Atari Founder: PC Piracy About to be Eradicated

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 NEXT
 

Even if we assume the TPM chip is the first ever entirely unhackable, non-circumventable protection mechanism, the games companies would have to make it a requirement for the protection to mean anything (otherwise pirates just remove the chip and carry on). This would narrow their market to people who have a very recent PC, as well as pissing off everyone who doesn't.

It all comes down to the fact that the hardware is under the control of the user, and the software is inevitably hacked.

<edit> did I mention Atari is irrelevant? I think I forgot that.

All this is going to do is place a teeny little bump in the path of the pirates, and most likely lock out a ton of legitimate buyers. Surprise surprise, suddenly the pissed off consumers are now also pirates because it works better than the real thing.

Quite aside from the fact that Nolan Bushnell is a bit crazy, he's clearly underestimating the ingenuity of the scumbag demographic. There will always be douchepits who can rationalize their behaviour, and as a result, there will always be piracy.

Making a game "unhackable" is not so much about making it compleatly impossible to hack as it is making the effort required for each unit so much work that it is'nt worth it.

Take half life 2 for example. With steam and all that it's barely worth it. All they have to do with these chips is make each chip uniqe. Taking away the anonymity. So your games cd key becomes bound to the chip ID and then requires online checks like steam uses to be played. So each time you play the game the game is compared with the CD key and the computers ID chip.

Sure there are ways around it but every step that makes pirating harder reduces the ammount of thefts.

For example alien versus predator 1. To crack that game you took your AVP folder and burned the whole thing to a cd and the game was copied. The game was massivly pirated. Like half life 1. I wonder if anyone actualy paid money for half life 1.

But then you have multiplayer games that use CD keys. Practicly impossible to pirate since you need a uniqe cd key. If you use a cd key that someone elses also uses then one of you can't get online or both cd keys get permanently disabled.

So again. They don't have to make it impossible. Just so much work and the result so unsatisfying that it's just easier to buy the game for most people.

The reason why this is bad is because there will be 0 compatability between pre lockdown hardware and post lockdown software and reverse.

Lockdown based games need the chip to function and non lockdown based games will run into a brick wall when trying to run on a chipped pc.

They are not preventing theft by giving benefits to people who don't steal.
They are not preventing theft by punishing thieves.
They are preventing theft by making sure there's nothing left to steal.

Acording to this theory you could obtain immortality by destroying all life so there's nothing that can die.

I'm with the pirates on this one. Or a more acurate wording would be: "i'm with everybody exept atari on this one" because we all get treated as criminals.

As to the people whining that drm is needed because of pirates: World of Warcraft, 10mil subs and absolutely no drm(infact, the client is free to download of their site).

Piracy shouldn't be condoned but it's obvious this isn't going to work. And dealing with piracy is quite a simple affair that most companies seem to overlook, make games cost less. I only buy new games from Steam and occasionally if I think I'll really enjoy it. Apart from that I refuse to buy new games from stores simply because they cost way too much, I know development costs are going up but personally I don't really see the difference between:

spend millions of dollars developing a hardware anti pirate system

and

a few less million dollars in sales revenue

and personally at least the second one balances out, cheaper games = more sales, more expensive games = less sales, so in then end sales revenue will be around the same figure except less people will be pirating games. And I agree with the above, it's about making games difficult to pirate so that the effort involved doesn't make it worth it. Steam is a good example, people do pirate Steam games but it is much less common compared to how many people pirated Half Life 1.

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?

It's not so much that Bushnell is a villian for advocating an anti-piracy position, but that he's a little misguided for perpetuating the tit-for-tat technology game that companies have been playing with pirates for years, and losing for years.

Malygris:
Quite aside from the fact that Nolan Bushnell is a bit crazy, he's clearly underestimating the ingenuity of the scumbag demographic. There will always be douchepits who can rationalize their behaviour, and as a result, there will always be piracy.

I find it interesting that a natural response to rising game prices, especially considering the wide availability and ease of use of a relatively-risk free alternative, makes people into "scumbags" and "douchepits" who feel the need need to "rationalize their behavior." I might call a legitimate consumer "honest" in comparison to a pirate, but I would not degrade a pirate's behavior to such an insulting level for choosing free games over costly games; or even free games over no games, if the situation is such.

I think it's really too bad that there's so much focus on making pirates the enemy of game companies and legitimate consumers when the gauge of a game's success doesn't have to rely on sales numbers. Instead of making and selling games with gross profit in mind, companies could make and sell games with exposure in mind; then, pirates could be their friends instead of their enemies. After all, a developer isn't so interested in sales numbers as a form of direct income as they are in seeing it as an estimate of how many people are playing their game. Then they can take that number to their next investor and say "this many people are playing our game, give us money to make another one." If only companies were friendly enough with pirates that they could get access to the number of illegally distributed copies, developers could also say to publishers and retailers, "this many people are playing our game but not paying for it. If you lowered your retail prices and made piracy just a little more irksome to bother with, maybe they'll pay for the next one." Plus, it's just a more impressive number if you have a more thorough estimate of exposure than straight sales numbers.

Yes, it's a pipedream to hope for a world where some central pirate leadership says to the game company "we stole this many copies of your game this month," only to have the company say "well, what can we do to convince you to pay for them?" And hell, it leads to an even more utopian vision where developers get government grants so they can put games out for free because games should be played by everyone, damnit, and played heavily.

But it's still a lot more productive than waving the latest technogizmo that will be obsolete in three months and shouting "hah, we've got you now, pirates!"

The problem is that a stock market listed company does'nt get to choose a goal like "prettyness" over making money.

You have thousands or even millions of people who own stock and expect a return on their investment. Their vote is what makes and breaks a CEO of a company. It's like if you had an election in a country and the leader promised to stop spending money on infrastructure and to instead use the money on building statues.

The pirates are not some revolutionary militia of rugged heroes that fight for justice and equality for everyone. They are theives and cheapscates who would rather steal than have to pay for a product. The reason that this is so widely tolerated amoung the public is that the victim is some corporation to it's easier to dismiss their plight. Unlike some poor old lady geting her wallet stolen. But it's still the same thing. Theft is theft.

Dejawesp:
The problem is that a stock market listed company does'nt get to choose a goal like "prettyness" over making money.

You have thousands or even millions of people who own stock and expect a return on their investment. Their vote is what makes and breaks a CEO of a company. It's like if you had an election in a country and the leader promised to stop spending money on infrastructure and to instead use the money on building statues.

The pirates are not some revolutionary militia of rugged heroes that fight for justice and equality for everyone. They are theives and cheapscates who would rather steal than have to pay for a product. The reason that this is so widely tolerated amoung the public is that the victim is some corporation to it's easier to dismiss their plight. Unlike some poor old lady geting her wallet stolen. But it's still the same thing. Theft is theft.

Would you be willing to pay, on average, $120 for a game? I'm not saying that pirating is all right, but there is a large difference between "cheapskate" and "unwilling to pay what is obviously ridiculous price gouging."

The price is what the market can handle. Obviously alot of people are willing to pay what the games currently cost or game sales would drop and so would the prices.

One can allways complain about prices. Especialy as a consumer but you can't really debate it because the way the market works; any unresonably priced items will lose shares to competitors.

At the same time games take more time and money to develope. It's no longer pixelated screens with music made intirely on a keyboard. Now you need a small army of Japanese scientists to make a game.

Dejawesp:
The problem is that a stock market listed company does'nt get to choose a goal like "prettyness" over making money.

You have thousands or even millions of people who own stock and expect a return on their investment. Their vote is what makes and breaks a CEO of a company. It's like if you had an election in a country and the leader promised to stop spending money on infrastructure and to instead use the money on building statues.

The pirates are not some revolutionary militia of rugged heroes that fight for justice and equality for everyone. They are theives and cheapscates who would rather steal than have to pay for a product. The reason that this is so widely tolerated amoung the public is that the victim is some corporation to it's easier to dismiss their plight. Unlike some poor old lady geting her wallet stolen. But it's still the same thing. Theft is theft.

Actually, companies tend not to be democracies where the leader has to rationalize his goals to the voting population, because companies are designed more like hierarchical oligarchies in which the powerful tend to stay in power unless they displease a small echelon of decision-makers at the top. CEOs are not at the mercy of their employees or their investors--it is often a board of executives that holds sway over their fate. While the board of executives is usually very concerned with what investors want, investors don't run a company. Investors only have two choices: to invest money or not to invest money. The extent of their communication with the company generally does not extend beyond that, and while a company ideally wants to make money in order to attract investors, it is not as simple as "more profit equals more investors." Companies can make promises to their investors. They can lie to them. They can lead them on when they aren't really making profit, and investors will stay on anyway because the nature of the stock market is deeply rooted in the suspension of disbelief--since you're not trading based on current profits, you're basing your decisions on what the company will be instead of what it is.

So, yes, a publicly traded company can choose goals other than immediate profit if they can convince their investors it will result in a positive turnaround at some point in the future. And, yes, a CEO is indirectly at the mercy of the quantity of investment being made in the company he runs, but there is the very important middleman of the board of executives who can and will keep a CEO in power if they believe and their investors believe the CEO's actions will result in profit. In a stock market, money is only the language, not the currency. Confidence is the currency of the stock market.

Besides, game developers are rarely publicly traded and tend not to follow a corporate structure. For the most part, they're just people that want to make a living off of making games, because they're good at it and they enjoy it. They have just one investor--their publisher--and while that investor might very well have a corporate organization, there's not exactly a lot of fervent speculation as to where the company is headed. Leave that for the established industries where people think they have the patterns figured out. A young industry like the game industry, confronted with a problem like piracy, has loads of options for dealing with such a perceived problem because they are relatively in control of their own direction. The best result would be accepting the presence of piracy as an inevitability, and then finding out how to turn the disadvantage into an advantage.

Finally, I'm not quite sure if or how you garnered a characterization of pirates as a "revolutionary militia of rugged heroes that fight for justice and equality" out of my post, but know that as much as I might be in awe of pirates for their ability to circumvent all sorts of security measures, in the bigger picture they're really nothing more than a variable in an economic equation. So, no, they're not internet superheroes, but they are an inevitability.

Dejawesp wrote:
(the standard pro-DRM party line)

We'll see how you feel the first time you're unable to run a piece of software you purchased legitimately.

Law-and-order types always buy that "only the guilty need to fear" bullshit, hook line and sinker. As if nobody in the entire course of human history has ever been accused of a crime they didn't commit.

Once again: companies that treat paying customers like criminals deserve to die an excruciating death by bankruptcy. If you give a damn about justice, don't give them one penny of your hard-earned cash.

(NOTE: I do not practise or condone piracy.)

Well why have they told us this? Just don't buy this new board, it won't work if we don't have it.

Sega thought that the GD-rom (or whatever their proprietary disc was called) would absolutely prevent all piracy on the Dreamcast.

I remember Windows Vista was also supposed to signal the end of all piracy.

People are always confident about their new security doodads until they actually get put to the test.

Nobody wants to address he real problem... the army of Soviet trained computer-children bred during the cold war to think and speak in binary. After the collapse of the USSR, their tracking program fell apart, and they spread all over Eastern Europe. They can hack anything with their thoughts, and we have no idea how many of them are left. You can only spot them when the red LED lights under their nipples start to glow during exposure to electrical current.

Stop the cyborgs, stop the piracy. duh.

Incandescence:
I find it interesting that a natural response to rising game prices, especially considering the wide availability and ease of use of a relatively-risk free alternative, makes people into "scumbags" and "douchepits" who feel the need need to "rationalize their behavior." I might call a legitimate consumer "honest" in comparison to a pirate, but I would not degrade a pirate's behavior to such an insulting level for choosing free games over costly games; or even free games over no games, if the situation is such.

The fundamental flaw in your argument, of course, being that the games aren't free.

As others have said, the chip will need to have a software component in the games that implement it and at that point it starts to remind me of Starforce, just now supposedly hack-proof.

Starforce too paints everyone under the same picture of a criminal and rewards legitimate buyers with copy-protection that eventually destroys your CD/DVD drive (especially bad if its a laptop drive as its not as simple as fitting a new one). The pirates work out how to remove it and all that happens is more people are turned to piracy.

This will merely provide massive restrictions on the target market to 'People who bought a new motherboard in the last month' but the similarities are there. All we need now is an Atari employee to post links to some torrent site to a game that chose not to use the chip-software and we have a perfect match*.

*Before I get flamed for this, there was a big news storm a few years back where a Starforce emplyee posted a torrent link to Galactic Civilizations 2 because it didn't use copy-protection.

Malygris:

Incandescence:
I find it interesting that a natural response to rising game prices...

The fundamental flaw in your argument, of course, being that the games aren't free.

I admit to being a little confused over why this fact is a fundamental flaw in my point of view. I'd like to hear more.

What the pirates do is both imoral and illegal. I dont see why we need to pull any punches when it comes to classifying them.

I'll stay away from the usual chitchat about piracy and simply say this: Even if it's possible for that particular chip to act as a DRM lock, it'll just get hacked and/or modded, like any other piece of DRM.

In the end, the only ones who are really affected by DRM are the people using their product legit. They are the ones who're getting limited/restricted use from their copies, not the pirates.

the_tramp:
Well why have they told us this? Just don't buy this new board, it won't work if we don't have it.

That would be entrapment. It's the same reason you can ask anyone if they are a cop, and, by law, they are required to answer in the affirmative if they are.

Crusnik:

the_tramp:
Well why have they told us this? Just don't buy this new board, it won't work if we don't have it.

That would be entrapment. It's the same reason you can ask anyone if they are a cop, and, by law, they are required to answer in the affirmative if they are.

...Actually, that's an urban legend. See?

Every piece of hardware requires a driver to run it. Come on, man! Do you really think hackers aren't going to decode the damned driver and make their own versions?

Considering that the video game industry is the ONLY market that hasn't been affected by the economic slow down/recession of the United States I really don't think that video game piracy has much of an effect on it. Especially when the industry is racking in over 1.4 billion a year in profit.

Dejawesp:
What the pirates do is both imoral and illegal. I dont see why we need to pull any punches when it comes to classifying them.

I absolutely disagree with you. I am a pirate. No, I don't download software illegally, but what I do is illegal. Why am I a pirate? Well, I have multiple reasons.

You see, I build and mod my own computers. And not in a small sense, I really like to make major changes to my box. You'd think it wouldn't be a big deal, but, for whatever reason, most games with copy protection do not work on my PC and I have yet to identify the root cause (granted, I don't really care to, as the problem is completely artificial).

I absolutely hate having to find CDs and put them in the drive. Thanks, but I have a PC, not a console and this is one of the reasons. Especially considering that there isn't actually any data loaded off the CD for gameplay aside from what is needed to check to make sure the CD is legitimate. If you need data, I'll save a disk image for you.

How can I solve these problems? I try to find the game availible on Steam. If the publisher is stupid and not publishing through Steam, I use Alcohol 120 to work around copy protection and save disk images to my hard drives where I can and no-CD cracks for everything else. Even though I bought the games legitimately, it is illegal and technically pirating for me to actually play the games.

So to me, what pirates do is not immoral, it allows me to actually play the games I legitimately purchased.

What I'm interested in is how they plan to use the TPM to encrypt games because theoretically private key encryption is uncrackable short of a quantum computer. My hunch is they would use the TPM to authenticate the game (since each TPM has a unique key built into it), the obvious problem is that it would effectively tie the game to a specific motherboard which would mean calling every game company who implements this after you change motherboards.

On the general issue of piracy the biggest issue isn't cost but convenience, certainly there are some people who will pirate something no matter what but for most if it is more convenient to buy the game then pirate it then people will buy it. I believe thats why Steam is doing so well, it provides a simple interface for searching for games, checking reviews, buying and almost immediately playing said game. This is where DRM becomes a problem, if it becomes more convenient to pirate the game because the DRM is particularly onerous (like this TPM based DRM likely will be) then more people will pirate he game.

Incandescence:
I admit to being a little confused over why this fact is a fundamental flaw in my point of view. I'd like to hear more.

You suggest that developers aren't interested in game sales as a source of income, that demonstrably high rates of piracy would somehow be attractive to future investors, equate "stolen" with "free," and then seriously expect me to explain it to you?

Come on.

Malygris:
...Come on.

Oh, I see. I wasn't capable of gleaning those disagreements from your comment that games generally aren't free for honest consumers. While I still feel a little thick-headed in that I can't see exactly where that fact serves as the root for your disagreements, I appreciate your elaboration on them all the same. I'll try to reword what I said so it's more clear what I mean.

Though I'm not a game developer--and even if I were, I would only be able to speak with confidence about the game development companies I had personally worked for--as an interested external observer with an investment in and a hope for the continuing health of the games industry, I've come to believe that sales numbers--for developers--are less important as a source of direct income as they are a selling point to future publishers. What I mean is that the success of each game a developer puts out is an investment into the next game they make, because the more successful the current game is the more investment and support they can get for their next game. I'm talking about a company to company developer-publisher relationship, by the way, not an intracompany thing like big corporations like EA can do now. In a two company developer-publisher relationship, most of the money from game sales goes to retailers and publishers anyway, which is what leads me to think that developers are free to think of sales numbers less as direct income and more as representational of success and reputation--hopefully meaning that developers can look at piracy as less of an absolute evil that must be eradicated.

This is why I was led to exaggerate the possibilities of a relationship between the games industry and pirates that was less an relationship of absolute animosity into a pipedream where we could all get along, which I noted it was. If I'm right in pointing out that developers don't have to worry about sales numbers as a source of direct income but instead a measure of successful exposure, that makes the money part of sales numbers less important than the exposure factor. Since exposure doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the purchase of games, and if more exposure means more successful developers--which means more investment from publishers which means more games and a growing industry--then the games industry is in a position to benefit from a better relationship with the pirate community.

Of course, this dream runs into a problem when the publishers realize they're not making any money from a portion of that exposure, which is why it isn't perfectly realistic. But trying to make amends with your perceived enemies is not always a bad thing.

Finally, yes, I equated "stolen" with "free." Maybe I should clarify that I mean monetarily free. If I successfully steal something like a game, that means I don't pay any money in exchange for the game. By not paying money for a game, I get it for free. That doesn't make it morally right to someone who believes in things like private property, fair exchange for goods and services, and copyright protection, but I was avoiding the moral semantics of pirating games by choosing to look at it from a more monetary point of view. I've seen that people have a greater change of agreeing on something when you argue over the economics of an issue rather than the morals, and I like it when people agree on things. So, yes, stealing means I get it for free. That's the point of theft.

Thoughts?

Will it stop music piracy and software piracy too? - or is this just directed to PC games because developers think "All PC gamers = dirty pirates, arrr!"?

So, when the OFLC bans a game, I'm just shit out of luck then?
You can't legally import an RC game in Australia, so yeah, I'm a criminal because I downloaded Postal, and I'm sure as hell not going to have an Australian version of GTA4 when it hits PC's here.. Is that MORALLY wrong, too?
I was happy to accept that I'm a criminal, but it seems I'm a scumbag now too....

By the way, if i CAN buy a game, I will.

How long before we see a motherboard launched with the argument "no pesky stealth chip!" ;)

CarlosYenrac:
So, when the OFLC bans a game, I'm just shit out of luck then?
You can't legally import an RC game in Australia, so yeah, I'm a criminal because I downloaded Postal, and I'm sure as hell not going to have an Australian version of GTA4 when it hits PC's here.. Is that MORALLY wrong, too?
I was happy to accept that I'm a criminal, but it seems I'm a scumbag now too....

By the way, if i CAN buy a game, I will.

The only argument to this that wouldn't be in your favor:

Oh yeah?! What was stopping you from getting a plane ticket, and then heading over hear and getting it, then going back?

Ok, so only new motherboards will have this chip?

Oh wait, that means that pirates just will use older mainboards and have about 2 FPS less that a new high end range mainboard with the chip gives them.

Yeah, huh.

nilpferdkoenig:
Ok, so only new motherboards will have this chip?

Oh wait, that means that pirates just will use older mainboards and have about 2 FPS less that a new high end range mainboard with the chip gives them.

Yeah, huh.

Nah, we'll still have more FPS, we'll just have to use liquid nitrogen to cool our systems while they run massively overclocked.

Dejawesp:

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?

Well with the last sentence I just felt the need to vent my years-long anger at the industry right now.With the post I wanted to clear a few illusions some of you westerners have , about the market outside of your respectable countryes.

As for my opinion on the argument -it's a few posts above if you really want to see it.

Dejawesp:

Take half life 2 for example. With steam and all that it's barely worth it. All they have to do with these chips is make each chip uniqe. Taking away the anonymity. So your games cd key becomes bound to the chip ID and then requires online checks like steam uses to be played. So each time you play the game the game is compared with the CD key and the computers ID chip.

Sure there are ways around it but every step that makes pirating harder reduces the ammount of thefts.

For example alien versus predator 1. To crack that game you took your AVP folder and burned the whole thing to a cd and the game was copied. The game was massivly pirated. Like half life 1. I wonder if anyone actualy paid money for half life 1.

But then you have multiplayer games that use CD keys. Practicly impossible to pirate since you need a uniqe cd key. If you use a cd key that someone elses also uses then one of you can't get online or both cd keys get permanently disabled.

So again. They don't have to make it impossible. Just so much work and the result so unsatisfying that it's just easier to buy the game for most people.

Actually I was surpirsed as to how easyly hackers managed to go around steam. It was funny.As for multiplayer - have you ever heard of specially designed servers that don't check for cd-keys? On every major game. Including WoW.That's right if you feel like it you could play WoW for free boys.

Btw no offence Dejawesp but you're really starting to sound like a corporate drone :)

Well, all this is gonna do is just delay the pirates by an unspecified amount of time, so it wont erradicate piracy.

I mean, I never buy brand new games, I either buy second hand or bargin bin games, I don't have the money to spend £29.99 per game, and prices are going to rise, they need to rise before they fall. This chip, in my own opinion is just going to be the catalyst for the fall of PC gaming, its going to ruin companies like Valve, who's biggest markets are the PC and also, it will serverly harm companies like EA, Bethesda and Atari.

Dejawesp:
For example alien versus predator 1. To crack that game you took your AVP folder and burned the whole thing to a cd and the game was copied. The game was massivly pirated.

Same for many id games. CTRL C on folder; CTRL V. The company is still alive, and Carmack is about to send people into space, thanks to one of his personnal fantaisies and huge amounts of cash.
Well, on the other hand, they were there from the beginning, and could always sell their engine, if they wouldn't sell a game.

Besides, as far as CD keys are concerned, there are pirate servers as well.

Uh-huh...

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Posting on this forum is disabled.