You Wouldn't Steal a Car - Pt. 3

Previous post here.

The modern creative technology industry now fully recognises piracy as a threat to traditional software marketplaces and purchase services, and companies have a variety of solutions to deal with the issue. However, the success of these aren't consistent and making just end up provoking internet communities into pirating in protest, as I've detailed before. Like most things, the simplest solutions are usually the best ones, but unfortunately they require developers and publishers to take a more active part in their community and other resources.

It may seem absurd to even suggest this, but by simply providing a better service, or by teaming up with someone who does, businesses usually are more likely to see lowered piracy rates and end up with more of the consumers’ cash. People will pay for convenience, and so if the method in which products are purchased is not only quick but simple, then the customer has paid before they can even think about changing their mind. Likewise, utilising extraneous anti-piracy measures will push the user away from paying at a legitimate source, solely for the ease provided at other places.

That is one of the reasons why the download market is so popular with customers and developers alike. It allows a direct line between the storefront and the customer base, and an instant redeeming of purchasing. Downloaded items are also not as easily shared between people as physical media is, particularly if managed by a third-party client like Steam or Direct2Drive. Plus, with DLC (downloadable content) being the norm, it is easier for developers to entice customers to invest in the full package. One example of this is EA's Project Ten Dollar, in which players who have either pirated their games or brought them pre-owned have to pay an additional $10 to access online gameplay and/or additional content. However, those who buy the game new and redeem a one-time-use code have access to these features straight out of the box with no further payment required.

Some developers have also come up with ingenious anti-piracy coding measures. It is uncommon, but not rare, for coders to implement counter-protections into the source code itself as in cases it can be hard, if not impossible to detect if a user has pirated a game, or corrupted files could lead to wrongful accusations. In the past well-established companies have actually decided to manipulate software pirates and toy with them a bit. Within Batman: Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady's breakthrough detective/crime-fighter hit, the cape of a certain Bruce Wayne plays an integral gameplay part in allowing the player to glide in a manner that enables them to reach heightened ledges or platforms. However, in illegally distributed versions of the game, this cape is completely inaccessible, rendering the title incompletable.

Another example, but rather an oddball one, comes from the reign of Japanese pornography games. Users on site Winni illegally torrenting a hentai (pornographic anime) title found trojan horse viruses within the packages which takes screengrabs of the users internet history and personal details, and then publishes it online. To counter this, gamers are requested to pay 1,500 yen via instructions from an e-mail automatically send to them informing them as to how they can take their information offline. It's a rare case of fighting fire with fire, but it will be hard to monitor how it affects revenue.