Online piracy is an issue that affects many industries, and indie game development is certainly no exception.
While some developers see piracy as an evil that needs to be rooted out as soon as possible, others are more open to the motivations behind it.
The average game fan may not have the financial means to try out all the new titles that come out every month, for example. While these people are not by any means entitled to a free copy, sometimes the human element resonates with developers.
Acid Wizard Studio, the three college friends from Poland behind the horror game Darkwood, started thinking about this when they recently received an email from a desperate young fan.
The person in question wasn’t a pirate. However, he did request a refund because he was worried that his parents would not like the extra spending.
“When we read the explanation from someone who wrote that he needed the refund because he didn’t want his parents to be stressed out when seeing the bill at the end of the month… well, it made us feel quite bad,” they explain on Imgur.Acid Wizard Studio
The developers realized that this person wasn’t alone. Many people had already pirated the game, often for a similar reason, while others use unauthorized key reselling platforms.
How they decided to respond is quite unique though. They uploaded a free copy on The Pirate Bay.
“So we decided to do something about it! If you don’t have the money and want to play the game, we have a safe torrent on the Pirate Bay of the latest version of Darkwood (1.0 hotfix 3), completely DRM-free.
“There’s no catch, no added pirate hats for characters or anything like that.”
Below is a copy of the official torrent on The Pirate Bay. Just a few hours after the upload it has gained the attention of thousands of people, who are happily sharing it with others.The official Darkwood torrent
The developers stress that anyone is welcome to grab a free copy. That said, they encourage people who like it and have the means, to buy it later. In any case, people should stay away from key sharing sites, referring to them as the “cancer” of the industry.
“We have just one request: if you like Darkwood and want us to continue making games, consider buying it in the future, maybe on a sale, through Steam, GOG or Humble Store. But please, please, don’t buy it through any key reselling site. By doing that, you’re just feeding the cancer that is leeching off this industry.”