Game developer figures out how to interact with pirates for its benefit

Greetings Readers!

For years now, we have been hearing of software pirates getting sued for illegally downloading games and other software just like their music and movie downloading brethren.  While there seems to be a few people that understand that you can’t win against the pirates, most major gaming companies have yet to grasp this and instead end up looking like idiots.  Well now an indpendent developer has decided to take a stand against the pirates and not only is it getting him a large amount of respect from the pirates, it is turning the pirates into loyal customers!

With the gaming market dominated by blockbusters such as Halo, Gears of War, Grand Theft Auto and Madden among others, it is rare that we hear about the smaller, independent developers and their struggle with piracy, rather less how they handle the problem.  ACE Team, the developers of Zeno Flash, a FPS game has recently taken to the torrent sites with the knowledge that they won’t stop piracy but will hopefully convince pirates that if they decide to torrent their game, use it as a try before you buy experience.  Below is the post by Carlos Bordeu, an employee of ACE Team, on the trackers comments.

I’m one of the developers of Zeno Clash. I would appreciate you read this if you are about to download this file.

Zeno Clash is an independently funded game by a very small and sacrificed group of people. The only way in which we can continue making games like this (or a sequel) is to have good sales.

I am aware that at this moment there is still no demo of the game, but we are working on one which will be available soon.

We cannot do anything to stop piracy of the game (and honestly don’t intend to do so) but if you are downloading because you wish to try before you buy, I would ask that you purchase the game (and support the independent game development scene) if you enjoy it. We plan on updating Zeno Clash with DLC and continuing support for the game long after it’s release.

Thanks for taking the time to read this… hopefully it will make a difference.

Carlos Bordeu
ACE Team

It is great to see a small team like this have such an attitude toward piracy.  What is really great to see is the response that he got in the comments.  People reposted his statement in the comments of other torrent sites as well as post their thoughts about what they are trying to do to fight piracy instead of trying to sue every person they can find.  Here are some of the responses that have been posted by the pirates.

“It was a touching comment (seriously) I will dl it and see if I like it and then will see if I buy it or not.”

“Developers like this deserve the money. They didn’t come on here with a preconceived notion that we are all thieves who don’t buy our software. I like that, because I and most of the people who use this actually do buy the software and other goods that we enjoy.”

“I have not bought a game in 5 years, but the attitude of the developers has made me want to purchase their game. F***, if I like this game, I’m gonna buy it!”

Clearly this is a winning strategy for ACE Team against piracy.  If more developers as well as the music and movie industry would take this approach, I believe they would see similar responses from pirates and would actually sell more of their product because of it.  If you have a company that is in this position and suffering from piracy, I recommend trying this idea and seeing if it helps.  Considering you have nothing to lose since you product is already being stolen, try to convert those people in to paying customers in any way you can besides suing them.