Will DRM Finally Beat Piracy? Notorious Cracking Forum Says Yes

Steven Bogos

The Taco Man
Jan 17, 2013
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Will DRM Finally Beat Piracy? Notorious Cracking Forum Says Yes

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Notorious Chinese cracking forum 3DM claims that in two years, it will be all but impossible to crack video game DRM.

The DRM/piracy arms race is one that has existed since the dawn of gaming, but it may be finally coming to a close, claims notorious Chinese cracking forum 3DM. Just Cause 3 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/just%20cause%203?os=%20just%20cause%203], released back on December 1, remains uncracked, and has pushed the group's top cracker to his breaking point. While he believes he will eventually be able to crack the game, he doesn't have much hope for the future, stating that in two years, games will be all but impossible to pirate.

"Recently, many people have asked about cracks for 'Just Cause 3', so here is a centralized answer to this question. The last stage is too difficult and Jun [the cracker] nearly gave up, but last Wednesday I encouraged him to continue," wrote 3DM forum founder 'Bird Sister'.

"I still believe that this game can be compromised. But according to current trends in the development of encryption technology, in two years time I'm afraid there will be no free games to play in the world."

The big culprit in all of this, and the tech that crackers think will eventually become impossible (or at least, unfeasible) to break, is an new form of DRM called "Denuvo" developed by Denuvo Software Solutions GmbH. It first made headlines in the cracking world by preventing Dragon Age: Inquisition [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/dragon%20age%20inquisition?os=dragon+age+inquisition] from being cracked for a full month - quite a feat considering games are usually cracked within a week of release.

FIFA 16 was released last September with a new and improved form of Denuvo DRM, and alongside Just Cause 3, remains uncracked to this day.

While nothing is completely "uncrackable", and I'm sure Just Cause 3 will fall, if Denuvo can manage to keep games uncracked for several months following release, it will probably cause most crackers and pirates to lose interest. After all, those first months are where most sales are made.

Source: Torrent Freak [https://torrentfreak.com/no-more-pirate-games-in-two-years-group-warns-160106/]

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Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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Interesting, but I'll believe it when I see it. This just seems like another step in the "arms race", the invincible technology never stays that way for long.

That said, I do have to wonder what will happen without pirates to blame, will we finally see the prices of video games fall? Or will we see another boogie man combined with claims of how they are already a great value maintain the existing $60 new price point for AAA games.

I'm not a big fan of piracy, and I doubt this will work, but it will be interesting if this turns out to show piracy as having had a symbiotic relationship with the industry as opposed to a parasitical one.

That said I remember when Sierra had "unbeatable" copy protection back in the day, eventually the pirates won.
 

thewatergamer

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Aug 4, 2012
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Isn't Denuvo infamous for hurting performance and is even an alleged cause of hard-drive damage? Oh wait I forgot, fuck the paying consumers! We need to make sure those pirates actually buy the game! Even though their is no proof that a pirated copy is a lost sale...oh wait I forgot, logic be damned, pfft, my mistake
 

laggyteabag

Scrolling through forums, instead of playing games
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What's that? After all this time, DRM will finally start doing its job? Took their damn time.
 

Wuvlycuddles

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I'm very interested to see if that would actually mark an increase in game sales, I mean it'd be pretty hilarious if they spend all that money on decent drm for it to not impact sales figures in the slightest.
 
Sep 9, 2007
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thewatergamer said:
Isn't Denuvo infamous for hurting performance and is even an alleged cause of hard-drive damage? Oh wait I forgot, fuck the paying consumers pfft, my mistake
That was the initial story from what I can tell. However a quick google search tells me the SSD damage part of the story is more-or-less untrue. I'm unsure about any performance hit, though.

Some light reading:
http://forum.bioware.com/topic/520683-denuvo-drm-protection-broke-ssd-bioware-please-answer-this/#entry17808049
https://www.reddit.com/r/pcmasterrace/comments/2mtxub/denuvo_drm_does_not_destroy_or_damage_ssds_proof/
 

Steven Bogos

The Taco Man
Jan 17, 2013
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Even if that held true, it wouldn't mean more sales, just less people playing your games. Hell, it will likely result in less sales, considering how damaging DRM can be.

To boost sales, all they'd have to do was add a splash screen that said "If you enjoyed this game, please consider purchasing it" and people would be more inclined to do so.
 

TsunamiWombat

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Sep 6, 2008
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Actual Scene Hackers deny this. This particular group is a gimped for profit group, and therefore the 'scene' is snorting and rolling its eyes at this assertion.
 

truckspond

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Oct 26, 2013
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Yeah, no. People will always want to try games to see if it runs on their system and they actually enjoy it before making the significant investment that a game requires. As such, people will always crack games. It may take a bit longer to figure out but where there is a will, there is a way.
 

WarpedLord

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Mar 11, 2009
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Smilomaniac said:
To boost sales, all they'd have to do was add a splash screen that said "If you enjoyed this game, please consider purchasing it" and people would be more inclined to do so.
You can't possibly believe that to be true... you seriously think pirates will pay for a game as long as developers... ask nicely?!?

Thanks for the hardest laugh I'm likely to have all month.
 

votemarvel

Regular Member
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I always download the crack for games I've bought. I don't mind paying money for a game I am interested in, even if they occasionally turn out to be a pup, but I will be damned if I am going to run programs unnecessary to the game in order to play said game.

If DRM did ever turn out to be uncrackable, I'd just wait until they reached GoG and buy them from there (and for a cheaper price.)
 

Nooners

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Sep 27, 2009
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WarpedLord said:
Smilomaniac said:
To boost sales, all they'd have to do was add a splash screen that said "If you enjoyed this game, please consider purchasing it" and people would be more inclined to do so.
You can't possibly believe that to be true... you seriously think pirates will pay for a game as long as developers... ask nicely?!?

Thanks for the hardest laugh I'm likely to have all month.
I think that's basically CD Projekt Red's mindset, though. Poland has one of the highest piracy rates in the world, so CDPR just said, "Well, let's just give up on DRM and ask nicely for people not to pirate."

...from what I last heard, they're doing okay for themselves.
 

WouldYouKindly

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Apr 17, 2011
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This has slightly more value since it comes from the actual crackers, but I actually kind of doubt it even still.

It's like an arms race. Maybe 6 months down the line from the uncrackable DRM, someone will develop a new tool designed exactly to crack the uncrackable.
 

FirstNameLastName

Premium Fraud
Nov 6, 2014
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In other news, the crossbow has just been invented. That's it people, pack up your stuff and go home. The arms-race is now over, nothing will ever trump it. History ends today.

Yeah, I'll believe it if it's a year later and these game still haven't been cracked, but a few months isn't enough for pirates to start yelling "the end is nigh."
Nooners said:
WarpedLord said:
Smilomaniac said:
To boost sales, all they'd have to do was add a splash screen that said "If you enjoyed this game, please consider purchasing it" and people would be more inclined to do so.
You can't possibly believe that to be true... you seriously think pirates will pay for a game as long as developers... ask nicely?!?

Thanks for the hardest laugh I'm likely to have all month.
I think that's basically CD Projekt Red's mindset, though. Poland has one of the highest piracy rates in the world, so CDPR just said, "Well, let's just give up on DRM and ask nicely for people not to pirate."

...from what I last heard, they're doing okay for themselves.
That doesn't really have anything to do with them simply "asking nicely", and more to do with an overall consumer-friendly approach.
 

IceForce

Is this memes?
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Apr 4, 2020
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Yeah, they said Assassin's Creed 2's always-online couldn't be cracked either.

Did you know they've built an unsinkable ship? Yep, it's called the Titanic.
 

Steven Bogos

The Taco Man
Jan 17, 2013
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WarpedLord said:
Smilomaniac said:
To boost sales, all they'd have to do was add a splash screen that said "If you enjoyed this game, please consider purchasing it" and people would be more inclined to do so.
You can't possibly believe that to be true... you seriously think pirates will pay for a game as long as developers... ask nicely?!?

Thanks for the hardest laugh I'm likely to have all month.
I'm going to give you a gesture of good will and explain this, in the hopes that you will at least hear me out.

First off, there's no possible way to measure this, we'll never get an answer to whether or not it works, but I'll try to explain why I believe that this very simple gesture would have some measure of impact.

Second, I wrote that it would boost sales, not end piracy.
Get rid of the notion (if you have it) that this will magically make all "pirates" buy games. There are loads of people who simply cannot afford these things and when you have movie, music and games fighting for the same people who have a set amount of money to spend, someone is going to lose customers. This is why you see so many Christmas releases, since many receive bonuses and everyone wants a slice of the cake.
There will always be people who will illegally download copyrighted media (in most countries anyway - in Portugal for example, it's legal).

Third, piracy is not a well-measured phenomenon and the whole thing is mired in companies outright lying about losses, estimating impossible figures that they would never, ever, earn.
My personal belief is that it's vastly overblown and that the success and income of the media industries reflects it (in movies, music and games).
We simply don't know what the state of piracy is, how accessability, DRM and sales tactics like Steam sales and Humble Bundle affects it.

---

Treating people with a bit of decency goes a very long way. This has been a tried and trusted way of doing business in retail, shops and restaurants.
Conversely we've had warnings on movies ever since VCR tapes came out, DRM on games and all that has done is piss people off.

There is a HUGE difference between saying "You are special for preordering - Have this weapon skin" and "We worked our asses off to make this game, to the detriment of our health and families - All we ask is that IF you enjoyed it, please buy it".
People respond well to genuine messages.

Think about it - Being a customer can be a downright punishing experience and nowhere else is this as true as in the games industry. We are constantly being cajoled, tricked and lured with all manner of bogus deals, especially these years where DLC has become a standard. People get massively pissed if companies aren't discreet about it (Deus Ex preorder and Payday 2 comes to mind).
You will not find any other industry that has as bad a customer service as in MMO's, or have as borderline illegal agreements that in detail explains how you have no rights.
While you can send back a plate of bad food in a restaurant, you will have a harder time getting your money back for bad (lacking, faulty or broken) games in general. Not only that, but expecting good service in this will get you laughed at and people will tell you that you deserved it for not being smarter.
My guess, and this is just my guess, is that there has probably been more psychological study in selling games than any other product out there. I base this on the way that mobile games prey on younger audiences and go lengths to make their games addictive (one of the worst examples being Rage of Bahamut).

Game companies have the most loyal and responsive customers in the world - To a frightening degree.
The industry literally has idols, like John Carmack, Gabe Newell and Markus Persson, but also it's questionable but still famous folk like Phil Fish, Peter Molyneux, John Romero and Tim Schafer.
I bring this up because if anything, it shows that Gamers are truly an odd bunch of customers and they will almost inevitably respond to personal messages. The Reverse is certainly true, there is no lack of negative feedback on bad decisions and negative developer comments.

To me it seems like a simple choice, the chance to get a couple of thousand more sales for the cost of a splash screen, because a bunch of them chose your game over another or something else like a bluray release.
 

Tanis

The Last Albino
Aug 30, 2010
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I call BS, so much BS.
The whole 'never gonna be cracked' has been around since the days of the 'look in booklet on page 7, line 8, word 9 and enter here'.

Either this group is a mole, or they're just kind of...sucking...at the whole cracked thing.

Plus, DRM is evil.
I've stopped playing/buying many PC games BECAUSE of the DRM.

Gonna treat me like a 'criminal', when ACTUAL 'criminals' are getting a better product because your shitty DRM is screwing with the game...
Not gonna get MY money, assholes.
 

Callate

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Dec 5, 2008
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Of course, crackability isn't the only question regarding DRM. If a system is nigh-uncrackable (I don't entirely buy the notion that truly uncrackable software is feasible), but significantly onerous to the legitimate end user, that's something of a pyrrhic victory.
 

Steven Bogos

The Taco Man
Jan 17, 2013
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FirstNameLastName said:
In other news, the crossbow has just been invented. That's it people, pack up your stuff and go home. The arms-race is now over, nothing will ever trump it. History ends today.
I know this is a joke, but the invention of the crossbow basically completely changed the way wars were fought. All of a sudden people with very minimal training could be effective in battle against even hardened veterans. Nothing, not even the gun, changed war as much as crossbows did.