Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Game Dev Tycoon Gets Meta on its Pirates

Tragicomedy

I am well aware that in spite of all I've said about things like DRM and the hoops that people are made to jump through when it comes to getting access to their games these days, that in the minds of many they are something of a grim necessity. After all, piracy is a thing that exists, perhaps not to such a ludicrous degree as has been claimed by some cough Ubisoft cough but it's still a problem. However, I think that rather than clamping down harder and harder with more intrusive countermeasures, that a more subtle approach is needed.

In the past I've been quick to praise games like Batman: Arkham Asylum for giving the game a code that trips when it's pirated that prevents Batman from being able to glide around properly, leading to his own rather humorous demise when a situation arises in the game where the ability is necessary to continue.

It is measures like this, things which hurt the pirates but not the people who pay for the game honestly, that need to be brought into the forefront. That is why I think that what the developers of Game Dev Tycoon did to attempt to thwart those who steal their game is particularly hilarious. Why is that?

Because it's karma.

Anyone who pirates the game will find that their own studio will start feeling the effects of what they've done. As more and more of the in-game studio's titles get pirated it becomes harder and harder to turn any sort of profit, eventually leading to bankruptcy and a game over. These aren't just my words, they are those of the studio itself: "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,"

The fact that many of the people suffering from this "problem" then went on the forums to complain about it and bemoan the fact that piracy is so rampant is something that I'm honestly not sure whether to laugh or cry over.

The ugly side of this story, as the article notes, is that if the statistics are correct, then a staggering 93.6% of the games users are playing off of pirated copies. Keeping in mind that this is a game that you can buy for roughly $8.99 -- no, I'm not forgetting a digit in there, this isn't a AAA sixty plus dollar game here -- it paints a rather sad picture of things doesn't it? Some would argue that because the developers, Greenheart Games, put out the bugged copies of the version themselves as an experiment that they only have themselves to blame, but I think that's missing the point.

The point is that when some people complain about the games industry not going anywhere and not giving us new ideas, they don't understand that part of the reason things are the way they are is because even when we're not dealing with big name studios that people can and will still simply take and not give. This is a society where you can find pretty much anything in terms of media out there for free, legally or otherwise, but I'm not entirely convinced that just because you can get it for free that you should.

There will always be spoiled studios, complaining about not having an even bigger piece of the pie than they already do, just like there will always be those that will take the game for free, regardless of whether or not it would be better to support those that made it. The sad thing is that in most cases neither of these factions are ever the ones that are hurt the most by their constant back and forth; it's the people and developers in the middle of the road that suffer.

1 comment:

  1. "...if the statistics are correct, then a staggering 93.6% of the games users are playing off of pirated copies."

    *chokes a little on water*

    I'm going to forcibly interpret that statistic as just an extension of Game Dev Tycoon's sales; it's probably the only way I'll sleep tonight. On the other hand, I have to wonder just who in the world is so eager to play Game Dev Tycoon.

    Joking (relatively speaking) aside, you do have a point. I'm going to assume -- or at least hope -- that piracy isn't quite as bad as some companies say, but things cost money for a reason. Not paying one price seems to be leading to gamers, and innocent ones at that, paying an even higher price...not to mention the people who actually worked on the game.

    The internet is full of both wonders and horrors, I suppose.

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