RedLynx had a unique way of releasing Trials on the PC (later ported in fancier style to XBLA as Trials HD). They took their own game an uploaded it to a number of torrent sites for download.
Gutsy play, giving the game to a set of people who are typically not fond of paying for someone else’s work. However, the free, pirated copy of Trials did have a hitch: leaderboards were disabled.
While some may think that’s a minimal cut, it’s not. Trials is based on beating best times, and the entire point of the game is not simply completing it, but competing in it.
The issue with their strategy is that they cannot see how many copies were sold to those who downloaded the “free” version. Unlike the iPhone developer who spoke out over piracy, citing a bit fat 0 as his sales rate from pirates, RedLynx can’t do that.
That partially defeats the point, and could have been another test to show pirates are not quick to purchase something they want. Still, as a marketing angle, it deserves some credit. The game would have been uploaded to torrent sites anyway, and beating them to it with a slightly cropped version could have turned a few downloads into sales. It’s just a shame we’ll never know how many times that happened.