What happens when people who pirate a game development simulator have to deal with people who pirate games in the game? A whole lot of those same people not getting the obvious joke and complaining about it, apparently.
When Green Heart Games released Game Dev Tycoon over the weekend, studio co-founder Patrick Klug also dropped cracked versions of the game for PC, Mac, and Linux onto The Pirate Bay as a sort of experiment. The results were tragically predictable, though – within one day, the game had already been downloaded via torrent over 3000 times, while only 200-something copies of the game were actually paid for by legit buyers.
To put this in some perspective, the game is a very cheap $8 (about R80), has no DRM, and was developed by a small indie studio with no “evil” mega-corporate backing it up with entire planets of cash – in other words, it’s exactly the sort of game that the most sanctimonious help-them-selfers always swear they’d pay money for.
What the freeloaders didn’t know, however, was that the cracked versions of the game had been subtly altered to be completely unwinnable, and by the most ironic means imaginable – record scratch! – with in-game piracy leading to bankruptcy.
“Initially we thought about telling them their copy is an illegal copy,” explained Klug in a post over on the company’s blog. “But instead we didn’t want to pass up the unique opportunity of holding a mirror in front of them and showing them what piracy can do to game developers.
Not realising they were, in fact, being taught a simple but important lesson about business economics and reality, users quickly looked for help to resolve the problem on a number of online forums.
“As a gamer I laughed out loud: the IRONY!!! However, as the developer, who spent over a year creating this game and hasn’t drawn a salary yet, I wanted to cry,” added Klug. “We are not wealthy and it’s unlikely that we will be any time soon, so stop pretending like we don’t need your 8 dollars! We are just two guys working our butts off, trying to start our own game studio to create games which are fun to play.”