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Hotline Miami creator talks piracy, ‘not making games for the money’

Friday, 2nd November 2012 15:04 GMT By Dave Cook

Hotline Miami creator Jonatan Söderström recently assisted Pirate Bay users who were illegally torrenting his game for free, ensuring that they could at least play the proper patched version. VG247 spoke with the developer to get this thoughts on his move, and to elaborate on the wider issue.

Speaking to VG247 as part of an incoming interview, Söderström said, “I’m not making games to make money. I do want to make money, but it’s not my major intention with my creativity. I just like expressing myself, making cool stuff, and like, if you don’t want to pay for the game but want to play it anyway, I’m not going to stop people from doing that.”

Last week the developer took to the Pirate Bay to aid users in torrenting the game, so that they would at least receive a version that better reflected Söderström quality standard.

He continued, “I prefer if they play a version of the game that isn’t bugged out, so they get a good impression of it. I don’t want people to pirate the game or anything like that, but I know it’s an issue and there’s nothing we can do about it. I’m not sure I want to do anything about it, but I just want want people to enjoy the game.”

Söderström also took to Twitter to state that he had been ‘broke’ for a while, and that he had no desire to aid piracy, but that he couldn’t stop it.

Clarifying his financial stance to VG247 he said, “I want to make enough money to make bigger games, and that’ probably not something I’m able to do if I have to get a job, and of course I want to be able to pay rent and buy food from what I do. So, we’re looking to make another game as soon as possible, and hopefully it will turn out as good as Hotline Miami.”

What do you think of Söderström’s approach to Hotline Miami piracy? Is there more the industry can do to safeguard fledgling indies, or is a losing battle? Let us know below.

Stay tuned for our full interview next week.

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3 Comments

  1. DSB

    It’s a pitched battle, but it’s not a losing one.

    Steam is really the only argument you need. It brought a lot of pirates back into the fold. Before Steam I would be liable to pirate less interesting games, after it I’m 100% legal and enjoying a huge catalogue of games.

    When you can have any game, over time, for 15 euro, piracy just isn’t relevant unless you’re incredibly childish or just a bastard.

    I think the biggest problem is a lack of quality in releases. Publishers are way too likely to release a game even though they know it’s bugged straight to hell, and arguably that creates the kind of mistrust that would have people relying on torrents instead of gambling 50 euros.

    Of course there’s no hope for the DRM hogs either. Inconveniencing your paying customers, and by extension rewarding those who opt for torrents, is not the most effective way to sell a product.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. TheWulf

    I like this guy.

    I’m tempted to buy Hotline Miami even though I haven’t, yet. The only dilemma for me is that I don’t want to own a game that’s quite that violent. I haven’t pirated it, either, I’ve just watched more than my share of let’s plays. And I know that you have to commit violence against dogs, even with the dog mask.

    And that’s something you can’t ask me to do. I just can’t. A dog doesn’t have the emotional depth of a person, so they never have a full understanding of what’s going on. In fact, a dog has the emotional maturity of a two-year old human toddler. That’s as far as it goes. So, to me, it’s like shooting a toddler in the head.

    Yes, they’re violent, but only because they believe they’re protecting their owner. Simple pack mentality. So understanding a lot about dogs, I can’t, in good conscience, strike down a dog. It’s not their fault, they’re not complacent of what they do. A dog doesn’t have the emotional maturity to understand morality, there is only them, and their pack, and they want to defend their pack at all costs.

    The dog mask makes all dogs non-hostile, but you still have to kill them… that’s an issue for me. If the dog mask turned up before the first level with dogs, and meant that you could complete the level without harming the dogs within, then I’d most likely be able to get into Hotline Miami. I’m aware of it having a deep story.

    But there’s a difference between fighting a mafia person who’s chosen a life of crime, and a dog. I can’t do it. I’m not sure how anyone could. But I’m not them.

    In regards to the topic on piracy?

    The guy realises that pirates aren’t lost sales, but potential sales. Gabe Newell and every shrewd businessman out there knows this. A smart businessman knows that some people are broke and might not be able to afford your product. But they also know that A.) some pirates are going to pirate regardless, and B.) some of them will actually remember the people who were decent to them and buy those games when they have the money.

    It’s all about conscience. If you’re going to call a pirate a monster without conscience, then it’s easy for them to become that towards you, because they’re seeing you as being as much of a monster for not understanding their financial status. But if you say something like “No, guy. I understand. I know what it’s like to be broke. I’ve been broke, myself. So pay when you can.” then you’re creating a potential sale.

    The fact of the matter is is that some pirates have very limited funds, they use most of those funds for food and bills, they may have some disposable income left over. They’re then going to look to see what they want to spend that on, and they’re going to pick the games they enjoyed the most, and/or the developers who were the most decent. If you have a developer/publisher who was a dick about your pirating, they’re going to shoot to the bottom of the priority list.

    This is why every pirate is a potential sale, rather than a lost one. It’s stupidity to assume that. What you have to assume is that a pirate’s money is probably limited. And you’re competing with other people for what limited money the pirate has. If you make yourself look good to the pirate, you’re winning.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Mineral4r7s

    I bought this game because of this guys opinion, I am most likely never going to play it, its not my kind of game. But I really like to support his attitude.

    #3 2 years ago

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