Atari Founder: PC Piracy About to be Eradicated

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Atari Founder: PC Piracy About to be Eradicated

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell says a new chip puts computer piracy on the verge of being eradicated.

Speaking at a conference hosted by Wedbush Morgan Securities, Bushnell said a motherboard chip on computers currently in production will wipe out piracy and thus boost sales in Asia and India.

"There is a stealth encryption chip called a TPM that is going on the motherboards of most of the computers that are coming out now," he said.

"What that says is that in the games business we will be able to encrypt with an absolutely verifiable private key in the encryption world - which is uncrackable by people on the internet and by giving away passwords - which will allow for a huge market to develop in some of the areas where piracy has been a real problem," he continued.

Bushnell said there was no stopping film piracy because they could simply be recorded and copied. Games, he added, "are a different thing, because games are so integrated with the code. The TPM will, in fact, absolutely stop piracy of gameplay."

Source: Gamesindustry.biz

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ah this is really bad for some people, they dont know that the prices of legal games are really high outside of the U.S.?

there are stores that sell them in prices that one could consider a gamble (or whatever is written) honestly the only good way to get games at fair prices where i live is ordering by mail

Of course, this only works if people buy motherboards with this chip. But, yeah, this is bad for people in developing countries because it's much harder to find a legitimate version of a game than a pirated version.

Time taken for the Dutch to fit a chip override. Hours?

Haha fat chance of it working. 10 bucks says pirates are going to find a way to disable that chip in the first six months :). Anw have they thought about the fact that this will drive a lot of people from buying new pcs ??? After all , do I really need to buy a new system every two-three years, if I can't get games for it?

I really can't get these guys.

I will see your bet on the same side and raise you another 10 shadow

Odds of someone finding an override: 100%

When? That's the question.

Heh, and right after this chip eliminates game piracy, pork bearing mammals will begin aerial operations.

Wont work. Even though I don't pirate games, I don't want it to.

Royas:
Heh, and right after this chip eliminates game piracy, pork bearing mammals will begin aerial operations.

Hah, true. I mean, like some people here have said, pirates will find a way to override, disable, or just plain by-pass the chip.

Nugoo:
Of course, this only works if people buy motherboards with this chip. But, yeah, this is bad for people in developing countries because it's much harder to find a legitimate version of a game than a pirated version.

I must say, the price of PC Games is probaly the last thing a developing country worry about. This seems like a weak argument to fight it.

broadband:
ah this is really bad for some people, they dont know that the prices of legal games are really high outside of the U.S.?

The reason that prices are so high IS the piracy. Piracy steals revenue from multi-million dollar games, so when people started pirating the prices are driven up. I think that with less piracy we can expect a drop in game prices.

Although I have no real evidence of this, a majority of the people who are opposed to this, in all likelyhood, are pirates themselves. Their opposition to this is due to the fact that this seems like it COULD work.

I'll put my money on people finding ways to remove the chip, but many people destroying their motherboards, causing motherboard companies to get profit.

I don't see why anyone doesn't go for the obvious route of stopping piracy by just changing it from one of the coolest professions ever to something like "Cocksucking". With a worse title, these Pirates would be detered. It is more fun to say "Arr, I'm a pirate" then "Squelch, I'm a cocksucker"

bring on the death of AAA copy n paste titles on the PC \o/

Soulfein:
The reason that prices are so high IS the piracy. Piracy steals revenue from multi-million dollar games, so when people started pirating the prices are driven up. I think that with less piracy we can expect a drop in game prices.

I don't say you're wrong but to be equitable: multi-million dollar games that aren't even fun is also part of the problem ! Games magazines that get paid for good reviews are also part of the problem. It's too easy to stigmatize "evil pirates", these are things you pay when you buy the title.

Do you hear that sound?

'Tis the sound of a billion pirates laughing their collective asses off.

Bushnell doesn't know his asshole from his armpit; there is no such thing as 'piracy-proofing'. This will last for as long as it takes someone to find a workaround; no longer.

HalfShadow:
Do you hear that sound?

'Tis the sound of a billion pirates laughing their collective asses off.

Bushnell doesn't know his asshole from his armpit; there is no such thing as 'piracy-proofing'. This will last for as long as it takes someone to find a workaround; no longer.

At least Bushnell'll get a few good laughs... until of course the inevitable...

Soulfein:
...

But it is a strong argument; let me give you an example: COD4 is being sold at Gamestop for $59.99, which is roughly 40€. The same game is being sold here in Portugal for 75.95€. So, not only our average salary is a lot lower than USA's, but we are paying twice the money for the same exact game. I'd expect a price increase due to customs and whatnot, but a little research actually revealed that most games we get here aren't shipped from overseas, but pressed inside Europe's borders, so any kind of VAT tax should be minimal. But this is still Europe. Even if Portugal lags behind most of Europe, we still have it a hell of a lot easier than the vast majority of Asian countries.

That brings me to your next point. 80€ ($130) for a game? I'm sorry, but they must be out of their goddamn minds. And COD4 is actually cheaper now, i remember seeing 100€ figures when it was released. Mind you, this happens with nearly every game that is release here. I actually ebay most of my games because, even with custom taxes applied, they are cheaper than the European releases. Again, this is Europe. God knows how much they jack up the prices on Asian markets. I can still be arsed to order things online, but do you think most will (as opposed to pay a small fortune for a game)? Because it's "moral to do so"? HAH!

Back to the topic, Vista's BitLocker technology (which uses TPM chips) was already cracked long ago, so it's safe to assume that any software that features TPM-enabled encryption will get cracked eventually.

Sigh. They just never learn.

Once again, here's what will happen:
Many users will be locked out of their legitimately purchased programs because the stupid anti-piracy gizmo doesn't work properly.
Meanwhile, the pirates will need about five seconds to break it before they go back to business as usual.

Software companies who treat paying customers like criminals can go bankrupt and burn in hell. I have absolutely no sympathy.

What is the point in announcing the fact that they're adding that chip?
It's going to have more people not buy the new PCs..

Jayact:
What is the point in announcing the fact that they're adding that chip?
It's going to have more people not buy the new PCs..

It's to protect themselves from liability. If a pirate got caught using that motherboard to pirate he could claim they led him into the pirating.

Don't ask me how thoug i dont study american law or any law for that matter.

i just remember watching a show on the crime channel on police busts on illegal prostitution and how some people claim they were led into commiting the crime by law enforcement

As has been mentioned, the TPM chip is also used for Bitlocker drive encryption in Vista. That's designed such that if it isn't Windows being booted up, there's no way to decrypt the disk. It's a really, really tough cookie.

You know how they broke Bitlocker? You cut the power to the machine, get the machine open really, really fast, spray compressed air onto the RAM to cool it down to prevent the information stored on the RAM degrading, and then boot into another OS to sniff the encryption key out of the RAM.

It's not actually the TPM that's getting cracked, it's a flaw in the implementation of Bitlocker. The pirates are really going to have their work cut out for them to figure this one out.

You'll forgive me if I don't share the industries adamant awe and worship of Nolan 'Chucky Cheese' Bushnell. This will end poorly for all believers.

Last time I checked, he makes tons of cash then leaves burning wastelands behind him in his business ventures. We're lucky video games survived that guy's strip mining tactics.

As pretty much everyone's already said: Cops get better armor, criminals find bigger guns. Same goes for cybercrime.

I notice a severe lack of any real information in the source article, so allow me to presume some things that will probably turn out to be right in the money.

Bushnell claims the stealthy chip will find it's way onto most new motherboards. What this suggests to me is major manufacturers (Dell, HP/Compaq, Gateway, Lenovo, Acer, etc.) will install this chip to please their Microsoft overlords*. The aftermarket manufacturers will likely continue unabated, and since all PC gamers I know build their own systems, this likely won't affect them one bit. I think it's safe to assume if that's the way things go, the pirates will build their own systems as well (assuming they don't already).

*Yes, Microsoft actually managed not to come up in the article, but it's also safe to assume anything to curb piracy MS is going to jump all over.

Soulfein:

Nugoo:
Of course, this only works if people buy motherboards with this chip. But, yeah, this is bad for people in developing countries because it's much harder to find a legitimate version of a game than a pirated version.

I must say, the price of PC Games is probaly the last thing a developing country worry about. This seems like a weak argument to fight it.

Yeah, I phrased that badly. I meant that it will become harder for the people in developing countries who buy games to continue to do so.

While I suspect most of the people who oppose this vocally are pirates, it's still a bad thing for non-pirates, too. I can only assume that a game that uses this technology won't play on a system without this chip, otherwise there's no point in having the chip. If that's the case, then that forces people who want such a game to buy a new motherboard, even if they didn't need one, and they better hope that there's a motherboard with that chip that's compatible with their processor and ram, let alone the fact that they'll have to reinstall Windows. It'll also add to the price of motherboards, which nobody (not even motherboard manufacturers because it'll result in fewer sales, and they don't get more profit) wants, except the people who make this chip.

Soulfein,

For developing countries with middle level economies--like South Africa and Kenya--high technology and electronics begin to take on new importance as these countries attempt to integrate themselves as more equal partners in the arena of global trade. Electronic games are one of these important commodities, and once countries start importing them it shows that the population feels less like they have to focus all their time on surviving; a hallmark of a developing polity. So games, along with other electronic commodities, are important to developing countries--a goal, if you will--and they should be made available, preferably legally for the benefit of international trade, but we must accept the reality of piracy. Of course, the logic follows that more legal copies will be made available anyway the more developed a country is and so piracy becomes less of a concern--given that sufficient legal copies are available for import.

More importantly, piracy doesn't increase the price of games; developers, publishers, and retailers increase the price of games. Games that cost millions upon millions of dollars to make are going to cost more to consume if anybody in the games business is hoping to make money off of it, and so long as there are still huge swaths of people willing to dole out the extra money for a game, production and retail prices will continue to go up. If piracy were really impacting the sales of games as much as some claim, the price of games would be more likely to decrease than increase. It is only once the price of a game becomes marginally prohibitive that piracy will increase to an equally prohibitive amount, and the price of games will then fall back to an equilibrium between legitimate and illegitimate distribution. Internationally, the laws and precedents of world economics and currency exchange rates do more to inflate the price of a game than piracy ever will. The price of games cannot continue to rise significantly past the buying power of the average gamer, because then no one will buy them. So, game developers, publishers and retailers have to find out how to innovate more with the same amount of money or risk going out of business. Since retail-based markets rarely react quickly--especially not unwieldy global ones--because of consumers that remain uninformed and therefore cannot anticipate and shape trends, there will often be a reactionary period where everybody wonders aloud why they are paying so much for games. And then they will continue to pay so much for games, while the rest of us get them for free.

Pirates always find a way, always. You can't beat them by making something "un-hackable".

"Just because they make it hack-proof don't mean we ain't going to hack it."

I, too, don't want to see this go through for several reasons. One, I already don't use cracked games and I don't want manufacturers claiming it's because I couldn't anyways. Two, it'll just give hackers even bigger egos than they already have when they finally are able to crack it; my guess is probably through some external jimmy-rig (wires and soldering). Three, it's probably going to screw legitimate game owners even more than they are already now with the 'weekly activations' and SecuRom.

aiusepsi:
You know how they broke Bitlocker? You cut the power to the machine, get the machine open really, really fast, spray compressed air onto the RAM to cool it down to prevent the information stored on the RAM degrading...

Try liquid nitrogen. Apparently, liquid nitrogen has several other electronic/computer uses, including recovering information off of dead or dying hard drives.....

one company versus the collective brainpower and spare time of every pirate worldwide.

I'm going to say that the odds of hackable to unhackable* are roughly 1025:1

So someone want's to take another step towards preventing theft and all of a sudden they are the villian? How did that happen?

The Pirate World is much more well populated than the games industry, therefore; there will always be people cracking and bypassing the security these companies put into their games.

Price of games here in the UK doesn't affect us or at least me as much as in Europe or Asia, buying off the Internet can be a damn site cheaper and with free delivery, why go out of your house to buy a game?

Oh, and here I was thinking they were going to start simply giving the games away instead. Y'know, something akin to a realistic solution.

My bad.

Soulfein:

I must say, the price of PC Games is probaly the last thing a developing country worry about. This seems like a weak argument to fight it.

Nah you got this very very wrong my friend.You see only a small part of the whole . I live in Bulgaria, but I just came back from the US a few months ago. I recall buying new games there at a price of 30-50 $ and given that my salary was about 2000$ (which is pretty average) I was pretty happy . I thought that's a pretty good deal. However in Bulgaria they would cost about 70$. And most middle income citizens here get about 350-600 levs(1lev= 0.75 USD) a month. So put yourself in a young kid's position. You could lose your lucnh money for two-three months and buy that thing , or you could get it for free. Tough question really.
And what about when you need to upgrade every two or three years--then it's starting to get interesting.

Personally now that I'm an adult I don't care that much for games. Plus I have my own system now.
It goes like this: get CoD4 - 70$,get new machine to play it on 3000-4000 levs or play it at a cyber cafe -whole CoD4 single player-6 levs -(4.50 $). Everything legit too.
Haven't had an upgrade on my home pc since 2003, not planning one soon either.

Dejawesp:
So someone want's to take another step towards preventing theft and all of a sudden they are the villian? How did that happen?

Well given all of the above I have a Yahtzee quote for those nice not trying to milk me to death companies:
"How about I give you 4? As in ..."

shadow1138:
Well given all of the above I have a Yahtzee quote for those nice not trying to milk me to death companies:
"How about I give you 4? As in ..."

What side of the argument are you supporting with that statement?

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