Trials developer RedLynx has admitted that in order to market its PC title it leaked it to torrent sites for pirates on the same day it was released to paying consumers.
The pirated version of the game does not include support for leaderboards, said company CEO Tero Virtala, a crucial feature that is the "soul" of the game. Without it, he hoped users of the hacked version would want to upgrade to the legitimate copy once they began enjoying the game.
"Piracy is here, so how can we take advantage of that? What we did actually, on day one, we put that game immediately on all the torrent networks ourselves," revealed Virtala, during a panel discussion at Develop Liverpool yesterday.
"That game relies really heavily on the server side – the leaderboards are the soul of the game. I don't know if it's helped, I'd assume so because even though the version that we put on the torrent networks wasn't the full version, it's the version of the game without the actual soul, without the leaderboards to play against other players."
Virtala said that the game has sold close to 150,000 copies since it was launched 18 months ago. "When we compare that hacked version with those who have access to leaderboards and are accessing our servers they match. So at least people have not cracked out leaderboards yet," he added.
During the same discussion, Torsten Reil of NaturalMotion expressed his frustrations at the amount of piracy for the company's iPhone title Backbreaker – despite the game being sold at the lowest possible price point on Apple's App Store.
"We know anecdotally that even at 59p a lot of people have pirated the game," he said. "At 59p it's pretty fair to assume that a lot of those pirates would have been able and would have bought the game, but there's an overall attitude that it's fine to pirate."
While technology can be employed to hinder piracy of games on all formats, Reil said that it's just as important to try and change the attitude that content should be free for consumers.
"There is in general a feeling that IP and content should be free. That's fine to say, but if you have to pay all the people that actually put their heart and soul into a game – who have to pay a mortgage off and have children – it becomes much more difficult. Yes, you can limit [piracy] with technical tricks, but there needs to be an overall change in the perception of IP and the people who create it."