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Geenheart Games Solution to Piracy

Just a few days ago I read a startling post by Patrick from Greenheart Games stating some startling statistics from their latest game release “Game Dev Tycoon”. In the article, Patrick explains an experiment that Greenheart conducted on the day of the PC ported release of the game involving baiting pirates to illegally download a purposely leaked version of the game containing a slight change in the story and a tracking code sending anonymous data to Greenheart servers. After the first day, the results were simply jaw-dropping, with 93.6% of all copies of the game being cracked and only 6.4% having actually purchased the game. This was especially surprising because of the extremely cheap price of the game on stores like Steam and the Windows Store of only $8 USD.

In late 2014 the CEO of Ubisoft games gave an interview to Gamespot regarding a similar study with Ubisoft games which gave remarkably similar results. A grand total of 95% of all Ubisoft games being played have been cracked versus purchased through legal stores and marketplaces. The list goes on, and on through nearly all major game and software companies like Adobe, EA Games, and many more.

So what does this mean for the software industry? Well, there are two very different stories here when we’re talking about companies trying to stay afloat. Smaller companies made up of no more than 5-10 members could very easily go bankrupt after their first or second release. Bigger companies with well-established products are a whole different story because they have access to major server banks and all the latest encryption. While smaller companies cannot afford to make massively multiplayer games, bigger companies have the resources available to make software online and thus not able to be pirated.

Here are some example of Online VS Locally run Softwares

Can be Pirated (Locally Run)Cannot be Pirated (Run Online)
GamesMinecraftBattlefield
General SoftwareMicrosoft OfficeGoogle Docs

Because the user must have a valid copy of the game these online games seem to be the perfect solution to the piracy problem, Right? Well, like I said earlier servers are expensive and small startups can’t possibly afford to produce games of the scale and complexity required to have an online setup. Meaning that this makes it extremely difficult for small game developers to be successful.

In the end, while piracy may be convenient now, it will sooner or later come back to haunt us when even the Major corporations still struggle to break even with the costs of producing such technological marvels.

What to see what the Secret Change in the Cracked version of Game Dev Tycoon? Watch this video or read this article.

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My Top 5 Pet Peeves

We all have the one little thing, or maybe just that one moment that someone does something that just drives you nuts. I call these pet peeves and today I would like to share with you my top 5 pet peeves that I have seen repeatedly.

  1. “Console is better than PC”… I have heard this an endless amount of times from people who barely know the difference between a monitor and a computer. The fact is that most console games (including next gen) are toned down versions of the PC game. Another thing is that most people who tend to say this, have never played anything better than a free flash game.
  2. People getting MB confused with Mb, Believe it or not, there is a difference. MB stands for MegaByte but Mb stands for MegaBit, but because Megabytes are far more popular most people see that their internet gives them x number of Mb per second and think: “OMG I have like a download speed of 100 Megabytes a second”. Really? So you just downloaded that 30 Gigabyte file in 5 minutes? No, just No.
  3. People not setting clocks to the correct time after daylight savings time starts. I can understand if it takes you a few days to get all your clocks set to the new time but, if it takes so long that by the time you finally change your clocks it’s time to change them back again you waited too long. I have had people not change their clocks for literally months after the time change and they are always late or early for everything… Geez, I wonder why? *Sarcastically*
  4. Macs and iPhones are NOT impervious to viruses! The truth is that viruses are in circulation for almost 10 times longer on Macs and iPhones than on Windows PC. This I because of the idea that they are unable to get viruses which is very much untrue as the way I see it, whatever your good at there is someone else who is better (Unless you are literally the best hacker in the world which in that case, Hi plz don’t hack my accounts).
  5. People who walk on the road when the sidewalk is right there. Do you have a death wish? The other day I saw a guy walking on a 6 lane road when there was literally a sidewalk 6 feet away. Why? Just why would anyone do something so stupid? If you ask me Darwin’s survival of the fittest still words today, in the sense that people who do things like that are killed early on in life and the rest of us who know to not take unnecessary risks just keep on living.
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Is Piracy a Problem?

Piracy is a huge problem online right now… or is it? Well before we can determine whether or not piracy is a problem I think we need to realize why 2/3 of all teens and 1/5 adults have pirated in their lifetimes. So why do people pirate? Well, for the most part, it’s simply because ease of it, you can get hooked up with some torrenting software, go to any of the many pirating sites out on the web and get movies, music, and software for completely nothing. Yes, it’s really that easy! So how exactly are electronic media companies dealing with this? Well as far as music and movies the scope of what publishers can do is very limited as once someone downloads a song as an mp3 or wav file, there is no encryption or serials that need to be bypassed and so that single song could spread across the web being downloaded and re-uploaded continuously. In this scenario, the author and publisher of the music or video are rendered powerless to stop the illegal downloading and forced to watch as millions of sales go down the drain.

On the other hand, the second most pirated industry would be software and games. These are much harder to pirate but still incredibly simple in most cases. Games and software come with something called a ‘Crack’ or a ‘Patch’ which is used to trick the software’s anti-piracy measures into thinking you’ve got a legit copy and serial. So what are software companies doing to stop this? Well, an example is Adobe’s creative cloud, which is a subscription-based service to allow middle-class people to afford Adobe products. The thought behind making a subscription-based adobe software platform was that if people could get the software’s for only $10-20 a month then pirating rates would go down. However nothing is perfect, and adobe missed one key feature; because they allow you to download the full version of any of their products for a free 30-day trial, it is as simple as switching the amtlib.dll file with a cracked version. This is because the trail is the full version but with a ‘Trial’ license attached to it, the amtlib.dll is the license file that tells the program if you have a trial or full version of the software. So swapping out the license file with a full version license will trick the program into thinking that you have the full license even if you had downloaded it from adobes own website. Another innovative idea that Rockstar North had when making the popular title GTA IV to combat piracy was to actually give people to games. More specifically two different .exe’s, the idea was when pirates looked to try to crack the game they would use GTA.exe when in reality the actual game was titled GTALauncher.exe. The GTA.exe included what is now called the ‘drunk cam’ making the game camera shake, but also to make the pirated version unplayable all cars in GTA.exe would speed up until they flew off the map and not allow the player out. Eventually, the pirates figured out how to fully crack the game using the GTALauncher.exe but it was a valiant effort from Rockstar North.

So as you can clearly see, so far there has been no permanent solution to completely clear a software or game from being torrented, and even the ones that do work don’t last long. But does all this really affect the software industry like they claim it does? Well, it really depends on the company, for small developers and studio startups this makes a huge impact and could mean the difference between success and failure. But for giant development corporations like Ubisoft and Adobe, it for now at least simply means a slightly lighter paycheck for the employees.

Now finally time to answer the question is piracy a problem? Yes, but No I think that saying the piracy is a standalone problem is incorrect. Overall the reason that most people pirate is because they simply can’t afford it; with our current economy which is less than stable at best most people simply don’t have the jobs to pay for today’s movies and software which can sometimes cost up to thousands of dollars.