Released all the way back in the year 2000, The Sims games have long let players ruin or build up the lives of virtual characters. Careers, alien abductions, marriage and the common occurrence of simulated murder at the player’s hands are just a few examples of what’s possible, and it’s this ability to design these little moments and watch them play out in front of our eyes that have made the games so popular.
But the series’ popularity hit a bit of a snag earlier this year when it was revealed that the latest entry in the series, The Sims 4, wouldn’t include pools, toddlers or even a family tree. What players were also concerned about is that they could potentially be forced to shell out more money to get pools and toddlers in the expansion packs that the franchise is known for.
It’s likely the backlash to that, the middling reviews scores for the game (the user rating for The Sims 4 is just 3.7 out of 10 on Metacritic) and the general dismay at the price that have led people to pirate it. Unfortunately for those who own pirated copies of The Sims 4, a nasty surprise is in store for them, courtesy of EA.
Unbeknownst to players until they’ve played for some time, pirated versions of The Sims 4’s eventually stick a filter over the gameplay, making the actual game window appear blurry and pixelated, meanwhile the status bar that includes moodlets and a floating version of your sims’ head stay unchanged.
The ‘glitch’ as it were, has thus far only shown its face in pirated versions of the game. It begins when a sim gets naked or uses the toilet, and the pixelated blur covers their appropriate body parts – then just doesn’t go away. Instead, it spreads and spreads until the entire game screen (aside from that aforementioned status bar) is blurred beyond recognition.
If it seems unusual that publisher EA and developer Maxis would lay down a booby trap rather than just including this blur from the get go, then there’s a definite method in their madness. Because of the way that pirated copies of games are spread, pirates rely on one another’s experiences of the pirated game to figure out if the pirated version is legitimate or not. On top of making the game a real nightmare to play, EA’s plan for pirate deterrence is that those who’ve downloaded The Sims 4 illegally will go back to their peer circles, tell their friends that their pirated version of the game works and once they too get some playtime in and the game goes blurry, even more people will find themselves wishing they’d paid for the proper version.
It’s unclear how effective the feature will have been though as one report on vgamerz notes some fans of The Sims 4 have reportedly found a workaround to the glitch rendering EA’s defense against pirates relatively futile. It’s not the first time gameplay has been altered in an effort to ward off pirates though, with ArmA and Serious Sam 3 both including anti-piracy measure of their own; and it certainly won’t be the last either.
So, even if there is a solution to the anti-pirating measure in The Sims 4, we can still expect more and more developers and publishers to follow suit. Hopefully, in ways just as creative as EA and Maxis.
Source: Player Attack