Indie Developer Fights Piracy With Piracy


Just a few minutes after their first game “Game Dev Tycoon” launched, Greenheart Games studio released a “cracked” version of the game on popular torrent sites. The cracked version is identical to the original game, with one little twist.

"Initially we thought about telling them their copy is an illegal copy," said Greenheart's Patrick Klug. "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, the cracked version plays normally for several hours before their in-game game development studio starts losing sales to piracy. 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.

Twenty four hours after launch, 214 legal copies of Game Dev Tycoon were sold and more than 3104 copies were downloaded illegally. Overall, more than 93.6% of the players didn’t pay for the game.

"If years down the track you wonder why there are no games like these anymore and all you get to play is pay-to-play and social games designed to suck money out of your pockets then the reason will stare back at you in the mirror," said Patrick Klug.

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You could always go DRM free

You could always go DRM free like GOG? I despise DRM, like when Half Life 2 came out, I was busy decrypting game files via steam for 48hours (Steam Servers kept crashing due to demand) whilst people who used Warez had there cracked version for days before legit owners could play the game. Assassins's Creed 2 is another one. I lost connection for a few seconds due to dodgy internet and the always-ON DRM kicked me from the game and I lost my progress. I've read many of the comments and I can sort of see developers PoV, but at the same time, anyone who pirates is most likely to not be the target audience in the first place. They'd never pay for the game if it wasn't pirated. From all the non-legit copies of games I had in the past, I've legally bought them all now. Have you ever noticed in the readme of game crackers, it says if you like the game, buy it and support the developers.


Quit charging 60 bucks for a game with content that lasts only a few hours, then charging more for DLC that should have been included with the *******game to begin with. The pirates aren't the only ones ******* people in the *** here. 60 bucks for a goddamn game? You've lost your ******* minds.


I like to dl and try the games myself because reviewers and videos are very much biased. And because of this, I get to buy the games that I really like. Demos also lie about what's really in the game. I'm unemployed and I purchase them slowly by time, as I love to be proud of owning the games I consider great. Marketing lies too. And to conclude, I'm not even be downloading this game, neither trying, neither thinking about it, I'll be saving for those games that I'll think its worth.


Pirating games is immoral and can be bad for business... but I still do it. Not because I feel that the games that I pirate aren't worth money (trust me, the majority of them really aren't), but because I simply cant afford them. The game industry doesn't lose money when me or someone like me pirates a game because if I didn't pirate it, I would have not played at all. I'm not justifying my actions, I am justing pointing out the truth.

So... you pirate games

So... you pirate games because your issues with delayed gratification prevent you from waiting until you're financially stable enough to pay someone for their work? I ******* hate this *******entitled society and the *******self-absorbed trash that created it so ******* much.


As a kid, 13 and up, I worked and made money, I would save up for large purchases, or video games etc. I bought my own PS2, and most of the games for it too, snowboard, and other things. This was while I was making $5.50, and now its no different with car payments, rent, tuition etc. I save up and but the games I want, why? Because this developer has a point, they do loose money, because you won't do what people have done for HUNDREDS of years and save your god **** money for entertainment purchases.

Good point, our whole lives

Good point, our whole lives are hijacked by crazy out of control currency's and that does not play into our best interests in the end. Currency's and economy's should be means to our happiness and well being, basically they should be the means to our end. Our Currency's and Economy's should NOT be our ends. And then we ignore these parts of our lives because we do not fully understand them, despite them dictating nearly everything we think and do. Basically if you don't got the money because you are the working poor then your right, it wasn't a problem you created in the first place. Good for you for saying it the way it is.

Don't be stupid

Well you can pirate a f****** game or wait to it enter in one promotion for a half of the price or something like it, games in my country are really expensive, but I just wait for a good promotion, can't you do the same? Oh no you prefer pirate and use the price as an excuse, pathetic.

Thanks for clearing that up,

Thanks for clearing that up, so now I know that I can go steal a huge TV because I cant afford it... but wait don't the store take a loss if I do that? No wonder the entertainment industry is suffering. Stupid ******** like you. If you can afford a 1000$ computer then you can afford a 60$ game. If you can afford a 800$ iPad then you can ******* afford a 3$ game. You stupid ******* comment makes no since. You pirate games cause you just don't want to pay for them when you can get them for free, period. People like you are the 96% that is destroying the gaming industry that we all honest people love. HAHA another reason that I love to read is, I pirate games cause I want to try before I buy. *************, there is tons and TONS of info, images, videos, reviews all over the ******* web, Most likely there is a god dam demo of the ******* game to try out. 96% guys! Now is the time to stop this ****. start supporting gaming industry cause its not going to be around much longer with no money to support there development.

1st off the person did not

1st off the person did not say that they did not purchase games, nor did they say they did not purchase this game. 2nd most studies that investigate piracy have found that the people who pirate spend a huge amount of their money on the products they pirate, basically the ones supporting the game industry are the pirates. Same goes for the music industry, they know the people with the biggest (legally purchased) music collections share the most online. Every single person i know that pirates games, owns a tone of them as well. 3rd you say the game industry wont be around much longer if we don't "stop piracy", this is the same cry the music industry makes and their doing just fine. Industries shrink and disappear as our spending money shrinks and disappears, but that's an economy issue. Go figure that where there is poverty there is crime, and that idiots like you will always think on the symptoms of a problem (the pirating, less people buying) and not on the cause (people are broke). Do you really think there are a bunch of rich people who love games but are too cheep to purchase them? If so how do you think the game industry got it's size in the first place?

Size is that? how big do you

Size is that? how big do you think it is, cause ive been working in this god dam industry for over 20 years and has been getting harder to make money in due to this very serous and ever growing issue. I'm not about to go into the list of issues with you cause the internet is full of bright information that will help your stupidity and how piracy is effecting the entertainment industry. This whole rant is nothing more then you infecting people with your ignorance. Do us a favor and before commenting on this issue, come back well informed. jesus.

Get a clue please.

The reason you're not making money is the big companies buying out all the small companies. Apparently this is why committees were made up to stop the big companies getting bigger.. where did that go? When there is just one publisher left, may be 2, that's when the game industry will be dead.


Instead of trying to adapt to the new reality, these type of developers try too hard to stick to old traditions which are no longer held up by anyone. Free to play games work. They should try and develop a new way to generate revenue instead of that 'bug'. Like Square Enix; Play Hitman 2 free without installing and watch a commercial every hour. That's innovation. Greenheart Games is ****.

At least they sold 214 copies

At least they sold 214 copies. Did they do any marketing for their games besides this stunt? It's just another one of those tycoon games. So the hype isn't there for people to get their panties wet. Most people would spend 4-6 hours with a game like that, and than uninstall and move on. $7.99, Honestly these games are 1.99 on the tablet stores with dozens of clones. In reality they didn't prove anything with them releasing a false version. It would of taken a crack team maybe a week or less to create a illegal version copy, and than even than there would at least have to be some general desire from people to even fathom to download it.

Get off it already.

There are more game devs & more games popping up than there has ever been. The vid game industry is larger than ever, polluted with a bunch of ****, & it's a large pool of it. There's no possible way that anyone could play all of the games out there even if they did nothing but eat, sleep, **** & play. You couldn't even play just all the good ones. You're not hurting, you're not hemorrhaging, you're not even losing. Your perceived failure to gain is only a failure to gain & only a perception. If you're unsuccessful, it's because you produce ****. What kind of moron tries to make what you ******** consider hard & valuable work, into an entertainment experience? If developing video games is so entertaining, then I guess you really shouldn't be complaining too much about how rich you are & how rich you wish you were, since your "job" is fun! Fun enough to make it into a game that you expect others to pay you to play. Like paying you to do your job for you? Just a sug' here, if you really wanna get down with some fun times, gimme a library tycoon, or a septic pumper tycoon to really let 'er all hang out. **** I'd turn right into a fat, hairy, sweaty dungeon dweller for some of that ****.

Good luck to them. It`s

Good luck to them. It`s entirely up to them what they do with their product. It`s a potentially very small market though really. A Game Dev Sim ? I can understand kids wanting to look after cutesy people/animals but simulating a cut throat sweaty nerd filled industry seems a little niche at best.


Create a quality.......i emphasize "QUALITY" game and people will pay money. I have pirated MOST games since the dawn of the internet. Most pirate the games they would never have bought in the first place. That right there is proof that companies are NOT losing money to piracy. Same goes for the USED game market. If i had a choice of paying $60 for a game i can beat in 5hours or NOT...i'd choose to save my money. If i an pirate that same game for free, i will. Where is the lost money? if there was never any piracy, i still would NEVER have bought THAT game. Now days, many games are online. I played WoW for 5 years,i had NO problem buying the game and it's expansions AND paying a relatively small monthly fee. Many people ***** at having to PAY to play a game. I think of it this way...the big MMOs have TONS and TONS of content. They're constantly being updated, new content, new expansions and so on. SO while i'm paying $60 for one game...then $15 a month to play the SAME game....everyone is spending $60 on one game, beating it in days..and buying another $60 game. two games bough in one month = $120 , compared to my $75 so a MUCH LONGER LASTING EXPERIENCE. So next month the same person buys another $60 game...$180 in 2months...while i've paid $90 in two months. you beat your game, while i'm still having a ton of new experiences. Hmm....interesting isn't it? So i will PAY for QUALITY games and longer satisfaction, while you losers can waste your money on garbage games that are rushed out to release before they're even completed and spend much much much more money and exponentially less time playing your expensive games.


and FYI, i am working on my bachelors in Game Design. We've had several assignments where we must pick apart popular games and show their flaws and how their designs do and don't work. I'll just say this..many of the BIG TIME POPULAR GAMES out there right miserably. These designers are lazy and being bossed around(unfortuneately) by their big corporate masters who know know about games and want things done in ways that do not appeal to gamers. When someone grows a back bone and stands up for gamers....then we will see innovation instead of repetition.

Please change majors

I've been a game developer for 15 years this June, and I beg you PLEASE change majors. ANYONE who YELLS words to make a POINT is an IDIOT that I would not recommend having a JOB anywhere.

that was a really original

that was a really original idea. however, if companies started releasing the source code to their games, many more people would pay for them. it's a fact. just look at the free software/ open source community. people want to pay for their games, as long as the source code is available. no source code, no freedom. no freedom, no good reason to request payment for a product which the developer can have complete control over. companies continue to moan about piracy, and yet they couldn't care less about their customers freedom. they continue to put more and more drm in their software, and still they expect to get paid. i say screw them. come to the free world (gnu +linux). free as in freedom, not necessarily free as in price (yes, any developers reading this, you can make lots of money if you look after your customers). peace


The audience that uses open source software (and actually has knowledge to make use of the source code as well as money to spend on donations) is far FAR different from your typical gamer. Many are teens with no money or desire to pay for what they can get for free, while many of them might think modding games is 'cool', very few of them (if any) have the attention span and determination to learn what they need and actually do it and since that's the case with simple mods we shouldn't even talk about the source code itself, most gamers wont even dip their toes on scripts let alone dive into a full fledged programming language.

and to add to that... the

and to add to that... the term piracy is nothing but propaganda. pirates attack ships. good people share software with each other. if the source code of a piece of software is not available, then it's not worth paying for. it's funny how people pay for non-free software and have no idea what that piece of software (or operating system) is doing to their computer. people try and remove malware with non-free software, and yet the very software that they are using could quite possibly be malware in the first place. sorry for the rant... just putting it out there for people who haven't yet thought of it in that way...

I dare you to list every

I dare you to list every single thing linux (or whatever open source OS you use) does to your pc. If you don't know them all then you may very well be one of the people that "have no idea what that piece of software (or operating system) is doing to their computer".


What warped part of the internet did you pop out of, this is the weirdest excuse to pirate I have heard of in a long time. How old are you? Yes pirates attack ships, guess what they also steal software, sharing implies that it belonged to you to begin with, software doesn't belong to you for you to do anything you want with, if it did then devs would charge you what it cost them to make it, you are buying the right to play the game and that's it so stop being such a close minded greedy little *******. With the source code in hand you have given everyone who downloads it a way to freely compile and manipulate the game in any way they feel like, this is NOT what game developers want people to do, they are trying to provide a game for people to have some fun in not give you access to all the code so you can **** them in the **** with it. You like a game pay for it so the devs can make more of the games you like, games take a lot of time, money, skill, know how, and yet they get very little to nothing in return anymore because of pirates and shoddy publishers. What in the hell do you want with the source code anyways, almost everyone one that downloaded it would have no idea what to do with it and the ones that did are either there to pirate it or steal there code to use in their own projects. Using malware as an excuse is also retarded, we are talking about games not Malware software here, I cant even think of one time I got a game that had malware in it, if you have its most likely because you have done nothing but pirate your games which 5 times out of 10 has malware installed into by the people who cracked it, you want to avoid nasties then avoid piracy to begin with. Try what I would expect is the impossible and look at it from a game developers position first before you go running your mouth.

an excuse to "pirate" games?

an excuse to "pirate" games? i don't "pirate" games. i use free and open source software. i'm not interested in the junk on the shelves..."pirates" don't steal games, that's a propaganda term used to compare attacking a ship to copying a piece of software... hardly comparable... as for the malware comment, many games are malware by definition. sneeky developers putting features in to restrict and spy on the user. how do you know your games don't have malware in them? without the source code you can't tell... if you can tell if a game has malware (or any other piece of software) without the source code, please tell us how its done... or is it because you scanned for malware with your non-free piece of software, which probably has malware in it anyway... lol i don't go running my mouth unless i know what i'm talking about, and i know what i'm talking about... it's a shame that the sheep who keep getting screwed by more and more drm, still go out and buy the games. wake up... jeez

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