The subject of gaming piracy is one people don't really talk about these days. Sure, gamers lament, sometimes incredibly loudly, DRM and "always online" practices, claiming that their rights and freedoms are being taken away. But very little is said from the game makers themselves about what a toll piracy takes on their business.
Enter Greenheart Games, who released Game Dev Tycoon this week. While a standard game release announcement isn't all that interesting this one is, because Greenheart created two versions of the game -- the standard one, and a cracked copy they themselves uploaded to The Pirate Bay (a site I will not be linking to, by the way). Over 90% of the game's downloads that first day were from the pirating site, and those 3000 odd players received some interesting additions to their version of the game when they played it.
First, the members of the gaming company start talking about how dangerous piracy is to their business. And suddenly your funds begin to dwindle as most of the games you produce are they themselves pirated. Ultimately your game company runs out of funds and is forced to close. The ultimate irony is that some players went online looking for help on how to beat the game since they kept running out of money and losing -- from piracy.
This brilliant statement about where the industry stands today, just makes me smile. It's high time that developers channel their creativity into teaching pirates what it feels like to be on the other end of the theft. I don't often buy indie titles purely for their message, but Greenheart has won me over here and I will definitely be picking up the game as soon as I can afford the price.
Game Dev Tycoon is currently available for Linux, Mac, and Windows PC for $7.99 as well as the Windows 8 Store. That is, of course, unless you want to try your hand at the cracked version.
I love that they cracked their own version and crippled it.