It's no secret that piracy is a problem for PC developers. While some may blow the problem out of proportion, it is still legitimate concern for anyone trying to release a PC title. Bohemia Interactive, the team behind the acclaimed ArmA series has been the latest developer to speak out against piracy - asserting that for every three legitimate buyers there are one hundred pirates.
The numbers only relate to the multiplayer portion of the ArmA titles, with Bohemia Interactive CEI, Marek Å panÄ›l, citing that the numbers are probably much worse for the single player half. Luckily, instead of resorting to DRM like most publishers, Bohemia has found a more creative way to deal with pirates.
Implemented in all Bohemia titles is a little piece of tech called DEGRADE. Basically, those that have pirated ArmA and attempt to play online will have much lower accuracy with automatic weapons, and as time goes on equipment will eventually begin to... well, degrade. While Bohemia couldn't reveal how this has impacted piracy, it has helped them discover the aforementioned ration of buyers to pirates.
"It’s not possible to provide any numbers. However, our statistics from multiplayer show that for every three legitimate buyers playing their game in multiplayer, there are 100 (failed) attempts to play with a pirated version. This indicates that piracy is an extremely widespread problem on PC, and it’s also really worrying for us as a mid-sized, independent, PC-oriented developer."
Å panÄ›l also spoke of the more traditional DRM methods publishers have been employing. Unfortunately, due to these piracy rates, many publishers find it difficult to recoup their investment, which leads to intrusive DRM, though this method can backfire and cause more piracy in the future. Bohemia is trying to circumvent this issue with DEGRADE, as well as by removing conventional DRM shortly after release.
"We’re trying to cut off this vicious circle where piracy hurts owners of legitimate copies “protected” with annoying copy protection DRM systems, which may lead to more piracy."
Hopefully Bohemia is able to find success with this method as it will deter other developers/publishers from incorporating DRM into their games. Even the once PC centric franchise S.TA.L.K.E.R may be getting DRM in its sequel. While piracy is certainly a huge issue, legitimate consumers should not be punished as a result.
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Source: PC Gamer