Unauthorised Game Distribution

YoYo Games user snowyowl yesterday blogged at Ludum Dare saying that he had discovered that his recent contest entry, Jump Pirate, was being distributed without his permission on the Romanian software index Softpedia.

Other Game Maker games on the site include Karoshi and CrimeLife 2 both of which have been downloaded over 100 and  7,000 times respectively.

In total 18 games belonging to snowyowl had been taken from his account at YoYo Games and posted on the site.  He puts forward his opinion on the ripping/syndication/further free promotion (call it what you will) in a rather nice way.

“Some of you may consider this a good thing – as you are right to, since Softpedia is a popular website and your game will be downloaded more if they feature it. I personally consider that they are benefiting from my work without my consent. I don’t mind YoYo Games advertising on my game’s page, since they maintain the tools I use to create games and the forums I use to discuss them, but anyone else is a no-no.”

I agree entirely with the points laid out above.  Yes this free promotion gets more people playing your game but Softpedia is business and certainly isn’t short of traffic.  Effectively it’s a scraper site where content creators have no control over how their work is used.

What do you think?

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  1. Hello,

    My name is Stefan Fintea and I work for

    I’ve already addressed most complaints over at snowyowl’s blog, so please read my reply here:

    In short: For quite some time now, developers are listed on Softpedia only if we have an email address to which we can send email notifications. If the email goes into the spam folder, or is sent to an old/wrong address, a developer might not see it. In any case, he can easily send us his requests directly by mail.

    Feel free to contact us for any matter (whether we’re talking updates, removals or any other question or suggestion) and we’ll be happy to assist you.

    And of course if this comment or the one on snowyowl’s blog doesn’t clarify things, drop us a line by email 🙂 As that popular saying goes, “We mean no harm”

    Thanks a lot for understanding!

  2. James, that’s what beta testers are for. Bugs should be fixed before the release. Otherwise have a menu button in your menu that reads ‘Updates’ and have it take you to a web page to see if you are running the newest version…

  3. Frederick, the biggest issue is updates. Softpedia/all the others host the current copy at that time. If you fix bugs, then future downloaders do not get the fix.

    If you do not have a proper website (e.g you use Freewebs), Softpedia can take over your Google ranking, and make it nearly impossible to let out updates.

    I have this issue with DS Game Maker.

  4. F1ak3r: I got an email from them once.

    I don’t mind since it gives me more downloads, but version control is crappy and the description is ridiculous. They said that a completely linear game had exploration in it and it was suitable for anyone, when it was a hardcore precision jumping game with suggestive content.

  5. They’ve got my games on there too. I can’t say I mind, but it’s not good how they don’t even send you a PM/email to inform you (let alone ask your consent).

    It’s a good idea to google the names of your games every once and a while, to keep track of this kind of stuff.

  6. On review, I think I overreacted a bit. My main gripe was that something that I had created was now out of my control, with a note that Softpedia is getting traffic from this that I am not. But quite frankly, I should have been prepared for this; I just didn’t expect it to happen to me.
    It is a possibility that I will bear in mind should I ever attempt to sell my games, however.

    Xot and FredFredrickson’s points are valid though: it does make version control very difficult.

  7. If a freeware game is being distributed freely, as long as they credit the original author, I don’t really see what the issue is. It can only increase the popularity.

    If, however, some sort of profit is being generated from distributing a freeware game without the author’s consent, I think there should be some kind of compensation.

  8. I posted GridLock to a few shareware sites with a PAD file and it’s since spread to dozens, if not hundreds, of portals. Does not bother me in the least, except for one thing. The portals are very bad about keeping PAD files up to date. For those that don’t know a PAD file is an author-hosted XML file that describes your game (descriptions of various lengths, filesize, homepage/download URLs, authorship and contact info, price/license, etc). A lot of these indices list my game as shareware for $15 when it’s been freeware for a few years now. I’m sure more people would play it if the sites listed correctly.

  9. I think they’ve harvested everything I’ve ever put on YoYo Games, including the demos.

    I’m not particularly bothered as anyone in their right mind knows the website is nothing more than a useless software whore riddled with Engrish, broken links and crappy content. It’s depressing that some people think it’s an achievement Romanians have swiped stuff, though.

  10. It happened to me too, and bothered me a bit because when I emailed them to ask them to update it with the new version, they refused. I also feel they are benefiting by my work and making me look bad (it was a WIP, and very glitchy.), but nobody really likes softpedia that much anyways. Look around at the comments people give them!

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