I just bought the game after reading this blog post.
However, I didn’t buy it because of the complaints, or because of the smart idea to incorporate piracy into pirated copies.
While it was a smart move for some publicity (more below), I think painting piracy as entirely black is misleading.
Those numbers hold some truth and surely are depressing but that’s not the whole story here.
I am a video games developer myself (7 years experience) and have worked on console, portable and smartphone games.
I am also a huge gamer, which means I follow the industry pretty closely, both as a gamer and as a developer.
I bought the game because it is fairly cheap and because the concept (while similar to Game Dev Story) still looks different enough while being fun and challenging. The key thing to get people to buy your game is to make sure they are aware of its existence.
Until this blog post, I’d never heard of the game itself. I think I recall seeing the company name somewhere but that’s it.
I am sure you guys did a lot to promote your game, and I am sure there are several articles about it on several major gaming sites.
However, that shows the extent (and limits) of it: it is ultimately not enough. Getting your game out there and making sure people know about it is (nearly ) as much important as the game itself. And your little trick seems to have paid off (if not yet, I am sure it will). Now, many more websites have reblogged your post and your game is getting a lot of publicity now.
I have other friends working in the games industry as well (we all do) and some of them went indie last year. They put up an awesome game concept, with a working alpha. They put the game on Kickstarter, did a lot of noise on several gaming websites. They had regular updates and the game was looking awesome.
However, the game didn’t get funded and now, it has been cancelled and the company shut down.
How did that happen ? After the news that the company was shutting down went up on more websites, many people in the comments stated that they had never heard of the company nor the game and that they would have totally pledged on Kickstarter had they known about it. Some will say that a comment is just a comment and not a proof of commitment. However, it shows that many gamers willing to pay are most of the time not aware of the games’ existence.
Putting the game on a torrent site and waiting for people to just click/download it, of course that would have boosted the piracy numbers (particularly on day one) - as compared to a few articles on gaming websites talking about your game and simply waiting for people to come buy it.