Indie uses piracy to promote Steam Greenlight game

Indie uses piracy to promote Steam Greenlight game
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

February 11th 2013 at 1:05PM

Illegal file-sharing 'inevitable', so small developers should embrace it, says Sean Hogan

An indie developer has chosen to advocate piracy by offering free codes and posting on a torrent site in support of illegal file-sharing.

In a post on Reddit, Sean Hogan said that piracy was inevtaible and that it was better to embrace it, and asked anyone one who downloaded the action-adventure RPG Anodyne to upvote it on Steam Greenlight.

He added that piracy was a way to give people who couldn’t afford the game a chance to play it, and that it was better for indie developers to have more people play their games than less – no matter how they obtained it.

“Piracy is inevitable so it's better to embrace it - plus, it gives lots of people who couldn't normally afford the game the opportunity to play it - and I think when you're a small group of developers (only my friend Jon and I made Anodyne), it's better to have lots of people able to experience your game,” said Hogan.

“We hope enough people will like it and the word will get out, eventually allowing us to get onto Steam, which then lets more people see and play Anodyne.”

Piracy has proven a big problem for a number of developers in the game industry, with studios such as Crytek claiming in January last year that Crysis 2 had been illicitly downloaded four million times.

Sports Interactive has also previously claimed that its Football Manager series had a piracy rate of 80 per cent, and has since made Steam activation compulsory.  Shadowgun developer Madfinger also reported an 80 per cent piracy rate – rising up to 99 per cent in some countries - for mobile game Dead Trigger on Android, forcing the studio to adopt a free-to-play approach.

Despite this, some developers have taken to accepting illegal file-sharing as an unfortunate part of the industry, and indies such as Hotline Miami dev Jonatan Söderström have also taken unique methods to tackle piracy.

Taking to a thread on a torrent site, Söderström told users that he and his co-developer Dennis Wedin were working to fix a number of the game’s bugs, and asked them if they could update the illegal torrent once the patch was released.

“I don't really want people to pirate Hotline Miami, but I understand if they do,” he said. “I've been broke the last couple of months. It sucks.

“And I definitely want people to experience the game the way it's meant to be experienced. No matter how they got a hold of it.”

In December, Hotline Miami project manager Graeme Struthers said the title had sold 130,000 copies, but had been torrented to “extraordinary levels”.