The current anti-piracy system will never work
Every software company today tries to make a better copy protection, a better tool like the one discussed in the SecuROM article.
The so called anti-piracy tools so far have failed with no exception no matter how complex or how elaborate the were. Online is no exception, since there are plenty of private MMOPG servers for every major multiplayer game. Therefore it can be said that the piracy problem is not a technological one, but a social one.
Let's see now why the anti-piracy measures are actually against the fair buyers and not against the pirates.
Iíll address publishers directly, even if it's absurd to pretend that they're listening.
Let's say a pirate is going to assume your game is buggy and not buy it, which was their original plan anyway. Nothing won, nothing lost.
But the legit user is certainly going to be punished by your futile efforts to catch the pirate. When he calls tech support, you will not know if he's a legit user punished by your crappy software or a pirate encountering your protection.
You will have to spend your support hours on all of them. That's not at all cost-efficient. You loose and so does the user.
The user who pays for games wants for you to stop treating him as collateral damage in your war on piracy.
How many honest customers are you willing to punish in your war against piracy that's currently being lost by default ?
If your answer isnít zero, then what are you even doing in this business ?
Instead of giving money for a good game that actually could work fine, I give them for my training against the so-called protection tools, the bugs in the games which I have to repair myself (when possible) if I don't want to wait bloody ages before I can actually complete a game and the total lack of early product support.
Next time of course I will not buy their games because I already know for sure that the games will be buggy and the gamers probably have to modify their system configuration for it to work. So here 3 options become available. The first one is not to buy and not to play. The second one is to wait until the game is fully fixed with a dozen or more patches (and it can be over one year of waiting) and finally, the 3rd option is to get the pirated version and be happy about it.
Everyone loses, except for the pirates who download the game and enjoy it without any problem whatsoever.
On PC, you need to be at peace with the idea that anyone who wants to play your game without paying you is going to be able to do so.
In PC gaming, there has never been an unbreakable protection. Not once, not ever in the whole history of PC gaming.
Most protections fail in day one of the release or just 2-3 days after.
No matter how complex and elaborate the protection is, it will fail because it just takes one guy with enough spare time and the will & knowledge to do it.
So the goal here should not be eliminating piracy, which is absurd and impossible. Instead, work on re-assimilating as many of those pirates back into customers.
What the software companies should really do to get customers back:
0. Do not allow pirates to make better versions then your own. This currently happens, because the cracked versions actually work better and are way less annoying.
1. Listen to the community. This does not happen at all. The prove consists of today's games. Big companied practically ruined most if not all worthy titles out there.
2. Stop releasing unfinished crap on to the PC that requires six or more months and more then a dozen patches.
3. Give the retailers the ability to return your inferior software if you fail to accomplish 2.
4. Get rid of the security software. It does not stop piracy but it stops fair buyers.
5. Stop making games require a disk to play. No gamer wants to have mountains of disks and keep switching them.
6. Give bonuses to verified/registered owners. This way they will feel that you care about them.
7. Do not make the mistake to require single player games to be connected online. They're called 'single player' for a reason.
8. Stop putting minimum system requirements on the games. Those actually mean you can install it and it will probably start, but it will look like a game from 10 years ago and move like you only use the pause key.
9. Eliminate the infiltrators. The reason for the pirates having a game before the actual release date is the 'inside job' and not the pirate.
The anti-piracy system is a FAIL. It changes you instead of you changing it.
Foot in the mouth for Software Companies
Anti-piracy fails because it punished more fair buyers then it does pirates.
It is the companies attitudes that need to 'upgrade' not the technology level of the copy-protection software.