Darkwood devs upload a torrent of their own game to thwart key resellers

The makers of Darkwood [official site] have uploaded a full version of their wonderfully dreadful new horror game to a torrent site. Acid Wizard Studio say it’s for people who want to play Darkwood but don’t have enough money to buy it, giving them a “safe” version to download. They also hope that this will dissuade people buying the game from key resellers, who they call a “cancer that is leeching off this industry”. Blimey.

Darkwood is a top-down survival horror game set in terrible woods filled with creepy, spooky, and downright dreadful things. Explore, scavenge, quest, and try to survive. It launched last week after three years in early access.

Development has been a long and often difficult journey, as Acid Wizard Studio told in today’s announcement. Now it’s finally out, they say, they’re being inundated with e-mails trying to blag free Steam keys with the assumed intent to resell ’em. This “makes it impossible for us to do any giveaways or send keys to people who actually don’t have the money to play Darkwood.”

Acid Wizard Studio join a long line of developers not best pleased with resellers.

They say they were also moved by a player who requested a refund “because he didn’t want his parents to be stressed out when seeing the bill at the end of the month.”

So to heck with it! They have uploaded the latest version of Darkwood DRM-free to torrent site The Pirate Bay.

“If you don’t have the money and want to play the game, we have a safe torrent on the Pirate Bay of the latest version of Darkwood (1.0 hotfix 3), completely DRM-free. There’s no catch, no added pirate hats for characters or anything like that. We have just one request: if you like Darkwood and want us to continue making games, consider buying it in the future, maybe on a sale, through Steam, GOG or Humble Store. But please, please, don’t buy it through any key reselling site. By doing that, you’re just feeding the cancer that is leeching off this industry.”

If that’s you, hey, there you go. If not, hey, don’t take the piss.

Darkwood costs £11.99/13,99€/$14.99 on Steam, GOG, and the Humble Store.

I believe our Adam has been playing Darkwood and planning to tell us all wot he thinks but, between a holiday and attending Gamescom, he’s been a busy boy with many other things to do. Hopefully he’ll find time. Everything I’ve heard about Darkwood is good but I’m a big fraidy baby and seek reassurance.

85 Comments

  1. HexagonalBolts says:

    It’s great, but terrifying. The developers claim they hate jump scares, and so nothing tends to pop out at the screen at you with a huge burst of screaming – but the tension is horrific. You hole up in your house at night and can hear all sorts of strange things going on outside (and inside…). It’s very strange and surreal. A steam review said it was like Hotline Miami inside the Blair Witch Project.

    • Solgarmr says:

      Yep, I love this game. Been waiting four years to play since I originally backed and I only jump in to play for an hour or so. Survive the single night and then call it night and then it’s break time.

    • Unclepauly says:

      Hotline Miami and Blair Witch eh? Sounds rad

  2. FFabian says:

    Sad! No official macOS version torrent.

    • Premium User Badge

      Earl-Grey says:

      If you can afford a Mac you can afford Darkwood.
      Some might say.
      Not me.
      But people are saying it.
      Great people.
      The best people.

      • Sutenvulf says:

        Not even RPS is safe from his memes/references.

        • Premium User Badge

          Earl-Grey says:

          Not until the fucker hangs from his prolapsed anus.

          • Unclepauly says:

            Thanks for the visual. My dreams have been quite calm recently..

          • thebigJ_A says:

            Thanks for the visual. This will help calm the horrific nightmare our lives have become recently…

            (No pasaran)

    • Quickly says:

      Based on the articles I’ve seen in the past, regarding piracy on Windows vs Mac and Android vs iOS, Mac users appear to pirate less and spend more. Perhaps the devs didn’t think it was the demographic they wanted to target here. Would be interesting to see the platform piracy figures for some small game.

      • keithzg says:

        IIRC, Linux fares even better than macOS in terms of people purchasing games rather than pirating them. Certainly I’m a sucker for devs who support my chosen PC OS—I’m about to go off and buy this game right now!

  3. carn1x says:

    Is there any balanced (of that’s possible) analysis or critiques of Key resellers, and is that list of 3 retailers listed by the devs exhaustive in terms of who is not a key reseller in the industry, or are there plenty of others which simply don’t sell Darkwood?

    • Umama says:

      The Reddit GameDeals forum only lists deals from authorized key sellers and keeps a list there. They ended up banning Green Man from listings due to them obtaining keys for some games in a suspicious manner (i.e. not directly from publishers).

      • TychoCelchuuu says:

        Do you have a link to the list? I remember checking this a few weeks ago and it seems like it had a list of some sites that are for sure okay (at least according to them) but it wasn’t exhaustive, which doesn’t help me a ton if I’m trying to figure out whether to buy from DLGamer.com or whatever (which is the site I was investigating and which actually is on their list, I think).

        • nogglebeak says:

          If you can afford a triple-priced PC, you can afford a $15 game.

  4. je says:

    A truly great move both morally and PR wise. But still the industry seems to love all this free market, trade and low regulations by the state – the catch is only if it is to the industries advantage otherwise free markets and worldwide trade are “the cancer that is leeching off this industry” – capitalism in a nutshell

    • klops says:

      I don’t know much about key reselling markets but by what I’ve read, one practice is to use stolen credit cards to buy keys. After that they’re sold for nearly nothing in shadier sites.

      I don’t know how common that is, but that definitely is not what free markets and low regulations by the state mean.

    • SuperFaex says:

      If you want a good analysis on why resellers are harmful I can recommend “Gaming Culture: Is G2A really worse than piracy?” by GaminGHD on Youtube. He covers bascially all reasons why it’s not that great.

      • Sheepsnatcher says:

        Thank you for your recomendation; was looking for more on the subject.

    • Freud says:

      Pretty much. The vast vast majority of keys sold on these sites are just sellers taking advantage of massive pricing differences between regions. That’s something the developers/publishers have chosen volunteerily.

      Of course they don’t want to admit that their business model is based on hiking up prices for EU/NA customers so they portray these key selling sites as hives of villainy.

      There are occasionally cases of credit card fraud, as with any online business. If that happens the keys are voided. If anyone thinks G2A would still be in business if a lot of keys were voided all the time, they are naive. But that’s not the norm. It’s the rare exception. Most keys are legit.

      • klops says:

        Ah? Oh. Interesting. Thanks for clarification. Didn’t even consider that. I actually don’t know what to think here.

        • thebigJ_A says:

          Interesting?
          It’s largely conspiracy-theory thinking.
          “It’s THEM conspiring against us, all the game devs with none at all leaking this enormous conspiracy. What’s this? A reasonable explanation that could account for much of the phenomenon? No! Certainly the resellers used credit card fraud once or twice, but *obviously* all developers and publishers have magic scanners that can tell whether each and every key was fraudulently purchased. And also no citizens commit crimes because we live in the Minority Report. Apparently.”

          Balderdash. Companies can be amoral or immoral some of the time. Capitalism is awful. These things can be true without conspiracy theories and shitting on a dev who just openly did something decent, relatively, in capitalism-adjusted terms.
          We live in a world of Trump and rising fascism and loads of people voting and believing against their own interests around the world. Science and reason and compassion lead to conclusions that are on our side without need to go in for their tactics.

      • Cut says:

        “Of course they don’t want to admit that their business model is based on hiking up prices for EU/NA customers so they portray these key selling sites as hives of villainy”

        Or alternatively they just want less fortunate people who happen to live in countries with lower wages and fewer opportunities to be able to enjoy their game too – and therefore lower prices in those regions to make that possible…

        • Kitsunin says:

          Precisely. Perhaps it seems like if they “can afford to charge that much here, they should everywhere” but that’s not remotely how it works. If the cost of living is £200/month and you make £300/month, you’re doing well and can probably afford most luxuries within your own country, but £40 games are going to eat through your budget in a snap.

          Lowering prices for people whose country’s money doesn’t hold as much value for imports is an absolute necessity unless you think they don’t deserve to be allowed to game.

          Don’t get me wrong, I think the price of games has gotten too high! But I’m compassionate enough to understand why it’s important for countries to have different prices. Different currencies simply have different buying power. You have to account for that with imported goods, or else some places will simply go without.

          • nogglebeak says:

            The price of games is too high? They’re cheaper now than they’ve -ever- been. SNES games used to be 70 friggin dollars. Even in the 80s Atari games were $10-15. There has been no cheaper time to be a gamer than right now.

          • Kitsunin says:

            That’s fair. I guess the issue is that wages have barely increased since then in America. But going by inflation games are very cheap. As you say, cheaper than they’ve ever been.

            But in terms of work hours, that is at least 3 hours of work for anyone without an amazing job. And it can be difficult to set that much aside. However I’m sure it’s never really been better than that.

          • Nolenthar says:

            This is especially true given a digital content has no “inherent value”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that digital content shall be free, or that piracy is fine, I’m merely pointing at the fact a digital content is nothing but that, digital. Once a company has produced a game (or an artist music, or a studio a movie / tv serie), they can clone that content till the end of times for no cost at all.

            The objective should be, at worst, to break even (so, if your game cost you 10 000 000$ to produce, you expect to make 10 000 000$ and you have to sell as many games as possible to get back those 10 000 000). This means you can sell either 200 000 copies at 50$, or 500 000 copies at 20$. Most of the times, those games are covered by NA/EU, and those countries alone may very well allow you to reach your objective. Selling at 50$ for poorer country is not going to work, as it would be too expensive and hence, wouldn’t work. So sell cheaper to those countries, anyway, end of the day, it doesn’t cost you money, it just brings more money.

            But now, if NA/EU starts to get cheap keys because the grey market sells them the cheap keys you sell to poorer countries, then it no longer work. You need to sell 1 000 000 copies at 10$, which is not what you planned. And worse, you’ve not even started to please your investor (who wants a lot more money than they spent).

            This is why price can be cheap in poorer countries, but also why grey market is the “cancer” eating the industry.

            You will never have this problem with physical goods. Irrelevant where you sell it, a car cost you money to make, and each car you make cost money. You thus can’t sell your car 10 times cheaper in countries with 1/10 the revenue.

  5. vorador says:

    Oh come on, it’s 14 euros. I’ve spent far more on a shitty dinner.

    It’s both beautiful and terrifying, with the green grass and the rotting corpses.

    • Duckeenie says:

      Take up piracy, that way you can afford to buy yourself a nice dinner next time. :P

      • Unclepauly says:

        Nah, I’ll just download a picture of a nice dinner and print it out on edible paper.

  6. Morcane says:

    That’s great, I had this one in mind but now I can get it for free. Yeah, I don’t say no to free stuff, I’m not that privileged.

    Must be great though for all those people who bought the game ‘legitimately’ through Steam.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      I dunno if paying for something you could get for free counts as “privileged”, but if you can’t afford to play it otherwise, then this is a great thing.

    • Paul says:

      People who buy games often do it to support the developer and ensure they can make more cool stuff. So developer giving the game to people who cannot afford it in present time is actually something they don’t mind at all.

    • fahdiz says:

      I’m fine with it. It isn’t a zero-sum game.

    • Unclepauly says:

      Lol I’m going to try the game for free and if I end up putting time into it, I will purchase it. As anybody with half a moral compass would do.

    • tasteful says:

      i bought it and im stoked that they’re doin this

    • Kitsunin says:

      Wow. So because someone chooses to acknowledge that we’re sort of using the honor system when we purchase games rather than pirate them, this means it’s OK to do so? You’re saying it is morally wrong to pirate because other people say “piracy bad m’kay, you could do it, but don’t ever do it because it’s bad” not because people who made something deserve to be paid for their work?

      What the hell kind of moral standard is this? You’re not privileged enough to pay for something you could get for free? Sure, I’ve been through that. I’ve pirated as a youth. But what the hell, if that’s the case you should not be specifically pirating just this game. Be consistent with your fucking ethics at least and pirate everything if you truly can afford nothing.

    • tasteful says:

      like, why would you be bitter about getting a gift

    • April March says:

      I don’t get it. You could always have gotten it for free. I’m sure there was a version on eBay before the devs put it up there, and if there wasn’t I’m sure there would be soon enough. The only difference is that the devs themselves put it up there, but other than that it’s exactly the same as any pirated game on Pirate Bay. You can’t even claim it’s morally right to get this one unless you are one of the people who intended to buy it off a key reseller.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      What is this string of words, even?
      What on Earth has “privilege” got to do with this situation?
      Think things through. You’ve got a bitter instinct that’s making you sound… ugly.
      Put it in any other similar situation. What you said makes no sense. “I was thinking of buying a pie for dessert from the town baker. Then I saw she was giving some away to the homeless so I took one off the truck. I’m not ‘privileged’ enough to pay for optional luxuries.”

      I mean, Jesus Christ. Do you tear out your hair thinking of all those cans of soup you’ve purchased every time you hear about soup kitchens feeding the hungry??

      This right here is the only life we get.
      You can do better.

  7. Unsheep says:

    It will be interesting to see just how ethical peple will choose to be; will they support the developers and pay for the game, or take advantage of an ideological Statement?

    The game has already sold ~80k copies on Steam and GOG, in just over a week. So at least the developers will get some decent money from this game regardless of this.

    • Daymare says:

      I downloaded Darkwood from thepiratebay back when RPS previewed an alpha build. At that time, I was a university student with very little money to spare. Played it for about 20 min before I stopped, seeing a lot of potential, but having no idea how it’d turn out after what looked like a long development road ahead.

      I’m now a half-time teacher with money to buy all the games I’m interested in. So I bought Darkwood because I appreciate the devs’ intentions, and because it looks like it’s become the game I’d hoped it would become, a kind of top-down STALKER-like.

    • Vandelay says:

      I find it one of the depressing things and signs that humanity still has a long way to go that so many people are fine with piracy. I have no doubt that many of the people who do illegally download games, software, TV shows or films would never dream of shoplifting, but that they would happily fly the Jolly Roger demonstrates that they wouldn’t steal not because it is the wrong thing to do, but because they might get caught.

      Before anyone says it, I know that piracy doesn’t equal theft, but I can’t imagine that is something that anyone pirating really thinks when they are downloading something other than as a rather weak attempt to make themselves feel better.

      It also just shows people have so little patience today and expect to have everything now. Look at the recent Game of Thrones leak. It was only just a few days before the episode aired and yet people swarmed to it, choosing to watch a shitty quality version over the legitimate high quality version that was going to be broadcast just a day or two later.

      It seems particularly absurd in this day in age when there is so much entertainment being produced and made available at incredibly good value for money through services like Netflix or Itch.io or Humble or Amazon Prime. Have to wait until the next pay day to get the big new AAA game? Try one of the other numerous much cheaper (sometimes even free,) games while you wait. They are likely to be better.

      • Nelyeth says:

        I generally agree with you, but you also have to consider those who simply cannot afford any form of entertainment. I used to pirate games, music, films, basically everything I could, because buying just wasn’t an option.

        It’s been around 5 years since I last pirated a game, with one exception three years ago, as I wanted to know if my PC could handle Watchdogs before buying (it couldn’t).

        The alternative to piracy would have been not playing games, not listening to music, and not reading books. I don’t want to think of how mind-numbing that period would have been if I didn’t pirate anything. So yeah, go piracy for the poor, I guess.

        • Daymare says:

          This was me, basically. Thanks for putting it into words.

          Such explanation wouldn’t hold up in court or whatever, but yeah.

          • Premium User Badge

            Mungrul says:

            Yeah, it’s been a long time since I pirated a game, but it was exactly the same reasons. I barely made enough to pay the rent and feed myself.
            I think all the games I had pirated in the past I have now actually bought (Speccy games aside).

            Key sellers though?
            That’s a difficult one. I don’t like the way that big publishers are trying to force console game prices on PC users, especially artifically inflating the price of digital sales so they physical media prices.

            And some publishers I just don’t like, but they may own a developer that I do.

            Yes, I know that a lot of key sellers are legally dodgy, but I can stomach their shenanigans more than I can the psychopathic corporate behaviour of some of the big players.

            Having said that however, I haven’t bought from a key seller in well over a year now. I’m just choosing not to buy the games of publishers with the most hateful behaviour (here’s looking at you, Zenimax / Bethesda).

        • Vandelay says:

          Oh certainly, an understandable reason. I would definitely not want to make assumption on anyone’s financial situation and they may well genuinely not be able to afford any entertainment (also likely to be in the most need of some kind of escape!)

          Having said that though, I would expect there are many that use that reason, when they could simply have the one less night out or cut out a takeaway or two a month and be able to afford a new game and a subscription to a streaming service.

          The other understandable reason for piracy would be when publishers decide not to release something in your region. Then they really only have themselves to blame.

      • AmazingPotato says:

        What I find interesting about piracy is how different cultures respond to it. Back in the UK, people seem(ed) generally okay with it, as long as you didn’t go nuts and do it all the time. In the US, I have friends who are genuinely horrified at the thought of it (I think because you can get FBI/government-related emails if torrenting is detected on your internet connection). Australians are fairly blase about it (my friends there download everything, mainly TV shows) and, here in South America, people sell pirated copies of films and games on the streets, all the time and everywhere, and no one bats an eyelid.

        Personally, I use it to try a game out (if a demo doesn’t exist or I’m not sure how well it’ll run on my system). If the game works and/or I like it, brilliant, here’s some money for the proper version.

      • malkav11 says:

        The fact that piracy isn’t theft is kind of important, though. I would never steal something from someone, because they are clearly and unequivocally deprived of the thing I just stole. It’s not clear at all that downloading an episode of something aired on network TV – where as far as I can tell, no one who isn’t actively being monitored as part of Nielsen ratings makes any difference – harms anyone in any sense. For example.

        Similarly, there is no stigma attached to using libraries or borrowing things from friends (in most circles at least!) but while someone did at one point pay for whatever it is you’re borrowing, there certainly isn’t a 1:1 pay:use ratio there. (Pirates often do obtain the media in question through a legitimate source.)

        I’m not saying it’s morally right, period, but I think it’s much more complicated and nuanced than a lot of people make it out to be, and certainly much more so than theft because the associated harm is much more notional.

        In any case, it’s clearly okay when the creator posts it themselves.

        • Vandelay says:

          With the theft, I agree the vast majority would not steal something from an individual. Putting a face to the crime is often going to deter many people. But what about theft from a store or an organisation? To me, the act of piracy is not much different from the act of shoplifting. You may still be removing a product that someone else can’t have, but does it make much difference when there are another few dozen copies on the shelf and maybe a hundred more out back? Of course it does, but I could see people justifying it if they knew they would not get caught.

          I’m reminded a bit of that special Derren Brown did where he ended up getting a couple of people to perform an armed robbery, seemingly of their own volition. One of the early bits he did with the group of potential criminals, who believed they were attending a corporate event, was to set some homework for them to go into a corner shop and lift a chocolate bar and walk out without paying. Almost the whole group of a dozen or so people did it, thinking it all a lot of fun.

          For television, we are all being monitored on what we watch now, whether we have a box specifically monitoring that or not. If you are using a streaming service, you view will be counted. If you record something, it will be counted. Some of these have less impact with the advertisers, but they will be added to the total viewers. They may well know how many people are pirating something, but they aren’t going to be using that number to get more advertisers to put some money down (although, theoretically they could use numbers like that for encouraging product placement – no idea if they do.)

          Interesting thought, do libraries have different licences for the books they loan out? Film rental services always used specifically rental versions of films that presumably had a different cost to the rental store and online services have to have specific deals to include programmes and films on their service. I assume libraries just used regular copies of books without any particular deals with publishers, but not something I had really thought about before. But, yes, loaning and borrowing were more common place before and is something that is dying out increasingly. As you say, it isn’t 1 to 1 with piracy though and brought with it some important limitations, big one being only one of you could use the product at a time.

          Totally agree about this particular article though. What the developer is doing here is obviously not the same as piracy. They have effectively released their game for free, but using piracy services to distribute. No one can object to that, even if it is a sad thing that they feel the need to do it.

          • Kitsunin says:

            I think your mentioning libraries basically explains why I feel piracy is not only okay, but a completely necessary option in order for culture to thrive. Libraries do not pay particular licenses for their books. In fact you could give a book to a library and they could put it on their shelf to share. This is a right which is legally granted for the sake of “equity of access” to information.

            My belief is that this same equity of access needs to exist for games. And as it stands, piracy is just that. Now personally, when I was not an adult, I did not have any of my own money. I had a so-so PC I was often allowed to use, but no games. So I pirated them. I think I benefited a lot from it, in just the same way I benefited by borrowing Fantasy novels from the public library. Even the industry benefited considerably, in this case at least, considering I kind of buy too many games now that I have a decent job.

            If I hadn’t been able to pirate then, what would have changed? I wouldn’t have developed the way I did, guided in part by games, and I would have never wound up putting my own money into the hands of the industry. No additional money would have been made, because I just didn’t have it. Just the same as people borrowing books from the library hasn’t ruined book sales. For those with the money, borrowing is inconvenient. For those without, they are actually able to read.

          • malkav11 says:

            That’s pretty much my perspective also. Free access to media, whether through piracy or institutions like libraries, levels the playing field when it comes to access to media in a way that broadens horizons and helps nourish a lifelong love of those media. It’s a net win for culture, individuals with limited means, and arguably even businesses in the long term since the readers, gamers, and so on that grow up on piracy often go on to become adults with spending money and a media habit.

            I think it’s vitally important to support the things you love financially once you can, and I love Kickstarter and Patreon for letting me do so even outside the bounds of a traditional exchange of money for goods. But not everyone can.

          • pineapplepineapple says:

            Lots of interesting comments on here, so thanks for the discussion everyone. In reference to Vandelay’s question and Kitsunin’s answer – libraries do in fact have a licensing system that pays royalties to authors and illustrators/visual artists when their books are loaned out. So borrowing a book from your local library will help to financially support those who created it, more so than getting hold of a free ebook copy. In the UK this scheme is run by an organisation called DACS.org, so if you know any authors or illustrators with works in libraries, please encourage them to look this up and apply.

          • Kitsunin says:

            @pineapple:
            In the United States there is actually no licensing necessary for libraries. Authors do not receive anything financially from lent books, aside from the money to purchase the individual copies in the first place.

            I did not realize this was unique to the US. It’d probably be a good thing, but I suspect if it were implemented, American libraries would simply go without books, as our government is so terrible at funding such institutions.

      • shagen454 says:

        This statement just sounds like rehashed propaganda to me. I’ve pirated so many cds & games first – that I have bought sometimes many times over (Can – Ege Bamyasi, Tago Mago, Lost Tapes, Future Days – owned them all on vinyl and CD w/ multiple copies, pirated all of those first) and turned other people on to whatever it was. If anything pirating helps the industry market their $59.99 games if the game is actually good or save people from buying poorly designed shit they won’t like (ie No Man’s Sky, Andromeda, etc etc):)

      • Bluestormzion says:

        Nah, bro, Piracy DOES equal theft. Not all of it, some of those downloads were from people who would never buy it no matter what… but some people would buy it, and instead do it illegally and that particular download is a lost sale.

        And sure, there are people who download, love it, then support the dev by buying a legit copy. Hell, I am that guy, having beaten Chrono Trigger 5 times emulated, but then buying it on SNES, on PS1, on the DS… If anything, my having experienced it back then inspired me to buy it those three times. And I’d buy it again. But not everyone’s you or me.

        • Fleko81 says:

          Wholeheartedly agree.
          For full disclosure I bought Darkwood out of EA and (being of a certain generation) wouldn’t think of or frankly even know how to pirate a game if I wanted to!
          I feel sad on the one hand that to prevent something being stolen the only answer is just leave it outside side your front door but I entirely see the commercial and practical logic of it.
          The other disturbing thing, as others have noted, is the attitude that it’s basically fine especially if you don’t have the means to buy it. There is a revelatory school of thought that says maybe don’t get it. And at the risk of igniting a flame of who has the means to do what, I struggle with people commenting on a PC gaming website that their only option is to steal something when there is a HUGE amount out there for pennies.
          Anyway credit to the devs for dealing pragmatically with a problem that they shouldn’t have to rather than ranting futilely in a comments thread (he says looking at himself in the mirrror…)

          • malkav11 says:

            Not a new thought, nor a sensible one. It’s essentially unmotivated self-deprivation. The people who make their money on these media don’t make any more money whether someone doesn’t partake or pirates and enjoys. But in the former scenario, all the individual in question gets out of it is a poorer cultural lexicon and a vague sense of righteousness. Whereas in the latter, they have a broader experience of the world, can partake in the conversations around them, and recommend things they enjoy to people around them who may very well buy them.

            They’re not entitled to it, of course. but it’s available.

          • Fleko81 says:

            I understand the point but I’m going to struggle to get on board with that. I get the financial argument – the wider the player base, the more visibility and the more potential sales, and the people who pirated it and won’t pay wouldn’t have paid anyway. Fine, and the Darkwood Devs have made that choice whereas in other cases it is the pirate-rs (pirates?) making that executive decision and then making out like they are doing the Devs a favour.
            Also, whilst i can’t comment on how much more culturally enlightened video game pirates are because of what they do, i think if its a slippery slope to go down to argue that committing a crime in the name of broadening experiences and conversations is a justifiable one. Also, as i intimated in my original post and others have pointed out, there is a world of culture accessible for free / pennies!
            Anyway interesting discussion and, as usual with RPS, a balanced and non-toxic thread to read – long may it continue!

          • malkav11 says:

            I don’t think there’s really much of a slippery slope. It’s not that it’s strictly okay to pirate, it’s that under that specific circumstance there’s no particular gain to self-denial and no particular harm being done to anyone else by indulging. If the individual in question can keep themselves satisfied with the legitimate free resources available, more power to them – I certainly did for many years, and there’s more out there now than there was when I was a kid. (Though some of the avenues I took – e.g. BBS door games, MUDs, shareware – are not exactly thriving anymore.) But on the other hand, they’re not generally directly equivalent, and there are plenty of experiences you can’t really get for free.

            I think there is also something to be said for those constraints pushing one to explore avenues of entertainment one might not with access to the wider media world. I hardly have time for text adventures or hobbyist roguelikes anymore with my Steam backlog numbering in the thousands. But that entirely departs from the moral argument.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          “Nah, bro, Piracy DOES equal theft. ”

          No, it doesn’t. I hate to be pedantic, but it’s important when talking about legal definitions. Theft has a very exacting definition, and if piracy equals theft, because you are stealing the money from the store that you would have spent there – and remember it is a store you buy the game from, not many devs sell direct these days – then which store are you “stealing” from? Because part of the definition of theft is that there is a victim. So that’s your first hurdle, you can’ say who is being stolen from. Maybe you want to just plough right on ahead and say that its the devs that are being stolen from. Well, in that case, you need to define what is being stolen. You say money, BUT, you can’t know what deal the dev has with their publisher. So you can’t even know what is being stolen. Maybe the dev has had all the money they were going to get in advance – the fact that you don’t know, means that now you don’t know what is being stolen, as well as from whom. But even if you can prove beyond any doubt that money would have gone to the devs for that sale, what you have created is a situation where at the moment the pirate downloads the game, money in their wallet or bank account is somehow legal property of the devs.

          And the first two things were just to demonstrate how little thought you put into this, but I want you to imagine now a world where at the moment you recieve a service from a person, your money is legally theirs without the need for you to enter a contract with them. Just imagine that for one second, a world in which the contract can be avoided but you can forceably take money from a person without one. What you propose would literally tear the world to pieces in a matter of months.

          So no, piracy is not theft, and you really are utterly clueless if you think it is.

          • poliovaccine says:

            Personally, I would just say it’s somewhat different from theft because there’s no single game disc you are stealing – rather, you’re making copies. I’d say that’s the most significant difference.

          • April March says:

            That’s a hell of a circuitous logic. Sounds like something you might hear from a lawyer whose client was obviously guilty and who was trying to bring a loophole into existence.

            In regards to your first question, the theft is from the dev. If I steal a candy bar from a store, the store has already paid the candy factory for it. But an online store only pays the dev when a sale is made. Therefore, it can be argued that I am stealing directly from the dev.

            In regards from the second, I don’t need to estabilish a definitive value for a stolen object. All sorts of weird loopholes arise from it. (For instance, if I steal a single bottle of beer from a wholesale store that only sells six-packs, what is the value of the item I stole? Is it the value of a beer in a store that sells single bottles? Is it one sixth of the six-pack’s full value, even if it would never be sold like that?) So it is OK, in this instance, to respond that the value of the stolen thing was “between 10 and 40% of the game’s sale value”.

            I don’t even think piracy is definitively theft, I was just taken aback by how circuitous and broken your arguments for it were.

          • malkav11 says:

            It’s really much simpler than that.

            When you steal money, you are depriving someone of that money. When you steal goods, you are depriving someone of the investment they made in owning that item, whether it be manufacturing costs, or the price of purchasing it at whatever step in the chain. Either way, you are removing realized value from someone and transferring it to yourself. Your gain is their loss. Unequivocally.

            When you pirate, you are making an unauthorized copy of something. The owner still has the thing, there is no reproduction cost, and any transfer costs are neglible and borne by the pirate. There is no transfer of value. There is a notional cost to it – the putative lost sale, but potential sales are just that – potential.

            They are distinct actions that are not morally or legally equivalent. It’s not at all unreasonable to suggest that both are wrong, but they are not interchangeable.

      • MikhailG says:

        Please consider the fact that there are many places on this planet where legally buying a game (or tv show/movie/music album/book/whatever) is literally impossible. Importing it from outside of the country, by either traveling yourself, ordering it online with very expensive shipping or through smugglers is a common and often expensive occurrence.
        Also please consider the next level, countries where some games are available but are absurdly expensive compared to the buying power of the average joe, where videogaming is a luxury.
        Also consider that a lot of old games profit from piracy as game preservation is next to dead outside of piracy.
        I agree with you on the point that a lot of people pirate out of impatience as they can’t wait for the eventual price drop, but come on, faith in humanity lost because of piracy? I think we got more urgent matters to fix than piracy.

        • Vandelay says:

          See my second post, in which I say that a justifiable reason for piracy is the product being pirated is not available in your region.

          And the comment on humanity having a long way to go isn’t just about piracy, it is about how it demonstrates that there are large number of people who would do something that is wrong (such as, taking something without payment being given to the person/people that made it,) because they know they will not get caught doing it. It is just another sign of the selfishness and greed that so many people seem to get less and less capable of controlling. It is only a small sign of it and there are other consequences that have a far greater impact on everyone’s lives, but it is definitely a sign of it.

    • keefybabe says:

      I specifically bought this game because of this article. I wasn’t that interested initially but this behaviour deserves reward.

    • LapsedPacifist says:

      I just bought it specifically because of their action. I suspect that I’m far from the only person to do so. I hope RPS gets access to some stats because I think it is likely that their sales are about to spike. :)

      I agree that regional pricing is an unfair business as often as not, but GOG will actually pay you the difference if your region has an artificially engorged price.

  8. Kefren says:

    I don’t understand why the system isn’t implemented where a key is tied to a particular account (or email address) only; or even why vendors like Steam don’t make it possible to add it to an individual account. There’d be no reselling or refunds then.

    In my area, gifting of e-books and audio books is often done to a particular account, to get round the problem. It works. It just requires vendors to build it into the system, and devs to use it.

  9. Phantom_Renegade says:

    The next bit doesn’t apply to Darkwood, as its pricepoint is 15 euro’s at which point nobody should be bitching about price.

    Yes, key resellers are worse then piracy. With piracy you lose the potential of a sale. With key resellers it costs you actual money due to chargeback fees.

    Having said that, pricing is the way to go here. Take Agents of Mayhem, a pretty decent game. It’s selling for 60. 60 is wayyyyyy too much. Meanwhile, key resellers have it for 30, which is approximately what it’s worth. You want less piracy? You want less key resellers? Ask what your game is actually worth.

    • jp says:

      Except (majority of) keysellers buy keys from a cheap country, and then sell them for a slightly higher price for profit.

      The game is 5.10 dollars, 4.27 euros at its cheapest. And thats just from steam, I dont know it they sell it outside steam.

      Agents of Mayhem is 18,5 dollars at cheapest on steam.

    • April March says:

      If a game is worth 30 bucks and it’s being sold for 60, the solution is to not buy it. (Or to wait until it’s being sold by 30 or less bucks.) A bad price point isn’t an ethical dilemma.

  10. jp says:

    Why not instead make the universal price 5.10 dollars, like it is priced in Russia?

    • kentonio says:

      All the developers would go bust. It’s not that devs are pricing higher in EU/NA to be greedy, those are the areas that allow them to actually make back their costs and hopefully some profit. Prices are artificially lowered in less economically advanced countries to allow consumers there to be able to afford to purchase.

  11. ElkiLG says:

    I would download every game that comes with a pirate hat though.

  12. yankee101 says:

    okay thats it buying it now I’ve been looking at this game for some months these people deserve my money

  13. Aqhat says:

    I’am living in a place where average salary is $150-$200 so paying even $10 for a game often not an option. This guys just broke my heart. Now I don’t want to download this free version, instead I’ll wait for a sale to give them at least something in return.

  14. Vermintide says:

    I did this when my band released our album last year.

    We sold around 60 legit copies, meanwhile it’s been torrented around 2,500 times.`Food for thought.

    Then again, I did change the copyright mark to say “unauthorised distribution encouraged” instead of prohibited. I’ve always been on the side of the pirates versus the bloated, underhanded, filthy rich gatekeepers of the “industry”.

    • kentonio says:

      Perhaps you can cover your costs with 60 copies sold. When its a game studio though, that could be 100+ people who suddenly lose their jobs because a single game sold particularly badly. The industry has certainly made mistakes regarding pricing/sales policies in the past, but its a lot more complicated than ‘pirates = good, publishers = evil’.

  15. RPSDwarf says:

    It has that Yomawari vibe.

  16. LivingfortheNight says:

    Here’s the thing about piracy people don’t take into account. 99% of people have very basic rudimentary computer and internet skills and haven’t even the slightest clue how to pirate anything. How many of you know someone personally that has complained at one time “my PC or device is messed up, has a virus” ect. Most people don’t know where to begin, there’s the torrent itself which finding isn’t even a sure thing, then there’s the digital mounting, the implementing of a crack, or even other steps to fool the game into believing it’s been rightfully purchased. I’d say the percentage of people that know how to do all this is in the single digits. Hell, I have people ask me to help with downloading .mp3 files still.

    It’s certainly morally questionable, but it’s definitely not gutting the industry as some would have you believe, it just can’t be. The average person can’t even keep a PC running clean for over a year. “My android has a virus”, how on earth did you manage that? You probably won’t be pirating modern PC games in that case.

    Me personally, I absolutely love that Acid Wizard has done this, I never even heard of the game before, now I love it, I’m a fan and their studio is on my radar now. Only good can come of this, it’s not going to bankrupt them. On the steam forums, I saw people crying “well i feel stupid because i paid and now its free…”. Well don’t feel stupid, your contributions will allow these great people to continue on their journey and make other titles as good as Darkwood. Don’t be petty, be proud.

  17. mactier says:

    So a demo/short free-to-play title (which most of roguelikes feel like anyway)? I wonder if there is some hidden code in that torrent though, which they can use theoretically at some point. However I doubt that would work legally (at least in a case where the developer does it himself).

  18. KastaRules says:

    Devs like these definitely deserve all the support they can get, I am gonna purchase this game.