Is Game Copy Protection Ever Going Away?

Posted on November 16, 2007 7:48 AM by Rob Williams

I’ve often made known my thoughts on copy protection and the inconveniences of, but I feel compelled once again to step up and ask, what the heck? Specifically, when will companies learn that copy protection only inconveniences legal customers? One could argue that game crackers themselves are also inconvenienced, but I am willing to take the chance of assuming that the state of euphoria after successfully cracking a game well makes up for all of the hassle.

Last weekend, before Crytek’s masterpiece Crysis was released, a friend told me that he found the game uploaded on a variety of torrent tracking websites. I quickly scoured a few myself, and found that to be the case as well. I have no interest in downloading pirated games (I paid my hard-earned $49.99CAD the day of release), but it’s interesting to see the state of things. The fact: Crysis was fully cracked near a full week prior to the official launch.

SecuROM is designed to verify that the actual game CD is inserted into the drive. This flawed design attempts to void backup discs as well as the ability to play if you do not have a disc at all. The problem with this is that game crackers already have the knowledge they need to reverse engineer the game client. SecuROM does not change drastically between versions, but that’s almost besides the point. Crackers don’t crack SecuROM itself, but rather insert their own code into the client in order to bypass protections. Regarding inconvenience though, SecuROM is one of the more tame copy protections out there, although it did cause a lot of problems for BioShock players when that title was first released.

I am a firm believer that if a person purchases a product, they should not have to put up with protections that are installed to protect the game from piracy. If you purchase a game, you’ve supported it. Why do you need to put up with the bloat? Considering the fact that the game was cracked a full week prior to official release, isn’t it about time to drop this foolishness? I’m all for protecting content, but it’s obvious that copy protection is not working. Do the game publishers care? Nein. This is why we will likely not see an end to an instrusive form of copy protection for quite some time.

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