The Ultimate In CwF: How Lovers Of Stardew Valley Fought Piracy By Buying The Game For Pirates
from the yarrr dept
Our advocating for the Connecting with Fans and giving them a Reason to Buy equation (CwF+RtB) being a solution to piracy has become something of a mantra for us here at Techdirt. And we’ve seen an absolute ton of success stories of people implementing some version of it. But, really, if you want a recent story of a creator going about this in a way that appears to hit every single note just about perfectly, you need only look toward the latest PC gaming hit: Stardew Valley.
Some brief background is in order. Stardew Valley is an indie game that combines a quaint and quirky farming mechanic, crafting mechanics and a social setting with non-player characters. It has cutesy graphics and is reportedly addictive at opiate levels. And, to the astonishment of many who have played the game, it was created by a single developer over a number of years. That creator, who goes by the Twitter handle @ConcernedApe, has built an ingratiating reputation for interacting with fans of the game, providing personal support and advice for players via Twitter, constantly updating the game and updating gamers with upcoming plans for the game, and generally being about as awesome in interacting with customers as a developer could possibly be. ConcernedApe’s Twitter feed is littered with people’s thanks and requests for help, much of which is directly acknowledged by ConcernedApe. In other words, this is as CwF-y as it gets. But do people feel that they also have a RtB?
With any PC game, one expects a certain amount of piracy. Gaming websites have noted that Stardew Valley certainly has been pirated, though they also remark on the particular levels of guilt and after-pirating purchasing that seems to be occurring with those who have. But, more recently, some gaming sites have also noticed several Reddit threads in which people are requesting help in pirating the game, and being greeted instead by fans who are purchasing and gifting the game to them instead.
And it goes on, and on, and on, and on. Several other Reddit threads picked up this theme as well, with grateful and happy Stardew Valley gamers essentially attempting to cancel out as much of the piracy of the game as they could by buying extra copies and sending them to the pirates who might or might not have ever bought the game themselves. That’s not just RtB. It’s Rtb+b+b+b.
And that’s the true power of connecting with fans and providing them with both a solid product and a level of respect and congeniality that is far too lacking these days. Forget about having to worry or combat piracy as a creator; treat your fans well and they might just go ahead and do it for you. And in a way that puts a few more bucks in your pocket to boot. Perhaps this ape need not be so concerned.