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Thread: 'Taster' pirated copies lure gaming fans

  1. #1


    'Taster' pirated copies lure gaming fans

    October 14, 2003, 11:20 BST

    Games companies are attempting to co-opt piracy for their own ends, by ensuring that illegal copies slowly degenerate

    The cat and mouse game played between computer games companies and software pirates has seen a bold move by the establishment. In a new gambit, games companies will use piracy to hook users.

    A protection system from Macrovision and British games developer Codemasters ensures that pirated copies of games slowly degenerate to the point where they become unusable -- players in car games will find they can no longer steer, games involving shooting will go off-target, and so forth.

    The keyword, of course, is "slowly". The idea behind the system, called Fade, is to lure players into buying genuine games via the unreal thing. By the time the copied game becomes unplayable, the players would have had time to get addicted, forcing them to go out and buy a proper copy.

    Fade was devised by Richard Darling, co founder of Codemasters, and uses the error correction systems that computers adopt to read scratched CD-ROMs and DVDs. Software with Fade has bits of "subversive" code which look like scratches, but are carefully arranged in a pattern that the game's master program will look for. If the pattern of abrasions is detected, the game plays with no trouble.

    However, if the disk is copied, the error-correction system of the computer that makes the duplicate will automatically delete the fake scratches. As the game is played, the master program can identify it as a fake when it fails to detect that preset pattern.

    Whereas traditional protection software would refuse to let the game be played, Fade allows play, but gets the master program to disable it.

    "The beauty of this is that the degrading copy becomes a sales promotion tool," Bruce Everiss of Codemasters told New Scientist." People go out and buy an original version."

    Fade has been tested on the game Operation Flashpoint, and will also be used on a snooker game. It has been incorporated into Macrovision's SafeDisc anti-piracy system.

    Macrovision, which deals in digital rights management, is also planning a DVD movie protection system based on the same idea as Fade, which will make pirated movies stop playing at a key point in the film.

    Could it be endgame for the software pirates?
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  2. #2
    Beefy Guest


    Someone obviously doesn't read <a href="" target="_blank">TT Gamer</a>...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002



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