Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Game Developer Finds Where Pirates Are Downloading Their Game, Leaves Thank You Note

Illustration for article titled Game Developer Finds Where Pirates Are Downloading Their Game, Leaves Thank You Noteem/em

It’s like somebody always says, probably: If you can’t beat ‘em, convince them to join you.

Advertisement

We’ve got a new entry in the increasingly lengthy saga of clever developers realizing that, shit, piracy is never gonna go away, so we’ll make the best of it, I guess. Upon discovering a few pirated versions of their PlayStation Vita game, SUPERBEAT: XONiC, on the Vita Piracy and Vita Hacks subreddits, developer PM Studios joined the discussion. Here’s what they wrote (via Torrent Freak):

“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…

“Have a nice day!”

Both subreddits created threads specifically to thank PM Studios for the gesture, and many posters said the devs’ attention convinced them to purchase the game.

Advertisement

Others pointed out that PM Studios wisely acknowledged one of the less prominent functions of piracy: it allows people to try before they buy. Whether intentionally or not, PM both descended at the exact right time (when their game was in deep discount mode for a weekend) and made people feel like they weren’t morally reprehensible cookie jar thieves for their piracy habits.

Sweet, sweet validation.

Granted, some users still tried to rein them in:

Illustration for article titled Game Developer Finds Where Pirates Are Downloading Their Game, Leaves Thank You Noteem/em
Advertisement

In other words, it’s complicated. Some people simply don’t have a ton of money, and piracy gives them a risk-free way to try games. Other people just want free shit, despite maybe having the means to pony up. In either case, piracy is not necessarily the best thing you can do. But it is what it is.

Still, this seems to be a case of “all’s well that ends well.” Or at least, as close to “well” as we’re going to get.

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

I wonder why developers don’t just design their games to detect piracy, and then to shift into a “demo mode” that then does something like what PM Studios’ game did. I know it won’t prevent long tail piracy, but let’s face it, the VAAAAAST majority of developer revenue is earned within the first month or two of release, and a built-in “piracy detected, entering demo mode” type of function should convince a few of those pirates to buy the game within that window and before someone comes out with a crack that disables it.