TinyBuild are doing something a little unusual: they’re releasing their new game for free and they’re doing it because of the positives of piracy.
Instead of taking the standard line, tinyBuild’s Alex Nichiporchik tells us “Don’t buy into developers blaming piracy for lost sales, it’s just silly.”
“I am pirating Battlefield 4 right now,” Nichiporchik wrote to us.
“It’s a 23gb download. Want to see if it runs fine on my Bootcamp installation of Windows 8, as in if it’s playable. Really don’t care about the single player campaign, but hope it’s indicative of the game’s performance on my machine (you can’t play online in pirated versions of games). If it runs fine, I’ll happily install Origin and buy BF4 for the multiplayer.”
This is one of the positives he sees with piracy, it’s a try before you buy system. He points to Spotify saying that if you’ve used it “you probably stopped pirating music.” Plus, “with bundles and Steam sales, you probably get your favorite games for dirt cheap which makes pirating them not worth the effort. In other words, if the value and convenience is good enough, there’s no real need for piracy.”
Back when tinyBuild released No Time to Explain they uploaded their game to The Pirate Bay. In that version of the game, they fitted all the characters with pirate hats. At the time, Nichiporchik told TorrentFreak that “some people are going to torrent it either way, we might as well make something funny out of it.
“You can’t really stop piracy, all you can do is make it work for you and/or provide something that people actually want to pay for. For us this is humor, we like making people laugh.”
Since that release, Nichiporchik says “We got dozens of e-mails from people who found it via TPB and bought it afterwards, sending really positive comments about how funny the joke was. We didn’t even provide much value to buy it legally, just normal hats (in No Time To Explain, you collect dozens of hats, in the pirate version they were all just pirate hats). The press coverage spiked our sales. Don’t buy into developers blaming piracy for lost sales, it’s just silly.
“I’ve seen it multiple times when people pirate some sort of software, fall in love with it, and then due to constant updates reminders end up buying it, just for the convenience. Basically, when developers provide a good service, people see the value in spending money.
“So we’ve decided to make SpeedRunners free when it comes out.”
The offline release of SpeedRunners is what you can download for free. It’ll give the opportunity to players to try the game and get a grip with what it’s all about. There are bots to play against so you can get a taste of the multiplayer experience. If you want to take the game online, though, you’ll need to pay. That money will cover tinyBuild’s costs for continuing service of the multiplayer.
You can already buy SpeedRunners through Steam Early Access. That version includes the multiplayer. Nichiporchik is clear that those early buyers will “get the full package, whatever that shapes up to be.”