Coolness

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Originally Posted on Techdirt.

For all the rhetoric we hear that pirates are evil, thieving scum, they sure do have a massive positive impact on creators who choose to work with them. Take for instance the recent success held by Sosowski, the creator of recent indie hit McPixel. When Sosowski found his game on the Pirate Bay, he didn’t flip out, he didn’t curse, he embraced the pirates there and turned them into an opportunity for success.

If you dare risk a visit to the Pirate Bay and specifically the page for McPixel, you can see exactly what Sosowski did. He first thanked pirates for uploading the game and then gave away free gift codes.

Yay! My game is here! As weird as it sounds I am actually excited about this.

Anyways, I am not any average video game company, I am just one man making games for a living, so feel free to give me all your money if you like the game!

I get it that in some countries PayPal doesn’t work, or the price might seem really high for some of you, so here are some gift codes for you:
[gift codes snipped]

Most of all, enjoy the game, tell your friends about it, and throw some coins in my general direction if you like it!
All the best,
Sos

This little heart felt message not only led to a lot of people on the Pirate Bay to think more highly of the developer, but it also led the Pirate Bay to seek out Sosowski in order to promote his game on its Promo Bay service.

As a result of the developer’s unusual reaction, The Pirate Bay tracked down Sosowski and the two teamed up to promote the title through the torrent site’s Promo Bay initiative which it launched earlier this year.

The site has been offering a link over the weekend directing visitors to McPixel’s site whilst Sosowski has been running a pay-what-you-want offer on the game. Visitors have also been allowed to torrent the game for free over the weekend to try before they buy.

These two events working in conjunction with each other led to two great benefits for this one man development shop. The first is that the pay-what-you-want sale ended with a total of 3,043 copies sold at an average price of $2.56, with the top price paid being $140. The second benefit is that McPixel is one of the first ten games to be selected by Valve through its new Greenlight service. It is no secret that being accepted by Steam is often a major milestone in an indie developer’s career.

This is yet another story in how piracy can often act as free advertising for artists. This story follows a very similar trend to that of Dan Bull when he used the Pirate Bay to help his single make the charts. There have been a lot of other great stories about artists taking piracy in strides and still managing to be successful. The trick is to accept that pirates are not your enemies, but potential customers who need the right reasons to buy.