Avast! Developers Released Pirated Version of Their Own Game

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Avast! Developers Released Pirated Version of Their Own Game

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Tiny Build Games preempted the piracy problem by releasing No Time To Explain for torrent themselves - with a salty twist.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Anticipating that their side-scrolling time travel game No Time To Explain would be pirated, Tiny Build Games released the game to a torrent site themselves. However, pirates who downloaded the game illegally found that the characters mirrored their own sensibilities: every character in the game came decked out in pirate regalia. In spite of the developer thumbing its nose at pirates, Tiny Build claims that many of these scalawags have actually gone on to buy the game.

"We thought it'd be funny to leak a pirate version ourselves which is literally all about pirates and pirate hats," said Alex Nichiporchik, one the game's designers, responding to an inquiry from the Torrent Freak website. "I mean, some people are going to torrent it either way, we might as well make something funny out of it."

Surprisingly, this unorthodox technique has actually bolstered legitimate sales. Tiny Build Games has not released any sales figures, but Nichiporchik suggested that it saw a noticeable increase in sales from people who appreciated the joke in the pirated version. "People bought it simply because they liked the joke," Nichiporchik continued. "[We] don't see it hurting sales in any way."

As anti-piracy measures go, this is a lot less intrusive than DRM restrictions, but how well will this strategy ultimately work for Tiny Build? Furthermore, once the novelty has expired, will any other developer be able to pull a similar trick?

Source: Ubuntu Vibes via Slashdot

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Wait, are you sure their sales are going up due to pirates appreciating the joke, and not just the free publicity? Because I had no idea No Time to Explain had come out yet, and now, after this article, I'm going to buy it right fucking now!!!

These guys are awesome. And they understand that you can't fight piracy. See that Ubisoft? Probably not, eh...

I must now go buy this game.

To all devs/publishers: This is how you do it.
Encouraging broader adoption of your game will result in more sales.

This reminds me of the table top RPG Eclipse Phase. The writers of the game released it under Creative Commons Licence(sharing and alterations are freely allowed)and seeded it to torrent sites. I downloaded it, loved what I saw and forked over the cash for a hardcover copy of the book, partly because I wanted to support the open source ideals the devs are pushing and partly because the game is awesome.

DoublePost

This made me giggle. Alot. XD

Good show on their part.

One thin' that th' anti-sweet trade league seems t' forget be that while thar be Gentleman o' fortunes who be happy t' steal, thar`s a number o' them that be happy t' un-steal, as 't be. Buyin' a copy o' th' game they scuppered simply so they can support swabbies who produce games they like.

Unless 'tis got a voyagely-float-ou' IP or stranglin' DRM, o' course, then 'tis easier fer them t' stick wi' th' scuppered version.

All them lost figures due t' Sweet trade often miss ou' on th' increased figures due t' Gentleman o' fortunes surrenderin' without a swashbuckle.

Yarr!

Pirates you say? This actually makes me want to torrent the game.

Damn, i need that game. Both versions of it.

And indeed publishers, listen and take heed, this is how you combat piracy and
get great publisity and make new fans for your products. Awesome news.

Reading that really made me giggle a bit. Its a shame that this is the kind of trick that only works once.

Wait, do you get the pirates if you buy the normal version too? If not I'll have to purchase this and pirate it.

I've never heard of this game before and I kind of what it, bravo.

But now I want to torrent it because of pirate costumes :(

so, i get the game for free?

and i get free pirate costumes for the characters that you dont get in the real game?

and is it illegal because the source was the dev?

my moral core is broken...

uh...

Hmm. If I was a developer with no publisher pressure on hand, my choices would mirror these guys'. The phrase "people are going to pirate anyway" is true, and by showing the people that you understand that, you show that you understand THEM - removing some of the bias that you make games for money and showing them that you make games for people to enjoy. In the end, that warms the hearts of many people. And the ones who cannot afford it get it anyway. Everybody's happy.

There's another example here, in the game Zeno Clash. It had a screen telling people that they're a small developer and it'd really help if you actually bought the game. It was a personal message and I imagine it had an impact.

SOFTWARE piracy aside... who would want a game that's LESS about pirates? ^_^
I'd think I'd like the version with pirates more than the normal setting...

Or maybe I played too much Monkey Island

For a moment, I thought the Avast! antivirus developers were developing games now, and my mind was blown for a second. Then I understood the bad joke.

And No Time to Explain is potentially awesome.

...can I buy it with the pirate costumes? Because, having never heard of it before, I now want it right now. Two copies of it. One with pirates. And one not with pirates.

Well, at first i thought the news was about Avast antivirus software.

I don't think the developers are aware that:

I'm gonna go buy this, and then get the pirate version. Tee hee hee

Hey, this game is out? No-one told me...
I remember playing the demo, it had some pretty funny voice-acting, and things got pretty funny-and/or-confusing (Dinosaur alternate universe FTW!)

I recall Galactic Civilizations 2 sold significantly higher than expected when it was released DRM-free too. I've also spent a fair bit at GoG, often for games I already have on original CD for a downloadable & DRM free version. Publishers would do well to learn something from this thread.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are ubisoft with always on c**p and the forthcoming Diable III which I will not be buying for lack of an offline mode. But then with Skyrim and ToR (always on yes, but MMO, no grumble against those) I wouldn't have time for them anyway!

They asked money for this game?

I played this game about a year ago on Newgrounds.

Must have been popular. I love their twist on pirating. Must be hilarious.

I wish more publishers had this stance on piracy.

Owlslayer:
Hey, this game is out? No-one told me...
I remember playing the demo, it had some pretty funny voice-acting, and things got pretty funny-and/or-confusing (Dinosaur alternate universe FTW!)

So did I, I started laughing when he said "I WAS STUCK DOING MY HAIR IN THE MORNING FOR 2 MINUTES AND THIS IS WHAT I GET, OH GOD!"

Wait...you mean if I download it illegally I get to look like a Pirate? Where do i sign up lol.

Not to defend any big-name studios and some of the crazy things they've done to try and prevent piracy, but just saying: there's a big difference between paying $10 to a small indie studio for a cute joke and paying $35+ to a big-name company for a similar joke. This may work for small studios who in all honesty aren't looking to get massive profits to fund massive groups of employees, but for those whose products are (no offense meant, of course) better polished and more popular, and whose livelihood depends on getting a fairly large margin of profit, this probably wouldn't fly.

(One could argue that big-name studios don't "really" need to earn the money they rake in, but that's debatable. Unless someone's got a budget for a studio in question and can prove that they aren't spending most of their money on things that keep their studio afloat in some manner, that's a hard accusation to defend.)

danpascooch:
Wait, are you sure their sales are going up due to pirates appreciating the joke, and not just the free publicity? Because I had no idea No Time to Explain had come out yet, and now, after this article, I'm going to buy it right fucking now!!!

Either way, it's win-win for Tiny Build.

I'd do the same thing, except instead of making the changes visible, I'd just slip some spyware into the torrented version and get the pirates' real names and addresses. They choose to pirate the game, all bets are off.

And once word got around in pirate circles that there was a bad copy of the game out there doing that, I imagine that would discourage some of them from torrenting.

Of course, I wouldn't let on that I myself had leaked it...

The_root_of_all_evil:
One thin' that th' anti-sweet trade league seems t' forget be that while thar be Gentleman o' fortunes who be happy t' steal, thar`s a number o' them that be happy t' un-steal, as 't be. Buyin' a copy o' th' game they scuppered simply so they can support swabbies who produce games they like.

Unless 'tis got a voyagely-float-ou' IP or stranglin' DRM, o' course, then 'tis easier fer them t' stick wi' th' scuppered version.

All them lost figures due t' Sweet trade often miss ou' on th' increased figures due t' Gentleman o' fortunes surrenderin' without a swashbuckle.

Yarr!

Sadly, thar be research showin' that the transferrin' rate o' pirates t' legit customers be at 'round not even half o' one percent...

*Clap Clap Clap*

Well played gentlemen, well played

I'm a wait and get it when it's on Steam.

Their Twitter said something like:
"No news from Steam yet... maybe I should submit it 5 times more, hmmm"

Sylocat:
I'd do the same thing, except instead of making the changes visible, I'd just slip some spyware into the torrented version and get the pirates' real names and addresses. They choose to pirate the game, all bets are off.

And once word got around in pirate circles that there was a bad copy of the game out there doing that, I imagine that would discourage some of them from torrenting.

Of course, I wouldn't let on that I myself had leaked it...

The_root_of_all_evil:
One thin' that th' anti-sweet trade league seems t' forget be that while thar be Gentleman o' fortunes who be happy t' steal, thar`s a number o' them that be happy t' un-steal, as 't be. Buyin' a copy o' th' game they scuppered simply so they can support swabbies who produce games they like.

Unless 'tis got a voyagely-float-ou' IP or stranglin' DRM, o' course, then 'tis easier fer them t' stick wi' th' scuppered version.

All them lost figures due t' Sweet trade often miss ou' on th' increased figures due t' Gentleman o' fortunes surrenderin' without a swashbuckle.

Yarr!

Sadly, thar be research showin' that the transferrin' rate o' pirates t' legit customers be at 'round not even half o' one percent...

Your methodology is (surprise!) 10 times more illegal and unethical than simple copyright infringement.

And your numbers have that tricky flaw of being completely impossible to prove, but you know that don't you?

Hold on to your panties, guys. Remember that the reason they're getting sales is because people appreciate the humble efforts and humor of a small, independent studio.

Stop going on about how "Ubisoft should take notes" because something like this would just get rofl'd into oblivion if any larger game developers tried something similar.

That little rant aside, that's a cool way to go about it. I remember playing this game on Newgrounds long ago.

If pub/dev where SMART they'd torrent/upload broken versions of the game first.

Nothing like putting out a bunch of fake copies of the game to piss/annoy people off to the point of either giving up and/or buying the game.

Sylocat:
I'd just slip some spyware into the torrented version and get the pirates' real names and addresses

Pray tell, what standardised repository for personal information exists on the typical PC?

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