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Pirates Vs. Publishers

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the arr-avoid-the-choppy-waters-o-starforce dept.

175

1up is running a piece looking at the fight between pirates and publishers in the games industry. They use StarForce, and their frustrating copy protection scheme, as a basis for their discussion of both sides of the issue. From the article: "The goal isn't to encourage people to be honest, or to drive innovation in the hacker community, or to be an irritant because you've lost your CD and want to play. The goal of a publisher in picking a copy protection service is to make more money by selling more copies. The logic is that if it's impossible to pirate the game, then people have to buy it if they want it. Why doesn't that work? If your copy protection is StarForce, then it doesn't work because people are boycotting your copy protection. StarForce, which installs a hard-to-remove driver onto your computer, has an unproven but generally accepted track record of causing computers to slow down -- at best. Some reports have complained of permanently damaged physical drives or hard drives."

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175 comments

Pirates (5, Funny)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371619)

Perhaps if they want people to stop stealing their software, they should stop calling software-stealers such a cool nickname. Arrrr!

Re:Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16371787)

Yeah, if you s/Pirates/Lameasses/ it's not so cool.

Of course, the games are just as fun to play when they've been cracked, so there's that.

Re:Pirates (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371841)

I don't know about you, but knowing I'm a pirate significantly increases my enjoyment. You know, on the off chance I'm using stolen software. Which I don't.

And, as an aside, congratulations on reducing the words "replace" and "with" to 4 symbols, while destroying the legibilaty!

Re:Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16371919)

This is slashdot, you're expected to understand how to use sed [ed.ac.uk] as a prerequisite for being here.

Re:Pirates (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372345)

Actually, games are probably more more fun to play when cracked, since all the annoyances the copy protection force "honest" users to endure are gone. I haven't played PC games in a long time, but back when I was a kid, copy-protected games were a total PITA to play. Usually, the game would ask some inane question on start-up like "what is the 4th word in the 2nd paragraph on page 19 of the manual?", or require you to look something up on a code wheel included with the game. With a cracked/pirated game, none of this crap was necessary; you just started up the game and started playing.

Re:Pirates (1)

Astarica (986098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372759)

The benefits of piracy is a sign of bad design in the first place, not the benefit of piracy.

For example, the 'turbo mode' found on the SNES emulators makes playing many SNES games far more enjoyable than originally. This doesn't mean pirating SNES games has some inherent value. It means a feature like 'turbo mode' is a very good idea if it is at all implementable. Clearly you can't just turbo mode stuff like loading time, but there's no reason why you can't be allowed to walk at 4X the speed if you want to. Chrono Cross does this, and it makes replaying the game a lot easier when you only need 1/4th the time to go through something you've no interest of seeing again (or possibly even once).

Likewise I much prefer the 'save anywhere' feature found in almost all emulators over the actual game itself, and certainly I do not know of anyone who thinks being able to save anywhere hurts you (because you can just not use it). This suggests most people would like to be able to save often and frequently. Again it might not be technologically possible to save at anywhere, but this suggests people would prefer game with more, not less, flexible saving capabilities.

Re:Pirates (0)

Kabal` (111455) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373727)

I do not know of anyone who thinks being able to save anywhere hurts you (because you can just not use it). This suggests most people would like to be able to save often and frequently.


I DON'T. Saving any time you want is for weak-sauce gamers and IMO destroys gameplay. It turns games into a process of:

If (beat enemy without taking damage) then quicksave else quickload;

I loved when Alien vs Predator was hard as hell and didn't let you save whenever you wanted. It was the best fun i'd had in a PC fps game since.. well, ever. Eventually they caved and added saving for all the cry babies. Games like Prey have had interesting ways of avoiding the quicksave/quickload without being frustrating, too.

Dead Rising is a game that I'm really into at the moment too that has an extremely oldschool save system and I love it. However, looking around at online forums shows nothing but cry babies complaining about hard it makes it, so I guess im in the minority.

Re:Pirates (1)

ffrinch (586802) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373987)

The problem is that difficulty levels in most games are broken. Just one example: many 3D platformers have less/weaker enemies in easy mode. I usually die by falling down holes, so the "difficulty" setting is worthless.

There's no reason why quicksave can't be part of the difficulty scale. You and the other dedicated players have to suffer through long and painful levels; people playing on the n00b difficulty level can save+load to their hearts' content. At "normal" level we might get one or two saves.

I have a fair amount of dedication with hard games, but I *hate* to finally finish one really hard part, after ten plus tries, only to face an even harder part beyond that. If I'm still only making it past the first obstacle in one out of ten tries, I'm going to give up (and grind the game disc into a poisonous but eminently satisfying condiment).

Re:Pirates (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16374173)

I couldn't agree more. I'm one of those Noob gamers. While I've played quite a few games, I havn't the ability to spend the time to be good at any one. I'm lucky if I get more then 20-40 minutes to spend on a game every 2 or 3 days. There are some times i can spend more on it but usualy those are rare. Some scenarios cannot even be started and solved in that time frame. Saving and saving often is the only reasons i can gain levels and progress past the opening dialog.

The options should be there, if you use it should be a choice the player makes. Saying no one should ever have this feature because i don't use it is like saying no one should make oencils because i use inkpens.

Of course not being able to play for long lengths at a time does make it dificult at the higher levels of the game. And there becomes a time were some games just won't be finished. But the idea is someone makes a game, people buy it, people play it. Without the ability to save often, it is just a matter of me not being able to buy it because i couldn't play it. Then sometimes there comes a game that gets the controls just right for me as well as the puzzle and obsicles. These usualy go faster like with Halo, one of the games I had the time to spend on, was finished in 36 hours with 4 or five breaks of about 2 hours each.

Re:Pirates (1)

Kabal` (111455) | more than 7 years ago | (#16374427)

The options should be there, if you use it should be a choice the player makes. Saying no one should ever have this feature because i don't use it is like saying no one should make oencils because i use inkpens.


The problem is if you put it there and balance the whole game difficulty around it being available, then you can't just say "yeah don't use it if you don't like it" - Because in a lot of FPS games where quicksave is available you take SO much damage SO quickly that you simply have to use it. Conversely if they made it so you didn't take damage so fast but still had the quicksave, it would be far too easy...

I definitely feel you can balance game difficulty in a more entertaining way if the developer is the one deciding how often you can save, and when.

Re:Pirates (1)

farrellj (563) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373361)

I own multiple copies of Command and Conquer (original, RA, RA2) and Dune 2000, but I want to be able to run the games under Linux. So I either have to buy something like Cedega (which is an excellent product), or reboot into Windows. But virtually all of the above program have cracked copies floading around the net, and the cracked copies work fine under standard WINE. This seems to indicate that the only reason why these program don't run under standard WINE is the copy protection. How many Linux geeks out there would be buying more games if they could easily run them under WINE?

ttyl
          Farrell

Re:Pirates (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16374033)

ahh, i remeber police quest asking for locker numbers and combinations codes from pictures inside the game manual that you though was only there to give you an idea of the enviroment before playing. I think it even asked for family members names in the bio page for the heror. Of course after about the third time a beer or something was spilt on these, they became hard to find and I ended up having to zerox someone elses copy. but they did something with the lines that made it hard to copy in black and white so i had to find a color copyer (wich was rare at this time). What a pain!

A few years ago, I ran accross the install diskettes and a cd for that game when cleaning out a closet. No manual- copied or not so the game was still useless. and still a pain. I just know when i though it out, I will find the manuals.

Re:Pirates (2, Insightful)

roseblood (631824) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371861)

One would think that swords and primitive firearms would beat out the guy with the stack of papers and the odd mechanical contraption.

History has proven otherwise.

Unfortunately in this age those who plunder are the publishers (in the music business at least.) Have you seen the contracts new artists end up having to sign?

I know...RTFA, it's software publishers not music.

Re:Pirates (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 7 years ago | (#16374269)

That's a good idea, actually. Far too many people try to use the term 'pirate' as part of their arguments that software piracy isn't theft.

Pirates make a superior product (5, Insightful)

d3am0n (664505) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371679)

First off, I pay for my games. However I don't install the games I buy. I chuck the disks in the trash, download the ripped copy, and then install a no-cd crack on it. I've got a rather impressive collection of games and I do it with every single one. Quite frankly, I completely see why people pirate games. The pirate copy is much more user friendly, installation goes quicker when it's from a HDD, and there's usually no DRM infection to potentially damage my machine. I truly think publishers are also going overboard and irking honest people, if I purchase DOOM III it tells me that I cannot have a legitimately purchased copy of clone cd running, when your video game tells me what software I can and cannot own it's trying to step WAY above it's station. While I still continue to support the industry, their tactics are not thwarting pirates, and they are pissing me off in a royal way. I'm not sure how much longer I'll keep buying their cd's to make landfill fodder and parting with my hard earned money.

Re:Pirates make a superior product (2, Informative)

sinclair44 (728189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371707)

I would pretty much agree -- NoCDs and kracks are often useful even for legitamately purchased games. Having the CD constantly in the drive is really annoying, especially when on a laptop or wanting to switch back and forth between several games.

Re:Pirates make a superior product (4, Informative)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371779)

I used to use NoCD cracks all of the time, but I've started using Game Jackal. http://www.gamejackal.com/home.asp/ [gamejackal.com]

It doesn't support Starforce, but I refuse to install any of those games on my PC anyways. They offer a free trial so you can make sure the games you want to play are supported as well.

Re:Pirates make a superior product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16371947)

Actually several demos will install the StarForce driver. Ghost Recon being one of them... ;)

Re:Pirates make a superior product (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371799)

Amen to that. I really liked Trackmania for example. I loved it and thought it was the best racing game I had ever played. All the while my DVD-ROM drive kept getting slower and slower but I thought nothing of it because it had been a while since I reinstalled Windows and just attributed it to that. Then I read that about StarForce and that Nadeo used it in Trackmania. I will never buy a Nadeo game again because of it. This story is spot on. At the rate its going StarForce is going to lose more sales than it will save.

Re:Pirates make a superior product (1)

JensenDied (1009293) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371877)

So the solution, make a game, and sell a small cardboard flap with a installation key on it, and just have the server track so only one copy is on at a time, and screw the validation formula, just compare it to a database of keys shipped to stores. granted this only works with subscription based, or games lacking a singleplayer functionality.

Re:Pirates make a superior product (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373571)

Pretty much what Steam does. You can activate your Steam account on any computer and download the games you own but you can't play them on multiple computers at the same time.

Re:Pirates make a superior product (4, Interesting)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372091)

I had waited with much anticipation for Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. I went out and bought it the day it came out, so you can imagine my surprise when it refused to run! Why? Because I'm on XP x64. The copy protection wanted to install a low level driver and it didn't come with an x64 version, so it wouldn't let me play. So I went through all the fun of returning an opened game. A little over a year later a crack was released for it and I finally got to play the game. Thank you, RELOADED, for letting me play the franchise I love. And shame on Ubisoft, which I held in very high regards before that experience, for tainting their software with such crap.

I tend to immediately rip any software I buy to HDD, and mount it with Daemon Tools when I need it. This created an extra problem for many other games, which will refuse to run if it detects any virtual drives. Thankfully Daemon Tools tends to keep ahead of them.

Re:Pirates make a superior product (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16373369)

So, you're bitching because your game didn't run on an OS that wasn't listed in the system requirements.

Re:Pirates make a superior product (2)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373951)

No, he is bitching because the game would run on his OS(the crack showed that), the copy protection scheme was the only thing stoping it. A small yet important distinction.

And yes, the differences between windows XP and XP64 isn't all that apearent at first glance. It probably will take most nongeeks one or two of these problems to figure that out. And i don't blame them either. They buy or have an athlon 64 computer built and it comes with this cupon for windows XP-64 and not much more in the being different department except it will run on the 64x86 processor more efficiently.

Re:Pirates make a superior product (1)

stryyker (573921) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373467)

No DRM infection on downloaded software? Most "warez" do not adjust the installer (I remember Red Alert 2 which had protected installer too) but only modify the running executables after installation. Any baggage that is installed with the game is still there.

or change the content... (1)

FunnyLookinHat (718270) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371713)

In the last year I can only think of one, maybe two, good titles worth purchasing. I download games to try them, if I enjoy them I buy them. I know not everyone will act in such an honest fashion, but on my own accord I feel that I am justified in doing this.

If the game publishers would start putting out good games rather than absolute crap (listen up EA!) then maybe we'd all start buying things again. Same goes for the music industry.

Re:or change the content... (1)

d3am0n (664505) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371759)

I think the main issue isn't the quality of the product. What you hate I might love (I'm a Peter Molyneaux fan so heh, that's where that comes from). However at issue is the crap they put into these games cannot be uninstalled in alot of cases, is installed silently, and ontop of that it can harm the functionality of a pristine system (I'm anal about haveing my system run as clean as possible). What they are doing is including spyware in some cases, and at the very least malware with these systems, giving no way to uninstall it, and putting no warning labels on the packaging. It's harmful to consumers and it's a piss off to their best clients who are the hardcore gamers.

Re:or change the content... (1)

brownaroo (682715) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371761)

You know alot of Games have legal demos to try for free to get a taste.

Re:or change the content... (2, Insightful)

FunnyLookinHat (718270) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371891)

not to be a troll but... most demos suck, are buggy, are harder to obtain than a cracked version of the game, etc. etc.

Re:or change the content... (1)

roseblood (631824) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371897)

I had been raving about GAL CIV 2 for a while. A friend pirated. Said it did rock. Went and paid for a legitmiate copy. Got patched up and enjoys a wonderful bug free game.

I like their system, sure you can pirate it and play it, but it will be an older buggy unbalanced and unpatched version. Want to get it good? Then you have to get it the good way.

Re:or change the content... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372177)

I know not everyone will act in such an honest fashion...
In such an honest fashion? You're kidding right? You download them all, and then only pay for the "good ones?" Your "honesty" is impressive.

Re:or change the content... (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372399)

So I guess you just buy all your music CDs based on the cover artwork, and never actually listen to the songs beforehand (radio, in-store listening stations, friends' CDs, etc.)?

If you've ever listened to any song on a CD before buying that CD (or iTunes track), then you're a hypocrite.

Re:or change the content... (0, Troll)

chromatic (9471) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372585)

Psst! It's Columbus Day (or Canadian Thanksgiving), not Incoherent Analogy Day. Sorry.

Re:or change the content... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372853)

Sorry, I don't see how the analogy doesn't apply. They're both examples of "try before you buy". The parent poster is apparently advocating buying games without ever playing them first, instead relying on (I'm guessing) reviewer articles and marketing material to decide which games to buy. Who ever buys music without listening to it first? There's been countless testimonials here on Slashdot and elsewhere about how people bought much more music during the Napster days when it was easy to download MP3s and find new music that they liked. Apparently, many people here are claiming the same with pirated games.

Re:or change the content... (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373947)

If you play and finish a game before buying it - why would you buy it? Now this mostly goes for single player games that have a finite length. Multiplayer games aren't as affected by this but they also tend to use online serial checks which means they are better protected against piracy (to some degree).
Whereas with a music album, you are likely to listen to it many times.
I'm not completely disagreeing with you - I have done the same thing. I've paid for games I felt were worth it after playing a pirated copy. I generally try to use demos but sometimes publishers are ridiculously stingy. No, I can't tell if I'm going to like the game with a demo that quits in 10 minutes or only offers 10 minutes of content.

Re:or change the content... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16374435)

He said "try the game" not "finish the game". It's not a bad idea to see if the game works well on your system, and is able to entertain you first.

On the other hand you can just buy the game to encourage the developers to continue making similar ones.

Re:or change the content... (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372397)

In the last year I can only think of one, maybe two, good titles worth purchasing.


I agree: there are one or two titles that I'm interested in purchasing in any given year. The difference is that I'm looking at games from last year and the year before to decide what to purchase. This has some major advantages: if people are still talking about it after two years, it's probably a pretty good game. Any bugfixes have already been released, so I'm not stuck with an unplayable game. The mod community has had a chance to produce all sorts of interesting mods, extending the game's life. And finally, my computer is powerful enough to play the game at maximum quality.

Re:or change the content... (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373969)

Any bugfixes have already been released, so I'm not stuck with an unplayable game.

If only this were true of all games. Battlefield 2 I'm looking at you!

Piracy Encouraging More Sales (5, Insightful)

ludomancer (921940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371737)

I have bought a vast amount more software thanks to trying it out via pirate-distrobution first. Simple as that. Goes the same for music, movies, etc.

If they want to bitch about lost sales to me, I'll call them on their lying marketting and slanted, paid-off reviews. It's all about publishers wanting control when it comes down to it, and pointing fingers when a shitty game doesn't sell.

If they could spin it they'd have people buying the most terrible crap out there for $60 a pop (haha), as every magazine review and media outlet hails it as a hallmark of interactivity. No thanks. I'll continue to bittorrent and decide for myself who gets my money.

Re:Piracy Encouraging More Sales (1)

Twixter (662877) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371909)

Wait...what's that? I think...yes I think it is...Angels are signing....
Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah, Hallelujah........

Re:Piracy Encouraging More Sales (3, Funny)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372415)

If they want to bitch about lost sales to me, I'll call them on their lying marketing and slanted, paid-off reviews.

Lying marketing? Aren't you repeating yourself here?
This is like calling someone a "stupid idiot".

P.S. If I've offended any marketing people here, that was my intention.

Re:Piracy Encouraging More Sales (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372933)

I haven't seen a whole lot of slanted reviews. The last issue of CGW I picked up, for example, had only 2 out of 7 games that scored an 8 out of 10. They seem to be fairly straightfoward about the shortcomings of games, and most were rated as 5 out of 10. Likewise, while Gamespot does a LOT of promotional stuff, A) it caters to their viewers, and B) it doesn't seem to affect their reviews. Often their reviews are actually lower than the player reviews, although it's difficult to say why that is. The three obvious possibilities are that the players believe the games to be better than the reviewers, the ballots are stuffed, or people just don't like to admit that they paid for crap. Probably a mixture of all three.

To be sure there are reviews I don't agree with, but I can't even recall the last time I saw a game that got great reviews on average, but actually sucked. I wasn't at all impressed by Half Life 2, which got the highest reviews in recent memory, but a lot of people enjoyed it immensely so I think the reviews accurately reflected most people's perceptions of the game.

At any rate, I mostly judge games for myself, but bad reviews have more of an impact on me than good reviews, and I tend to steer clear of games with a 6 or below rating (or equivelant). I don't expect someone else's opinion of what they like to necessarily match my own, but what they dislike (bugs, poor controls, etc) usually coincides with my own views.

Re:Piracy Encouraging More Sales (1)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373207)

I don't read CGW anymore, but they may still be decent. PC Gamer is awsome in the review department, they really seem to care more about people playing the games than they do about the people selling the games... It is unfortunate that this doesn't seem to be helping them win the battle against the big online companies that are much more forgiving in their reviews.

I just want the big review sites to bury games that are buggy or detrimental to your computer. And if the game is a cheap update to the last game, SAY THAT! Sites like gamespot are the media of the gaming industry, and like the media of other things, it seems that the money rolling in from companies is far more important to them than their subscribers... Probably because most of what you see is pretty much free to us. You get what you pay for.

Re:Piracy Encouraging More Sales (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373597)

"Probably because most of what you see is pretty much free to us. You get what you pay for.

I'm not sure that's purely a function of "teh interweb," since Gamespot in particular sells premium accounts to turn off the ads. Meanwhile print media is *completely* advertiser funded. The subscription fee you pay only covers a meager portion of the costs for, and is only maintained because, IIRC, giving out the publications for free tends to lower their credibility and, in turn, their readership. When the readership declines, the advertising tends to dry up as well.

There are exceptions -- I couldn't find a subscription to Astronomy magazine for less than $42, a price which certainly compensates them beyond shipping costs, and scientific journals of course are largely subscriber funded -- but in general the credibility that goes along with a subscription fee is worth more than the actual dollars they receive.

Piracy Encouraging More Lies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16373667)

That pirates use to convince themselves what they are doing isn't immoral and that they are not greedy for wanting to play lots of games at the game companies expense("LOL I wouldn't have paid for it anyways because I got and played it ALL FOR FREE!").

Futile (4, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371775)

On the other side of the coin, the only people who suffer (inconvenience of finding and loading the disc, damage to disc causing repurchase) are people who legitimately bought the software. The pirates (whom we need more of to lower global tempertures btw..) are all running cracked copies - that don't have any of the annoying dimensions - on the first or second day of the software's release (0-day warez anyone?). CD-Keys at least aren't as intrusive as most of the titles with them don't require the media in the drive. I like what Stardock has done with GalCiv2, a cd-key that is activated over the internet or email once per patch and doesn't require the CD in the drive (keeping pirates from playing multiplayer too btw). That's the balance that I'm willing to accept, how about you?

Pirates do simultaneous world wide releases (4, Insightful)

Zephiria (941257) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371805)

Here's me, wanting to buy a game, Dark crusade.
I already have a pre-order in, its ship date is the 9th, today.
Its in most US shops from the 10th onward.
In the EU we'll be lucky to see it after the 24th/27th.
I could wait the 2 weeks to get it, or I could just snatch it off of a torrent site or emule or the like and have it very shortly after the pirates upload it.

This in my mind puts the pirates WAY ahead of the publishers, and more to the point makes the common games buying public, IE me feel more supportive of them.

And as another user commented, not having to find disks, not having PC destroying crap installed on my machine is a big plus to me.

Re:Pirates do simultaneous world wide releases (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16373825)

I *will* give THQ/Relic credit for two things:

1. NOT using Starforce. I believe they use Securom, which while annoying, doesn't crap up your computer.
2. After a few months, at least, they removed the copy protection from Dawn of War and Winter Assault with the 1.5 patch. A comment from one of their team was: "SecuROM is great for that first couple months, but after that, it's just a pain. CD-Keys are absolute, so we still have a form of copy protection."

From what I understand, their newer game, Company of Heroes, didn't have any Securom on it out of the box, so there's rumor that Dark Crusade won't, either.

Re:Pirates do simultaneous world wide releases (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16374047)

How about digital distribution like Steam or Direct2Drive?
I recently bought Civ 4: Warlords off Direct2Drive because it was on sale. I really like not having to put the CD in to play the game. I used to use a miniso with my Civ 4 to play, but now I don't have to bother with mounting that and running the SDkiller app.

Oblig (1)

Hahnsoo (976162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371845)

Whoa! Since when did ninjas become publishers? What if you drop a spoon? Will they go totally Ninja-Burger all over your ass? The pirates have no chance against the ancestral tasty goodness of Ninjas.

Samurai, not Ninjas (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371979)

These guys are samurai, not ninjas. They've got the flashy costumes, the big swords, and do their work in big groups in public. They may have some ninjas planting broken shards of exploding danger on the nets waiting for pirates to pick them up, but that's an entirely different issue, and we've got our own ways of dealing with them.


Yarrr!

define enough profit (3, Insightful)

6 (22657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371863)

I think this comes down to the same self defeating strategy we see all over the business world; it is not enough to make lots of dollars instead you must strive to make EVERY dollar.

In the effort to make every possible dollar the business world ends up destroying the reasons their clients were willing to pay them in the first place.

Ninjas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16371905)

I thought it was Pirates vs. Ninjas?

Re:Ninjas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16374043)

I thought it was Pirates vs. Ninjas?

Chuck Norris pwn5 j00!

Isn't StarForce dead? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#16371907)

StarForce? I thought StarForce was dead or about to die from being annoying to the user/potentially harmful to the hardware, posting torrents of games which didn't use StarForce on their forums (GalCiv2) and being cracked anyways? I thought Steam was the latest fashionable hard-to-crack protection.

Steam (1)

SilverSnaken (1011425) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372185)

While steam is a very convenient system for those of us who buy our games, it's by no means hard-to-crack. Half-Life 2 has been available since around release day and Counter-Strike: Source as well. The later has also been possible to use to play on any server out there, including legitimate ones, through all patches since release. So as it stands right now, Steam is far less "secure" then StarForce, but much much nicer to the consumers that buy the products.

Re:Steam (1)

CaseyG (97275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372633)

When I bought Half Life 2: Episode One, the Steam download servers were chugging like a slashdotted Tandy.

I pulled down a torrent of the full install, and played through the entire game while Steam sorted itself out.

Then I played through it again (on Steam) for the commentary dialogue. :)

  -c.

No deterrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16371929)

Copy Protection systems just aren't effective at all in stopping piracy. As soon as just ONE person finds a way to circumvent the protection (which usually happens about 24 hours after the game is released, and often BEFORE the game is released), then everyone who wants a free copy of the game can get it. Sure, it still prevents 12-year-old Johnny from installing the game on his friend's computer and essentially giving him a free copy, but I tend to think two young kids weren't about to buy two copies of the same game anyway.

For those of us who do purchase our software, it's an inconvenience. I don't want to have to insert the disc every time I feel like playing a game. So, I crack my stuff. I take measures to get around the copy protection system of every game I own. It's tedious, sure, but far less so than having to locate a CD from a within a pile of hundreds just because I feel like playing something that I haven't used in a couple of months.

Games don't need elaborate copy protection systems to ensure sales. If the game is good, people will buy it. I don't believe piracy has a significant impact on sales.

What I think (4, Interesting)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372031)

The typical Slashdot response to one of these articles is that they pirated the game, found they liked it, and then shelled out money for the game. They justify this by being screwed over by some terrible game in the past, having limited gaming funds, or preferring the copy protection free software. That's fine if it gives you a warm, happy feeling, but you are still breaking the law and there are plenty of ways to avoid this. Find a game reviewer that you trust, and select your games based on their opinions. Or if a developer puts out quality games, stick with that developer. But let's be realistic, people are always going to pirate, and they are always going to come up with some dumb justification for it.

The thing is, if no one pirated games, then the overly restrictive copy protection would not exist. Now they add copy protection. Copy protection would not be so horrible if they just did what they were intended to do: make it difficult for others to copy and distribute their games to others. Unfortunately, we have copy protection that infects our system causing it to slow down the game, the system, and sometimes even make parts of it fail to function. All that copy protection does is cause more people to go down the pirate route.

Ok, so this next part is important for the game companies: THERE IS NO COPY PROTECTION, NOR WILL THERE EVER BE, THAT CAN STOP PIRACY. They will always be able to crack it or find a way to get the source. They will then distribute it. I am going to say something that won't be popular to Slashdotters now: copy protection is necessary. Because people will always justify their piracy, they need to make it hard enough so a casual user is unable to take their discs and stick it online. They do not need to license some expensive, over-bearing copy protection that install drivers or root kits. Just something cheap that prevent a casual user from doing it. Why do I suggest this? 1) If you put no protection on it, you are guaranteed to sell less units 2) It's going to be pirated anyways, so spending money on licensing expensive copy protection is pointless 3) A simple scheme will make it hard enough so that Joe User will have to go buy it, but unobtrusive so that it will not turn people off from the game.

But really, not much will change as long as we don't prosecute the pirates. The Internet is still very much the Wild West...anything goes. Until authorities actually go after people pirating software (and I am betting in 10 years, cyber crimes will account for the majority of fines and penalties), people are going to do it. Using what I stated above is the best "in the middle" approach that I can think of.

Re:What I think (5, Insightful)

d3am0n (664505) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372159)

Don't bitch out people who pirate games and buy them. Bitch about people who don't pay. This isn't a judge dredd comic book. Civil disobediance against stupid laws like the DMCA that don't let me put a no-cd crack on the games I own is entirely appropriate and necessary. If everyone simply goes "oh it's the law lets always obey" society would be in a rather sorry state. Publishers are being paid for their work, there is abit of piracy, bringing down the hammer on it will only make it stronger, infecting users systmes with malware for corporate penny pinching is wrong.

Re:What I think (1)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372277)

Buying a small percentage of the games you "pirate" doesn't make you right, and making NO-CD cracks for games isn't civil disobedience -- if it was even CLOSE to civil disobedience, it'd be done in public, with shared source code, and the "crack" would get distributed WITHOUT A COPY OF THE GAME ATTACHED TO IT.

Oooh, look at all the cool civil disobedience on eMule today...

Re:What I think (1)

d3am0n (664505) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372339)

It is done in public, go check out some of the game copying forums, they don't require registration and are entirely in the public, there are even fully created programs that will automate the process of cracking a game. Just because the legislative branch of the united states has lost its goddamn mind doesn't mean everyone else has.

Re:What I think (1)

Astarica (986098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372903)

Civil disobedience is not doing something you think is wrong because you can get away with it. Civil disobedience is doing something you think is wrong, and get punished for it so people can see the fallacy of the laws. If people are submitting themselves to be fined for whatever outrageous amount the copyright laws demands, that'd be civil disobedience. I'm pretty sure that's not what people are doing, though.

Re:What I think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16373689)

Civil disobedience is doing something that you think is _RIGHT_, regardless of the laws. Intentionally getting caught is a publicity stunt (albeit frequently a very good, worthwhile, and productive publicity stunt, e.g. sit-ins).

As far as computer games go, I haven't used a pirated game or pirated software in many many years now, nor cracks, etc. That said, I empathize completely with those who buy the game media, then download the cracked software. I see that as civil (no-one gets hurt) disobedience (technically violating copyright law).

Re:What I think (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16374701)

Actually, crack/keygen groups almost unanimously do NOT distribute games. They would be offended to hear it suggested otherwise.

Re:What I think (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373503)

Uhh, I will bitch about everyone who does it. If you were pirating games that only had obtrusive software, fine. But you aren't...you are just justifying it. Sure, the people who don't buy it are worse (and are the majority) but all you have is stupid justifications. You prefer to pretend you are liberators, protecting society by pirating games. Give me a break. Like I said, when they make it malware, it is bad. When it is reasonable, it's fine. Obviously reading isn't your strong point. Just spouting off Slashdot group-think wins the mod points.

Why don't you get a team of people to work together extremely hard and release your software with no protection? See how well that does. Your motives are purely selfish. There are other ways of finding quality games without pirating...you just have talked yourself in to believing what you are doing is right. And you surround yourself with people who agree with you. Pathetic. Despite the groupthink on here...I really expect more sanity from the moderation.

Nice conformist attitude, litle sheep... (1)

The Last Gunslinger (827632) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372659)

Here, let me translate your sentiments from the first paragraph into an example that might illustrate just how frightening your viewpoint really is:


Lots of children with new crayons like to color all over the pages of their books, not bothering to stay within the rigid boundaries of the outlines. Even lots of grown-up artists follow these impulses. But everyone knows the "right" way to do it is to color only inside the lines and only draw things that really exist in the really real world. Yet these incorrigibles always explain their inability to conform to a nice, inside-the-lines, style of art to "abstract impressions" or their individual "artistic expression" or some other "dumb justification." For shame.

Heaven knows, there are lots of ways they could express themselves without straying from the rigidly defined rules of solid lines, right?

And anytime you find yourself a bit confused as to how you're supposed to think or act, don't bother to use your own brain! Why bother, when it's so easy to let someone else do the thinking for you and spoon-feed you nice conformist beliefs and opinions!



I'm sure I've made my points. Most intelligent people don't care to have others think for them, especially not game publishers whose primary focus involves separating them from their money...and just because an idea is codified into law by our ignorant, Luddite, bought-and-paid-for legislators doesn't make it right. And when you KNOW this to be the case, civil disobedience of these laws is your moral obligation as a responsible citizen.

Re:What I think (2)

CoderBob (858156) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372743)

The thing is, if no one pirated games, then the overly restrictive copy protection would not exist. Now they add copy protection. Copy protection would not be so horrible if they just did what they were intended to do: make it difficult for others to copy and distribute their games to others. Unfortunately, we have copy protection that infects our system causing it to slow down the game, the system, and sometimes even make parts of it fail to function. All that copy protection does is cause more people to go down the pirate route.


They aren't adding copy protection now- they've just switched from dead-tree copy protection to a more invasive version. Anyone who played the older TSR AD&D games remembers the very fragile copy protection wheel that shipped with games like the original Pools of Radiance, or the "page, paragraph, word" method of some of the Wizardry games that depended on keeping the manual in good condition just to get into the game.

Part of that switch has been the change in OS technology- injecting DRM into DOS would be a bit more difficult than hiding "phantom" devices in Windows XP, especially as you went further and furher back into the days of yore. I remember booting an old PC via a DOS boot disk, just to take that out and insert the game floppy. Once you remove the physical media containing all of your system files, how on earth do you install DRM?

I think the problems with determining the chicken v. egg debate regarding pirates and copy-protection are:
  1. The pirates don't advertise how much volume they actually handle, while the publishers publish study after study claiming "losses".
  2. Gone are the days where an incredible game (DOOM, for instance) can be produced by a small team of developers in anything resembling a reasonable amount of time. More people equals greater production costs, greater production costs equals higher prices and more unit sales required to make a profit, creating an incentive to maximize profit by any possible means. This puts statements made by the industry into the "grain of salt" category, but at least it is a moderately "public" motive.
  3. There is an overwhelming motive to claim piracy as a reason for game failing to make a profit, when time and time again the "core" gaming consumer base has shown itself to be fickle and hard to predict when it comes to gaming paradigm shifts. A new game that fails to snag the "core" market initially- being the portion of the market that is most likely to put up with problems and multiple patches- tends to have a higher piracy to purchase ratio than one that is strong enough to encourage purchase. There is no good method of tracking how long those pirated copies stay installed or in use, yet the download rate can be used to claim "Those damn pirates caused our game to flop!"
  4. Poor marketing, design flaws, and a release date that is slightly too late can also all contribute to a game failing to make it big, yet still leave enough of a trace of piracy immediately after release for marketing droids to claim that "massive piracy of the game" contributed to a loss of profit and an inability to continue support. Having worked in the retail side of the gaming industry, I feel safe in saying that a lot of good games that come out and then have patches released shortly after release have a much higher return rate from the non-geek crowd than games that are lower quality but can be played out of the box. Again, we have a situation in which piracy is not necessarily the direct (or even moderately large) loss of profit, but can be made to look as if it was.
  5. People tend to justify their actions so that they feel "good about themselves" when it comes to piracy. This in turn makes the standard "list" of "Why I pirated X and how it's okay" pretty standard, but also means that it is difficult to seperate "real" pirates (those that never/rarely purchase games, but often keep pirated copies) from the ones that honestly do pirate a game to give it a trial and then either toss it immediately or purchase a full copy. Add in the number of people who grab no-cd patches for games they officially own and have lost cds to, or whatever other reason they have for not using the CD, and the numbers get harder and harder to seperate out.


Personally, I think the situation will get worse before it gets better. I think more and more firms are going to switch to consoles. Platformers and straight-up "Action" games seem to have all moved to the console. As it stands, FPS/RTS/MMORPG seem to all still be in the domain of the PC, but games like Halo have shown what a console can do with a well-designed FPS (yes, I know, not everyone enjoyed Halo. Still, it has a large following, is still played in one form or another today, well after release, and was really a "good" example of how to do an FPS w/ a console controller). RTS/MMORPG are going to be a little more difficult to migrate over, but I can see a lot of potential for manufacturers to work towards releasing those games on consoles if at all possible. The number of people who will feel comfortable modding a PS3 compared to the number of people who are willing to risk 'cracking' a copy of a PC game is significantly less. Besides, DRM on a console is slightly easier to manage, and as the iPod has shown, people are willing to accept DRM that is basically "invisible" to their eye.

Re:What I think (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373595)

I agree that some form of copy protection is needed. I don't play many games. On the occasion that I do play a game, it's probably one I bought back in middle school and have decided to play again for a few hours of good entertainment. Most of those games had relatively simple copy protection, you had to have the CD in the drive, or there was a CD Key and it was checked against a server to make sure it wasn't in use. I remember a game I had before I could read that showed me three pictures, then I had to pull out the game's directions, find that sequence of three pictures in a table, then click three other pictures that corresponded with directions in the manual. I've had other games that included a "users guide" which made it so you could not get past a certain point in the game without referring to the manual.

Those forms of copy protection were fairly effective against casual piracy. There are some steps that could be used to improve upon those methods of copy protection and make them more effective, but it doesn't take device drivers to prevent casual piracy, and device drivers aren't going to prevent a hardcore pirate.

Another thing I think you'll find on slashdot, is slashdotters tend to complain when companies go after pirates. I would much rather see legitmate litigation against pirates than obscene copy protection methods that devalue software/music/movies.

Re:What I think (2)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16374075)

Until authorities actually go after people pirating software

They have and they do. The difference is that federal crackdowns on piracy of software have at this point targetted either large distribution points (whether it's CD duplication or FTP hubs) or the crackers themselved. Many groups over the years have had members arrested but someone else always steps up to fill in the gaps.
The other area where crackdowns occur is in large scale business software piracy.
Compare this to the RIAA and MPAA actions which have included targetting the individual downloader.

Additional downloaded content defeats piracy (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372045)

The best way to prevent piracy is to put a game out that is incomplete without registering.

I can see why some publisher who wants just to shove a game out of the door and forget about it might think anti-pirate CDs are a good idea, but any multi-player game, or indeed any game were content is expandable, unlockable or downloadable should not need anti-pirate measures. You need to access the web anyway, so why not check the CD serial key. Then you can reward your genuine customers with additional content, maps, objects etc. and shut out the freeloaders by barring them from the servers and so on. So they get to play a bugged 1.0 for a while. So what? Meanwhile your customers are on 1.5 happily playing the cool new levels you just released.

Games that force me to insert a CD really piss me off. I end up going to gamecopyworld or similar to acquire the crack. And that's the thing. Pirates can rip the copy protection in seconds and then dump the whole game up for download or provide a crack. So why bother with it anyway? Copy protection licence fees are still money down the drain when the pirates simply rip it out. That money would be better invested in keeping customers happy and "training" them through a positive experience as to why they should buy your game.

Re:Additional downloaded content defeats piracy (1)

Astarica (986098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372423)

If you train your customers that they're rewarded for downloading a crack instead of buying your game, most people will eventually decide they should just download the game instead of buy it.

Episodic content can be just as frustrating as any copyright protection scheme. There is plenty of complaints about buying a game and then having to shell out more for additional content (and people can pirate that too). The only place this works well is on MMORPG because the the bulk of the revenue is tied to some kind of credit card number, not the ability to sell boxes. Games like WoW could very well be free for the box (not that Blizzard would like it) and still maintain most of their revenues because there's no easy way to get around the monthly payment.

Re:Additional downloaded content defeats piracy (1)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373327)

Yeah, I am thinking that the idea is that the publisher doesn't release content for extra money. They release it for free as incentive to actually own the game. But those neat extra levels can be cracked too. So I don't really think it is the best solution.

That will work for 45 seconds until... (2, Insightful)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372987)

... someone uploads the unlocked additional content to the YoHoHoFTP server. And then you're back at square one again. Software as a service, on the other hand, works pretty well at preventing piracy: how many pirated disks of WoW do you think have ever been made? (Incidentally, folks who are pretty much OK with unrestricted piracy but hate monthly fees need to look at China. China's present is our future, folks: if piracy is inevitable and largely tolerated then you will not be able to own a PC game for love or money because no one will sell them to you. At best you'll be able to lease the right to play with your virtual items for a month or an item at a time.)

Re:That will work for 45 seconds until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16374593)

YoHoHoFTP server
 
FTP server? What year is this? 1993?

Re:That will work for 45 seconds until... (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16374713)

I purchased WoW, and played on the official servers for a year or so. But the last two times I have played have been on third party servers, and I downloaded a 'warez' copy of the game that included the first GB worth of patches.

Trusted Computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16373749)

TC will pretty much eliminate piracy. Packaged games will no longer come with binaries but rather have to obtained from the publisher's website. The binary is signed and because of TC and similar technologies your computer will only run signed binaries. If you try to crack the binary it becomes invalid and will no longer work. Your computer may even report you if you try to do such a thing.

The only people who will be able to sidestep these measures are those who do not have TC modeled hardware. However such hardware will probably become rare or very expensive.

More like Antitrust Lawsuit Computing (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16374063)

The binary is signed and because of TC and similar technologies your computer will only run signed binaries.

Trusted Computing does not require all binaries to be signed. It only verifies that the boot sequence has not been modified. Which "similar technologies" are you talking about that sit on top of Trusted Computing, and how would they pass antitrust muster if one company administers the code signing system in a manner that shuts out hobbyist developers?

Re:Additional downloaded content defeats piracy (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373903)


The best way to prevent piracy is to put a game out that is incomplete without registering.

I can see why some publisher who wants just to shove a game out of the door and forget about it might think anti-pirate CDs are a good idea, but any multi-player game, or indeed any game were content is expandable, unlockable or downloadable should not need anti-pirate measures. You need to access the web anyway, so why not check the CD serial key. Then you can reward your genuine customers with additional content, maps, objects etc. and shut out the freeloaders by barring them from the servers and so on. So they get to play a bugged 1.0 for a while. So what? Meanwhile your customers are on 1.5 happily playing the cool new levels you just released.

Games that force me to insert a CD really piss me off. I end up going to gamecopyworld or similar to acquire the crack. And that's the thing. Pirates can rip the copy protection in seconds and then dump the whole game up for download or provide a crack. So why bother with it anyway? Copy protection licence fees are still money down the drain when the pirates simply rip it out. That money would be better invested in keeping customers happy and "training" them through a positive experience as to why they should buy your game.


Better yet, don't have any copy protection at all.

StarDock's Galactic Civilizations has ZERO copy protection. So little, the StarForce b*stards decided that they will facilitate it's piracy. (Imagine that, a copy protection firm feeling so threatened by the *LACK* of copy protection they feel the need to spread pirated copies around!)

StarDock's reaction? Piracy happens, always had happened, and always will happen (think about it, piracy was around since before the founding fathers created the US - except it was sheet music and books!). Annoying the legitimate customer leads nowhere. Instead, what StarDock does is provide *new* content and bugfixes to legit customers. You don't need a key to play. All the key gets you is easy access to the extra content and fixes from the online service. But it's completely optional.

I'm starting to like Steam - it's fairly unobtrusive, I can lose the CD without losing my games, it eliminates the need for copy protection, and works offline, too. Sure you can get hacks for it (or just... use an egress firewall), but if it's not affecting me, I'm not going to go through the extra effort.

Re:Additional downloaded content defeats piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16374451)

did you jst call steam unobtrusive? Its crazy insane virus/malware.
Much more so than starforce even...

(they try and provide extra content on steam, so you will like to eat your own dogshit, where starforce is just as is)

Publishers should pirate their own games (2, Interesting)

Astarica (986098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372371)

It is clear piracy is strictly beneficial and helps publishers sell more games and make money. A publisher can outpirate a pirate if they wanted to because all a pirate do is remove whatever anti-piracy stuff a publisher put in, which the publisher can do by just not putting it in in the first place. So if a publisher is to pirate their own games, they'll reap all the benefits of piracy, get a great name from the gaming community, and earn a ton of money.

The reason why this has never been done is because it doesn't work like that. If piracy is always helpful, people would've figured this out by now and pirate their own games. Piracy is almost always strictly harmful to the publisher. The only question is that does your piracy countermeasure costs you even more money than the amount lost to piracy? Clearly if your piracy countermeasure is horrible, it'd turn off legitmate buyers from your game and you'd lose more than you gain. But this case is also hardly universal.

Copy protection is like adverts (4, Insightful)

Campbch (1003122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372549)

They supposedly make YOU more money at the consumer's convenience; the trick is, they have begun to realize that you need to make the consumer WANT to use it, rather than force-feed it to them. Steam is one such example, and while it caught flak in the beginning, it has become a very nice addition and tool for cataloguing mods and distributing third-party games. It even allows crazy indy games like defcon! People are skipping adverts with tivos and other P/DVRs, so it is beneficial to make more interesting commercials. Times change, economic models change, etc. it's just a sign of progress.

The only clear thing is if you steal, you say it's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16372463)



The only clear thing is if you steal, you say it's A GOOD THING. It's people like you that make the penal system so expensive. Don't steal and there wouldn't be a need for DRM. That's the only clear thing. You steal it because you can, and you'd steal anything if you thought you could get away with it. Face it. THAT IS THE TRUTH.

No-CD Cr4kz: How Can You Trust Them? (4, Insightful)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16372727)

First off, it was the computer games industry that invented copy protection. Coming up on thirty years, they've been dealing with it longer than any other segment of the "digital content" industries. They have decided, wrongly or otherwise, that copy protection is a necessary evil. They're completely entrenched, they swim in the Kool-Aid, and no amount of bloviating here is going to change their position.

That said, as much as I detest copy protection, I trust w4r3z k1dd13s even less. Despite being colossal jackasses about it, Blizzard at least has an ethical, commercial, and legal obligation not to fsck up my computer or data. If Blizzard does fsck up my machine, I have legal and social recourse. They have a reputation to protect, and so it is in their interest to deal fairly.

Not so with hackers who remove copy protection and other product defects (or, perhaps more to the point, claim to remove such defects). The guy I'm downloading the modded copy from may be a trustworthy, noble-minded hacker seeking only to improve the game's flexibility and reliability. Or, he could be an a--hole trying to steal my identity, build his botnet and spray spam all over the place, concealing his malware inside the game. Or, he could simply be incompetent and end up crashing my machine very unpleasantly. Either way, I have no way of knowing. There is no "reputation marketplace" (that I'm aware of) where I can feel comfortable or safe obtaining such material.

So unless and until the DMCA is demolished, I'm kinda stuck here. The game publishers will not stop incorporating defects into their products, and no one can build a trustworthy reputation for removing such defects.

Schwab

P.S: It's probably worth prominently acknowledging that Epic Games have been very accommodating with their Unreal Tournament game series. They start out with disc-in-the-drive protection, but it's soon removed in subsequent official patches. One of the friendliest policies out there.

You are Blizzard's bitch (2, Interesting)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373499)

If Blizzard does fsck up my machine, I have legal and social recourse.

Have you ever read World of Warcraft's EULA? THEY have full legal and social recourse AGAINST YOU if you violate ANY of their rules.

no one can build a trustworthy reputation for removing such defects.

Deviance, Fairlight, Hoodlum and Reloaded are all VERY famous/well known inside and outside of PC gaming pirate circles. Razor 1911 is probably the most famous group of them all if only because they were (for a time) completely and utterly shut down after a Department of Justice raid.

Re:No-CD Cr4kz: How Can You Trust Them? (3, Insightful)

UnrefinedLayman (185512) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373535)

The warez scene is a complicated network of people and groups whose rewards are not monetary. The chief reward is recognition and reputation. It seems silly, but how much different is "I work for Google," or "I'm in the Army," from "I'm in RELOADED?"

The primary suppliers of cracks--the big-time groups, like RELOADED--have their reputations on the line with every release they do, and those releases are thoroughly checked by other groups long before they trickle down to you or me. It's a competition between groups that breeds quality; poor quality releases are nuked. There's more information on the topic here [wikipedia.org].

In this sense, trusting these sources of cracks is entirely rational. You're more likely to get a rootkit from, say, Sony or Starforce, than you are from a cracked game. Cracked games are heavily peer reviewed for benefits to the community, while companies do their work under cloak for benefits to themselves. That's one of the reasons it's said that pirates are successful: they produce a better quality product.

The Games I Buy (3)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373075)

I am totally for supporting the PC Gaming industry, that means I purchase games made by publishers that I want to support. I pirate games all the time, they are generally games that I want to use as a time kill but that are not impressive enough for me to shell out fifty bucks for.

I have bought the following games in the last year or so...

Half-Life 2, Oblivion, Rome Total War, Age of Empires 3, Doom 3...

Those are games that I want the developers and publishers to continue making money on. I also make a point in trying to pirate anything that EA releases, because I am a Madden fan (I just like football games, sue me) and I am sick of their fucking bullshit when it comes to releasing unfinished "next-gen" shit. I sure would like a good football game to play on my xBox360, unfortunately, EA has fucked everyone who loves the sport and the sport gaming genre.

So my point was... Support good games... and fuck EA :)

old methods work bettter (2, Interesting)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373171)

Why not go back to the days of looking up phrases in the manual or code wheels. Yep they are a pain in the neck but not nearly as much as having to have the cd in the drive when you would rather listen to music or having contact phone home and starforce type protections bogging down your system. I would have to think that the old school methods were at least as effective as the new ones and a heck of alot cheaper. Print a manual in a low contrast color scheme to make it hard to copy and integrate the protection into the games storyline. Spending millions on methods that actually result in easier pirating makes no sense. At least with the manual lookup you would have to find a way to copy and print out the entire book, today with the current methods all you have to do is download a crack.

Re:old methods work bettter (2, Funny)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373223)

Why not go back to the days of looking up phrases in the manual?

I still remember an engineering application for the Mac which used that approach. Just before shipping the product, they made some change to the manual which forced repagination of some of the later pages. So when the program asked for "the last word on page 20", it would work fine, but if it asked for "the last word on page 250", it would fail. Grrr. Took me weeks to figure out what was wrong, and even longer before the company finally corrected the problem.

Make it worth paying for (5, Insightful)

Xian97 (714198) | more than 7 years ago | (#16373913)

Oblivion, one of the best selling games of the year, shipped with no protection at all. To listen to the copy protection companies you would think that they would have only been able to sell a handful of copies since anyone could rip and copy it in minutes. Instead, within a month over 1.7 million copies were sold (counting the 360 version as well).

There is not a major game that isn't cracked within days of release, if not hours. Protections may stop the casual copier, but they are not even slowing down anyone else. All the protection is doing is inconveniencing the consumer who is unable to easily back up their purchase.

There are always going to be those that won't pay for a product no matter what, but I believe that the majority of people will pay for something that's worth paying for. With the hours I spent playing Oblivion, it was well worth the purchase price, and by not putting invasive DRM on it I am much more inclined to purchase Bethesda software in the future.
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