China-based video game cracking group 3DM has announced that the team will stop cracking single-player games in an effort to measure the impact it has on sales.
Video game privacy has been a hotly-debated topic in the industry for a number of years now, but recent weeks has seen the issue take up most of the spotlight. Just a month ago, the creator of the prominent Chinese cracking forum 3DM, “Bird Sister,” made a bold claim that video game piracy could end in two years. Today, she made another major announcement that 3DM would stop cracking single-player games.
Bird Sister wrote on her blog that the group intends to stop cracking any single-player games for a year starting from February 8. The goal is to stop pirating and measure the impact it has on video game sales.
“We just had an internal meeting. Starting at the Chinese New Year [February 8], 3DM will not crack any single-player games.
“We’ll take a look at the situation in a year’s time to see if genuine sales have grown.”
This announcement from 3DM caps off a series of notable video game piracy incidents in the last few months. December 2015 saw the release of Avalanche Studios’ Just Cause 3, but eager pirates looking to get their hands on the game were sorely disappointed when 3DM couldn’t crack it.
Just Cause 3‘s use of anti-piracy software from Denuvo Software Solutions GmbH prompted Bird Sister’s aforementioned claim on the end of video game piracy. Just two weeks ago, The Witness was recently released to critical and commercial success, but creator Jonathan Blow bemoaned the fact that, despite all the attention, The Witness was still getting heavily pirated.
Some large game companies such as Ubisoft endorse the usage of DRM while developers like CD Projekt Red remain unconvinced of the method’s effectiveness, even claiming that DRM actually contributes to piracy. But while piracy may or may not have a significant effect on larger developers, the same can’t be said for smaller indie games and developers. For small independent gaming studios who don’t have the resources of a big company such as Bethesda or Ubisoft, there is the concern that gaming piracy will have negative repercussions on future high-quality indie releases.
But after all the debates over the impact of video game piracy are postponed for another day, it all comes down to the simple fact that developers put an immense effort into creating video games and they should have something to show for it in the end. Whether 3DM’s year long break from cracking games will actually impact sales remains to be seen, but there is little doubt that the next twelve months will be important for video game piracy and the entire video game industry.