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On Take On Helicopters DRM; Demo Plans

A post on the Bohemia Interactive Forums asks for help with a problem causing a watery image degradation in Take On Helicopters, Bohemia's new flight simulator. As it turns out this can be the result of using a pirated edition of the game, as Bohemia explains this comes from their "unique anti-piracy countermeasures," also noting a demo for the game is in the works. Here's word:

Bohemia Interactive deploys various antipiracy countermeasures in its titles and Take On Helicopters is no exception, some users have reported morphed/watery image degradation (see http://forums.bistudio.com/showthread.php?t=126991 ). The original version of Take On Helicopters does not suffer from this degradation of visual quality. Piracy is a big problem for Bohemia Interactive, as an independent PC developer, and we're trying to focus our support as much as possible towards users of legitimate copies. Counterfeit copies of our games may degrade and, moral aspects aside, we certainly recommend only playing the original version. We have a free public demo version of Take On Helicopters in the development pipeline for those that prefer to test it before buying.

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34. Re: On Take On Helicopters DRM; Demo Plans Nov 9, 2011, 17:34 Dev
 
Spaced wrote on Nov 9, 2011, 14:44:
Verno wrote on Nov 9, 2011, 14:33:
They want to get into an arms war, with Pirates?

Actually, maybe they should. Developers have been losing this battle for a long long time. Maybe its time they stand up and start to seriously fight with new approaches like this.

Majority of DRM solutions on the market today are not done by game developers, but by 3rd parties, companies that specialize in it (the main exception is companies that run digital platforms, such as steam). Such as securom, etc. Most game companies simply don't have the resources. Want to see a good example of an software arms race? Look an anti-virus software. Its nearly all done by 3rd parties, and there's many many thousands of new threats that hit every year. It rarely pays off for game studios to invest a lot of resources into it, and I've seen smaller companies that become known for buggy software when the bugs are intentional in the pirate versions. Intentional bugs in pirate versions are not exactly a new approach.

An arms war with pirates would probably result in something like starforce, something thats essentially a rootkit and goes to crazy extreme measures to try and keep games under DRM. It worked... for a while. I recall some early starforce titles taking months to get a crack. Ubisoft's always on DRM also worked for a while, with their first titles taking weeks. The end result of an arms war would be terrible for legit consumers, and cost companies significant money that they probably can't afford.



Far far better to use the carrot instead of the stick. Give updates with additional content to legit customers (such as stardock did with impulse and their titles). Maybe let someone register on a company forum with a legit serial and give them an exclusive in game item.

Most of the time, DRM only really helps prevent pre-release piracy (not nearly as much of that on PC anymore, it sure happens a lot on consoles though), and if the company is lucky, a couple/few days after release until its cracked. So why not accept it? Drop the DRM after a year and most of the sales have been done, then you can draw in the customers that hate all forms of DRM (such as egosoft with the X series of games, they drop the DRM after a while in a patch). Brings the game back into the spotlight with news releases a year later since dropping DRM is unusual. Sadly too few companies and titles do this. It also helps to insure their games remain playable in the years to come after they stop supporting them (or go out of business). Sometimes older titles REQUIRE a crack to even play nowadays.
 
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