Giving away a pirated game?

Downloading a game from a site like The Pirate Bay is wrong, we are being told that on a daily basis (well if you are a gamer that is) and I am not telling you otherwise. But sometimes you just want to give a game a try before you buy it to see if you like it (there used to be demo’s of games in the past), or you do not have the money to buy a new game, or you just don’t want to spend money on a game. Whatever the reason, most people that play games have pirated a game I’m sure of that.

So what do the game companies do about that, well, like the music industry they put in place all sorts of measures to prevent people from paying pirated games, called Digital Rights Management or DRM for short, ranging from simple licence codes to state of the art online registration that makes you unable to play the game without an internet connection. And what if you have 2 computers and want to play on both, well that too can be a problem sometimes.

Then there is 11 bit Studios, the guys that made a great game called This War of Mine. These guys went to The Pirate Bay and in the comments of one of the downloads there posted the following:

Hey guys!

It’s Karol from 11 bit studios, the developers of This War of Mine.

We are really happy to hear that you like our game. They prove, that spending 2 years on it was worth it.

I would like to say thank you to everyone, who decides to buy the game and support us – because of that we’ll be able to develop TWoM further and create even better games in the future.

If because of some reasons you can’t buy the game, it’s ok. We know life, and we know, that sometimes it’s just not possible.

Here are some codes for the steam copy of the game, so some of you can take a look at it. And if you like the game after spending few hours in, then just spread the word, and you’ll help us a lot.



So, instead of trying to take people to court they actually gave away 10 games to the people pirating it, for free and even gave them a thank you for talking about the game with friends and family. This action sparked a discussion in the comments on TPB, where you usually only see profanity and people calling other people names, where people were thanking 11 bit Studios for this action and telling them that because of that they would actually buy the game now and talk to more people about it an write reviews and that we need more game studios like that.

This tells me that loosing all the DRM stuff and being nice to you players might actually work, without hurting the people that do buy the game with all sorts of measures preventing them from enjoying the game they bought. We have seen that in the music industry as well. I believe it was Coldplay that released an album on the web for free, asking people to pay whatever they wanted if they liked it, or not pay at all if they didn’t. Turned out that the album entered the charts at the number 1 position when it was released as a CD a few weeks later, even though everybody had been able to download it for free, legally.

Not gonna do the ‘is the illegal downloading of games (and music and movies and software) bad for the companies that made it’ discussion here on my own, but I highly doubt it and maybe a small studio like 11 bit Studios is able to prove me right.

All I know is I love the game, which has a great atmosphere and gameplay and that everybody should buy it !

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