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Piracy Games

Cracked Game Released To Get Back At Pirates 509

Posted by samzenpus
from the and-nothing-changed dept.
John Wagger writes "When Greenheart Games released their very first game, Game Dev Tycoon (for Mac, Windows and Linux) yesterday, they did something unusual and as far as I know unique. They released a cracked version of the game, minutes after opening their Store. The pirated copy was completely same as the real copy, except that after a few hours into the game, players started noticing widespread piracy of their games in the game development simulator."
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Cracked Game Released To Get Back At Pirates

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  • hehehehe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Monday April 29, 2013 @10:33AM (#43580571)
    That is the mother of all trolls. Definitely pirate troll level: British admiral hat and solid gold scabbard
  • Hilarious Irony (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bravecanadian (638315) on Monday April 29, 2013 @10:33AM (#43580579)

    People posting for help trying to progress.

    I'm going to buy this game just because they have illustrated their point SO well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 29, 2013 @10:35AM (#43580599)

    The real irony of course is that the game itself is a rip off of Game Dev Story by Kairosoft for IOS/Android.

  • Re:hehehehe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <> on Monday April 29, 2013 @10:42AM (#43580689) Homepage

    Don't forget Serious Sam 3, who's DRM manifested as an invulnerable pink scorpion [].

    This is what happens when games are made by gamers. It's mainly the big, long-disconnected companies that think DRM will save their games from pirates; everyone else just acknowledges it with a little fun.

  • Re:Not that unique (Score:5, Interesting)

    by newcastlejon (1483695) on Monday April 29, 2013 @10:46AM (#43580729)
    Ah, the invincible pink scorpion []. It appeared fairly early in the game, which was probably a good idea. If they'd put it in too late then pirates might have been put off (more so) from buying the game, but since it was so early it gave pirates a chance to get a feel for the game but not have to replay too much if they decided to buy it.
  • Re:Not that unique (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gerafin (1408009) on Monday April 29, 2013 @10:58AM (#43580871)
    This is unique insofar as they released their own cracked version, whereas I believe Earthbound and Serious Sam would detect modified launchers and activate their DRM. One of the Batman games (Arkham asylum, I think) did the same thing, it messed up your batarang so you couldn't complete certain parts. People posted about the issue, thinking it was a bug, on the official forums and then got publicly shamed by a moderator who exposed the fact the 'bug' was related to pirating the game. I don't like DRM but at least they're being creative! But with Game Dev Sim, you could argue it's not DRM.
  • Re:So basically (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nurbles (801091) on Monday April 29, 2013 @11:03AM (#43580923) Homepage
    Where are the statistics about how many game companies have closed due to piracy? They sure don't show up with any of the quick attempts I've been trying with Google.
  • Re:So basically (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Monday April 29, 2013 @11:52AM (#43581365) Homepage Journal

    It's pretty sad when someone can't even work up the reading comprehension to grasp the story from a short summary.

    In total, if you play the cracked version of the game, the simulator will ramp up the rate of piracy for your simulated company's games, so you will lose. It stacks the odds against you.

    it's not a cracked copy. it's a release by the developers that has built in defects.
    IT IS NOT A NEW STRATEGY, several other games have done that too.

    you know why they did this? for publicity.

  • by bfwebster (90513) on Monday April 29, 2013 @11:56AM (#43581407) Homepage

    In Sundog: Frozen Legacy [] (Apple II, 1984), we had a fairly robust, multi-level copy protection method. However, many of the 'cracking' tools out at the time would actually produce a runnable copy of the game -- it was just that the game wouldn't pass its final internal DRM check. In the game, including in 'cracked' versions, you started out on the surface of a given planet (Jondd); you could drive around the planet's surface, walk around the cities, go into stores, buy and sell goods, etc. But when you attempted to lift off into space, if that final DRM check failed, you'd get the message "Clearance to lift denied due to pirate activity" and you would be unable to take off and travel to any other world or system. (Note that you'd never see that message in a legitimate copy of the game.)

    Now, the game actually had space pirates who would attack your ship, so a lot of people didn't realize just what the message meant. We would get occasional phone calls from customers asking what they were doing wrong and how they could get clearance. We'd listen for a minute, then say, "Well, just mail us your Sundog floppy disk, and we'll send out a new one for free." Heh. On the other hand, we had at least one person call us up on the phone and say, "Yeah, I get it" and then order a legit copy.

    Note that for those customers who did buy an actual copy of the game, if they sent in $10 along with their registration card, they'd get another Sundog floppy disk -- that is, a second complete copy of the game, which they could keep as a backup or give away (or, frankly, sell). Also, if anyone actually did have a legit Sundog floppy that died or was otherwise damaged, we'd exchange it for a new one for free.

    Sundog (Apple II) was on Hardcore Computing's "Top 10 Wanted" list (for a cracked version) for quite some time. It was eventually cracked, but I believe it took a year or two. You can find runnable Apple II disk images (for Apple II emulators) online.

    I really don't know what copy protection was in place for the Atari ST port of Sundog, since that happened after I left FTL Games. ..bruce..

  • by gmb61 (815164) on Monday April 29, 2013 @01:09PM (#43582101)
    Since the pirated version adds piracy to the gameplay, doesn't that make it a more realistic version and therefore a better version of the game?
  • Re:So basically (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Monday April 29, 2013 @01:23PM (#43582263)

    Which then totally fails at what they claimed to want to achieve; namely, hold a MIRROR up to pirates. Since the game ramps up piracy in the simulator to 100% over time, to ENSURE bankruptcy, it is NOT a "mirror". It's a photoshopped 'fatbooth' type pic in a mirror's frame.

    Putting valid piracy statistics rates in from noteworthy logistics firms, and using that instead of a bullshit log scale would have provided an actual mirror. That wasn't what they wanted. They wanted to shut down the pirates, and feel morally superior about it, by performing a false equivilency.

    I would play a game dev simulator with piracy as a feature, if the piracy model was accurate. No, a log scale over time is not accurate.

  • Re:So basically (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Monday April 29, 2013 @01:51PM (#43582641)

    I'm betting the Venn Diagram is pretty tiny when you combine "People Who Read the Gaming Section of Slashdot" with "People Who Have Never Heard of the Tycoon Games" and "People Who Can't Infer Simple Concepts from Context" and "People Who Find It Easier to Bitch In the Message Section Rather than Click on TFA".

  • by ortholattice (175065) on Monday April 29, 2013 @03:29PM (#43583959)

    Genuine version: 214 users

    Cracked version: at least 3104 users

    Well, it's possible that without pirates to spread word of mouth, you might have only gotten 100 genuine version users. Who knows.

  • by crazycheetah (1416001) on Monday April 29, 2013 @03:53PM (#43584201)


    There's other potential reasons, too, however. Let's see if I can come up with more:

    1. There's a higher percentage of people running Linux who have more money to throw at games like this. Having the more money, the higher average paid is really the same (potentially less!) when you're talking averages of their income. (Don't know if there's any truth in this one, but you can test it probably the easiest out of them all, in theory.)

    2. Linux people are used to and very comfortable with setting their own price. They regularly get completely free software and donate back to the original project whatever price point they choose. Many have probably watched projects that they donate to succeed, and many have probably watched projects they donate to fail. As such, they've learned some lessons about paying whatever they want and what tends to be a more successful level of pay for a project. Seeing this, they are aware that paying the more money is worth it, because they want these projects to succeed, and being more experienced than most Windows users in doing so, they pay more.

    3. Maybe the Linux folk value these games more than the Windows folk do. Thus, the Linux folk pay more, regardless of the other points.

    4. There's a lot of cheap people who get a cheap computer running Windows from their parents, and then only pay anything for the Humble Bundle at all, because they can get away with only paying 1 cent or 1 dollar. This isn't as prevalent in the Linux world, where more people buy their computer to their own desires, taking budget into account but not taking it for free off of their parents as much. As such, they're also more willing to pay more for products.

    5. Because all of these reasons (including yours) can exist alongside one another and easily interact with one another (amplify each other, even), it could be a combination of all of these factors to various different degrees. Where income could be involved, that could influence the willingness to spend said income. With less games available for Linux, the games that are available could be seen as worth more due to the lack of supply. Putting all of these into play, you can get a complex system resulting in Linux users paying more on average when given the choice.

    ... There's probably more that I didn't even think about, but I figured that's a good start.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday April 29, 2013 @04:07PM (#43584347) Journal

    If it was actually DRM free, wouldn't there be no limit to the number of computers you can install it on?

    No DRM means there's no technical limit, but it still has a license that may put a limit on the number of computers. It's similar to many software EULAs out there that say that you can install it on however many computers you want, so long as you only use it on one at a time (old Borland software had a license that called this model "treat software just like a book").

  • by Zephiris (788562) on Monday April 29, 2013 @04:41PM (#43584711)

    Are you kidding me? They release an indie game with absolutely no advertising. They put it up on a pirate website themselves with a known-bad copy. A few hours after going on sale, they're laughing at pirates and saying they have a huge piracy rate. This IS their advertising strategy, and it's as bad as they come.

    When Hotline Miami released, it was available on multiple stores, was receiving a lot of coverage by major sites like Rock Paper Shotgun, and when a pirate version was released? They supported it as if it was official, because they didn't want pirates to get a bad copy of the game. They treated it like advertising, handled it well, and made significant profit with over 130,000 legitimate copies sold, and multiple ports and sequels in the works.

    Hotline Miami got significant positive coverage because it was a good game, and they handled things right. This is a dismal thing which they admit is a poor clone of another game, and instead of going to bat for it, they shoot themselves in the foot and have the gall to whine for sympathy when they put it on a pirate site themselves, made it a known bad copy, AND procede to then laugh in peoples' faces after a few hours, when they do absolutely nothing else to promote themselves, or their game? Let alone produce something reasonably innovative or fun?

    Let me know when some actual, live, half-way sane indie game developers show up. I'll be sure to shake their hand, instead. I'll hug and buy beer instead if it's ZUN. :P

  • by Internetuser1248 (1787630) on Monday April 29, 2013 @04:48PM (#43584769)
    Being dickish? This sounds like an excellent addition to enhancing realism and add to the challenge. I hope they also support creating free to play and open source games, as well as donation based monetisation models. I am totally getting the pirate version of this game.
  • by cas2000 (148703) on Monday April 29, 2013 @06:58PM (#43585855)

    actually, this brings up an issue that's common with all simulations that have an economic or political model - including the sims, sim city, civilisation (and clones), and so on.

    they serve as a form of propaganda for particular sets of economic, political, and cultural rules, that players internalise as they play the game.

    if you program the economic rules so that piracy will ruin your businness then that is exactly what will happen in the game. it says little about the real world....and it's only really obvious in a situation like this where it is a deliberately released piece of overt propaganda.

    a slightly less obvious but more troubling one is the rule in Civ (etc) that democracies aren't allowed to declare war, or that military units can force workers to be content in communism. or that corruption is universal under communism but non-existent under democracy. []

    on the one hand, these are just the rules of the game. on the other hand, they're political propaganda about the pros and cons of particular economic models.

    it's not limited to computer games, either - the earliest version of the game that was ripped off to become monopoly was actually propaganda about the evils of landlords and least that was the author's intention. the rules, however, taught players that monopolies were a good thing because that's how you won the game. [] []

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs