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Frustrated Pirates Prophesise The Death Of Game Piracy

And on that bombshell

My eyebrow’s raised so high that it’s knocking plaster off the ceiling, but it’s worth sharing this oddity as a talking point if nothing else. It seems Just Cause 3 [official site]’s DRM is still presenting stiff competition to crackers over a month on from release, prompting one pirate collective to predict that we are in the game piracy end times. “According to current trends in the development of encryption technology, in two years time I’m afraid there will be no free games to play in the world.”

Obviously that’s garbage, both because people willingly make tons of free games and because many paid games choose not to include DRM at all, but maybe DRM really has become a new force to be reckoned with.
I’m not going to moralise one way or another here but I am very interested in possible futures of this stuff, just from a digital culture point of view. Like it or not, game piracy is something that has existed and been easy to access for decades, and the internet – and games – without it is a deeply strange concept.

The Denuvo DRM wrapped around Just Cause 3 has yet to broken, with similar tech having kept Dragon Age: Inquistion out of bittorrented hands for a similiar period, while that on FIFA 16 remains uncracked since September.

‘Bird Sister’, anonymous founder of the 3DM cracking forum, revealed that Just Cause 3 was bringing real despair to a collective which is often quick to circumvent game DRM. “The last stage is too difficult and Jun [cracking guy] nearly gave up, but last Wednesday I encouraged him to continue,” Bird Sister claimed, as reported by TorrentFreak.

“I still believe that this game can be compromised,” she went on, then dropped the two years bombshell.

I don’t know that I buy it, to be honest. On top of this claim coming from just one currently dispossessed cracker group, where there’s a will – or a pricetag – there’s a way, so I can’t imagine the entire internet giving up on its pirated games. There’s also every chance that a more profound chink in the Denuvo armour could yet be found. I imagine game publishers are frantically signing up to it for as long as it seems insurmountable, however, so there may well be an impending fallow period.

It does, however, depend on more than just a few games signing up to this stuff. Many are happy to use Steam’s relatively easily-cracked built-in DRM, for instance, in order to provide just a basic level of copy protection. Not everyone feels that every pirated copy is a lost sale, after all.

Perhaps bigger than the idea that piracy will simply stop is that, if Denuvo (and others) really can remain that resistant, it might well become the norm that big new games take weeks or even months to crack, as that’s the major period in which people are frantically trying to obtained cracked versions. If that does happen, it’s their wills rather than the software which will be crack, and publishers will either get the increased sales they claim would happen without piracy – or simply end up with fewer people playing and thus evangelising about their games.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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