Developer Greenheart Games took an unusual approach when it released Game Dev Tycoon by seeding torrent sites with a cracked version. The main difference with this version of the game is that the player’s in-game developer would suffer rampant piracy and eventually go bankrupt, leading some pirates to ask if they could invest in DRM in-game.

“As a gamer I laughed out loud: the IRONY!!!” wrote Greenheart co-founder Patrick Klug. “However, as the developer, who spent over a year creating this game and hasn’t drawn a salary yet, I wanted to cry. Surely, for most of these players, the 8 dollars wouldn’t hurt them but it makes a huge difference to our future!”

The cracked version of the game also reported back usage stats to Greenheart. From the data gathered, 3,104 users pirated the game compared to just 214 who played legitimately purchased copies.

“Whether or not to use DRM isn’t clear at all to a new start-up,” detailed Klug. “The main argument against it is that all it does is to inconvenience genuine customers. Fact is that any game can be cracked, so all you do is spend time on something that in the end just annoys your real customers while only slightly delaying the inevitable. The only way to protect yourself is to create an online game. I guess that’s why so many studios focus on these types of games and it’s probably a driving force to eradicate traditional single player games. Personally, I love single players games and hope to be able to continue down this path and if more people would buy our game, we might even be able to.”