EA Pixelates Pirated Copies of The Sims 4

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EA Pixelates Pirated Copies of The Sims 4

sims 4

EA and Maxis use the famous Sims pixellation to combat piracy of The Sims 4.

When a big publisher like EA implements new anti-piracy measures, the gaming community tends to react rather negatively. It's not undeserved, especially after digital rights management has caused problems for perfectly legitimate customers in the past. But the anti-piracy efforts in The Sims 4 are actually refreshingly hilarious.

Anyone remotely familiar with The Sims series would recognize the pixellated blur that appears over a Sim's naughty bits when stripped down to shower. Unless your game suffers from a glitch, that blur would disappear once your Sim is decent. Players that pirated their copy of The Sims 4 have a completely different experience.

Pirated copies of the life-simulator actually cause that pixellated blur to slowly expand until it covers the entire game world. The HUD appears unaffected. Even better, users have turned to the official Sims 4 forums (down as of this writing) asking for guidance and to complain about the "malfunctioning" game. One can imagine that customer support has been hit with pirates seeking help. Of course, voicing the issue is enough to mark the user as a pirate.

EA has stated that it does not intend to assist players with pirated copies to make their game playable. The players are encouraged to purchase the game to play it without the pixellation.

Our own Jim Sterling was less than happy with The Sims 4, particularly with how stripped down it was. Still, if you're a fan of the franchise, check out our quiz, "How Would You Die in The Sims?" to see if a cloud of pixellation is in the cards for you.

Source: Player Attack, via Joystiq

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This actually reminds me of the pink scorpion of death that Croteam used on Serious Sam 3. Better to use methods like that rather than intrusive DRM.

Someone will figure it out, eventually, but it took about 6 months for someone to figure it out with Serious Sam.

I actually looked this up and the pirates allready found a workaround for this "DRM".
It's of course highly complicated and involves a significant amount of high-tech knowledge.
Apparently the pirates have to do a so-called "re-name" of the ".exe".

In all seriousness the above is actually true. I mean kudos to the devs for getting such an entertaining form of "DRM" into their game, but if it is really circumvented THAT easily it's a bit embarrassing as well.

Hilarious, not intrusive for legitimate customers; I like it. Needs to be more pixelated though - that looks like an old 90s game, so still playable.

Waaghpowa:
This actually reminds me of the pink scorpion of death that Croteam used on Serious Sam 3. Better to use methods like that rather than intrusive DRM.

See, DRM like this always makes me laugh. I remember also there was the one for Game Dev Tycoon in which if you pirated the game, you'd get a game over because you're company's content was pirated so much. It would happen later on when you would move out of the basement section of the game.
Then there's the Batman: Arkham Asylum one in which the game is unbeatable if you pirate it because some of the gadgets won't show up in the pirated games.

Heck, even some consoles have done things like this. For example, Insomniac had a message show up from Zoe if you had a pirated version of Spyro: Year of the Dragon.

Funny but pointless, pirates will find a work around soon enough anyway. Not that it's worth the time and effort anyway.

So they turned Pirated The Sims 4 into The Sims 1?

Fair play to them, it doesn't affect legitimate customers and only the pirates. I wonder if they have grounds for banning Origin accounts though? If someone contacts them with their Origin ID, say over the live chat customer support and whines about their pirated game if EA could consider banning the Origin account.

Not sure how I would feel about that if they did though, not unless they could be 100% sure and even then I don't know.

The Great JT:
So they turned Pirated The Sims 4 into The Sims 1?

It would make the game better arguably...

So they are promoting Piracy now? :P

J Tyran:

Not sure how I would feel about that if they did though, not unless they could be 100% sure and even then I don't know.

Transaction history/key activation.
If the account dose not have a copy of the sims, while complaining about how buggy there copy is.
At that point I would just consider it a stupid tax if they had any games on there account.

It's also the lesser evil seeing they probably have enough information to sue the person aswell

The Great JT:
So they turned Pirated The Sims 4 into The Sims 1?

Well it essentially already was The Sims 1 - now it just looks the part.

A novel way of using DRM, and surprisingly unintrusive given EA's past. Shame it was cracked within the hour of it being released.

So it looks like Minecraft Sims

direkiller:

J Tyran:

Not sure how I would feel about that if they did though, not unless they could be 100% sure and even then I don't know.

Transaction history/key activation.
If the account dose not have a copy of the sims, while complaining about how buggy there copy is.
At that point I would just consider it a stupid tax if they had any games on there account.

It's also the lesser evil seeing they probably have enough information to sue the person aswell

True, forgot that. When I had trouble with a game I bought from Origin the rep could see the transaction history, what makes me not sure about the ban though is the fact that they would effectively be seizing legitimately owned property. I think EA might have some rights to decide not to offer services to people that pirate their games but seizing property might be going a little far, maybe their could be a middle ground?

Ban them from multi player servers and from receiving updates/patches etc but still allow them to run the games they bought? That way they are just refusing service but they are not seizing legitimately and legally owned property.

A pixelated layer! so retro :D

This reminds me of Game Dev Story where pirated copies would have their in in-game business ruined because of pirates. That is how you combat piracy: something game-breaking yet funny that doesn't affect legit customers.

CAPTCHA: beg the question
Here is a question that needs to be begged: Why didn't EA do something like this sooner?

I still won't buy this.

Too many expansion packs.

I'm fully in favor of DRM that turns pirate copies into Sierra adventure games.

*claps* Good job, EA. I really mean it. This is how you combat piracy. Yes, pirates will eventually get past it, probably already have. But I'd rather have this then have them hurt paying customers. Ya did good, kid. Ya did good.

I look forward to challenge runs of "blurry mode".

Neronium:

Waaghpowa:
This actually reminds me of the pink scorpion of death that Croteam used on Serious Sam 3. Better to use methods like that rather than intrusive DRM.

See, DRM like this always makes me laugh. I remember also there was the one for Game Dev Tycoon in which if you pirated the game, you'd get a game over because you're company's content was pirated so much. It would happen later on when you would move out of the basement section of the game.
Then there's the Batman: Arkham Asylum one in which the game is unbeatable if you pirate it because some of the gadgets won't show up in the pirated games.

Heck, even some consoles have done things like this. For example, Insomniac had a message show up from Zoe if you had a pirated version of Spyro: Year of the Dragon.

The gadgets did show up. Batman would be unable to get his batwing open and would plummet into the poison on a certain area. They also removed a couple of grappling hook points later on for good measure.

It got fixed pretty much instantly.

It's only affected a very small number of pirates.

So, unfortunately, there's not some mass of illegal downloaders being thwarted by pixelation.

However, as with all things, there will always be issues with a pirated version over a legitimate copy, so, if you're looking to enjoy the game, buy it.

Though, if you're looking to get enjoyment from The Sims 4, good luck.

I think they should take a cue from the Simpsons movie and only un-pixelize the naughty bits.

I think the Sims look a lot more stylish when pixelated.

How exactly do we know only pirates are being affected? Forgive me my skepticism, but I remember some of the other things that went down (especially with the Sims!) in the past in the name of EA-vs-Pirates, and I remember how often the pirates actually had the least of it.

Okay, props to EA for doing that.

Waaghpowa:
This actually reminds me of the pink scorpion of death that Croteam used on Serious Sam 3. Better to use methods like that rather than intrusive DRM.

Someone will figure it out, eventually, but it took about 6 months for someone to figure it out with Serious Sam.

Took people even longer to ADD the scorpion to the legit copy - but someone did it. No, seriously.

Aristatide:
How exactly do we know only pirates are being affected? Forgive me my skepticism, but I remember some of the other things that went down (especially with the Sims!) in the past in the name of EA-vs-Pirates, and I remember how often the pirates actually had the least of it.

We can't but the amount of legitimate customers with that thing affecting their game should be a very tiny fractions - and when they can deliver a proof of purchase (usually via the key or something along those lines), they'll still get their support.

This reminds me of the GTA4 "drunk driving" that pirates fixed within a day. This seems to be fixed even faster. altrough i almost want to see how it looks now.

I do like when this is the way they do it, unintrusive and fun rather than punishing legitimate costumers. Of course its preferable that it does not cost them half a million like it cost gta4 to implement.

T-Shirt Turtle:
This reminds me of Game Dev Story where pirated copies would have their in in-game business ruined because of pirates. That is how you combat piracy: something game-breaking yet funny that doesn't affect legit customers.

the problem with Game Dev Story was that legitimate costumers would also constantly get ruined by unrealistic piracy making it impossible to distinguish whether a person complaining from pirated version or legitimate one.

J Tyran:
Fair play to them, it doesn't affect legitimate customers and only the pirates. I wonder if they have grounds for banning Origin accounts though? If someone contacts them with their Origin ID, say over the live chat customer support and whines about their pirated game if EA could consider banning the Origin account.

Not sure how I would feel about that if they did though, not unless they could be 100% sure and even then I don't know.

yeah... they cant really do that. removal of your games without a good reason (and no complaining about a bug that only pirates recieve is not a good reason) is grounds for suing. even after EAs obtrusive EULA.

direkiller:

Transaction history/key activation.
If the account dose not have a copy of the sims, while complaining about how buggy there copy is.
At that point I would just consider it a stupid tax if they had any games on there account.

It's also the lesser evil seeing they probably have enough information to sue the person aswell

but what if a person bought a game and then pirated it anyway just so he would not have to deal with semi-broken DRM like keeps happening for ubisoft games?

Aristatide:
How exactly do we know only pirates are being affected? Forgive me my skepticism, but I remember some of the other things that went down (especially with the Sims!) in the past in the name of EA-vs-Pirates, and I remember how often the pirates actually had the least of it.

One doesnt. One has to trust the word of EA. One has to ignore all the problems with EA DRM we had for decades.

Hardly any point in it. Apparently there is already to bypass that. The only way to stop piracy is by making everything cloud based. PC and Console piracy will never die otherwise.

Doesn't stop your game from being bare-bones shit EA, and it sure as hell won't stop the pirates.

This is a really cute idea. Not sure about how effective it will be in the long run, especially if there ends up being a workaround, but seems like a fun alternative to more cumbersome methods.

Amaror:
I actually looked this up and the pirates allready found a workaround for this "DRM".
It's of course highly complicated and involves a significant amount of high-tech knowledge.
Apparently the pirates have to do a so-called "re-name" of the ".exe".

In all seriousness the above is actually true. I mean kudos to the devs for getting such an entertaining form of "DRM" into their game, but if it is really circumvented THAT easily it's a bit embarrassing as well.

The funny part is that old schoolers might actually enjoy it that way. Even still, EA has to learn to stop giving reasons for these guys to shout "Challenge Accepted!". Seriously, it's all a game to them. And when it's over? All that work for nothing. What a waste. They should've just made the game better.

Waaghpowa:
This actually reminds me of the pink scorpion of death that Croteam used on Serious Sam 3. Better to use methods like that rather than intrusive DRM.

Someone will figure it out, eventually, but it took about 6 months for someone to figure it out with Serious Sam.

I only came here to say about this as well. Creative ways to make the pirates to buy your game are always welcome [for a good laugh I mean]. SOmething similar happened if I remember with Skullgirls.
If you pirated the game, a very strange message pop-up.

Anyway, good job EA. However how long it will take for the pirates to remove this "trap"?

Strazdas:
but what if a person bought a game and then pirated it anyway just so he would not have to deal with semi-broken DRM like keeps happening for ubisoft games?

Sounds legal to me - you own something, so installing it in an unintended way (which the pirate version would be) sounds fine to me. You paid for the product, then using it should only depend on you. Even if that means aquiring a second copy you play instead.

Revolutionary:
Doesn't stop your game from being bare-bones shit EA, and it sure as hell won't stop the pirates.

Why the game is bad? Specific details please?

T-Shirt Turtle:
This reminds me of Game Dev Story where pirated copies would have their in in-game business ruined because of pirates. That is how you combat piracy: something game-breaking yet funny that doesn't affect legit customers.

CAPTCHA: beg the question
Here is a question that needs to be begged: Why didn't EA do something like this sooner?

I want to point out that nobody knew about Game Dev Tycoon (not Story) and that the Pirate version was released by the developer itself. The entire idea was just marketing and they shouldn't be applauded for attention grabbing bullshit.

Who d/led GDT because they were so psyched for it? Nobody. They saw a new healthy game torrent and went "I wonder what that is?". One day later there's articles all over game media.

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