Game dev releases sabotaged torrent to teach pirates with irony

Apr 29, 2013
Game dev releases sabotaged torrent to teach pirates with irony

Game piracy isn't just something that affects big studios, and it can have a huge impact on smaller teams; that's why the coders behind Game Dev Tycoon decided to release their own cracked version, albeit with a moral lesson hardcoded for pirates. Fully expecting a cracked copy of the game to surface shortly after the $7.99 Game Dev Tycoon was released, Greenheart Games pipped the pirates to the post and added a torrent of their own. However, what downloaders didn't realize was that the cracked version had a bug the authentic one didn't: players would inevitably run into the effects of game theft.

After a period of play - particularly if the pirate gamer is doing well, their in-game studio creating highly-rated titles - a message from one of the virtual dev team pops up warning them that piracy has become a problem:

"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"

After that point, it's pretty much game-over for the player's studio, with their bank account shrinking and bankruptcy the only result. Unsurprisingly, the clueless pirates weren't too keen on a game that seemingly had no outcome but failure, missing the irony of their own behaviors in the process.

"Why are there so many people that pirate? It ruins me! I had like 5m and then people suddenly started pirating everything I made, even if I got really good ratings (that I usually get). Not fair" Anonymous complaint

After a single day out in the wild, over 90-percent of those playing Game Dev Tycoon were using the cracked version, Greenheart Games discovered, thanks to some phone-home anonymous usage code built into both versions. Unfortunately, attempts to actually encourage those who might be tempted to pirate the game to instead pay for a legitimate copy have floundered, the developers say.

Whereas Greenheart Games says it will still continue with non-DRM on its titles, that isn't the approach some teams have decided to take. Notably, Microsoft is believed to be adding a mandatory internet connection requirement to its next-gen "Xbox 720" which would require titles be installed to the console's hard-drive, and then connect to a server to be validated before play can take place.

Greenheart's site is currently up and down, probably due to interest in this little life-lesson, but you can find the Google cache here.

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