Of all the blogs on the internet I think Cliffski Mumblings is among my most favorite. I always look forward to getting updates on his game making progress and somewhat enviously reveled in his progress. Today’s post talks about piracy and his plans to add a “phone home” protection feature to prevent it. Piracy is a topic that can quickly generate a lot of passion and very different view points in the indie gamedev community. I tend to lean towards the “ignore” philosophy because I think most pirates won’t buy the game anyway. They are simply morally bankrupt, irrational and their nothing is one can do to change that.
In the post, however, Cliffski brings up the gray area of ‘casual piracy.’ This is the type of stealing that happens when people start to feel that “everyone is doing it and I’d be a chump not too as well.” This happens because the average individual hasn’t asked themselves the simple question, “What would happen if everyone pirated?” Or more personally, “What would happen if everyone pirated my (or my employer’s) product?” The answer to these questions would sober any “casual pirate” in a second because it isn’t hard to see that the world would become empty, and anything of value would disappear because work would have no reward and poverty would be the smart choice.
In the comments Hamumu has some really interesting ideas about giving the player an incentive to go online and rewarding those who are legitimate buyers. I think these are valuable strategies and I wonder too, if somehow getting the “casual pirate” to ask himself what a world of pirates would be like might be useful too.