In context, international sanctions against Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine have prevented Russian customers from purchasing games on global digital platforms. A Russian developer has given its fans in the country permission to pirate the game if they have no other choice.
This week, the Russian-based developer Four Quarters gave Russian fans who asked how to buy the game Loop Hero permission to pirate it if they couldn’t figure out a way to buy the game due to sanctions. The response came via the Russian social media platform VK.
Currently there is a loophole through the Russian payment provider Qiwi that may work on Steam, but there is no way for Russians to buy the Nintendo Switch version. As a result, the indie studio said fans should download a torrent from Loop Hero and provide a link to the game on the popular Russian torrent service RuTracker.
Since Visa, Mastercard and PayPal closed their operations in Russia earlier this month, it has become difficult, if not impossible, for Russians to buy digital products on foreign platforms, including games. Steam also cannot send payments to Russia, Belarus or Ukraine. However, Steam users based elsewhere will still be able to purchase games from developers in those countries, including Loop Hero, but the studio will not be able to cash out the payments.
Four Quarters isn’t the first developer to approve piracy of its game, if only under certain conditions. In 2017, Polish indie developer Acid Wizard Studio posted a torrent of the title, Darkwood, on The Pirate Bay. In a confession that some degree of piracy was inevitable, Arc Wizard wanted to make sure players got a malware-free copy of the game.
Although Four Quarters said yes against the war the day Russia invaded Ukraine, and since then at least one member of the studio has moved to Georgia. Its willingness to allow the piracy in this case may be in response to Russia considering legalizing piracy to evade sanctions.