Small dev teams shouldn’t fear piracy, says Hogan

If you’ve developed a game, the one thing you don’t want to see is pirates downloading your game for free and seeing a vital revenue stream go up in smoke.

But according to Sean Hogan, one of the developers of 2D fantasy game Anodyne along with Jon Kittaka, piracy is “inevitable” so it’s easier to adopt an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ policy.

Hogan’s actions came about after he had been made aware of Anodyne being posted on file sharing behemoth The Pirate Bay. Rather than clamp down on it, Hogan posted download codes for it.

“Yeah, piracy is inevitable so it’s better to embrace it – plus, it gives lots of people who couldn’t normally afford the game the opportunity to play it – and I think when you’re a small group of developers it’s better to have lots of people able to experience your game,” Hogan wrote on Reddit under his alias seagaia.

The overall idea, for Hogan, is to generate enough interest so the game – currently priced at $10 – can go up on Steam.

Yet the Pirate Bay torrent, uploaded by a user called ‘Frewyrn’, has since been deleted, although it is available at other aliases. Hogan personally contacted Torrent Freak to say that he had “mostly no idea what’s happening” about the torrent, and he tweeted “Uploading it and then taking it down would have been genius, but I am not that smart”.

Nevertheless, it’s an interesting angle on the game monetisation theme. An oft-cited example of another developer who allowed pirating of his game was Hotline Miami's Jonatan Söderström, who tweeted: "I don't really want people to pirate Hotline Miami, but I understand if they do. I've been broke the last couple of months. It sucks."

The game industry appears to be more tolerant of such things, but what would you do if you knew your hard work was being pirated for nothing?

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