‘Game Dev Tycoon’ Devs Cleverly Troll Pirates, Fight Piracy With Piracy

Game Dev Tycoon
Now this is bloody amazing. Remember Croteam’s immortal Scorpion that was present in the pirated versions of Serious Sam 3? Such an amazing anti-piracy measure, right? Some of you may even consider it as the best of its kind, however we have a new contender for this category. Behold Game Dev Tycoon; a previous unknown indie title that has been made famous by its clever anti-piracy measures.
Game Dev Tycoon is created by two people who wanted to offer gamers what they’ve always wanted; a DRM-free game that only costs $7.99. However, the team decided to run an experiment and see whether the pirated version of their game would be more successful than the priced one.
Thus, they released a cracked version of the game themselves, minutes after opening their Store. The catch? The cracked version featured an anti-piracy measure that makes it almost impossible for gamers to proceed.
As Patrick, one of the Game Dev Tycoon’s creators, said:
“Initially we thought about telling them their copy is an illegal copy, 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. So, as players spend a few hours playing and growing their own game dev company, they will start to see the following message, styled like any other in-game message.”
Naturally, a lot of those who pirated the game asked in various forums why they were getting that message, and claimed that the game was unplayable. After all, everyone – in-game – was pirating their game and as the result of that, their virtual game development company was going bankrupt.
Which is what is happening to all indie studios. Oh the irony. It’s also hilarious that this game only costs $7.99 and is DRM-free, yet people will still download such indie titles no matter what.
From our side, we salute this little experiment; an experiment which further explains why companies are making their games ‘online-only’. SimCity comes to mind, and even though people are criticizing this move from Maxis (as we did), those very same people (yes, even us) have to understand that this move has paid off. SimCity is a commercially successful title and due to its always-online DRM, it sells well.
Yes, it sucks. Yes, it’s not right. Yes, it’s not an MMO, even though Maxis tries to convince everyone otherwise. Yes, we’d love to see an offline patch. However, this franchise has currently a future because of that DRM and because it made a profit.
And unfortunately, it seems that most people simply want to – temporarily – point the finger at something, bash on whatever seems wrong because it’s cool or yell at someone just for the hell of it. Or until they find the next ‘bad’ thing that is cool to criticize. Because if that wasn’t the case, SimCity would have already failed. And it hasn’t.