Easter Egg in Pirated Version of 'Game Dev Tycoon' Exposes Harmful Effects of Piracy

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News Posted: Tue, Apr 30 2013 11:58 AM

Whether it's software, games, movies or even books, piracy is rampant. There's no denying that, and there's no one that understands the harmful effects of it better than the content creators themselves. Over the years, we've seen some humorous attempts at trying to sway the pirate towards becoming a paying customer, and there's probably little doubt that some have worked.

In recent memory, Serious Sam 3 introduced a monster only in the pirated version of the game that hunted you down indefinitely and was impossible to kill. There's also Take On Helicopters, which corrupted textures on purpose in the pirated version of the game. Humorously, before these mechanics were understood, some pirates took to the respective developer's official forums to complain about the issues. For a game dev, I'm sure a pirate ousting themselves in public like that has to be oh-so-satisfying.

The two-man team at Greenheart Games understand all-too-well the effects of piracy on smaller developers, so they took a cue from the above examples and made what I feel is the best possible method of portraying the "piracy is harmful" message. Their first game, Game Dev Tycoon, allows you to create a development studio from the ground-up - essentially mimicking what they themselves are trying to find success with. In the pirated version of the game, which the developer itself was first to upload, you'll eventually face the wrath of pirates:

You might think that such a blunt message would clue most gamers into the problem, but not so. On both the developer's own forums, and even Steam's, gamers have been complaining about the issue. One gamer even asked if there was a way to research DRM! It's not bad enough that these gamers pirated the game, but they're complaining about the issue of piracy affecting their progress! The irony is incredible.

To help drive home the fact that piracy is harmful, Greenheart Games revealed their initial sales information, which also includes those who've been playing the cracked version. On day one, the company took in 214 sales (at $8 a piece, that's $1,712 for a year's worth of effort), while 3,104 users were using the pirated version.

6.4% legitimate customers vs. 93.6% illegitimate customers. It's rather striking, especially when the game costs a mere eight bucks. With these results in-hand, the developer has made an appeal to those who pirated the game, asking them to consider purchasing it if they like it (seems fair). There's a lot more meat at the URL below about this whole process, and I highly recommend reading through it.

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Warsoul replied on Tue, Apr 30 2013 12:51 PM

Multiplayers services, modding tools, free dlc combined with an acceptable price, its the way to made money in video games industry. Or simply Kickstart your game and be paid before release. And please, stop investing millions on DRM ! It make games too expensives for nothing and they are completly ineffectives. Invest that money on an ''Bnet'' or ''Steam'' steam service instead. All games with good matchmaking system made good sales. Or take these millions to drop your price of your game. This is ridiculous to sale an DLC with 4 maps for 30$ ! Your customers are not stupids and most of them mods games for free ! Where are their paid ? They not worth it ? In short; customers work hard to gain little money and they see somes work hard on cool games for big bucks (video games are the most profitable entertainement industry in 2013) and when they finish their game or movie; they simply multiply their efforts by million times. Its an old and injust way to gain your life. Why an artist can multiply a year of effort X times and others not ? This media business its old time now. The future of media business is 1 big sale for the entire planet with an average 35 to 80% profit. For now the thief complain to be stolen. This is annoying.

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I think it's hilarious that people who are stealing are complaining about what they stole. It's a shame more can't be done about the rampant piracy. Personally, I would not want to have my product stolen. And if it was, I would prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Stealing is stealing. First of all, if I stole something (and let's be clear, piracy is stealing) I wouldn't have the audacity to complain about what I stole to the creators of what i stole. You can whine and moan about what developers and company's do and what they charge all you want as that is your right. Here is a new idea, if you don't like it, don't buy it!

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Inspector replied on Tue, Apr 30 2013 2:08 PM

LMFAO, i was wondering why i got that message for game achievement for supporting start-up companies or something like that. But dam, those numbers make look scary. I account for one of those 214 ;).

Its a real nice and fun game but very hard to be successful. The first two games i played ended in bankruptcy, then somehow one game earned me over one million and then bankruptcy again xD.

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Warsoul replied on Tue, Apr 30 2013 2:09 PM

If we exchange an apple vs an apple; its an fair trade ? No ?

If i give you an apple and you give me one and a half apple in exchange; it's an 50% profit ? Right ?

If a guy work 40h per week for an entire year and get 100% of his salary; it's right ?

If a guy work 40h per week for an entire year and he copy and paste his work 1 millions times on an dvd; making his salary 1 000% for the same amount of work. It's right ?

If you call an plumber and at end of his job he say you : wait i need to copy my bill 1 million times to charge my job to the entire planet because it simply can be multiplied freely (or almost). You prolly say : *** you ! Thief  ! No ?

We made an big mistake by letting this artist industry to simply copy their works with no rules to regulate prices. The nature always balance stuffs. Its an hard way to noticed it but you simply can't fight versus an noble cause.

For all artists they got injustly under paid; make sure we notice you, made it clear by showing your works and financial results. If you made an good work an you are appreciated; the mob will fund you.

Somes artists are rich and most of our researchers are poor. This is realy not normal.

Ubisoft made 1,061 bilions last years. How much is is total cost ? How much % profit ? How much structures, lands, media banks and R&D acquisitions they are included in their operating cost. They are losts with the game release ? They still have it at the end ? This is a kind of profit ? How many man hours was spent by Ubisoft last year ? Divide (profit + all acquisitions) by the total of man hours on one year. What you see ?

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The game is priced too high in my opinion... so yeah, I can understand the pirates. They also made it freely available.

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KarelRoy replied on Tue, Apr 30 2013 6:33 PM

all this become creepy ... at some where ...

dont forget's game are a product ( thats-all )

sad...

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Warsoul replied on Tue, Apr 30 2013 9:49 PM

That game look like Game Tycoon !

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Warsoul replied on Tue, Apr 30 2013 9:52 PM

I tought this is the old Game Tycoon game i bought long time ago but its not ! It's a new copy of it ! I hope it's more complex than the old one. But it look really similar for what i see. They have an demo ?

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Kidbest100 replied on Tue, Apr 30 2013 11:07 PM

This is one of the problems with working in the game industry for today's age. Piracy is a major issue that you have to either use to work WITH you, and FOR you, or to make a giant scam that hurts the loyal paying customer more than it deters the pirates... (cough cough EA Cough cough)

Either way, piracy has been around since the dawn of the internet and the computer. It will never stop, and it will always be here. So, why not use it to your advantage?

A "Peice of art" is worth a heck of alot more when it is one of a kind. You can't take the mona lisa, get it appraised for 500 million dollars, copy it 5000 times and try and sell the copies for the price of the original... It just makes no sense, and is ridiculous.

The more there is of something, the less that it is worth, as has been shown time and time again with limited natural resources like gold. Diamonds on the other hand, they are so expensive because of supply and demand. If we opened up all the worlds mined diamonds alone to market, the worth of them would drop drastically.

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ShillenP replied on Thu, May 9 2013 12:28 AM

Those 3104 are only playing it because the pirated version exists. They would not have bought it regardless. On the contrary, most of those 214 that purchased it probably heard about it from someone who pirated it. I'm exaggerating a little, but that is exactly what the gaming/music/etc industries do, they exaggerate this issue. And, no, I never pirate anything.

These industries would have you believe that everyone who pirated the game is a lost sale to them when that is the farthest thing possible from the truth. They also completely neglect the fact that more people experiencing their content is free advertising. Who knows the exact impact piracy has on these industries, but I do know for sure that it is not as bad as they make it out to be.

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