Cricket 22 Wants To Annoy Software Pirates Into A Purchase, And It Seems To Be Working

Cricket 22 Wants To Annoy Software Pirates Into A Purchase, And It Seems To Be Working
Image: Big Ant Studios

Melbourne developer Big Ant Studios has activated embedded anti-piracy tools within Cricket 22, creating headaches for those attempting to download the game illegally.

What caught Big Ant CEO Ross Symons by surprise was that, when the anti-piracy tools came into effect, the game’s Steam sales shot up by as much as 300%. The pirates are converting their stolen copies into legitimate ones. As an olive branch, Symons says anyone that converts their game into a legitimate purchase will be allowed to keep any progress they’ve made so far.

According to Symons, who replied to a Twitter question from your, my, our dear mate Alex Walker, the game’s anti-piracy system will detect a stolen or unauthorised copy and turn the screen white.

The Cricket franchise has always included anti-piracy systems to frustrate thieves. The ways it would accomplish this were sometimes obvious and sometimes less so, but the goal was never to force pirates to stop playing. Rather, the plan was to simply annoy them into a purchase. With a 300% jump in sales, it seems, on this occasion at least, that irritation has paid off in a big way.

Previous examples include forcing the player to always lose the toss. This means they never get to bat, only field. Then, at the moment of the first bat, the game would begin dumping rain on the grounds to interrupt play.

Other instances included turning the controller off at random, or displaying false messages about controller batteries running low. Sometimes the players’ bats would break. The game’s simulation of the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, a way of divining the target score a team batting second in a limited-overs game interrupted by weather must reach to win, could also freak out and create appallingly high score chases. According to Symons, there are a lot of levers Big Ant can pull to create chaos on the pitch.

So, pirates beware: it seems Big Ant’s favourite tradition is alive and well in Cricket 22.

Symons has promised “more pirate pain” is on the way in the week ahead.


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