Hotline Miami Developer Embraces Pirates

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Hotline Miami Developer Embraces Pirates

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The makers of Hotline Miami have asked pirates to update torrents of the game when the first patch is released.

So you're a struggling indie game developer and you've just released your first game through a relatively well-known publisher to widespread critical acclaim, yet despite the fact that it's only ten bucks there are still jerks out there who insist on pirating it. What do you do? You could get mad, I suppose, or you could get even. Or you could nip over to the Pirate Bay, give them a few ideas on how to work around bugs and ask them to update the torrent when the patch becomes available.

That's what Hotline Miami developer Jonatan Soderstrom did in response to complaints that some torrents of the game aren't running properly. "Hey there! I'm Jonatan Soderstrom, me and my friend Dennis Wedin made this game," he wrote. "We're working on an update that hopefully will take care of any/all bugs, and we'll try to do some extra polish in the next few days. Would be great if you could update the torrent when the patch is out! It'd be great if people get to play it without any bugs popping up."

He also offered a possible workaround for a common startup bug, provided links to the Microsoft VS distributable and 360 controller drivers for Windows and then later made note of a new patch on GOG and Steam that clears up a number of bugs. "If possible update the torrent and description with these links and the new build. I want anyone who plays the game to be able to enjoy it without stupid bugs that detract from the experience," he wrote. "Feel free to buy it if you like the game. It would help allowing me and Dennis to make more 'big' projects like this in the future."

Explaining his magnanimity on Twitter, Soderstrom said, "I don't really want people to pirate Hotline Miami, but I understand if they do. I've been broke the last couple of months. It sucks. And I definitely want people to experience the game the way it's meant to be experienced. No matter how they got a hold of it."

That's a pretty solid dude right there, folks. Pirate the game if you must, but it's $9.99 on Steam and only $8.99 right now on GOG. You can't go too wrong at that price.

Source: The Pirate Bay, via PC Gamer

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Very cool and very funny.

He is a realist i suppose, and heck with that attitude he will probably get major "cred" on the scene i suppose.

Very good of him, I know pirates aren't really a popular people to be human to, but, it really works in your favour if you do, they're people too and a lot of times are interested in supporting a game if it's worth supporting.

However, you should definitely just buy the game outright and obviously, you do not have permission to just pirate it.

I know you need to cite sources, but linking directly to a torrent of the game sort of promotes the piracy of it. Just saying. Isn't there a Warez policy?

Could be he's trying to earn that kind of "people's dev" reputation & publicly bad-mouthing EA just don't cut it anymore, but I feel it's worth noting that his game is available on GOG, which is adamantly anti-DRM; could actually be a man of principles. Rare gem

That is pretty cool. It's practical as well. The more people exposed to a perfectly working version of your game the better your chances of them being a future customer.

Pretty smart guy.

Only the dumb ones try to fight pirates.

If there is one thing a good pirate should never be without, it's a patch.

So it's okay to pirate this now right, we have an official endorsement.

Rev up those torrents!

While I do believe that this is the future, people openly acknowledging that pirates gonna pirate, and just add a "feel free to buy it if you like the game" note hoping that enough true fans choose to pay anyways, the number of free slots for people who can boost their sales by getting into the news with it, is shrinking.

This practice is becoming so common, that they need to prepare for a future where no one will pat them on the shoulder for treating all of their audience as respectable people, it will be just business as usual.

Earthmonger:
I know you need to cite sources, but linking directly to a torrent of the game sort of promotes the piracy of it.

I like to think that I balanced the scales by calling people who actually pirate this game "jerks."

I think, the writer Cory Doctorow describe this kind of attitude to publishing the best in an open letter at the end of his YA post-cyberpunk novel Pirate Cinema, that's e-book he also optionally distributed for free.

Cory Doctorow:
I've been giving away free ebooks since February 4, 2003. When I
plunged into it, I wasn't entirely sure it would work. I held my breath for about two days.
Then my publisher told me the hardcover was selling briskly, and they were delighted with
the book's performance, and I let it all out in a whoosh.
Three years later, I quit my day-job to write full time. Two years after that, I had a daughter.
Two years after that, my wife quit her job to launch a startup. Now I'm basically the sole
supplier of income to my little family in central London. We have modest needs, and we do
very well, to be perfectly frank. My books sell well, all over the world, and get licensed for
audio, for dramatic adaptation, and film, as well as tons of translations. We've got money
in the bank, we're putting away some for our retirement, and we're crossing our fingers for
Alice's cool startup.
There's a good chance that you can't afford to buy this book. There's a chance that you
-- like so many people today -- have no work, or not enough. You might have a family like
mine, but you might be finishing up your month with nothing extra to put away. You might
be finishing up the month with not enough, and trying to stretch a few bucks further than a
few bucks can possibly be stretched.
Or you might be a student or recent grad struggling with loans -- and don't I know what a
scam that is! Or you might just be down on your luck.
If that's the case, don't worry about it. This one's on me. Get me when you can. And if you
can't, that's OK, too. Hang in there

What a classy, solid dude. If you notice in the link cited, most people there are rallying behind him and insisting that others buy it, either through Steam or GOG. I won't try to promote piracy, or say it's justified or whatever because it is wrong, but I will say that one downloaded torrent is not necessarily a sale that wasn't made. If there's no demo, some people are okay with downloading it this way to see if it's worthy of their 10 bucks (again NOT an endorsement).

What he's doing is actually great PR. He's recognizing that pirates are human too, and that he can relate to financial struggle and wants everyone playing to enjoy it the best way possible. That's certainly going to score brownie points with the CDProject minded folks who are apt to purchase it because of the guy's attitude alone. It being on GOG with no DRM helps in that respect too. His postings on there got him news stories on this and other sites too, raising awareness of the game even further, so good for him. Stay classy, Jonathon.

Jonathan is a gentleman and deserves every bit of money he earns.

While I probably won't get the game myself, I will make sure to tell people about this game and the creators' wonderful attitude. :)

Andy Chalk:
I like to think that I balanced the scales by calling people who actually pirate this game "jerks."

Not all pirates are jerks. :P

Some are just poor gamers, as Jonathan himself mentioned, trying to find a little escape from the pressure of daily life. Many of these type of pirates will buy games when they can actually afford it. No malice intended. :)

I'm working on a game with a friend. My first thought was that I would personally leak it to torrent sites for exposure. And all the while adding to the NFO: "Hey, I made this game, if you like it, do me a favor and pay the asking price for it. Thanks!"

Funny story about dishonesty, by simply asking the people who steal it to pay will reduce theft rates significantly, or so studies suggest. Maybe the first time it starts I can simply ask people to affirm to themselves that if they like it they will eventually buy it.

Captcha: urban myth - we'll see!

Andy Chalk:
Hotline Miami Developer Embraces Pirates

So you're a struggling indie game developer and you've just released your first game through a relatively well-known publisher to widespread critical acclaim
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Nitpick I know but this is hardly Cactus's first game. He's been making them since at least 2005 and his website lists about 40 of them, although this is the first "big" one and the only one he's sold.

Blargh McBlargh:

Andy Chalk:
I like to think that I balanced the scales by calling people who actually pirate this game "jerks."

Not all pirates are jerks. :P

Some are just poor gamers, as Jonathan himself mentioned, trying to find a little escape from the pressure of daily life. Many of these type of pirates will buy games when they can actually afford it. No malice intended. :)

Also, some are well-off gamers, who already spend significant budget on buying games and supporting developers, but not particularly concerned about ALWAYS following the letter of the law.

The kind of people who download thousands of songs just for the sake of having a music library on their computer, or download a popular game that's genre they dislike just to have personal experience of a hotly debated scene, or download a movie just to use a few clips from it in a remix.

I guess you could compare that kind of pirates to people who violate some traffic rules when they re sure that it's safe.

from what i have seen, this game is on par with some random newgounds flash game.
but if i think about it a bit more, i could name at least a dozen newground games that are similar to this one and even surpass it.


so this might be some good pr for his game

It's good on him to relate to the people pirating who are broke and not hate on them for getting the game. I hope when those people do have ten bucks to spare they repay his generosity.

rhizhim:
from what i have seen, this game is on par with some random newgounds flash game.
but if i think about it a bit more, i could name at least a dozen newground games that are similar to this one and even surpass it.


so this might be some good pr for his game

I think that the main difference between this and a Newgrounds game is the amount of content. I've played some really, really good flash games, but none of them have the same amount of stuff in them as this does.

Most pirates are people who won't spend a cent on anything that can be shared and downloaded as a principle. I'm very happy that some indie developers decide not hurt customers by using DRM (and hope that it will become a habit for the AAA industry), but actually appeasing pirates feels a bit disrespectful for paying customers.

He's just earned himself a sale.

rhizhim:
from what i have seen, this game is on par with some random newgounds flash game.
but if i think about it a bit more, i could name at least a dozen newground games that are similar to this one and even surpass it.


so this might be some good pr for his game

Sir, let me tell you how wrong you are. Hotline Miami is fucking art.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/10/23/hotline-miami-review/

Now if only we could get Activision/EA/Ubisoft to follow suit...

Entitled:
While I do believe that this is the future, people openly acknowledging that pirates gonna pirate, and just add a "feel free to buy it if you like the game" note hoping that enough true fans choose to pay anyways, the number of free slots for people who can boost their sales by getting into the news with it, is shrinking.

This practice is becoming so common, that they need to prepare for a future where no one will pat them on the shoulder for treating all of their audience as respectable people, it will be just business as usual.

so the whole shareware concept that the industry tried and that you never see anymore because people dont pay?

seriously though stealing an indy game? thats low

Here's a tip: They're Russians! Of course they're going to embrace piracy,because they know too well that it's not even worth trying to object it.

I feel sad if pirates actually take encouragement from this, but hey at least the dev is taking a realistic view of people's behaviour. But come on guys, seriously, it's freaking cheap, if you can afford it, buy it, if you can't, buy it when you can. Heaps violent game though, violent gameplay, violent colours, violent sound. Not to everyone's taste for sure.

Well that's just someone who knows that getting mad at pirates isn't going to achieve a thing because it is inevitable.
Pirates that steal indy games like this are pretty low, but getting your knickers in a twist won't get you anywhere.

This is also someone who obviously cares a lot about his game. He apparently wants anyone who plays it to have a good experience which really shows a lot of love and the amount of dedication he has towards his creation.
The best kind of game developer really.

Shame it takes people stealing his work to show it, but he doesn't seem so fussed about it so why should any one else be?

Well good will does go a long way, this move of his has been going around the internet far more then the news of the game itself.

While I can't say this game is a perfect purchase I do approve of their standpoint.

Weird decision. I really don't get people who basically support those who acquire their products illegally. But eh, it's their game.

Also why the hell is there a torrent link in the original post?!

Smertnik:
Weird decision. I really don't get people who basically support those who acquire their products illegally.

Because it might guilt trip a few into buying it, and might make you a few fans who'll buy your next game.

Whereas screaming at them for being bad and putting in DRM only encourages more to pirate.

Boy this feels like a question designed to make us feel uncomfortable about potentially bringing down mod wrath. I feel like answering this question honestly and with a anti-piracy stance could break forum rules about encouraging piracy. Please don't hurt me mods! I can change!

Props to him for his laid back attitude and all, but, well...theres an issue. As much as I hate to be painfully self aware, I was uninterested in this game, but might very well pick it up if it gets great reviews or goes on sale. But actively giving piracy a thumbs up? Now I kinda want to just pirate it because they said it was okay. Not saying I will, and I wouldn't think about it before this announcement, but I certainly feel the incentive here to not spend money. And if I was planning on buying it full price, I would have probably changed my mind and pirated it instead. If he wanted to get goodwill and promote future games, he could have just eventually made it free. So though I can't be angry at him, I can't help but feel like hes not exactly being too smart about this, and all he is doing is increasing the chances that he won't make enough money to finance his next game. Can't we find a middle ground between, "Everything ever should be free", and "Customers are all criminals and need to be treated as such"?

Wow... this guy actually knows that not everyone has sacks of money like the publishers that use DRM assume everyone has!

When I can afford it: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! I probably won't even play the game but I HAVE to support this guy!

cerebus23:
Very cool and very funny.

He is a realist i suppose, and heck with that attitude he will probably get major "cred" on the scene i suppose.

I'm just shocked Chalky here managed to write this article without turning it into a hatchet job on the silly naive developer indulging the SPAWN OF SATAN THAT ARE THE PIRATES, SERVANTS OF ROBO-HITLER, KILLERS OF CHRIST AND BRINGER OF THE FUCK-POCALYPSE! DEATH TO PIRATES!

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