What happens when pirates play a game development simulator and then go bankrupt because of piracy?
That's the question asked by Greenheart Games, the two man indie developer made up of Patrick and Daniel Klug, who included a special surprise within hacked copies of their game.
The duo's motto is "less social, less ville, more game". They launched their first title yesterday - development simulator Game Dev Tycoon for PC, Mac and Linux.
The game costs just $7.99 (Ł5.15) to buy - money which will go straight back to the game's creators.
But after a day on sale, 3104 of the 3318 copies being played were pirated.
Pre-empting the game's eventual appearance on file-sharing sites, Patrick and Daniel Klug uploaded their own cracked copy of the full game. But within the code lay a few extra lines.
Those who play the pirated version are warned that their own attempts at creating games are being hampered by piracy. Profits for each project will be less than those who own and paid for the full game.
Players will eventually see their careers end in bankruptcy.
"As a gamer I laughed out loud: the irony!!!", Patrick Klug wrote today in a blog post that revealed Greenheart's idea. "However, as the developer, who spent over a year creating this game and hasn't drawn a salary yet, I wanted to cry."
Despite repeated warnings that piracy was killing the player's in-game career, many users did not get the hint. Messages began to appear online from owners of the cracked copy, asking for help in avoiding the situation.
"I can't progress furher... HELP!" one user wrote. "Guys I reached some point where if I make a decent game with score 9-10 it gets pirated and I can't make any profit.
"It says blah blah our game got pirated stuff like that. Is there some way to avoid that? I mean can I research a DRM or something?"
Said another user: "Why are there so many people that pirate? It ruins me! Not fair."
Patrick Klug had even appealed to those interested in the game pre-release, stressing the fact that the game came DRM-free, with an installer for all three platforms, with copies for three computers, and a Steam key if their Steam Greenlight campaign is successful.
"There are still individuals who either can't make a legal purchase because of payment-issues or who genuinely cannot afford the game," Klug concluded. "I don't have a quarrel with you.
"To the rest who could afford the game consider this: We are just two guys working our butts off, trying to start our own game studio to create games which are fun to play."