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Thread: PC Game Piracy Examined

  1. #1
    Master Procrastinator Member TevashSzat's Avatar
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    Default PC Game Piracy Examined

    I've found a wonderful article regarding this. It isn't purely regarding piracy, but also talks about PC vs Consoles and other topics like that.

    Warning: It is 10 pages long so expect quite a long read

    Link
    "I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." - Issac Newton

  2. #2
    Backordered Member CrossLOPER's Avatar
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    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    I saw that article, and I'm afraid that the author did not do enough research. Their section on Starforce is somewhat insulting. Their claim is that the campaign against Starforce is based on misinformation. I was a victim of that wonderful piece of DRM. I did not realize it was there until computer failed to play certain games. Misinformation or not, Starforce is known to cause issues and I seem to recall a letter from Starforce pointing out that Starforce is not compatible with gaming. A presented argument is that it worked for SC: Chaos Theory. Seeing this and the rest of the article, it appears he spent a few minutes on wikipedia for each topic and took it to heart.

    I am not sure what they are trying to say about Prince of Persia. It almost looks as if they are using the # pirated = $ lost argument which is generally agreed to be silly.

    Their solutions are OK. Too bad the solutions somewhat conflict between the three parties involved.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    Quote Originally Posted by CrossLOPER View Post
    I saw that article, and I'm afraid that the author did not do enough research. Their section on Starforce is somewhat insulting. Their claim is that the campaign against Starforce is based on misinformation. I was a victim of that wonderful piece of DRM. I did not realize it was there until computer failed to play certain games. Misinformation or not, Starforce is known to cause issues and I seem to recall a letter from Starforce pointing out that Starforce is not compatible with gaming. A presented argument is that it worked for SC: Chaos Theory. Seeing this and the rest of the article, it appears he spent a few minutes on wikipedia for each topic and took it to heart.
    I agree there. I loled my way through the Piracy section. The SecuROM section was also insulting. When I bought F.E.A.R., which has SecuROM my computer's registry, graphics drivers and sound drivers were all messed up by the gaping security holes it leaves by installing it's dirty, dirty self on the 0 ring.

    He loves his post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy and his sources are a joke.
    Last edited by naut; 12-17-2008 at 05:46.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    Quote Originally Posted by CrossLOPER View Post
    Seeing this and the rest of the article, it appears he spent a few minutes on wikipedia for each topic and took it to heart.
    Regardless the topic on tweakguides.com.

    I don't know if you know this or are familiar with the site. But if you take a look on the left on the site, there are a lot of tweakguides on there of all kinds of games. Now, unless you've done something like that and in that scale of detail about tweaking games on graphical levels. I bet that he has far wider perspective due to his experience with these different games and different systems than you.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    Quote Originally Posted by Praxil View Post
    Regardless the topic on tweakguides.com.

    I don't know if you know this or are familiar with the site. But if you take a look on the left on the site, there are a lot of tweakguides on there of all kinds of games. Now, unless you've done something like that and in that scale of detail about tweaking games on graphical levels. I bet that he has far wider perspective due to his experience with these different games and different systems than you.
    Not only are you just begging the question, but you're also invoking a fallacy of division.

    In regard to the topic at hand; the limited area I have knowledge in is dubiously written, argued and supported. He claims examples then posts links that are irrelevant, unsubstantial or non-factual.

    Now I have no clue in regard to Consoles vs PC, so I can't comment on that section. But, the section on piracy is just ludicrous. Yes, some of the claimed side-effects of DRM are not adequately tested as being 100% true. Yet, he takes a completely patronising tone, and with one fell swoop he disregards all argument against DRM, claiming it is "hysteria" and "misinformation". He can tell that to my old PC, nearly unusable now, because of what? SecuROM.

    However, I do agree with him when he says DRM isn't designed to completely stop piracy, but to delay it. That is true, however, unfortunately it doesn't prevent it for very long, and leaves actual paying customers with a chained and restricted, often intrusive and potentially harmful piece of software. I can understand their reasoning for it, sure. However, as a customer I am not going to buy a product if the cost outweighs the benefit.
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  6. #6
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    Quote Originally Posted by Rythmic View Post
    He can tell that to my old PC, nearly unusable now, because of what? SecuROM.
    Please elaborate, how did you find out it was SecuROM and what did it do?


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  7. #7

    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    Please elaborate, how did you find out it was SecuROM and what did it do?
    Seconded. Got any hard proof?

    Also, could some of you guys be bothered to actually point out factual errors and junk sources in the article?

  8. #8
    Backordered Member CrossLOPER's Avatar
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    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    Quote Originally Posted by Crandaeolon View Post
    Seconded. Got any hard proof?

    Also, could some of you guys be bothered to actually point out factual errors and junk sources in the article?
    I'm really not sure what you are trying to say. That the article is meaningless? That you don't mind that it excuses the fun that publishers have been having lately? I shouldn't have to do extensive research to check if the game is going to turn my drive into a brick or prevent me from running other games or have the failsafe kick in for no apparent reason.

    Look for yourself in the article. He picks out whatever information helps him out and uses that info. While trumpeting the success of DRM on Bioshock, he apparently ignores how other games were pirated easily. Actually, I seem to remember Bioshock being present on Russian torrent/download sites BEFORE release.

    He constantly uses contradictory figures.

    He bashes the anti-Starforce site for being "unprofessional" while mixing together figures and using metacritic and wikipedia.

    He defends SecuROM, despite the fact that it can be configured to collect "marketing information" which the author of the article has observed does nothing for the consumer. It can also force a reinstall if your hardware changed. The funny thing is, SecuROM can be bypassed in a number of ways, but I won't get into that.

    Here is a huge guide to SecurROM.
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    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    I'm really not sure what you are trying to say.
    I'm not really trying to say anything. It's been a while since I participated in piracy discussions, so my research is a bit dated. Then comes along this article, which appeared quite reasonable and level-headed to me, so I thought "what the heck, I'll read it to get up to speed." Now, people are claiming that it's mostly BS and I'm wondering if I'd wasted my time. Naturally, I'd like to know, specifically, which parts are BS and which sources are unreliable (and what source data is inaccurate.)

    I do understand if people can't be bothered, though.

  10. #10
    Backordered Member CrossLOPER's Avatar
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    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    Quote Originally Posted by Crandaeolon View Post
    I'm not really trying to say anything. It's been a while since I participated in piracy discussions, so my research is a bit dated. Then comes along this article, which appeared quite reasonable and level-headed to me, so I thought "what the heck, I'll read it to get up to speed." Now, people are claiming that it's mostly BS and I'm wondering if I'd wasted my time. Naturally, I'd like to know, specifically, which parts are BS and which sources are unreliable (and what source data is inaccurate.)

    I do understand if people can't be bothered, though.
    In a nutshell: his solutions and examination of the issue is OK. His research on DRM software is not OK.

    He makes conjectures when mentioning "hysteria", not really touching the possibilities of how the industry relates to malware. Ubisoft and Starforce is a popular example.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    Quote Originally Posted by Husar View Post
    Please elaborate, how did you find out it was SecuROM and what did it do?
    By installing itself on the 0 ring it messed up my Kernel and registry, mostly the associations between files and programs, and drivers and hardware devices. During the time I installed and the duration of having it installed I didn't get any viruses, so I ruled that out. My other programs don't/didn't have any reported or potential ability to do such a thing, so I ruled that out. I also ruled out human error, because I hadn't been fiddling with the registry during that time. Nothing else could have caused it, and after all SecuROM has access to that area of the computer. So, having ruled out all other possibilities, it is highly unlikely it was anything other than SecuROM.

    It's not too hard too fix, either reinstall windows or go piece by piece fixing the registry. But, it's too much of a hassle.
    #Hillary4prism

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    Some piously affirm: "The truth is such and such. I know! I see!"
    And hold that everything depends upon having the “right” religion.
    But when one really knows, one has no need of religion. - Mahavyuha Sutra

    Freedom necessarily involves risk. - Alan Watts

  12. #12

    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    So, having ruled out all other possibilities, it is highly unlikely it was anything other than SecuROM.
    Could you be bothered to lay out some specifics? For example, which program(s) and methods did you use to determine that SecuROM has kernel access? Virus / malware protection used on computer? Windows version / update level? Other programs with ring0 access (virtual drive software, firewalls)? Any possibility of a hardware failure?

    I've done a bit of reading now, and so far I'm not convinced. The SecuROM Giant Guide V2.2 linked in this thread definitely smells of BS - most of the "proofs" are simply player testimonials or forum conversations. The site is just horrible. It's mostly about an anti-"establishment" agenda, scientific validity is entirely secondary.

    So far I haven't seen a single professional analysis that confirms SecuROM ring0 components; indeed, most knowledgeable-seeming fellows say otherwise. That Sblade dude (responsible for SecuROM "research" on multiple forums) definitely doesn't help his cause by alluding to mysterious secret drivers that nobody else seems to be able to find, and the thing about existing ring 0 component proof under non-disclosure because of a lawsuit isn't helping either. I mean, c'mon. Allegedly, retail versions of multiple games have this version of SecuRom that installs ring 0 components. Those DVD-ROMs sure aren't going to magically change their content, so it should be a non-issue since there's no way for that "proof" to suddenly disappear.

    Regarding total system failure, why would SecuROM mess with file associations or hardware? There's really no reason why it would do that intentionally (that'd be horrible business practice), so that leaves errors in coding. (Not to mention that it couldn't even do that without ring 0 access, which so far hasn't been demonstrated unambiguously.) Even if ring 0 access can be proven, there are commonly multiple programs with similar access installed on any given computer - virtual drives, antivirus software, firewalls, hardware monitoring utilities.

    For the record, I think it's fine to argue against DRM. Personally, I'd be happy to get rid of DRM and copy protection entirely - already I use mounted images or cracked exes for most of my games so I can get around the hassle of using CDs or DVDs. I'm just against the dishonesty of shrouding arguments in BS to gain support from the masses. Not only is it dishonest, it's also ineffective - the BS undermines any possible real issues and gives the parties in question an advance warning.

  13. #13
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    Pretty much, the question is why would it mess up some computers completely and others not at all?
    I've got SecuROM on both my computers and they both work like before. I heard that StarForce can cause DVD drives to deteriorate faster and it's possible that other DRM does that too by making the drives read in complicated patterns etc. but how it could possibly destroy a graphics card or a CPU is beyond me.
    The registry thing, well, I do not remember ever having my registry messed up like that, not with any copy protection, although granted there seem to be millions of different versions modified in different ways but I don't think associating .jpg files with iTunes is the intention behind DRM.
    That's not to say I love DRM and that it can possibly harm drives is certainly a problem but you could also ask what spawned the other, the piracy or the DRM? In shops the normal customers also suffer because the loss through theft is already calculated into the prices, the software thieves achieved something similar and now they're seen as heroes, great.
    Last edited by Husar; 12-18-2008 at 10:48.


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    Backordered Member CrossLOPER's Avatar
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    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    Quote Originally Posted by Husar View Post
    Pretty much, the question is why would it mess up some computers completely and others not at all?
    Different hardware and sometimes software present may cause some DRM software to go nuts.
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    I stole it from a stupid Iceni Member Shieldmaiden's Avatar
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    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    Quote Originally Posted by CrossLOPER View Post
    Different hardware and sometimes software present may cause some DRM software to go nuts.
    I personally play a few Securom titles (i.e - CotN, Spore) and no problems.

    I would buy a Securom title again - but I believe the additional Securom DRM (such as on Spore) is stupid and will wait until DRM "Install Limits" are softened in future (a la Bioshock and Spore ("Install Limit" extended from 3 to 5 and de-authorization tool available BTW).

    I refuse to buy a Starforce title though - I did once and found it malware - it damaged my DVD-ROM!
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  16. #16
    Backordered Member CrossLOPER's Avatar
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    Default Re: PC Game Piracy Examined

    I don't have too much of an issue with a degree of software conflict, like when the game thinks I pirated it and all I have to do is reload the game and its fine. When the game refuses to play because it does not like what I have on my computer, that's something else.
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