Skip to main content

Indie development sim Game Dev Tycoon gives pirates a taste of their own torrenting

Audio player loading…

DRM is a constantly tricky balancing act between deterring piracy, however briefly, and not upsetting every one of your legitimate customers. That's why it's always great to see copy-protection measures that specifically target, and hilariously mess with, inveterate torrenters. Whether it's Batman's uncontrollable cape in Arkham Asylum, or Serious Sam 3's immortal pink scorpion , pirate-specific hijinks provide the best kind of schadenfreude.

This specific example from Greenheart Games, creators of the Game Dev Story-like development sim Game Dev Tycoon , might be one of the best - if just for the hypocrisy at the heart of its piraception. The game's developers uploaded their game to "the number one torrent sharing site" with one key difference: As players built up their development studio, they are told that not enough people were buying legitimate copies of their games - leading to a slow and unavoidable financial collapse.

"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," explains Greenheart's Patrick Klug .

"Slowly their in-game funds dwindle, and new games they create have a high chance to be pirated until their virtual game development company goes bankrupt."

And some of the "customer" responses highlighted by Greenheart are amazing .

Key quote: "I mean can I research a DRM or something..."

Greenheart estimate 93.6% of the game's players were using a cracked version of the game at the end of its first day of release - roughly 3,104 users. Of course, it's worth reiterating that there are many nuanced caveats around the piracy debate - specifically that one pirated version does not equal one lost sale. You can read Greenheart's full analyses of their experiment here .

Thanks, NeoGAF .

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.