SpeedRunners, the four-player footrace game that lets players uses grappling hooks, specific character abilities, and weapons lying on the track to win, has sold over one million copies on Steam Early Access. This success is attributed to practically giving away over two million dollars in copies and carefully guiding piracy, according to its publisher tinyBuild.
tinyBuild frequently put SpeedRunners into bundles for next to nothing, putting cheap copies out into the world. They would do this whenever they were about to launch a new feature for the game, which would bring in an influx of new players while also drawing pros back in. This ensured a large player base to play matches against, and the publisher would see a spike in full-priced sales for weeks afterwards.
The publisher leaked a version of the game to Pirate Bay as well in an effort to use piracy to make people more interested in the game. This version, which was essentially the free demo that was available on Steam, would draw in interest, which would get the player hooked enough to acquire the game in a cheap bundle. It was helped by the fact that other pirated copies of the game are difficult to get to run.
While the publisher doesn’t believe this method will work with just any game, the result has been a thriving playerbase for SpeedRunners, with many competitive players existing in countries known for heavy piracy.
SpeedRunners will be leaving Steam Early Access and launching its full version on April 19.