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Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans

Ars Technica has an interesting article on the reaction of developer ACE Team to finding their recently released combat game Zeno Clash available for illegal download. Carlos Bordeu of the Chilean developer commented on BitTorrent Sites explaining the impact of piracy on an independent developer, saying in some cases they were surprised to find a positive reaction: "We've received several mails and posts in our own forums of people who pirated the game that decided to buy it because of the message. I don't know if it is a significant percent, or whether this is good strategy as a whole... but it has sparked some very positive reactions in the community." Here is the statement they made on the torrent sites, indicating a demo is in the works:

Iím one of the developers of Zeno Clash. I would appreciate you read this if you are about to download this file.

Zeno Clash is an independently funded game by a very small and sacrificed group of people. The only way in which we can continue making games like this (or a sequel) is to have good sales.

I am aware that at this moment there is still no demo of the game, but we are working on one which will be available soon.

We cannot do anything to stop piracy of the game (and honestly donít intend to do so) but if you are downloading because you wish to try before you buy, I would ask that you purchase the game (and support the independent game development scene) if you enjoy it. We plan on updating Zeno Clash with DLC and continuing support for the game long after itís release.

Thanks for taking the time to read thisÖ hopefully it will make a difference.

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83. Re: Zeno Clash v. Piracy May 1, 2009, 15:28 Jerykk
I notice a pattern with you, every time someone disproves you, you change the subject.

Sorry Vern, I think you need to go back and actually read post 73. You know, the post I directly responded to. In fact, here's exactly what I responded to: You might catch some numbers from people who just see something new and grab it but more than likely people will ignore what they don't know.

Post 73 was specifically about the downloading habits of pirates. Dades made a statement about that which I disagreed with so I refuted it. He then changed the subject to developers when the original post was clearly referring to pirates.

In any case, I already offered (in the very same post) a rebuttal with a developer's standpoint considered. Here it is again:

With that said, I'll now address your points in the context of developers:

1) Yes, you are giving away your game for free and hoping people will pay for it. However, even if you don't give your game away, it will still get pirated. In the end, piracy is inevitable and all you can do is hope you've made a product people are willing to pay for.

2) Customers and pirates are not mutually exclusive. A very popular stance that anti-piracy folk generally like to take is that there is no overlap between pirates and customers... unless they're talking about stopping piracy, in which case pirates conveniently turn into paying customers. Anti-piracy folk also like to claim that nobody would buy something they already have. Let me ask you this: Why would anybody buy anything if they can get it for free? Piracy is easy and viable to all customers. Why does anyone buy anything? Logically, they would just pirate everything. What's that, you say? Morals and principles? Good point. Now, if a pirate downloads a game and plays it, logic states that they wouldn't buy it... but here comes morality again! If a pirate enjoys a game he downloaded, he might feel compelled to reward the developers by buying it. The point here is that there are varying shades of morality. It's not just right and wrong, good and evil. Some people believe that games should be purchased sight unseen, others believe that games need to prove themselves first. Some people think piracy is inherently evil, other people simply see it as a means to an end. To assume that everyone has the same morals is a bit shortsighted.

3) By "everything else," I assume you mean other forms of advertising? As I mentioned in an earlier post, marketing isn't cheap or easy. If you want to maximize your game's exposure, you're going to have to spend a lot of money and resources. If you only appear on niche sites, your game won't reach the eyes of many people.

4) If you're an indie developer, you don't have a publisher. Publishers deal with marketing so if you do have one, exposure is less of an issue. However, there are still a lot of really obscure published games that people don't know exist.


Now if you'll excuse me, I have some free games to obtain that I will totalllllllly buy later because we're all honest gamers here right chap?

Refer to #2 above.

This comment was edited on May 1, 2009, 15:30.
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