Game thief: someone stole my game

Kes

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@BlueMage It would also penalise all those legitimate players who have the earlier version.
 

Andar

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First of all, how do you know who hosts the site and who is responsible? Is there a way to check?
of course there is - that is the basic of the DNS system, you wouldn't be able to adress a site if you couldn't find its physical servers.
for example the entire database of all .com adresses can be followed through from whois.com
for other codes it depends on which one it is - the German .de for example is handled through DeNic.

I don't remember which country code was in the adress before it was removed, but that is where you start your investigation.
 

BlueMage

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@Poryg i know people will find it annoying but, at least you can save an amount of potential income. You may find it surprise but, somehow Luna Sanctus of Mushroom had been posted on pirate sites not even passed of 24 hours after he released it on Steam.
I believe it would affect on his game's rate of sale more or less

@Kes i don't think so, game get update automatically on Steam, it's not that troublesome

Or maybe if we can check Steam User's Name, we can block a list of popular hackers' name. We won't do it at start of the game but mid-game, so there is no way Hackers will know about it =)
 

Soryuju

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The general consensus I’ve seen online is that there aren’t many practical ways to stop people from pirating your game. However, it’s actually possible to turn piracy to your advantage, especially if you release updates for your game regularly. I’ve read that the people who run/contribute to these type of sites are often more focused on finding new titles to pirate than on keeping every single game in their libraries up to date. If you keep up a steady stream of new content, then the people who download your game from the pirate site are more likely to get an outdated version, and if they like your game, they’re more likely to become customers of yours.

It’s also worth mentioning that there are a couple types of players who pirate games: some pirate specifically because they feel entitled to free media - these are the people who see a game on Steam and go straight to pirate sites to check for copies, and if they don’t find it there, they just move on to other games. You’re very unlikely to ever see any money from them, whether or not pirated versions of your game exist. Other players pirate games because they want to try before they buy, and if they like the pirated version of a game, they’ll go to an official source later to purchase the real thing.

Some devs have reported increases in their monthly sales figures after their games were pirated, since it created more exposure for their games and let them win over customers who were on the fence about purchasing. I’ve read that sometimes devs will even go ahead and release their own games on pirate sites to get ahead of actual pirates. Of course, I’d recommend researching that practice before trying something similar yourself, since it could conceivably backfire if you’re careless.

But yeah, sorry to hear that this happened, and I wish you luck with figuring out how to take these guys down. But if that doesn’t work out, hopefully it’s some comfort knowing that you might still be able to turn this experience into a net positive for your game.
 
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Marquise*

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Frag! Hope we catch the something harsh I won't type in here!!!
 

Poryg

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i know people will find it annoying but, at least you can save an amount of potential income. You may find it surprise but, somehow Luna Sanctus of Mushroom had been posted on pirate sites not even passed of 24 hours after he released it on Steam.
I believe it would affect on his game's rate of sale more or less
Regardless of how hard they are to crack, games will get pirated as long as they are any good. However, piracy negatively affecting sales is a myth and even though multiple surveys and researches have been done regarding piracy, they have reached the conclusion that there is absolutely no proof that piracy negatively impacts sales (in fact one of them was conducted even by EU and since the result did not fit its agenda, it did not publish it).
The negative effect of piracy on sales is negligible, because the two large groups of pirates are:
1. Those who would not buy the game anyway
2. Those who want to try before buy.

Fighting against group n°2 is pointless, they are potential customers. And fighting against group n°1 is pointless too, since they are not going to be your customers anyway, so why bother with them?
There are only three exceptions to this: Asset flips, credit theft and commercial piracy. These can affect your sales and should be taken harsh action against. But from non-commercial piracy you have nothing to lose. You can only gain from the additional exposure the pirated game gains.

You can gain even more exposure if you release a pirate version with a troll inside. And you can convert pirates into legitimate consumers by creating a free version of the game.
But DRMs? For indie developers they're usually not worth it.
 

Andar

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@Poryg unfortunately there are a few things that you forgot in your post above, things that make fighting piracy absolutely neccessary.

1) in a lot of countries, you can loose your own copyright if you don't fight copyright infringment and piracy.
Basically if you don't fight A for copyright infringment and then comes a different B (including a public company selling things based on your work), then they can argue to a judge that you lost your right to that work because you didn't fight A. Basically a "I demand the IP holder ignores me the same way as he knowingly ignored that other infringement".
And YES, there have been cases where judges ruled that way in the past (although admittedly not for single ignored infringement cases).

2) Some companies can't allow piracy because they absolutely know that no one who "tests" their game will ever purchased it.
There usually is a reason when a company doesn't give demos of their games (those were extremely common years ago), usually to hide bad quality of a hyped game.

3) Short but good games
a lot of people even of your group #2 will most likely not buy a pirated game if they already played it through to the end.
and the casual gaming preference combined with the other developments in the industry have resulted in quite a bit games that were good but short.
 

Poryg

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@Andar For the first point, yes, it might be necessary to combat piracy due to copyright retention. However, there's no point in pumping in DRMs, because the moment you hide your game behind DRMs, you hurt your legitimate customers. Especially in cases of short, but sweet games.
And DRMs that involve internet connection are the worst, because the moment this internet connection is lost for whatever reason - company bankrupcy, server expiration/shutdown, hacker attacks etc.... The game is unplayable.
So I'd say, file a DMCA claim and move on. But I strongly disagree with DRMs.

Point n°2 is irrelevant. If a game is garbage, even legitimate customers will actually find a motivation in pirating it as they don't want to waste money on it. There the company loses profits by making a terrible game, not by not fighting piracy well enough.

As for point n°3, there are people from pirate group #2 who won't buy the game if they finished it, you are right. But then there are people who will buy it as a token of appreciation even if they don't intend to play it again. With unbeatable DRMs you'll lose whole group #2. With pirated game there is still a chance you may get some sales from the group #2. Since potentially some is still not any lower than none at all, this point is invalid.
 

MushroomCake28

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@Andar Well where I'm from and many countries, acquisitive prescription (the legal term for what you're describing) is only possible with immovable objects (mainly real estate) and trademarks. Movable are sometimes included for certain countries, but copyrights/patents are usually not included. So I'm safe for your first point.

For the rest of your points, I totally agree. However there is a limit to what I can do as a solo dev. I don't have the resources, the money, nor the time to try to deal with a pirate site with TONS of games. Even though I'm against piracy, I'll have to hope that it helps me.

@Poryg @Soryuju I get your point. I have thought about how piracy can actually help a game. Pirates will be pirates and won't buy your game anyway, and if they like the game they might become part of your fanbase. I'm still reluctant since it's never nice to know that your own game has been stolen. Anyways, like I said, not much I can do, so I better just hope this helps my game.

Also I agree about DRM: nobody loves them, and I think they aren't necessary for indie games. If we're talking about a big AAA game from a big company, now that's another story because even running the DRM only the first 6 months can save A LOT of revenue.
 

Poryg

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Also I agree about DRM: nobody loves them, and I think they aren't necessary for indie games. If we're talking about a big AAA game from a big company, now that's another story because even running the DRM only the first 6 months can save A LOT of revenue.
Actually, the majority of AAA games get cracked after days-weeks. Only few make it past a month.
The only 100% bulletproof DRM is storing important code on the server, but that requires a lot of cash in infrastructure, hence not too many AAA games do it.
This video might interest you.
It's about Denuvo, which was once known as the uncrackable DRM. And currently the only stronger DRM than this is UWP... And well, storing important game code on a server.
 

Kes

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All my games have been pirated, and there isn't anything I can really do about it. What especially annoys me is the ripping of custom assets for use elsewhere. A couple of times I've come across games with my commissioned music in them, and I've verbally come down on them like a ton of bricks. The music was removed in each case. Maybe what I had to say about it from the point of view of an indie dev might make them think twice about doing it again - but then again, it might not.
 

MushroomCake28

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@Kes I'm sorry to hear about that...

@Poryg I see. So at that point you'd spend too much money on DRM and it won't necessary be a good return on investment.
 

Aesica

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This is one thing I miss about creating web/browser games in Flash--you could sitelock your game, so that the game runs normally on any site you choose to whitelist. However, anyone stealing it who tries to put it on an unauthorized site will have their site visitors coming face-to-face with...pretty much whatever you want. Instead of loading the game, the player will find themselves dealing with anything from a friendly link back to an official site, a shock image, or anything in between.

Pretty much the best you can do is regularly update your game for the first month or so. Roll out updates with new content, bug fixes, etc gradually rather than as quickly as possible. (unless the bug is fatal and will affect ratings significantly, of course.) That way, pirates are more likely to spread an older/buggy version. You could even try releasing an intentionally-broken version through piracy channels (bittorrent, etc) that say, deletes the inventory or party members at random after the first dungeon, making the game literally unplayable after that point. Then, when people come to your steam forums/whatever to complain about missing party members or items, you can respond with, "you should buy the game instead of pirating it." Pretty sure some indie dev actually did that, but I can't remember the details.
 

MushroomCake28

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@Aesica Yeah I remember some games that did that. I don't think I'll spend time making fake buggy versions of the game, but I do intend on doing gradual updates that fix bugs and add content.
 

Anyone

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You should put the thing behind you and forget about it. Piracy is like the weather. It's there. Sometimes it can be helpful, sometimes it's not. But there's never any point in punching clouds and howling at the rain.

From what I read, this is a site that makes your game available for free. There are dozens of sites like that. Your game plan should be to ignore it and focus on support & patches, maybe additional content. If your game is good, you'll get more money than you would without piracy. Truth is: your game's one of countless independent games on steam and may not ever see more than a handful of customers unless something makes people aware of the game's existence. Steam's store will not do that.

Getting your game pirated when releasing it on steam is absolutely normal. Be glad it's just that.
Independent writers have to fight an entirely different plague: getting your ebook novels stolen and published on some backwater site with a slightly changed title, where some guy who anonymously operates through some third-world bank basically makes actual money of selling your product. Guess what their solution is? Nothing. 'Cause there's not even any point in ruining your day and fighting against windmills like that. (This is a classic situation where having a publisher is helpful.)

Seriously, no one who ever fought against piracy gained anything by it. Not even the big publishers. Those who managed to actually use denuvo to keep games from being pirated for a time...ended up not selling any more games than previously. Sometimes less.
 

Marquise*

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@Anyone Erm... so you think the process of game making is less worth to be defended than mere writing? How many did you freed from their actual original creators?
 

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