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.

From this site

235 Comments

  1. Jediben says:

    Fifa 16 wasn’t worth cracking anyway, so no loss there.

    • Dread Quixadhal says:

      From what I’ve heard, it’s not the DRM… it’s the fact that it phones home to servers that are always down.

      • Sabbatai says:

        Don’t know if you are just commenting on the servers in a sarcastic manner or not…

        But just in case… the whole “phone home to authenticate” thing is routinely bypassed even in software that costs thousands of dollars.

  2. keefybabe says:

    Buy the games or don’t play them. That’s the way I see it. Not got the money to play it? Play one of the 12 quadrillion high quality free games out there.

    • Petethegoat says:

      How about buy the games if you can afford them?
      If you’re unable to purchase the game in the first place, then the developers and publishers lose nothing, and may even gain word of mouth if you enjoy it.

      • Premium User Badge

        teije says:

        Ah yes. The argument that pirating a game is somehow doing the game developer/publisher a favour. Like it’s a form of public service. Always a hilarious one.

        • silentdan says:

          No one suggested that public service was being performed, only that word of mouth can have a positive impact on sales. No need for straw men.

          • DarkFenix says:

            Well that’s the problem, arguing against piracy usually does require strawmen because it’s not particularly villainous in and of itself. It’s a victimless crime with arguable positive effects generally committed against some rather nasty corporate types. A very easy thing to be apathetic about, thus those who do feel strongly about it will about 75% of the time use rampant strawmen and hyperbole to vilify pirates.

          • Premium User Badge

            teije says:

            @Darkfenix, now who’s using strawmen with the reference to “nasty corporate types”. These are gaming companies, not weapons manufacturers, FFS.

            Piracy is simply theft – not paying for a good or service you are using – and if you’re okay with that, fine. And in this case, it’s for a luxury item, not something required for survival where there could be an legitimate argument based on necessity.

          • silentdan says:

            “Piracy is simply theft”

            No, it isn’t. When burglars came to my apartment, broke in, removed my property, and left, *that* was theft. I’m also a software developer, and I know for a fact that my code has been copied without authorization. So, as someone who’s been the victim of both types of transgressions (burglarized four times, pirated more than four for sure) I’m here to tell you, they’re not even close to the same thing.

            When you come home after a hard day at work, and see your door wide open, and the lock smashed, it’s gut-wrenching. You quickly try to think of everything you own that you can’t replace with insurance money, and frantically inventory those things. Pets first, because no matter what else you’ve lost, you’ll feel better if you know the pets are okay. (I’ve had a cat for three of those burglaries, and he’s fine, thank goodness.)

            When you see someone copying your code without permission or attribution, it’s very annoying, but you never wonder if your cat is missing or dead. Equating software piracy with theft is insulting to victims of theft.

          • DarkFenix says:

            Thank you for demonstrating my point so nicely there teije, selective quotation, and some melodramatic hyperbole. I may of course simply be wrong, but it’s not illogical to think that the people most frequently hit by piracy are the ones pushing out expensive and highly popular games, such companies often being led by a board of faceless suits which is very hard to feel any sympathy for. Which was my point of course, which you either missed or ignored.

            Piracy is not simply theft, I would assert that anyone who spouts that ridiculous mantra has yet to actually be a victim of theft.

          • Premium User Badge

            DelrueOfDetroit says:

            @silentdan

            You are attempting to make an apples and oranges argument but what you are doing is making an apples and a fruit basket argument.

            Theft is just one of a multitude of crimes committed against you when you were burglarised. Saying that one thing isn’t theft because another thing is worse is not a valid argument. Theft is theft regardless of the value of the items stolen or the amount of trauma experienced by the victim.

          • silentdan says:

            If they’d burned my apartment building down, that would be arson, not theft. It’s not arson because it’s worse, it’s not arson because it makes me sadder, it’s arson because fire. Copyright infringement isn’t theft, because copyright infringement doesn’t take something away from someone, it denies giving something to them in the first place. If you think that’s a distinction without a difference, you’re entitled to your opinion.

          • Michael Anson says:

            The problem with piracy is that it is an action based on the assumption that the person taking a copy of the game deserves to play the game, and that they deserve it more than the game makers deserve to be paid for it.

            Positive results of piracy aside, games are a luxury item. You do not need them to survive, they are entertainment, and you do not have a right to be entertained. By pirating a game, you are enjoying the work someone else put into the game while making the conscious decision that the work they put into the game has no value. This isn’t a matter of “freedom of information,” or some form of rights protest, this is enjoying something at the expense of the person who created it.

            And, personally, I feel that such a decision is wrong.

            There is no right to be entertained. And, frankly, there is no need for a person to have ready access to big budget videogames, either. You may want access to them, but by pirating, it’s pretty obvious that you do not want that access enough to pay for it. This is where the wealth of the internet, with thousands of free games, books, music and movies, comes in.

            Piracy is not a victimless crime. It’s an active, selfish decision that costs developers a great deal. Not in physical losses, but in opportunity costs. A decision made by a sense of entitlement, that the consumer deserves something without working for it. A moral decision made out of selfishness.

          • Grim_22 says:

            @Michael Anson:

            Very well put, sir. I agree completely.

          • DarkFenix says:

            @Michael Anson

            You’re reading too far into the motivations of piracy there, I’ve been through a phase of pirating loads of games, I had no thoughts one way or the other about who deserved what. I wanted that game, I had little money and the game was freely available online so I pirated it. Stop trying to intellectualise a very simple act into something more malicious than it is, it’s a minor crime of simple greed, not some statement of superiority over other people.

            Now, piracy is wrong, no argument there. But in this day and age I would argue that a person is entitled to entertainment; people need recreation of some sort, it’s not just a want. Not that this in any way justifies video game piracy, but I think there’s something very wrong with the notion that people are not entitled to entertainment, that world is a very bleak and miserable one.

            And stop this nonsense about developers being so terribly victimised by this. Yes I’m sure it’s the epitome of frustration to see your labour of love being downloaded thousands of times for free on the Internet, but stop kidding yourself, how many of those downloads would have been a purchase otherwise?

            If Just Cause 3 had been cracked by now, I’d probably have pirated it because I have a vague interest in it. It doesn’t take much desire in a product to download it nowadays, maybe 4 mouse clicks to get it downloading, another few to install it. But it hasn’t been cracked, and you know what I’ve done? Nothing, I haven’t bought the game because frankly I don’t really care.

            Before you all jump on me for that, it was just to make a point. No money was ever going to those developers from me one way or the other, they are precisely as harmed by my disinterest as my would-be piracy. How much does piracy really cost developers? I don’t know and neither do you, so stop pretending to.

            Piracy is frankly a minor issue that isn’t worth the trouble to fight directly. The overblowing of the problem strikes me more as members of a capitalist society rationalising away failures, not an actual threat to the industry.

          • Michael Anson says:

            @DarkFenix: No, it is not a necessity. Nobody has died from a lack of video games. The fact is that this basic act of entitled greed has become so common that people like yourself cannot differentiate boredom from serious issues, such as drought in low-tech areas, lack of sufficient health care or education, or starvation. If you cannot afford a game, do not buy it. It’s that simple.

          • DarkFenix says:

            Right, first of all entertainment is not synonymous with video games. Don’t say one thing then pretend you said another. A modern person would go mad without any form of entertainment, it is necessary for a person’s mental health, thus in any civilised country it could (and indeed should) be said to be an entitlement.

            Second, drop the “you people” bullshit. You have no idea who I am, so don’t even dare try judging or classifying me.

          • Michael Anson says:

            @DarkFenix There is a huge pool of freely available content online. There is a huge pool of cheaply available content online. If that’s not enough, there’s public television, there’s the radio, there’s the library. Entertainment abounds, and is freely available.

            And you do not have a right to it.

            There is literally no justification for piracy, particularly not under some ridiculous pretense that being entertained, especially by video games, is a necessity. If you need something to do so badly, rather than freely enjoying something while deliberately denying its creator recompense for the sweat of his brow that he had every right to ask for, perhaps you could offer necessities to others, and learn what a necessity is.

            And I’ll freely use the phrase “you people” for pirates and those who defend them, because I know exactly who they are. Regardless of circumstance, they are people who think only for and of themselves, who feel, however subconsciously, that they are worth more than the people who worked to make those items available in the first place. If you don’t like it, don’t be a pirate. Until then, I will continue to withhold the right to hold you in contempt for your decisions.

          • Ich Will says:

            @Micheal Anson – How do you feel about people pirating a game where the developers are pirates themselves? I mean you talk the big moral and ethical points that you are depriving the developers of income, therefore piracy is harmful, but if those people themselves are pirates, then how do you feel about that? Is it a case of, let the pirates screw each other over, do devs, on account of being content producers get a free pass on their piracy or what? Because I used to work for a company who produce software products used in game development. My job was to ensure licensing compliance. My company had Drm measures in place, but reasonably weak ones, instead we placed fingerprints of non compliance in products produced with our software, fingerprints our analysis tools could read and report. Over the course of 5 years I contacted companies who were not in compliance, and of the games we analysed, which included every prominent release and most minor releases that used our technology, we found that non compliance was in the region of 90% of those 90%, the most common fraud was installing the software on more machines than the licence allowed for, we only fingerprinted a product if the breach was by 4 times the licence I.e a company paid for 4 licences and had at any time had the software running concurrently on more than 15 machines (which would have involved downloading cracked files and disabling our drm). It was generally the smaller companies who did not pay for any licences, but equally, all of the 10% with no compliance breaches were small or indie studios.

            We recognised however, the short sightedness of punishing companies for past transgressions, and at least while I was at the company, focused on bringing your next project to compliance (as close as possible) because quite frankly, the ubiquity of our products drove sales, got students learning skills required for our software, and the word of mouth for us was more important than criminalising our clients.

            So how do you feel now, about piracy, knowing that nearly 9 in 10 games were created as a result of some form of piracy?

            FYI, I know for a fact that the copy of Microsoft office on my machine while I worked there wasn’t properly licenced, and I doubt that Windows was either, so we were hardly blameless victims either

          • skorpeyon says:

            Frankly, the only reason I’ve bothered to pirate games in the past has been to try them out without having to purchase them at full retail first. This type of piracy could easily be stopped by simply returning to the old-school practice of releasing demos. Some games still do, but it seems like a vast majority skimp out on it and it’s disappointing. Now, with the prevalence of things like “Let’s Play”s and video reviews it’s far easier for me to look into a game in detail before purchasing it. I’d still love to see more demos out there, though, or something akin to Telltale’s occasional free “episode” of a game, giving you a significant taste of what it’s like without having to spend money on it first.

          • Poor People says:

            @teije

            I agree. There are plenty of ways these poor rascals can be entertained. Like kicking the curb, beating sticks on rocks, harassing children on social media, beating up the homeless and elder during late nights, fighting ISIL with Kurdish fighters, or cutting up and crusifying random animals in the woods.

            Seriously though, if it’s a luxury, why are video games, like other electronic entertainment, being paraded like it’s something everyone should have? The mainstream video game industry is a overcommercialized scam, affordable only in first world countries with strong currencies and robust local demand. And regarding the “gazillions” of free games, how many of them were build with quality? How many of them have the staying power or community to be worth talking about or experiencing? How many of them aren’t just one-trick ponies with repetitive gameplay, or pay-to-win drek? How many of them have multiplayer that doesn’t end up being dead within a few days after it receives a spike in publicity? How many of these free games are only partially completed and will never be finished? Games like these already exist in the Steam realm, and are not free no less.

            You’re suggesting that in reality, if you don’t have the purchasing power to get games people talk about at the moment, you’re a low-class pleb condemned to only be able to get discounted ones which community is most likely to be on the downtrend, or trash budget or free games. So, yeah. Don’t bother with games, ya dirty low-class trash/foreigner.

          • Poor People says:

            @teije

            I agree. There are plenty of ways these poor rascals can be entertained. Like kicking the curb, beating sticks on rocks, harassing children on social media, beating up the homeless and elder during late nights, or fighting ISIL with Kurdish fighters.

            Seriously though, if it’s a luxury, why are video games, like other electronic entertainment, being paraded like it’s something everyone should have? The mainstream video game industry is a overcommercialized scam, affordable only in first world countries with strong currencies and robust local demand. And regarding the “gazillions” of free games, how many of them were build with quality? How many of them have the staying power or community to be worth talking about or experiencing? How many of them aren’t just one-trick ponies with repetitive gameplay, or pay-to-win drek? How many of them have multiplayer that doesn’t end up being dead within a few days after it receives a spike in publicity? How many of these free games are only partially completed and will never be finished? Games like these already exist in the Steam realm, and are not free no less.

            You’re suggesting that in reality, if you don’t have the purchasing power to get games people talk about at the moment, you’re a low-class pleb condemned to only be able to get discounted ones which community is most likely to be on the downtrend, or trash budget or free games. So, yeah. Don’t bother with games, ya dirty low-class trash/foreigner.

        • Kitsunin says:

          No one’s saying pirating is doing a favor, merely that the possibility exists for it turns out to have a net positive impact in the end.

          What is clearly true, however, is that pirating is a harmless action when perpetrated by those without disposable income.

          • geisler says:

            Those that do not have disposable income and claim they need luxury goods like games, should be out there earning disposable income, not stealing intellectual property.

          • frymaster says:

            It’s one that doesn’t cause financial harm. But I think creative people – and even developers at EA and Ubisoft count! – have a right to be pissed off if someone rips off their work, and I don’t think the argument “well it’s not harming anyone when I enjoy the results of your hard work for free” goes over terribly well.

          • silentdan says:

            stealing intellectual property

            Stealing? No, stealing means depriving someone else of something. If I download JC3 illegally, then start selling it to people and pocketing the money, *that’s* stealing.

            I’m not defending copyright infringement. I’m not defending vandalism either, but if you described the tagging of a bridge abutment as murder, I’d still point out that it isn’t.

          • Ooops says:

            @silentdan

            You’re depriving someone of the revenue of his/her work. IF that’s not stealing, then getting all the credit for a colleague’s idea is not theft either.

          • silentdan says:

            @Ooops Yes, that’s correct. Taking credit for someone else’s idea is lying, not stealing. Just because something isn’t stealing, doesn’t mean it’s okay. If someone punches me in the face, I will not call that person a thief. Doesn’t mean it’s okay to punch me in the face.

          • Ich Will says:

            @frymaster – yes, you have a right to be pissed off, I get pissed off when someone cuts a queue in front of me, but to claim that being pissed off is to be done harm is crackers!

            @Ooops – you are only depriving someone of revinue if you would have purchased the game anyway. Now I for one roll my eyes when a friend who I catch pirating claims that they wouldn’t have purchased it if it wasn’t avaliable for them to pirate, but it can’t be denied that plenty of people pirate games that they would never have purchased, and those peple deprive the creatives, publishers and stores of nothing.

          • SuicideKing says:

            @geisler Expecting anyone below 18 to have some form of disposable income is absurd. Between 18 and 26 the only way most people will have a “disposable” income is if they live with other people, mostly family – otherwise too much overhead compared to income.

          • Kitsunin says:

            It’s a ridiculous fallacy that time spent not doing something that isn’t productive = money.

            Say a student spends an hour each day gaming. The rest of their day is filled with studying and potentially a part time job with set hours, and since they have no disposable income their gaming time is filled with pirated games.

            With one spare hour each day, they couldn’t find an extra hour to fill that slot if they tried, that’s just not how it works, work isn’t sitting there waiting to slot itself into your schedule like a puzzle piece. And besides, with so little spare time, using what little they have on work would likely harm their grades.

            Hell, one could argue that by not pirating in this case, it harms the industry in the long run because their failing in school means they make less money which means they can spend less on games in the future.

          • Ich Will says:

            @Kitsunin Equally, relaxing and destressing is important to not only your present productivity but your future health and mental health. That hour playing games may increase your productivity to more than make up for the “lost” hour

          • nicbizz says:

            @suicideking @kitsunin

            I can see your point.

            I mean, I earn about $60,000 a year, but after budgeting for mortgages, car payments, weekend at the pub with the boys, vacation with the missus, and the yearly replacement of new electronics, I too have no disposable income to spend on games.

            I should be able to walk into the nearest GameStop, and pay no more than $5 for any game. That should be more than enough to cover the printing and shipping cost of the CD.

            Pharmacies too should not expect anyone to pay more than a buck for any pill, cause really, the ingredients are pennies to produce.

            In fact, Disney should do free screenings of The Force Awakens too for folks like me who have no budget to pay for a movie ticket.

            After all, intellectual property is not real, and I wasn’t going to purchase any of these things in the first place, so I should (perversely) be entitled to them for free.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Wow, good job, you managed to create a scenario where piracy isn’t so justified. Therefore it should be completely eradicated for those who might benefit from it without causing harm!

            But uh, the thing about what you’re saying is, why not actually have that be the case, on a sliding scale based on income? I’m pretty sure that world could be a paradise, if properly managed (the hard part, and why piracy should probably continue to exist).

          • VitalMoss says:

            Alright, I wasn’t sure which of the 5,000 threads I should post in, so I’ll just post it here. Keep in mind this is primarily anecdotal, and I only speak for myself on this issue.

            I am a pirate, and have pirated many games in the past. I will continue to pirate games, and there is nothing you can do to stop me. I am also a consumer, as of now, I have 7,000 cumulative hours in over 151 games on Steam (Prolly about 40 of those being Triple-A).

            Generally speaking, I will buy a game I pirate. Not out of guilt or because of DRM, but because I enjoyed the game and I understand that studio sweat- errr I mean, Developers need to eat too.

            However, there’s plenty of times where I’ll pirate a game and not buy it, sometimes it’s because of the abhorrent practices that the studios are apart of, and sometimes it’s because the game is trash. A lot of of the times it’s because I’m broke (Surprise!).

            Now, I have never seen pirating as stealing because;
            1. Most games that are easily pirated are games that have been bought by a lot of people (some of those people being pirates), and in turn a lot of people pirate it because either they want to see what the hype is about, or they have friends who are playing it *Right now.* Exclusion doesn’t breed profit, and no one likes to play a multiplayer game without friends.

            2. Video Games (and other electronic media/tools) are in a strange wonderland-esque limbo between service and product. Some companies treat their games like a service, that they can revoke if they don’t like what you do with it. Others treat it like a good, something that is yours until you die. Then you have those assholes who hedgewalled the multiplayer server support so when they inevitably close it down, you have to pay for the new game just to fucking play it. This fustercluck is problematic because there’s no real basis for expectations in games. If I go to a movie, I know I’m seeing a movie once, and I have to pay to see it again. If I buy a ball from the store, I know that ball is mine and I can play with it, or pop it, or whatever. It’s my ball.
            Consumerism shouldn’t prosper in this kind of environment, and it’s doing so in spite of reality. Companies don’t treat me with respect, they consistently do their best to cushion their bottom line and it ends with sub-par games that are not even remotely worth the cost to make it (Yes, I understand the development costs that go in, but at the scale we are talking about the game just *isn’t worth what they charge*). EA hasn’t changed their formula in years, Ubisoft went for a shitty DRM/”Platform” That no one wants, Even Rockstar is fucking with us. Not everything is bought from steam, and not every game takes 2 days (or 14 hours of gameplay) to figure out it’s worth. Sometimes, I do in fact have to play the entire game to decide if the game is worth playing, and if it is I (personally) will do my best to make sure they get my money.

            What I do not understand in these comments is how people can act like pirates are these scum-of-the-earth types, eating babies and whatnot, when Pirates are just as integral to the video game ecosystem as the consumer. Not only that, but this general vitriol towards people with less money (“If you don’t have money for it, Earn it!”) is ridiculously classist. Not everyone is capable of making enough money to afford games, but that doesn’t change the fact that most people in this category need some entertainment (And trust me, I’ve seen the alternative “Entertainment” in lower-income areas. It’s not legal either.).

            I know this is long-winded, but I needed to at least try to convey my feelings on the matter. This whole argument is ridiculous and obviously biased (Ironically it’s the developers who I see more often defending privacy, well on top of pirates themselves of course).

        • Apocalypse says:

          It so hilarious that free to play is currently the big thing of the industry.

          It so hilarious that the spawn installation (well and cracks) raised the ownership for starcraft from 1/10 to 7 out of 10 on lan parties, etc

          Sure, anecdoted != facts, but it seems that there is indeed a certain appeal of spreading the word about good games. At the same time this fails flat when the game is not good enough, which means the DRM and review embargos are one of the best sales strategies for today’s AAA games. ;-)

          With all that said: Don´t play if you do not want to pay. Tons of alternatives around.

        • Arkayjiya says:

          You use theft as if it was the end all argument, but theft isn’t bad because of some absolute system of value, it’s bad because it hurts someone. So call it theft if you want, I don’t care. All I care about is if I remove a product from the person I’m stealing from (which is obviously not the case) or if I deprive them from a sale (which is not the case if I have no money). I don’t even have a chip in the game as I’ve never pirated a game in my life (I may have had a diablo 1 CD copy from a friend when I was 14, so maybe I did pirate one game once, not sure) but I’m starting to get really annoyed about the completely irrational arguments.

      • stairmasternem says:

        Like everything else in life, if you cannot afford it you should not be able to have it.

        • Ich Will says:

          In the real world however, plenty of people can have things they cannot afford. I cannot afford a ferrari, but many years ago, a friend let me have a go in his. So I had the experience of driving a Ferrari despite not being able to afford to have that experience (even for an hour – it’s like £180!!!). Are you genuinely saying, that my friend morally and ethically shouldn’t have let me drive his car unless I produced bank statements proving I had enough to pay for this at going rate?

          • liquidsoap89 says:

            That situation you described as akin to playing a demo for a game.

          • Ich Will says:

            It is in no way comparible to computer games, which is why the blanket statement was ludicrus

        • LionsPhil says:

          Aren’t you a bundle of joy and compassion for your fellow man.

        • DarkFenix says:

          I don’t think my old man could have afforded to have a double heart bypass a few years back, guess he should have gone and died instead. Kindly let your brain do some work before your fingers.

        • Giuseppe says:

          I’d like to say a few words on behalf of all the people who can’t afford food, shelter or medical care… but it would probably have to be deleted.

          Instead I’ll just agree with the person who commented above. Yeah, turn on your brain before letting your fingers loose.

        • TWChristine says:

          I know this is essentially veering off-topic and I apologize, but I want you to hear this anecdote: my wife was from a very poor family, to the extent that they often didn’t have much, if anything to eat. Because of this, she dropped out of school to work so that she could buy lunches for her younger brother.

          The husband of my cousin once saw someone buying a candybar with their foodstamps; he was so incensed with this that he wrote his congressman complaining that people on food stamps shouldn’t be buying candy on his dime. My wife then told him about her childhood and how sometimes even something as small as a candybar could lighten up your mood and make you forget how bad things were.
          Note: I’m not trying to make a point for/against piracy, I’m more-so trying to say that your viewpoint sucks and I sincerely hope you never have to be in a similar situation.

        • Yglorba says:

          That’s dumb. Capitalism is inherently amoral; having money (and the advantages that money can buy, like health, education, a stable home environment and so on) lets you earn more money. As long as it’s possible to inherent money, or to get those advantages by accident of birth, the argument that someone deserves more games, better toys, and so on simply because they have more money is bunk. I’m not saying I have a better system, but taking a moral tone about how “having money gives you the right to better things” and, implicitly, “lacking money means you have less right to good things than someone who has money” is a terrible argument. We all make do with the flawed system as best we can, but no, I absolutely don’t believe that someone with a million dollars inherently deserves to own anything more than someone who has none; money has no moral value and represents no moral worth. No amount of money gives you can give you any more right to anything at all; whether you have no money or a billion dollars, your rights are the same, and you deserve the same things.

          This doesn’t mean that people should go around smashing windows and stealing stuff; grabbing whatever you want because you’re strong enough to take it is even worse than basing it on money. The fact that we sometimes have limited resources and are forced to allocate them in a broken, amoral system where wealth forms reinforcing cycles across generations is a fact of life. But using “you don’t have money, so you don’t have the right to this game” (as if simply being born into a lot of money, or into a situation where you can earn a lot of money — as if a sudden illness or disaster that wipes out your bank account means your moral rights suddenly diminish) is idiotic. Martin Shkreli and Donald Trump don’t have some sort of moral right to having more things than everyone else. Having money doesn’t give you a right to play games, either. That’s not the level of things that rights are worth talking about for.

      • oueddy says:

        If you like gaming, don’t pirate. There is no valid reason for pirating a game in the western world.

        If you consider it too expensive, gaming is still crazy cheap for what you actually get compared to so many other forms of entertainment. I’m lucky that I can afford to play what I want, but I wasn’t always so lucky.
        If you consider the title not worth paying for, you are lying to yourself if you pirate it. It must have some inherent economic value to you so should be paid for.
        Its not victimless, unless you are literally storing the games files on your drive, there is lost value by you not paying for it.
        Nowadays you can even return steam games so the ‘demo’ argument is also trite.

        It saddens me to see the level of piracy at LAN parties, why kill the thing you love?

        • Ich Will says:

          Your argument doesn’t make any sense – If someone can access something for free, then them accessing it doesn’t in any way prove that it had economic value to them, because they didn’t pay anything to access it. It proves that they valued that experience at precisely zero. You would need further evidence to prove that it in fact did have value to them – like they played it, at all and maybe entheused over it on a forum.

        • Mortivore says:

          “If you like gaming, don’t pirate. There is no valid reason for pirating a game in the western world… If you consider the title not worth paying for, you are lying to yourself if you pirate it.”

          How do I know if a title is worth paying for if there is no possible way for me to try it out except taking the gamble and paying full price. We’ve lost the majority of demos years ago; there is no thing called ‘sampling’ when you’re buying a game. It’s not like I can go to the store and ‘rent’a game anymore; those times are passed us now.

          Review sites (looking at you PC Gamer) get less trustworthy by the day. Should I really blindly follow the opinion of others (review sites, metacritic) before I buy a game? Maybe get a friend to waste money on a game so I can try it at his place?

          Truth is the games industry has become more and more dodgy with the years and as a customer I protect myself from wasting money on half arsed ports, broken releases and empty promises.

          I’m sure as hell glad I pirated Watch Dogs so I could remove it 5 minutes later instead of sinking 60 bucks into it.

          I have to protect myself; I might not have played a 150 games on my steam list, but that could easily be 300 if it weren’t for piracy keeping me from plunging money into bad games.

          • maninahat says:

            That’s funny about Watch Dogs, because I knew not to “gamble” my money based on whether to buy it because of all the professional reviewers and customers complaining about how bland and rubbish it was. Hell, if I wanted, I could have watched a few hours of lets plays or asked on some forums if I was still undecided. I didn’t have to “borrow” to make the decision. I like having demos, but there are so many alternatives these days to help you make a reasonable consumer decision, they are mostly redundant.

            But supposing you did like the game after you pirated it, would you uninstall it after five minutes and then pay for it full price? Or would you play the whole thing, wait a few months for its price to decline, and only then maybe perhaps buy it in a Steam sale for the hell of it? I get the feeling most pirates claiming to just “demo” the games do the latter.

            Put me in the camp that says piracy is stealing. Sure, you haven’t actually taken a physical object, but “copyright infringement” is a bit wishy washy, and doesn’t quite sell the fact that you still have taken something from someone else without their permission. Now excuse me whilst I sneak into the backdoor of a cinema to watch Vengeful 8, and then later get defensive when people suggest I’m a cheap, thieving sonofabitch.

          • Michael Anson says:

            You do realize that you don’t have a right to be entertained, right? Your decision is being made simply because you fell you deserve to play those games without paying for them.

        • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

          There IS a Vivaldi reason to do it. Look, I buy lots of video games, some when they come out at full price, like JC3, AC:S and many others; and some I buy when they’re on sale. But some games I simply pirate. Now those games which I have pirated, I never would have purchased in the first place.

          I would never have purchased Alien Isolation, because I knew I wouldn’t spend more than a couple of hours on it, and I’m fucked if I’m spending 45 quid on a game I’m going to play for a tiny bit then put down forever. If the option of piracy wasn’t there I simply wouldn’t have bought it, so no one is losing any money from me.

          • Buggery says:

            Out of interest, if you knew you wouldn’t enjoy it, and uninstalled it after 2 hours when you confirmed that – why bother?

            If the game had surprised you and you decided to finish it, would you have paid full price for an actual copy? If not, why even bother in the first place? It seems that either you would have pirated the game (thus denying the publisher a sale), or you knowingly wasted your time on something you knew you would not enjoy doing.

          • OneStrayBullet says:

            Then don’t fucking play the game. Find something worthwhile you actually do value and then do that instead. You don’t have an inherent right to enjoy someone else’s, and saying you wouldn’t have purchased it anyways doesn’t make it okay. If you don’t want to pay for it, you don’t get to play it. This isn’t even slightly a valid reason. You are free to pirate if you want, none of us can stop you, but don’t pretend like what you are doing is acceptable.

      • Bforceny says:

        As much as I like the idea of free stuff, word of mouth doesn’t pay the bills, the rent, or even your salary.

      • Phier says:

        35 years of gaming here. Pirated two games. One I feel bad about, the other one I don’t (lost the disk I bought). I’m hoping piracy comes to an end soon. The argument people make that it somehow helps the gaming industry is laughable.

      • Sabbatai says:

        If you are unable to afford a game, you should be doing more important things than playing video games you didn’t pay for.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Or wait a while until it’s inevitably discounted in a Steam sale…

      • silentdan says:

        I know game prices can vary by region, so maybe this isn’t happening everywhere, but AAA games are really pricing themselves out of my reach. Fallout 4’s launch price, not including any DLC, is 60% higher than Fallout: New Vegas was at launch. MGS: Phantom Pain is within $5 of being just as bad. When they went on sale for 40% off over the holidays, the price tag was still higher than it would’ve been at launch had it been released a year ago. It might not hurt them so much if there weren’t sixty metric tons of high-quality games listed alongside it for a fraction of the price.

        Seriously, between a $40 game and two $20 games, I’ll often just get the $40 game. Between an $80 game and four $20 games, I dunno, but it just really changes the value proposition for me. I’m taking 4 for $20 every time, these days.

        • Apocalypse says:

          And my gaming libs say that I have took way to often those 16 $4.99 games at 75% off. Really decent games like Skyrim, Dishonored, Witcher 3 sitting in my libs with literally zero playtime, simply because I got not time to play them … meanwhile my league of legends playtime is over 900 and my terraria playtime in the hundreds as well.

          Games are dirt cheap these days if you stay away from stupid, buggy and downright broken console ports, which are the so called triple A titles for the most part anyway. .

  3. silentdan says:

    Can anyone fill me in on how this DRM works, broadly speaking? I kind of had the impression that it was constantly checking in with a server, which was why I didn’t buy the game (I prefer games that can cope if my internet craps out for an hour or two) but now I can’t remember why I thought that.

    • RCoon says:

      I don’t think that’s the case. I had JC3 (legitimate review copy) blocked in Windows firewall from in/outbound communication and it still operated perfectly fine.

    • Morte66 says:

      Judging by the wikipedia article on Denuvo linked above, it’s not (widely) known how it works.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      It’s not perfectly clear how this works, but it’s known that it can harm performance. A working pirate version would be a better game, that’s the irony of it.

      The only bad thing about the decline of piracy is that it will help something even worse to gain more traction: dodgy key resellers.

      I know some people don’t like to hear this, but i’ll say it regardless: i don’t think they should get even more money than what they’re getting now.

      • suibhne says:

        How is that “known”, if there can’t be side-by-side comparisons of the game with and without it? Sure, it’s intuitively compelling, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          link to gamespot.com

          This is a random example that is not only related to performance but also drive durability, but even then it’s widely know as something that constantly does a lot of crap.

          If you want to be so literal about it we could argue that even 1% is a statiscal difference.

          • Sabbatai says:

            That Denuvo is damaging to SSDs has been pretty thoroughly debunked.

            Can be easily Googled.

      • Premium User Badge

        Godwhacker says:

        “A working pirate version would be a better game, that’s the irony of it.”

        …providing of course it’s a ‘clean’ version that doesn’t turn your computer into a botnet zombie

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Well yes, off course, although you might be surprised at the sheer amount of clean and honest releases out there.

          …Not that i would have first hand experience of that off course, eheheh.

      • LionsPhil says:

        The only bad thing about the decline of piracy…

        …you mean apart from the fact that, so long as DRM is around, it’s allowing culture to be lost to time as servers are shut off, and hardware and software environments it works on fade away while it simultaneously hampers emulation of them?

        If you have a game from the turn of the millenium you want to run in a virtual machine on your future space computer, it’s usually easier to no-CD crack it than it is to try to get a working rip of your DRM-crippled retail CD, then a virtual drive that accurately preserves all those cripples so the DRM system is happy. If you manage, chances are you use tools painted with the piracy brush, that have specific support for reading DRM-crippled disks (e.g. DaemonTools’ SafeDisc emulation).

        Piracy going forever would only be a good thing if DRM went with it, because DRM affects more than those who are actually pirating software.

        • LionsPhil says:

          *going away forever
          (damnit, edit)

        • Ich Will says:

          While I couldn’t agree with you more, this line of thinking is quite badly undermined by the existance of GOG who earn a living by doing a lot of work in getting old games to work legally.

          • Sirius1 says:

            @Ich Will
            “While I couldn’t agree with you more, this line of thinking is quite badly undermined by the existance of GOG who earn a living by doing a lot of work in getting old games to work legally.”

            Except that many of the older GOG games are actually cracked versions. The source code for older games has for the most part been long lost, and so there is no chance of removing the DRM code. The pirate versions are the only way to have DRM-free.

          • ansionnach says:

            Sirius1 is correct. For example, the executable in the gog Knights of the Old Republic II release is the Carbon cracked version, but with the word “CARBON” scrubbed from it. A binary compare confirms this. The original executable with SecuROM is 13.1MB. Both the Carbon and gog executables are the exact same size (4.36MB). Other cracked versions of the executable are different sizes. It’s extremely unlikely that they’d have cracked it themselves and gotten the same result.

            While gog releases of old games have used scene cracks, it should be easy for a new release to be done DRM-free as the source code and build environment already exist. What I’d like to see here is a commitment from publishers to a DRM-free release at some point. Even if DRM becomes undefeatable (unlikely) or so successful that it keeps games unpirated for a critical six months to a year after release, they’re going to lose the custom of people like myself if they go down the DRM-only road. I’m happy to wait a year as I’m in no hurry to play the latest games. A year or two is a nice amount of time to wait for hype to die down and see if the excitement wasn’t just everyone losing their heads. Again.

        • Premium User Badge

          DuncUK says:

          To be fair though, there are examples in the past of game companies patching the DRM out of their games, a year or so after release. Not for any particular altruistic reason, but because the company that authored the DRM probably charges ongoing license fees and there’s no point continuing to protect a game that you’re now selling for £5 in steam sales.

        • lokimotive says:

          That’s certainly a compelling argument against DRM being as pervasive as it is, but the larger issue is really how poorly the industry as a whole has been with longterm preservation. Ideally the source code and assets should be backed up by a third party (like an archive, say), so that the can be recompiled for future systems, but that is so far from happening it’s hardly a glimmer. Circumventing DRM is a band-aid, and will be an increasingly necessary one, but if the industry isn’t careful, 100 years from now this period of video games is going to be about as accessible as the early days of television.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          I worded that a little hastily, i didn’t literally mean that as the “only” bad thing.

          And yeah, you’re right, i just didn’t think as deep about it.

        • Premium User Badge

          gritz says:

          DRM is only one cause of Software Rot. There’s a lot of reasons old games won’t play well on modern systems, and DRM is usually the least of them.

      • Deadly Sinner says:

        There’s zero evidence that it harms performance. Certainly, in my own experience, MGSV, which uses Denuvo, runs as well as Ground Zeroes, which does not. I’m guessing the claims of it harming performance come from Arkham Knight, the problems of which did not come from the DRM.

        Additionally, for the games I’ve played, at least, it doesn’t require you to be online, doesn’t force you to sign into anything, doesn’t force you to download a useless client, and doesn’t limit your installations. As far as I can tell, it’s a win-win for everyone. Hell, even pirates win, since they still get to pirate games, it just takes weeks instead of hours.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          It still does far too many actions that are only required for it to work as copy protection, not to make you play the game.

          Drive degradation is a thing aswell. Performance related issues might happen on lower end machines or those with certain bottlenecks.

          Even if i’m wrong and nothing happens performance wise, you’re still having extra software that incessantly hammers your disk/SSD, for no gaming related reason. At the end it’s a parasite.

    • frymaster says:

      The game wants to phone home for sharing high scores and similar things (though it doesn’t rely on them if you don’t have a current connection) but this is separate from the DRM. It is, however, according to tons of people, very annoying.

    • LionsPhil says:

      At least one quality is known: it does some kind of online activation handshake, because they host a page to enable it (presumably for some cases where doing it silently and automatically fails).

      Thankfully I remembered to check PCGW before going “ooh, more of JC2, buy!”.

  4. rondertaker says:

    if piracy dies (or becomes marginal) it won’t be because of better DRM, it will be because digital distribution/sales/bundles have made it largely obsolete, in much the same way that streaming sites have finally made it easier to watch films legally than to steal them. personally i used to pirate games i couldn’t afford at the moment, but now with a huge backlog of games waiting for me to play I’m perfectly content to just wait a few years and buy them for a song.

    • Moogie says:

      GorillaVid, ShareSix, Vodlocker, DaClips, thevideo, watchseries, etc etc etc etc would like a word with you about that point…

    • lokimotive says:

      Personally I have to agree with both of these points (though I don’t think that’s true for most people). I used to pirate games and movies all the time, but it’s just easier to wait to obtain them legally at this point. If I can’t afford something right now, that’s fine, I’ve got plenty of other things to occupy my time. That revelation didn’t really come fully until after I had a child, though, and realized that playing games was largely a waste of precious alone time, and that searching out cracked versions was an even bigger waste of precious alone time.

  5. karthink says:

    I would like it if games were uncrackable for a while, like an year, just so publishers can see what it does to their sales. At least they’ll have to find a new excuse when their game performs below expectations.

    Also, there was a lot of (mis)information about Denuvo DRM floating around when Dragon Age Inquisition and Lords of the Fallen were released: High CPU usage, wrecks SSDs, etc. Any idea how much of it was FUD?

    • SpoonySeeker says:

      I agree. Whith Just Cause 2 the hype that sprung up around it after release was unreal. videos, references, and recommendations everywhere for months afterwards.

      This time around, it’s been almost nonexistant. all I’ve seen is some gifs from a single youtube streamer (robbaz)? posted on reddit during the release week.

      I would really not be surprised if the people who do the most word-of-mouth advertising and content creation on the internet are cash-strapped high schoolers and university students. It will be interesting to see how new IPs and game releases fare when the free advertising they used to get dries up. Especially now with the strong USD, lots of countries are getting priced out of the AAA game.

      I know I have absolutely no desire to pay $80 CAD for a 6 hour singeplayer game I cannot try beforehand.

    • asehujiko says:

      Denuvo wearing out SSDs is often exaggerated but true. It’s performance effects are harder to gauge because the companies that use Denuvo are also the main purveyors of garbage ports.

  6. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    “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”

    I guess it was somehow implied they were referring to the usual AAA thing with 60-90 euro as asking price.

  7. RaunakS says:

    I’m ashamed to say that I exclusively relied on pirated games bought from the roadside for some 10 rupees or passed along among friends. I never felt anything about the practice since I never knew anyone who owned a legitimate game. And since nobody was rich enough to own a console, even the starting of DRM didn’t affect us at all.

    I do better now that I can afford it. I’ve not pirated a game for many years, and I evangelize buying originals to all my colleagues (though it kinda hurts that a AAA game costs me a week’s salary). Thanks to Steam and GoG and the like, I believe piracy will soon go the way of the dinosaur.

  8. ohms says:

    I think Steam has already pretty much killed off piracy as any real threat to PC gaming. Wait a while and all PC games are dirt cheap and so easy to download and play. Valve have made it easier to pay for, and play, games. Piracy used to be easier back in the late 90s/early 00s. Not anymore.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Now that they added their universal refund policy there’s even less reason to pirate too.

    • xyzzy frobozz says:

      I agree.

      For the entirely reasonable price that I have to pay for games on Steam, going through the massive hassle of trying to source, download and then run a pirated game just isn’t worth it.

      To be clear, I haven’t pirated a game since Commodore Amiga some 20 years ago. I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on games during that time.

      Good I say! I really, really dislike piracy. If you can’t afford a game, wait for it to be discounted.

      If you still can’t afford it, get a fucking job.

      • silentdan says:

        If you still can’t afford it, get a fucking job.

        All over the world, the middle class is withering. Lots of people work hard for 40-60 hours a week just to keep the lights on, nevermind having an entertainment budget beyond beyond basic cable. I agree that creatives deserve to be paid, but not everyone with cashflow problems is unemployed or lazy.

        • Ooops says:

          I understand your idea, but with 50+ hours game frequently selling at $5 or less when discounted, the proportion of working people who genuinely can’t buy all the PC game entertainment they need is very small. And those people probably have no half-capable PC to run the games on anyway.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Are we pretending people living on a shoestring budget aren’t prone to dabbling in the game of the moment like the rest of us? Might as well say “why don’t they just play Nethack forever?”

            A game is not some interchangable, consumable resource you play until it wears out, then buy another one to replace it.

          • silentdan says:

            “And those people probably have no half-capable PC to run the games on anyway.”

            That’s just silly. There are millions of children in the world who have access to the family computer, but no income. Every year, large numbers of people of people lose their jobs and tighten their belts until they can find work again. Every year, tens if not hundreds of thousands of couples experience unplanned pregnancies, and kids are expensive. There are a lot of things that can happen to a person that restrict budgets but don’t cause computers to spontaneous downgrade.

          • Ooops says:

            @LionsPhil: Yes that’s pretty much what I’m saying. I have no budget to watch all the new shiny movies I’d like to watch. Guess what? I’m subscribed to Netflix, because it’s a lot cheaper, and I watch older movies. I’ve never used that as an excuse to torrent movies currently playing in the theatres.

            And “the rest of us” doesn’t necessarily play $60 AAA games released hours ago. Plenty of us are waiting for sales or play cheaper indie games.

          • Ooops says:

            @silentdan: I think those unexpected life events that don’t leave you with $5 to buy a game are considerably rarer than the people who use such things as an excuse to grab something for free.

          • silentdan says:

            @ooops Oh, did we switch to talking about $5 games? I agree, then. I chastise my friends when I see them pirating $5 games. When I see them pirating $80 games, I assume they have their reasons.

          • Michael Anson says:

            @silentdan The reason is that they can’t be bothered to wait until those are $5 games. There is no right to be entertained, and there are more than enough free and cheap games available to enjoy.

          • Kitsunin says:

            It’s been 6 years and it has a sequel, yet the cheapest the complete The Sims 3 has ever been was $80. For a lot of people I know, The Sims is an absolute cornerstone of how they destress after a series of really shit days. With what I know of these people, it seems cruel to imagine that they should be unable to do that despite their piracy of the product being harmless.

            Besides, much like with movies, you simply can’t be a part of the community if you can’t stay reasonably up-to-date on things. If I hadn’t pirated games prior to my first job, there’s no way I’d be a gamer now. I wouldn’t have just kept to free stuff, I would have given up on gaming. That may have actually had a positive impact on my life, I honestly couldn’t begin to guess, but I will say that it would certainly be to the detriment of the industry in the long term and even the short term, because I still spent way too much fucking money on games back then, via presents from my relatives, because I was a really awful at judging what I might like.

        • Apocalypse says:

          cut basic cable TV and get instead ~15-20 games per months via humble and other sales.

          I would say you get better value that way, because in all honestly TV is going the way of the print media.

      • rumtotinggamer says:

        lol purlease, people with loadsa money are even more tight and likely to pirate something than anyone else.
        Piracy is just a moral but mainly convenience choice, you know you can get it for free, you also know you can buy it, being people are so busy busy busy nowadays they generally opt for the option that gives them instant results and a warm glow of owning something, and doesn’t involve waiting, torrents & cracks.
        And lets not forget what shoddy DRM can do to your game & system, remember starforce, securom, and when Arkham Knight came out denuvo was being looked at as a culprit.

      • Jediben says:

        By the logic you employ, I can’t afford a game at £40 so I can’t play it. 12 months later the experience of the game is likely to have improved through patching, dlc, bug fixes etc and it pips up in a sale at £10 that I can afford. The better version of the game is now worth less than the day one bullshit release at £40. The game experience therefore was NEVER worth £40, so why the hell should anyone feel bad to experience it for less than that initial bullshit evaluation and then pay for it later at the lower price?

        • Michael Anson says:

          And by that same logic, what’s the point of pirating when the game is better and cheaper over time anyway?

      • Premium User Badge

        kfix says:

        I don’t think I’ve ever pirated a game (ripped some music CDs maybe), but I’ve been lucky enough to always have had enough disposable income to meet my gaming desires.

        Not everyone is in the same situation – see the comment a few above yours “(though it kinda hurts that a AAA game costs me a week’s salary)”.

        Telling people to just get a job is obnoxious, because it’s rarely that easy even in the most affluent countries. I’m sure you don’t mean to be obnoxious.

  9. ScottTFrazer says:

    The secondary use I always had for pirated copies was if the DRM was causing me grief. The last time I remember that happening was TAGES on Anno 1404.

    Ironically it was my own fault. I was having trouble connecting houses to resources and kept assuming I had a bad install of the game. After 3 re-installs it locked me out. Turns out I just wasn’t building my road network properly.

    The simplicity of Steam and GOG has trumped any benefits I would see from pirating these days and I never have to wonder if some bug I’m seeing is introduced by a bad crack or just inherent in the game.

  10. hippiehacker says:

    Steam Refunds do help this issue. I’m like most; now gainfully employed I buy my games. Dev’s gotta eat too.

    The problem really lies in a few things; in the past stand alone benchmarks, or slices of the game as demos or shareware were common place. Without these; it’s really hard for people to determine how a particular game will run or if the mechanics are something they would enjoy.

    I think throughout the height of my piracy days I only ever beat one of the games I pirated. Mostly; being a self proclaimed pixel whore; I just want to see the new shiny run on my kit and call it a day.

    TL;DR If shareware becomes common place, coupled with steam refunds; game piracy can finally be put to rest.

  11. Laurentius says:

    Piracy is a lifeblood of PC gaming, if this predictions are true it would be a huge dent into PC gaming market as we know it. So after all Steambox might turn to be a thing in a couple of years.

    PS. inb4 stupid people scream at me at my initial statement, PC piracy is not two side coin of either/or type of thing but open world of possibilties, a continuum that stretch from 100% legal games to 100 % pirated games, allwoing consumers navigating it according to many factors.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      “Piracy is a lifeblood of PC gaming,”

      That’s delusional. Piracy was the reason PC gaming was in the bad state that it was back in 2007-2010, or thereabouts. A combination of Steam sales and the then aging consoles are the reason PC gaming is so strong today. You simply can’t expect developers to support your platform with games if you refuse to pay for them.

      • Laurentius says:

        Why didn’t you read my PS ?
        Openness of PC platform is its lifeblood. Openness in hardware, software and also of legal or illegal ways of obtaining software. There are no either..or situations. You don’t have people who only pirate games and people who only buy legal games the same you don’t only have people who either upgrade their gfx every month or every 7 years. It is continuum. Also somewhow piracy is stronger then 2007, games are torrented in bigger numbers then in 2007 but also legal market is thriving. So once again openness is big advantge of PC. Like you may start witch cheapest gfx, knowing that in future you may run a beast gfx, same goes with piracy , you may have only 30 % of legal games the year you started, and in three years end up buying 100% of your games lagally.

  12. Synesthesia says:

    If it weren’t for piracy, I wouldn’t be as passionate about videogames as I am now. As simple as that.

    There was no way my parents would’ve been able to afford avery psx game at full retail price, in south america of all places. Now I buy every single game that I play, but I had towers of cd’s for my chipped PSX and PSX2. It gave me countless memories with my brother, and now that I can, I pay for it.
    But it would be a shame if future generations got locked out of that, simply for economical reasons.

    Which is impossible, I know, but it got me thinking anyways.

    • nicbizz says:

      I grew up in SE Asia, so I can totally relate. But our situation is from a different time and age.

      Steam sales changed everything. Triple AAA games at some point will go for less than 10 bucks, which should be within the affordable range for leisure activities. There is really no compelling argument to pirate.

      Unless you want it now. Like right at release. If so, pay the fuck for the privilege.

      • Synesthesia says:

        Oh, I absolutely agree. My brother is still broke, and just starting to make his own money, and he has a nice steam collection. Valve know what it’s doing, and I applaud them for it.

        Still, people underestimate how much of a privilege an international credit card is in some countries.

  13. Edgewise says:

    I have to admit that I pirate a fair amount of media, but I draw the line at games. Why? The primary reason is because I think it’s moronic to run a pirated executable on your machine. I feel like it’s a safe assumption that a large proportion of these pirated games come loaded with RAT software, adware and trojans that adds your machine to a Russian botnet. Besides, a truly good game provides so much enjoyment that the price is trivial by comparison.

  14. MadTinkerer says:

    “I’m not going to moralise one way or another here”

    Well then please: allow me.

    Filesharing is not piracy. I know it’s long past the point where the two have become synonymous, but they’re still not the same thing. Making a copy (of something you don’t have the copyright) and charging money for it is morally different to allowing / encouraging someone else to make a copy of a commercial product. Piracy is theft because it’s a kind of fraud. Filesharing… is never theft.

    Now, I know some will be outraged and some will argue and some will miss the impact of my words because once again I am not yet published. But I will be (hopefully this year), and once again I’m pretty sure I will say the same thing when I am.

    Commercial software is not a scam. Information doesn’t “want” to be free. But filesharing does not prevent people from buying software. Filesharing never results in lost sales. Efforts to prevent filesharing always result in lost sales. Efforts to prevent filesharing are intrinsically rooted in class-ism.

    Filesharing does not prevent people from buying software because, well it doesn’t. If you download a cracked copy of a game, it has no effect on whether you can buy it or not. If you couldn’t buy a game, you still couldn’t buy it. If you could, you still could. Personally, I’ve cut way back on filesharing because I can’t afford to buy all the things I want to buy and experiencing them makes me want to buy them. I know not everyone is me, but the situation is no different.

    Filesharing never results in lost sales because it does not prevent filesharers from becoming consumers.

    Efforts to prevent filesharing result in lost sales because by definition, successful discouraging of filesharing shrinks the possible audience. I won’t go into further criticism of DRM here, but a lot of people overlook the possibility that DRM could be toxic from the point of view of the publisher. As a future self-publisher, I know that’s how I see it.

    Finally, expecting everyone who plays a game to pay for it assumes a few facts:

    1) You’re assuming that the person who wants to play the game can afford to play it.

    2) You’re assuming they are in a place they can pay for it.

    3) You’re assuming they are in a time they can pay for it.

    4) You’re assuming the software is available to buy in that time and place.

    Would you like to read the first Harry Potter book? Sure, you can get the disk cheap but you’ll need to dig up an old system to run it. Would you like to read the second Harry Potter book? FUCK YOU, the price skyrocketed on it because it was never re-printed. Would you like to read the third Harry Potter book? FUCK YOU, unless you mod your hardware or import a player from Japan. Would you like to read the fourth book? Thank goodness for HD re-releases. Would you like to read the fifth book? FUCK YOU, they just took the servers down. Would you like to read the sixth book? Actually, those servers are still running for the next two weeks, how reliable is your internet connection? Would you like to read the seventh book? The scalpers got to it first. You could get it on a torrent, but even though you will buy it when you can, some people consider that immoral.

    So that’s two books you definitely could read, though you’ll need to dig up an old system for the first one, one maybe, and one you have to wait if you don’t want to ever engage in filesharing. If only books were printed on paper, instead of computer files…

    • AskForBarry says:

      “Filesharing never results in lost sales. ”

      I would like to see the proof of this.

      • anHorse says:

        Only an anecdote but in the past I’ve bought games that I wouldn’t have purchased without playing the pirated version (a demo or borrowing the game from a friend would have achieved the same thing)
        Mount and Blade Warband, Risen, Recettear, Torchlight and Ys are all examples I can think of. In almost case my time with the pirated game made me like it enough to buy everything they’ve made since (Risen is the exception as I still don’t own 3)

        I’m not going to claim that me pirating these games was in any way right or moral but piracy gained these developers sales rather than lost them.

        Piracy is like a library, sure some users might never buy a new book, but the library gets lots of people who might otherwise have not had access into reading new things and often leads to these people becoming customers of the stuff they like.

        • anHorse says:

          Checking over the list Mount and Blade actually has a demo, which I played, so ignore that one

      • Llewyn says:

        Indeed. The logical fallacy involved in that statement and the following justifying paragraphs is mind-boggling.

        • A Noid in the Void says:

          Seriously. I hope he polishes this up before someone looks it over for publication. His four numbered points are essentially just restating the same idea. He never provides any evidence, most of the paragraphs just make a claim and justify it with something like “because,well, it just doesn’t.” It just isn’t convincing unless you already agree with him.

          • Buggery says:

            I like the numbered list. Each step can be neatly summarized as “you’re assuming that someone can pay for this product” which is possibly a good argument for communism but not really related to video games.

      • silentdan says:

        Filesharing definitely results in lost sales, but not on a 1:1 basis. For sure, someone out there is illegally downloading a game that they would pay for if they hadn’t found a torrent (lost sale.) For sure, someone out there with no money to spare this month is downloading the same one (not a lost sale.) Both absolutes can be proven false with one anecdote each. What we don’t know, is how may sales are lost per illegal copy. I’m guessing somewhere in the 0.1-0.2 range.

        • rmsgrey says:

          The problem with the argument that filesharing causes lost sales therefore it’s a net negative to the game’s creator is that it makes an unwarranted generalisation from the specific to the universal – the thing is that filesharing also causes gained sales – I know that I, personally, have spent money on games I wouldn’t even have heard of without copyright violations having occurred first.

          You can claim that humans in general are greedy and won’t pay for something after having played it for free, so the lost sales will always outweigh the gained sales, or you can argue that enough people are smart enough to realise that game development costs time and money and lost sales will only outweigh gained sales for games where the only reason to spend money on them is because you have no way of finding out how bad they are otherwise.

          It’s anecdotal, and applies to a different medium, but when Baen books made selected ebooks available 100% free, entirely legally, with nothing more than a note saying that they were working on the theory that people would be willing to pay a fair price for the authors’ work despite not having to – when they did that, sales of those ebooks increased significantly.

          Look at something like Kickstarter – okay, some proportion of people use it as a pre-order system, but there are people who pledge money beyond their reward level, even after the project is fully funded, and all stretch goals unlocked. That’s people who consider that the project is worth giving money to.

          Look at what happened with music-sharing sites like Napster – what killed them as a phenomenon wasn’t legal action; it was the rise of iTunes, where people could pay for legitimacy at a price they considered fair.

          There are loud claims that piracy costs the X industry Y amount per period (my favourites are the ones that work out more than the world’s gross economic product), but the truth is that no-one actually knows what the net effect of filesharing is on video-games – though if there’s about to be a piracy-free period, we may all find out.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        To prove this yourself: Go download a torrent of a game that is available in your local shop. Then go see if you can still buy the game from your local shop. I’m just about almost sure that downloading a torrent of a game will do nothing to impede your ability to buy a game.

        Filesharing has never cost a sale. Ever.

        • silentdan says:

          *slaps forehead* Oh, you’re trolling! Well played. It’s pretty obvious in retrospect, but you had me fooled at first.

          • Llewyn says:

            He could be, although he’s demonstrating first-rate moronism on the Belbo spectrum; confusing the necessary with the possible. He may simply be a moron.

        • Deadly Sinner says:

          This has to be trolling. The existence of the ability to buy games proves nothing. You would have to prove that the existence of free games through pirating has not, does not, and will never affect the desire of anyone to buy the full game. And you have provided precisely zero evidence for that claim.

          I, however, can prove your claim that there has never been a lost sale wrong, as I, myself, used to pirate all my games despite having the ability to pay, simply because they were free. I would have paid for, if not all, than a good portion of those games, had they not been available to pirate. In fact, I did pay for games, but only on console, where the ability to pirate was not available for me.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            And i can concur to this.

            The rise of convenient fruition and sales and so on turned me into quite an hardcore customer with a truckload of legally purchased games, and a lot of them at full price.

            There are however others that i did not buy because it was easy enough to obtain them for free, or because they didn’t compel me enough.

            This will sound incredibly bad, but i understand the existence of tacked-on online features, as stupid as they sometimes are. They hardly are enough a reason for me to purchase, but they work for some of my friends. I personally mostly buy when i like the devs, and i even honestly bought games i pirated before.

            But this is no excuse, sometimes i just stopped at piracy, and it’s wrong. As years go by and as the disposable income rises, i’m starting to lose that bad habit. And yes, let’s not pretend it’s anything other than that.

            I never physically stole anything from the devs, yet whatever i obtained was reason enough for me not to give them money, and i could absolutely have done that instead.

            Lost sales exist.

    • Ich Will says:

      You’re absolutely correct, but we have a hard enough job getting the ignorant to stop calling filesharing theft, let alone getting them to stop calling it piracy!

      • Ich Will says:

        Scrub my “You’re absolutely correct” bit, because you well and truely went down the rabbithole after the bit I agreed with

        • MadTinkerer says:

          Yeah, okay, the purpose of the rabbithole isn’t very clear in that post. That last part was criticizing the effect of DRM (and other issues running the software) after games are no longer on sale by using Harry Potter books as a metaphor. Each of the examples was a specific reference to actual games I own in multi-title franchises (though not all in the same series, so perhaps the metaphor is a little weak). The idea being that while you can pick up a book and read it decades later, what if the Harry Potter books were as accessible as games instead?

          So anyway, good luck playing Just Cause 3 in ten years.

    • CutieKnucklePie says:

      @MadTinkerer
      Completely agree, thank you for such a good summation.

    • Michael Anson says:

      If you cannot afford to purchase something, don’t buy it. It’s that simple. There are plenty of alternatives, and you do not have a right to be entertained.

      • Harvey says:

        You’ve spent quite a bit of time repeating yourself on this thread Mr Anderson, you obviously feel quite strongly about piracy. You’re also well spoken and intelligent. I’m interested in why you have spent this much time proselytizing. Care to elaborate?

        I mean, do you do this elsewhere too? Surely you don’t care just for games.

        • Harvey says:

          Oops, I meant Anson. I recently re-watched The Matrix.

        • Buggery says:

          It’s because he’s right. You don’t have the right to play new games for absolutely free – there are millions of alternatives to piracy and the justification really isn’t there.

          You can amass a collection of all the finest games from 1 to 2 years past for pennies per title. You’re not being denied a fundamental human right by being asked to pay for a new release, and not being subjected to violence because you can’t play it while it’s still new and popular.

          If you can’t afford a game, that’s unfortunate, but also just the way things are. If you pirate the game, you have effectively taken a copy from the creators without giving them any recompense for their efforts. Whether this constitutes loss of revenue is an interesting debate, but pretending that they are somehow being unfair by asking you to pay – or that you are somehow justified in pirating because then you otherwise might not have been able to play it within your own, arbitrary period of time is ridiculous.

          There are people all over this page saying that because they can’t afford a game, they don’t have any other option. That’s absolutely not true.

          The first option: don’t play it.
          The second: wait until you can afford it.

          People don’t like hearing this because they feel that if a game isn’t played when it’s new then it isn’t worth playing at all. Some people are claiming that they wouldn’t have played the games otherwise which is patently ridiculous – either they don’t play the game, or they pirate a copy. If they pirate the copy and play it, then they stole a copy of the game and the people who created the game are not paid.

          I spent a long time being unemployed, so I know it can be frustrating – but there are more avenues for experiencing games than ever before now. I played games I could afford, either older, or less mainstream titles, and watched video playthroughs of other titles I had an interest in.

          • rmsgrey says:

            As others have said, repeatedly, video-game piracy is not theft. There are two parts to theft – there is the claiming some or all of the rights and benefits of ownership of a thing, and there is the depriving the legitimate owner of some or all of the rights and benefits of ownership.

            Videogame piracy does the first, but not the second – the legitimate owners of the original game still have the game, and still enjoy all the rights and benefits of having it.

  15. w0bbl3r says:

    Gaming piracy is almost dead anyway.
    But funnily enough, since they always claimed piracy was the main reason game prices were so high, prices have actually gone UP since the huge drop in piracy.
    Hmm, could it be they were lying about why they charge the price they do? Could it be that the reason they didn’t REALLY charge £15-20 per game is just that they don’t want to?

    Now before I get tons of hate spewing “games aren’t that expensive, game prices have stayed the same mostly for years”, I am not complaining about prices being too high. Just that publisher have claimed for years that they could make games cheaper if piracy wasn’t such a huge problem

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      Game prices haven’t kept up with inflation, at least in the US, so they have gotten effectively cheaper. Prices used to go up $10 with each disk-based console generation, but that price increase hasn’t come with the latest generation of consoles. In fact, even if that $10 increase had come, it still wouldn’t have kept up with inflation.

      • Malibu Stacey says:

        It’s the same in the UK. In 1994 I paid £25 for UFO: Enemy Unknown (aka X-COM: Enemy Unknown) which if adjusted for inflation would be £45 today.

        21 years later, XCOM 2 comes out in 4 weeks time & is available to pre-order for £35 right now on Steam.

  16. anHorse says:

    This is shit news
    Every single Denuvo game I’ve had (all legitimately owned mind) has had some form of performance issue stemming from the DRM

    DRM that makes the experience worst for customers and costs a significant chunk of each videogames budget is no good thing.

    P.S. the drm free publishers/retailers on pc don’t exactly seem to be struggling for sales

    I’m also kinda surprised it is news, I remembering reading about a particular edition of football manager going uncracked for absolutely ages a few years ago so a game not being cracked is no new thing.

    • mkreku says:

      Which games and what problems?

      • LionsPhil says:

        PCGW repeats the claim but unhelpfully its citation is a Twitch stream(!) which seems to have been taken down.

      • anHorse says:

        Inquisition and Just Cause 3 both had constant connection issues with their online components for me, something I’ve not had with any other game with similar online elements i.e. sleeping dogs.

        Annoyingly each time this happens it causes either brief drops in performance as the game gets itself in a tizzy or longer loading if it happens during a screen

        Arkham Knight was also a total mess but I obviously can’t blame any of that on DRM since the entire thing was horrendous.

        As a counterpoint Mad Max never gave me any issues, the one issue I had in the 10 hours I played was a crash that seemed to be caused by having my graphics settings too high to handle the storms

        • anHorse says:

          Just to clarify I was wrong saying “every single”, I didn’t realise mad max had Denuvo
          Funny how you only notice something when it plays up

        • mkreku says:

          How do you know it’s Denuvo causing your problems and not something else?

    • anHorse says:

      Oh and personally I’d argue that the inflated file sizes of recent games is as good an anti piracy measure as any

      Even if a game is cracked a lot of pirates (often teenagers living with crappy uni/family download speeds) aren’t going to patiently wait for 40 gig to download over torrent.

      • apm says:

        but how are they gonna download it off steam then? ;)

        • anHorse says:

          Steam downloads are a lot faster than the typical torrent and not reliant on stuff like seeders who themselves may have slow connections

          Go test if you want, there’s plenty of legal stuff out there to torrent so I’m sure you can find something the same size as a big steam game and compare the download times.

        • Malibu Stacey says:

          In 2016, content delivery networks are a thing which exist.

  17. kud13 says:

    @ Teije: yawn. Oversimplifyiing much?
    Piracy is NOT theft. It’s copyright infringement. While it is considered by most states to be illegal (because pretty much every state subscribed to the idea of copyright sometime in late 19th century), it is NOT the same thing as theft.

    Fun fact: original copyright laws in England and France were created to protect… booksellers. Oh, and also censorship, since all works had to be registered with the state. So: copyright regime isn’t an expression of any “natural right”, it’s entirely an artificial social construct, and as such it’s usefullness is open to intellectual questioning.

    There’s a lot of nuances to the debate about copyright (esp the (imho, moronic) idea to treat “data” same way as “literature”, which is the current approach adopted by WIPO), but all of this is lost once a firebrand like yourself jumps up and labels any dissenters or sceptics as “THIEVES”!!!

    • kud13 says:

      Gods DAMN this comment system! This was meant to go up towards the beginning in direct response to the “piracy is simply theft” remark.

      • oueddy says:

        “Piracy is simply theft.”

        Does that help? You can reply to this.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Even while it’s not theft it’s getting a service or access to a product by illegal means for which the maker wanted to be payed for.
      It’s an analogy like a virus is for a computer virus.

      Sure intellectual property is a construct but so is property so is the whole world and it still applies.
      Pirating games is amoral except for entitled kids who think they should have anything without working for it and that’s it.

      • silentdan says:

        It’s not an analogy.

      • Nereus says:

        It’s not really an analogy if virus and computer virus are effectively homologous. Admittedly computer virus tends to be applied to everything from adware to trojan horses, but computer viruses function the same way – a snippet of code that replicates itself inside the host. There’s debate about whether viruses are even able to be classified as life so they’re effectively on the same level as a computer virus.

    • Premium User Badge

      teije says:

      A “firebrand”? Hang on a sec so I can get my pitchfork, tar and feathers too for you scoundrels. To the dungeons with you all!

    • Michael Anson says:

      Copyright is intended to preserve the ability for a person to make a profit off of their work, particularly if such a work is readily duplicated. The problem currently is that copyright laws are written for older technology, and can be readily abused to harm consumer rights.

      Piracy is not about consumer rights. Piracy is where one person decides that they deserve access to something without paying for it, where their desire for entertainment is worth more than the effort made to put together a piece of entertainment. It is access to luxuries without paying the creator. Given the widespread access to inexpensive and free games, videos, and music, there is no excuse for piracy.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      There’s still the need to recognize code as the fruit of people’s work, something that is supposed to earn them a living.

      It’s not always a lost sale, but sometimes it is. In that case you actually stole money.

  18. Ethaor says:

    I often pirate games I own, no DRM, no store platform to go through, no connection issues.

    Double-click an exe and play. Ah the good ol’ times.

    • oueddy says:

      Send him to the stocks! 10 years hard labour!

    • anHorse says:

      I can’t play the legitimate copy of the sims that I have because I’ve lost the manual with the cd key on it
      This also means that I can’t play any of the expansions which I also bought

      It might be easy to rectify now with piracy or cheap digital copies but that was a lot of my pocket money down the drain because of early DRM

    • Buggery says:

      You should consider purchasing of gog.com wherever possible. The default option they give you is a link to a downloadable executable with no DRM attached.

      Given the option, it’s worth showing publishers that you will indeed pay for games even if it’s stupidly simple to pirate copies.

  19. aircool says:

    Pirates will just resort to mugging people for £29.99 instead. The real criminals are companies like Frontier Developments charging £40 for dreams and promises.

    • Apocalypse says:

      Salty? For the most part frontier delivered what they promised. And they for sure delivered what was on their box once the game got released.

      If you don´t like it anymore, simply do not pay the elite expansions and be done with it.

    • silentdan says:

      Seriously? You don’t see value in Horizons, so the people offering it are criminals? Walk me through the logic of that.

      • gwathdring says:

        From your eloquence elsewhere, I had assumed you were familiar with the devices of exaggeration and otherwise figurative speech.

        The point is not the equation of criminality; the post probably could have read: “While I’m on the subject of financial indiscretion, how about that poorly priced and poorly delivered game Elite Dangerous and it’s expansion?” But I’m sure you’re aware that having an opinion does not obligate you to hedge in deference to every other possible opinion nor refrain from figurative language. That would be stupid, and I should think better of you, so perhaps this is just your way of responding in kind with your opinions.

        But that leaves us with the disappointing prospect that you think Elite: Dangerous is a well designed game that has spent its development budget well and that handled the expansion pricing system effectively and that made good use of the Beta periods (which is charged users to take part in, mind) to fix fundamental aspects of horizons (like being able to complete planetary missions, having the POI system make sense, providing tutorials for the new content, having timed missions with accurate timers, fixing the bug that has existed since launch whereby the wrong landing pad will highlight while docking, and on and on and on).

        Elite: Dangerous is a really bad game that has been made by very talented people. The parts of it that actually work and are actually complete, few as they are, are spectacular. They are pretty much limited to the flight model, the ship design, audio design, and the core travel model (I say core travel model because many of it’s specific features like ETAs in supercruise and the way exploration/scanning works are bafflingly terrible and don’t get me started on Corilolis star ports).

        • silentdan says:

          You’re right, I am familiar with hyperbole as a rhetorical device, but I think “criminals” goes too far. I suppose I did overreact a little, though.

          In my opinion, Elite: Dangerous is an absolutely fantastic game. It is also deeply flawed. I absolutely love it, and have not one iota of buyer’s remorse over Horizons. If they offered to refund my money and remove Horizons from my account, I would refuse.

          I agree with, and have echoed, many of the specific criticisms that Elite’s detractors have made. I just happen to think the pros vastly outweigh the cons.

  20. C0llic says:

    Steam has already made huge inroads in stopping this, its just so much more convenient, whereas when things came on slow optical media, the opposite was true. I did pirate in my younger days when I couldn’t afford to own games any other way. These days, I do very occasionally, but if I like what I play it inevitably gets bought.

    As someone who has gone that route, being unable to not play a game that remained uncrackable, but I was unsure about, or whose copy protection I really disliked (always online SP for example) never actually caused me to go out and buy it.

    • caff says:

      I agree with this. Steam made it so much more convenient, and once you’re comfortable with that way of acquiring things, it’s just easier to use other shops too like gog.com.

  21. Spuzzell says:

    Oh no, poor pirating diddums.

    There really is no excuse for piracy.

    If you don’t have the money, you can’t have the thing.

    • silentdan says:

      What about abandonware? What if you have the money, and are willing to part with it in exchange for the software, but no one will take your money?

      • Spuzzell says:

        Why is it so hard for pirates to understand that they have no right to have anything?

        If you can’t buy the thing, you can’t HAVE the thing.

        • silentdan says:

          I think you may be mistaken about that. I’m viewing your comment in Firefox, which I did not pay for.

          • Spuzzell says:

            Mozilla say you can “buy” it by using it.

            But that is THEIR call to make, not yours.

          • silentdan says:

            Good, good. Now, what if every Firefox developer on earth got together for a meeting, and a meteor struck the building? Everyone with the right to grant me permission is dead. Must I uninstall Firefox? If not, is that because the prior permission was never rescinded, or is it because the creators are no longer in a position to benefit from whatever compensation they might have demanded? I’m circling back to abandonware, here. It’s not wrong to have software you didn’t pay for (Firefox) but it is wrong to cheat someone out of their livelihood. If there’s no one to pay, however, then there’s no one to cheat. Legally, the copyright hasn’t expired, so it’s not yet in the public domain, but if no one is asserting copyright, then is it in a morally different position than public domain?

          • Ooops says:

            @silentdan: you’re being silly now. The licence granted by Mozilla does not expire at the death of the programmers. If they wanted to make it expire at some point, they’d have put it in the licence. So they made the call to let you use it for as long as you wish.

            Frankly, if you want to pirate software, I think most of us will shrug at it, but congratulating yourself by saying it’s the moral thing to do, you’re not going to find much support for that.

          • silentdan says:

            @ooops If you’re talking about pirating Just Cause 3, then you’re right, I’ll find little support for that. For whatever it’s worth, I do not want to pirate Just Cause 3. Haven’t played it, and won’t until they offer it for under $40, because that’s what it’s worth to me.

            If you’re talking about pirating abandonware, which is what I was addressing, then you’re wrong; there is broad support for preserving gaming’s history by publishing abandoned games.

        • gwathdring says:

          Why is it so hard for you to understand that not having a “right” to something is quite different from everyone else having a right to control whether or not you have it?

          I do not have a “right” to purchase video games, either. I am protected by law such that if I enter into a contract or transaction of purchase, I am due a product in exchange for my money. But that’s not the same as having a right to buy the game. The law wouldn’t blink if I had no opportunity to purchase a video game. But is simply does not follow that, simply because I do not have a “right” to purchase video games that I therefore should not.

          I have no inherent right to have a game that can no longer be purchased. But so what? That simply means you have nor moral obligation to DEFEND me in acquiring such a game. It has nothing to do with the amoraliy of acquiring such a game nor to do with your moral obligation to ATTACK me in acquiring such a game.

          Legally, the issue is somewhat intricate and in my view it has been poorly handled across many sorts of intellectual property. Laws aside, for the moment, what inherent ethical or moral purpose is served by conveying upon Nintendo the right to prevent me from playing Yoshi’s Island on an SNES emulator–a device that is no longer being manufactured? Nintendo gains no revenue from me buying these things used from other customers, and yet the as yet incompletely established legal status of SNES emulation could be argued as confering upon Nintendo the right to expect that I refrain from acquring goods for free while at once defending my right to acquire them from legal owners of said goods without ANY transfer of material wealth to Nintendo.

          This does not make sense. You are serving no higher ethical or moral purpose by supposing that acquiring abandonware is comparable to unauthorized file-sharing of digital products currently on the market.

          Your arbitrary absolutism is pathetic.

          • rmsgrey says:

            There is no direct transfer of wealth to Nintendo when you buy one of their consoles second-hand, but there’s a reasonably strong case that there’s an indirect gain to them – the eventual resale value of their consoles is part of their value to those who buy them new (or pretty much their entire value to scalpers) and the person who takes your money in exchange for their old Nintendo console is plausibly going to spend at least some of it on new Nintendo products – both things that benefit Nintendo in the long run.

            In the specific case of Nintendo’s back catalogue, much of it (including Yoshi’s Island) is available to purchase through their Virtual Console scheme – so it’s possible to play it on Wii U, using Nintendo’s proprietary emulation. Since a third-party SNES emulator would be in direct competition with Nintendo’s Virtual Console, there’s a clear reason for them to protest your using one to play the game they’re offering.

            In general, the rise of GOG has made the status of “abandonware” even murkier – what appears to be an orphaned game today may turn up on GOG next month – at which point, to be fair, quite a lot of people buy it whether they’ve got a dodgy copy already or not. Anyway, the point is that, unless something’s been formally disowned (or released into the public domain), it’s impossible to distinguish reliably between something that’s truly abandoned, and something that just hasn’t had its planned re-release announced yet.

    • Premium User Badge

      Don Reba says:

      Who says piracy needs to be excused?

    • Nereus says:

      Oh man, I have so much to tell you. They have this place called the pirate bay right? And when you don’t have the money for the thing you can just go there and click some buttons and BAM! son, that thing is yours free of charge. It’s a pretty cool system.

      Hopefully now that you know I can have the thing for no money, you will stop spreading misinformation :)

  22. Infinitron says:

    There’s also every chance that a more profound chink in the Denuvo armour could yet be found.

    Oh no you didn’t

    • silentdan says:

      I think it’s quite clear that he was using the term in its “vulnerable point” sense, and not as an ethnic slur against Asians.

  23. horrorgasm says:

    Remember when StarForce 3 DRM came out and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory was UNCRACKABLE! …until it wasn’t? etc. etc.

    • C0llic says:

      To be fair though, encryption is so much days these days. Stuff like Star-force relied on hardware level checks, which were error prone and obnoxious, but real encryption is a while other matter. If you can’t find all the hooks, you’re fucked.

  24. Blippity says:

    Thanks for the good humour on a Saturday morning (from Oz).

    The steam refund…isn’t that restricted to 2 hours of play? 2 hours doesn’t give me enough time to determine if I still want it.

    I also don’t understand why demos (PC that is), are not more readily available? Is this because demos could affect sales when everyone plays and it sucks?

    • silentdan says:

      The 2 hour limit is for automated, no-questions-asked, guaranteed refunds. If you’ve played for longer, you may still request a refund, but a human being will get involved and make a judgement call.

      Demos have become less prevalent because there’s a strong and growing body of evidence that suggests they never encourage sales, and in fact, actively reduce sales. Those who still put out demos are doing it because they think it’s morally right, or because they believe their audience is an exception to that rule.

  25. Generico says:

    Not sure how this has anything to do with encryption tech. RSA-2048 and other common encryption algorithms are already essentially unbreakable. This isn’t the first time somebody has claimed some particular DRM would end piracy. It won’t be the last either.

    The shame of it is that there’s basically no evidence to show that piracy has significant correlation with reduced product sales, or that DRM is anything but a waste of money for the publisher. As valve demonstrated when they moved into the Russian market, when you offer customers a convenient method of buying your product for a reasonable price, piracy doesn’t matter. Russia is one of Valve’s top markets, despite being a hotbed of game piracy.

    On top of that, the stronger forms of DRM almost always degrade the performance of the game. There have been several games in the past that were plagued with performance issues, unless you had a pirated version.

    Bottom line is, most people don’t pirate games because they’re too cheap to buy them. Most people pirate games because acquiring the pirated version is more convenient.

    • silentdan says:

      Well said. 90% of those who can afford to pay, will, if you make it sufficiently convenient. 100% of those who can’t, were never going to be your customer anyway.

  26. Hobbes says:

    Denuvo is … an interesting case. It’s not DRM itself, allegedly. What it is, is “anti tamper” in the form of a constantly changing One-Time-Pad that references itself, the pad being generated from a combination of a random seed, time elapsed since the executable was generated, the PC it’s installed on and a few other factors I’ve not been able to suss out. This is where the FUD about it constantly encrypting / decrypting itself comes from, that’s not to say it’s not doing some pretty oddball things in the memory space and back and forth to disk, because there’s DEFINITELY some stuff it’s doing that isn’t necessarily great for the life of SSD’s in terms of wear levelling. But the skinny is that unless you know the exact encryption algorithm AND the private key that’s been used to encrypt the pad, you’re not going to be able to break it short of using brute force or a rainbow table.

    If you need a rough analog, think of it as the programmatic version of the Blizzard Authenticator. It creates a sortof ongoing key that changes periodically (I’m not sure as to the duration, but it’s fairly short, we’re talking sub five minutes before it moves to the next one), if the key doesn’t match what the pad expects to see, the anti-tamper kicks in and executes whatever payload is supposed to go off (generally that means turning the executable into garbage or turning the anti-tamper part and the key bits of the executable which make the game run into garbage). This makes it fairly hard to analyse even if you VM it and take it apart in a sandbox, because every time you trip the anti-tamper, you’re stuck with a lot of garbage data.

    Security wise, it’s great, because much like any one time pad, unless you’ve access to the pad itself, it’s more or less unbreakable, but that’s cold comfort to anyone who thinks these things can be broken. The most obvious route that springs to mind is to attack the timing part of the equation, and to exploit the fact that the pad has to be refreshed at regular intervals, if you can stop it refreshing, that MIGHT, just MIGHT present an angle of attack, but that’s a very specific window, and would require some pretty arcane knowledge. This is stuff that goes way above my head and I’m basically dredging up recollections from the back of my brain from when I used to work to even come up with these theories as to how one might be able to attack the software.

    Not exactly my idea of a fun time, and I don’t envy anyone who picks up this gauntlet.

    • silentdan says:

      That’s really, really interesting! I don’t have enough hard crypto knowledge to really add anything, but thanks for that post!

  27. int says:

    Cry me a river, then sail away on it, be becalmed somewhere and sink.

  28. Raith says:

    The supposed death of piracy (it will be cracked, the cracker is just being melodramatic) is just the tip of the iceberg. If Denuvo becomes more widespread we can expect the death of modding because Denuvo prevents modding thanks to it being an anti-tamper with the games .exe.

    Remember that amazing Just Cause 2 multiplayer mod? Yea that’s not happening with Just Cause 3 thanks to Denuvo so legitimate customers are once again being shafted thanks to corporate greed.

    • Michael Anson says:

      You mean the Just Cause 3 multiplayer mod that is actively being worked on and has been demonstrated already, that RPS published an article on?

      • Raith says:

        Yea I didn’t know it was being made at the time but my statement still stands since the modders have some help from the JC3 team itself in making it.
        Modding on that scale would be impossible without the help of the actual devs thanks to Denuvo.

    • Premium User Badge

      Don Reba says:

      Most mods don’t require messing with the game’s exe. They overwrite resource files, often in an officially approved way.

      • c-Row says:

        Indeed. Tampering with .exe files is how piracy works most of the time, though I am pretty sure that after a few dozen mods I threw at Skyrim (and soon, Fallout 4) the .exe was still the original one.

  29. KastaRules says:

    I feel I have to support the devs if I enjoy their products, therefore I have always seen piracy as a mean to try a “full demo” before making a purchase.

    I also love having my stats recorded in one convenient place and getting everything kept automatically up to date. Which is a critical element since nowadays games tend to get frequent content updates, very likely to discourage piracy itself.

    But I digress, bottom line is: sometimes (oftentimes?) piracy is good because it could convince someone to go on and actually buy the game.

    • nicbizz says:

      From firsthand, and from many, many anecdotal experiences, I would change that “sometimes” to “almost never”.

      • Raith says:

        And from my many anecdotal experiences (mainly personal experiences) I would say you are completely wrong.
        While I haven’t bought every game I have pirated I HAVE bought many of them eventually down the line when I otherwise wouldn’t have bought it due to not being sure whether I would like the title or not.

        Until devs start putting out demos again piracy is the only option we have to try before we buy.

  30. Kerr Avon says:

    For me, Square Enix have shot themselves “squarely” in the foot. You see, I was just about to blindly buy JC3 on the assumption that it must obviously be good since I liked the last two Just Cause’s and the ads I saw of it last year tempted me. Now that everyone is talking about Denuvo, I was intrigued to find out more and delve deeper. Reading the JC3 reviews and discussions on Steam now, I can clearly see this game isn’t worth my time – certainly nowhere near as good as I was expecting. Ultimately the only outcome I got from this “backdoor viral marketing technique” of theirs was that I was alerted to how overrated and buggy JC3 is right now. So if I ever do buy, it won’t be anytime soon. Well done team Denuvo, thanks for saving my money!

  31. racccoon says:

    Piracy of games actually helped in the early years of its life..as it was the only means to get the game across to the many who were all Naive (now today’s gamers) to gaming and also helped them buy computers. Piracy was the marketeer.
    Today its not necessary to pirate games as its now better to buy because everyone knows and wants to know, today to be a down loader of a pirated game is a man/women with guilt. We buy as games are more reasonably priced or fall to level we can afford. Of course the exception is the “other”, the ones set in concrete, CONSOLES, that is their license to steal money off the gamer, rather than be held into a open market like the PC is. Other than Steam that is which is the parasite monopoly. lol

  32. Nereus says:

    Just gonna weigh in here. I was/am one of the contributors in that pirate collective. Piracy ain’t going anywhere – Denuvo is causing problems because the way pirate groups operate which is to say that emulation is looked down on – but emulation seems to be the only way to break Denuvo and allow cracking the DRM underneath.

    I’ve been a pirating for more than a decade now and I’m not worried it will suddenly become harder, but part of that is because most of the companies using it are pushing out stale games anyway. WB, Ubisoft, Square Enix, etc are collectively producing less interesting games per year than I have ears on my head.

    And before anybody asks me why I’m not bothered that my piracy is killing the games industry, my Steam account is worth close to £2250 and my GOG account probably another £300. People that treat every pirated copy as a lost sale have no business selling anything online because they don’t understand the economics of a ditital world.

  33. alms says:

    Let me ask a hypothetical question: suppose there actually exists an uncrackable DRM, and that the cost of its acquisition is not disportionate to its potential economic value.

    Currently, the whole of regional pricing insists on the idea that low prices are all that is keeping piracy in check in places like Russia and other geographic areas.

    RU/CIS, just to throw a number, gets the equivalent of a stackable 75% off coupon, regardless of whether the game is on sale or not.

    IOW a AAA title + season pass that you “First Worlder” pay €90 for, “only” costs €22.5 there (forget about purchasing power inequality but let that sink if you were some of those bashing Valve for implementing restrictions on trade and gifting from those areas)

    Big publishers could then decide there is no reason to maintain the current state and increase prices, though not at Western levels, because that is likely to affect adversely total revenue.

    Or would they not?

  34. namad says:

    iirc denuvo is hard to crack because it is constantly working. this means it is wasting the consumers pc resources in order to function so effectively. in effect raising the pc’s minimum requirements and wasting the consumers time/$$$. Even if denuvo were to remain unbroken for all time I’d hope that game companies don’t use it, I like to run the newest games on minimum settings for years after my PC becomes “obsolete”

  35. Jerykk says:

    This isn’t the first DRM that was hard to crack. Starforce (used by Ubisoft and Midway for a bunch of games back in the 2000’s) took about a year to crack reliably. The same will inevitably happen with Denuvo.

    That said, I don’t mind Denuvo. Thus far, it hasn’t hindered my games or PC in any way (unlike Starforce, SecuROM, etc). If using Denuvo gets more publishers to support the PC, I’m okay with it.

  36. Geebs says:

    If you add up all of the man-hours spent rehashing the same tired old non-arguments about whether or not piracy is theft, even at minimum wage I’m pretty sure you could buy everybody in this thread a game.

    • April March says:

      You could eventually buy everyone on this thread a game for like fifteen bucks if you found the right bundles.

  37. Avus says:

    Steam sales are my game cracks for years. Games are too expensive was/is never an excuse. All games will get cheaper if you wait long enough. PC games got discount much more often and deep than any other platform.

    If you can’t afford new car, buy used. And for games, buy them when they are now new anymore. You don’t go steal car just because you cannot afford them.

    • NMorgan says:

      As a reply to Avus (the RPS site is possibly failing on me):

      I would steal food if I was hungry. I don’t trust Steam, nor am I eligible to have a credit card. Quite frankly, I don’t trust online payment methods, nor do I trust anyone to keep my personal information, nor am I even aware what payment methods are available at Steam and their ilk. I don’t know them, I don’t want to know them, I don’t want to study them. I don’t want anyone to know what I do with my money, and, christ on a stick, it’s getting harder every day. I would love to buy a legal copy on a leased USB stick at the local grocery store, but only if the store or the streets that lead to the store didn’t have surveillance cameras. No, wait, scratch that. I wouldn’t trust the USB stick to not transmit any identifiable information of my habits. And what do you do when you don’t trust your society? You eat it. You eat its foundations and corrode it to the best of your ability. Take your financial system Ponzi scheme and shove it. It doesn’t take 20 years to build a house but it takes 20 years to pay for it. I wouldn’t work for any money but I would steal all the food that I need. Luckily I don’t have to, sort of. So fuck you. I will take everything and anything I want or need, and if I can’t, I will find a way to get compensated later. I refuse to be a drone. Wait, I am a drone. But no nerve-stapling is going to make me productive.

      • Buggery says:

        What are you even talking about?

        Either you shun all of society and refuse to play games — or you steal them so that nobody knows you have played them?

        How can you possibly compare games to food? Food is necessary to sustain life. Games… are for fun. Some people on this page have been arguing that entertainment is somehow a necessity and that if they don’t play games they might die but that is some high level foolishness.

        Regardless, you can’t call yourself apart from “the system” while still actively trying to partake of “the system” by playing games designed and shaped by “the system”. As an aside, if you play these games, you are not being individually tracked, but you are still contributing to the popularisation of certain genres, styles and themes that ultimately achieve the same end of establishing a zeitgeist in popular media — in short, the only thing you’re achieving is theft and your anti-establishment rambling does not excuse anything when it is inherently self-contradictory.

  38. bonuswavepilot says:

    I think the more worrying connotation is the extra power effective DRM technology gives to those who are interested in controlling what their users do.

    A world of phones that can’t be jailbroken so you can never get rid of the shovelware your network provider loaded it up with, of games which are forever lost to history when their phone-home servers go offline…

    Worse still perhaps, a world where all the idiotic intellectual property law which we all ignore is technologically enforced. I refer here to things like making backups of stuff you bought, or ripping your CDs to another format. (Which I believe is actually technically still legal as ‘format shifting’, but the act of circumventing a DRM technology to do it is in itself illegal these days).

    Draconian attitudes to what you should be able to do with your media currently need lobbying or pressure upon officials to affect changes to legislation, but with effective technological remote control that is no longer necessary.

  39. Monggerel says:

    Of course, the real problem with piracy is that videogames are shit anyway,

  40. April March says:

    It’s weird but unsurprising that they’d say ‘there’ll be no more free games’ if DRM can’t be cracked when there are so many free and DRM-free games. Pirates don’t care about games, they care about the challenging of cracking DRM. Free and DRM-free game might as well not even exist. That’s why a cracked version of The Witcher 2’s Steam version hit the torrents way before the DRM-free version from GoG did.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      Yeah, that’s the weird bit that immediately struck me when I saw this story: Don’t they actually do it mainly for the challenge, and/or the bragging rights (which come from the challenge)? Why on earth would they be complaining when the greatest challenge to date has landed on their laps?

      And I don’t believe for an instant that they won’t eventually crack it. Yes, completely uncrackable encryption methods do exist, but those are only uncrackable from the point of view of a third-party listener. DRM (of any variety) is a situation where the intended recipient and the potential third-party listener are the same party — your computer (or other device). They can be hard to crack, but they can’t be impossible.

      The only possible cause I can see for a statement like this is if the cracking community itself is dwindling in numbers and doesn’t have the time to handle these sorts of tricky projects, at least not in a timely fashion to keep up with new releases. But unless they’re starting to get actual gaps in their knowledge and skills that are making these jobs impossible, it seems like game cracks won’t be going away, they’ll just be fewer and further between.

  41. fakeduck says:

    I expect a 100% sales increase for every game with this new überDRM which will lead to developers finally getting the money they deserve from those filthy pirates which will in turn lead to them producing more higher quality games which will lead to increase in sales… And soon only economically sensible choice will be to go into video-games industry. Then we’ll evolve into birds somehow.

  42. onodera says:

    I didn’t find Just Cause 3 DRM to be unbeatable. Black Hand mercs, on the other hand, are tough nuts.

    P.S. can’t believe no one’s made this obvious pun.

  43. Pizzacheeks McFroogleburgher says:

    It’s sad to see folks trying to legitimise ‘filesharing’/piracy/theft on this site.. I honestly thought RPS readers were somehow…. Better. Get on board, support the industry. No bullshit, no excuses.

    • Premium User Badge

      Don Reba says:

      No, we aren’t all blonde and blue-eyed. Sorry to disappoint you.

    • rmsgrey says:

      I’ve not seen anyone attempting to legitimise theft in this comment section. I have seen people attempting to redefine theft so they can use it as a label to demonise activities that, apparently, they consider require labeling as theft to be considered as wrong, rather than being wrong on their own merits.

  44. anHorse says:

    And on the flipside pirates are playing Dragon’s Dogma a whole week before us legitimate customers

    Another case of DRM screwing over the customer but not stopping the pirate to counter the case of Just Cause 3

  45. Baf says:

    Funny, when I saw the title, I figured it would be about the rise of cheap games and Steam sales — that is, that piracy is dying because demand for it is falling. Certainly among my peer group you’re less likely to hear “I wish I could afford more games” than “I wish I had enough time to play all the games I already have”.

  46. Rince says:

    Piracy, not piracy, for me it’s the same. I only get the pricy games (more than USD 20) when are in sale. A generous sale.
    So, waiting for the pirates to crack it, or waiting for a sale, I play the games a months late anyways.