April 30, 2013 9:00 AM | Staff
Counter-piracy measures can be a bone of contention among developers and publishers big and small. But indie studio Greenheart Games has come up with an inspired solution to bite back at pirates.
When Greenheart Games discovered that more than 90% of its players for its game development sim, Game Dev Tycoon, came by the title illegally, Greenheart responded by seeding its own cracked copy, with a not-so-subtle modification to its code.
"Initially we thought about telling them their copy is an illegal copy," Greenheart's Patrick Klug says. "But instead we didn't want to pass up the unique opportunity of holding a mirror in front of them and showing them what piracy can do to game developers."
This version of Game Dev Tycoon operates normally for the first few hours of use before undercutting the player's in-game profits. The effect, Greenheart says, is to illustrate the real effect piracy has on a developer's overhead.
"If years down the track you wonder why there are no games like these anymore and all you get to play is pay-to-play and social games designed to suck money out of your pockets then the reason will stare back at you in the mirror."
[Kris Ligman wrote this originally for sister site Gamasutra]