Stardew Valley Players Fight Piracy By Buying Pirates The Game

Stardew Valley Players Fight Piracy By Buying Pirates The Game

The sweetest game of 2016 also appears to have the nicest fanbase around, judging by what Stardew Valley players have been up to lately.

This weekend, farming simulator Stardew Valley became one of the most played games on Steam, with nearly sixty thousand concurrent players at its peak:

Steamspy estimates that Stardew Valley has sold around 266k since launch, which would mean that the game is selling nearly 30k copies every day. That’s pretty damn good for a game that seemed to come out of nowhere, as far as the general public is concerned.

Needless to say, the Stardew Valley community has been booming lately. And while this means a lot of talk about the best crops to farm, or the funny things villagers say, the biggest points of conversation around Stardew Valley right now are actually gestures of kindness.

Over at the Stardew Valley subreddit, which at the moment is one of the large SV communities around, a bunch of people banded together to buy the game for other people. In particular, the good Samaritans targeted pirates who were playing torrented copies of the game. (Click to enlarge.)

This thread exploded, with nearly 700 replies. Many of these players were seeking free copies of the game, sure. But some players joined in on the festivities, and helped the original poster give out more free games, too.

The initial thread went on like this, with players paying it forward to others who claimed to be less fortunate.

That initial thread seems to have started a small phenomenon within the community, because a number of other threads have popped up to do the same thing since then:

This second thread went up to 200 comments, and also had players other than the OP giving out copies.

Then came a more general giveaway:

And today, all of these were threads followed up with another topic targeting pirates:

Undoubtedly some of the people asking for copies of the game just want to take advantage of the situation. But, overall, the sentiment around Stardew Valley is an astonishingly kind one. It’s the online equivalent of those “pay it forward” chains that start at coffee shops, where people decide to foot the bill of whoever is next in line. Famously, these chains can go on for hours, as people become inspired by the generosity of others around them. I’ve never seen anything like it for games, though, which makes me think that Stardew Valley’s community is shaping up to be a special one.

This digital pay it forward phenomenon is one of many grassroot efforts concocted by Stardew Valley fans, who seem intent on telling everybody they know why the game is worth buying. I have a feeling Stardew Valley is going to hit a million copies in no time.

(Side-note, please don’t brigade those threads with requests for Stardew Valley! Most of these giveaways are already over, FYI.)


  • Terrible. This is going to create a precedent where people have to pay for their games.

  • That’s wonderful. It’s getting harder to resist buying it considering the enormous amount of positive press. All I need now is money and time haha.

    • I pirated it to judge for myself…life called me away from the computer after 3hrs. When I got back I bought it and all my spare time has been spent playing it since.

  • I pirated the game for the wife and myself to try. 10 hours later each we both agreed we had to buy it, so we did. Best gaming investment in a long time.

    • Yeah, if a game gets that sort of time, its worth the investment. What if, on the other hand, you get 30 minutes of entertainment and find it sucks? Thats happened to me on more occasions than I care to remember, starkly reminded every time I look at the wall of games in front of my desk.

      Likewise, more than one game I’ve sampled before forking out cash has led to quite a lot of money being spent. Microtransactions or subs on MMO’s, demos in the old days leading to purchases, and even the odd torrent to see what the fuss was about.

      On steam, you can generally get your money back, but in real life its stiff shit for most PC games once you open the box. Theres something to be said for the good old demo.

      If piracy leads to a sale, is it still piracy? Likewise, if a product is returned where possible, is it still a sale?

      • Well according to some in the industry buying used is a form of piracy so I wouldn’t worry too much.

        Just do what you believe to be morally right.

          • how is buying used not piracy?
            if anything it’s a lot worse
            take a copy of the game & distribute it indefinitely for free to people who don’t have money

            take a copy of the game and sell it, giving none of the proceeds to the dev even if you manage to make a profit

            sure you could argue that it’s incredibly rare to actually turn a profit off a used game [unless you dick the consumers over even harder] but you could also argue that, since you bought the game & played it that you’ve ‘gotten your moneys worth’ so then any amount of money received post playing would then be 100% profit
            or, 100% worse than torrenting

          • You replied to the wrong person, however it isn’t piracy just based on the definition of piracy “the unauthorized use or reproduction of another’s work.”

            It’s the same as buying a couch or car etc, using it for a while and then selling it to someone else for a lesser price than what you paid. The manufacturer doesn’t get anything more from it but you get to re-coup some of its value.

            The difference here and why it’s morally correct is that you own that physical product once you’ve purchased it. They’re your physical goods to use as you wish.

            When it comes to games, movies etc the developers don’t like it because that 2nd hand copy is still of the same quality as a brand new product except for maybe some scratches to the disc.

      • On the legal side it’s an illegal copy until the moment that you purchase it. Just like roms are illegal unless you own the physical product.

        Even then once you own a legal copy, due to the nature of torrents you’ve still illegally distributed it to others.

        So short version – It’s illegal to pirate regardless of whether you own the product, intend to buy the product or buy it afterwards.

        If like most people that doesn’t bother you then go ahead and do whatever you like.

        • See to me this is where it gets grey. I get what you’re saying, and I agree, but if I download something and share 0.1 copies, have I distributed? I havent given a full copy to anyone, only a part copy which by itself is useless.

          At worst I’m an accomplice, when its the whole swarm jointly commiting the piracy. And when there are potentially tens of thousands in that swarm to dilute the blame, what does one person really do?

          The industry would have it that I’m fully responsibly for thousands of copies, when I probably havent even uploaded 10%. This is one of the great discrepancies that really pisses me off with the industry. They inflate the individuals contribution to the problem way beyond reality.

          • That’s the thing with distribution though. Doesn’t matter if what you’ve distributed in and of itself isn’t usable, you’ve still distributed it illegally.

            What fine/penalty you’d face for uploading 10% of the game is what the courts are still working out. The court case for piracy of “Dallas buyers club” ended up being thrown out because the rights owners were unable to submit a reasonable claim to the courts, they wanted to rort each individual for a few thousand dollars. Meanwhile our judges seemed to take a similar stance to what you’ve just said and see it that each person has uploaded 10%, 100%, 200% of the files etc and so what they are fined should be in proportion to how much they’ve uploaded. Punishment fits the crime etc.

            From memory the judge was saying they should be charged for a copy of the movie and then a distributors licence fee based on how much they uploaded.

  • I would be all over this game if I didn’t have a backlog of
    – PS3 ‘Atelier’ games (6 of which are still sealed)
    – Wii Rune Factory frontier (sealed)
    – NDS Rune Factory 1,2,3
    – Steam Recettear

  • Yep, won’t lie, I’m also guilty of pirating before buying. Loved it so much I bought it a day later and haven’t looked back. Like was said above, one of the best gaming investments I’ve made in a long time.

  • I thought that people were fighting piracy (somehow) by buying copies of (Sid Meier’s) “Pirates!”.

    Gotta say, I’m a bit disappointed that I was wrong.

  • Pirate scum trying to justify why they feel entitled to free entertainment at the expense of those who work for what they have.

    • Calling people scum is a good way to get them to listen to and respect your position, but I know you don’t really care because you just posted it to feel better about yourself and your choices.

      • Pirate scum won’t listen and respect other’s positions because they will make up whatever excuse to justify their actions. Ignoring the one major point being entertainment isn’t an entitlement.

        • as someone who has pirated games before and watches tv shows like supernatural via streaming due to issues like being unable to get it and watch it for a good price.

          You are 100% offbase…lol.

          Pirates will listen and respect other peoples positions they have reasons that may not be justified but reasons to do so none the less.

          If people pirated this game then bought it then great because whilst piracy is bad its understandable people would want to try before they buy.

          Piracy isn’t because omg i want free stuffz!@!@!

          If i have ever pirated / streamed or read a comic online illegaly and i’m guilty for that i won’t deny it, it was because there was issues with getting the product making it next to impossible to buy or the fact that the price was jacked up to be something like $70 for 10 minutes worth of reading or watching.

          That being said i’m not going to justify it as what i’m doing is against the law and i very well know that and i will happily buy the product when sold reasonably.

          Most places are now making reasonable choices which is why i have a steam library of over 219 games and have a subscription to Netflix , Crunchyroll and animelab.

          You will find most pirates have reasons for pirating even if you don’t agree with it.

          I don’t even know why i bothered to write this but you are acting no better also entertainment isn’t an entitlement yes that is true however it should be affordable and not jacked up and overpriced.

          I buy games that are overpriced all the time because i dislike pirating it but if it comes to something where a game is $300 i will pirate it (been in this situation before with an Eroge…seriously $300 for a game that’s fucked and daylight robbery)

          In the end i am morally in the wrong and willing to admit it and if that makes me scum then keep saying it but your not going to change opinions by calling people scum and ignoring there reasons.

  • In reply to the people who say “what if you buy a game and its crap and not worth it”. There is a strong sense of truth to that. I almost became victim to the Colonial Marines debacle that happened not so long ago. Sure I bought it on steam for like$3 years later, and found it enjoyable for that kind of cash, but at $89 AU it would of made my tempers flare.

    I would like to see more devs. take a step out of the Duke 3D and Doom pages and offer a “shareware” version of the game. Episode one free without gimps or limitations, you just pay for the rest. I found this far more productive (personally) compared to restricted demos.
    In fact this has worked recently for some people I know when I had a LAN last year, had 8 peeps over and we played a few rounds of SC 2 multiplayer. 3 peeps had the game the other 5 didn’t. before the night was over 3 bought the game for their accounts.

    What do you guys think works? Shareware, Pirate before Buy it, demos or none???

    • ahhh shareware, why have you forsaken us??

      The days of demos are sadly over it seems, whilst they are very expensive to produce at a time when you’re just trying to get your game out the door (it’s unfortunately not just a matter of cropping out a section of the game, it all needs its own dev time) back in ye olde dayse I would make a lot of buying decisions based on shareware versions or demos.

      In the land of AAA where devs are beholden to idiotic marketing schedules and the marketing is alarmingly good at making people want to buy the game I think the time of demos is over, they’re being replaced a bit by beta’s to be sure, but that old try before you buy is gone. Again, publishers don’t want people to try before they buy, they want people to buy and be done with it.


      Anyway short answer, yes! Demos, shareware, all good. Bring back please.

  • The irony of piracy.

    If Eric were smart, he would use this experiment as a lesson learned.

    ANY untested, new, questionable game requires a demo. You MUST do it. Put a demo out, less people will pirate, provided the demo is good and long enough.

    Most people just need assurance they’re not throwing money away on a game that’s just unknown at best.

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