Isometric RPG Beautiful Desolation Post An Interesting Appeal To Game Pirates

Isometric RPG Beautiful Desolation Post An Interesting Appeal To Game Pirates
Credit: The Brotherhood Games via YouTube

Beautiful Desolation has released on Steam on February 26th of 2020, featuring an isometric RPG in a post-apocalyptic world with puzzles, exploration, combat, and NPCs to make friends or foes of.  The developers responsible for bringing Beautiful Desolation is a simple team of, as the name may imply, two brothers working together to bring new titles to gamers.

The Brotherhood has been watching the popularity of piracy in regards to their most recent game, and it has them in a bit of a fuss;  Beautiful Desolation currently sits around 1,000 concurrent players on Steam; on torrent websites, however, they’re looking at roughly 50,000 pirates downloading and playing the game for free.  It’s a bit confusing how they got that specific number of 50,000, as there’s nothing that they’ve uploaded in terms of evidence or anything that I’ve been able to find crawling through multiple websites.

It smells of a marketing stunt, where TPB echoes the seemingly indifference of players in regards to the release of the game.  Nonetheless, we’ll take this at face value to dive deeper into what The Brotherhood is claiming.

The standard reaction is exactly what happened; The Brotherhood looked at 50,000 torrented versions of their game (from some statistics that they claim to have), imagined that number of legitimate purchases, and become tremendously frustrated.  Granted, assuming that every pirate ended up purchasing the title, that comes to a cool $1,000,000 that the developers are likely imagining how they’d spend, but the statement isn’t necessarily as cleanly cut and dry as that.

Many users view piracy as a means of trying before they buy, regardless of the legality;  numerous bait & switches have been seen and implemented by developers in the past across the mediums of gaming.  From the most egregious offender of mobile games to Steam and console trailers, it’s happened more often than many would prefer.

With the death of demos, it is very difficult to accurately ascertain precisely what a game can hold once it’s purchased and downloaded.  Beyond that, it may simply lack any meritable depth in content, holding little more than a walking simulator with meek mechanics and ideas of what could be in a sequel.  Notorious titles such as Star Forge come immediately to mind.

This group likely takes a large part of the leeches, and they’re likely to explore it for an hour or two and then delete the title,  having made their decision on the title to be purchased at a later date or simply avoided.  It’s evidenced by the number of seeders in the most popular torrent for Beautiful Desolation: 32 seeders with 12 leechers.  More popular titles that keep players in the game typically result in far higher seed numbers, as users keep them on their torrent browser application rather than removing it instantly.

This is a massively far cry from the claimed 50,000, although perhaps there’s a new secret #1-rated torrent website that TorrentFreak has yet to stumble upon.  Perhaps.

We can compare this with a title that we know is popular due to publishers offering numbers and hallmarks: The Sims 4 has 20 million legitimate players that have, at some point, downloaded and played the game via the Origin platform.  This is in spite of having a readily available torrent of the game within a month of release.

Again, these aren’t players that would have purchased the title if other means weren’t available to them; it’s just a quantity of users that saw the possibility of a free game and dove on it.

Then there are those that are pirating for the sake of it; they have no intention of purchasing the title regardless, they’re simply there for the free games.  This isn’t a notation as a missed purchase; it’s just people taking advantage of more back-room methodologies.

It’s a typical pitfall of a developer to look at pirates as missed purchases, but it’s a rare occurrence when that is actually the case.  Meaning the request for pirates to purchase the game, or even simply buy the soundtrack, is likely to do little for the studio in the long run.