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5 Anti-Piracy Strategies That Screwed Over Regular Gamers


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#1 Ironman273

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 17:12

5 Anti-Piracy Strategies That Screwed Over Regular Gamers
By Andrew Heaton 
January 08, 2014


229143.jpg?v=2
 
Since the dawn of the home gaming era, unscrupulous people have been pirating games, and unscrupulous companies have been trying to stop them. But just as video game graphics take a significant leap forward with every generation, so too does the increasingly inept technology behind copy protection. Only, you know, in the opposite direction.
 

We've talked before about some of the best ways developers have messed with pirates -- now let's look at the other end of the spectrum, in which developers aim for the pirates but instead screw over their paying customers in increasingly ridiculous ways.

#5. Lenslok Games Required a Little Plastic Decoder Gadget (That Didn't Work)

 

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Nijmegen 2010, via MSX

 

A pioneer in the "only making things worse" approach to video game copy protection was the Lenslok: a little plastic contraption powered by tiny prisms that apparently sought to negate Atari-era piracy by making the simple act of playing a game so f***ing tedious that you'd end up throwing your primitive console out the window.

 

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Via Wikipedia

Nearly 900 people were killed by a rain of Commodore 64s the first year it was out.

 

The way it "worked" was that at certain points in the game, the breathtaking 8-bit graphics you were previously enjoying would become scrambled into an unholy mess of pixels at the center of your television and could only be descrambled by holding the Lenslok up to that part of the screen. Simple, right? Oh, and first you had to calibrate it, adjust it to account for your screen's anti-glare or flatness, and hold the thing precisely at arm's length or else it would only show gibberish. You'd know it was working once you saw the letters "OK."

 

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Lenslok, via Torrent Freak

Or, like, a gaping vagina and a K.

 

And you're done, right? Nope! At this point you had to reach for your keyboard (while still holding the Lenslok perfectly still with your other hand) and press a key to reveal a two-letter code on the screen. Enter the code and voila, you are now allowed to continue playing the game you bought, assuming you didn't break your arm performing that last move.

 

But wait, what if your TV was too big or too small for the code to be seen? Then the manufacturer's official solution was "Get f***ed," because the Lenslok was only compatible with the most medium-sized of televisions. Not that it said so anywhere: You had to assume as much after spending hours trying to get the thing to work to no avail. This is all, of course, assuming the packager bothered to put the "extremely easy to use" instructions in your box and that you didn't get the Lenslok intended for a different game (hundreds of people did).

 

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Lenslok, via Torrent Freak
The game apologizes and wishes you luck, knowing that this may be the last time it sees you.

 

Right, so, anti-piracy efforts in games didn't get off to a good start. And somehow, they were about to get worse ...

 

Rest of the article at Source: Cracked




#2 +Lovell

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 17:17

Online only and install limits which had zero effect on pirates and only screwed over legit customers, good job.

#3 McKay

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 17:25

Online only and install limits which had zero effect on pirates and only screwed over legit customers, good job.

 

Yeah, can't believe "always on" isn't on the list.



#4 +timster

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 17:30

have there been any anti-piracy measure that actually benefited those that aren't pirates?



#5 OP Ironman273

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 18:07

Yeah, can't believe "always on" isn't on the list.

That was #1!



#6 Jason S.

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 18:35

have there been any anti-piracy measure that actually benefited those that aren't pirates?

i have to say no. i remember the old days when pirating games was easy. Use the crack or provided code and away you go.

 

then i matured and got a real job so i could actually afford games. since then, these piracy protections have only inhibited gaming. i remember playing one of the Splinter Cell games a few years ago. the hoops you had to jump through just to play the game was staggering. Sign in w/ Uplay, activate w/ their servers, keep your internet connection running, sync w/ their servers, load your game, check your cd-key over and over. jesus.



#7 MillionVoltss

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 18:38

Was spore any good ? Although its Still £29.99 on Steam .... Really ?



#8 McKay

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 18:40

i have to say no. i remember the old days when pirating games was easy. Use the crack or provided code and away you go.

 

then i matured and got a real job so i could actually afford games. since then, these piracy protections have only inhibited gaming. i remember playing one of the Splinter Cell games a few years ago. the hoops you had to jump through just to play the game was staggering. Sign in w/ Uplay, activate w/ their servers, keep your internet connection running, sync w/ their servers, load your game, check your cd-key over and over. jesus.

 

I have a gaming PC and consoles, normally I get multiplats on PC. My exception to this is any Ubisoft games, I will get it on Console because I refuse to use the Uplay game client, it's so horrible it makes Origin seem good.



#9 Jason S.

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 18:52

Was spore any good ? Although its Still £29.99 on Steam .... Really ?

Spore was supposed to be the end-all game from God and turned out to be a turd. dont bother, but if you do, do it legally :p



#10 Andrew

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 19:13

Was spore any good ? Although its Still £29.99 on Steam .... Really ?

 

The early stages of the game are really fun but it nose dives after that. Worst still, those early stages only last ~10 mins. The potential the game had was never realized, sadly. It drops to <£5 quite often on Origin, so if you're interested wait for a sale.

 

I have a gaming PC and consoles, normally I get multiplats on PC. My exception to this is any Ubisoft games, I will get it on Console because I refuse to use the Uplay game client, it's so horrible it makes Origin seem good.

 

I can't believe it doesn't even have a close to tray option.

 

I don't have an issue with the client itself though. It's barebones so doesn't cause any issues, but then doesn't really have any reason to exist either.



#11 Torolol

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 19:13

the only known good anti-piracy that actually benefited legitimate/non-pirate gamer,

is when SNES cartridges was embedded with custom CPU which add functionality (graphics & sound) that normally not possible with standard SNES hardware.

As those CPU functionally are virtually un-duplicate-able, its also behave as anti-piracy measures because said games wont work without it.

 

Actually its take some years for the emulator developer to finally able to emulates such cpu.



#12 Eric

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 19:40

Lenslok wasn't too bad for Elite. It only authenticated at startup.

#13 Max Norris

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 20:01

Yea, they still haven't learned. Having to crack a few games that I own? Reeeealy wanting to keep me legit huh?

Was spore any good ? Although its Still £29.99 on Steam .... Really ?

Eh wasn't for me, didn't hold my interest much -- my daughter likes it quite a bit though, still plays it semi-regularly.

#14 GotBored

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 08:42

Yeah, can't believe "always on" isn't on the list.

 

Its under the #1 Anti-Piracy Strategies that screwed over gamers.

 

"Once you logged in to your game and it verified that you owned a legal copy, you had to remain online at all times so that it could constantly check back to make sure you didn't suddenly start using a pirated one. Because apparently you could be stealing and playing other copies of Spore, like, for the thrill of it, or something. It's as if the TSA didn't just check you before boarding the plane, but followed you all through your vacation and frisked you as you stood in line at Disney World."



#15 compl3x

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 12:35

Anti-Piracy straegies are pointless. And there is no shortage of examples to prove it. I suppose investors won't take to kindly to publishers saying they aren't going to implement any system to combat piracy so they implement anything, even something that pisses off those of us who buy our games. Thanks, a--holes.