Caught Red-Handed: Punishing Pirates in a Virtual World

Tom Mc Shea explores how Game Dev Tycoon dealt with piracy and its similarities to Game Dev Story.

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We've all heard the rhetoric from company spokespeople. Piracy is a blight on the industry, causing publishers to lose a dizzying amount of irreplaceable income. However, it can be difficult to grasp the impact of digital theft. How much does downloading a cracked version of a game affect the sustainability of a developer? And should piracy be a concern if every game in your library was legally purchased? Greenheart Games, developer of Game Dev Tycoon, implemented a clever programming tweak to turn the mirror on those who stole its hard work, illuminating just how damaging the bit torrent scene can be.

As the name implies, Game Dev Tycoon chronicles the work of an up-and-coming developer. Deciding which games to create and where to spend your precious resources determine the success of your company, though those who pirated the game were in for an unpleasant surprise. In an effort to teach a lesson to would-be thieves, Greenheart Games uploaded a nearly identical version of the game to torrent sites. In it, your virtual developer is the victim of rampant piracy, draining the cash you strove so hard to accumulate. Real-life pirates were flummoxed by this punitive hurdle. "They were so oblivious that they didn't realize that what they see is what they actually do," said Greenheart Games co-founder Patrick Klug.

Tycoon is not the first game to implement creative antipiracy methods (Rocksteady disabled Batman's cape glide in Arkham Asylum, for example). However, Greenheart Games used the nature of its downloadable simulation to enlighten those who may not understand the ramifications of their actions. "We had this opportunity to let users feel what piracy is like," Klug explained. "Because we didn't tell them that it is a pirated version, they actually started posting [on forums] saying, 'I'm going bankrupt because of piracy,' and I think that was what really connected with people." Maybe education could be the key to stemming the unrelenting tide of virtual thieves. By pointedly exploring what harm pirates cause, it opens a dialogue that doesn't exist when traditional forms of digital rights management are enacted.

"They were so oblivious that they didn't realize that what they see is what they actually do."

In the cracked version of Game Dev Tycoon, piracy showcases how digital thieves can sink the fortunes of aspiring developers. However, Klug argues that the problems caused by piracy go much deeper than financial loss. "The bigger issue for the industry is that games are developed in a certain way, and they go towards a trend." Companies are in this business to make money, after all, so when there's a breach in the dam, they do whatever they can to plug the hole. "We see the always-on trend…and I think gamers don't like it. What they don't realize is that the reason companies are forced to do that is because there's so much piracy," Klug said. Draconian DRM exists because of the people who don't shell out one cent for the games they consume.

Even if mandatory connectivity for single-player games doesn't annoy you, the effects of virtual crooks still have widespread ramifications. Purchasing a video game is essentially casting a vote that you want more games of that ilk to be released. As long as developers see that there is an audience of willing buyers, they will continue to make games that cater to that niche. Klug believes that pirates can change a publisher's development philosophy. "If you wake up years later and there are no games anymore like that, then it's your own fault because you didn't support the developers." Using piracy as a means to try before you buy is just as damaging. "If people think that they only need to pay for a game that is perfect, then the industry is going nowhere."

Piracy is an easy-to-define term with little gray area. If people download a game through illegal methods, they are committing theft, and their actions have a lasting impact on how the industry operates. However, developers have to walk a fine line when they create a game so as not to commit a different form of theft. If a developer draws too heavily on inspiration from another game, the resulting game can turn out as little more than a clone. Customers who pay for such games may be unpleasantly surprised to learn that they have paid twice for the same experience. Greenheart Games faces this exact situation. Game Dev Tycoon bears a striking resemblance to the mobile hit Game Dev Story upon first glance because of the philosophical and artistic similarities. Is Greenhouse Games guilty of plagiarism? Or is Tycoon different enough to carve out its own niche?

"If you wake up years later and there are no games anymore like that, then it's your own fault because you didn't support the developers."

Klug does not hide from this issue. He readily admits that Greenheart Games looked at Story while developing Tycoon. "We were inspired by Game Dev Story," Klug says, "but it plays very different." Outside of a cartoony artistic style and an isometric point of view, the two games each have their own appeal. "If you look at what you do, and what decisions you make, and how the game mechanics work, they are completely separate." You just have to spend a bit of time with each game to see how unique they are, Klug contends. "It's kind of sad that we would be shouted at as a rip-off without people trying out the demo."

But even if Tycoon has enough to differentiate it from Story, developers still frequently draw inspiration from other games, and there aren't strict rules governing just what is and is not acceptable. Klug thinks its necessary that teams build on the foundation of others' work. "I find it a bit sad in a way because from an industry perspective, if no one is allowed to take an existing idea and improve it and take it into a different direction, then where are games going to end up?" The industry has been built on this development philosophy. Countless platformers use the side-scrolling, run-and-jump escapades of Super Mario Bros., but they add their own twists to that well-worn formula. Klug believes that growth often comes from tweaking old ideas, so he's glad developers are free to dabble without punishment.

In fact, Klug argues that being unique just to stand out can be a bad idea. "If you force yourself to be different, I don't think that's a good design decision." There's a reason certain themes and mechanics occur again and again, and it's that they work. It's fun to shoot aliens and explore tombs, so you see many games that openly wear their inspiration. "If something works, you can't take it and improve it and make it your own. Why would you need to be completely different?" Klug asked. So teams have to continue to make the best game possible. If that entails reusing established ideas, so be it. Maybe it's better to retread the same ground than go in a different direction and fail miserably.

Game Dev Tycoon has an important legacy no matter how many copies are sold. It has reenergized the conversation of piracy, succinctly showing the financial impact that thieves can have on a fledgling company. Publishers will continue to develop stricter forms of DRM for as long as this problem exists, and it's a shame that so many resources are devoted to stopping pirates. There's no way to predict exactly how the industry will change in the future to stem such practices, but it is important to discuss what's going on. We have the power to enact change, so if we make our voices heard when an antipiracy method is too punishing, and we stay clear of the bit torrent sites, we can shift the focus away from DRM and back on developing the best games possible.

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864 comments
SkySage7
SkySage7

I wanted to buy the game at first, 7 euros isn't that much anyway. But after reading the reviews and especially the articles about this troll feature they implemented, I changed my mind.

So, yeah. Good luck to the company, I'm boycotting everything they make from now on, just for making their playerbase feel like idiots.

decoy1978
decoy1978

All of us pirate one form of media or another, I think thats just the type of society we live in today. If not video games, then movies, if not movies, then TV shows, if not TV shows, then some guy with a camcorder in a theater. 

This goes all the way back to VHS and even further to plagiarism. I honestly don't think that there is a way to curb piracy unless you do use a format like Steam or what not to check the validity. And even then a hacker will find ways around that too.

I really feel for these developers; make an average game and you move 500k units. Sadly make an excellent game, move 1 mill + piracy and your bottom dollar is just as much if you just made an average game.... so why even try?


rojas2611
rojas2611

Pirates are just another way of the universe telling developers to crowdfund.

BowmanKCMO
BowmanKCMO

I'm actually surprised that game developers didn't see piracy coming from a mile away, long before it became trendy to pirate games.  Doesn't anyone remember cassette tapes?  With cassettes, I could record music off the radio, or I could copy my friend's tape onto my own.  Within a very few short years, this became the norm.  Remember the VCR?  Suddenly I could record movies off of TV.  It wasn't long before dual-sided VCRs came out, and you could copy one tape to another.  Almost as soon as that happened, the big companies had to start implementing methods to prevent that copying from happening.  But it kept happening.  You can go a lot further back than that.  Before the printing press, when a book was created, people would walk around with it literally handcuffed to themselves.  The idea that information was power was supreme then, and only the privileged few had access to it, and they guarded it with their lives.  Enter the printing press, and all that became moot.  


I'm not stating here a moral position on pirating.  I've seen plenty of people download games and play them for a long time, enjoying every minute, even expressing what a wonderful game they think it is, and never once give a thought to supporting the developers.  I've also seen plenty of people pirate games and then, after a period of trying it out, either love it and buy the legit copy or hate it and just erase it, feeling very happy about not having blown $30- $70 on a piece of junk.  In the end, intent is probably everything, and in the end, there is no one to monitor that beyond your own conscience and your 'higher power' or whatever.   

Steam is a great example of providing games in a way that afford more benefits to the end-user than drawbacks.  I hated Steam at first.  I was just as vocally anti-Steam as I was any other kind of DRM attempt.  Those always seemed, in the end, to punish me, the legit buyer, while the pirates downloaded away anyway to their hearts' content.  I thought Steam was going to be another layer of annoyance for me.  I abhor (and still do) being online to play a single-player game.  I hated non-locally saved games.  But when my computer crashed and I lost everything I had, when I got re-set up, I realized that without Steam, I would have lost hundreds of combined hours of gaming.  So the layer of protection for them ALSO meant a layer of benefit for me.  That's how you do it.  You have to innovate and say, "Look, piracy is a problem, so we have to change a few things.  But in doing so, we're going to provide further benefits to those who buy the games legit".  I think Steam is a great model for this.  Will I always prefer the non-DRM game?  Yes.  The Witcher 2 is a great example of a game that said, "Screw it, we're not punishing players for what criminals are doing".  The result has been an overwhelmingly positive response from the gaming community, thus propelling their game into superstardom, which equates into profit.   

Innovation is the answer.  But my question is why no one saw this coming in the first place.  It has happened to every medium of information transfer since the dawn of information transfer.  You don't think some guy started copying what some other guy carved into a stone back when that's how we transferred information?

Caliystia
Caliystia

I learned to pirate when I worked for EA. I didn't even want to pirate but the culture of testers and support reps there perceived you as an idiot if you paid for games, even (correction: especially) ones that your employer makes. I did pirate a few old titles but I can't even remember what it's been so many years now; but my point is that while companies like EA are now using DRM to try and stop this, they never will because the piracy comes from within and they are too busy trying to stop some pirates running away with their purse, to notice the pickpocket in their midst. I for one have stopped buying games from EA after I beta tested Sim City for $80 when it came out and I stupidly bought it. I won't pirate but I also won't buy from them anymore.

As has been said, they are pissing off a lot of paying customers in the process of trying to play police. They treat the public like crud and still sell millions so they keep treating us like crud... the only way developers will get the hint is when smaller startups become competition... but then EA solves that problem by buying the competing company and running it into the ground. They buy a company milk a game or three from it and then when people don't buy those games anymore they think it's because everyone is pirating. the reality is that only a very small percentage of people pirate games, they think they are losing more than they are, because most of the pirates I ever knew were kids or young adults who couldn't afford games and didn't want to wait for Xmas or birthdays... EA doesn't get it. A. you can't stop them it's like trying to stop people from making malware or viruses; with modern tech people will find a way. and  B. People who pirate won't pay even if they can't pirate anymore.

The real reason EA wants always on DRM is that it forces you to play through Origin. Origin saves them money on product packaging by eliminating the middle man and no disk or manual it's all digital so al they pay is development. I don't think they even pay testers anymore either, they just worry about class A crash issues and ship it... the public tests for them they read the boards like bug reports and then release a patch a month later. It's all about money for those corporate execs and investors. any way they can cut a dollar out of the bottom line is worth the public backlash because so far it's working.

Kunasha
Kunasha

Game developers really need to stop caring about file sharers, and think more about how to provide value and security for the customer.

So I actually went and bought this game, and for my troubles I was rewarded with a bunch of stupid pop-ups with thank you messages for buying the game. I'm sorry, that made my game experience worse, not better. Please stop giving a **** about file sharers. It is a waste of time. Pointing out to them that they're doing something you don't like is not going to change their minds.

Your job is to create value and consumer confidence. No DRM, a good demo with a shareware license, and convenience for the paying customer are assumptions that we should be able to make about any game. It is much more productive to focus on bringing sales up by providing a more compelling product than it is to focus on bringing piracy down with anti-features.

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

There was no reason for me to "pirate" this game before buying it yesterday and having LOADS of fun with it and you know why - because it had a demo, honest marketing on their homepage, a reasonable price tag and is free of DRM.

Most games these days don't even bother putting out a demo before release so how would potential customers know if the game runs on their system if not pirating it to try it out before buying it ? (system requirements are a guide to help make a decision, but most people don't even know what they have in their computers and how it compares to the requirements)

Also, most "AAA" titles are totally overpriced and loaded with annoying DRM, account registrations, activations, always online requirements and so on which only hinder the paying customer which is another reason why they're driven towards piracy - it's just a better service to "install -> copy crack -> play" than having to deal with DRM, 3rd party software installation, account registrations on external sites, activation problems and after all that not even owning the game to play it in a few years time again.

Long story short, these guys "got it", they released an enjoyable game, DRM free at a reasonable price and I really wish them all the best for their future and that they can stay in business.
The "pre-cracked" self-release on TPB was an awesome move too, it's kind of funny to see all the posts from people that pirated it go broke in game and then posting on official sites about the game being "unfair" - Cough up the 7 EUR and buy the game you cheap bastards and also take it as a learning lesson.

kylejdb
kylejdb

Well GameSpot, it looks like your industry nutsucking has backfired. How about next time, before admonishing the consumer for not buying garbage, you ask the publisher why they continue to put out garbage?

racerxgundam
racerxgundam

First off, tom is a tool and a hack. 

However, if he sticks to pieces like this, that are only informative/reporting (and i use those terms very lightly on any gaming site) and doesn't bother to burden us with his piss poor opinions, flame tendency, and downright brutal analysis, then ok. We can all tolerate the egg farts in the room i suppose. 

now piracy is piracy. sure it is wrong but it won't go away, especially in electronic media that is especially vulnerable as pirating technology is widely accessible and affordable. i don't condone it at all. But PC game development/publishing want to live in this unrealistic world concerning their products and how they are perceived by their consumers. They want to act as if PC gaming culture and their business models don't actually play a factor in increasing piracy. I could write a book on the topic, but if i had to summarize it as best i could, piracy in general is tied to value. 

Shoddy workmanship, frequent incompatibility issues, crashes and system fails...etc etc PLAGUE the pc world. Some of the most asinine customer service policies, trade value which makes gamespot trade in prices for console games look like the fucking san francisco goldrush, and the list goes on and on. Sure for every GREAT company like valve out there, there is literally 100's that are nothing but complete and utter scam artists shoving incomplete work out on store shelves. Another factor is that the culture of the industry hurts itself, with no uniform conformity to confront the problem developers are left to deal with it on their own, sometimes hurting themselves with practices so draconian that hacking their source code is more fun than whatever game they made. 

If you compare it with console gaming, which has to deal with many of the same issues, they do not suffer from the same profit losses. The reasons? it actually means something to own the original software. Hardware uniformity makes it tougher to simply rip the open source and emulate it thru an OS (Sega saturn is a great example), perception is that the product is of quality, uniform pricing..etc etc etc.

A good example of this is with final fantasy on the consoles. Now while console pirating exists on American shores its absolutely NUTS in region 4. i mean NUTS as in everything gets pirated (i could go in detail as to the why, but this post is going to be long as is) and literally accessible everywhere. Like you can walk into a convenient store and buy pirated console software and get your system chipped and modded as you finish buying groceries. This being the case, why do AAA titles from square enix sell like hotcakes (ok, not recently, but from the not too distant past)?

Because the consumer associates as owning the original game, artwork, sound track, insert poster etc as having an inherent value. Because there is a perception of quality. The consumer there fears that the pirated copy is unstable and unreliable. Square enix takes the time to make elaborate artwork, inserts, etc etc all to make owning the original more worthwhile. As readily available as cart copies are, no one has faith in the battery saves. 

In comparison, and to use a personal example, i bought the first splinter cell on the pc. i bought it some years after its initial release but since i had no xbox i thought that it would be an acceptable alternative. I played till a part of the game in either the first or second stage in which u had to like use these binoculars to record (?) hear a conversation to trigger an event. It would NEVER trigger. There was a bug and i had to go to a site to download a patch. Mind you, the pc game was something like a YEAR after the console release. This was released by UBISOFT. i couldn't believe that a company like this would have such poor quality control. If this occured on the consoles there would be a full on recall and prolly ubisoft kicks back something cool to customers that were effected.

The problem is that occurrences like this are par for the course in PC gaming, and while developers and publishers want to act like this is an acceptable way to do business, the reality is that they ONLY STRENGTHEN THE VIEW THAT THEIR PRODUCTS ARE NOT WORTH PAYING FOR, HENCE PIRACY INCREASES EXPONENTIALLY.

Now add jasondoreen's comment to this one....he is 100% right on to the point i have to "like" his post.

SkytheWiz1
SkytheWiz1

Damn. My pirated copy was legit.

Jasondoreen
Jasondoreen

Well I have bought many games 2 times over? I am sure many of us have. Once for the Xbox and once for the computer. I have bought 60 dollar games THAT BLOWS and you cant get your money back. Many times over!, Its like everyone is going to DRMs, and Free to play. but what happened to DEMOS??  Bring back Demos, you like the game you buy it, at least you got to see if it was worth the 60 dollars or what ever.  Its funny all these people Pirate games right.. I am really interested in the logged hours of those pirated games. ok, Some one downloads a pirated game, and plays it for 5 mins and deletes it. It still counts towards all the people that pirated it. I am sure not 100% of the people that pirated these company's games even plays the game at all. But its assumed. 100,000 people download "shit Bomb" (made up game)(made up numbers) could it be possible that 95,000 truly did not like it after they pirated it and only played for 5 mins? The fact is If you don't like the game you cant return it, and to trade it in right after you bought it , you loose so much money...How about 4 hour return limit if you buy a game, don't like it you can return it with in a couple of hours. (your not going to beat a 40 hour game in 4 hours). Why cant the game company's truly ask the world why people pirate there games. If they understand the problem they can fix it better. as a whole. Honestly its a PISS off buying a 60 dollar game and it SUCKS..

breathnac
breathnac

Honestly if Microsoft and Sony started doing large regular sales of reduced price games like Steam does they wouldn't see all this pirating. Any digital content on Microsoft or Sony stores hardly budge in price, I mean come on Fable 3 still costs like 50 bucks online. I am always a full supporter, however I can't always afford it.

musicallie44
musicallie44

Piracy is wrong - no question.  But gaming companies have taken the wrong approach to piracy.  

DRM is meant to punish pirates.  However, DRM only really affects the paying consumer.  Fun things like always online checks for games without multiplayer.  Every honest game player has been subjected to some sort of security nuisance.

So why on earth do I have to be punished for buying the game legally?  And developers have the audacity to ask why piracy increases?  Developers love to call pirates idiots - I suggest there is plenty of idiocy to go around on both sides.


So what is the answer?  Look at what some indie game developers do.  They deliberately remove DRM and treat their paying customers like royalty.  Some of their fans are so eager to support the company - they'll buy 3 copies of the game.  Sure piracy will still be there, but thieves exist in every industry.

What developers should focus on is how to maximize the quality and service given to paying customers to encourage them to support the studio long term.

If they don't - they'll be out of business.  It's not like the "end of the gaming world".  Quite simply - the smaller indie developers will be successful and create a new gaming industry. 

highlanderjimd
highlanderjimd

the devs even say game dev story was their inspiration, saying tycoon is ripping it off is like saying fifa is ripping off kickoff 2, they are both football games! theres only so much you can do with a game making simulator as you can do with a football game. This is a great game, everyone should be buying it

Valkaras
Valkaras

I can see two reasons why someone would pirate a game. The first one is that he/she can't afford the game so they have to pirate it. The second one is that they want the game as soon as possible so they can't wait for the reviewers to do their job telling the World if the game is good or bad so they pirate the game just to see for themself if the game is a keeper. If they like it then they might buy it.

I doesn't belong to either of those two groups so I see no reason for me to pirate a game. If there is some game that I am intrested in I wait for a Review and if it get good scores I buy it for a full prize or I wait for a sale. I am a huge legal game collector, I have Close to 150 games right now and I can buy three games/week.

Btw, if you can afford the game you want, I hope you pay for it. The law is getting sharper every year and there is higher and higher risk to gett busted and it is expensive to be that

kylejdb
kylejdb

"Using piracy as a means to try before you buy is just as damaging." Oh piss off! You expect me to pay $60 for a game I might not even like, can not return, and apparently soon can not resell? Not happening. I will continue to try before I buy, thank you very much!

Tixylixx
Tixylixx

There is no proof that piracy hurts, in fact movies, music and games are selling more than ever and everyone's going on about how amazing it is to have digital downloading now because you don't need publishers. Maybe this is it, maybe publishers cannot evolve  and are blaming piracy.... I mean Epic Games always went on about it... yeah cause your publisher is Microsoft. You couldn't buy Fears of War on Steam, good luck finding it in retail and that speaks of all Microsoft's PC games.


My experience of piracy is, you download it, hate it, uninstall or download, love it and buy it. My other experience is you play a game you love and tell all your friends and some of them friends go on to buy it as a result. Just because you haven't bought it doesn't mean word of mouth doesn't exist.


Games are making more than ever, the PC is doing better than ever, the only people complaining are these big time publishers and why is that? Cause they cannot change, they want to hold on to the old way of doing things. Movies are doing better than ever too, when you look at the top 10 grossing films, most of them are within the last 10 years. Music is better than ever for the majority of artists, the only people who're suffering are again the big publishers.


In my eyes piracy is an excuse...... do you see Valve complaining? No they adapt and offer a better service than torrenting. 


+ This developer has a nerve, all he did was copy Gamedevstory and release his game for £5.99 or whatever it is...... like what do you expect? Most people expect these games to be 99p...

SteamyPotatoes
SteamyPotatoes

Meh their piracy rates were fabricated as a result of no Steam release plus no advertisements / public awarenesses and putting the torrent up themselves.

Iezis
Iezis

Reading all these comments about piracy and how harmful it is just makes me wan to go and pirate some game. Yeah that's right. Ill go do that. I even will not play it afterwards, I'll just pirate it out of spite you mother fuckers!!! YOU HEAR ME?? OUT OF SPITE!! ARRRRR MATEY!!!

robotopbuddy
robotopbuddy moderator

Runic Games disagrees - they treat pirated games as free marketing and building a larger audience in the long term, fostering customer loyalty - relying on people's (pirates especially) goodwill. It's paid off quite well for them, with many many thousands of people buying the game after pirating it, and then buying the sequel too, as well as being on-board for a torchlight MMO if one gets released in the future; I know me pirating the 1st one initially has netted them at least 7 sales each of both the 1st and 2nd game, that's 14 sales gained by 1 particular person pirating it initially and liking it enough to recommend it to(/force it upon :D) others - I'm sure there's plenty of people that never bought it after pirating it too, but those people would more than likely not have considered buying it if they couldn't try it beforehand anyway. The 1st game had a fairly big modding community that was also embraced by the developers, and that modding community has been quite happy to spread the games name in positive light and move on to modding the sequel when it came out. The game was also reduced to a very low price not all that long after release, which probably helped edge pirates that enjoyed the game to buy it, if only to avoid the nuisances that come with pirating such as a lack of easy updating etc.

Now companies like EA don't get that - they're almost universally hated at this point, so DRM might be the best method for them, however they're already a huge company and I really couldn't care less about how much it cuts into their profits, especially after the amount of times they've bought up a potentially brilliant series/company and then ruined it. New companies need to be supported yes, but it's not like everyone that pirates a game is a heartless money grubber, and frankly if I had to buy some games before trying them I'd feel ripped off, especially with the amount of rehashed game sequels with minuscule changes that some companies regularly dish out. Ultimately the people that both have the money, enjoy the game, and are willing to support the company are likely to buy it, and those that don't won't, excessive DRM merely encourages piracy because it can often make it so that the pirated game is better in that it doesn't have that wall every time you want to play.

Valve has a somewhat different approach - steam - it provides a simple, fast, non-intrusive check that acts as a sort of DRM and provides easy access and fast service that massively reduces the amount of pirating (it's easier to use steam than it is to pirate it, and the prices are often fairly low - with regular 50%-75+% off sales), there's occasionally service outages, but they rarely last any real length of time..of course some steam (versions of) games are pirated too, but to a much lesser degree than most other games. The super low prices and almost instant access to games often encourages people to buy games that they may never play as well, without having to feel massively ripped off. To the point that Valve (one of the biggest distributors of PC games thanks to steam, as well as a games developer) consider piracy to be a 'non-issue' in fact. Being digital of course cuts out a great deal of the cost of physical media/delivery/etc, saving the company a great deal of money at the same as improving the delivery service. Better yet, steam will happily host indie games and other companies games for a small share of the profits, so even new companies can make use of it.

More specific to this one - while it's a rather amusing way of getting back at pirates, the numbers used by the game seem exaggerated; a new company simply isn't going to see a every games copy over 100k being a pirated one when expected sales is 1m+....and you've got to remember that piracy rates do not equal sales lost either, a fairly good amount of pirates will in fact buy the game at a later date and/or recommend it to friends if they enjoy it, which actually generates more sales, there's no hard evidence that these extra sales were caused by people pirating the game (mainly because people don't tend to go out of their way to say "yeah I pirated this, this, this and this"), but a good amount of them will be nonetheless.

I suppose it was just a quick/easy limit to prevent progress though - effectively turning the game into a demo, which isn't a bad idea from a marketing perspective, as it means that people want to continue playing the game, they'd have to buy it, effectively turning pirated copies into demos, which a lot of people tend to use such games as anyway - there's a fine line between cutting it short such that people just drop the game and leaving it too late that people are just irritated that they can't play the last tiny bit and won't pay full price for it. That isn't an issue for games with lots of re-playability though.

"If you wake up years later and there are no games any-more like that, then it's your own fault because you didn't support the developers."

That one just makes me laugh - if no games like that remain years from now it's because too little of the market wanted them, pirated or otherwise. Generally speaking the more sales of a game there is the more pirated copies there will be as well, the only way a game is going to sell badly yet have an insane amount of pirated copies is if the game is priced far too high, lacks lifetime/re-playability and/or has ridiculously excessive DRM/is attached to other things that turn people off (here's an example from EA: Origin). If that's the case then it's the fault of the developer/publisher for not understanding how the market works nowadays.

Now, I'm sure piracy puts companies off taking risks with completely new ideas and the like - which is quite a problem, though the big games companies seem to be happy with this stagnation of innovation and reply on the hardware devs to tell them how to do it, but really piracy alone is far from killing the industry, and it's not that hard to communicate and appeal to the goodwill of people as a smaller company to ensure you make a profit, provided the game released is of an appropriate quality/enjoyability.

tekas0
tekas0

Yeah, cause 1,000,000 downloads = a loss of 1,000,000 copies....I would say 98% of people who pirate games would never have bought the game if pirating wasn't an option. Im not condoning piracy, but to relate real sales to number of downloads is ridiculous.

toddx77
toddx77

If there is a game I am unsure about I will just wait for a steam sale. I didn't really enjoy Borderlands, but I only paid $5 for it so it is not that big of a deal. That is a much better ethical way to try a game out you are unsure of instead of pirating.

AnonTwo
AnonTwo

@SkySage7 Because the people who dodged buying the game count as their playerbase...


There is no reason to support Piracy. Even the game developer said "Hey, if you can't afford it, we get it!". He showed sympathy to that crowd.


But if you show no intention of paying the developer for their endeavors, what respect do you deserve?

Inlex
Inlex

@bloody-hell totally agree with your parts which are non game related, since I haven't played it yet. But i will. Cause it has a demo! THIS IS IT INDUSTRY, BACK TO THE NINETIES!

DKant
DKant

@racerxgundam Most pirates don't use piracy as a benchmark for judging a game's quality or to check if it runs. That everybody does so is an absolutely naive assumption.

I know that because I've seen dozens of them in real-life. Most don't even realize what they do is wrong. They think that is THE normal way to get games and can't possibly think of an alternative. It's weird and disturbing.

Blaming the industry for what those people do is counterproductive. It's easy to hang behind a largely pointless attack as a weak defence.

SkytheWiz1
SkytheWiz1

@Jasondoreen Exactly. Many games I've downloaded, I've usually done so to test how well they performed. I do not have a high standard laptop by any means (what few games I can manage to play are at minimum settings, always) and I don't see the point in shelling out $50-60 for a game, just to find out that it won't run.

"Well, buy a better laptop." Why? I don't -need- one, if the games run fine at minimum settings. I still play Chrono Trigger and Earthbound from time to time. I don't need amazing graphics, if the gameplay is good. What I need is to be sure the game runs; which, 95% of the downloads (basically, all except Sims 3 and Empire:Total War - both of which I now have hard copies of) I've had to delete because my laptop simply couldn't handle it.

So I'm one of the ones that pirate for a demo and purchase if I feel it's worth it.

bouff
bouff

@breathnac they don't need a sale like steam, just a more realistic pricing..... Far Cry 3 (PS3) on amazing £22.99, on PSN £59.99. if I remember correctly FC3 was only £35 on amazon when I came out. It's all frakkin backwards

awakenedprimate
awakenedprimate

@musicallie44 ^THIS!!! I totally agree! Look at the approach Chucklefish has taken with Starbound. They know how to market their own game and I've literally NEVER been so excited for a game without even seeing some gameplay of the retail release. And I've never wanted to pre-order anything EVER! I'm going to pre-order four copies to give them as gifts to my gf and two other friends, just because it's a game that focuses on what real gamers want! Not cinematic cutscenes and millions-of-dollars worth of production value! Just a game that gives depth and that employs simple yet very artistic and promising graphics.

cuddlyfuzzle
cuddlyfuzzle

@Valkaras you know games today have almost zero replay ability so why on earth would someone download a game for free, play it then decide 'hey take my money please' ? you're right, I think the majority of these people just either don't have or don't want to spend money on a video game.

Potochich
Potochich

@kylejdb Remember the age of demos? If there is no demo why not try anyway you can?

AndreJr7
AndreJr7

@kylejdb Its a risk you will take with pretty much everything you buy.

DKant
DKant

@Tixylixx Heard about Witcher 2? That they're still not implementing DRM is just credit to their balls.

The validity of DRM is a different argument. The impact of piracy is too obvious to be questionable.

robotopbuddy
robotopbuddy moderator

@Iezis Some people I know have actually pirated games like mass effect (when they were initially planning to buy it) just to spite EA - it's not helping things, but when it comes down to that it really is down to the company not knowing their own audience or treating them badly regardess.

DKant
DKant

@tekas0 I agree and partially disagree. Many who pirate don't even realize it is wrong. If it is made more difficult, then at least some percent of them would THINK about what games they REALLY want and actually save up and buy them. Rather than just downloading everything they see willy-nilly.

mruizinho
mruizinho

@tekas0 If every gamer do piracy they could say that they wouldnt buy it.

They r just playing cause, hmm cause hmm they want to play and complete the game and then post that if they pay for the game they were beeing robbed cause hmmm i know the game was not perfect like every game they played in their lifes wasnt too, yeah next time release a huge demo with the lenght of the game itself u greedy bastards.


mruizinho
mruizinho

@tekas0 Ofc not, if they pirate games why should they buy any of them.

racerxgundam
racerxgundam

@DKant @racerxgundam you've missed the point. by no means are pirates doing anything BUT stealing...agreed. I am justifying no one's action. But when the industry is the clusterfuck which it is, you only heighten the sense of justification that pirates have, and thus increase the impunity they have stealing your product. 

As for me, pc gamming is crappy to the point that i don't want their software PERIOD. now, i am not one to steal a pc game but its a cold day in hell PC development sees ONE red cent from me. The industry needs to RADICALLY change. Doing what the industry currently does, further infuriate their legitimate consumers with needless bullshit, while bemoaning piracy and essentially doing nothing about it is the very definition of counter-production.

Valkaras
Valkaras

@cuddlyfuzzle @Valkaras Some people do that. They can download a game and if they fall in love with it they can buy it. Sometimes for the mutiplayer options and sometimes just to support the developers.

I don't know how common it is though

kylejdb
kylejdb

@Potochich exactly! i had forgotten all about demo's, it's been so long since a game put one out. it's like they are trying to encourage piracy :P

kylejdb
kylejdb

@AndreJr7 no, pretty much everything else anyone buys has some kind of return policy or satisfaction guarantee.

Iezis
Iezis

@robbristow @Iezis I can't say I blame them. EA is the type of company that drives people to piracy. Companies should try to do right by their consumers, not fuck them with DLC's, DRM's and plain simply unfinished games.

stev69
stev69

@mruizinho Wow did you totally miss the point he was making, tekas0 is saying if there was no way to pirate a game, the person wouldn't have gone out and bought the game anyway.

DKant
DKant

@racerxgundam @DKant Hm, maybe. But I don't see the industry in as negative a light as you do. Perhaps that is one source of my skepticism regarding your points.

I just have to disagree.

cuddlyfuzzle
cuddlyfuzzle

@DeanCorleone @Valkaras @cuddlyfuzzle downloading the whole game and it's called sampling? I'm not that stupid. It's a rare breed of person that pays for something he already owns!

DeanCorleone
DeanCorleone

@Valkaras @cuddlyfuzzle  A LOT of people sample games using this method.  A lot of companies release crap, unpolished products.  So I can see where Valk is coming from.