Codemasters has just revealed plans for an intelligent self-modifying code that makes illegally copied games unplayable. Piracy is and always has been the biggest threat to the industry that we all know and love. If retailers, publishers and developers lose money on games it is not financially viable for them to sell or produce games. If piracy is not stamped out we could face another games market crash. Whatever steps are taken to avoid this situation, unscrupulous pirates continue to face criminal proceedings and potential ruin of the industry.
This new self-modifying code makes it practically impossible to illegally duplicate PlayStation software. This code can continuously check whether a game is real or not and if it is a fake, the game-play will degrade. If the encrypted code is activated it initiates various problems with the game. A good example is that your team will become worse as time passes and there is nothing you can do about it except buy the proper game. This will no doubt seriously frustrate people that use illegal software and hopefully turn them against future software crimes. Eventually, players of illegal copies will be left with little more than a demo.
The first game to use this brilliant new system will be the new football management game, LMA Manager 2001 on the PlayStation due for release on March 16th, 2001.
Simon Prytherch, producer of LMA Manager 2001 at Codemasters had this to say: “There is a huge problem with piracy in the PlayStation market and it is having a serious impact on developers and publishers. Normally, we d use copy protection that attempts to prevent duplication, but that seems to be getting cracked more easily by ardent pirates so we re trying something new. Even if a pirate cracks this system and makes illegal copies, the people who may use pirate CDs won t trust it to run properly and hopefully buy the full copy of the game at retail.”
If this system is successful, more developers are likely to use it and it will hopefully spread to other platforms. If anyone wishes the industry to flourish we advise them to report people who sell illegal software to The European Leisure Software Publishers Association ELSPA. Contact them through http://www.elspa.com