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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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88. Re: Zeno Clash v. Piracy May 2, 2009, 01:47 Jerykk
 
Are you really trying to suggest that stealing is alright?

I'm saying that the act of theft alone holds no meaning. It all depends on context. If I'm stealing medicine from somebody who will die without it, that's a pretty mean thing to do. If I'm stealing guns from a warlord who would use them to commit genocide, that's a pretty nice move on my behalf. If I download a game, enjoy it and buy it, the act of stealing is rendered completely irrelevant. The developers made a good game and were rewarded for it. Conversely, if I play a game for an hour and don't enjoy it, I won't reward the developers because they didn't make a good game.

Think of it like this: The purpose of food is to provide sustenance. If I go to a restaurant, order a meal, eat it and find out it isn't very good, I'm still obligated to pay for it because it provided sustenance. The purpose of a game is to provide entertainment. If I play a game and it bores me, I'm not going to pay for it because it failed to provide me with entertainment. The key difference is that food gives you a lot more choice. If food is undercooked, you can demand that the restaurant cook it some more. If you find a dead rat in your meal, you can get a new meal. If your meal makes you vomit, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't charge for it. With games, you're pretty much screwed once you hand over your money. You can't return it, there's no guarantee that the game will work, there's no guarantee that the game will be fixed, there's no guarantee that the game isn't a piece of crap.

Simply put: I'm not going to pay for the privilege of playing a game. I'm only going to pay for the privilege of playing a game that I actually enjoy.

That's all this is... people trying to justify piracy because they don't want to pay for games. By occasionally buying a game pirates ease their conscience and justify it in their mind.

The problem here is that your sense of morality is comprised of absolutes. You are either a noble and honorable consumer who buys everything you have or you are a scum-sucking thief who steals everything and then laughs about it. There's no middle ground. If a pirate buys a game, obviously it's only to ease their conscience and not to reward a developer for making a good game.

The best analogy I can think of is the D&D alignment system. Lawful Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, Chaotic Evil, etc. Based on your arguments, it seems like you only believe in Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil.
 
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