The CEO of Finnish developer RedLynx has made an extraordinary confession that the studio deliberately leaked one of its games to various torrent sites.
In what could be seen as a move that validates torrent sites as a potential marketing tool for developers and publishers, RedLynx CEO Tero Virtala argued during a panel discussion that studios can benefit from piracy.
"Piracy is here, so how can we take advantage of that,” Virtala asked at the Develop in Liverpool conference.
“What we did actually, on day one, we put [the PC edition of Trials] immediately on all the torrent networks ourselves," he said, as quoted by GamesIndustry.biz.
However, quite shrewdly, RedLynx omitted leaderboard support from the pirate copy.
The high-score appeal of Trials, which typically emerges after players get to grips with the game, was hoped would convince users to ‘upgrade’ to legitimate copies.
"That game relies really heavily on the server side – the leaderboards are the soul of the game,” claimed Virtala.
Though speaking of the move as a way of capitalising on piracy, Virtala in fact seemed uncertain on whether the leak had helped legitimate sales.
“I'd assume so,” he said, adding that Trials has sold close to 150,000 copies since it launched 18 months ago.
"When we compare that hacked version with those who have access to leaderboards and are accessing our servers they match. So at least people have not cracked out leaderboards yet," he added.
The Xbox 360 version of Trials – entitled Trials HD – had become the highest-selling XBLA game during Microsoft’s ‘Summer of Arcade’ campaign, having sold around 300,000 digital copies.