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MacRumors
Apr 29, 2013, 03:31 PM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/29/independent-game-developer-pranks-pirates-with-game-dev-tycoon/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2013/04/gdt.jpgTwo brothers, Patrick and Daniel Klug, recently released their first game called 'Game Dev Tycoon (http://www.greenheartgames.com/app/game-dev-tycoon/)'. In it, players start a small game development company in the 1980's and attempt to build it up to a development powerhouse over the next 30 years.

In a bit of an experiment, the Klugs released a cracked version (http://www.greenheartgames.com/2013/04/29/what-happens-when-pirates-play-a-game-development-simulator-and-then-go-bankrupt-because-of-piracy/) of their game and uploaded it themselves to a torrent site. However, in the pirated version, the in-game developers begin to run into crippling piracy that eventually drives them into bankruptcy. In-game CEO's receive this message:
Boss, it seems that while many players play our new game, they steal it by downloading a cracked version rather than buying it legally.

If players don't buy the games they like, we will sooner or later go bankrupt.Players who downloaded the game illegally then began posting questions in the game's support forums asking how to better fight the pirates.

After the first weekend (http://www.greenheartgames.com/2013/04/29/what-happens-when-pirates-play-a-game-development-simulator-and-then-go-bankrupt-because-of-piracy/), the company had 3100 gamers playing the cracked version, with 214 playing the genuine edition.

http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2013/04/dev.png
The game itself would be enjoyed by any fans of the tycoon series of games -- as CEO of the game company, players can research new technologies and game types, while hiring new employees and making bigger and bigger video games.

Fictional versions of major game platforms like NES, Sony PlayStation and the Xbox are all used in the game, with some clever thinking required to figure out what types of games will be bestsellers.

Game Dev Tycoon for Mac is $7.99 straight from the developers (http://www.greenheartgames.com/app/game-dev-tycoon/), with access to Windows and Linux versions also included in the purchase price.

Article Link: Independent Game Developer Pranks Pirates With 'Game Dev Tycoon' (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/29/independent-game-developer-pranks-pirates-with-game-dev-tycoon/)



bwillwall
Apr 29, 2013, 03:42 PM
Simply awesome

achtung!
Apr 29, 2013, 03:42 PM
nice! :D

phillipduran
Apr 29, 2013, 03:45 PM
Best trick ever. I love it!

Don't be a pirate kids. Play what you earn or don't play at all. Life lesson.

swarmster
Apr 29, 2013, 03:47 PM
Hilarious, I love stuff like this. You can't really stop it, but the best anti-piracy, to me, shouldn't be a clear "it works or it doesn't" thing, but something that insidiously destroys your gameplay over time while causing all the pirates to self-report.

Although in this case I guess the icing on the cake would be if Kairosoft released an update to Game Dev Story where you suddenly have to compete with rival developers that clone your games.

Jessica Lares
Apr 29, 2013, 03:47 PM
$7.99 for THAT game? :rolleyes:

Still a very good joke.

Namjins
Apr 29, 2013, 03:48 PM
Genius!

goodcow
Apr 29, 2013, 03:48 PM
$7.99 for THAT game? :rolleyes:

Still a very good joke.

Oh hey, where's the game you released?

achbed
Apr 29, 2013, 03:53 PM
Although in this case I guess the icing on the cake would be if Kairosoft released an update to Game Dev Story where you suddenly have to compete with rival developers that clone your games.

That's included in the "leaked" source code version that they seeded as well.....

j/k - would be epic if they did that tho.

johnnnw
Apr 29, 2013, 03:55 PM
This is actually amazing.

People posted in the forum asking how to defeat the pirates?... brilliant.

Cameront9
Apr 29, 2013, 03:56 PM
Since I just got into Game Dev Story on the phone, I'm intrigued by this game, but it pretty seems to be a direct clone of GDS. I mean, they could have at least changed the isometric view to a top-down one or something. Even the metrics they use for the quality of the game look the same.

The whole pirate thing seems to be the pot calling the kettle black...

Jessica Lares
Apr 29, 2013, 04:07 PM
Oh hey, where's the game you released?

In Google Play. :rolleyes:

Joking, nothing up at the moment. I'm still planning it out and learning Unity.

I feel like $7.99 is a bit much for a game like that though. Even with the promotion they're getting now from this little joke of there's, it's probably not going to compel too many people to buy it. I'm saying that as someone who does buy a lot of the better $2.99-9.99 games. Based on the screenshots, it just looks like another building/shop freemium game.

Liquorpuki
Apr 29, 2013, 04:08 PM
$7.99 for THAT game? :rolleyes:

Still a very good joke.

It's a good game and worth it if you like sims. It's basically a better looking version of Game Dev Story, which is $4 with graphics lifted straight from the 80's

ArtOfWarfare
Apr 29, 2013, 04:13 PM
Interesting how many people pirate their app instead of buy it... in my experience I have far more legal downloads than pirated downloads (about 10x as many legal users as pirating users), but that might just be a matter of different markets - I'm targeting IT people who know that $1.99 for my app is already a steal* whereas they're trying to charge casual gamers $7.99, who are used to getting their games for free.

* Plus they're spending company money rather than their own, plus a lot more people will know they're doing illegal things and so they're more likely to get busted for it.

I enjoy the market I sell in. I just wish I knew how to sell video games, since those are a lot more fun to make...

reidme
Apr 29, 2013, 04:13 PM
Brilliant. "Hey can anybody tell me how to thwart a jerk like me?"

SnowLeopard2008
Apr 29, 2013, 04:16 PM
Ha this is a big middle finger to the pirates out there.

iMacFarlane
Apr 29, 2013, 04:20 PM
Poetry. Sheer poetry.

torrent.zombie to help.desk: "How can I stop these pirates from destroying my company?"

** uncomfortable silence **

help.desk: "You tell us." :eek:

nick_elt
Apr 29, 2013, 04:22 PM
haha. gold.

eyhk
Apr 29, 2013, 04:43 PM
Since I just got into Game Dev Story on the phone, I'm intrigued by this game, but it pretty seems to be a direct clone of GDS. I mean, they could have at least changed the isometric view to a top-down one or something. Even the metrics they use for the quality of the game look the same.

The whole pirate thing seems to be the pot calling the kettle black...

I was wondering about that myself. Cool prank though.

mrkgoo
Apr 29, 2013, 04:46 PM
They should've also put in an event where another company apes the player game style and ideas and makes their own version.

rmwebs
Apr 29, 2013, 05:08 PM
Looks like their site was killed. Getting 502 errors here.

BC2009
Apr 29, 2013, 05:20 PM
Wow, the ratio of pirated versions of the game in use versus legal versions is staggering.

roadbloc
Apr 29, 2013, 05:49 PM
Oh hey, where's the game you released?

Just because somebody thinks a game is overpriced, doesn't mean they have to be in the industry or even know anything about video games. People see different value in different things. Personally, I think the fact that 3100 out of 3314 players chose to pirate the game shows how possibly overpriced people seem to think it is.

Kudos to the developers for the prank though.

flottenheimer
Apr 29, 2013, 06:01 PM
Genius.
Hope they let the dialogue and the experiment run long enough before revealing their move.

downpour
Apr 29, 2013, 06:02 PM
To be fair I doubt many of the people who pirated the game would have bought it if they couldn't have got it for free. It can even have a positive effect on sales by increasing its fame. Think how famous Photoshop is. Do you really think it would be so famous if everyone who used it had payed for it?

Crzyrio
Apr 29, 2013, 06:05 PM
Just because somebody thinks a game is overpriced, doesn't mean they have to be in the industry or even know anything about video games. People see different value in different things. Personally, I think the fact that 3100 out of 3314 players chose to pirate the game shows how possibly overpriced people seem to think it is.

Kudos to the developers for the prank though.

You can put the best of best game out there and charge players only 10$ and you will get the same results. To most people free is always better

Especially when it is so easy

WatchTheThrone
Apr 29, 2013, 06:20 PM
These guys are a joke!! Copy a game then complain when someone copies it back!!

iTeleport
Apr 29, 2013, 06:26 PM
I hope they tracked those IPs on the forum...

Liquorpuki
Apr 29, 2013, 06:45 PM
Just because somebody thinks a game is overpriced, doesn't mean they have to be in the industry or even know anything about video games. People see different value in different things. Personally, I think the fact that 3100 out of 3314 players chose to pirate the game shows how possibly overpriced people seem to think it is.

It's overpriced because Apple/Google have commoditized mobile software to the point everyone now thinks if it's > couple bucks, it's too expensive.

Meanwhile a $1000 piece of hardware with 20-50% margins is totally acceptable

Sayer
Apr 29, 2013, 06:58 PM
This is actually a good tactic, specifically releasing your own "cracked" version of an app that is intentionally disabled in some subtle way.

The mere presence of the "cracked" version will let it spread quickly as no one wants to be the site without something new.

And the conversion the factor for paid vs. cracked sounds about right.

a0me
Apr 29, 2013, 07:12 PM
Oh hey, where's the game you released?

For $3.99 you could get Game Dev Story (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/game-dev-story/id396085661?mt=8), the critically acclaimed original, for half what this clone is selling for.

http://img.gamespot.com/gamespot/shared/gsuk_images/misc/gamedevstory.jpg

Michael Goff
Apr 29, 2013, 07:18 PM
For $3.99 you could get Game Dev Story (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/game-dev-story/id396085661?mt=8), the critically acclaimed original, for half what this clone is selling for.

Image (http://img.gamespot.com/gamespot/shared/gsuk_images/misc/gamedevstory.jpg)

One is a PC game, the other is an iOS game.

You really don't see the difference?

jw2002
Apr 29, 2013, 07:46 PM
I hope they tracked those IPs on the forum...

Why? The company released the cracked version for free. It is technically a legal release since the company itself willingly made it available through bit torrent.

a0me
Apr 29, 2013, 07:46 PM
One is a PC game, the other is an iOS game.

You really don't see the difference?

How does this game being on PC change the fact that it's a clone and that it's twice the price of the original? Also, Game Dev Story was first released as a PC game, 16 years ago, and its sequel --released a few years later for PC-- is available for free (you'll need to download a free language patch to play in English).

E.Lizardo
Apr 29, 2013, 09:54 PM
It's overpriced because Apple/Google have commoditized mobile software to the point everyone now thinks if it's > couple bucks, it's too expensive.

Meanwhile a $1000 piece of hardware with 20-50% margins is totally acceptable

Apple/Google didn't have anything to do with it.
Developers set the prices.If they are unhappy they should collectively look in the mirror.

Or perhaps you can explain how Apple/Google could have prevented it??

Liquorpuki
Apr 29, 2013, 11:34 PM
Apple/Google didn't have anything to do with it.
Developers set the prices.If they are unhappy they should collectively look in the mirror.

Or perhaps you can explain how Apple/Google could have prevented it??

Apple built the single mobile storefront model and Google copied it with their Play Store.

You got one crowded storefront, thousands of developers competing for your attention, the only way for them to get your attention is to undercut each other. Race to the bottom pricing ensues.

Go look up the strategy "commoditize your complements" if you want to know why it was advantageous for Apple to let their ecosystem become a budget software wasteland. On that note, Apple/Google had no interest in preventing it. They're not software companies and cheap software = accessible software, which fuels hardware sales and increases ad penetration

Developers set the price but they're not gonna price themselves out of the market. They're either gonna look for new ways to monetize (Freemium, subs, etc), stay off the platform, or strip features until that $2 standard price becomes cost effective because you get what you pay for

ilmman
Apr 30, 2013, 12:17 AM
I did something similar as well on my iOS games. It detects who cracked it and when it does, it spams them ads anyways, while playing so I make money from crackers.. WIN/WIN!

VPrime
Apr 30, 2013, 12:27 AM
One is a PC game, the other is an iOS game.

You really don't see the difference?

GameDev story is available for iPhone and iPad.

ScottishCaptain
Apr 30, 2013, 12:44 AM
Bad move.

First off, the people who downloaded it aren't pirates if you uploaded it yourself. It's the same thing as a free "light" version on the App Store. You can't complain about lost sales because they didn't exist in the first place. If you think anything else, then you're insane.

Second, these guys have really shot themselves in the foot now. What little dismal sales they have are going to completely evaporate now that they've pissed off the pirates, who are surely going to go out of their way to obtain the retail version and crack it properly. Embarrassing pirates is one of the worst things you can do in this market, because they have the power to hit you where it hurts- in your profits as a developer.

I have a feeling that once that happens and a proper cracked version is out there, all the noise they've generated over this thing is going to totally backfire and override their product page in most of the search engines... Making it difficult to find anything other then the pirated versions.

This is a great lesson in how not to act as an indie developer. Their game would have done better had they simply included some basic anti-piracy checks to prevent the 99% from cracking your application, and invested their time and money into advertising rather then trying to pull off a viral marketing stunt like this.

-SC

roadbloc
Apr 30, 2013, 02:19 AM
It's overpriced because Apple/Google have commoditized mobile software to the point everyone now thinks if it's > couple bucks, it's too expensive.

Meanwhile a $1000 piece of hardware with 20-50% margins is totally acceptable

Doesn't matter. Piracy isn't a fad. Its here to stay forever. Developers/musicians/movie makers/artists need to find ways on enticing customers to buy their material. Whereas this is a brilliant prank, it isn't half ironic don't you think that the game suffered from piracy?

Reason077
Apr 30, 2013, 02:58 AM
For $3.99 you could get Game Dev Story (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/game-dev-story/id396085661?mt=8), the critically acclaimed original, for half what this clone is selling for.


This was the first thing I thought of when I saw this article, too!

Perhaps they should add a feature to the game that simulates what happens to your sales when one of your competitors clones your game concept and comes up with a clever marketing strategy to gain an advantage :)


Though to be fair, while these games look *very* similar, they aren't direct competitors since one is for iOS and one is for desktops.

Ashyukun
Apr 30, 2013, 09:13 AM
Hopefully they'll come up with a different scheme to promote their next game: Hot Springs Tycoon... :rolleyes:

Mactendo
Apr 30, 2013, 10:18 AM
Personally, I think the fact that 3100 out of 3314 players chose to pirate the game shows how possibly overpriced people seem to think it is.
Dozens and hundreds of thousands of people steal $0.99 apps for $649 iPhone. Do they think those apps are overpriced?

a0me
Apr 30, 2013, 10:23 AM
This was the first thing I thought of when I saw this article, too!

Perhaps they should add a feature to the game that simulates what happens to your sales when one of your competitors clones your game concept and comes up with a clever marketing strategy to gain an advantage :)


Though to be fair, while these games look *very* similar, they aren't direct competitors since one is for iOS and one is for desktops.
I mentioned it earlier in this thread but Game Dev Story was first released as a PC game, 16 years ago, and its sequel --released a few years later for PC-- is available for free (you'll need to download a free language patch to play in English).

roadbloc
Apr 30, 2013, 10:25 AM
Dozens and hundreds of thousands of people steal $0.99 apps for $649 iPhone. Do they think those apps are overpriced?

Obviously they do. Otherwise they'd have no problem buying them. For a lot of people it seems Apps aren't worth the money.

Rossatron
Apr 30, 2013, 10:34 AM
seems like a marketing gimmick, to be honest. i buy a lot of games, in various price range but that game just doesn't look like its worth 8 bucks. i think the ratio of pirated vs legal shows that.

Liquorpuki
Apr 30, 2013, 11:08 AM
Doesn't matter. Piracy isn't a fad. Its here to stay forever. Developers/musicians/movie makers/artists need to find ways on enticing customers to buy their material. Whereas this is a brilliant prank, it isn't half ironic don't you think that the game suffered from piracy?

I agree though I'd argue piracy doesn't really set the pricepoint of software. It cuts into margins but ultimately how the market is built sets the price. On iOS you have one storefront, it's crowded and commoditized, so devs have to price cheap to get you to download. On Windows 8, the market is sparse and less crowded so a similar game costs more. Back in the day on Windows Mobile, there were multiple storefronts you could download the same app from and you could also buy the app from brick & mortars. $20 was a typical price for mobile software. This was all independent of piracy.

phillipduran
Apr 30, 2013, 11:12 AM
Bad move.

First off, the people who downloaded it aren't pirates if you uploaded it yourself. It's the same thing as a free "light" version on the App Store. You can't complain about lost sales because they didn't exist in the first place. If you think anything else, then you're insane.

Second, these guys have really shot themselves in the foot now. What little dismal sales they have are going to completely evaporate now that they've pissed off the pirates, who are surely going to go out of their way to obtain the retail version and crack it properly. Embarrassing pirates is one of the worst things you can do in this market, because they have the power to hit you where it hurts- in your profits as a developer.

I have a feeling that once that happens and a proper cracked version is out there, all the noise they've generated over this thing is going to totally backfire and override their product page in most of the search engines... Making it difficult to find anything other then the pirated versions.

This is a great lesson in how not to act as an indie developer. Their game would have done better had they simply included some basic anti-piracy checks to prevent the 99% from cracking your application, and invested their time and money into advertising rather then trying to pull off a viral marketing stunt like this.

-SC

You underestimate the value of the publicity that this has generated for the game.

Mactendo
Apr 30, 2013, 11:55 AM
Obviously they do. Otherwise they'd have no problem buying them. For a lot of people it seems Apps aren't worth the money.
I believe for most of those people it's just too easy to find a cracked "free" app (and there're no legal consequences) . When it's too hard most people would pay. And those who wouldn't they are actually thinking apps are not worth the money.

Plutonius
Apr 30, 2013, 12:03 PM
But people who jail break IOS never do so to pirate software ? That's what I keep hearing.

seems like a marketing gimmick, to be honest. i buy a lot of games, in various price range but that game just doesn't look like its worth 8 bucks. i think the ratio of pirated vs legal shows that.

The only sure conclusion is that people think it's overpriced based on the number of legal purchases. There is no proof that the number of pirated copies would go down if the game was cheaper.

roadbloc
Apr 30, 2013, 12:07 PM
But people who jail break IOS never do so to pirate software ? That's what I keep hearing.

Not everybody it seems. Just like the myth of 'average consumers' not jailbreaking. They do. Usually for free apps.

Namjins
Apr 30, 2013, 01:33 PM
Saying that the app is overpriced doesn't justify theft. If I used that same logic, I'd just steal everything that wasn't covered by my income.

MondayNgt
May 2, 2013, 12:57 PM
It's kind of amusing (on video game sites, particularly) the amount of whining and rationalizing that is going on with game piracy. My favorite one is "the developer released the game for free on torrents, so it's not piracy." Uh, yes it is. The developer set a price on their game, and unless the official price becomes $0, if you are hitting the torrent or whatnot because you don't want to pay the price, you are still pirating with intent to do so. It's like being busted in a sting operation, even if it was the police all along, you were still trying to do something wrong.

What the developer is doing with the 'pirated' version reminds me of the whole 'cuckoo egg' tactic on Napster years back with rigged music files. Not that it will combat piracy, but it's going to happen anyway, hard to stop, and the developer might as well use the pirates to have their fun (and more importantly, publicity) out of the whole thing.