Game Developer Chooses To Connect With Pirates, Reaps Rewards As A Result

from the good-guys dept

While the industries that dominate digital products generally aren't great at recognizing the true nature of the threat of piracy to their businesses, it seems to me the video game industry is better at this game than most. Whereas the movie and music industries are dominated by a great deal of fists pounding tables, some game developers have for some time recognized that piracy might actually be an opportunity in wolf's clothing, if they would only try connecting with these potential customers and ingratitate themselves to this wider potential audience. Still, because this idea that should be easily portable to other industries is so rarely entertained by those other industries, it's worth pointing out the ongoing examples of how gaming companies combat piracy by being awesome and human.

One such recent example is the story of how PM Studios, makers of Playstation Vita game SUPERBEAT: XONiC, reacted to a discussion on Reddit's r/VitaPiracy/ thread detailing how to pirate the game. The game developer decided to jump into the comments themselves with the following:

Hello everybody!

We feel honoured that you enjoy our game SUPERBEAT XONiC so much, we would like to invite you to take this opportunity to purchase it on sale at the Playstation Store.

You can enjoy the original game and show support to the team for just $15.99 (60% off), no Playstation Plus required!

https://store.playstation.com/#!/en-us/games/superbeat-xonic/cid=UP2011-PCSE00717_00-SUPERBEATXONIC02

Have a nice day!

This, quite simply, is how it's done. Rather than flying into a rage, which would be somewhat understandable on a thread designed specifically to show how to play the game without paying for it, PM Studios decided to treat those on the thread with respect, even thanking them for trying out the game. This acknowledgement that some percentage of piracy is comprised of those wanting to see if they'll like a game before buying it, combined with simply ignoring those that pirate without any intention of ever buying the game, and wrapped up at the end with a link to where the game can be bought while on sale, was met with enthusiastic responses in the comments.

And not only that. PM Studios stayed in the thread and had a relatively lively but respectful debate about how it views piracy, the harm of piracy, and describing its status as a small team just looking to make great games. In other words, rather than simply screaming about piracy, it connected with its potential customers in a respectful way. In the end, several comments came to the defense of PM Studios.

[–]DidntEvenReddit 5 points 3 days ago*

For a small team making Xonic it really is a way to keep the developers on the payroll post-release and keep in mind this is a third party exclusive game on the fucking vita to begin with so the margins are already against them. I have no idea why you would equate the practices of AAA publishers to PMStudios or why you wouldn't want to support them. You're not sticking it to the big corporate man by fucking over a small studio like this

One imagines that this kind of thing builds up goodwill amongst potential buyers of PM Studio games. Some of the comments on the thread state as much. It won't do anything with the pure-pirate folks out there, but, then again, nothing will. Worrying about those that were never going to buy the game would have been wasted time and energy. Instead, the developer chose to try to win over those that might indeed want to support its efforts.

Here's hoping PM Games gets the positive reinforcement needed to confirm that this kind of thing is the right way to deal with piracy. And that other studios are paying attention, as well.

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Filed Under: connect with fans, games, piracy, superbeat xonic
Companies: pm studios


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2016 @ 8:43am

    Wut?

    You're not sticking it to the big corporate man by fucking over a small studio like this

    Actually you are sticking it to the big corporate man, the small studio is just collateral damage. If you do deals with the devil then you risk losing with the devil. The middle men in the content industry are clearly evil and opportunistic, it's not even close to a secret yet everyone lets those $$$ signs cloud their judgement and just go the easy sell your soul route.

    Additionally, any studio that agrees to exclusives of any kind deserve to fall. Also the "just to small" arguments is just a deflection for either "they don't want to" or "lack the expertise" or "just do not think it will be profitable enough for the effort". Either way, saying we are too small is a bullshit excuse, there is another reason not being given.

    The entire idea behind business is to first expend effort in hopes of gaining a reward. The ONLY questions are...

    Is this for profit?
    If not, then try it and see if you succeed.
    If YES, then will it earn enough?
    If not, then (cheezeball excuse, like we too small)
    If YES, then try to success and earn some cash!


    I do certainly appreciate what they did here, but never say that you are not sticking it to the big man. It has always been the case that "when you squeeze nobility, the peasants are the ones that feel the pinch." a quote I have always liked from the movie Dragonheart.

    So remember, it is never possible to take down evil without causing suffering to those under them, but they still must fall to make way for "hopefully" something better.

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