Game Dev Tycoon tries to teach pirates a lesson with a healthy dose of irony

By on April 29, 2013, 7:00 PM

We’ve chronicled several different approaches that game developers are taking to curb piracy such as releasing free-to-play titles with in-game purchases or requiring a game have an always-on connection but Greenheart Games’ recent approach with Game Dev Tycoon is by far the most ironic I have seen to date.

Game Dev Tycoon is a business simulator that allows gamers to relive the history of the gaming industry by starting a video game development company in the 1980s. Players are tasked with creating best selling games, researching new technologies and inventing new types of games – all in an effort to become the market leader and gain fans worldwide. Sounds like a lot of fun, right?

I’m sure it is… unless you happened to torrent a “pirated” version of the game. If you’re one of the 90+ percent of players that are using a cracked version, get ready to experience an ironic twist. Once you progress a bit and release a few hit titles, you’ll be met with a sales report that points out the dangers of piracy and how companies will go out of business if gamers don’t pay for their games. It’s all downhill from here as your bank accounts slowly drain and you’re forced into bankruptcy.

What Greenheart Games did was release a “cracked” version of the title before pirates could do so. This special version contains the “pirate” bug as well as a phone-home anonymous usage code. The company was hoping to steer pirates toward paying for a copy but if the following anonymous complaint is any indication, some are totally clueless.

“Why are there so many people that pirate? It ruins me! I had like 5m and then people suddenly started pirating everything I made, even if I got really good ratings (that I usually get). Not fair.”




User Comments: 30

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5 people like this | Littleczr Littleczr said:

I will openly admit I used to pirate games. This was a time when I worked part time, minimum wage. I now have no need to pirate, if I really like the game I will buy it I.e Battlefield 3 etc.. What angers me is when I buy a game for 60 dollars and it turns out to be a flop!

I wish there was some way to try out games like the 90's and mid 2000's. For example Call of Duty black ops to me was money thrown down the drain. I crack a smile when ever I hear a COD game was pirated.

psycros psycros said:

I will openly admit I used to pirate games. This was a time when I worked part time, minimum wage. I now have no need to pirate, if I really like the game I will buy it I.e Battlefield 3 etc.. What angers me is when I buy a game for 60 dollars and it turns out to be a flop!

I wish there was some way to try out games like the 90's and mid 2000's. For example Call of Duty black ops to me was money thrown down the drain. I crack a smile when ever I hear a COD game was pirated.

Exactly. These scumbag companies have stopped releasing demos because *nobody* would pay for their shoddy products if the public had advance warning. Yet another reason I have no problem with piracy - its the new "demo scene" as far as I'm concerned and the most honest source of info on new games. I never buy games until they've been out for at least a month, and only once I've had RL or online friends tell me if their worth the money. Still, you have to be careful because some people will try to cover their embarrassment from paying for crap by glossing over the shortcomings. Pirates have nothing invested so they don't feel the need to apologize for a bad purchase. They'll give you the ugly truth about a game every time. There *are* a few respectable independent reviewers on the net who don't pull many punches, but with my awful internet I can't stream Youtube so I end up relying on the word of pirates fairly often. The real irony is that pirated games usually have less bugs than the legal versions so even if you hear the pirate version is good the legit one may still have major issues. Such is the upside-down world in which we live.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

That's pretty funny.

Razster Razster said:

I will openly admit I used to pirate games. This was a time when I worked part time, minimum wage. I now have no need to pirate, if I really like the game I will buy it I.e Battlefield 3 etc.. What angers me is when I buy a game for 60 dollars and it turns out to be a flop!

I wish there was some way to try out games like the 90's and mid 2000's. For example Call of Duty black ops to me was money thrown down the drain. I crack a smile when ever I hear a COD game was pirated.

Exact same position as you, to the T.

And just recently I purchased a game, some may know it as SimCity, well I tell you what! I'm still unable to play due to some odd bugs and random stuff... I Pre-ordered for the first time in ages. Now I'm stuck with a $65 game that I cannot enjoy. Yes they tried to give me a game, but that is not the game(s) I wanted.

So for now I'm trying the Kickstarter with 4 amazing games backed, which broke records. I Believe in these more than the large over hyping corporate machines.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

Games I pirated then bought.

-Crysis(then bought warhead and Crysis 2. Crysis 3 sucked as)

-Knights of the old Republic (then bought Koror 2)

-Civilization back in 96. Have bought all of them since.

-Doom3 (demoed)

-NBA 2k11, NBA 2k12

-FEAR( then bought fear2)

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Hahaha that quote is gold. @shawn , maybe insert a link in the article about the hilarious Serious Sam 'bug'? Armies of invincible giant crabs with guns on pirated version HA!

yRaz yRaz said:

I still pirate games but I buy them if I enjoy them. If I don't like them I don't play then and therefore don't pay for them. I agree, they need to have demos again. The lack of demos has definitely increased piracy simply for the reason I just stated. I don't like piracy, but with all the shotty games coming out and lack of a demo we don't really have another choice. If people make good games more people will be willing to pay for them. They refuse to admit the root of the problem. In their attempt to make more money they increase piracy. Don't get me wrong, there are many games I buy outright because I know I'll enjoy them. There are others where I question the content and usually end up not playing then at all after I pirate them

please, developers, start making good games and people will support you. If you make bad games and treat paying customers like criminals(since DRM has 100% of the time been cracked) you will only increase piracy. Things like day one dlc and stand alone games that are closer to an expansion are mostly the root of the problem. A lot of people who pirate games would not play them at all if they couldn't get it for free.

m4a4 m4a4 said:

Hahaha that quote is gold. @shawn , maybe insert a link in the article about the hilarious Serious Sam 'bug'? Armies of invincible giant crabs with guns on pirated version HA!

I thought it was just one that followed you around like an overly attached girlfriend? :P

Guest said:

Ironically they stole the entire concept of the game from Game Dev Story by Kairosoft...

1 person liked this | TheBigFatClown said:

I still pirate games but I buy them if I enjoy them. If I don't like them I don't play then and therefore don't pay for them. I agree, they need to have demos again. The lack of demos has definitely increased piracy simply for the reason I just stated. I don't like piracy, but with all the shotty games coming out and lack of a demo we don't really have another choice. If people make good games more people will be willing to pay for them. They refuse to admit the root of the problem. In their attempt to make more money they increase piracy. Don't get me wrong, there are many games I buy outright because I know I'll enjoy them. There are others where I question the content and usually end up not playing then at all after I pirate them

please, developers, start making good games and people will support you. If you make bad games and treat paying customers like criminals(since DRM has 100% of the time been cracked) you will only increase piracy. Things like day one dlc and stand alone games that are closer to an expansion are mostly the root of the problem. A lot of people who pirate games would not play them at all if they couldn't get it for free.

Just because somebody doesn't release a demo doesn't mean it's okay to pirate it. And Steam has free weekend events all the time. I think they even offered this on Call of Duty: Black Ops recently. I think the reason piracy exists is not because of a lack of demos. I think it's simply because developers/publishers are greedy greedy people who think $60 for a video game is a fair price. It's not. I don't care what you had to invest to develop it. Furthermore, if you sold it at the right price from the get go, your sales would go up exponentially and you wouldn't end up in bankruptcy status. I WANT to pay for anything I use. The problem is I can't justify some of the prices. $60 for a single video game is ridiculous. Especially considering the fact that the developers have the luxury of an infinite supply of their product once the game is finished. Very low overhead. Piracy exists because of ridiculous prices on software, not because of a lack of demos.

JC713 JC713 said:

I will openly admit I used to pirate games. This was a time when I worked part time, minimum wage. I now have no need to pirate, if I really like the game I will buy it I.e Battlefield 3 etc.. What angers me is when I buy a game for 60 dollars and it turns out to be a flop!

I wish there was some way to try out games like the 90's and mid 2000's. For example Call of Duty black ops to me was money thrown down the drain. I crack a smile when ever I hear a COD game was pirated.

Game devs have been trying to prevent pirating by implementing multiplayers, which cant be used if pirated. Far Cry 3 is a great game, but it is highly pirated because of the bad multiplayer and/or lack of multiplayer, not sure what it has.

yRaz yRaz said:

@TheBigFatClown, there was more to what I said than just demos, I suggest you read my post again. They also don't have free weekends of new releases. Free weekends help, but that doesn't solve the problem. Its too little too late.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

Great example is Bio Shock Infinet. I have watched you tube videos, read the reviews seen the game play. But oh no its 60 dollars to buy. Where is the demo? Hhhmm Oh my there is a pirate torrent. Hhhmmm. Anyway the game looks good and well made. Ill probably wait until there is a price drop. I nice small demo would be nice.

And I hate how we have to be members of steam, EA Ubisoft ect. to play a game Freaking sucks.

No wonder Free to play games do well, the gamers with no money get a shot. And if your willing to pay you buy additional items.

veLa veLa said:

Even with rampant piracy these companies bring in huge profits so I share no pity for them.

spectrenad said:

I pirated the 1st witcher, liked it, and bought the 2nd one. And I will gladly buy the 3rd one when it will come out... And I'll probably buy the 1st one someday too.

Piracy can actually help promote a product. That is, when the product is good, ofc. I discovered many great games that way.

scorpian007 said:

Used to pirate games as a kid when I had no income and my parents didn't buy games often but for the past 10 years I've bought everything. I think I'd have close to 450 games now!

Guest said:

I used to pirate games when I was young and couldn't afford the games. Now that I'm working I do purchase the game but wait till there's a price drop or special offers going on steam.

Since I been dissapointed so many times with the quality and contents of the games, also what's with the DLC.......... Seems like the Dev's haven't finish the game or holding on to extra contents to milk more money from gamers THAT S**KS

AlienOverlord said:

I don't understand people who say $60 for a game is too much. I think I used to pay more for sega master system games 25 years ago. The $60 price tag has been around for a while despite inflation of all other products. It used to be you could go to the movies for $5 and you'd reason that's only 2 hours of entertainment so a game that gave you over 25 hours of play was well worth it. Now movies are close to $15. Maybe this is part of the reason I've always preferred RPGs since you can get 100 hours out of many of them and why it's hard for me to pick up games like Tomb Raider when it's only supposed to have 10 hours of game play.

I really don't think it is the price that causes people to pirate. If games came out at $30 they'd need to sell more than double to make the same profit (some costs will remain constant like packaging, shipping etc) and I don't think it would have much effect on pirating. People pirate because it's convenient. You don't have to go to the store or give up personal info online to use steam. This particular game is only $8 yet over 90% of the people playing it have a pirated version. Who can't afford $8? How did they buy a computer?

havok585 havok585 said:

I still pirate games but I buy them if I enjoy them. If I don't like them I don't play then and therefore don't pay for them. I agree, they need to have demos again. The lack of demos has definitely increased piracy simply for the reason I just stated. I don't like piracy, but with all the shotty games coming out and lack of a demo we don't really have another choice. If people make good games more people will be willing to pay for them. They refuse to admit the root of the problem. In their attempt to make more money they increase piracy. Don't get me wrong, there are many games I buy outright because I know I'll enjoy them. There are others where I question the content and usually end up not playing then at all after I pirate them

please, developers, start making good games and people will support you. If you make bad games and treat paying customers like criminals(since DRM has 100% of the time been cracked) you will only increase piracy. Things like day one dlc and stand alone games that are closer to an expansion are mostly the root of the problem. A lot of people who pirate games would not play them at all if they couldn't get it for free.

Just because somebody doesn't release a demo doesn't mean it's okay to pirate it. And Steam has free weekend events all the time. I think they even offered this on Call of Duty: Black Ops recently. I think the reason piracy exists is not because of a lack of demos. I think it's simply because developers/publishers are greedy greedy people who think $60 for a video game is a fair price. It's not. I don't care what you had to invest to develop it. Furthermore, if you sold it at the right price from the get go, your sales would go up exponentially and you wouldn't end up in bankruptcy status. I WANT to pay for anything I use. The problem is I can't justify some of the prices. $60 for a single video game is ridiculous. Especially considering the fact that the developers have the luxury of an infinite supply of their product once the game is finished. Very low overhead. Piracy exists because of ridiculous prices on software, not because of a lack of demos.

Actually it's both reasons ! Think about it, it's not only your opinion here that counts.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Actually it's both reasons ! Think about it, it's not only your opinion here that counts.

Yes, and the 3rd reason. People prefer to get something for free rather than to pay for it.

misor misor said:

I love blizzard's starcraft (and broodwar expansion) and diablo 2 (and lod expansion); waited til 2010 when blizzard sold them at a highly discounted price.

I also waited for diablo 3 and starcraft 2: wol price drops before I bought them around thanksgiving 2012.

when metro 2033 had a facebook fan page, I signed up and got the game for free via steam.

jetkami said:

I still pirate games but I buy them if I enjoy them. If I don't like them I don't play then and therefore don't pay for them. I agree, they need to have demos again. The lack of demos has definitely increased piracy simply for the reason I just stated. I don't like piracy, but with all the shotty games coming out and lack of a demo we don't really have another choice. If people make good games more people will be willing to pay for them. They refuse to admit the root of the problem. In their attempt to make more money they increase piracy. Don't get me wrong, there are many games I buy outright because I know I'll enjoy them. There are others where I question the content and usually end up not playing then at all after I pirate them

please, developers, start making good games and people will support you. If you make bad games and treat paying customers like criminals(since DRM has 100% of the time been cracked) you will only increase piracy. Things like day one dlc and stand alone games that are closer to an expansion are mostly the root of the problem. A lot of people who pirate games would not play them at all if they couldn't get it for free.

Just because somebody doesn't release a demo doesn't mean it's okay to pirate it. And Steam has free weekend events all the time. I think they even offered this on Call of Duty: Black Ops recently. I think the reason piracy exists is not because of a lack of demos. I think it's simply because developers/publishers are greedy greedy people who think $60 for a video game is a fair price. It's not. I don't care what you had to invest to develop it. Furthermore, if you sold it at the right price from the get go, your sales would go up exponentially and you wouldn't end up in bankruptcy status. I WANT to pay for anything I use. The problem is I can't justify some of the prices. $60 for a single video game is ridiculous. Especially considering the fact that the developers have the luxury of an infinite supply of their product once the game is finished. Very low overhead. Piracy exists because of ridiculous prices on software, not because of a lack of demos.

Dont leave out the fact that you will have to research the many errors, crashes and bugs also. E.A. support is worthless.

Guest said:

It's weird...I enjoy the act of pirating games and software more than using or playing them. It was extremely fun to hack my xbox, almost lost it completely! The PS3 wasn't as fun, it was just a software hack, but it was cool to make my own boot logo and sound.

This is a funny response to piracy, but I wouldn't ever pirate something that wasn't a release from a known group. I wouldn't ever use a torrent either, so it sends the entry level pirates a message, but not us veteran collectors.

spencer spencer said:

Reminds me of a certain dirt showdown twist put in by devs. When the game knows it's pirated it switches to pirate language:choose your difficulty ARRGHHH!!!! ARRRRRGHH OR YYYYYYYAAARRRRRRRRR!!!!!!. Made me laugh, there was a fix though. On the topic of pirating, I think it is justifiable; If you are a kid with barely any money. But if you have a full time job there is no excuse unless the game is very overpriced/treat their consumers like ...well you know. Such as EA, call me crazy but I don't think I should have to buy bf3 premium again and the game again just because I switched to pc. On the other hand if you like the game and it has an acceptable price by all means get it.

Mallok Mallok said:

The lies of game piracy:

1) $60 is way too much for a game. For me. And apparently a lot of others. But, Steam makes it possible for me to play the games I want and at the prices I'm willing to pay. The downside, which I don't consider a downside at all, is that I have to wait. And that is why the demo/free play limited time argument is a lie. You are not entitled to play a game right when it comes out, you have to wait for the discounted version/demo/free weekend. Eventually, if everyone was willing to do this the price would come down; until then, Steam sale. Not to mention all the other sites now, like GOG, Gamefly, Amazon Digital who all run sales as well.

2) Also, saying the game is bad is an even worse lie. If it's bad, then why are you playing it at all? There's only about 50 game review sites you have access to on the internet. I like Metacritic, and they certainly get all the big releases. If it has a terrible score it's a terrible game, don't buy it. Nothing forces you to pre-purchase, you chose to buy an unreviewed game. And pirating because it's bad? really? why would you be wasting your time. Clearly a lie.

3) DRM. my favorite. If the game has a crappy DRM then don't buy or play it. Again, you aren't owed the playtime of any game. If you buy a game with terrible DRM, you voted yes on crappy DRM. Just ignore the game, if everone did, DRM would go away. If the company somehow owed you the game, maybe you could justify pirating it. But, they don't, and you can choose to find out what DRM is there and not buy based on that.

There's no legitimate reason to pirate a game, just lies we tell ourselves. I used to do it also, when I was a kid. I don't have the time anymore, and I can get everything I want for $5 or less in 90% of cases.

Guest said:

Here's a legitimate reason: Because I can.

yRaz yRaz said:

The lies of game piracy:

1) $60 is way too much for a game. For me. And apparently a lot of others. But, Steam makes it possible for me to play the games I want and at the prices I'm willing to pay. The downside, which I don't consider a downside at all, is that I have to wait. And that is why the demo/free play limited time argument is a lie. You are not entitled to play a game right when it comes out, you have to wait for the discounted version/demo/free weekend. Eventually, if everyone was willing to do this the price would come down; until then, Steam sale. Not to mention all the other sites now, like GOG, Gamefly, Amazon Digital who all run sales as well.

2) Also, saying the game is bad is an even worse lie. If it's bad, then why are you playing it at all? There's only about 50 game review sites you have access to on the internet. I like Metacritic, and they certainly get all the big releases. If it has a terrible score it's a terrible game, don't buy it. Nothing forces you to pre-purchase, you chose to buy an unreviewed game. And pirating because it's bad? really? why would you be wasting your time. Clearly a lie.

3) DRM. my favorite. If the game has a crappy DRM then don't buy or play it. Again, you aren't owed the playtime of any game. If you buy a game with terrible DRM, you voted yes on crappy DRM. Just ignore the game, if everone did, DRM would go away. If the company somehow owed you the game, maybe you could justify pirating it. But, they don't, and you can choose to find out what DRM is there and not buy based on that.

There's no legitimate reason to pirate a game, just lies we tell ourselves. I used to do it also, when I was a kid. I don't have the time anymore, and I can get everything I want for $5 or less in 90% of cases.

games end up costing $120+ with dlc. Most of the dlc is a few multiplayer maps and some "custom" skins. A new weapon if you're lucky. At that point match making is almost impossible if you don't have the dlc. You want to talk about old games being more expensive with inflation? They gave you more content in older games. Now the game is purposely split up before release and then sold in chunks over the course of a year.

we are being treated like garbage by these companies. And review sites don't always give an accurate review. A 5/10 a few years ago is now an 8/10. Free weekends happen usually right before the release of a related title. I also haven't seen a steam free weekend in months. You want Skyrim for $5? Have fun waiting 6 years. I don't know if they will ever have a steam free weekend for Skyrim. They also severely limit content in the free week end. I remember the blackops free weekend there were two makes, both garbage, and 3 guns. Imagine just playing through the tutorial in Skyrim then having them ask to pay for the game.

these companies are criminals. Maybe I don't want to wait two years to play a game. Just play a pirated version for a few hours to decide if I like it.

piracy will always exist, but the developers could do a lot to reduce it. Why should a cracked version of a game run better than a legitimate copy? I've had games that I've bought and then had to crack(assassins creed 2) because I kept getting kicked out of game from DRM.

a lot of people have listed a lot of good reasons for piracy, I don't understand how you don't believe them. I guess that's why games keep getting pirated, because developers think their customers are lying about why they pirate.

1 person liked this | NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

1 person liked this | Guest said:

People pirate because they want free shit, end of story. People stay on unemployment, welfare, food stamps because it's free money. People vote for corrupt politicians who promise free shit. If you want to steal something because it is too low quality to purchase, that is still stealing- do without.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I used to pirate/crack games that I owned to get around the "Insert physical media" disk-locks that they put on titles. Its a real turn-off to own a game, but be treated like a pirate every time you play it.

Now I look for games on Steam first. No media checks on Steam. It's now habit I guess. If Steam doesn't have the game, I just forget about it and find something else.

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