While there isn’t an official demo of InFlux available, by linking to torrented version of the game and asking those interested in InFlux to try it out there, they’re hoping that pirates will appreciate the motion and, if they do enjoy it, that they’ll then pay for the commercial version.[Correction: The article originally stated that Impromptu Games had uploaded the torrent themselves, but we've since been told by them that this isn't the case.]
Joe Wintergreen from Impromptu even writes a personal plea towards the pirates as he explains that he hopes they’ll support the team, and himself especially, as he’s currently not sure how he’s going to pay his rent this month.
“I’m Joe Wintergreen. I run Impromptu Games. We made this game.
I just wanted to ask you all to please consider buying InFlux if you enjoy playing it and have the money. We’re not a big company. This is our first commercial PC game, and we’d really appreciate your support, especially me (I seriously have no idea how I’m paying rent this month).
You can currently get the game from GOG, Amazon or the Humble Store via http://www.influxgame.com for ten bucks (you can also tip, if you want, on Humble). If you’re not able to buy it for whatever reason, I’d still appreciate your feedback on the game.”
It’s not as mad as it sounds. Earlier this year, Anodyne followed in the footsteps of McPixel last year by being part of a PirateBay promo, which went rather well for the developers. There are many other developers out there, such as Notch and cactusquid, who instruct players who can’t afford their games to pirate it instead. It’s not all too uncommon.
But is this an effective tactic if you want to make sales?
Previous cases of indie game developers advocating piracy of their game seem to suggest that it’s good promotion for their game, and their argument is usually that piracy is going to happen anyway, and this way, they may actually encourage pirates who had no intention of buying the game to do so. There’s nothing to lose. This viewpoint is mainly heard in regards to desktop games, but on other platforms, piracy can be a more rampant problem, such as Gentlemen’s piracy rate on Android.
But then again, would those pirates have bought the game under any circumstance? Is there a loss of sales here?
It’s down to the developer’s choice, of course, but those who choose to embrace piracy jump on an opportunity to promote their game and appeal to a wider audience. This might be a strange comparison, but there’s a pertinent line in Silence of the Lambs:
“If he sees Catherine as a person, and not just an object, it’s harder to tear her up.”
As you can see in Joe’s appeal to the pirates about needing to make sales of InFlux in order to pay rent, knowing that there’s a person behind the game with this much riding on the game, it may make it harder for pirates who can afford to purchase the game to not do so.