks they deserve to succeed and think pirating is killing everything but never bothered to think that the record labels – since their inception – are the real pirates to the artists.

    f-off. take stabs at million-billion dollar corps that use up these workers and spit them out, treat them like garbage and make money hand over fist for gutless, safe design.

    • Malk_Content says:

      How does the actions of big AAA publishers effect the fact that people are not paying for the product put out by and indie dev?

  43. MarcP says:

    Holy hate speech, Batman. I pirate stuff and I still thought that was a good joke. Get over yourselves, people.

  44. fish99 says:

    I’m still waiting to see John Walkers evidence that ‘piracy almost never leads to lost sales’ since he said there was some.

    As for Game Dev Tycoon, I don’t think proving the piracy rate was the point of the exercise, it was done to make pirates think about the consequences of piracy.

    • Shivoa says:

      I think that may be unquantifiable: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/TommyRefenes/20130318/188683/

      But check the comments there (eg E Zachary Knight’s post) for links to some data that has been surfacing from correlations appearing between piracy and higher than average (financial) investment in the hobby. The “I give all the spare cash I have to X and still want more” customer (who may be income restrained from providing the industry with anything more and could be a word-of-mouth advantage for the titles pirated). I’d also point anecdotally to children with lack of disposable cash who become very fluent in the media via piracy and turn into adults, sometimes well paid ones who buy a lot of games without much time to play them (often during sales but even at launch). How many people would be throwing their disposable cash into a different hobby if not for a generation of copying that floppy?

  45. badjuju1010 says:

    This game is a blatant rip-off of Kairosoft’s Game Dev story. There’s some irony here.

    • belgand says:

      That’s rather what I was thinking. Does anyone out there have any better knowledge of the game to suggest otherwise? Because based on their site there doesn’t seem to be much (a bit seems to be added, but not much) differentiating it from a several years-old game for phones.

  46. Flavioli says:

    I stand again by my conviction that companies like Ubisoft, Activision and EA should not be the only ones taking fire for the recent problem with obtrusive DRM… the bigger problem is the giant swaths of pirates who take advantage of generous developers who release DRM-free stuff. This is not new… Witcher 2 was DRM free and got pirated far more than many games coming out around the same time. A hell of a great way to show their appreciation, huh? Gamers get what they deserve. It’s a shame that honest, paying gamers have to deal with the collateral damage but frankly I am far more disappointed at people who pirate DRM-free games than I am at the companies that resort to always-online DRM.

    • Arkanos says:

      I pirated Witcher 2, myself…

      But I never played it. Piracy is not lost sales. Piracy isn’t even free(stolen?)-entertainment. Sometimes, piracy is just downloading something with the intent to see what it is like… then never getting around to actually doing that.

      • Premium User Badge

        Malibu Stacey says:

        Lets not forget enabling others who never had any intention of paying for the product to download it and use it as much as they like for as long as they like.

        But hey it’s a victimless crime right. Dev’s are all swimming in vats of money like Notch.

  47. Great Leader says:

    So, there are 2 guys who made a small game and who supposedly have no money for ad company. They make their game available to everyone for free on Pirate Bay. Then post about it on their blog pretending to be quite upset about people downloading it instead of buying it from them. And they call the version they’ve started to distribute via torrents a “cracked” version for some reason.

    I have a couple of questions for them:
    1. Didn’t their sales went way up after RPS and others posted some articles about it?
    2. Did they have to pay to put those on RPS and on others?
    3. What’s the current ratio of “cracked version” downloads compared to purchases (maybe some actual numbers)?

    Whatever the answers are, I just want to make people understand that all those download numbers of pirated products have nothing to do with numbers of sales that didn’t happen – crappy products can only attract attention when they are for free. The moment when it will be too risky / impossible to pirate – their sales won’t go up, instead they will dwindle. Users of pirated content create the mass needed to keep public interest in the product.

  48. belgand says:

    I guess the real question is: can I create a game about game piracy in a pirated copy of this game and then have it fail to sell because everyone pirated it? No PoMo.

  49. Bejjan says:

    If they put the game up on some torrent-site, they totally deserve to get pirated. They asked for it! Everyone knows thats what they wanted. You want attention, you get attention. Its like with women. I see them with their tiny skirts and big boobs. They say no, but I know thats just part of their marketing. So I have sex with them anyway.

    • Frye2k11 says:

      Right.

      But I disagree with your suggestion that women that dress sexy are asking for, even deserve to get sexually harassed by you.