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Vuvuzelas Blare On Pirated Copies of Music Game

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 320

An anonymous reader sends this quote from Wired: "A novel anti-piracy measure baked into the Nintendo DS version of Michael Jackson: The Experience makes copied versions of the game unplayable and taunts gamers with the blaring sound of vuvuzelas. Many games have installed switches that detect pirated copies and act accordingly, like ending the user's game after 20 minutes. Ubisoft has come under fire multiple times for what players have seen as highly restrictive anti-piracy measures that annoy legitimate users as much or more so than pirates. But some more-mischievous developers have used tricks similar to the vuvuzela fanfare to mess with pirates. Batman: Arkham Asylum lets unauthorized users play through the game as if it were a normal copy, with a single exception: Batman's cape-glide ability doesn't work, rendering the game impossible to finish — although you might bash your head against it trying to make what are now impossible jumps. If you pirate Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, brace yourself for an explosion, as your entire base will detonate within 30 seconds of loading the game."

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It needs copy protection? (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468404)

Seriously, people would copy a game playing Michael Jackson? Seems like the vuvuzelas are redundant.

Re:It needs copy protection? (4, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468450)

I would think that with such a game, the copy protection used would be that every time it's loaded, part of the game would disappear. Kind of like what happened to Michael's face every time he had plastic surgery. But then again, that may not be actual copy protection -- it seems to me that it would enhance the "Michael Jackson experience",. . .

Re:It needs copy protection? (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469240)

"You been hit by... You been struck by... a smooth criminal!"

Re:It needs copy protection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468700)

well you sure wouldn't pay for it amirite

Re:It needs copy protection? (-1, Troll)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469180)

I'm pondering whether or not to use my other account mod points to mod you funny, or just sit right here and bitch you out for being such an ignorant piece of shit musically (and I speak as a recording and performing artist.)

I think I'll just let /. sort it out. I'm too busy figuring out how to keep your ass fed to worry about this, given Monsanto just won something that pretty much guarantees our eternal slavery because the majority of you won't stand up and kill those fuckers, thus leaving those of us with brains to do the hard work to keep you alive.

Enjoy bitching about irrelevant things while I struggle to keep you and your future generations alive.

Re:It needs copy protection? (1)

danwiz (538108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469422)

Won't someone please .... think of the children!

butbutbutbutbut (4, Insightful)

Dwebtron (821134) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468416)

if they can tell it's pirated... why all the crazy piracy schemes in the first place? Why even LAUNCH the game? how can they tell?

Re:butbutbutbutbut (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468448)

It turns it into a demo, which could lead to an actual game purchase.

Re:butbutbutbutbut (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469162)

stop being insightful and restart the use of your dubious analogies

Re:butbutbutbutbut (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469198)

Real demos led to actual game purchases. That is how shareware worked back int he 90s.

Now? Demos lead to consistent monthly rip-offs of money.

And people wonder why the industry is said to be dying?

Re:butbutbutbutbut (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468512)

Back in "the day", there were rumors that one company (Sierra) was distributing bugged versions of games on purpose. Who knows - maybe companies are doing the same on torrent sites now, too.

Re:butbutbutbutbut (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468638)

AutoCAD had a "bug" where the lines in drawings would become fainter and fainter with every save - *only* in cracked versions. Obviously the trick is to have a big obvious "NOP me out!" block of code that clearly deals with copy protection - and something sneaky tucked away out of sight.

Re:butbutbutbutbut (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468906)

TrueSpace used to have an intentional memory leak if you didn't have the parallel port dongle attached to your computer that came with it.
So this meant you could only use the software as long as you have memory/swap space to spare then you'd have save an restart.
Luckily I had 128mb of ram and a 20Gb hard drive at the time!

Re:butbutbutbutbut (3, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468996)

Google is failing me, and it was a while ago that I heard this one, but I kinda hope it's true; the story goes that a cable company, tired of hackers getting free service, started pushing out weekly updates that disabled the hackers' workarounds. This went on for some time, the hackers having to use increasingly convoluted measures to get around the latest updates, but always succeeding relatively quickly. After a while the boxes stop working altogether, and the company points out that they fully expected each week's update to be circumvented, but that they were designed in such a way that the cumulative workarounds disabled the box altogether.

It certainly has a bit of an urban legend sound to it now that I come to retell it, though...

Re:butbutbutbutbut (5, Interesting)

jackbird (721605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469054)

The Black Sunday hack [codinghorror.com] . Apparently not an urban legend.

Re:butbutbutbutbut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469402)

I remember that, I had a card writer and everything, H hard, Hu cards... fun stuff. After a while though It seemed like every week you needed to update your card, it got so annoying that everyone started switching to BEV satellite instead, since theirs was much easier to hack, and they didn't change the code every week.

Re:butbutbutbutbut (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469056)

It was covered on /. back in 2001: http://slashdot.org/articles/01/01/25/1343218.shtml [slashdot.org]

Re:butbutbutbutbut (4, Informative)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468670)

Because if it doesn't work the pirates will continue to work at it until it does work. This way the pirates believe the game is working properly and they disrupt it.

Believe it or not, most pirates don't sit there and play through the games they just cracked. The ones that do the pirating usually do it so they can disrupt it with their name attached saying "We're the first to hack XYZ". This is why Razor 1911 has a wiki page, because they're so damn famous. [wikipedia.org]

Re:butbutbutbutbut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468860)

s/disrupt/distribute/g

Re:butbutbutbutbut (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468702)

Because it takes longer for the crackers to figure out if they're "done" or not. There have been things like purposeful crash bugs that lead to multiple releases and such of cracked titles. Anything that keeps an uncracked version out of pirates hands theoretically extends sales, as the sales aren't competing with a free version.

Re:butbutbutbutbut (4, Insightful)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469148)

I see two problems with this kind of approach though

1: the code may get triggered by accident leading to a legitimate user getting frustrated at the games apparent buginess/uncompletability.
2: pirates may not realise that the problems they are experiencing are a result of antipiracy meausres.

Either way you have users who think the game is buggy as hell telling their friends to avoid it.

Re:butbutbutbutbut (1, Flamebait)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468778)

Because the point of the crazy schemes is that they CAN'T tell, at least not until the copy the pirate THOUGHT was fully cracked has been widely disseminated. Users who download it will be fed up with the glitches and buy the full game to fix them, in theory.

Re:butbutbutbutbut (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469068)

Because the point of the crazy schemes is that they CAN'T tell, at least not until the copy the pirate THOUGHT was fully cracked has been widely disseminated.

Sneaky anti-piracy triggers are a brilliant idea. The software could have a well-hidden "phone home" functions based on detecting itself cracked. as In-house debugging features that are impossible to activate without tampering with the software.

If the device was something like an iPhone with a unique ID, send the IMEI or IP address to the developer, so they can use the information to contact law enforcement. Thousands of tricks are possible that would make running a cracked copy of the program an extremely bad idea.

In addition, the "cracked" version could timebomb itself when the user say got to a certain level, delete its own executables, and plant a key in the registry designed to make the "cracked" software no longer start

Re:butbutbutbutbut (2)

moxsam (917470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468826)

It's (slightly) harder to detect by crackers when there are multiple checks, one of them hidden deep inside the game play. The idea behind it is that the publisher bets on the crackers not playing the game long enough to notice the second copy protection.

That's Actually Pretty Cool (0)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468418)

I wish I played those games (except the C&C, I play that every now and again), I'd buy multiple copies just to show my support. (:

Re:That's Actually Pretty Cool (1, Insightful)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468482)

You could, y'know, just...do that....

I've been misled! (4, Insightful)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468438)

"Batman: Arkham Asylum lets unauthorized users play through the game as if it were a normal copy, with a single exception: Batman's cape-glide ability doesn't work, rendering the game impossible to finish — although you might bash your head against it trying to make what are now impossible jumps. If you pirate Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, brace yourself for an explosion, as your entire base will detonate within 30 seconds of loading the game..."

So how is this different then the purchased, bug-ridden, unfinished versions that are pawned off on us with every release?

Re:I've been misled! (0)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468496)

Intent

Re:I've been misled! (4, Funny)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468530)

That's the joke

In reality, the game is broken for everyone, they just now have a new scapegoat to blame the bugs on: piracy!

Re:I've been misled! (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468650)

It's a potential new strategy for them to deal with bug reports. The "that isn't a bug; you're just a dirty pirate" defence.

Re:I've been misled! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468788)

This is really risky for them... a lot of word of mouth advertisement might end up being, "yeah, I played that... there was a lot of bugs, I couldn't even finish the game. Don't buy it."

Re:I've been misled! (0)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468814)

Well in Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman's cape-glide ability will work, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 your base will refrain from blowing up, and in Michael Jackson: The Experience, there are no Vuvuzelas and the notes appear!

Re:I've been misled! (1)

shird (566377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468940)

woooooooosh

Re:I've been misled! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469050)

I know you are, but what am I?

Re:I've been misled! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468976)

palmed off on us, not pawned....

Detection (1)

adamdoyle (1665063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468440)

Anyone know how they detect pirated copies?

Re:Detection (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468456)

random number generator!

Re:Detection (1)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468468)

Yea, the pirates who inevitably beat it.

Re:Detection (2)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468506)

I'm assuming they intentionally leaked the bugged game to torrent sites, etc.

Re:Detection (2)

adamdoyle (1665063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468580)

I'm assuming they intentionally leaked the bugged game to torrent sites, etc.

But that wouldn't be "detection"... (then again it wouldn't exactly be a surprise for a slashdot summary to use a wrong word)

Re:Detection (2)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468900)

And it doesn't need to be. Of course, they can't prosecute anyone who "pirates" the freely disseminated version, but then.. maybe they don't want to prosecute people who obviously like their product and therefore might become customers with a small nudge, and if they displace real pirated copies, then they cut down on piracy either way, although the recipients might still think their copies are, in fact, pirated.

Re:Detection (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469114)

I'm assuming they intentionally leaked the bugged game to torrent sites, etc.

If they intentionally released it to bittorrent, then (by definition) it is not pirated or illegal, but a buggy legal version of the software. Of course the developers of the software have the right to distribute it (even buggy versions) of it, so any version distributed by them is non-pirated, if downloaded from the BT location they uploaded to

Re:Detection (4, Informative)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468630)

The same way they always have for the last 30 years. Bury some code that's supposed to toggle some hardware effect in the cartridge or media, check for the side effect, then crap out if it fails.

Another way is just using attributes of the cartridges against pirates. Copies are often made on read-write media, but legitimate cartridges are read-only. So you have legitimate executable code that says "DO_MUSIC: call PLAY_MUSIC", and you add a statement that says "write to address DO_MUSIC 'call PLAY_VUVUZELA'". A legitimate cartridge can't overwrite the ROM, so it fails, and the call to PLAY_MUSIC remains in place. But on a rewritable cartridge it does overwrite it and zzzzzzzzzzzzzz happens.

Re:Detection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468854)

"write to address DO_MUSIC 'call PLAY_VUVUZELA'". A legitimate cartridge can't overwrite the ROM, so it fails

and pirates will fix by chmod -w...

Re:Detection (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469118)

The cards emulate the game card and they don't permit writing from the console side. I have an Acekard for my DS so that I don't have to carry carts or my mp3 player while I am using the DS.

Re:Detection (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469326)

The flash carts do allow writing to the SD card from the DS. There's homebrew that does it. That probably doesn't hold up for whatever memory space they're using to load the ROMs from though. In any case, this will be worked around with a ROM patch in no time.

Re:Detection (1)

DynamoJoe (879038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468648)

I don't think there's any detection going on. These are intentionally damaged copies and they released them anonymously. They just have to upload their damaged version to popular sites and watch them get spread far and wide before someone figures out it's b0rked. For example, if it takes someone all the way to the end of Arkham Asylum to figure out it's broken, that's easily a few days before someone raises the flag. The more the bad copy spreads, the faster it chokes out legitimately pirated versions (shut up, you know what I mean). Also, the developer has extracted a revenge that would otherwise be unlikely or even impossible: imagine a gamer who just can't beat that last damn level no matter what, and after a few hours googles the solution only to find the bitter truth. Served cold, indeed.
Another consideration is that there are no lawsuits! The pirate's "punishment" is to have (been) played (by) the game! I can get behind this as an antipiracy strategy.

Re:Detection (4, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468662)

Copy protection is generally a module that's linked into the system, gets called at start up, does some validation / checksumming / decryption etc. Crackers tend to attack the validation so that it returns 'all good' even when its not. Or they wait until the relevant bits are decrypted and then copy those in and bypass the validation/decryption entirely. ... its more complicated than that, but that's sort of the gist of it.

Crackers attack the copy protection, and then once its defeated release the cracks/cracked copies.

This piracy detection is essentially a separate redundant anti-piracy module, with the same sort of detection/validation stuff as the primary one. However it doesn't get activated at start up. It gets activated later, sometimes much later,and instead of throwing up a "not a valid copy" it instead modifies the game rules or parameters slightly.

The idea is that the crackers won't find it. They are attacking the primary copy protection which inevitibaly falls... but often they are only interested in cracking the game, and being the releaser; they often aren't actually all that interested in playing the game itself. So once the protection appears defeated and they appear to be able to play the game they release.

However the 2ndary copy protection is still intact, and messes with players who actually try to complete the game.

Its not really any harder to defeat than the primary copy protection; if anything its usually easier. But since it gets missed its gets to mess with pirate copy players for a few months while it gets identified, defeated, and then new cracks are released. Meanwhile there are now bunches of people running the old cracks who might never figure it out... especially if the impact is subtle.

The main problem with these copy protections is that like any copy protection, some times it doesn't work and legitmate customers are affected. This can be particularly troubling if the impact is subtle... so they come to think the game is just defective (which I guess it is).

Re:Detection (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469174)

And then next time, the crackers are a bit slower out the gate on the release. Possibly by long enough to beat the game and so forth.

Of course once the crackers get good at figuring out and bypassing this security, then developers will start using similar secondary DRM that doesn't activate until a couple days past the official release date.

Re:Detection (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469356)

Its not really any harder to defeat than the primary copy protection; if anything its usually easier. But since it gets missed its gets to mess with pirate copy players for a few months while it gets identified, defeated, and then new cracks are released. Meanwhile there are now bunches of people running the old cracks who might never figure it out... especially if the impact is subtle.

Not harder, but more labor intensive,

And developers are not technically limited to one secondary check, they could add hundreds or thousands in different places and of different natures. They could add enough secondary checks dispersed all over the place, that it would take a minimum of years to disable.

For any particular cracker [adversary], there's going to be some number of secondary checks to be added, before the cracker gets bored, and gives up trying to defeat them. Meaning you have success.

However, that takes the crack back to instead of trying to modify or defeat the validation process, or modify the result of validation process --- fool it in an undetectable way instead.

For example, instead of trying to patch the serial number verification routine, find a valid serial number that works, and pre-link the application in an environment, or through an emulator that will prevent network access, or foil activation by creating fake registry keys to make software think it is already activated.

For any particular hardware feature, there exists some method of emulation or some emulation environment, the software could be run inside, that would make the feature appear to software running in it.

You know... the whole blue pill security problem...

Re:Detection (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468692)

Yes, they search through slashdot posts for people asking "how they detect pirated copies?"

Re:Detection (4, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469074)

"Anyone know how they detect pirated copies?"

One very old scheme is to embed a checksum of the code segment inside the binary itself and then check it at runtime. It's not foolproof but it will identify most pirated copies with zero chance of false positives.

Re:Detection (1)

adamdoyle (1665063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469110)

"Anyone know how they detect pirated copies?"

One very old scheme is to embed a checksum of the code segment inside the binary itself and then check it at runtime. It's not foolproof but it will identify most pirated copies with zero chance of false positives.

That would prevent modification, but how does that prevent it from being duplicated?

bullshit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468462)

I have played a pirated copy of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 for years.

Re:bullshit (2)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468656)

I have played a pirated copy of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 for years.

While true, you just suck at it so much you lose every game in under 30 seconds so you wouldn't have noticed the explosion. :)

Re:bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468698)

Actually when I went to college I copied all my game CDs so that way I wouldn't risk damaging the legit ones in all the moves--this included Red Alert 2. Played it with cracks all the time and never had a problem. Now I bet if I tried to play the games online it would have done something, but single player or lan never had a problem.

Re:bullshit (2)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468730)

I have played a pirated copy of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 for years.

I can vouch for TFA's claim.

I played RA2 quite the last year or two of high school with some friends in one of the computer labs. We ran into a problem though because the C: of the machines was re-imaged each night (via Deep Freeze). Ironically, the school wouldn't buy a full copy of Deep Freeze and relied on the trial version, which only let you Freeze one partition, and limited the size of that partition. Since the computers had extra room (as the D:\) we installed the game on there.

Unfortunately, the game's data in the Windows registry (stored on the C:) was erased each night and the next day when we went to play we'd see this exact behavior. Game would start fine and exactly 30 seconds in everything went boom.

I assumed the nightly wipe was part of it because it played fine until then. As a guess, I tried reinstalling the game and exported the entire RA2 registry key to a file. As long as we re-imported that file before playing each morning, the game would run fine.

No idea what the real mechanism is, but there you go.

What this means (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468480)

At the end of the day, game publishers have only upped the annoyance factor (vuvuzelas aside) with this type of tactic. Ultimately these things can still be patched/cracked in the same way they have always been

Re:What this means (1)

XiX36 (715429) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468766)

What is always fun is when you have a legitimate copy of a game but the copy protection screws up. . had that problem a few years back with Shogun: Total War. The disc was a bit scratched but all the important bits seemed to work fine except whatever proved to the game that it was an original disc. . ended up having to download the no-cd crack for it. I understand the need for developers to make it difficult for people to make copies of the game, but I wish they had ways to eliminate the annoyance to legitimate purchasers. I don't like having to dig out 'Disc 1' for a game, nor do I want my game turning into a lump of useless code in the future when the authorization servers are shut down--also, I dislike the idea that some games require an internet connection for single player play, that is just stupid. .

worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468490)

all this will do is just spur the warez scenes to create better cracks. and annoy everyone else who just applies a nocd patch to play the legit game.

Red Alert 2 (4, Insightful)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468532)

Ah, yes, I remember that. It was always fun to uninstall and reinstall the whole fucking game because the DRM flipped a shit over nothing at all.

Re:Red Alert 2 (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468576)

I never have problems with my games. Just give it about 6 months or so and the copy you get will be bug free, patched and playable. Of course it will be free too boot, as the pirates are the ones who make most games playable. I figure if a company wants me to pay for their game, they will make it worth me paying for it. As long as their games are crappy, full of fail and AIDS and generally released and forgotten, fuck them. I will download a cracked, patched and working pirated version and play it.

Re:Red Alert 2 (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469122)

Happened to me a few times as well. Genuine retail copy on my shelf, real disc in a real CD drive - base explodes. I got bitten by Operation Flashpoint's over-zealous FADE DRM as well.

antipiracy (0)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468534)

I wonder how many times these have burned legit users. The game thinks that it's pirated even though it isn't and cripples its self. It's bound to happen some time.

Re:antipiracy (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468824)

Often enough that I stopped buying games with copy protection. I may try again with the new Civilization, though. I hear it can be played through wine, and that's an attraction. But I haven't yet researched how well it works, or whether it can be installed. And whether it's picky about just which versions of the OS it uses. (I'm still playing Alpha Centuari, but these days I need to play it in an emulator. It's not compatible with a modern Linux.)

Detection = failure (1, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468578)

If the game can detect that it was pirated, the circumvention isn't good enough. These little pranks will fool the 0-day groups, but within hours a "proper" fix will come along, and these childish stunts will have been in vain.

The thing to remember about warez crackers, is they tend to be more skilled than the people who release the games. Trying to outsmart them is a fallacy.

Re:Detection = failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468626)

The point is that most pirate groups won't bother to play through the games they cracked. And because most video game sales level off after the initial few weeks anyway, if it fools the 0-day groups, that's usually enough to protect against the lost sales, real or imagined.

Re:Detection = failure (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468790)

FYI: In the NDS scene, it's become more of the "standard" to release an unmodified dump of the ROM. --> If the group has a working patch, it'll be released separately. --> If another group comes up with a patch, they've got a clean ROM to work with. --> Some detections are bypassed by the flashcart firmware. --> Some detections can be disabled with simple ActionReplay codes.

Re:Detection = failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468802)

thank --> you --> very --> much.

Re:Detection = failure (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468942)

Creating those AR codes or updating the firmware to bypass Copy Protection can take a while though. DS games tend to take a while to fix, especially if they have weird anti-piracy effects like the vuvuzelas, because those issues typically aren't noticed at release time. And by delaying the pirates, even just for a few days, game publishers sell a lot more copies.

I gotta say though, the vuvuzela thing is really amusing... Much better than Ubisoft's method.

Re:Detection = failure (5, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468914)

The thing to remember about warez crackers, is they tend to be more skilled than the people who release the games. Trying to outsmart them is a fallacy.

Then why don't they try, I dunno, maybe writing their own games instead of leeching off the work of others!

Homebrew (0, Troll)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469078)

Then why don't they try, I dunno, maybe writing their own games

Because their own games won't run without a jailbreak, and the console makers have managed to successfully sue sources of jailbreak tools out of existence.

Re:Detection = failure (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469132)

Then why don't they try, I dunno, maybe writing their own games instead of leeching off the work of others!

They aren't necessarily more skilled than game developers in general, they are just more skilled in the area of DRM.

Re:Detection = failure (0)

Improv (2467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468988)

More skilled? Hardly. They have a few, well-defined tweaks to make to an existing codebase. That's quite a ways apart from a finished work. Even the best art vandal who draws a genre-appropriate mustache on every bit of art they can get their hands on is hardly displaying skill compared to someone working from scratch.

Mind you, this isn't to say that I support IP -- I don't, but don't go getting confused as to who has the coding skills.

(also, look up the word "fallacy" - you're not using it correctly)

Re:Detection = failure (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469052)

More skilled? Hardly. They have a few, well-defined tweaks to make to an existing codebase. That's quite a ways apart from a finished work. Even the best art vandal who draws a genre-appropriate mustache on every bit of art they can get their hands on is hardly displaying skill compared to someone working from scratch.

I'm guessing you haven't seen any of their demos.

Re:Detection = failure (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469008)

The point of DRM, from the publisher's perspective, isn't to prevent piracy - it's to delay it. Most of the sales will happen within the first week, due to the advertising focus - look at all the huge launches like Halo or Call of Duty, that sell millions in a day. If a game can stay uncracked for a month, the DRM is considered to have done its job exceptionally. If you can make DRM that takes a full day to test, and which would take several attempts to circumvent fully, you can easily delay the piracy of the game long enough that potential pirates instead go out and buy the game.

Re:Detection = failure (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469090)

The point of DRM, from the publisher's perspective, isn't to prevent piracy - it's to delay it. Most of the sales will happen within the first week

Then why aren't video games released under a delayed-public-domain license such as CC's Founders' Copyright [creativecommons.org] ?

Re:Detection = failure (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469186)

Because, from the publisher's perspective, that's giving away money. While they will put up with piracy losses after a month or so, they still want to earn money from later sales. Several games continue to be good sellers well after launch - DooM is still making id some money, 20 years later, Psychonauts didn't break even until years after release, and Call of Duty 4 continues to be a high-seller. Remember, these companies don't see the public domain as "something to contribute to" - if anything, they see it as "something to steal from".

Re:Detection = failure (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469018)

Trying to outsmart them is an often plausible argument using false or invalid inference?

Re:Detection = failure (2, Insightful)

six025 (714064) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469108)

Apologies in advance for being a little confrontational about this topic ...

The thing to remember about warez crackers, is they tend to be more skilled than the people who release the games. Trying to outsmart them is a fallacy.

Sorry, but popular meme is utter bollocks. Crackers are (mostly) good at cracking software and while I agree that successful cracking is quite a technical task or challenge, and that not many people are capable of that skill there are at least two very obvious problems with what they do.

There are plenty of examples of software available that has never been completely cracked - yes, the software works to a point but it's not 100% cracked. Virtual synth Zebra 2.5 by U-he is a great example. That's one point against the so called "genius crackers".

The second point being that if the crackers were any good at software development they would have the vision, skill and patience to create new software that inspires people to play through the game / create beautiful works of art / solve new problems. It is quite obvious that they do not have these skills, and will instead take the glory from spending a few hours in front of a debugger and then claiming the work as their own.

I know who gets my respect ... and who gets my money ...

Peace,
Andy.

Vuvuzela (2)

holamundo (1914310) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468588)

Congratulations on unlocking an easter egg that gives you much more challenging games.

Earthbound has the best anti-piracy measurement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468604)

ever.

Ramping up difficulty, then freezing at the ENDGAME clearing the SRAM entirely.

YAY!! TAKE THAT 99% OF MOTHER FANBASE who don't even own the games they love!

Re:Earthbound has the best anti-piracy measurement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468784)

Never heard of this. +1 to Earthbound. :)

Sidenote - I *really* wish this game would come out on the Wii's Virtual console!!!

Red Alert 2 cannot be pirated? (1)

XiX36 (715429) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468634)

Well then, looks like I'll just have to torrent RA3, Tim Curry will protect my bases from anti-piracy explosions! Really though, why bother protecting the Michael Jackson game? I would think the latest Pokemon games would have a far higher rate of piracy. . . or perhaps because people really don't want to be caught actually purchasing the game they are much more likely to pirate it.

Did the Jackson family demand it, or did Sony? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469116)

Really though, why bother protecting the Michael Jackson game?

Probably because either the Jackson family or Sony Music, each of which owns half of the copyright in the game's music, demanded it as a condition of licensing the music for use in the game.

You want to taunt them worse? (0)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468680)

LET them play the game about a rich pedophile who ruined his face with plastic surgery.

Horrific doesn't even begin to describe it.

False premise (5, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468716)

The vuvuzela noise isn't a copy-protection technique. It's just that the South African version of the game was the first to be cracked; it's in the legit .za copies as well.

So? (1)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468736)

Am I the only person outside of South Africa who wasn't annoyed with the sound of vuvuzelas? CBC seemed capable of keeping them low, but audible, in the live mix.

That said, disabling game functions strikes me as preferable to draconian DRM schemes that end up causing unnecessary frustration for paying players.

Re:So? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468930)

Am I the only person outside of South Africa who wasn't annoyed with the sound of vuvuzelas?

Yes... yes you are!

Re:So? (1)

Joolz50 (1381499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468982)

Nope. I liked it so much I made it my ringtone.

DarkStar One (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468828)

The space shooter DarkStar One tad such a "feature".
Improperly cracked games would shake the screen, making targeting pretty much impossible.

Uh (2)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468832)

Why someone would pirate, let alone pay for either of these mentioned games kind deserve far worse...Michael Jackson? Cmon... Hopefully they'll start putting porn into "pirated" copies of TV series so I can see some cute British guys doing it in between scenes of Merlin, Dr. Who and Skins.

Titan Quest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468872)

The original Titan Quest was like this, except even more nefarious. The pirated version would crash randomly, and not after a short period like 30 seconds, but sometimes as long as an hour. I completed the first quest in that game so many times trying to see if it was successfully cracked that the ending sound byte still resonates in my skull to this day; "You saved my horse!". At least, I THINK this was because the game was pirated, maybe it really just was a buggy piece of shit. Most people probably got to know the difference.

GTA IV (3, Informative)

bcmm (768152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468894)

GTA IV had a copy-protection prank too: the pirated game plays fine until you get in to a car, which then accelerates uncontrolably while handling as if the character has been drinking.

Pretty funny, but it did bite a lot of legit, paying customers, contributing to the general verdict that the game was much too buggy at release.

Re:GTA IV (2)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469016)

Numerous people had this exact problem with the OP's example or RA2. My brother got hit with it. We owned the game legit, but what triggered the "everything explodes after 30 seconds" behavior is that the installer *did not* tell you if you mistyped the serial number. This was incredibly easy to do since it had an incredibly long serial number.

praiseworthy (3, Insightful)

dudpixel (1429789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468970)

Surely if it did some cool undocumented thing in the pirated copy you would be impressed enough to pay for the full version - kind of like a "tip" for a job well done.

I dont think they should put annoying stuff in the pirated copies, but if it subtely made winning impossible, yet by the end of the game it becomes obvious, then I think credit where credit is due - the developers are really trying to win you over. and a job well done should be rewarded.

Much better than the stupid "check the internet every time you load the game" piracy prevention techniques. Either its a pirate copy or it isn't. There's no point going after all illegal downloads etc. - just the ones where people were too lazy to go to the shop and pay. Getting the target market right in the first place is half the battle.

By the end of the game Tetris becomes hard too (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469150)

but if it subtely made winning impossible, yet by the end of the game it becomes obvious, then I think credit where credit is due - the developers are really trying to win you over.

But then how do you distinguish this from a game that's genuinely difficult, like Tetris The Grand Master 3 [youtube.com] that gets ungodly fast starting around 3:00, and then turns off the lights around 5:00 and you have to beat the game by sense of feel?

Operation Flashpoint (1)

Scrapz (1941854) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469028)

I remember when Operation Flashpoint came out, people were complaining about degraded performance over time; like sloping crosshairs, shifting of the screen, etc - where it got to the point where it was unplayable. Turns out it was FADE technology that had detected a pirate copy. I don't know how it affected legitimate users though...

EarthBound (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469030)

The old school RPG EarthBound for the SNES had a similar, albeit HORRIFYING copy protection mechanic.

If the anti-piracy measures flagged, it would jack up the encounter rate twentyfold--the game would literally be swarming with monsters.

Worst part: if you make it all the way through to the final boss, after his first form the game will lock--the only way out is to reset it, only to find that every single one of your save files have been erased. Starmen.net has an entire page dedicated to this at http://starmen.net/mother2/gameinfo/antipiracy/ .

Ubisoft? People still buy games from UBISOFT!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469360)

I purchased *ONE* game from these people back in 2006. Due to the unwanted software that was installed on my system and the almost unreadable CD-Key, it will never happen again. Dear Ubisoft: If you wanted to drive away a customer who was otherwise happy with the stealth game that he purchased -- mission accomplished.

I will not even buy any of your games from gog.com.

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