From the Inquirer comes an article on how video game companies could combat piracy:

If the games industry really wants to combat piracy, it should take a leaf out of Valve's book. Establish one worldwide release date, don't stagger for different territories. Keep a tight check on where you're sending code, and drop outdated CD copy protection technology as the only check on piracy - use an online 'switch' to activate copies of the game. Keep gamers happy by keeping them equal - isn't that just common sense?

The company the article is refering to, Valve, is set to release its much anticipated game Half-Life 2. There are two important developments when it is released, the method and the date. The latter is interesting since the movie business has moved in the same direction for the same reason. The Inquirer describes why staggering release dates encourage piracy:

The gap between those who have the game and those who don't have it yet is part of what drives people to pirate games. This week, Halo 2 was released two days earlier in the US than in the UK. With the worldwide community created by the net - indeed, by Microsoft's own Xbox Live - having a bunch of your friends play a game 2 days before you can is unacceptable to many. Companies don't appear to understand that staggered worldwide releases aren't conducive to their anti-piracy cause - either give gamers the game at the same time, or put up with the fact that people will get it elsewhere. Companies can't create the amount of hype that they do then expect gamers to sit back while other people play games they can't get their hands on yet.

Not only will they release the game the same day, but use a piece of software called Steam to authenticate it online. It also enables you to download games directly to your harddrive. For instance, I have a copy of Half-Life 2 currently, but I can't play it until they release it(and I pay for it). Content of similar size has been downloadable as movies and games, but that is largely warez. So, the dream of current releases being legally downloadable is upon us and, hopefully, a better system to stop piracy. Undoubtedly, somebody will find a work around for steam too, but at least it'll take a day or two.


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This page contains a single entry by Bob published on November 12, 2004 7:39 PM.

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