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Best Video Game Anti-Piracy Measures


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I know piracy is a subject that people in general have strong feelings about, but today I was thinking about all those anti-piracy strategies that developers have applied to their games. I'm not referring to DRM like Uplay's online authentication, but more creative measures, like The Sims 4 censoring the entire game, Crysis: Warhead giving you a gun that only shoots chicken or Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Rings of Fate showing a static error message after a few minutes. There are dozens of examples like these (I'll leave a link to some of my favorites below,) but I was wondering what are some of your favorite anti-piracy strategies.

Top 10: Most Creative Anti-Piracy Measures in Games

 

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I am a bit surprised to see two SNES games on that list; I would not have thought that there was sufficient copying of cartridge games BITD to make the anti-piracy efforts worthwhile.

 

My personal favourite anti-piracy scheme is used in Ultima 7: designated NPCs will periodically ask a specific question relating to the included manual: "If you really are the Avatar, then you will know..." Quite clever, really, and well integrated into the game.

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The manual questions were good. Some C64 games also had a sort of "dead" block on the disk that was impossible to copy. Even dumping those games with our image tech now doesn't let you put them back on another 5 1/4 and play them. I'd say if the game still needs a code hack 25 years later that was pretty effective.

 

A more recent example is Game Dev Tycoon. They leaked a torrent of the game where your company always goes broke due to piracy - genius.

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Don't know how "great" they were, but I remember playing golf games where you couldn't play the game unless you identified one of the holes. The game manual had several pages of birds eye views of golf holes and you had to find the one that matched the one on screen and type in what number hole it was. The manuals were also printed on dark paper or something that made photocopying the holes difficult. I remember back when video stores actually rented out PC games and they would have to include a poorly photocopied manual with the game. The game wasn't pirated, but they couldn't risk someone taking home the manual and not returning it or damaging it or whatever.

 

Oh, and I also used to have a copy of Sim City or something that, while I don't remember what you had to do (probably something like find word such and such on page whatever), but if you didn't enter the correct info, you could still play the game, but you'd have disasters over and over again. Monster attacks, earthquakes, alien invasions, whatever...

Edited by Eltigro
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A more recent example is Game Dev Tycoon. They leaked a torrent of the game where your company always goes broke due to piracy - genius.

 

That's pretty funny...

 

It was even funnier when you had people writing on the game dev's webforums asking how the heck they were expected to win at the game since they were always going broke from piracy no matter what they did.

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I believe this gen has finally gotten the anti-piracy thing down. Continue to produce shitty games and it's only a matter of time nobody wants to play, let alone steal them! :lol:

 

Certainly working for me - although unfortunately for them I am a paying customer. (And it's starting to show with how much time and money I have for other hobbies nowadays.)

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Certainly working for me - although unfortunately for them I am a paying customer. (And it's starting to show with how much time and money I have for other hobbies nowadays.)

Sad to say I agree. I'd rather buy a virtual boy and enjoy the full fledged games on that, and experience hardware from a maker that was at least trying to make something different, than buy a current console with games like Battlefront or SF V that'll just charge me for the complete game later. For the first time in my life I'm running all my modern gaming on a PC, IF the games are deserving of a purchase. With my "retro" consoles nearby. Couldn't be happier and at the same time more depressed that that's how it's ended up at the same time.

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I believe this gen has finally gotten the anti-piracy thing down. Continue to produce shitty games and it's only a matter of time nobody wants to play, let alone steal them! :lol:

Certainly working for me - although unfortunately for them I am a paying customer. (And it's starting to show with how much time and money I have for other hobbies nowadays.)

 

Yup. Few modern videogames are worth my time and money these days, currently. It could change if they made some cool things. But so far there is a lot of lameness going around.

 

 

Sad to say I agree. I'd rather buy a virtual boy and enjoy the full fledged games on that, and experience hardware from a maker that was at least trying to make something different, than buy a current console with games like Battlefront or SF V that'll just charge me for the complete game later. For the first time in my life I'm running all my modern gaming on a PC, IF the games are deserving of a purchase. With my "retro" consoles nearby. Couldn't be happier and at the same time more depressed that that's how it's ended up at the same time.

 

Yup. A PC with emulation and my original Apple II paraphernalia is all I need. The industry will need to wow me if it expects any more money out of my pocket.

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Back in the day I remember having to go 200+ pg manuals to look for keywords, and charts that were in Red so you couldn't copy them easy

It sucked though when you bought the game but couldn't play it because you never seemed to have manual and disk in the same place at the same time.

 

It wasn't specifically copy protection but releasing games on almost a box of floppies also sucked for similar reasons.

 

Just a few of the reasons I long ago gave up on PC gaming.

Edited by SIO2
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I am a bit surprised to see two SNES games on that list; I would not have thought that there was sufficient copying of cartridge games BITD to make the anti-piracy efforts worthwhile.

They were more widespread in China and Hong Kong, but console copiers had a pretty decent impact in Europe and the States as well. Of course this was before everyone was on the Internet, so you had to be in the know in the BBS scene to be aware they existed.

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To me the best copy protection were the games that came bundled with "stuff" which maybe you didn't need at all but added to the experience. Ultima with a cloth map was a simple one but there were others. It sadly went out of fashion and now it's only available on overpriced "collector's editions" if there is one. I get it adds cost but nowadays they often come with just a thicker manual...

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To me the best copy protection were the games that came bundled with "stuff" which maybe you didn't need at all but added to the experience. Ultima with a cloth map was a simple one but there were others. It sadly went out of fashion and now it's only available on overpriced "collector's editions" if there is one. I get it adds cost but nowadays they often come with just a thicker manual...

 

Yep, up until the start of the PS3/360 era those were my weakness. Even including a CD of a part of the soundtrack tended to be enough to make me pick up a copy when it released - of course assuming I had the money at the time, otherwise it'd depend on them having copies left when I got paid - copies that weren't gutted. (In those eras Gamestop was the one costing them sales from me more than the devs themselves, by gutting new games and expecting full price for them. Nowadays it still costs sales, but not nearly as many as the devs themselves cause with the DLC Whoring, etc)

 

Where was I? Oh yeah, PS2 era. Back then I tended to buy collectors editions of rpgs and the like all the time. After all, in addition to getting the FULL game, that was pretty much complete, and usually free of game breaking bugs even without needing online bug patches, you got a bunch of little collectables - some more useful than others, but always rather need to receive. In the PS3 era, at first I was still week against it - up until I saw the 60-70 dollars of DLC for some of the collectors editions I had bought which made me step back and say "Ok... so THIS is what my 90 dollar purchase -didn't- get me." And since then... I was free! Much to NIS America's misfortune, not that they'll notice that as they blame piracy for the lost sales instead of considering they might have alienated some paying customers, since I often purchased whatever collector edition they released.

 

I better stop before I start ranting. :ponder:

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