Usually, when people want to talk about piracy, they state that the game industry has a flawed model and that they need to figure out a way around piracy or to embrace it. Part of the problem with this is that in order for some game publishers and developers to be able to actually make money on games, draconian DRM is sometimes necessary.
The guys over at Greenheart Games decided to experiment with Piracy and DRM. They released their Game Dev Tycoon game and immediately uploaded the exact same version for torrenting and they were wildly successful at getting their game downloaded, illegally. Since they had done it themselves and somewhat anticipated some of the results, they actually built-in some analytics data that let them know which players were using the pirated version and which ones were using the paid version.
Over the course of 24 hours of the game being out in public in both legal and illegal forms, they were able to mark down over 3,000 downloads of the game. Out of the 3318 users, 3104 of them had pirated the game, a somewhat exciting but discouraging statistic. Only 214 had actually purchased the game for the already-low price of $8. What’s annoying about this whole situation is that Greenheart isn’t trying to rip off their customers and make them pay a ridiculous amount of money, it’s only $8 and has a free demo version. Nobody can argue that they can’t afford an $8 game, so any sort of piracy is hard to justify here.
What did they do? They started to mess with the pirated users in the most ironic and awesome way. They started to make them feel what it was like to run a game development studio when people are pirating your games. Once that happened, the complaints started to roll in across the web, and they were priceless.
What does this all mean? If you really like a game and want the developer to continue to exist and make great games, buy the damn game. It’s just that simple. Beg, borrow, save, do what ever it takes, but just be an honest consumer and pay for what you are getting. Sure, there are situations where piracy makes sense and is easy, but if you pirate everything then you’ll be stuck with awful quality content and that’s nobody’s fault but your own.