Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Those pirates are fast (and... helpful?)

Piracy is something every game developer must come to expect. It's unavoidable in this age of widespread connectivity and was certainly something I was anticipating with Luminesca. What I did not expect was just how quickly piracy would become an issue; I made the game available for pre-order on Friday and noticed it listed on certain sites within a few days.

Luminesca utilises a piece of opt-in data tracking software called Lumos (no affiliation!). When the game starts up players can indicate whether or not they are happy to have Lumos send me anonymous hardware, software and session data about their system and experience with the game, which I can then use to improve it.

I knew something was amiss when I checked the Lumos figures and noticed that the recorded number of players was triple ten times the number of sales. Of course there are bound to be some players who chose not to enable data tracking so the actual numbers will be even higher.

I'm not here to rant about the evils of piracy or propose a solution. As far as I'm concerned there is no solution and the evils are irrelevant; there will always be people trying to get something for nothing. For a small developer it seems so futile to waste time on preventative measures.

I did, however, find it interesting that so many pirates were willing to permit illegally-acquired software to send usage information back to me. They're providing me with helpful data, whether they are supportive or not!

Of course there is always another way they could help which I would not object to in the slightest, and I can only hope they anyone who played Luminesca for free enjoyed it enough to make a contribution and help spread the word.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me sad , although at least you are seeing the bright side.