Activation Bomb

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Here's the fact: a pirate won't buy your game, even if you've created the first truly unbreakable DRM and your game scored a 100 on metacritic, they'll just ignore it and look for the next one.

I was thinking about writing a lot more, but everything I had to say was said already. But here's a quick recap:

1)Pirates will play your(the publisher's) game before those who bought it.
2)DRM is a waste of money, and you're not making the pirates' lifes any harder. Actually, only those who buy the game are being punished by your DRM.
3)Many DRM methdos where broken THOUSANDS of times, and I'm not exagerating.
4)The internet, specially the torrent network, is an eternal repository for your games and for cracks to make them playable, that's why I'm not worried about your servers going down.
5)Publisher's are becoming villains, crackers are becoming heroes.

I guess this pretty much sums the facts. And just to make it clear: I'm against piracy, and the ONLY reason I buy games is to support the developers(and to play, of course).

Come on Shamus, you're phoning this article in this time. You've said all of these things before.

And he needs to keep saying it until people actually start listening and making the responsible choice.

I wonder how this all started..

CEO One: Gah, I'm so annoyed at those pirates, they keep taking that few thousand extra dollars I need to gold plate the rest of my car!

CEO Two: OH MAN! I've got it. Let's put in a hassle filled system that causes legitimate customers even more trouble than pirates! Then the pirates will feel bad that they're missing out on all of that hassle, and buy the game, right?!


Aaaand that is why I have only a very select few Steam games. I figure it'll be at least a few years before Valve either gets bought out, goes under, or butchers Steam to the point where it's no longer a decent alternative to buying hard copy.

But anyway, a good article and excellent points. It would be interesting to see a publisher actually address some of those complaints in a real way. The most obvious would be to just no longer require activation, since pirates will pirate games NO MATTER WHAT (most likely 1 day before retail anyway), and activation really only hurts consumers. Sure, maybe it works with a game that's online only, but I'm positive pirates can figure out a work-around to just the activation bit.

One of the things that SERIOUSLY piss me off about 2K Games and Ubisoft - how can they expect me NOT to pirate their games? Least then I don't have to bother with DRM bullshit.

aye good article.


hamster mk 4:
There is one argument you missed:
No body is going to want to play this game X years from now, and if they do there will probably be a strong enough community that a community made hack will be available. There will be classic games in every generation, those games will find a way to be preserved for the ages. The rest is just chaff people buy and throw away.

X Years?

Remember UT3?

Midway went and took the NA servers down on Xbox (of all things) for UT3. Companies go belly up and get taken over all the time in the gaming business. You might buy a game from a company today that doesn't exist in just a few short months (Halo Wars, Republic Commando, Brute Force).

You know what i would like, instead of reading his articles complaining, him give one good way of curbing piracy. So far his is, dont. When he gives an alternative, i take him for more then a baby who doesnt have his bottle

I'm affraid this goes well beyond simple activation, pirate (arrgg) and the like.
Its about companies trying to push more product. The game industry is unique postion any company is envious of...tell you when you need to upgrade...literally. Ah look out new game came out, and your old one, sorry we don't support that anymore, buy the new one.

What about microtransactions. even for Consoles this is an issue. And not just DLC or silly little extras, but required pay as you play..say an extra service charge to play all Activision games, or all EA games.

The future of the game indusrty is to elimate the one stop hard copy purchases (and used sales), insure they control the life span of a game (3-12 months is likely) and go to pay to play. The only question is how will it be done. With longterm Thoughtful planning for suistainability, or shorterm gouging for a quick buck...hmm which one sounds more like a modern corporate decision.

You forgot the one point:

By the time they go out of business, my computer won't be able to run the game properly anyway. I'll have to wait for GOG or something like that to put out a future compatible version.


Games come and go, mostly, with operating systems. Some of my favorite games, like Wing Commander: Prophecy, simply will not run on current generation hardware, mostly because current generation hardware won't run on Windows 98.

Maybe I should have kept that old P3 machine with the Voodoo 3 card...

And besides, we can always (maybe?) rely on the good old warez community for cracks. I know The Escapist is anti-piracy, but sometimes it's your only option.

You know what i would like, instead of reading his articles complaining, him give one good way of curbing piracy. So far his is, dont. When he gives an alternative, i take him for more then a baby who doesnt have his bottle

Maybe instead of whining yourself, you should read more of his articles, and you might see that he's done just that:

Building a Better Kind of DRM

10 Ways to Fight Piracy

I'm a bit confused. He's talking about games you buy off of web services like Steam and Direct2Drive right? Not games you buy in stores and activate with a disc and code?

He's talking both about games you download that requrie online activation, as well as single player games you buy in stores that then require you to activate online before it will let you play.

Steam/Valve have stated before now that they have a system in place that will free up all the games you have bought in case of this, and they have tested it before now.

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