Impossible (to beat) DRM

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Pirating communities are not made by 5 nerds sitting in front of their PCs. During the 2st week there was a work around for Ubisoft's DRM, which required save games after certain checkpoints. On the second week the communities were flooded by save games from players and crackers - some even organized into tidy lists and databases. on the 3rd week there was a crack with all the save games compiled (but still with a few bugs). Few days ago a crack was released. fully working, among the thousands who already tried it, only a few complains of bugs or crashes.

Should Developers find even more evil DRMs to protect their games? If they want to kill the industry, yes. Should they treat their costumers like thiefs? If they want to kill the industry, yes.

As someone who works on an electronics store, I felt personally the effects of this kind of DRM. The game sold well at first. Then angry customers came back with their games because they were mad they couldn't play it properly. They fell on us, we didn't warn them how the DRM worked. We also couldn't do any refunds. (pc game policy, we only refund console games). The result of all this was a long list of complains on the complains book, a bad image for our store, and a huge red sticker on each assassins creed 2 case, warning about the DRM. We sold 31 copies on the first week. We sold 3 more on the next 4. My boss doesn't want to see any more ubisoft games. They just take up shelf space and cause problems.

zakski:

dogstile:

zakski:

Seldon2639:

[Needs Citation]. Show me the abundance of indie games which get pirated equivalent to the big-label games, and I'll accept I lost the bet. Bear in mind that I'm referring to absolute numbers, not percentages. Show me the indie game with a million downloads off of torrent, and I'll bow out. So, the 92% piracy rate for Ricochet Infinity doesn't mean much. I don't have the total number of players/pirates, but given that it's the 8,484th most popular game on Amazon tells me that its sales are low.

So, find me an indie game which had half the total number of pirated copies as Spore, and I'll back down. Until then, piracy for indie games is less of a problem because fewer people play them anyway...

Or it is a big problem, and the earlier poster's comments about the developers not caring and not having as much of a problem is false, and pirates are bastards even to those companies who attempt to not screw people with DRM.

Kind of says something, that Richochet Infinity (without DRM) had a piracy rate above 90%, doesn't it? Something in the neck of the woods of "pirates are greedy bastards, rather than people who don't like DRM", eh?

Oh, and you really like making statements of fact without any basis in reality, don't you?

World of Goo

Can somebody please get a different game for people to bring up. ONE GAME DOES NOT EQUAL EVERY GAME. PERIOD. END OF. OVER.

You sit. He asked for one game, one indie game that was pirated in comparable numbers to spore. The fact that said game does not appeal to you or that you are sick of hearing about it does not matter to him. Also its a given that, one game != every game for games > 1, so unless you have only recently got a computer that can play more than just pong, stop trolling and posting inflammatory statements on an already hot topic.

As for m_jim's statement, I believe mr.Delusibeta is mostly correct, no.2 seems a bit too simplified, but then again without looking at the code they used I can't really comment in any detail.

Trolling? You think that was trolling? If I was trolling I would have insulted you. Stop being all high and mighty over this. I'm just annoyed because everyone says world of goo. That was one game. Its annoying as hell that one game gets quoted all the time for a certain subject because it makes the whole argument seem silly if everyone only has one source.

Me, trolling, pah. As much of an idiot and big headed git it makes me seem like, look at my post count or my recent posts and decide if i'm likely a troll or just trying to get people to bring up different points than age old ones.

dogstile:

zakski:

You sit. He asked for one game, one indie game that was pirated in comparable numbers to spore. The fact that said game does not appeal to you or that you are sick of hearing about it does not matter to him. Also its a given that, one game != every game for games > 1, so unless you have only recently got a computer that can play more than just pong, stop trolling and posting inflammatory statements on an already hot topic.

Trolling? You think that was trolling? If I was trolling I would have insulted you. Stop being all high and mighty over this. I'm just annoyed because everyone says world of goo. That was one game. Its annoying as hell that one game gets quoted all the time for a certain subject because it makes the whole argument seem silly if everyone only has one source.

Me, trolling, pah. As much of an idiot and big headed git it makes me seem like, look at my post count or my recent posts and decide if i'm likely a troll or just trying to get people to bring up different points than age old ones.

Firstly post count doesn't matter, I lurk alot, since '08 in facty.

Secondly I was rather aggressively pointing out that just because your "annoyed because everyone says world of goo"; the person I was original replying to seemed to have not heard of it (which in itself is criminal).

If you had wanted me to bring up a different heavily pirated indie game; you could probably do a lot better than an all CAPS LOCK rage blast, just asking would have worked - Thats why I would call you a troll.

zakski:

dogstile:

zakski:

You sit. He asked for one game, one indie game that was pirated in comparable numbers to spore. The fact that said game does not appeal to you or that you are sick of hearing about it does not matter to him. Also its a given that, one game != every game for games > 1, so unless you have only recently got a computer that can play more than just pong, stop trolling and posting inflammatory statements on an already hot topic.

Trolling? You think that was trolling? If I was trolling I would have insulted you. Stop being all high and mighty over this. I'm just annoyed because everyone says world of goo. That was one game. Its annoying as hell that one game gets quoted all the time for a certain subject because it makes the whole argument seem silly if everyone only has one source.

Me, trolling, pah. As much of an idiot and big headed git it makes me seem like, look at my post count or my recent posts and decide if i'm likely a troll or just trying to get people to bring up different points than age old ones.

Firstly post count doesn't matter, I lurk alot, since '08 in facty.

Secondly I was rather aggressively pointing out that just because your "annoyed because everyone says world of goo"; the person I was original replying to seemed to have not heard of it (which in itself is criminal).

If you had wanted me to bring up a different heavily pirated indie game; you could probably do a lot better than an all CAPS LOCK rage blast, just asking would have worked - Thats why I would call you a troll.

I lurked since 08 too, i'm just saying, the way I determine if someones a troll or just ticked off is post count or recent posts.

The caps lock thing, I do that to draw attention. Think a sign with big flashing letters and me jumping around pointing at it while the rest of the writings in smaller print behind it. Thats roughly what I use caps for. And since when did using caps make people trolls? Seriously?

Also, if you're going to comment on a sentence, you can at least comment on all of it. "look at my post count or my recent posts"

dogstile:

I lurked since 08 too, i'm just saying, the way I determine if someones a troll or just ticked off is post count or recent posts.

The caps lock thing, I do that to draw attention. Think a sign with big flashing letters and me jumping around pointing at it while the rest of the writings in smaller print behind it. Thats roughly what I use caps for. And since when did using caps make people trolls? Seriously?

Also, if you're going to comment on a sentence, you can at least comment on all of it. "look at my post count or my recent posts"

recent posts are a little skewed due the fact by now at least two of them are replies to me, two are about being plastered and one is about first kisses. not the best threads to judge someone on, so I left them out of my last post on the basis of not enough viable information.

Its not caps itself, but excessive cap usage and the fact it was more of a rant. Also this http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/6408927/Internet-rules-and-laws-the-top-10-from-Godwin-to-Poe.html no. 10 on the list

Anywhoo I hate DRM because it drives up game prices

zakski:

dogstile:

I lurked since 08 too, i'm just saying, the way I determine if someones a troll or just ticked off is post count or recent posts.

The caps lock thing, I do that to draw attention. Think a sign with big flashing letters and me jumping around pointing at it while the rest of the writings in smaller print behind it. Thats roughly what I use caps for. And since when did using caps make people trolls? Seriously?

Also, if you're going to comment on a sentence, you can at least comment on all of it. "look at my post count or my recent posts"

recent posts are a little skewed due the fact by now at least two of them are replies to me, two are about being plastered and one is about first kisses. not the best threads to judge someone on, so I left them out of my last post on the basis of not enough viable information.

Its not caps itself, but excessive cap usage and the fact it was more of a rant. Also this http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/6408927/Internet-rules-and-laws-the-top-10-from-Godwin-to-Poe.html no. 10 on the list

Anywhoo I hate DRM because it drives up game prices

I know the rules, college ensures I read those daily. I don't really care, It has the effect I am after most of the time anyway. That's what counts right? :P

That DRM is awefully skewed and misinformed don't cha think? (Will not respond anymore, argument dead, 2am, me sleepy.)

Cynical skeptic:

m_jim:
When you talk about the indie developers, that brings me back to the sad example set by World of Goo. The wonderful, creative little game was released by a small studio with no DRM on a "pay what you want" basis. It was a remarkable show of good faith toward the gaming community. The result? Piracy rates over 90% and the company has to file for bankruptcy.

If anything, small independent studios have more to lose from piracy because one failed game can mean the end.

You know whats funny about everyone with their ass in the air about the war crimes against 2D boy? They came to that conclusion by comparing sales to connections to the online leaderboard thing. The actual percentage was 82%. around 300-400 thousand people connected to the online leaderboard... thing. Which means 2D boy made between 1.35 and 1.8 million dollars off world of goo. A game that was developed primarily as entry into a contest (tower of goo) which it won.

Whats even better, is if you ever cite a small independent venture praising piracy, "oh well thats just one isolated incident."

So it's not that bad because piracy rates were only 80% rather than 90%? I'm sure that makes them sleep better at night. Incidentally, I tried to follow your link because I was curious what was the argument for piracy. I got this message...

RLSLOG.net was suspended by its German hosting company after removal request from law firm representing Universal Music, although we never hosted any files or copyrighted data on our server. Our site is strictly informative.

We are currently looking for new home.

Obviously, not everyone is thrilled with piracy.

I agree with 99% of this article. BUT I have one big issue, PC is not the smallest platform at all, in fact I would go as far as to say that it still holds its title as largest platform. Yes, it does not match the sale for crappy xbox and ps3 ports, but I have watched upwards of 30 game stores go out of business when they bought into the concept of PC being "the smallest platform". PC gamers have more money and time to dedicate to games, and I would bet that more games are still being sold on PC than any platform.

PC is the largest platform and games such as WoW, Half-Life, Battlefield, UO, and many more show that PC is the largest platform, but we have much higher standards than half-assed consoles do. We want our cake, and we will eat it too. Start making computer games again, and we will see which platform is bigger.

Also, what are you reading this article with?

m_jim:
-snip-

A: if you're not going to read a post, why respond? My point, as it was detailed in the post you failed to read, was an isolated incident of piracy figures of an obscure game who's only real profile was the fact some group "released" the DRMless installer as if they did something to it is being touted as irrefutable proof that 90%-99.999999999% (depending on how telephoned the link is) of PC users are pirates that never buy a single piece of software. You know, and 2D boy still made a fucking ton of money off a genius little game, and the 99.9999999999999999999999999999999% piracy rate accounts for exactly zero lost income.

B: heres a google cache of the fucking link. The fact site was taken down at all is hilarious, as it was little more than a blog.

While I usually disagree with your articles, Mr. Young, you do bring up a very good point about lost sales.

If every download was a lost sale, then a piracy-proof game should have somewhere in the ballpark of ten times the usual sales. Assassins Creed 2 should be burning up the PC sales charts, dwarfing the sales numbers for its predecessor. Looking around at the sales charts on VGChartz, it would appear that this is not the case.

I wonder if Ubisoft will look at the data they have from Assassins Creed II, and say to themselves that making their game pirate-proof was not worth the investment it took to develop, implement and maintain.

And now we have Assassins Creed 2, a game which blurs the line between MMO and single player.

I stopped reading right here.

But I dont mind Ubis DRM, they want to protect their product.

In my country consoles were never a big thing until recently, so all my friends plus me own a PC. I'm really sad that PC gaming became the joke that it is now. The last beacon of hope in the fog of despair is steam and Valve who still support the pc for some reason. Also, I want to give a shout out to Illusion Softworks(now 2k Czech) for making PC the "lead platform". Hopefully it won't be like GTAIV PC was in 08, I mean it runs fine on today's computers but it was pretty shitty back then.

The fact that there's this huge argument about how peopling taking something that requires money, but they haven't payed for, "isn't exactly stealing" in the comments is entirely my point.

"oh but the game sucks", "I don't have the money", "I don't live in the right country"...frankly that doesn't matter. These are excuses you make so you can steal/pirate without feeling as guilty as you should.

Back in the day (early 80's era) there was no DRM, they passed their games out on floppies or sold them at local stores. Once people started having their goods and intellectual property stolen, they tried to protect it. So the developers are and always have been on the defensive to protect their property.

Gamers threw the first punch and continue to escalate their aggression towards developers while in the same breath say that they are the victims.

Blows my mind, the gaming community needs to get their head on straight.

Theft is theft.
Period.

If the Romans must burn down Rome to stop its sacking, then so be it, but lets not pretend that the Romans (Game Industry) are the villains here.

They have a product, an expensive to make product, that they choose to sell at whatever price they set. The consumer, has the power to decide if it is worth playing (BUYING). If it is not, then the consumer does not buy it and the company makes decisions about lowering prices, etc.

Instead we have a culture of "I'm going to steal it because by some twisted logic I deserve to play it for free, everyone else is stealing it, and its easily accessible.. oh and they don't WANT me to steal it so it makes it even better to steal it."

People who pirate games are not innocent, and in fact, are mostly responsible for DRM. If people didn't pirate, DRM would not be needed. In fact, the cost of games would probably be much lower, by argument.

But alas, there is no honor in the digital age. And so we will have increasing levels of DRM and anti-pirate technology until they finally find a formula that works, no matter how inconvenient. Of course, then people will say "Well I just won't buy or play video games then" but essentially, what they are saying is "If I can't have it free, I don't want it", which is what they should have been saying all along BEFORE they decided to hit the "torrentz".

Stop STEALING.
It hurts everyone in the end.

When my internet randomly drops out and I can't play MW2 on the 360 or TF2 on the PC with my friends, I always think "at least I can play some single player, or play other Orange Box games." If this kind of system was put in place for every game, that would not be possible.

Are there any Assassins Creed fans that don't have internet?

Does the system for AC2 ever lag because of the DRM system?

Shooree:
-snip-

I've gamed long enough to know exactly where you're coming from about the quality (or lack thereof) of newer games. Part of the reason boxed games are becoming extinct is because of online distribution. The other part is, as you said, the fact that most boxes aren't worth the paper they're printed on and the contents aren't much better. There really aren't a lot of gamers that were around long enough to remember the golden days and whenever one of us tries to lament on them, we largely get ignored.

I used to try to make the argument about actual game quality but the majority of people think mediocre shooters like Halo are the gold standard by which games should be measured. They'll never understand quality games because they'll likely never be able to tolerate the poor graphics, sound and often awkward interfaces of older games long enough to even begin to grasp what made them great. Actually, the biggest barrier is probably the difficulty of the games since most modern games are all set to extreme EZ mode.

It saddens me that, with only one exception, all of the games I use for measuring bars to test the quality of modern games are all from the late '90s or earlier. The exception being the measuring bar for graphics, since that's the only thing to really improve in the past 10 years. The game I use for measuring online games (specifically MMOs) is a long dead game that maybe only a few hundred people even know about. It was a free game written (in Visual Basic 5) by a single person in his spare time. The game didn't have any revolutionary combat system or anything like that. What it did have was the ability for the game world to change on the fly (map edits that could be taken live at any moment; meaning that there could be something new not only any day but any minute) and a guild system that I've yet to see matched in any other game.

Normally, I'd go more in-depth about what is missing from modern games but my dinner is getting cold and this is a bit off topic anyways.

One last note, it's nice to hear someone found our conversation interesting, thanks.

I liked the DRM for Arkham Asylum, where when anyone complained about certain oddities, the only responce they'd get is "go buy a legal copy."

Why I do believe this article is a tank of gasoline directly to a hot fire. Seriously, everyone hates Ubi and this DRM and they are just going to bemoan it some more.

On the plus side, this supports my assertion that the only fool-proof DRM is to stop making games. My personal observations have told me that all gamers are assholes and so I support the ending-the-game-industry DRM. (Yes, I hate pirates that much).

fix-the-spade:
Fine, but there's an elephant in the room.

That assumes hackers are just a bunch of amateurs sitting at home doing it for fun/the challenge/som perverse sense of duty. That there is no money to be made selling advertising space on sites mirroring cracked games.

If 90% of PC players really are pirates, that's tens of millions of hits every time a new game comes out, that's a lot of bandwidth and potentially a lot of money. As in more than enough to be cracking games professionally.

I sincerely think that not matter how dumb, complicated or plain intrusive DRM gets there will be people sat down coding the crack however long it takes, there's money to be made.

The crackers don't really have public sites. And the torrent sites and so on use the income from advertising to pay for server hosting and bandwith for the servers.

BUT, that some, or most of the people doing the cracking are professional coders is in my opinion not only possible, it is probable. The skills and knowledge needed to reverse-engineer and/or catch every nuance of a program as vast and complex as a modern game is not something everyone has the ability to do.

So again, I'm pretty damn sure it's mostly for the challenge, secondly for the "screw you" factor and not for the money.

HyenaThePirate:
Theft is theft.
Period.

If the Romans must burn down Rome to stop its sacking, then so be it, but lets not pretend that the Romans (Game Industry) are the villains here.

They have a product, an expensive to make product, that they choose to sell at whatever price they set. The consumer, has the power to decide if it is worth playing (BUYING). If it is not, then the consumer does not buy it and the company makes decisions about lowering prices, etc.

Instead we have a culture of "I'm going to steal it because by some twisted logic I deserve to play it for free, everyone else is stealing it, and its easily accessible.. oh and they don't WANT me to steal it so it makes it even better to steal it."

People who pirate games are not innocent, and in fact, are mostly responsible for DRM. If people didn't pirate, DRM would not be needed. In fact, the cost of games would probably be much lower, by argument.

But alas, there is no honor in the digital age. And so we will have increasing levels of DRM and anti-pirate technology until they finally find a formula that works, no matter how inconvenient. Of course, then people will say "Well I just won't buy or play video games then" but essentially, what they are saying is "If I can't have it free, I don't want it", which is what they should have been saying all along BEFORE they decided to hit the "torrentz".

Stop STEALING.
It hurts everyone in the end.

Yes, I see what you mean, and I moslty agree. Except on one point. The romans (as you called then) have tried burning down Rome several time now, but it seems the attackers are using firerepelants or something, cause it's just not working. So maybe they should try covering Rome in chocolate-chip cookies or other incentives instead? Get the carrot instead of the whip as it were? Start using DLC for more than just what it is today? maybe as an incentive for people to actually buy the game instead?

Figure #1: Splinter Cell Chaos Theory. This game's protection (the infamous StarForce) lasted for at least a year, if not two. That's as solid as it gets in terms of copy protection. Has the game sold 10 x as many copies? No.

The point is, why bother with copy protection at all?

Arkham Asylum has used some protection which halted the player's progress. So? It was re-cracked a few hours after this was discovered.

How many copies did the protection scheme helped sell? Has it earned more than what the protection cost in coding it? Hardly.

So again, why bother?

Well OK, let's pretend that 'perfect' copy protection with server-side code is possible to do. There are two possibilities for such a scheme:
1) The protection is custom-coded for each title. It must be very well coded and thoroughly beta-tested (=expensive) and still it's to be expected that paying customers will have shiploads of problems.
2) The protection is made once and only slightly tweaked for various titles. Soon enough, it will be well known to crackers and with each new game, it will be easier to crack it.

And as is usually the case, paying customers will have problems, not the pirates.

The Russians need to have a go at creating a Crack-Impossible DRM. They're bastards when it comes to protection systems.

HyenaThePirate:
Theft is theft.
Period.

If the Romans must burn down Rome to stop its sacking, then so be it, but lets not pretend that the Romans (Game Industry) are the villains here.

They have a product, an expensive to make product, that they choose to sell at whatever price they set. The consumer, has the power to decide if it is worth playing (BUYING). If it is not, then the consumer does not buy it and the company makes decisions about lowering prices, etc.

Instead we have a culture of "I'm going to steal it because by some twisted logic I deserve to play it for free, everyone else is stealing it, and its easily accessible.. oh and they don't WANT me to steal it so it makes it even better to steal it."

People who pirate games are not innocent, and in fact, are mostly responsible for DRM. If people didn't pirate, DRM would not be needed. In fact, the cost of games would probably be much lower, by argument.

But alas, there is no honor in the digital age. And so we will have increasing levels of DRM and anti-pirate technology until they finally find a formula that works, no matter how inconvenient. Of course, then people will say "Well I just won't buy or play video games then" but essentially, what they are saying is "If I can't have it free, I don't want it", which is what they should have been saying all along BEFORE they decided to hit the "torrentz".

Stop STEALING.
It hurts everyone in the end.

Quoted For Truth.

HuntrRose:

Yes, I see what you mean, and I moslty agree. Except on one point. The romans (as you called then) have tried burning down Rome several time now, but it seems the attackers are using firerepelants or something, cause it's just not working. So maybe they should try covering Rome in chocolate-chip cookies or other incentives instead? Get the carrot instead of the whip as it were? Start using DLC for more than just what it is today? maybe as an incentive for people to actually buy the game instead?

So essentially, what you are advocating is that the industry adopt a policy of "Rewarding bad behavior".. In essence, they should stop trying to protect their product from piracy and instead concentrate on incentivizing purchases?

Other than the fact that it pretty much requires the companies to go the extra inch to convince people to play a product they already obviously want to play since they have no problem stealing it (it's not like anyone pirates sucky games), but essentially the entire theory of "Let the pirates have their way, the people who want to pay will pay" is flawed from the very start. Why? Because of two simple words:

HUMAN
NATURE

Nobody is going to pay for something they can get for free. Why should they, unless there are severe repercussions for stealing? If you have two wells, one with regular, everyday water for free, and a well with purified spring water that you sell at a dollar a bottle, which do you think people will opt for by a majority? Sure, you may sell a good many bottles of the pure water, but ultimately, by nature, most people are just going to go for the free water provided its not contaminated... simply because it is FREE.

You can offer a free booth babe with every purchase and you will still have large portions of the gaming populace downloading away if you remove all DRM or anti-pirate measures.

What needs to be combated however is not necessarily the ABILITY to pirate, but the MENTALITY that piracy is acceptable behavior. Ever wonder why those somali pirates keep risking life and limb to hijack corporate ocean vessels? Because the payoff is much too tempting to ignore.. some of those companies have paid ransoms in the millions of dollars to secure their vessels back. Yet, one nation does not suffer its ships being hijacked with frequency... China. Why? Because they have an absolute zero tolerance for piracy and retaliate with overwhelming, unforgiving force. Which do you suppose is the greater deterrent?

In order for gaming companies to stop piracy they need to find out a way to discourage people from the practice of it to begin with. Part of that might be re-accessing their pricing structure, part of it might be adding benefits and incentives for players to purchase their titles, and part of it might be out and out draconian protective measures. Its the ultimate "Tower Defense" game for them, but as this article points out, the time, money, and resources are decidedly on their side. Sooner or later they will figure out the perfect formula and bring Piracy to its proverbial knees.

What Arkham Asylum did was a step in the right direction, what Assassin's creed did was way to the extreme, but in between the two lies the Holy Grail of anti-pirate protection and in the increasing arms race between Industry and Pirates, I believe the Industry is on the doorstep to a total, final solution.

Of course, how much damage it does to us, the gamers who purchase our games legally and honestly will suffer in the process, but I don't blame the industry... I put ALL blame squarely where it belongs: at the feet of the pirates and pirate "apologists" who make excuses for people stealing. It is THEY who force the hand of the industry and cause the rest of us to endure the issues we've had with DRM.

Cure my ignorance please!!

AC2 sold over 7 million copies on consoles.... I would guess that site the escapist guy linked was for new game sales, so that's about 420 million $ if $60 x's 7mil are the right numbers. The game cost less than that to make, drms' price to be made isn't crazy, is it? The site also said 0.0 people bought it for PC. PC release was much later than console release, and it took 6 weeks for hackers to allow pirates free reign on the game.

Please be patient with me, as I have no problem w/ drm since I have a stable internet connection. This is about those who don't can't connect to the internet, not being allowed to play games on a P.C. right? The majority of games released take longer to show up on P.C. if they are made for consoles, right? I would guess console sales are enough for a company to make profit, this is about P.C. gamers pirating games.

Why is DRM bad except for legit consumers that don't have internet connections? This seems silly to me. I know most of you hate me already for these words, but please try to respond w/ a bit of respect, as that might make me less ignorant to your stance. Shouldn't having an internet connection be mandatory for the current generation of gamers??

on topic(in case you skip article and go straight to the comments): fuck whatcha hurd(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3KoUvx-4Pc&feature=related), because the DRM has been fully breached.

PC Gamers and Pirates are killing the PC gaming industry, no one else.

HyenaThePirate:
[snip]
What Arkham Asylum did was a step in the right direction, what Assassin's creed did was way to the extreme, but in between the two lies the Holy Grail of anti-pirate protection and in the increasing arms race between Industry and Pirates, I believe the Industry is on the doorstep to a total, final solution.

Of course, how much damage it does to us, the gamers who purchase our games legally and honestly will suffer in the process, but I don't blame the industry... I put ALL blame squarely where it belongs: at the feet of the pirates and pirate "apologists" who make excuses for people stealing. It is THEY who force the hand of the industry and cause the rest of us to endure the issues we've had with DRM.

Not sure what makes you think the industry is onto something with a hypothetical moderate anti-piracy mechanism. The subculture will always be a problem. I don't think it'll stop growing either. Corporations are made of people who make fallible products, and there will always be more people on the outside beating down the protection measures. It's easier to tear something down than to build it up.

In any case, I don't mean to come out in favor of the act of stealing games. But if piracy were to go away tomorrow the industry wouldn't stop overpricing games or installing DRMs. Piracy is a necessary evil that safeguards even legitimate gamers from the excesses of the big corporations. Nobody's all bad, but nobody is incapable of wrongdoing either.

fix-the-spade:
Fine, but there's an elephant in the room.

That assumes hackers are just a bunch of amateurs sitting at home doing it for fun/the challenge/som perverse sense of duty. That there is no money to be made selling advertising space on sites mirroring cracked games.

If 90% of PC players really are pirates, that's tens of millions of hits every time a new game comes out, that's a lot of bandwidth and potentially a lot of money. As in more than enough to be cracking games professionally.

I sincerely think that not matter how dumb, complicated or plain intrusive DRM gets there will be people sat down coding the crack however long it takes, there's money to be made.

It has nothing to do with the perception (or indeed the assumption) that people actually doing the cracking are amatures (other than the simple fact that they may not actually be paid to make these cracks which would indeed qualify them as an amature no matter their skill level). It is a question of making the process of cracking time consuming.

It works the same way in other fields, such as any nation's intelligence community. Secrets are generally only important for a limited period of time. Knowing where a military unit will be in a week loses all value the moment they arrive. In a community where frighteningly skilled professionals with nearly unlimited resources work day and night in an attempt to uncover any of a number of secrets, keeping something secret forever is just shy of impossible, so instead they just do their best to ensure it takes as long as possible to uncover.

Take encryption for example - without the proper information, most forms of encryption can be reversed with a relatively simple mathematical process and a LOT of brute force. Very strong encryption ensures that so long as the collector does not have access to those critical bits of information the decryption process takes a very long time to run on very powerful computers. While I will admit that there often turn out to be better ways around the problem, it often takes years of work by very clever people to work out.

Almost all the sales a game is ever going to make take place in the first month of it's release - keeping DRM working for even this span of time is a major victory, especially when you consider just how quickly DRM is generally cracked. The longer you keep a game uncracked, the greater the potential number of would be pirates that will break down and buy the game (or so the logic goes).

That said, while I agree that effective DRM is possible, agressive DRM in any form has often ensured I have problems simply running a game I legally purchased. For example, there was a time where I could not play any game that utalized starforce DRM technology. After two attempts where I purchased a product I was unable to enjoy, I gave up buying games that used the technology altogether.

Riven Armor:
But if piracy were to go away tomorrow the industry wouldn't stop overpricing games or installing DRMs. Piracy is a necessary evil that safeguards even legitimate gamers from the excesses of the big corporations.

No, piracy is not a necessary safeguard. That safeguard is the market itself. Piracy does not serve a good any greater than the desire people have to enjoy a product without paying for it. They can have any number of excuses for their activity but at the end of the day this is not a heroic act worthy of Robin Hood or somesuch. You want to send a message to a company? Don't buy their product. Don't play their product. Don't talk about their product. All piracy demonstrates to the people investing millions in these products is that there are untold numbers of people who are willing to play a game but not willing to pay for it. This is where the assumption that piracy results in lost sales lies. After all, if someone desperately wants to play these games, if no cracked version materializes at least some portion of the pirate population would almost certainly purchase it.

Using the excuse that piracy acts as a check against offensive DRM results in nothing more than the escalation we've seen. If people weren't pirating games, DRM would not be an issue. People pirate games and thus DRM was introduced. Pirates continued their nefarious activity and the strength of the DRM increased.

The bottom line is simple: the actions of pirates is in no way helpful to the industry. It is they who ensure the steady escalation of the DRM race. They perpetuate it, and claim to do so in order to stop it. The pirates are the villians here in every sense, because it is their action that forces the "evil corporation" to apply increasingly stern measures to protect a property that took hundreds of man years and millions of dollars to develop.

Eclectic Dreck:

Riven Armor:
But if piracy were to go away tomorrow the industry wouldn't stop overpricing games or installing DRMs. Piracy is a necessary evil that safeguards even legitimate gamers from the excesses of the big corporations.

No, piracy is not a necessary safeguard. That safeguard is the market itself. Piracy does not serve a good any greater than the desire people have to enjoy a product without paying for it. They can have any number of excuses for their activity but at the end of the day this is not a heroic act worthy of Robin Hood or somesuch. You want to send a message to a company? Don't buy their product. Don't play their product. Don't talk about their product. All piracy demonstrates to the people investing millions in these products is that there are untold numbers of people who are willing to play a game but not willing to pay for it. This is where the assumption that piracy results in lost sales lies. After all, if someone desperately wants to play these games, if no cracked version materializes at least some portion of the pirate population would almost certainly purchase it.

Piracy is not heroic, yes, at the very least because it serves the tendency of the consumer base to have their cake and eat it too (stick it to the company but enjoy the game regardless), but what I did not mention in my other post was that it helps the legitimate consumer in their particular quest to enjoy the game without having to deal with the infantile protests of the industry. For example, if I wanted to get the PC AC2 (I do not), I would buy it and install the crack. Also, if I want to play BFME2 without the CD (I have the legal copy), I swap in the cracked launcher.

I'll admit that if I really wanted the games industry to quit this garbage I'd boycott the game, but frankly I don't think that behavior will have an effect in this day and age.

Using the excuse that piracy acts as a check against offensive DRM results in nothing more than the escalation we've seen. If people weren't pirating games, DRM would not be an issue. People pirate games and thus DRM was introduced. Pirates continued their nefarious activity and the strength of the DRM increased.

Do you believe that the DRM we see today would disappear if piracy ceased to be an issue? I disagree.

The bottom line is simple: the actions of pirates is in no way helpful to the industry. It is they who ensure the steady escalation of the DRM race. They perpetuate it, and claim to do so in order to stop it. The pirates are the villians here in every sense, because it is their action that forces the "evil corporation" to apply increasingly stern measures to protect a property that took hundreds of man years and millions of dollars to develop.

I'll admit that. The pirates are, well, pirates. They can be helpful though.

Unfortunately, because the pirates managed to make the game "playable except for certain content" early on, I imagine most pirates were quite content to play this reduced version of the game in the meanwhile, so the actual impact on sales is going to be that much harder to find.

Regarding the idea of the impossible (to beat) DRM, we're probably going to end up cloud gaming in the long run. Cloud gaming meaning you play through a gaming portal that does not actually allow you to store a copy of the game on your computer - think gaming via remote control. Probably to the extent that they won't even trust the client to store a byte of memory related to the game, instead they get to play via a streaming video of the game.

Riven Armor:

HyenaThePirate:
[snip]
What Arkham Asylum did was a step in the right direction, what Assassin's creed did was way to the extreme, but in between the two lies the Holy Grail of anti-pirate protection and in the increasing arms race between Industry and Pirates, I believe the Industry is on the doorstep to a total, final solution.

Of course, how much damage it does to us, the gamers who purchase our games legally and honestly will suffer in the process, but I don't blame the industry... I put ALL blame squarely where it belongs: at the feet of the pirates and pirate "apologists" who make excuses for people stealing. It is THEY who force the hand of the industry and cause the rest of us to endure the issues we've had with DRM.

Not sure what makes you think the industry is onto something with a hypothetical moderate anti-piracy mechanism. The subculture will always be a problem. I don't think it'll stop growing either. Corporations are made of people who make fallible products, and there will always be more people on the outside beating down the protection measures. It's easier to tear something down than to build it up.

In any case, I don't mean to come out in favor of the act of stealing games. But if piracy were to go away tomorrow the industry wouldn't stop overpricing games or installing DRMs. Piracy is a necessary evil that safeguards even legitimate gamers from the excesses of the big corporations. Nobody's all bad, but nobody is incapable of wrongdoing either.

I don't buy any of that... it is the video game equivalent of stockholmes syndrome. Essentially here is your example:

bandits keep raiding your town, so the town council hires body guards. The Bandit raids slow for a bit and the bandits realize they need to find a way to deal with the bodyguards.. so they enlist mercenaries to their "cause". The raiding increases more than before, because with the added mercenaries, the bandits can plunder faster and more efficiently than before. The town decides that the best option is to hire trained gladiators to deal with the mercenarie/bandit coalition. For a time, raiding decreases and the bandits are unable to act with impunity. To deal with the gladiators, the Bandits and Mercenaries beseech the aid of Ninjas. The Ninjas bring with them motorcycles. The motorcycles are cheap and in easy supply so it makes raiding more widespread and easier to do. The addition of ninja masks make banditing anonymous so less bandits are brought to justice. Soon, people in the town discover that motorcycles are cheap to buy and masks keep their identity secret so some of them decide to become bandits as well, due to the fact that in order to hire the bodyguards and gladiators the town had to "raise taxes". The raiding and plundering increases exponentially, spreading like wild fire. Now the town can barely afford to grow it's crops which the bandits want.
So the Town builds a giant wall, and requires identification to pass through the gates, all at great cost, which they are able to afford because the quality of their crops has increased with better farming technology. However the bandit/ninjas quickly discover how to counterfeit the identification required by the town's guards and are able to plunder by tossing the goods over the wall.
The Town having no choice, begins a policy that outlaws all motorcycles and ninja masks.
Everyone who loves motorcycles complains. The Bandits complain and begin raiding more in protest, declaring themselves the victim of an oppressive town that seeks to stifle their love of ninja masks, motorcycles, and crops.

and thus you have an analogy that I believe fits the situation perfectly, and points out, correctly, that pirates (like the ninja mask wearing, motorcycle loving Bandits) are NOT victims in this situation. They are the bad guys. You can not blame the Town for taking increasingly extreme measures to deal with the Bandits.

Piracy EXPLODED when pc's became affordable to the absolute mainstream, when hard drive technology exploded, and when broadband speed became a staple of nearly all serious internet users. Piracy became an issue when 10 year olds discovered how easy it was to torrent and when cracking groups made cracks easier and easier for the layman to use.

Thing is, the gaming industry will be just fine in the end, even if they DO go to the extreme with DRM... because sooner or later, people will get USED to it, they always do. Legitimate game owners and people who pay for their games aren't going to suddenly STOP buying games and go back to playing board games. If anything will suffer, perhaps it will be PC gaming, but with consoles increasingly blurring the line, gamers will be able to avoid a large portion of trouble by simply buying a console.

So essentially, if you love PC gaming, if it is your platform of choice, you have a vested interest in BUYING pc games and supporting those companies, while condemning piracy in all its forms. Because otherwise, the only two choices you will soon have are draconian DRM practices.. or the complete death of PC gaming entirely.
You choose.

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: Impossible (to beat) DRM

Congratulations, Ubisoft, on making DRM so awful that it might eventually work.

Read Full Article

Excellent article.

HyenaThePirate:

Riven Armor:

HyenaThePirate:
[snip]
What Arkham Asylum did was a step in the right direction, what Assassin's creed did was way to the extreme, but in between the two lies the Holy Grail of anti-pirate protection and in the increasing arms race between Industry and Pirates, I believe the Industry is on the doorstep to a total, final solution.

Of course, how much damage it does to us, the gamers who purchase our games legally and honestly will suffer in the process, but I don't blame the industry... I put ALL blame squarely where it belongs: at the feet of the pirates and pirate "apologists" who make excuses for people stealing. It is THEY who force the hand of the industry and cause the rest of us to endure the issues we've had with DRM.

Not sure what makes you think the industry is onto something with a hypothetical moderate anti-piracy mechanism. The subculture will always be a problem. I don't think it'll stop growing either. Corporations are made of people who make fallible products, and there will always be more people on the outside beating down the protection measures. It's easier to tear something down than to build it up.

In any case, I don't mean to come out in favor of the act of stealing games. But if piracy were to go away tomorrow the industry wouldn't stop overpricing games or installing DRMs. Piracy is a necessary evil that safeguards even legitimate gamers from the excesses of the big corporations. Nobody's all bad, but nobody is incapable of wrongdoing either.

I don't buy any of that... it is the video game equivalent of stockholmes syndrome. Essentially here is your example:

bandits keep raiding your town, so the town council hires body guards. The Bandit raids slow for a bit and the bandits realize they need to find a way to deal with the bodyguards.. so they enlist mercenaries to their "cause". The raiding increases more than before, because with the added mercenaries, the bandits can plunder faster and more efficiently than before. The town decides that the best option is to hire trained gladiators to deal with the mercenarie/bandit coalition. For a time, raiding decreases and the bandits are unable to act with impunity. To deal with the gladiators, the Bandits and Mercenaries beseech the aid of Ninjas. The Ninjas bring with them motorcycles. The motorcycles are cheap and in easy supply so it makes raiding more widespread and easier to do. The addition of ninja masks make banditing anonymous so less bandits are brought to justice. Soon, people in the town discover that motorcycles are cheap to buy and masks keep their identity secret so some of them decide to become bandits as well, due to the fact that in order to hire the bodyguards and gladiators the town had to "raise taxes". The raiding and plundering increases exponentially, spreading like wild fire. Now the town can barely afford to grow it's crops which the bandits want.
So the Town builds a giant wall, and requires identification to pass through the gates, all at great cost, which they are able to afford because the quality of their crops has increased with better farming technology. However the bandit/ninjas quickly discover how to counterfeit the identification required by the town's guards and are able to plunder by tossing the goods over the wall.
The Town having no choice, begins a policy that outlaws all motorcycles and ninja masks.
Everyone who loves motorcycles complains. The Bandits complain and begin raiding more in protest, declaring themselves the victim of an oppressive town that seeks to stifle their love of ninja masks, motorcycles, and crops.

and thus you have an analogy that I believe fits the situation perfectly, and points out, correctly, that pirates (like the ninja mask wearing, motorcycle loving Bandits) are NOT victims in this situation. They are the bad guys. You can not blame the Town for taking increasingly extreme measures to deal with the Bandits.

Piracy EXPLODED when pc's became affordable to the absolute mainstream, when hard drive technology exploded, and when broadband speed became a staple of nearly all serious internet users. Piracy became an issue when 10 year olds discovered how easy it was to torrent and when cracking groups made cracks easier and easier for the layman to use.

Thing is, the gaming industry will be just fine in the end, even if they DO go to the extreme with DRM... because sooner or later, people will get USED to it, they always do. Legitimate game owners and people who pay for their games aren't going to suddenly STOP buying games and go back to playing board games. If anything will suffer, perhaps it will be PC gaming, but with consoles increasingly blurring the line, gamers will be able to avoid a large portion of trouble by simply buying a console.

So essentially, if you love PC gaming, if it is your platform of choice, you have a vested interest in BUYING pc games and supporting those companies, while condemning piracy in all its forms. Because otherwise, the only two choices you will soon have are draconian DRM practices.. or the complete death of PC gaming entirely.
You choose.

This...is a genius article. But my solution would be to arm everyone in town and shoot all bandits on sight.

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