The Medal of Honor series has finally made the leap to modernity, but the latest installment of the game has done exactly the opposite for PS3 pirates, consigning them to their frustrating past, when the console simply rejected backups. It is the first PS3 game that requires the 3.42 firmware to run.
The firmware, which nips hacks like PSJailbreak in the bud, is also included on the game disc, making Medal of Honor immune to all such hacks. However, the PS3 hacking community isn’t expected to remain quiet. As they always do with the PSP, they could come up with a workaround and include it in future hacks or even a custom firmware.
It's always refreshing to hear a company that 'gets it,' and Nintendo appears to be one of those outfits. During a recent investor call, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata was given the opportunity to blame piracy as the reason why Nintendo's hardware and software sales haven't met expectations, but he didn't do that.
"Even with piracy, as long as we can create products which can attract attention from many consumers and which can greatly entertain them, that software can make it to the number one position of the hit software sales chart," Iwata explains.
"So, we would like to consider it from both perspectives simultaneously. It is true there is always the influence of piracy, but it is important for us to increase the number of our consumers who are willing to shell out their money to purchase our products."
That doesn't mean Nintendo plans to turn a blind eye to piracy, and according to Iwata, Nintendo is working on ways to "beef up the countermeasures" starting with the 3DS console. Just don't expect Nintendo to go all Crytek on us any time soon.
According to reports, Microsoft has quietly cut the number of product keys it hands out to TechNet subscribers from 10 to a maximum of five. Because this happened on the down low, some subscribers were caught off guard, including some of Microsoft's own employees, some of which told customers it was a bug in the system.
Long-term subscribers aren't affected as much, as they get to keep their current keys.
"We did not take away any keys. Just the amount of keys available 'ad hoc' via the portal has been reduced, all previously claimed keys are still available," Microsoft said. "The reduction is due to an updated anti-piracy policy. More information will be made available for all customers soon."
With the new policy in place, TechNet Professional ($349/year, $249 renewal) subscribers will have access to a maximum of five product keys, while TechNet Standard ($199/year, $149 renewal) subscribers get two. Those product keys can be used on full product titles, like Office 2010 and Windows 7, "licensed for evaluation purposes only -- not for use in production environments." In other words, you're good to use them at home for personal use, but not at work.
Street Fighter IV's great and all, but the cool kids (by which we mean the ones that Tiger Uppercutted you so hard that your Internet connection dropped) have moved on to Super Street Fighter IV. As with previous “Super” editions of Street Fighter games, SSFIV packs a slightly larger wallop in the form of new fighters, stages, modes, and a number of balancing tweaks.
PC gamers, however, lost their SSFIV privileges when a few bad eggs ruined everything for the rest of the class. Big round of sarcastic applause for – of course – piracy!
Speaking with 4Gamer.net (translation via Gamasutra), producer Yoshinori Ono said that while Street Fighter IV's PC version actually sold fairly well, it was also "number one in piracy." Unless he's able to find an extremely powerful anti-piracy solution, he explained, SSFIV's staying locked up tight on consoles.
Being a PC gamer (or, we suppose, an early 1800s engineer), you probably just gave your typical answer to all of life's problems: Steam. Ono, however, isn't too hot on that idea, as he believes that kind of restriction is unfair to those without access to Steam.
Theoretically, though, anyone with access to an Internet-enabled PC can have Steam up-and-running in seconds, so we don't really understand Ono's logic. So instead, no one gets to play, because that makes perfect sense! Maybe pirates also stole Ono's basic reasoning abilities?
The Business Software Alliance has an easy way to stimulate the economy, all the government has to do is curb software piracy. In a study titled "The Economic Benefits of Reducing Software Piracy," (PDF) the BSA contends that reducing the piracy rate for PC software by 10 percentage points -- or 2.5 points per year for four years -- would create $142 billion in new economic activity, generate $32 billion in new tax revenues, and create half a million new high-tech jobs by 2013.
"The impact of software piracy goes beyond revenues lost to the software industry, starving local software distributors and service providers of spending that creates jobs and generates much-needed tax revenues for governments around the world," the BSA writes in its report.
The BSA claims that curbing piracy would have the reverse effect, stimulating the entire IT economy. What's more, 80 percent of the benefits of cutting down on stolen PC software would accrue to local economies, and in some cases more than 90 percent, according to the study.
Disney and Warner Bros. have chalked out a new anti-piracy strategy. They seem to believe that merely targeting movie pirates is not enough, especially when their abettors enjoy perfect impunity. To this end, the two colossi have forged a partnership to go after Triton Media, a company the duo says assisted nine content piracy sites by advising them on online advertising and referrals.
In a complaint filed with a U.S. District Court in California Tuesday, the movies studios allege that Triton has “owned, operated, provided advertising consulting and referrals for, and/or provided other material assistance to nine websites www.freetv-video-online.info, supernovatube.corn, donogo.com , watch-movies.net, watchmovies-online.tv , watch-movies-links.net , thepiratecity.org, and havenvideo.com.”
The complaint describes the above-named websites as “one-stop-shops” for infringing works. As a large part of the complaint is dedicated to the nine websites and their modus operandi, details on Triton's role are limited. Alleging that the advertising company has been assisting the websites despite being fully aware of the illegal nature of the content they house, the movie studios contend that Triton's conduct amounts to contributory copyright infringement and inducement of copyright infringement. They want the court to award unspecified damages and an injunction barring further infringement.
The makers of the point-and-click adventure game Machinarium came to a realization recently. Their DRM-free game was being pirated by about 90% of players. Such is life for a game that doesn't bother users with serials or authentication. A similar rate of piracy was found for the DRM-free World of Goo. However, the folks behind Machinarium are feeling generous, and are offering people the opportunity to participate in their new pirate amnesty sale.
Until August 12th, Machinarium (and its soundtrack) will cost only $5. It usually goes for $20. The game is available for PC, Mac, and Linux. In Machinarium you play as an unassuming robot traveling through a beautifully detailed world mechanical malcontents. We grabbed this game from Steam a while back, and can testify to its quality and challenging puzzle-based gameplay.
You don't need to prove you pirated the game to join in the fun. Anyone is free to buy the game during the sale. If you like point-and-click style casual games, $5 is a reasonable price to pay. You can check out a demo of the game, and buy it here.
Pirates are nearly as tricky as they are sticky fingered, so maybe it’s time for the gaming industry to get tricky right back. After all, just take a look at the scoreboard. Pirates: one million. DRM: negative three. Desperate times call for desperate measures, though, and Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens has a pretty big trick up his sleeve.
"My answer is for us as publishers is to actually sell unfinished games -- and to offer the consumer multiple micro-payments to buy elements of the full experience. That would create an offering that is affordable at retail -- but over a period of time may also generate more revenue for the publishers to reinvest in our games," he told CVG.
"If these games are pirated, those who get their hands on them won't be able to complete the experience. There will be technology, coding aspects, that will come to bear that will unlock some aspects. Some people will want them and some won't. When it comes to piracy, I think you have to make the experience the answer to the issue - rather than respond the other way round and risk damaging that experience for the user."
Does that sound a bit insane to you? Because it’s really not. Free-to-play MMOs like Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online more or less fit that model to a tee, minus the initial fee for the main game. And that’s working out pretty well for them, from the sound of things – that sound, of course, primarily being “ka-ching.” So applying that model to something that’s not an MMO seems like a no-brainer to us – as opposed to current DRM-based models, which had to have been conceived by someone who literally lacked a brain.
A young Argentinian hacker, known only by his sobriquet Ch Russo, claims to have successfully slipped past The Pirate Bay's defenses, gaining access to the torrent site's administrative control panel. An SQL injection vulnerability discovered by Ch Russo and a couple of his chums exposed the site's user database, which is said to contain account information belonging to around 4 million users. However, the hacker denies altering or deleting information.
The trio also resisted the temptation of selling the data to the companies assisting the entertainment industry in its fight against piracy. “Probably these groups would be very interested in this information, but we are not [trying] to sell it,” Russo told security blog KrebsOnSecurity in a phone interview. “Instead we wanted to tell people that their information may not be so well protected.”
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has already made it quite clear that fighting piracy figures prominently on the Obama administration's agenda. Last week, Biden, along with Victoria Espinel, the U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator, unveiled the current administration's new strategy on protecting the interests of copyright holders.
The feds have now begun cracking down on movie piracy sites as part of this new strategy. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials on Wednesday seized seven domain names, including Movies-Links.tv, Now-Movies.com, TVShack.net, Filespump.com and Planetmoviez.com.
Funds lodged in 15 bank, Paypal, advertising and investment accounts belonging to the sites’ operators were also seized. But the worst is yet to come for these movie pirates as the authorities have launched a criminal investigation against them.