Bohemia Interactive issued an interesting release today revealing how it has handled piracy over the years. The company claims that it uses a unique brand of copy protection that manifest itself as a form of gameplay / quality degradation. Naturally when a game starts messing up - even a pirated one - people start to complain about bugs. From the release:
"One of the aspects of developing any game in this modern age is how to protect it, it's widely known that as soon as any game is released there are those who are looking to download it for free, who for whatever reason feel that their right is to not pay for something despite all the thousands of hours that have gone into its development. Obviously game developers have a responsibility to themselves to try to protect their company's future, but also a responsibility to the community that supports them by buying their titles, no gamer who has spent their hard earned money to buy a game wants to be playing MP against others who didn't buy their game, no add-on maker wants to have things they created over countless hours downloaded and used by people who didn't buy the game it's intended for. That is why we try to come up with unique and irrefutable ways to stop people from playing our games without paying for them, that's why Take On Helicopters shipped with our unique anti-piracy countermeasures."
The release goes on to say that, dating back to 2001 with the original Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis, the company has used non-traditional anti-piracy countermeasures. While these measures do not stop the initial "illegal downloader," they only get a small taste of the full experience "before many aspects of the game, including performance start to degrade."
Take On Helicopters, the company's latest title, is no exception, with some users having reported morphed/watery image degradation (details on that can be found here). While some might counter by saying that Bohemia is simply saying this to cover up some glitches and bugs in its latest game, the company claims that these problems are not happening in legal copies.
The company closes by saying that there are other ways to try out a title besides downloading an illegal copy:
"Counterfeit copies of our games may degrade and, moral aspects aside, we certainly recommend only playing the original version. We have a free public demo version of Take On Helicopters in the development pipeline for those that prefer to test it before buying."