Developer Leaks Own Game to Pirates

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Developer Leaks Own Game to Pirates

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The CEO of Trials developer RedLynx has admitted that the company posted the game on torrents.

In an apparent effort to curtail piracy by contributing to it, RedLynx CEO, Tero Virtala, said that his company leaked a version of the motorcycle game, Trials, on the same day that the game was released. The only difference was that the leaked version did not have access to the online leaderboards, which Virtala claims is the "soul" of the game.

"Piracy is here, so how can we take advantage of that?" Virtala said yesterday during a panel at Develop Liverpool. It was his hope that pirates would download the game, and then become so enthralled with it that they would then go out and buy the full version. Right, pirates are suddenly going to transform into paying customers because the "soul" isn't there.

In my mind, posting even a gimped version of your game to pirate sites is counterproductive to attempting to earn money developing said games. Doing so implies that piracy is tolerable, which it isn't. Plus, any traffic which the game may or may not generate to such torrent sites may facilitate users downloading other pirate games which legitimate companies did not leak.

Even if RedLynx made the unscrupulous decision to post their game to a torrent sites, why in the name of Jehovah would the CEO tell anyone about it? I see no advantage for that information to be made public and, conversely, there is a huge possibility for an industry-wide backlash.

Maybe Tero Virtala drank a little too much coffee and Red Bull before his panel? Or maybe a software pirate killed the real Tero Virtala, created a life-like Tero Virtala cyborg, and inserted him into the panel at Develop Liverpool unbeknownst its organizers? I leave that up for the gaming community to decide.

And finally, Tero Virtala! Best. Name. Ever.

via Gamesindustry.biz

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I have this revolutionary idea. Basically, instead of leaking your full version of the game (minus the online leaderboards) onto torrents, they could instead release a short segment of the game - one or two levels or up until a certain point, and put that up for download for free so people could download it legally off their site and see if they like the introductory product before they buy the full version.

I call this cool new idea a "Demo". What do you guys think?

Amnestic:
I have this revolutionary idea. Basically, instead of leaking your full version of the game (minus the online leaderboards) onto torrents, they could instead release a short segment of the game - one or two levels or up until a certain point, and put that up for download for free so people could download it legally off their site and see if they like the introductory product before they buy the full version.

I call this cool new idea a "Demo". What do you guys think?

While your paragraph of sarcasm is a good idea, people would still be able to pirate the full game.

And personally, I think it was a stupid idea.
Pirates have no soul.

Radeonx:

Amnestic:
I have this revolutionary idea. Basically, instead of leaking your full version of the game (minus the online leaderboards) onto torrents, they could instead release a short segment of the game - one or two levels or up until a certain point, and put that up for download for free so people could download it legally off their site and see if they like the introductory product before they buy the full version.

I call this cool new idea a "Demo". What do you guys think?

While your paragraph of sarcasm is a good idea, people would still be able to pirate the full game.

And personally, I think it was a stupid idea.
Pirates have no soul.

People will always pirate. Propogating and encouraging that by leaking the game yourself isn't exactly helping the process along.

I have a better idea. Leak the full "game" on torrents, but make it so it gives the devs acces to your CPU and then destroy all of their CPUs.

HG131:
I have a better idea. Leak the full "game" on torrents, but make it so it gives the devs acces to your CPU and then destroy all of their CPUs.

That's slightly more illegal in a company-obliterating way.

Seriously though, leaderboards? Shit, I doubt half the pirates even knew there was something missing from the game!

Or they could post Trojans on torrent sites with the game as a label, and then when people download it, it'll hijack their computer with tons of... Gay Porn... Or something...

Plus even if it is illegal, what are the pirates going to do about it? "Oh, well I was just ermm downloading this thing I thought was a game which is technically "not legal" when I found out it was a virus...".

Irishhoodlum:
Or they could post Trojans on torrent sites with the game as a label, and then when people download it, it'll hijack their computer with tons of... Gay Porn... Or something...

Plus even if it is illegal, what are the pirates going to do about it? "Oh, well I was just ermm downloading this thing I thought was a game which is technically "not legal" when I found out it was a virus...".

Are you sure it's illegal? If the owners and creators of the program put it on torrent site, I'm not entirely sure it becomes 'pirated' anymore.

I, however, don't speak legalese. I get the feeling that it becomes a bit more murky when the creators upload it on a torrent rather than someone else who ripped it did so.

Wait, is a guy named "Tito" making fun of someone else's name?

Amnestic:
I have this revolutionary idea. Basically, instead of leaking your full version of the game (minus the online leaderboards) onto torrents, they could instead release a short segment of the game - one or two levels or up until a certain point, and put that up for download for free so people could download it legally off their site and see if they like the introductory product before they buy the full version.

I call this cool new idea a "Demo". What do you guys think?

A fools idea, it'll never catch on!!

No I totally agree with you, I've had to pirate games JUST to see if I could run the real game that I have on my desk, or in my cart on a store, because these bastards don't put out DEMOS! What happened to demos? Why do less and less companies put them out? They help us PC users understand if our computer is up to spec rather than having us torrent a game for 3 days just to check the damn thing.

Wow...
... that's stupid.

"Soul" my ass, most people don't give two shits about the leaderboards they get populated with either people who have found a glitch, accidently bugged the game (I'm 2# on South Park's leaderboards because of this) or are just so crazy good you'll never beat them.

SaintWaldo:
Wait, is a guy named "Tito" making fun of someone else's name?

You cut me SaintWaldo. To the bone.

i really like the idea, but i dislike their approach.
people will pirate games, no matter what anti-piracy gizmo you install, thats a fact.
sure you can implement a few security features to greatly reduce piracy, but eventually you get to a point where not only can you not reduce the piracy by much more, but you end up just pissing off your possible customers (Example: Spore)

i like the idea of leaking a version of the game online, either leaking only part of the game, or leaking a version of the game thats missing some key feature that is important/necissary in the game (like what they did with Batman Arkum Asylum)

HG131:
I have a better idea. Leak the full "game" on torrents, but make it so it gives the devs acces to your CPU and then destroy all of their CPUs.

Destroying several days - correction - months in work hours along with tons of personal data because they couldn't live with me trying the game before buying is a good way to end up with a molotov through a window at their their office and find me waiting with a baseball bat on their way home. If they think they can be utterly unthinkingly destructive out of spite over what may or may not be a lost sale of which about $0.05 was going to get past their publisher then i reserve the right to react with similar force.

Besides that, pirates are smarter then your average gamer and unexplained uploads not by any scene group are met with utmost scrutiny and trying to pose as a scene group will result in being denounced as fake by said scene group within hours or even minutes. You'd be more successful in getting people to buy viruses/porn by putting it on an x360 disk, dumping it in various stores and hosting a bunch of fake reviews giving it a 9/10.

I am against piracy, but I think spamming pirate boards with dumbed down versions of your software is a valid approach for a company. Arcam Asylum was applauded for doing the same thing a few months ago. He probably mentioned this publicly as part of a "ha ha we are smarter than you" moment. Since legislation, boycotts, and whining has yet to stop piracy I welcome this new approach.

Greg Tito:

In my mind, posting even a gimped version of your game to pirate sites is counterproductive to attempting to earn money developing said games. Doing so implies that piracy is tolerable, which it isn't.

One might argue that the only thing one can really do is tolerate piracy. It might well be one of the few things that people actually do do in response to piracy. Lots of people have spent money fighting piracy, inventing complex DRM systems, only to have those games go on to get poor reviews and poor performing sales, and then pirates crack the DRM and get the full game for free regardless. The only real 100% solution would be total Big Brother monitoring of all computers all the time to prevent users from taking illegal actions, which would totally ruin the nature of the internet. And even then, that wouldn't really work as hot as you'd think, since someone would develop a work around.

In fact, the only incentives I've seen for people to not pirate are indeed policies that include toleration of piracy. I'm talking about DLC and rewards/goodies for legitimate customers. The gist of those are "If you buy the game, you get the game plus extra stuff. If you pirate the game, you get the game." At no point does it say "You can't pirate this game," in fact, it acknowledges that.

Also, your argument seems to be a study in self-contradiction. You recognize that pirates aren't paying customers, yet then you turn around in the above quote and suggest that the rate of Piracy has a negative correlation on the rate of Sales. That's not proven fact by any mean. In fact, pirates aren't ever going to be paying customers. In accounting, the term for it is "shrinkage," and it's the rate at which inventory disappears but is not sold. It's recognized as an unwanted, but ultimately pretty permanent (where there is law, there are law-breakers) part of the nature of selling a good. The trouble is because nothing physical is being stolen, lots of people seem to feel that piracy is somehow extremely different from shoplifting. But the data indicates that pirates are choosing between getting the game at no cost, or not getting the game at all. They're not a part of the consumer-base. They never will be. You can accept that these people are criminals, but for some reason, you fail to recognize the nature of crime.

Another fun fact I'd like to point out is there's no way to know if the developers torrenting their own game had a negative or positive effect on the sales of Trials. So your comments are as much conjecture as Mr. Virtala's reasons for torrenting a modified version of the game in the first place. I personally think this makes a lot of sense. He knows his game is going to be pirated at some point. But if he acts first, he can control the nature of the piracy. Here, he's acted to offer a slightly restricted version, not one that would make another pirate actively pursue pirating a full copy, but also not one that gives the full game's capabilities to the pirates. He didn't give them Trials, he game them Trials: Special Pirate Edition.

Nice to see the news story on this but I think there was way too much "my personal blog" from you.

I like that they tried to subvert piracy. They went about it the wrong way, but honestly, how many developers are trying or likely to try anything other than wrapping their titles in ineffective duct tape and slapping genuine consumers about the face?

Couldn't somebody pirate the retail version, and then problem solved?

hamster mk 4:
I am against piracy, but I think spamming pirate boards with dumbed down versions of your software is a valid approach for a company. Arcam Asylum was applauded for doing the same thing a few months ago. He probably mentioned this publicly as part of a "ha ha we are smarter than you" moment. Since legislation, boycotts, and whining has yet to stop piracy I welcome this new approach.

They didn't do the same thing.

They just changed some options so that if the game detects an altered .exe (cracked), it doesn't allow you the access to some features. It was fixed after a week or two, and in the mean time screwed over some legal buyers... But out of respect and creativity of the devs, I bought the game anyway.

Also because they released a demo before.

good idea in theory but in practice I don't think it will hold up well...

I fully support piracy, Pirates understand not all people can afford those expensive games and windows systems, in my country a 100$ game could mean 1/3 or 1/4 of your salary gone. How is that fair? Pirates help the fight against capitalist pigs that want to suck even the pour dry.

I know some of my friends barely afforded a PC, and when they got it they could not afford a 300$ vista or expensive games like COD4 for 90$! So they got pirated and only for 5 $ they get all the things they need with out having to starve or rob a bank!

As long as developers set software at prices like that, pirates will always be there.

I love my country for its weak piracy laws :) I am from Bahrain by the way.

Amnestic:
I call this cool new idea a "Demo". What do you guys think?

Seeing as how the biggest reason people pirate games is due to the fact that most demos do not show an accurate representation of the actual game... Yeah, that sounds like a BRILLIANT IDEA!

Greg Tito:
It was his hope that pirates would download the game, and then become so enthralled with it that they would then go out and buy the full version.

Isn't that what demo's are for? I'm afraid the CEO picked up somewhere that piracy is very web 2.0 and went for it.

Home taping is killing the music industry!.....err, wait....O_o

I think he has the right idea. This doesn't sound like the best application but the harder companies attempt to combat piracy directly the worse they fail, so putting gimped versions of your own game on the torrents is as good a way of fighting piracy as any other way.

Credge:

Amnestic:
I call this cool new idea a "Demo". What do you guys think?

Seeing as how the biggest reason people pirate games is due to the fact that most demos do not show an accurate representation of the actual game... Yeah, that sounds like a BRILLIANT IDEA!

So the clear response is not to improve the quality of the demos you're releasing but to condone piracy.

Awesome.

How about releasing a virus with the leaked game that shuts down most functions in a computer? Then pirates would start relizing the consequences of this kind of thing.

Greg Tito:
Right, pirates are suddenly going to transform into paying customers because the "soul" isn't there.

In my mind, posting even a gimped version of your game to pirate sites is counterproductive to attempting to earn money developing said games. Doing so implies that piracy is tolerable, which it isn't. Plus, any traffic which the game may or may not generate to such torrent sites may facilitate users downloading other pirate games which legitimate companies did not leak.

So many people in this industry still suffer from short sightedness.

First of all, anyone that claims they know the exact impact piracy has, is lying through their teeth. You can't even "guesstimate" an even partially accurate prediction of whether it's more positive or negative.

For instances, every download made is NOT a sale lost. That would be like saying that if you were giving Ferrari's away however many you gave away in a day would be the same amount that would be sold that day if they weren't free. On the other hand, piracy generates a lot of free publicity on the best publicity medium around: word of mouth.

The bottom line is, despite what big corporations raging to push the blame of bad sales on whichever scapegoat they come across, we have no idea about the true effects of piracy are. But we know piracy is there. Why not make the best of it? Spread across a demo thinly disguised as the full product. Free publicity.

Actually, getting the mostly full game via torrents can reduce piracy as the difficult-to-distinguish developer-released copy gets intermingled with copies of the pirated release. It might even discourage any cracker from distributing a hacked copy himself, because it's already essentially done.

It is actually a fairly interesting idea, and I'm curious to see what results. I do doubt that the online leaderboards are that significant (mainly because all the ones I've seen compare you against the absolute best players in the world, some people you are unlikely to get better than.)

You're all morons. That guy too. Anyone with any sense knows to effectively combat piracy LOWER YOUR PRICES. Most people pirate games and software because they're outrageously priced, start producing better quality games at more reasonable prices & I'll bet you'd see a reduction in piracy. Of course there'll always be the dickheads who do it just because they can, but those are in the minority.

I say it was the cyborg.

Good idea. Pirates get the SP, then if hey like the game they buy it for leaderboards/mp. Good move I say.

Sorry, I just don't agree with any of your points in this article. But I also don't necessarily think that RedLynx is doing it right, either. Here's what I'd suggest to them:

Make your game free to play if you're so afraid of piracy, and charge for use of the leaderboards if you're so certain that the "soul" of the game lies there.

Greg Tito:
Plus, any traffic which the game may or may not generate to such torrent sites may facilitate users downloading other pirate games which legitimate companies did not leak.

I think this is a bogus argument, and not sure why you'd say RedLynx isn't a legitimate company. (If that's not what you're saying, maybe the wording should be changed.)

It's interesting stuff either way. Digital distribution, pricing and piracy are all fascinating topics. Cheers!

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