Zeno Clash -- which Neoseeker's Lydia Sung took a look at last week -- has been scoring high grades from most game critics, and seems to be resonating well with Johnny Q. Gamer public. But how are sales?
Zeno Clash is the product of a small game development team, Ace Games. As their first major release, they have a great deal riding on how many units they move. As shown with previous well-known indie games, such as World of Goo, the fact that game is made by a huge, established and well-funded studio, or made by a small intimate team in someone's basement, usually doesn't change pirates from pirating a game.
In a direct appeal to pirates, a member of the Zeno Clash dev team posted this message on some illegal torrent sites:
I'm one of the developers of Zeno Clash. I would appreciate you read this if you are about to download this file.
Zeno Clash is an independently funded game by a very small and sacrificed group of people. The only way in which we can continue making games like this (or a sequel) is to have good sales.
I am aware that at this moment there is still no demo of the game, but we are working on one which will be available soon.
We cannot do anything to stop piracy of the game (and honestly don't intend to do so) but if you are downloading because you wish to try before you buy, I would ask that you purchase the game (and support the independent game development scene) if you enjoy it. We plan on updating Zeno Clash with DLC and continuing support for the game long after it's release. Thanks for taking the time to read this... hopefully it will make a difference. Carlos Bordeu ACE Team
The message does seem to be making a difference -- how big or how small, it is impossible to tell, but at least some difference has been made, it seems.
On the world's most popular torrent sites, this message has been appended to many of the game's illegal torrents, and the appeal seems to be resonating with some: one pirate wrote, in a comment section of a big torrent site, "Just wanna say that the news behind the Dev comment that went around the last few days about torrents like this really caught my eye. So last night I bought the full game on Steam for $20. I've put around an hour into it and I gotta say, it's a damn fine game. Most unique visuals I've ever seen and a fighting engine that is surprisingly complex and engaging. So to those noble pirates who claim to use this as a demo... don't be a liar... you better buy this game. You're probably gonna like it, so you may as well buy the thing... seriously... " and there are many more comments similar to this.
While DRM doesn't seem at all effective against pirates, a bit of honesty -- and a perhaps a bit of guilt -- does seem to have some affect.