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To thwart key resellers, Darkwood dev releases its game on torrenting sites

Acid Wizard Studio would rather see players pick its survival-horror game Darkwood up for free than see them support key resellers.

Alissa McAloon

August 25, 2017

2 Min Read

Acid Wizard Studio would rather see players pick its survival-horror game Darkwood up for free than see people turn to key resellers.

The three-man team is far from the first outfit to encourage piracy over third-party key sellers, but the trio’s story stands as a reminder of how the practice can harm smaller development studios

In an Imgur post detailing the game’s five-year long development cycle, Acid Wizard Studio noted that it had received an unexpected surge of emails in response to the game’s release, but that many of those messages were scam emails seeking to solicit free keys. 

“That key then gets sold through a shady platform,” explains the post. “To be honest, we're fed up with it. This practice makes it impossible for us to do any giveaways or send keys to people who actually don't have the money to play Darkwood.”

That, combined with a handful of refund requests from players who couldn’t afford the game at $15, prompted the dev to release the full, unaltered game for free as a torrent.

“There's no catch, no added pirate hats for characters or anything like that. We have just one request: if you like Darkwood and want us to continue making games, consider buying it in the future, maybe on a sale, through Steam, GOG or Humble Store,” says the Acid Wizard team. “But please, please, don't buy it through any key reselling site. By doing that, you're just feeding the cancer that is leeching off this industry.”

Meanwhile, nefarious key-resellers and email scammers have become so widespread that Steam itself is eyeing ways to cut down the number of illegitimate key requests developers receive. Valve detailed a change to its Steam Curator program a few months back that would give developers a quick way to verify the identities of streamers and content creators through the platform itself, though that update has yet to go live. 

About the Author(s)

Alissa McAloon

Publisher, GameDeveloper.com

As the Publisher of Game Developer, Alissa McAloon brings a decade of experience in the video game industry and media. When not working in the world of B2B game journalism, Alissa enjoys spending her time in the worlds of immersive sandbox games or dabbling in the occasional TTRPG.

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