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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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102 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 5.
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22. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 13:55 RP
 
I might've bought Zeno Clash had they provided a demo. While the art style looks damn awesome, I have no idea of what to expect from a 1st-person melee game from a new studio.

The Defense Grid devs said they saw a noticeable increase in sales through Steam after they released a demo. Releasing a demo is just good business practice, especially since you can easily download them through Steam and then buy the full game from within the same friggn' client.

That being said, I won't pirate it. I'll just wait for a demo and a sale in the future, provided I enjoy the demo.

This comment was edited on Apr 29, 2009, 14:00.
 
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21. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 13:55 DG
 
pirates do this, pirates dont do that. real gamers do this, real gamers dont do that.

If you stereotype and make sweeping generalisations, even if you are right most of the time, you are going to be wrong with at least "x"% of your stereotyped population. If the conversation involves a situation where x% is a significant figure, yoru whole point can be totally wrong.

So, if say you are wrong about a measly 5% of people who pirated a game, the number of pirates may be so huge so that 5% who DO go out and buy the game is substantial in comparison to what the sales would have been with no piracy.

Obviously that's a theoretical example since nobody really has a clue what's going on. But it isn't stopping people pretending that they do.

(I have NO pirate games and don't even have a bittorrent client.)
 
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20. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 13:50 Verno
 
Actually pirates started using demos to crack the early retail copies they were able to obtain, that's originally why companies started cracking down. This is part of how the whole effort of DRM arose to attempt to stop zero-day piracy. Three+ years ago, games were often cracked and posted weeks or months before retail thanks to demo executables.

Nowadays you have to set aside serious dev time for a demo as it's not as simple to make one as it used to be. Regardless, that doesn't excuse stealing games. Don't play them then, this isn't like you're being denied a basic human right such as breathing.

A better argument would be to lobby your local political reps to get some sort of law passed to ensure that all digital products have a demo version since they are largely non-refundable. People don't do this though, they just steal the game and make up dumb excuses on Internet forums instead.

This comment was edited on Apr 29, 2009, 13:56.
 
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19. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 13:45 everyone
 
Demos stopped being common practice several years ago. It used to be every game had to come with a demo or some kind of shareware form. id invented shareware, and then everybody followed suit.

Recently, companies seem to feel it isn't worth their time to produce a cut-down version of their game for people to test out. Maybe if they spent less time complaining about piracy and actually giving people a chance to check out their game without forking out fifty-god-damn-dollars first, piracy wouldn't be as big of a "problem" as they say it is.
 
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18. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 13:45 Verno
 
Demos have been around a while but so have vinyl records, and it's about as easy to get one as the other.

What a stupid comparison. I'm shocked you didn't include a car analogy too.
 
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17. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 13:38 Narf2029
 
And there is a way to try games for free. It's called demos, they've been around a while.

Demos have been around a while but so have vinyl records, and it's about as easy to get one as the other.
 
Huh? I'm sorry, I was thinking about cake.
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16. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 13:34 PropheT
 
I'd never heard of Zeno clash until now so it's done that... Word of mouth and getting people interested is the major hurdle in selling your game. I think if pirates download your game in big numbers and the reaction is positive that is a huge plus to me.

There should be a way to try games for free. It's just not reasonable to expect people to risk their money to see if they like a game.


If there was any proof that even a reasonable percentage of those pirates bought the games they liked, you might have a point.

And there is a way to try games for free. It's called demos, they've been around a while.
 
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15. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 13:18 everyone
 
"...long after it apostrophe s release."

Come on; as a dev, you are required to use a grammar checker.

This comment was edited on Apr 29, 2009, 13:19.
 
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14. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 13:10 DDI
 
I bought the game because of strong word of mouth and positive reviews. If you want to try it before you buy it, then wait for the demo or don't buy the game if they don't release one. You can live without playing the game. You don't have the right to play it for free if they don't release a demo, its that simple.  
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13. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 13:07 Verno
 
Oh no dude, you see it's all a good thing. They're just "spreading the word", it's a free exchange of digital content bro, INFORMATION WANTS TO BE FREE blah blah blah. Conveniently they also happen to get a full copy of the game and zero accountability in terms of what they do with it, somehow that never gets mentioned in piracy debates.  
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12. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 13:01 hiya
 
Yeah, once you pirate it to try before you buy, takes a strong will to stop playing, go out and and buy it, etc etc.

If pirates wanted to do game devs a favor, cut out 3/4 of the game and put the 1st quarter up on filesharing sites. "Unofficial demo version" or something. Otherwise, it's just an excuse.
 
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11. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 12:32 Verno
 
Please, show me ... how does "piracy", the non-profit-oriented sharing of digital content between people, hurt sales?

Please show me how it doesn't. Sorry but the onus is on the people stealing shit, not the creators. Also you conveniently ignore that there are countries other than the US who have entire black markets built around selling other's commercial IP, games included.

"Piracy" is the only way for indie devs, without the big marketing budget a major publisher like EA can afford, to make their games more popular, to "spread the word".

Ok, you write all that up in an email to the creators of Braid, Peggle and so on. Let me know how they respond to charity pirate work. Word of mouth only goes so far and word of mouth does not directly induce sales. It can potentially lead to them but that's all. If you have proof otherwise then please feel free to share it with the class. Best case scenario argument is that indies can't afford advertising but that falls apart due to the wonders of the Internet and the hundreds of ways to expose your game to an audience now, many of them entirely free.

To suggest that piracy is the "only" for an indie dev to succeed is utter bollocks. It's yet another excuse. It just allows people to get enjoyment from the game without paying for it. Pirates will then come up with whatever excuse they feel fits for not buying it - "too short", "too expensive", "too many bugs", "not being supported", "not available from [such and such]", "not my sort of game", etc. Never mind that they've already played it, often 'til completion.

Ding ding ding. This man is wise. It's really easy to talk yourself out of something that costs money after the fact. I used to pirate shit all the time, I know how it works so don't pull the whole "oh my god we're doing them a favor" or "I never would've bought it anyways!!!" crap with me. Those arguments might work on a ten year old but they aren't fooling anyone here except maybe fellow pirates.

This comment was edited on Apr 29, 2009, 12:40.
 
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10. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 12:20 theyarecomingforyou
 
Please, show me ... how does "piracy", the non-profit-oriented sharing of digital content between people, hurt sales?
Really? You're being serious?

"Piracy" is the only way for indie devs, without the big marketing budget a major publisher like EA can afford, to make their games more popular, to "spread the word".
No, it's not. I've bought PLENTY of indie games without piracy. Demos really help, as they influenced me getting Braid, Cogs, Eets, World Of Goo, And Yet It Moves, etc. Sensible pricing also helps, particularly with the weekend sales offered on digital distribution sites. Word of mouth, viral marketing, forum posts and the like also spread the word. Sites like Gametrailers can help a game gather a following. To suggest that piracy is the "only" for an indie dev to succeed is utter bollocks. It's yet another excuse. It just allows people to get enjoyment from the game without paying for it. Pirates will then come up with whatever excuse they feel fits for not buying it - "too short", "too expensive", "too many bugs", "not being supported", "not available from [such and such]", "not my sort of game", etc. Never mind that they've already played it, often 'til completion.

I pirated this game. Then I bought it. I like to support developers who take risks and the game is actually pretty good too.
Yes, but did the message sway you? No. It was the quality of the game. And did you need to pirate it? No, you could have waited for the demo.

The idea that piracy is keeping the gaming industry alive is just delusional... nearly as delusional as George Takei.
 
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9. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 12:11 Jerykk
 
On a second note, this game is sick. as in a bad way. As are most games made today. Nothing but piles of degenerate filth and violence. We all eat it up and lose a little more humanity each time.

What games would you recommend? I don't want to lose any more of my humanity, after all. I was considering Hello Kitty Online but I fear that it may contain degenerate elements.
 
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8. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 12:08 Krovven
 
DDI - Sad thing is it won't make a difference.

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."

It's even in the news story, that people bought it due to his message...that's making a difference.
 
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7. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 12:07 Kajetan
 
it really hurts the indies a lot more than it hurts companies like EA who just make huge bucks on the consoles anyways

Please, show me ... how does "piracy", the non-profit-oriented sharing of digital content between people, hurt sales?

"Piracy" is the only way for indie devs, without the big marketing budget a major publisher like EA can afford, to make their games more popular, to "spread the word".
 
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6. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 12:05 Hellbinder
 
people pirate... STEAL... games because they can get away with it. and because the morality of almost the whole world is completely gone. You want to stop piracy? start punishing the pirateers. i mean bring the hammer down hard.

No more excuses about game demos etc. They are all lies. And why would a legit game player even be at a site like that? Shame on you.

On a second note, this game is sick. as in a bad way. As are most games made today. Nothing but piles of degenerate filth and violence. We all eat it up and lose a little more humanity each time. anyone who thinks that games and media have not been a big part of why we have 5 school shootings a year now and many other sick twisted crap going on is a blind fool.

brainwashing works for a reason. You get out what you put in over a focused long period of time. have you looked around at kids in school? walking around on the street? most of them dont look even remotely normal anymore.

We are litterally killing ourselves with garbage.

This comment was edited on Apr 29, 2009, 12:08.
 
The Whales name is Bob.
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5. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 12:01 Jerykk
 
I pirated this game. Then I bought it. I like to support developers who take risks and the game is actually pretty good too. If it wasn't so unique and weird, I probably wouldn't have paid $20 for it but I'm willing to pay extra for a little innovation.  
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4. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plans Apr 29, 2009, 11:53 Verno
 
I just find pirates quite hard to believe sometimes - one of the comments was "I haven't bought a game in over 5yrs but I might buy this one", which is just astounding.

There is always an excuse to pirate a game is really the problem. You can go looking for any flaw and use it as justification. I used to be this way in school and even back then I had a decent job and could afford it. Anyways I'm sorry to hear their game got pirated before a demo could be released, it really hurts the indies a lot more than it hurts companies like EA who just make huge bucks on the consoles anyways(PC sales are basically just icing on the cake).
 
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3. Re: Zeno Clash Devs on Piracy, Demo Plan Apr 29, 2009, 11:15 Tumbler
 
I'd never heard of Zeno clash until now so it's done that... Word of mouth and getting people interested is the major hurdle in selling your game. I think if pirates download your game in big numbers and the reaction is positive that is a huge plus to me.

There should be a way to try games for free. It's just not reasonable to expect people to risk their money to see if they like a game. It needs to change. Offer a return policy with a fee, something. Think outside the box. Publishers are just too greedy at this point. Services like steam make it possible to let you share your game for a limited time and even if you get the customer to pay full price you could offer a 90% refund if they change their mind in 24 hours. If someone would choose to return your game in 24 hours...it's overpriced.
 
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102 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 5.
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