Thursday, October 23, 2008

On Piracy and Copy Protection

Recently there has been a lot of controversy after EA's big game: Spore, included copy protection that limited the number of installs per key code. While I do not believe this the ultimate sin (hence it being glossed over in my review) that some people do, I do think it is a stupid way to stop piracy. And when there is such a simple solution...

Basically, Spore includes a piece of software - SecuROM - which installs itself on your computer when you install Spore. It then immediatley contacts EA to tell them that your product key has been installed. EA then checks that it hasn't been installed more than 3 times.

Personally, it has not effected me one bit. Sure, it isn't acceptable to send data off without my permission, and if I was to sell it, this could prove an issue, but other than that, it doesn't matter one bit.

My point is this - it doesn't stop piracy of the game! If you can sell it twice, then you are making a profit. The only way it could work is if you only were allowed one attempt, but then, if your computer failed, the game would fail with it. And the best part - you can email EA and they will give you - legitamitley - extra installs.

And it isn't like there isn't a simple, effective nearly fail-safe method. Just check the disk is in the drive at boot. It isn't hard, games have been doing it for years. Someone has obviously developed a method of it not being burnt when the disk is copied - as I discovered when trying to do a LAN version of Railroad Tycoon 3.

I recently borrowed Sins off a friend, only to discover I don't need the disk to run it. There is now no incentive for me to buy it. (For those who are interested, will be giving impressions). However, I am not going to go to the effort of borrowing a disk every time I want to play on a game. Sure, some people will work their way around it, but they are going to beat you WHATEVER you try. But with a simple disk check, most people will give up and buy the damn thing.

Oh and by the way, for those who need a counter to tell you when games are coming out, I am sorry but Fable 2, which got somewhat disappointing scores from GameSpot, is coming out tommorow! Won't be able to play until like 6/7PM so first impressions will have to wait till Saturday.

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