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The Witness is being heavily pirated

Jonathan Blow says piracy could impact his making another game

Jonathan Blow's newest work, The Witness, has been mostly showered with praise, but unfortunately a lot of players don't feel Blow should be paid, as they've been relentlessly pirating the $40 game. Blow tweeted today that "It seems The Witness is the #1 game on a certain popular torrent site. Unfortunately this will not help us afford to make another game!"

The independent developer then continued to lament the potential impact of his game being stolen: "I'm glad that a lot more people will be experiencing the game! But I also want to be able to make another comparable game next! Just sayin'."

For Blow's hit game Braid, which some would argue was a catalyst for the indie resurgence in the industry, the developer actually created a fake version to distract potential pirates from the real game, but on The Witness Blow just didn't have the time to do that.

Along those lines, Super Meat Boy creator Tommy Refenes replied on Twitter that he likes the "idea of seeding torrent sites with a version of the game that cuts out half the content," to which Blow responded, "I did that with Braid actually! This time I was way too busy just making sure the game was the best it could be."

While The Witness costs four times the amount as Braid ($10), Braid encountered a fair amount of piracy as well, so it may not be the price tag that's leading to players stealing copies. The Witness is suffering in part because it has no digital rights management (DRM). Blow said he does not like the idea of DRM but is now forced to consider it.

"That might happen on the next game, I don't know! I don't like DRM because I think people should have the freedom to own things," Blow commented.

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James Brightman avatar
James Brightman: James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.
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