Piracy is a sensitive subject, depending on who you talk to. To game development companies, it’s stealing. To consumers, it’s a way to get hold of a sometimes over-priced game for free. The fact that I’m mentioning the subject on this blog is a big risk, but what kind of multimedia blogger would I be if I was too wimpy to bring it up? Besides, the story I read about a few days ago is way too good to leave unmentioned!
When the game development company Greenheart Games released their game Game Dev Tycoon, a simulation game where you build and run your own game development company, they decided to make an experiment. When they released the game for people to buy, they also released a cracked version of the game for the “economically challenged” to download illegally. Some would probably see something like this as a nice jesture, but like almost everything else in life, there’s a catch. This cracked version had a specific detail that made it different from the buyable version – a “bug” that made the player go bankrupt because of piracy. For more information about this, you can read Patrick Klug’s blog-entry for the entire story.
Personally, I found this whole thing to be hillarious. Sure, artists should get paid for their work and some games can be too expensive to buy, but what a scheme! It wouldn’t surprise me if other companies thought of doing something like this too (it would explain a lot, actually), but the honesty and openess of the brothers at Greenheart Games about the subject is very refreshing. On top of that, the theme of the game alone made this whole thing even sweeter! I can’t think of a better way for a game development company to teach illegal-downloading gamers a lesson than to let them taste their own medicine, even though it might not have been the intention in the first place. Sure, all gamers can’t buy stuff online for various reasons and $8 can be a lot of money to someone, so this can be seen as a cheap trick.
As someone who knows game development, I understand the hard work that the developers put into making the game and their need for the payment they deserve for it. As a gamer, I’m a bit concerned over the invasion of privacy, but also happy about being the kind of person who always go for the buyable versions for newly-released games. As the person I am, I’m laughing at this whole thing!
After reading their blog-entry, Greenheart Games has most certainly gained my respect. If I had the money, I’d get myself Game Dev Tycoon right away just for laughs, but I’ll settle for downloading the free demo if I ever get the time to try it. I may not be the kind who can afford anything, but I do believe that the Klug brothers deserve a reward for this one. After all, the ones who downloaded the cracked version didn’t really suffer any major consequenses. They just ended up losing the game the same way real game developers lose their jobs – they go bankrupt. Game over.