Pirating Game Dev Tycoon Dooms Players to be Ruined By Piracy

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Pirating Game Dev Tycoon Dooms Players to be Ruined By Piracy

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In an ironic twist, modified code in the cracked version of the game ensures that pirate's in-game progress is constantly ruined by rampant piracy.

What happens when pirates play a game development simulator and then go bankrupt because of piracy? This is the question asked by Game Dev Tycoon developer Green Heart Games. In a curious social experiment, the developer deliberately uploaded a full, cracked version of its game to the most popular torrent trackers. The cracked version is nearly identical to the real thing except for one detail. 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."

Slowly, the player's in-game funds will dwindle, and every new game that they create has a high chance to be pirated until they eventually go bankrupt. There is no way to fight it, in an ironic twist, players of the cracked version of the game are doomed to constant failure due to rampant piracy.

But even more hilarious are the pleas for help that the pirates have posted on the official forums, not knowing that they have unwittingly outed themselves as pirates.

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The developer said that it has conducted this social experiment as a way to try and open gamer's eyes to just how damaging piracy can be. The depressing results of its own game's day one piracy rates show that only 6.4% of people playing the game bought it legitimately.

"To the players who played the cracked version, I'm not mad at you," says Patrick Klug of Green Heart Games. "When I was younger, downloading illegal copies was practically normal but this was mostly because global game distribution was in its infancy." He says that the wide availability of the game online, as well as the fact that it has a free demo and comes with no DRM means that gamers these days have no excuse for pirating the game.

"If years down the track you wonder why there are no games like these anymore and all you get to play is pay-to-play and social games designed to suck money out of your pockets then the reason will stare back at you in the mirror," warns Klugg, on a website set up to specifically target people looking for a cracked version, asking them nicely to reconsider.

"We are just two guys working our butts off, trying to start our own game studio to create games which are fun to play," says Klugg. Amen to that brother. If you agree with him, and can spare the eight bucks, you can buy the game for Mac, Linux and Windows from the Green Heart Games website.

Source & Image: Green Heart Games

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I think that's my favourite DRM.

It would be easy to get around it though. In the sim, just make all your games "always online". That'll stop the pirates!

I like this guy, not just for getting the message out in a clever way, but because he talks as a person to other people rather than a PR executive trying to reassure share holders.

pirating a game made about making games makes the game make pirates.. pirateception! gamecept... pirgamcep... gampires...gam...

Incepinception!

It's a bit heavy handed but still kind of funny, especially that the pirates then went on the forums and started complaining.

It's nice that they released a demo rather than just doing this with the only other option being the full game (Which is why piracy is even a thing to begin with! People like to try before they buy!). I'll give the demo a shot and if I like it then I'll buy it.

I also have to LOL at the pirates asking for help on the forum!

doggie015:
It's nice that they released a demo rather than just doing this with the only other option being the full game (Which is why piracy is even a thing to begin with! People like to try before they buy!). I'll give the demo a shot and if I like it then I'll buy it.

I also have to LOL at the pirates asking for help on the forum!

It isn't the first time pirates have done so.

The first Arkham Asylum game had a similar anti-pirate feature where Batmans cape wouldn't open for him to glide across a poison cloud.

Cue people asking for a fix to stop the 'glitch'

This is what they got in reply;

The problem you have encountered is a hook in the copy protection, to catch out people who try and download cracked versions of the game for free.

It's not a bug in the game's code, it's a bug in your moral code.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/94524-Arkham-Asylum-Pirates-Get-a-Gimpy-Batman

I wish this was more common, because it sure beats out Always Online!

Captcha: mars rover (yes Captcha, those are the intergalactic penis drawing machines)

I liked the Serious Sam 3 anti-piracy thing. Tiny pink invincible scorpion monster chases you around constantly.

As others have mentioned, there are other games that have tried to stick the knife in, when it comes to pirates.

http://brutalgamer.com/2012/07/29/video-game-piracy-when-software-fights-back/

Such as Alan Wake hilariously wearing a pirate eye-patch.

This is a great way to not only promote anti-piracy, but to let everyone know who the pirates are and laugh at them. More games should have these kinds of things instead of systems that fuck everyone over.

While this could be a funny way of deterring pirates and teaching them a lesson, there are serious consequences the developers will have to contend with while doing stunts like these. "Titan's Quest" was a pretty good action RPG similar to "Diablo" at the time, and it had DRM that triggered a series of bugs in the game when it detected it was pirated.

The results turned out bad as several pirates reported the game was buggy and not as good, which discouraged legitimate customers from purchasing the game. Just as the Anodyne developers used piracy as a way to promote positive word-of-mouth feedback for their game, the developers for "Titan's Quest" accidentally made negative word-of-mouth feedback on their game due to DRM like this.

Though I totally agree with the method and consequence of his actions by announcing it he screws it up. Wait a few days, the 'bugged' crack would have been analysed fixed and a new torrent will be available for download. The Dev should have kept his mouth shut on this one..

marurder:
Though I totally agree with the method and consequence of his actions by announcing it he screws it up. Wait a few days, the 'bugged' crack would have been analysed fixed and a new torrent will be available for download. The Dev should have kept his mouth shut on this one..

But it's not really an anti-piracy measure, keeping quiet wouldn't accomplish anything. He doesn't 'screw' anything up by announcing it - by announcing it he just got his game a lot more publicity than it otherwise would have received. That's a win right there I'd say.

*Slow clap for epic irony*

Mmhhh, is it wrong that I want to pirate the game now, just for the challange of trying to beat their system?

It's a fun idea though.

Ah yes, another tale where the pirates fail (at first; just look at AC2). Such, such awesomeness. Now this is something I can get over, unlike always online DRM, which go to hell, shag Satan, perform many acts ranging from morally grey to unequivocably evil and I STILL wouldn't still call it evil enough.

... I apologize if I offended any religion with this post.

(AKA PM me if this offends you)

This is a legitimate work of art. The game is not my cup of tea but I have a lot of respect for people making a point in such a clever and subtle way. Fair play to them.

Who pirates the pirates...

I kinda wanna play the pirated version.

I want to see if I can beat it despite itself. >:3

But piracy doesn't make developers lose money, in fact it does the opposite, devs gain money from piracy.

I don't like anyone in this story. I believe pirates are pulling us closer to a f2p future (not in a good way), but there isn't anything worse than developers who straight up rip off their competitors. Don't buy this game to show support for developers hit by piracy. Buy Game Dev Story to show support for the above, as well as support for devs who see their products cloned by douches like these.

Witty, smart, cool, fun, adorable. Way to go.

However, I'd have to disagree on one thing: Global distribution and regional asshattery is exactly the one thing that can be used to somewhat justify not being happy with the world.

That is - of course - not part of this everything-free mentality, but it's the one thing that made me stop pre-ordering, made me wary of any distributor, annoys me with Sony and has repeatedly bit me up me bum with Valve.

Oooh, you now reside in Germany? Here, let me give you a localized German version, censored for your own good, as the uncensored version would be too harsh and probably land you in jail like pedophiles, rapists and other assorted wrongdoers.

Oooh, you're hailing from France now? How thrilling! Here, we're absolutely sure you want to play your games in French now, oui?

OOOOOoohh, you moved again? That can't possibly be true, now, can it! So, friend, customer, client, let me block your account for your own safety, you like that, now, don't you?

No. I don't like that. I also don't like getting censored, mutilated, dubbed or otherwise mangled versions of games I bought with real money. I don't like not getting what I want. I don't like getting random stuff accumulating in my online accounts that I cannot get rid off.

TopazFusion:
It would be easy to get around though. In the sim, just make all your games "always online". That'll stop the pirates!

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I think I love you, you mangificent mod you.

That was probably the best burn I have read all week...

JazzJack2:
But piracy doesn't make developers lose money, in fact it does the opposite, devs gain money from piracy.

do you know how devs are paid?

evidently not.

at the start of the development, the developer is given a certain amount of money, that money is what funds the game.

when the game is released, the devs get NO MONEY FROM SALES until they sell (initial budget/cost of a game) copies, after that they start to get money although most still goes to the publisher.

if you pirate or buy a preowned game, that doesn't count as a copy, and if the developer doesn't make enough to break even, they are unlikely to be hired again.

now explain to me, how is it that piracy increases the number of copies sold? because if you are going to argue that the good press from the game contributes, then you better be forcing two people to buy it full price, one to make up for your own actions, and one to allow your flawed justification to make even a tiny bit of sense.

Calcium:

marurder:
Though I totally agree with the method and consequence of his actions by announcing it he screws it up. Wait a few days, the 'bugged' crack would have been analysed fixed and a new torrent will be available for download. The Dev should have kept his mouth shut on this one..

But it's not really an anti-piracy measure, keeping quiet wouldn't accomplish anything. He doesn't 'screw' anything up by announcing it - by announcing it he just got his game a lot more publicity than it otherwise would have received. That's a win right there I'd say.

That's true. Actual DRM doesn't work. This would have eventually been fixed anyways, just like The Sims 2'a and Settllers 3's gimmicky DRM was fixed.

This was useful for sending out an appealing message to the pirates, not for ruining their game experience out of spite.

JazzJack2:
But piracy doesn't make developers lose money, in fact it does the opposite, devs gain money from piracy.

I agree with that, but this is only true because there ARE those 5-10% percent of players who buy it after hearing from it through piracy, because they feel the responsibility to support the developers.

I don't think that there is anything morally wrong with the 90% freeloaders either, who didn't actively harm the company, and I absolutely don't condone the shaming of copying as if it would be theft, and I'm concerned about the legal systems that are criminalizing it.

BUT it's still important to make people conscious about their personal contribution being needed. If just begging is not enough, then a little white lie about how they are harmed by piracy can also be effective.

Seriously. If you do have money, buy as many games as you can. I don't care what you do with the rest of your time and internet usage BEYOND that, but payment being a virtue still needs to be advertised loudly.

AdamG3691:

JazzJack2:
But piracy doesn't make developers lose money, in fact it does the opposite, devs gain money from piracy.

do you know how devs are paid?

evidently not.

at the start of the development, the developer is given a certain amount of money, that money is what funds the game.

when the game is released, the devs get NO MONEY FROM SALES until they sell (initial budget/cost of a game) copies, after that they start to get money although most still goes to the publisher.

if you pirate or buy a preowned game, that doesn't count as a copy, and if the developer doesn't make enough to break even, they are unlikely to be hired again.

now explain to me, how is it that piracy increases the number of copies sold? because if you are going to argue that the good press from the game contributes, then you better be forcing two people to buy it full price, one to make up for your own actions, and one to allow your flawed justification to make even a tiny bit of sense.

Piracy leads to more people playing your game, and if your game is good then they will not only gain trust in you as a developer (leading to much better sales for future games) but they will help market your game through word of mouth. Look at minecraft, not only is it one of the most easily pirated games of all time it is also one of the most successful indie games of all time. Why? Because piracy helped send it to almost viral like popularity.

AdamG3691:

now explain to me, how is it that piracy increases the number of copies sold? because if you are going to argue that the good press from the game contributes, then you better be forcing two people to buy it full price, one to make up for your own actions, and one to allow your flawed justification to make even a tiny bit of sense.

Expecting "good press" to be directly expressed in a countable number of people "forced" to buy the game, is just as silly as counting every pirated copy as exactly one lost sale.

Just as you can't directly convert it into an exact number of lost sales that it represents when a poor uranian teenager downloads a game that he was only mildly interested in (it's less than 1 but more than 0 since he is still making a bad precedent and habit), you likewise can't directly count the number of gained sales that the increased audience represent.

First of all, good press is synergic. It's not about individual choices, but a matter of what the community as a whole does.

If 100k people buy a game and 1 million pirate it on release day, then it has a much bigger fandom and much more growth potential, then if, say, 200k people buy and play an always online game.

A fandom of 1.1m people can gain attention and grow much quckly than a fandom of 0.2k, and even if only 10% of the newcomers continue to be buyers, it is not unlikely that it's audience could grow beyond 2.2m, at which point piracy gained sales.

JazzJack2:

AdamG3691:

JazzJack2:
But piracy doesn't make developers lose money, in fact it does the opposite, devs gain money from piracy.

do you know how devs are paid?

evidently not.

at the start of the development, the developer is given a certain amount of money, that money is what funds the game.

when the game is released, the devs get NO MONEY FROM SALES until they sell (initial budget/cost of a game) copies, after that they start to get money although most still goes to the publisher.

if you pirate or buy a preowned game, that doesn't count as a copy, and if the developer doesn't make enough to break even, they are unlikely to be hired again.

now explain to me, how is it that piracy increases the number of copies sold? because if you are going to argue that the good press from the game contributes, then you better be forcing two people to buy it full price, one to make up for your own actions, and one to allow your flawed justification to make even a tiny bit of sense.

Piracy leads to more people playing your game, and if your game is good then they will not only gain trust in you as a developer (leading to much better sales for future games) but they will help market your game through word of mouth. Look at minecraft, not only is it one of the most easily pirated games of all time it is also one of the most successful indie games of all time. Why? Because piracy helped send it to almost viral like popularity.

and if piracy makes the game a flop, then there won't BE any future games.

minecraft was always an outlying case in that it was popular BEFORE it went on sale, the "MC Classic" mode was a free browser toy, that was where it got most of it's initial traction from, then when it allowed access to it's paid beta they sold it for only a few dollars.

plus, what do you think spread the word about minecraft more? pirates? or youtubers like the yogscast?

don't justify piracy by pointing to an outlying case, that sort of thing is an anomalous result and would be discarded in any study

AdamG3691:

JazzJack2:
But piracy doesn't make developers lose money, in fact it does the opposite, devs gain money from piracy.

do you know how devs are paid?

evidently not.

at the start of the development, the developer is given a certain amount of money, that money is what funds the game.

when the game is released, the devs get NO MONEY FROM SALES until they sell (initial budget/cost of a game) copies, after that they start to get money although most still goes to the publisher.

if you pirate or buy a preowned game, that doesn't count as a copy, and if the developer doesn't make enough to break even, they are unlikely to be hired again.

now explain to me, how is it that piracy increases the number of copies sold? because if you are going to argue that the good press from the game contributes, then you better be forcing two people to buy it full price, one to make up for your own actions, and one to allow your flawed justification to make even a tiny bit of sense.

Here's a train of thought. Piracy doesn't ruin developers. Publishers ruin developers. By your own logic, the developers make a game that is funded by the publisher and also advertised by them. So if the game doesnt sell well enough, they dont get paid, or not paid enough and eventually go under. How exactly is that the fault of pirates though?

Imagine the publisher being very crap at advertising and people basicly dont know the game exists. Its like Activision being suprised their newest call of duty doesnt sell when nobody even knew there was one, since they didnt advertise at all and nobody ever mentioned it being in development. This is a hypothetical scenario of course, by now we know this series is on yearly release schedules, but what about games that arent? Is piracy at fault the game doesnt sell? Or is it because the publisher didnt advertise.

Or what about stupid bullshit like "Have 85 Metacritic score or dont get paid royalties" like what happened to Obsidian with Fallout New Vegas? Yeah that totally was the fault of pirates, wasnt it?

Fact is, remove the publishers and give all money earned directly to the Developers. Even if they get pirated, they can still survive and make games, look at CD Project RED, the first Witcher was pirated, the second one was too, now they have the third game in development AND another project, Cyberpunk 2077, on top of it. Somehow pirates didnt ruin them. Pirates are a problem, especially if it is rampant.

But here's a nice inside joke: On average, Pirates or former Pirates buy more games per month/year than your average joe game enthusiast. I'm not trying to make a excuse here, but to me, pirates are just people, a handful of the lot probably pirate because "lulz, free is best". Others do it for another reason, alot of them eventually buy the games they pirated, or stop pirating altogether when they have the option to get games with little problems for good prices.

You know (this is generally speaking, not to the person quoted alone), cause most people have morals and tend to pirate cause they cant indulge in their favourite pasttime to make ends meet, you know, rent, food etc. And if you want to bring up "Well then they shouldnt play at all." i will reply simply with this.

If you arent capable of any kind of empathy, or critical and logical thought, please turn in your brain, evidently you have no need for it. If you dont have enough money for rent, should you then "not have a home"? If you do not have enough money for food, should you then "not eat at all"? Note here, eating is necessary, a home is not. Before anyone brings up the argument of necessity vs luxury.

OT:

I want the pirated version. I'd even pay for it. I just want to try and somehow beat that system. Seriously, that sounds way more awesome than just the sim game itself.

Developers, if ya seeing this, add that mode to the sold version too. Do it and take my money.

AdamG3691:

and if piracy makes the game a flop, then there won't BE any future games.

Show me one game that was caused to flop by piracy.

plus, what do you think spread the word about minecraft more? pirates? or youtubers like the yogscast?

Minecraft was already snowballing into popularity before the yogscast found it, most of minecraft's popularity came from people discussing it on forums (particularly /v/ which is where Notch originally advertised his game.)

AdamG3691:

minecraft was always an outlying case in that it was popular BEFORE it went on sale, the "MC Classic" mode was a free browser toy, that was where it got most of it's initial traction from, then when it allowed access to it's paid beta they sold it for only a few dollars.

The "MC Classic" was popular, *because* it was free. Pirated games are also free, except without their publisher's permission, but they do the same thing.

AdamG3691:

plus, what do you think spread the word about minecraft more? pirates? or youtubers like the yogscast?

What do you think, every single youtuber actually bought the game?

Youtube suddenly being full of minecraft videos was part of word of mouth, and if most minecraft players are pirates, then we can assume that a number of those promoting it were also pirates.

Every time a game goes viral because of it's huge enthusiastic fan community, part of that is how so many people could freely access it.

Another example of that is how Friendship is Magic went viral on Youtube, when most bronies didn't subscribe to the Hub. (and resulted in iTunes sales years later).

A-D.:

AdamG3691:

JazzJack2:
But piracy doesn't make developers lose money, in fact it does the opposite, devs gain money from piracy.

do you know how devs are paid?

evidently not.

at the start of the development, the developer is given a certain amount of money, that money is what funds the game.

when the game is released, the devs get NO MONEY FROM SALES until they sell (initial budget/cost of a game) copies, after that they start to get money although most still goes to the publisher.

if you pirate or buy a preowned game, that doesn't count as a copy, and if the developer doesn't make enough to break even, they are unlikely to be hired again.

now explain to me, how is it that piracy increases the number of copies sold? because if you are going to argue that the good press from the game contributes, then you better be forcing two people to buy it full price, one to make up for your own actions, and one to allow your flawed justification to make even a tiny bit of sense.

Here's a train of thought. Piracy doesn't ruin developers. Publishers ruin developers. By your own logic, the developers make a game that is funded by the publisher and also advertised by them. So if the game doesnt sell well enough, they dont get paid, or not paid enough and eventually go under. How exactly is that the fault of pirates though?

Imagine the publisher being very crap at advertising and people basicly dont know the game exists. Its like Activision being suprised their newest call of duty doesnt sell when nobody even knew there was one, since they didnt advertise at all and nobody ever mentioned it being in development. This is a hypothetical scenario of course, by now we know this series is on yearly release schedules, but what about games that arent? Is piracy at fault the game doesnt sell? Or is it because the publisher didnt advertise.

Or what about stupid bullshit like "Have 85 Metacritic score or dont get paid royalties" like what happened to Obsidian with Fallout New Vegas? Yeah that totally was the fault of pirates, wasnt it?

Fact is, remove the publishers and give all money earned directly to the Developers. Even if they get pirated, they can still survive and make games, look at CD Project RED, the first Witcher was pirated, the second one was too, now they have the third game in development AND another project, Cyberpunk 2077, on top of it. Somehow pirates didnt ruin them. Pirates are a problem, especially if it is rampant.

But here's a nice inside joke: On average, Pirates or former Pirates buy more games per month/year than your average joe game enthusiast. I'm not trying to make a excuse here, but to me, pirates are just people, a handful of the lot probably pirate because "lulz, free is best". Others do it for another reason, alot of them eventually buy the games they pirated, or stop pirating altogether when they have the option to get games with little problems for good prices.

You know (this is generally speaking, not to the person quoted alone), cause most people have morals and tend to pirate cause they cant indulge in their favourite pasttime to make ends meet, you know, rent, food etc. And if you want to bring up "Well then they shouldnt play at all." i will reply simply with this.

If you arent capable of any kind of empathy, or critical and logical thought, please turn in your brain, evidently you have no need for it. If you dont have enough money for rent, should you then "not have a home"? If you do not have enough money for food, should you then "not eat at all"? Note here, eating is necessary, a home is not. Before anyone brings up the argument of necessity vs luxury.

true, publishers are the root of the whole thing, but the studios need to get that money from somewhere (woo crowdsourcing :D)

I'm not saying that piracy and used game sales are the whole problem, they're not, they just don't make the problem better, and in the case of pirates who just pirate the game and don't buy it later and don't attempt to spread the word of mouth, they are actively making it worse

Well that's quite a bad simulation.

Where is the increased exposure, the added word of mouth, the extra purchases due to guilt or interest? I have yet to hear a game that people actually thought to be worthwhile die an agonizing death due to piracy.

Maybe that 6,7% is the actual amount of people who would have bought your game anyway? Sure allot of people are playing it but evidently not allot want to actually buy it. Do I really have to pull up Minecraft? A game so easily pirated it's not even funny (online as well), but despite the piracy turned out to be a game that basically set a small indie company for life?

AdamG3691:

I'm not saying that piracy and used game sales are the whole problem, they're not, they just don't make the problem better, and in the case of pirates who just pirate the game and don't buy it later and don't attempt to spread the word of mouth, they are actively making it worse

I think it's just faulty logic to focus too hard on individual actions, and judge their morality entirely based on what would happen if everyone would act exactly like that.

Human communities are built on much more complicated mechanics, than everyone simply "doing their share".

Basically, while I agree with this developer's PR move, with trying to guilt-trip people into paying, after all payments do need to be made, but in the end, positive encouragement is more useful than the shaming of freeloaders, especially if the latter has such unhealthy side effects as vilifying the concept of sharing, and handing over the legal control of our online activities and data accesses to publishers, "to protect their property".

I hope there is a special circle of hell for people that pirate an indie game that has no DRM and has a demo. All of the excuses for piracy fall to pieces, its cheap, you do not need to crack it because of broken DRM and you can try the demo.

Plus its not a protest against big publishers and their practices its just the little guys trying to earn a living, no excuses whatsoever.

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