Indie Dev Aims To Beat Pirates At Their Own Game

by Jeff Cork on Apr 29, 2013 at 04:30 AM

Indie developer Greenheart Games released its first title yesterday, a game-development sim called Game Dev Tycoon. In the game, players found their own indie studios and do their best to make it in the competitive world of game production. Greenheart saw an opportunity to teach pirates a little lesson, too.

As an experiment, the developers released a version of their game onto torrents sites just after opening their online store. Players who downloaded the supposedly cracked version saved $7.99, and they even got a little bonus content in the process. Unfortunately for them, the new content was a revenue-sucking simulation of the effects of piracy. As time goes on in the game, pirates begin downloading players' games. That affects the amount of revenue players can count on, leading to eventual bankruptcy. Game Dev Tycoon players seem to be as frustrated with the prospect as Greenheart Games is, judging from some forum posts the studio found.

You can read the whole story on Greenheart Games' site, including some disheartening stats. The game has only been available for one day, but more than 93 percent of the more than 3,300 total players have pirated their copies. Patrick Klug, Greenheart's founder, director, and coder, says he isn't mad at pirates, but that he wants them to know that their actions do affect people. As he says, players need to pony up the cash if they want to see bigger and better indie sequels or a redirection away from the free-to-play model.

[Via NeoGAF]