Skullgirls Creator Combats Piracy With Humor And By Being Awesome
from the doing-it-right dept
We’ve long made the argument that one way to combat piracy is to connect with fans and treat them well. In other words, being awesome will generate enough good will from fans that actually want a producer’s product such that piracy no longer becomes a major concern, because fans will want to buy. It’s funny how much of a reputation some folks have built off of this concept, from Joss Whedon to Wil Wheaton to Louis CK. Those examples aside, nobody said combating piracy by being awesome was easy, so it’s still a good idea to highlight instances of people and companies doing it right.
Enter Skullgirls, a fighting game with an irreverent sense of humor and style, both in terms of its gameplay and the method by which it deals with people pirating their game. For instance, if you pirate Skullgirls and progress far enough through the game, you’ll get this message.
Should you be unable to see the screen shot, a popup window comes up that reads: “What is the square root of a fish? Now I’m sad.” This message only appears to players who have pirated the game. The player can then simply click out of the popup. Or, if you’re Dan Hibiki, a.k.a. @SaikyoChamp on Twitter, you can tweet at the Skullgirls developer, Lab Zero Games, and ask them what’s up with the message, which is exactly what he did. The official Skullgirls Twitter account tweeted back at him suggesting that he buy the game instead of pirating it.
Now, that’d be a pretty level-headed response from a game developer on its own, but when Lab Zero Games then went on to hold an awesome conversation with their pirate-on-a-hook, the concept of being awesome got elevated a few notches. Some highlights include:
//@Skullgirls … I’m sorry. I kinda did a trybeforeyoubuy thing. I already bought it on PS3 and I’m planning on buying it for Steam, soon.
— Dan Hibiki (@SaikyoChamp) July 8, 2014
@SaikyoChamp It’s all good, man. Well… I mean, it isn’t really, but I get it. Just try to do the right thing eventually.
— Skullgirls (@Skullgirls) July 8, 2014
As a result of not flying off the handle, even though it is understandably frustrating to see people pirating your work, there are a ton of people favoriting and retweeting the entire exchange. In other words, Lab Zero Games builds up a ton of goodwill, Skullgirls gets some viral publicity, and nobody has to spend gobs of money on lawyers. That’s some next-level awesome.