Here’s an interesting theory: Maybe people who pirate indie games rather than purchasing them don’t have the best understanding of what’s required to succeed as an indie game developer. I mean, imagine the frustration of being a “game dev tycoon” and finding that you’re going bankrupt because everyone’s playing your game but no one’s buying it!
In a pretty clever move by fledgling game designer Greenheart Games, a cracked version of “Game Dev Tycoon” was available on torrent sites the same day it was released for sale. The twist? Greenheart had put up the cracked version themselves – and it had a small difference from the retail version of the game. As players went through the business simulation game of starting a game company, they would soon find themselves stuck – inevitable failure due to revenue loss from piracy.
In their blog post about this ploy, Greenheart shared examples of commentary they found on the web by frustrated players. “Why are there so many people who pirate? It ruins me!” Oh, the irony.
Hopefully the attention that this is getting has helped improve the pirated-to-sold ratio of this indie game. To be fair, it’s certainly not true that everyone who pirated a copy would have bought one instead. But since the game is only $8, is DRM-free, and has a free demo so you can try it out first, if it’s any good I suspect the sales will improve. If anyone tries it out, let us know what you think of the game!