Game Devs Trolling Pirates Goes All The Way Back To At Least The Playstation Days With Spyro 2

from the misplaced-effort dept

When it comes to how game developers react and interact with those that pirate their games, there are obviously plenty of ways to go about it. There's the ineffective legal route, which puts developers in a bad PR light. There's the DRM route, which is a hellish waste of time. And, on the other end of the spectrum, there are devs that choose to embrace the internet and attempt to monetize piracy through human connections and innovative business models.

Somewhere in the middle is the less-traveled path of simply fucking with infringers. Whether its embedding antipiracy messages into the gameplay itself, or simply overlaying the entire game with the drone of a vuvuzela, there are a couple of recent examples where developers figured out how to detect cracked versions of their games and using that to torture pirates. While I would argue there are better ways developers could be spending this time and human capital, such as innovating, it's also true that it's hard not to smile when the pirates get messed with.

But this goes back much further than the last few years. The always excellent Tech Rules YouTube channel put out the following video on how Spyro 2 on the Playstation 1 tortured those using pirated copies of the game.

The slow burn of this prank on pirates is what makes it both so effective and so infuriating if you believe, as I do, that all of this is mostly time wasted. The joke being played here, with the effects of using a pirated version of the game getting incrementally and progressively more profound, is indeed funny. You can just picture the person playing a cracked version of the game very, very slowly realize he or she is being screwed with.

But it also appears to have taken quite an effort to pull off. And for what? We have no idea how many would-be pirates were converted into paying customers of Spyro 2 by any of this, but I cannot imagine anyone thinks that unknown number is significant. The game was reviewed well, and sold well in several regions, but not at numbers that would seem to justify the time commitment spent to convert whatever the fraction of pirates turned into customers was.

So, again, funny? Yes, absolutely. Mean or harmful? Nah. A useful use of the game developers' time? I can't see an argument for that, so why bother with any of this?

Filed Under: piracy, spyro 2, trolling, video games


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  • identicon
    Bobvious, 3 May 2019 @ 10:17pm

    Anti-"piracy" unlock code for this is right here

    For those who are interested, here is the unlock code to circumvent the Spyro nags.

    1101000 1110100 1110100 1110000 1110011 111010 101111 101111 1110111 1110111 1110111 101110 1111001 1101111 1110101 1110100 1110101 1100010 1100101 101110 1100011 1101111 1101101 101111 1110111 1100001 1110100 1100011 1101000 111111 1110110 111101 1111000 1100110 1110010 110110 110100 1111010 1101111 1000010 1010100 1000001 1010001

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    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 5:53am

      Re: Anti-"piracy" unlock code for this is right here

      Bravo, you magnificent bastard!! :D

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    • identicon
      Philip, 4 May 2019 @ 8:03am

      Re: Anti-"piracy" unlock code for this is right here

      Actually, I think this is more appropriate:

      01101000 01110100 01110100 01110000 01110011 00111010 00101111 00101111 01110111 01110111 01110111 00101110 01111001 01101111 01110101 01110100 01110101 01100010 01100101 00101110 01100011 01101111 01101101 00101111 01110111 01100001 01110100 01100011 01101000 00111111 01110110 00111101 01110011 01001000 01101101 01101010 01011111 00101101 01001000 01101110 01001011 01110001 01000101

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2019 @ 10:40pm

    Some women marry their rapists too.

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    • identicon
      Dave P., 4 May 2019 @ 9:51am

      Re:

      Oh dear. Someone is getting more and more tasteless as time goes on. That sort of comment is totally out of order. Smacks of desperation to try and gain attention. A good psychiatrist would probably have a field day with suchlike folk.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2019 @ 11:33am

        Re: Re:

        Medically unqualified "internet psychologists" should look up "Munchausen's by proxy," a condition where one imputes illness on another.

        I can think of a good something-else that might suit you, but I'm too polite to say what. Your post is revealing only about yourself.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2019 @ 6:32pm

        Re: Re:

        Those are fighting words.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 8:08am

      Re:

      "Some women marry their rapists too."

      This occurs, sometimes forced, in third world countries where female genial mutilation is also an accepted practice. What does this tell you about those who think it is acceptable? Oh wait ... you're one of them!

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      • icon
        Gary (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 9:43am

        Re: Re:

        "Some women marry their rapists too."

        It's Ok because "Gawd" and the voices in their head said it's good. Fine People everywhere agree!!

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 11:03am

        Re: Re:

        Some women have rape fantasies.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 12:25pm

        Forced marriage vs. FGM

        Forced marriage (including child marriage) and female genital mutilation both occur practically worldwide, despite that they're criminalized in many industrialized nations. Law enforcement is generally not very good at enforcing these laws.

        Also forced marriage and FGM are separate things. As they're widespread, there is a lot of intersection, but they don't necessarily go together.

        Generally, human societies suck at both protecting the innocence of girls, and giving women the latitude to explore and define for themselves their own sexualities. We debate how to do both, never develop a program to do it, and wind up doing neither.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2019 @ 1:14am

    And the entire game of Legend of Zelda: OOT was a giant troll for those who paid OR the rare pirates.
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!
    HEY LISTEN!

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  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 1:29am

    "We have no idea how many would-be pirates were converted into paying customers of Spyro 2 by any of this"

    We also don't know how many paying customers were incorrectly being screwed with due to bugs in the code or a fault on the console being used. I can't imagine that number is zero.

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    • icon
      crade (profile), 6 May 2019 @ 6:49am

      Re:

      Not to mention how much better the game would have been and how much more would have sold if they have put that effort into making the game better for their paying customers instead of doing this.

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  • icon
    blademan9999 (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 4:28am

    Because if people realised that they were being trolled for obtaining a pirated version of the game then they would be encouraged to not pirate the next game.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 4:32am

      Re:

      Or play other games. Or legally obtain the game in a way that doesn’t pay any money to the developer. Or many other outcomes that don’t have the desired effect.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2019 @ 6:14am

        Re: Re:

        Coddling pirates tells customers who paid full price that they are suckers.

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        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 8:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, hurting your customers in the vain effort to not "coddle" pirates tells them they are suckers.

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2019 @ 11:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Connecting with pirates is like appealing to the conscience of a rattlesnake.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 8:09am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The above makes no sense.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 12:29pm

              Connecting with pirates

              Connecting with pirates is, in fact, what Neil Gaiman did to promote American Gods in Russia. There wasn't yet an official Russian translation, so the fans went and translated it themselves. He found he had a fanbase already so he went and engaged them.

              When the book was released in Russia it did well, despite that it was previously pirated heavily throughout the nation.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2019 @ 9:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Do you get upset when the other lane moves more than the one you are in?

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2019 @ 11:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            People have a basic sense of fairness which would seem to preclude your remark.

            Piracy isn't just about the rightsholder. Criminals profit from it and it is in the public interest to ensure that crime does not pay.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2019 @ 1:19pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "People have a basic sense of fairness"

              Not many. Also, the term is not well defined. One person's fairness is another's unfairness.

              Getting upset about the little things and missing the big ones? You are not alone. Many fall into this trap.

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              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 5:02pm

                Basic sense of fairness

                Commonly, people who like content and find it easy to pay for content and can afford to pay for content will buy the content.

                That includes, however, a lot of contingency.

                If the content is crap or the content is bundled with obligatory-viewing crap, the end users will buy it less and pirate it or ignore it more.

                If the content-creators are dicks, the end users will buy it less.

                If the content creators are cool people the end users will buy it more. Masnick's fundamental philosophy is around this notion.

                If DRM impairs the content the end users will buy it less. Denuvo is notorious for its frame-rate tax and as such gamers will search for cracked games if they're already tweaking their system for performance.

                If paying is difficult, they won't buy it (incidentally receipts that include tip calculations and credit card processes that have tip settings increase tips).

                If paying is too expensive, the end users will buy it less. In the Philippines people have to work for the cost of a game as much as they have to work for the cost of an XBox here in the States. Pirated content is the only content they see. Myself, I have to wait for sales and usually do.

                Persons who have learned to steal, cheat, and defraud to survive
                (curiously, the very poor and the very rich) will pirate your game. Period. Soviet ex-patriots here in the states are notorious for trying to defraud the welfare system because where they came from that's how it's done. We have to have special case workers to detect their actual data to make sure they get only the benefits they deserve.

                (Curiously, ex-Soviets are rather white and aren't bothered by the CBP or ICE even when they are undocumented.)

                So, provided content is good, affordable, not created by jerks, easy to purchase, is as good as any pirated versions, yes, end users have a sense of fairness and will buy content. Though compulsive thieves will still pirate it.

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2019 @ 6:36pm

                  Re: Basic sense of fairness

                  If pirates want to be sued, that's their problem.

                  Self-preservation should override their desire to steal.

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                  • icon
                    Uriel-238 (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 8:17pm

                    Re: Re: Basic sense of fairness

                    You mean when they're stealing food to live? Or stealing cars for a bounty at the chop-shop in order to feed their families?

                    Yeah, self-preservation should totally slow them down.

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                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 3:42am

                      Re: Re: Re: Basic sense of fairness

                      Copyrighted entertainment is not a survival resource.

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                      • icon
                        Uriel-238 (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 4:08am

                        Not a survival resource.

                        Actually it is.

                        And you specified stealing not committing copyright infringement.

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                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 5:36am

                          Re: Not a survival resource.

                          You're saying entertainment is as necessary for human survival as food?

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                          • icon
                            Uriel-238 (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 11:36am

                            Entertainment as a survival resource

                            It's not on the same tier on the Maslow pyramid but it does keep nomads and castaways from going crazy, so yes.

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                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 10:00pm

                              Re: Entertainment as a survival resource

                              And let's face it - arson, rape, kidnapping, murder - often get punished for less than copyright infringement. The desirability of entertainment and the inability of people to stay away from it is regularly boasted about by the RIAA/MPAA.

                              Entertainment isn't needed to survive, you can argue that, but downplaying its influence doesn't help.

                              And we all know that Cary Sherman would absolutely lose his shit if people started en masse "doing without" the crack he peddles.

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                              • icon
                                That One Guy (profile), 6 May 2019 @ 6:33am

                                'it could be worse, they could NOT pirate your stuff...'

                                And we all know that Cary Sherman would absolutely lose his shit if people started en masse "doing without" the crack he peddles.

                                While I'm unfamiliar with the name you mentioned, I have pretty much always found the 'our way or do without!' line funny when it comes to responding to copyright infringement, as that would actually be the worse option for the developers/publishers/studio/labels.

                                If someone's downloading without paying they at least know who you are and you might get money from them later, but if they aren't even doing that then your odds of getting money from them ever is in the 'low to non-existent' range.

                                'Our terms or do without' is really an empty bluff at best, if not a self-damaging ultimatum, because if the ones on the receiving end actually did 'do without' the ones making the bluff/threat would quickly find out that they were worse off than they were before, contrary to what they may have expected to happen.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 8:15am

                    Re: Re: Basic sense of fairness

                    "If pirates want to be sued, that's their problem. Self-preservation should override their desire to steal."

                    No one wants to be sued, unless it is some sort of silly game but you did not address the many false positives. False positives followed up by relentless harassment mainly from the debt collectors trying to secure an amount prior to their client being forced to produce evidence at which point the whole law suit just disappears. Amazing really.

                    Self preservation is causing voters to walk away from the GOP and those who support them.

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                    • icon
                      Uriel-238 (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 11:44am

                      Voters

                      It doesn't help that there isn't a party in the US elections for those who are pro-sharing-community and pro-intellectual-property-reform.

                      Biden, who is the leading Democratic candidate is deep in the pockets of Hollywood, so we can expect he's going to fellate The Mouse all it wants, once in office.

                      Given that in the EU, IP overreach concerns are not a priority (over say, blockading refugees) it's not much better there. The sharing community is just as vocal then as mix-tape sharers were in the 80s and 90s.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 12:03pm

                        Re: Voters

                        I would like a party that does not screw over their constituents

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                        • icon
                          Uriel-238 (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 12:51pm

                          A party that does not screw over its constituents

                          Agreed. I want that too.

                          But to get it in the States, we'll need massive election reform. Larry Lessig has studied this at length and believes it can be done within the system starting at the district level and working up. Of course that takes time, which we probably don't have.

                          It's hard to take election reform seriously when only a third of the nation's voters need to be outraged to put fascists in power again less if the Federalist Society agents in the Supreme Court decide to take a shit or two on democracy and, say, approve an Ermächtigungsgesetz. If our surveillance state stays intact, purging the margins will happen quickly, as will the closing of the Battle Royale perimeter.

                          And that's not even addressing what happens when an agriculture-critical species dies off, or when hurricanes stomp the east coast into rubble beyond repair.

                          So the United States as we know it may not even last long enough to experience honest elections.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 5:49am

                  Re: Basic sense of fairness

                  If the content is crap or the content is bundled with obligatory-viewing crap, the end users will buy it less and pirate it or ignore it more.

                  Because you want that to be true.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 8:18am

                    Re: Re: Basic sense of fairness

                    And what is it that you want to be true?

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                  • icon
                    Uriel-238 (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 11:39am

                    Bundled with crap

                    One of the reasons people pirate movies is to avoid the obligatory commercials forced by the optical media DRM.

                    That is (or was) a known statistic in the 90s and aughts. I don't know if they still have obligatory commercials in the 2010s.

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 3:41am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                What is big to you is not to me.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 12:25pm

          Pirates who can play games without DRM show customers who paid full price for the DRM-laden product that they are suckers.

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 3:42am

            Re:

            Except the pirates are parasites who are generally tolerated as long as they don't overwhelm the host.

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            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 4:11am

              Parasites

              As are rent-seekers such as copyright holders. But with the current structure, they are overwhelming the host.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 8:19am

              Re: Re:

              "Except the pirates are parasites who are generally tolerated as long as they don't overwhelm the host."

              You mean like how the copyright industry is trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip?

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 11:05am

                Re: Re: Re:

                No, I mean that paying customers subsidize pirates. Without paying customers, there would be nothing to steal.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 12:07pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  And what is a pirate? Does commercial enterprise have be involved? Does the have to be money exchanged?

                  Is it piracy for Jane to let Dick read from her school book? Is it piracy for students to study together sharing answers to the practice problems?

                  Inquiring minds want to know.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2019 @ 12:07am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    And what is a pirate? Does commercial enterprise have be involved? Does the have to be money exchanged?

                    The "unjustly enriched" is often one of the politer descriptions used by RIAA apologists in that regard. Neither commercial entities or money exchange needs to happen, which allows for grandmothers and single parents to be sued. Like Tanya Andersen.

                    Is it piracy for Jane to let Dick read from her school book? Is it piracy for students to study together sharing answers to the practice problems?

                    This is where the apologism tends to crumble like a stale cookie. The RIAA fanboy attempting to appear rational and reasonable would say, "No". The textbook publisher would pound their chest and say, with stalwart conviction, "Yes". This is also the response that would raise an eyebrow at best in casual onlookers and ire for most people. As should be the case when the basis of copyright evangelism is the criminalization of sharing.

                    So the answer from copyright advocates is "No". They'd like us to think it stands for "No, it's not piracy". What they really want to say is "No, but only because it costs far too much time and backlash to sue each and every one of you proles".

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2019 @ 8:31am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      I think some of these copyright folk must have flunked kindergarten.

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                    • icon
                      Uriel-238 (profile), 6 May 2019 @ 10:05am

                      "unjustly enriched"

                      That is essentially the American dream ever since the Gold Rush: exploit glitches in the system to make gazillions and rise into the aristocracy.

                      It doesn't help that Hollywood accounting is known for unjustly enriching the few while denying just riches to content creators.

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 12:31pm

          Coddling pirates

          This is much like that argument that forgiving student debts would be a slap in the face to those people who worked hard to pay their student debts.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2019 @ 5:30am

    More background detail

    An article by one of the developers explaining why they chose to go this route. (It was for Spyro 3, not the second game)
    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3030/keeping_the_pirates_at_bay.php.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 6 May 2019 @ 10:31am

      Re: More background detail

      " those two to three months when pirated versions were unavailable must have reduced the overall level and impact of piracy. "

      Logic fail. Even if the overall level of piracy goes down, which I see no reason to doubt, that says nothing about its impact, assuming by "impact" he means lost sales. Just because a working crack was not available doesn't mean anyone who tried to use a crack and failed then bought the game. Some number probably did, but it might be a very small number. And that's the problem with these efforts. Even if you can tell that it "worked" (prevented a crack for a while), you still can't tell if it actually did any good in terms of bringing more money in to the company. But it definitely cost money to implement.

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  • identicon
    Sok Puppette, 4 May 2019 @ 5:39am

    Playstation? That idiocy goes back to the Apple ][.

    Historical perspective, much?

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  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 6:41am

    Some people have claimed that Serious Sam's unkillable-juggernaut-chases-the-player-forever puracy trap made them want to get the illegal version just so they could experience it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2019 @ 8:29am

    There are many free to play games on the market, fortnite etc,
    every month there are sales on steam,
    buy pc games for 5 to 10 dollars .
    Theres very little piracey on xbox 1 or ps4 consoles .Its just too difficult now , with games being 40-50gig in size.
    most games now even on console require updates online.
    I think developers now are more concerned about competing with free to play games than piracey.
    More games now are being bought from online stores ,
    rather than buying a physical disc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 9:27am

      Re:

      You might think that, but a quick glance at DRM crap proves you wrong

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        mephistophocles (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 11:30am

        Re: Re:

        True, but I think DRM is just a lazy "solution" to the problem, and like most american "solutions" it's way more concerned with increasing profit than actually solving the problem. I think the YOTD devs did a great job with the tools they had at the time, but piracy isn't nearly as hard to combat now, thanks to most people's access to broadband, with no impact to a legit user. It's not unreasonable to require buyers to have an internet connection, especially when the method you're using to prevent piracy consumes minimal bandwidth. That's very doable and zero impact for 99.9% of gamers.

        I do think, though, that the only really effective "cure" for piracy theft is to turn the gaming community against the crackers. Big publishers have mostly shot themselves in the ass by instead implementing really bad solutions (like DRM, mass lawsuits, etc) that turn the gamer communities' ire on them (the publishers) instead of the crackers. Partner with gamers instead, reward them for not supporting pirates, and show them the impact thieves make on everyone's enjoyment, and gamers might start seeing pirates as the enemy instead.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 May 2019 @ 3:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "True, but I think DRM is just a lazy "solution" to the problem, and like most american "solutions" it's way more concerned with increasing profit than actually solving the problem."

          Increasing profit for whom, though? As Denuvo has noticed lately, there just is no way in which having an ever-decreasing period of protection benefits the game over the drawbacks generated by the rather ridiculous overhead overly intrusive DRM generates.

          "It's not unreasonable to require buyers to have an internet connection, especially when the method you're using to prevent piracy consumes minimal bandwidth."

          Actually, yes. Yes, it is unreasonable. A solution which means if a certificate server gets DDoSed, hacked or goes down, ONLY the pirates get to play while the paying customer gets punished is not a good idea.

          "That's very doable and zero impact for 99.9% of gamers."

          Except when a server goes down at which point it impacts 100%...of the legitimate customers while only the pirates get to play at all.

          "...show them the impact thieves make on everyone's enjoyment, and gamers might start seeing pirates as the enemy instead."

          For the last thirty years or so the various anti-pirate outfits have tried - repeatedly - to get a scientific study done which shows the actual harm of piracy. So far they haven't even managed to find that any such harm is done at all.
          So what are you going to show the gamers? That all evidence points toward piracy not, in fact, being harmful at all? That every cent set aside for anti-pirate measures is a cent paid for by the customer without any justifiable need?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 6 May 2019 @ 10:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I do think, though, that the only really effective "cure" for piracy theft is to turn the gaming community against the crackers.

          If by cure you mean complete eradication of piracy, there is not and never will be any such thing. However if you mean substantial decrease in copyright infringement, what has been shown to work is offering people convenient options to get what they want for a reasonable price. If the person in question doesn't have any money to spend on your product, it doesn't matter what you do, you're never going to get them to pay. If they do have some money available for entertainment, most people are willing to spend some of it for convenience and quality.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        John Smith, 5 May 2019 @ 3:43am

        Re: Re:

        I have never put DRM into anything I have ever created.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 10:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Just nothing but mailing lists and white elephants you have to sucker your imaginary readerbase to buy.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2019 @ 12:05pm

      Re:

      Newspaper classified advertising couldn't compete with free (Craigslist), and this is what ripped their financial guts out. Turns out classified advertising funded all that journalism, which is good because it was a content-neutral product.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 6 May 2019 @ 12:08pm

      "Free to play" games

      Free2Play (or F2P) has at this point become synonymous with antagonistic game design, games that manufacture discontent (tedium, frustration, peer pressure, whatever) in order to fuel the microtransaction market attached to the game.

      In this late generation, companies try to normalize, or justify or compromise, such as vanity-item-only policies (pay2win and pay4fun design strategies not only give the game a bad reputation but one that follows the publisher and developer) but they're still happy to exploit a whale and have them ruin their credit, well-being and social standing in order to spend money on the game.

      Ian Bogost in his Cow Clicker experiment came to the conclusion that games that monetize themselves this way can't help but be unethical. Rather they can monetize themselves ethically, but ineffectively. But the way F2P designers discuss their craft at GDC, it's pretty evident they're not interested in ethical any more than casinos are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 9:28am

    Not a game, but...

    ... Sony's "wobble tracks" is just a newer version of the original Lotus1-2-3 copy protection, a discrete bad block on the floppy.

    It wasn't until the DEC MicroPDP came out that an "end user" could do a direct bit-copy between floppies to mark that discrete block out so the program would run on a copy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 12:22pm

    The weird thing about clever in-game anti-piracy measures...

    Is that they're payloads, not detection.

    They're not anti-piracy so much as a way the devs troll someone they think is a pirate. And many of these are discovered by modders or false positives.

    The problem remains, the ways we detect pirates are invasive or oppressive over legitimate buyers, and tends to make the cracked product better than the one for sale.

    It doesn't help that when we install DRM we use it to force end users to watch commercials and look at microtransaction markets. When companies have momentarily had the power to control their content, they've seldom been nice about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 3:50am

      Re: The weird thing about clever in-game anti-piracy measures...

      I once put a hidden serial number in one of my books in a way that was very difficult to detect, just to track copies that were sold, but abandoned it because it was inconvenient to have to print separate copies to individual PDFs.

      My main concern with piracy is the mass marketing of pirate sites. I've never cared if one person shared what they bought from me with a single friend or two. Also some books have utility that loses value if spread, so those who buy it looking for an edge are incentivized not to share it, though some still will.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 4:57am

        Re: Re: The weird thing about clever in-game anti-piracy measure

        “I've never cared if one person shared what they bought from me with a single friend or two.”

        Then you don’t care about the most common form of “piracy”... hmmm

        Also books lose value when spread? What kind of shitty scam are you running? Actual literature gains value when shared

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 5:32am

          Re: Re: Re: The weird thing about clever in-game anti-piracy mea

          Who do you think you impress with such a foul mouth?

          Do you think ALL how-to books are scams just because you have nothing of value to teach?

          Ever hear of the Red Queen?

          In 1962, you might have called this book a scam:

          https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004G5ZTZQ/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

          That's Edward O. Thorp's "Beat The Dealer." It outlined something called "card counting" that you might have heard of. For several years AFTER this book was published, card-counters made millions from casinos until the house was forced to deal multiple-deck Blackjack instead. Every time someone bought that book, the book lost value until the profitability was eroded.

          That's the least controversial example. Others people might dismiss by assertion even if the evidence runs to the contrary, simply because they deal with subjective topics like marketing, job interviewing, etc. People who find a quasi-secret "profitable" method in a book are not likely to share the book.

          This may be above your comprehension pay grade. I forget which site this is at times.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 7:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The weird thing about clever in-game anti-piracy

            Wait... in response to being called a scammer you link to a book about how to scam a casino... and you think this clears you of the accusation? Wow

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Bamboo Harvester (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 8:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The weird thing about clever in-game anti-pi

              Card counting isn't a "scam", it's basic math.

              Blackjack/21 is NOT favorable to the dealer if the players know that basic math, which is why card counting is not allowed in casinos.

              If it was a "scam", it would be illegal.

              Casinos make money based on the irrational human belief that they can "beat the odds". And they never consider the odds they're trying to "beat" decree that they will beat them - on rare occasions.

              In 21, if you're card counting, you're shifting the odds dramatically away from the dealer to yourself.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 5 May 2019 @ 11:40am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The weird thing about clever in-game ant

                So, you’re a scammer. Thanks for confirming, it’s a little sad if you don’t understand why but so be it

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 11:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The weird thing about clever in-game anti-pi

              Card-counting is not a scam, but an edge (or was).

              I was showing how a book can have value to the readers which would be eroded by piracy.

              You're not being logical.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 10:53pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The weird thing about clever in-game ant

                Card counting isn't a scam or illegal, but have fun getting your legs broken by casino operators once they realize what you're up to.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 6:47am

          Re: Re: Re: The weird thing about clever in-game anti-piracy mea

          *“I've never cared if one person shared what they bought from me with a single friend or two.”

          Then you don’t care about the most common form of “piracy”... *

          It's not piracy unless I enforce my copyright. I do not give EXPLICIT permission to people to do this, and those with whom something is shared should not re-share it. Many online publications with paywalls allow up to three people to read their content. That's just reality. Ideally, everyone would buy their own copy.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 10:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The weird thing about clever in-game anti-piracy

            Ideally, everyone would buy their own copy.

            Personally I do without.

            Not that it's stopped you from paying my government so you can sue me for it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 8:25am

        Re: Re: The weird thing about clever in-game anti-piracy measure

        "I've never cared if one person shared what they bought from me with a single friend or two."

        You are not like the majority of copyright rent seekers who want to take over the world.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wereisjessicahyde (profile), 4 May 2019 @ 1:16pm

    It goes back way longer than that

    Way back in 1988 if entered the wrong code 5 times (found in the manual) when playing Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders you got thrown in 'pirate prison' and was given a stern lecture about the error of your ways.

    It possibly goes back further but that's oldest I know of.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Cowherd, 5 May 2019 @ 9:56am

    "You can just picture the person playing a cracked version of the game very, very slowly realize he or she is being screwed with."

    I can also picture the person playing a cracked version NOT realize that, instead assuming the game is just full of bugs. And telling all his friends to avoid it, too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2019 @ 10:37pm

    Can somebody give a written description?
    Or at least a video without background noises, preferably one without a clickbait title?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2019 @ 5:58am

    A good psychiatrist would probably have a field day with suchlike folk.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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