How to deal with game piracy

EA released Sim City earlier this year with some rather nasty DRM they claimed wasn't really DRM.

They keep part of the game mechanics controlled on their servers, meaning playing the game requires a constant internet connection. It also means it's a virtually unpirateable until someone decides to write their own version of what happens on the EA servers. Good luck to them with that!

In comes Green Heart Gaming.

Green Heart Gaming are a new game development company. With their first game, Game Dev Tycoon (Risky first game?), they came up with a very clever challenge to piracy.

On the day their game released, they also released another version. A "cracked" version was released via torrent.

Both versions send basic usage data back to Green Heart so they can see how many people buy the game compared to how many download it illegally.

They found that on the day of release, over 90% of players were playing the cracked version. For a company consisting of just two people, seeing that statistic must have been painful. But they were clever.

The pirated version was tweaked, so that after a certain point of success, the "pirates" would come across an issue. Their in-game games begin being pirated, HEAVILY! Those who pirate the game will find that they can't complete the game due to this piracy.

Goodbye pirates?

I think this is quite an interesting concept. Don't bother putting DRM in your game, but release various "cracked" versions of your game. Let people who pirate the game play it until a point, but then make the game turn on them, making it impossible to progress.

But this won't stop piracy. It certainly may reduce it, as after downloading multiple versions which don't work properly, some people will just give up.

It is very refreshing to see a company take a different approach to piracy, and after buying Game Dev Tycoon, I really hope they thrive and produce more games in the years to come!

Go buy Game Dev Tycoon

Game Dev Tycoon was a risky first game, but I think Green Heart Games did a good job on it. They've also announced they are soon to be releasing the game on Steam and doing some updates which should make the game mechanics a little bit more understandable (Sometimes it's very hard to tell why a game is a success or failure). Check out their website and buy the game.

Screenshot of Game Dev Tycoon

Posted by Ant on the 24th May 2013 at 3:28pm. (0 comments)

Categories: Gaming

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