Anti-piracy measures and DRM are often a sore point in the gaming community. While all reasonable gamers want developers to reap the rewards of increased sales for a good title, no-one wants their game restricted by over-zealous security measures. Developer Greenheart Games knows this, and has revealed one of the most ingenious anti-piracy measures for its first game, Game Dev Tycoon.
Anticipating the potential for piracy of the game, Greenheart Games released their own cracked version of the game onto the web ahead of release, with significant, clever twist in the tale.
Here’s where it all goes a bit meta. As the game’s title suggests, players take control of a game development studio and build it from the ground up into a mega publishing house by releasing great games and reaping the profits or well-received titles.
Or at least, that’s what happens if you buy the game.
Those who download it illegally will be able to play the title almost in its entirety, but once your studio hits the internet-connected age of game development, you studio will never be able to make a profit. The reason? In-game pirates undermining sales of your best titles.
Holding a mirror up to games pirates, many have not yet realised the joke being played on them, unwittingly revealing their cheapskate tactics by asking for help on message boards. Check out the following screen grab of one Steam user’s in-game piracy pains:
It’s a really clever tactic by Greenheart Games, not only giving illegal gamers a taste of their title for free, but also giving them a guilt trip into buying the full game. They’re not angry with you, pirates. They’re just disappointed. And we all know which is worse, right?
For more on the clever move, check out the Greenheart Games blog post.