Published on May 2nd, 2013 | by Adam Lee
Game Dev Tycoon Has Pirates. No Yarrs.
Greenheart Games have received a surprising amount of attention recently, something you wouldn’t normally expect from a small indie start-up. Game Dev Tycoon is about creating games, developing engines and all sorts of development nitty gritty. Licensing code for the upcoming Vintendo will take a bite out of profits, and selling your soul to questionable journalists in pursuit of positive review scores is commonplace. We’ve never once taken a bribe, not for lack of trying.
Rather than load ‘Game Dev Tycoon’ with DRM or online activation they decided on a more unusual method of protection. Pirating their own game, and releasing it publicly on the most popular torrent sites to run free. One day later over 3000 people were playing the pirated version, compared to just 214 legitimate players – a heartbreaking statistic. It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, thanks to one key difference between the two versions - the leaked revision had malevolent pirates of its own, slyly pinching your game without paying and inevitably forcing your once proud studio into bankruptcy.
While most of us have dabbled in piracy in our youth, when the game comes with a free demo it’s a bit harsh to snatch meals from a poor indie’s table, but that wasn’t the end of the story. Something beautiful happened, the pirates went straight to the forum seeking a solution. This was my personal favourite, I actually fell off my chair in a fit of giggles,
I’m sure some will take this “adjustment” personally, consider it entrapment or whatever, but honestly it’s a very clever way of both making a point and generating some interesting press. I just hope they add “Release Pirate Version” to the media hype menu because it seems to be surprisingly effective. You can see the sheer volume news posts this has generated on the Greenheart blog, which is well worth a read.
Having tried the demo I have to say the game was funny, cute and fairly addictive for the twenty minutes or so it lasted. If you fancy giving it a go yourself head over to the official page.