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Editorial The Final Answer to Prevent Piracy

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by VentilatorOfDoom, May 14, 2011.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Tags: CD Projekt; Jeff Vogel

    <p>Jeff Vogel <a href="http://jeff-vogel.blogspot.com/2011/05/final-answer-for-what-to-do-to-prevent.html" target="_blank">shares his insight</a> into the everlasting problem of piracy.</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><strong>The Worst Registration System Ever Devised By the Hand of Man</strong></span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><strong><br /> </strong></span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;">In 1994, electronic distribution of demos was very much in its infancy. My plan was to release a demo with a small fraction of the game. Then, when the correct key was entered into the game, it would unlock and everything would be playable. A sound plan. The problem was the implementation.</span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;">At first, I thought I'd just generate a key when someone ordered and send it to them. But then I thought, hey, I don't want people to pirate my &nbsp;game. If I just send them a key, they can make it public or send it to all their friends. So here is my brilliant idea. I will ... will ...</span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;">God. It hurts to even think about it.</span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;">Here's what I did. When you ran the game, it generated a random code, a 4 or 5 digit number. When you ordered, you had to provide that number. I would use it to generate a key specific to your copy of the game. I'd send you that key, you'd enter it, and the whole game would be unlocked.</span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;">So what does this mean? First, when you tried to order a game, you had to have this number with you. Did you realize you needed it? Probably not. So you'd be at our online store trying to give us money, only to have to leave to dig up some stupid number. Want a tip for running an online business? When a customer is at your web page, credit card out and in hand, do not give them a reason to leave!</span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;">The system was confusing, and this wasn't helped by the fact that we were the only ones ever to use it. Oh, if only we could have back the countless hours spent explaining the system to confused parents. Countless more hours making new registration keys for people who switched computers or had to reinstall their OS. The weird system made us look unprofessional at best, deranged at worst. And, as a special bonus, it did exactly zero to stop people from pirating our game. Name a way to crack our registration system, and people did it a hundred times.</span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;">We stuck by this system for fifteen years. Might as well have just made a big pile of money and set it on fire. At least we would have gotten the warmth.</span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;">A year ago, I finally got fed up. New system. When you order our newest game, Avadon: The Black Fortress, we send you a serial code. Enter it, and you're up and running. Buy the game for the Mac and want to play it on Windows too? Enter the same key. Want to register your copy again ten years from now? Use the same key.</span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br /> </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;">And the result of switching to a slightly less secure, infinitely easier to use system? Sales of Avadon are the highest of any game we've put out in years.</span></p>
    </blockquote>
    <p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;">What he says makes a lot of sense, although it has nothing to do with <strong>preventing</strong> piracy.<br /></span></p>
    <p>Spotted at: <a href="http://www.gamebanshee.com/news/102877-the-final-answer-to-prevent-piracy.html">Gamebanshee</a></p>
     
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  2. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    Is more like pirates gonna pirate anyway, so stop fucking the honest people.

    Some game developers are making harder to play the original game than to just pirate it. Getting the Dragon Age Ultimate Edition to work with all the DLC's here in Brazil is almost hopeless....I bought the fucking game and still played the pirated copy. Not every person on the world has/wants internet 24/7 to keep doing those annoying copy check just to play a game.
     
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  3. BelisariuS.F Augur

    BelisariuS.F
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    Lol, I've read "The Fail Answer".
     
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  4. Mortmal Arcane

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    Why does he even bother with serials, a few clicks on pirate bay you get a keygen for a few octets. Nothing easier than pirating avadon.
     
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  5. sgc_meltdown Arcane

    sgc_meltdown
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    Assassin's Creed 2 got cracked well and thoroughly (I have verified this firsthand for journalism purposes) so at this point I don't think anything short of using a fucking dongle will piracy-proof your software.
     
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  6. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator

    Jaesun
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    I had the dongle for Brillance (paint program) for my Amiga, and even that (IIRC) was cracked eventually.
     
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  7. sgc_meltdown Arcane

    sgc_meltdown
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    I hope your painting was worth depriving an honest company out of their money you thief
     
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  8. WhiskeyWolf RPG Codex Polish Car Thief Patron

    WhiskeyWolf
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    15 years? What finally made them change their minds? Old age?
     
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  9. sgc_meltdown Arcane

    sgc_meltdown
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    regret
     
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  10. Lord Chambers Erudite

    Lord Chambers
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    Correlation does not equal causation.

    It could easily be that Avadon's sales are up because he choose to throw a tantrum about reactions on the Codex. I can say personally I didn't know who Jeff Vogel was until then, and I've been around here for a while.

    It could as easily be that the game is more streamlined and accessible to gamers, as per the reaction on the Codex, thus more sales.
     
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  11. Elwro Arcane

    Elwro
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    Using a dongle didn't help Cubase developers.
     
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  12. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    The question is when did it get cracked. It took much longer to make a stable crack for the game, and the first few weeks, months are the most critical in terms of sales. So at least AC2 hasn't been cracked immediately, unlike other games. This doesn't mean that the DRM AC2 used didn't suck, of course.
     
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  13. sgc_meltdown Arcane

    sgc_meltdown
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  14. punchz Novice

    punchz
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    AC2 was an absolute triumph in protection. If they had made it more stable for honest customers - and it really was just shoddiness on their part, easily fixed - they practically win against piracy.


    It took, what, two weeks for it to be cracked? Three?


    That's all you need. It's not about protecting your game forever, that's a pipe dream if I've ever heard one.

    No, it's about the first few days and weeks. That they now have the image of draconic cunts is a whole 'nother matter of course, but they sure as hell got their investment's (as in, what they put into developing/renting their protection) worth.
     
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  15. Data4 Arcane

    Data4
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    Dongles don't work for shit. Most of the high end 3d software like Maya or Lightwave uses or at one time used dongles and they were some of the most pirated apps ever.

    Of course, prices in the 10's of thousands probably helped, too. "Yeah, this program here? It costs more than my car." :smug:
     
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  16. commie The Last Marxist Patron

    commie
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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Serial numbers for patches work a treat. See Stardock and Matrix games for example(and Dominions 3;) ). Other strategies like Supreme Ruler as well. Unless someone has been kind enough to leave their key on the internet (and this can still be blacklisted in future patches), you'll find it impossible to play the games in any but the most basic, buggy and featureless states. As everyone knows, these types of games rely very much on ongoing refinement and having a pirated basic version that is barely playable without patches(like the Close Combat remakes) is of no benefit.

    Of course this type of thing seems to work mostly in the niche strategy genre where the lack of polish in initial releases almost seems like an anti-piracy measure in itself for the above reasons!
     
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  17. sgc_meltdown Arcane

    sgc_meltdown
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    you have to remember that the 3d modelling software genre is not exactly the provenance of Babby Joe "How do I install all these rar files" Pirate and hence entrenching itself fruitlessly against the onslaught of a determined, stout and heavily bearded end user demographic
     
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  18. commie The Last Marxist Patron

    commie
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    Well it was a one go show(well along with SH5). Once the novelty of this DRM wore off and groups got to grips with it, subsequent games with it were cracked ever more quickly.

    Same thing with Securom, Safedisk, Starforce. For a long time you had to fuck around with all sorts of programs and physically disconnect your drives and maybe a game would work, and all this AFTER a period of several months when these new protections came out initially and the was no way at all to play a pirated game with them. Eventually though, once a method was worked out, it was simple to apply it to other games.
     
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  19. sgc_meltdown Arcane

    sgc_meltdown
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    :x

    Constant revisionary and content updates that any fan of the game would desire or outright requiring online access (also with constant updates) like mmos seem to be the only way for now. If the former, make it steam only and sooner or later the scene will give up on releasing updates.

    A lot of console ports never seem to require any major refinement or patching after launch. See Dead Rising 2 or Street Fighter 4.
     
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  20. Topher Cipher

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    I won't lie, the copy protection in Dominions 3 worked on me and I now own a legit copy. I'd intended to buy it anyway but since I figured the price won't ever drop I might as well stop dealing with the damed copy-protection and pay for it. What doesn't work, on me at least, is protection that doesn't let me play the game at all because I'm not going to buy a game for anywhere near full price that I haven't played before.
     
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  21. Davaris Arcane

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    No need to worry about pirates. Just add an optional online component, that enhances the player's enjoyment of the game. If you can do that, you can give your game away free, charge for the optional part and you still make money. More players means greater exposure and those that can afford to pay and want the optional parts can do so.
     
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  22. Blackadder Prestigious Gentleman Magister

    Blackadder
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    What have been the most successful games? Piratable games.

    And the latest copy protection schemes have actually made me think of getting the pirated versions instead...and I haven't pirated games since the C64 days. Make of that what you will.
     
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  23. Mastermind Arcane Patron Bethestard

    Mastermind
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    Fixed.
     
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  24. sea inXile Entertainment Developer

    sea
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    So... Vogel's solution to preventing piracy is to let people pirate?

    I mean, I get that he's going for the "DRM is annoying, and not good for business" angle, but it seems to me like what he's arguing here is kind of disconnected from the examples he uses. Then again, I've had trouble reading much from him without getting an aneurysm lately, so...
     
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  25. DragoFireheart all caps, rainbow colors, SOMETHING.

    DragoFireheart
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    No. What he is saying is to offer enough protection to NOT inconvenience the paying customers but enough to be an inconvenience to pirates.
     
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