Bohemia Interactive Details Unique Anti-Piracy Methods

November 10, 2011 -

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."


Comments

Re: Bohemia Interactive Details Unique Anti-Piracy Methods

This isn't really a new idea, it's just the first time that I've heard of someone implementing it. I have heard of a similar scheme but that was before buying games from online stores like Steam came about, so I don't know if it would work well now:

The physical medium that the game is on contains errors that the executable actually looks for and corrects. The only way to copy the disc is to set options in the burning/ripping software that ignore, fill in or make the errors consistent. Alternately, when developing a crack the crackers may find and "fix" the code. When the program is installed, the code errors are not corrected so that when the game is played it becomes unstable and/or unplayable. The person who pirates the game gets a taste of it, but if they complain then the developer is able to say, "Only pirated copies of those games have those errors." Conversely, if everyone that the pirate talks to says the game runs perfectly (which of course depends on the actual non-pirated code being bug-free as well) then if the pirate really wants to play the game, they might just go out and buy it to be free of the glitches.

 

Re: Bohemia Interactive Details Unique Anti-Piracy Methods

It'll be cracked at if not before release.

Re: Bohemia Interactive Details Unique Anti-Piracy Methods

Every time I hear about one of these new and innovative DRM solutions, I have to stop and ask, "How much more could this game company have improved the core game had they dedicated all that time and money they spent on DRM on the actual game?"

Re: Bohemia Interactive Details Unique Anti-Piracy Methods

and... just how does this tech work? how does it detect if its a illegal copy? and so on?

all we're really told is that pirated copies started to have visual defects, and not how it just decides on if its a pirated copy.

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Re: Bohemia Interactive Details Unique Anti-Piracy Methods

Bohemia Interactive is not really known for their business or technical sense... they do not need to worry about giving people a 'bad impression of their game' because players are not the ones they are trying to impress....

Re: Bohemia Interactive Details Unique Anti-Piracy Methods

Sorry but I do not see the point as it will be over ridden/patched. Try again?


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Re: Bohemia Interactive Details Unique Anti-Piracy Methods

​Zippy, depending on how they implemented it you would need to know exactly where the errors are introduced to be able to patch them. If the errors are on the physical media, then only creating an exact copy of the original disk would allow for a pirated copy to work - but if the executable is "fixed" that might render the game unplayable. If an exact copy is not made, then the errors in the physical media will likely be corrected by the burning/ripping software and you're back to the game being glitchy.

Re: Bohemia Interactive Details Unique Anti-Piracy Methods

So, you create a bad impression of your game by causing lots of online discussion about the many bugs it has, with nobody knowing that the bugs are supposedly intentional.  Then, you create a bad impression of yourself by suggesting that anybody complaining about bugs is a thief, which will further aggrieve legitimate customers experiencing bugs.

Bravo?

Re: Bohemia Interactive Details Unique Anti-Piracy Methods

I'm pretty sure this is exactly the sort of nonsense that sank Titan Quest.

Re: Bohemia Interactive Details Unique Anti-Piracy Methods

Pretty much, yep...

 
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