DRM is like a bad joke: Generally, the only person laughing about it is the one who let it loose in the first place. Every once in a while, though, somebody hits the nail on the head, and we all get to fuel our mirth with some clueless pirate's enraged tears. Does that make us bad people? Maybe, but still: Hahahahaha . Ahem. So anyway, Bohemia Interactive recently bagged itself a big one using a copy protection scheme called FADE. How's it work? Well...
It all began when a Take on Helicopters player posted the following message on the game's forum :
“Why does the screen go blurry like I'm under water sometimes? What am I doing wrong?”
You'll notice that this player now sports a nice, subtle “BANNED” tag under their name. That's because they encountered Bohemia's FADE tech, which causes pirated game copies to slowly degrade over time. So pirates get a nibble – and maybe they even end up hooked – but then the whole thing turns to a goopy mess and slips through their fingers. The implicit lesson? Drop a few coins in Bohemia's cup and this won't be a problem.
“Obviously game developers have a responsibility to themselves to try to protect their company’s future, but also a responsibility to the community that supports them by buying their titles. No gamer who has spent their hard earned money to buy a game wants to be playing MP against others who didn’t buy their game, no addon maker wants to have things they created over countless hours downloaded and used by people who didn’t buy the game it’s intended for,” the developer said in a statement (via VG247 ).
“That is why we try to come up with unique and irrefutable ways to stop people from playing our games without paying for them. That’s why Take On Helicopters shipped with our unique antipiracy countermeasures.”
So everybody wins. Well, everybody who's not, you know, indirectly at the root of PC gaming's biggest problem, anyway. We'd say that's a pretty happy ending, all things considered.