Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account


Ironic game gets pirates to feel the sting of piracy.


Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.

  • You cannot reply to this topic
39 replies to this topic

#1 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 16203

Posted 29 April 2013 - 11:35 AM

Over the years, I've been convinced that indie developers should not really focus on DRM, focusing on paying customers.   Also over the course of several years I've also suggested quite a few times in the business forums that indies should even consider intentionally releasing their games on piracy sites, possibly with added in-game ads or other incentives to legally purchase the game.  

 

Looks like somebody finally did that with an added ironic, and very beautiful, twist.

 

 

A game studio called GreenHeart Games developed "Game Dev Tycoon", a game where you run a virtual software development shop.  They released it DRM-free for legal purchases.

 

They also seeded a special build for pirates.  In the pirate-released build, the virtual game dev studio does well for a while and then starts to have their products get hit by piracy.

 

The studio's blog post is one of the best things I've read all year:   http://www.greenheartgames.com/2013/04/29/what-happens-when-pirates-play-a-game-development-simulator-and-then-go-bankrupt-because-of-piracy/

 

Reading the forum posts where game pirates complain about piracy and ask for new forms of DRM is just incredible.


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

Sponsor:

#2 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5468

Posted 29 April 2013 - 11:58 AM

Thats pretty hilarious and one of the reasons you should always add a serial key to your games even if they are single player and DRM free, its quite nice to be able to filter out support requests from non customers.

Edited by SimonForsman, 29 April 2013 - 11:58 AM.

I don't suffer from insanity, I'm enjoying every minute of it.
The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

#3 slicer4ever   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2602

Posted 29 April 2013 - 12:21 PM

That links dead for me, this is one i found though(i assume it's the same):

 

http://www.greenheartgames.com/2013/04/29/what-happens-when-pirates-play-a-game-development-simulator-and-then-go-bankrupt-because-of-piracy/

 

edit: seems my link just went down as well.

 

 

anywho, i did read the article, it defiantly is a unique game for them to do this with.  And i feel bad for them, having those numbers to backup piracy vs legitimate sales must hurt quite a bit.


Edited by slicer4ever, 29 April 2013 - 12:33 PM.

Check out https://www.facebook.com/LiquidGames for some great games made by me on the Playstation Mobile market.

#4 dave j   Members   -  Reputation: 567

Posted 29 April 2013 - 01:13 PM

I'm guessing that that bit of their site is getting hammered at the moment. There's an article about it on PCGamer that has the important details.

#5 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 16203

Posted 29 April 2013 - 01:33 PM

And i feel bad for them, having those numbers to backup piracy vs legitimate sales must hurt quite a bit.

Those numbers are typical across the industry.

 

www.joystiq.com/2008/11/13/world-of-goo-has-90-piracy-rate/

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/364271/pc-piracy-rate-above-90-says-ubisoft/

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2010/08/machinarium-suffers-95-piracy-rate-offers-5-amnesty-sale/

 

They are also typical of every single game I have worked on professionally since the late 1990s.

 

In a depressing turn of events, one of our games about 8 years ago became extremely popular in Eastern Europe.  We didn't translate the game into any of their languages, and we couldn't get it distributed in that region.   Based on the online telemetry, we had many times more active players in Eastern Europe than we had total sales across the globe where we did sell the game.  We ended up seeing about 95% piracy on that game, too.


Edited by frob, 29 April 2013 - 04:41 PM.

Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#6 Rakso   Members   -  Reputation: 120

Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:00 AM

Realy good read, Its funny to see the comments from the people that did pirate the game :)



#7 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4507

Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:09 AM

This goes beyond a meme. The whole definition of irony now has to be rewritten. smh. LMAO. That was an awesome article. Thank you for that.


Beginner in Game Development? Read here.
 
Super Mario Bros clone tutorial written in XNA 4.0 [MonoGame, ANX, and MonoXNA] by Scott Haley
 
If you have found any of the posts helpful, please show your appreciation by clicking the up arrow on those posts Posted Image
 
Spoiler

#8 Dragonsoulj   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1998

Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:47 AM

Saw this from one of the Razer heads. Definitely an interesting tactic and one I thoroughly enjoyed reading about.



#9 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3062

Posted 30 April 2013 - 03:47 AM

Hhahaha, yeah, saw that a few moments ago. Very clever indeed :D

 

Anyway, that quoted comment makes me wonder:

If I make an average game 5-7 I get some cash which is understandable but then if I make an 9-10 game I earn the same cash because I get the message for the piracy

That sounds kinda familiar doesn't it?

"I AM ZE EMPRAH OPENGL 3.3 THE CORE, I DEMAND FROM THEE ZE SHADERZ AND MATRIXEZ"

 

My journal: Making a Terrain Generator


#10 Mito   Members   -  Reputation: 807

Posted 30 April 2013 - 04:27 AM

Over the years, I've been convinced that indie developers should not really focus on DRM, focusing on paying customers. Also over the course of several years I've also suggested quite a few times in the business forums that indies should even consider intentionally releasing their games on piracy sites, possibly with added in-game ads or other incentives to legally purchase the game.

 

i think the same way and will be doing that.



#11 Aurioch   Members   -  Reputation: 1056

Posted 30 April 2013 - 08:08 AM

Wow. I didn't know numbers were THAT depressing - regular 90% on each game. I wonder how did gamedev industry managed to stay alive with that, seeing that no matter what the scope of the game is or the type of company is, 90% of all the copies of the games are pirated. Anyway, nice read and nice twist in the game, hope some of people will learn from that.

 

I won't lie, I pirated games on a regular basis in my younger days, mostly becase: 1) I couldn't afford them and 2) "Why would you throw a money at junk" mentality installed in me. However, in last 6 years I changed my mentality, especially after I tried to make a game myself, seeing how in fact hard it is and almost completely stopped pirating games. Not only that, I bought genuine version of the few games I pirated before. Now, I have nice collection of bought games I play and enjoy without any guilt whatsoever and with happiness that I've supported companies who made games I love and play.



#12 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 24034

Posted 30 April 2013 - 08:26 AM

Wow. I didn't know numbers were THAT depressing - regular 90% on each game. I wonder how did gamedev industry managed to stay alive with that, seeing that no matter what the scope of the game is or the type of company is, 90% of all the copies of the games are pirated.

...

I won't lie, I pirated games on a regular basis in my younger days, mostly becase: 1) I couldn't afford them

I'd guess that the percentage of pirates who simply wouldn't buy/play a game at all if there was no pirate copy available is very high... which leaves a small percentage of pirates who actually would pay for the game as long as they were unable to steal it.

In my experience, the majority of pirates are opportunistic like this; they're only playing these games because they can pirate them, if they can't pirate them, then they don't play them.

Therefore, I don't pay much attention to these statistics when it comes to "losing money". Whether 1% or 99% of your customers are pirates is irrelevant, the only thing that matters is the raw number of actual sales. You may as well be counting the number of people that looked at your game on a shelf but didn't buy it, and then get worried that 99.9% of gamers are "window shoppers"!

 

These guys are really clever though, because they've decided to actively engage the piracy community and make use of them as a form of marketing. One minute after they published their torrent, they were getting people downloading their game!

If I put up my own sales website tomorrow, I'd be likely to get a single visitor (besides google's bots) -- selling a game outside of a publisher requires you to spend a lot of money on advertising in order to even let people know that you exist. But by putting up the torrent straight away, they're spreading knowledge of their game virally through piracy networks -- these people who'll opportunistically download any old game they can, as long as it's free. If you assume that you're not going to get any money from these pirates, then you may as well utilize their hoarding instincts to net yourself a community around your game and hopefully spread it's popularity.

On top of that aspect, being one of the first to do this they're getting a lot of coverage in the gaming press, which again is free advertising, this time hopefully targeting people willing to part with their cash.



#13 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 778

Posted 30 April 2013 - 12:04 PM

These guys are really clever though, because they've decided to actively engage the piracy community and make use of them as a form of marketing. One minute after they published their torrent, they were getting people downloading their game!

It's a cool approach because it's essentially a demo that advertises anti-piracy and your game. It also makes piracy more difficult as there are more torrents up of the pirated/limited version of the game making it harder for people to find legit copies on torrent sites. Not impossible, but definitely more difficult.

#14 Happygamer   Members   -  Reputation: 146

Posted 30 April 2013 - 01:02 PM

Now we just need a flood of all kinds of broken games to pirates to make it so undesireable to find one that works that they will learn to play the legal way.



#15 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1467

Posted 30 April 2013 - 01:19 PM

Now we just need a flood of all kinds of broken games to pirates to make it so undesireable to find one that works that they will learn to play the legal way.

 

That will just drive the communities to become more isolated and less trusting of random outsiders. Really won't fix much of anything I believe.

 

 

As for Game Dev Tycoon, I think I'm buying a copy just because of the great laugh they gave me during a crappy day at work.


Old Username: Talroth
If your signature on a web forum takes up more space than your average post, then you are doing things wrong.

#16 evolutional   Moderators   -  Reputation: 910

Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:03 PM

Ironically I would have never have heard of this game, nor played the trial, not enjoyed it, then bought it.

 

Interesting thought.



#17 d000hg   Members   -  Reputation: 650

Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:41 PM

Piracy rates of 90% do not mean though that you could be selling 10X more copies if it were impossible to pirate. Definitely some real gamers take a pirate copy who would pay if it wasn't so easy, but many others only get the game because it's free, or couldn't afford half the games they download if they had to pay.

 

Of course if you have an online game with overheads per player, it still hurts you.



#18 slicer4ever   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2602

Posted 30 April 2013 - 03:19 PM

Now we just need a flood of all kinds of broken games to pirates to make it so undesireable to find one that works that they will learn to play the legal way.

 

That will just drive the communities to become more isolated and less trusting of random outsiders. Really won't fix much of anything I believe.

 

Eeeyup, it'd pretty much just drive piracy into using more secure/trusting(ironic, right?) systems.


Check out https://www.facebook.com/LiquidGames for some great games made by me on the Playstation Mobile market.

#19 MichaelNIII   Members   -  Reputation: 195

Posted 30 April 2013 - 06:27 PM

I've pirated lots of games in my time, games that I would not of spent a penny on because I was broke ended up getting bought their full version because I enjoyed then (namely portal 1 and 2). I know starcraft BW doesn't stop you from torrenting a copy - but your not allowed to chat or whisper in the chatrooms on battlenet if you use a pirate key. Also, I've seen a lot of small app games released with extra ads for free on sites, which is more then likely the developers released them there.

#20 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 741

Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:30 AM

I think there are some problems. The first one is, the "illegal" game must be legal, since it was uploaded by the copyright holder. Whilst it's true that many downloaders wouldn't have cared about this, and may be people who pirate other games, they aren't pirates of *this* game. This also feeds into the myth that torrents always equals piracy - yet I might go to bittorrent to download say, a Linux ISO, an Open Source game, or this game that they've legally made available themselves.

"Over 93.6% of players stole the game."

Leaving aside the point that copyright infringement and stealing are not the same, this is simply false anyway. Rather, 93.6% of players legally downloaded the crippled version that they made available.

This basically seems to be a very poor version of shareware/trialware/crippleware, except with the twist that they also falsely accuse their downloaders of piracy just to get themselves extra publicity.

It also means we have to take the statistics with a pinch of salt. Even if we ignore the point that this was a legal distribution (and hence, perhaps some people might have decided to download it, even if they wouldn't have otherwise - either for ethical reasons, or because they'd worry about things like trojans/viruses in actual cracked games), the thing is that by uploading it themselves, they have increased the proportion of free downloads. This helps in terms of making people see it, and also helps by meaning that a seeder exists. For many games - especially indie - people may be far less likely to know about the game, and you might not see it on torrent sites at all, or it may be hard to find seeds.

Consider, why weren't there pirated versions of the non-crippled game to download on bittorrent? (Especially since their game has no DRM to make this hard.) This suggests that had they have not made the game available themselves, there would have been few people pirating it.

This also tells us nothing about whether the overall effect is positive or negative - does the increased free downloads mean less people bought the game? Or does the increased awareness mean that more people also bought the game?

If I stand outside a food shop I run, and hand out free items of food, I don't then get to whine "95% of people STOLE from me", when I was the one handing it out. True, in this case the people wouldn't know if it was legal or not, but it still amounts to entrapment, with all of the associated problems that brings, and it makes any associated research or statistics unreliable.

On the game itself, I'd argue that this is a false representation - I mean, if the "cracked" version of the game asserts that it's impossible to make any money due to piracy and going bust is inevitable, this isn't an accurate representation, since many game companies clearly are making money. And indeed, I'm sure that the "proper" version of their game doesn't do this, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to criticise a flawed version of a game. (Did piracy not exist in the 80s and 90s? Funny, I remember the industry saying how piracy was killing the industry back then.)

On the comments by the downloaders - well, they aren't pirates of this game. I've no doubt that there do exist some of them that do pirate other games, whilst also being people who'd complain about piracy of their own games. But it's important to get the correct message - it's not that "pirates" are some different group of people who are stupid and hypocritical, rather, it's that the situation is much more complex. It's not "pirates" and "everyone else", rather, many people may pirate some things, even if they argue against it in other circumstances. This doesn't surprise me at all - are you tell me that no software developer has never taped a song off the radio or a friend? Has everyone posting in this thread never committed any kind of copyright violation? And I'm far more concerned about people who actually behave in a hypocritical manner, rather than people who only do so "virtually" in a game.

And it is sad that people think DRM is the answer, but then what do we expect when the industry has been pushing to make DRM is the norm, or telling us that it's the cure to piracy.

The irony here is that this game may well do rather well from the extra publicity, meaning that releasing free versions onto torrent sites may do better than locking down with DRM.

Edited by mdwh, 01 May 2013 - 07:38 AM.

https://freecode.com/projects/erebus - Erebus, Open Source RPG for Windows/Linux/Android/Symbian
https://freecode.com/projects/conquests - Conquests, Open Source Civ-like Game for Windows/Linux




Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.



PARTNERS