Wolfenstein II is on sale tomorrow, but pirates are playing it already


#1

I won’t provide any links for obvious reasons, but the cracked version Wolfenstein II is readily available for free right now. Meanwhile Steam users will still need to wait until tomorrow for their purchased copies to unlock.

Is there more that can be done to prevent rampant piracy on PC? Should publishers like Bethesda unlock games for people who purchased them once they have been posted to piracy sites?


#2

I don’t think there’s anything that can be done. There are always going to be a vast horde of shitty people that want things for free and the amount of time those people will put into cracking any security measure is almost infinite.

I would also guess that there are not enough people who would buy a copy today instead of pirating or waiting one more day to make much of a difference.


#3

It would be really nice of Bethesda to unlock the game for purchasers if it’s already done. I got the day off today, gotta work tomorrow and I see a bunch of people who didn’t even buy the game playing it right now. :thinking:


#4

As much of a nice gesture as unlocking it early would be, wouldn’t that just be encouraging pirates to get it done faster? Say what you will about whether piracy is a justified action, I don’t think it’s in any developer’s best interest to encourage a “We’re doing a public service and getting the game to you early!” line of defense on the pirates’ part.


#5

The only way to stop video game piracy is to put critical game components online, and linked to a service with a one time use key (think like every GaaS game out on PC). Otherwise, keep hoping a new devuno will come and save the minds of publisher middle management.


#6

Not to be a pirate defender, but do you think that there is significant overlap between prospective customers and would be pirates? I used to pirate games - I’m reformed now - but that was mostly due to being a broke ass kid whose island parents distrusted internet shopping and a copy of borderlands 1 costs approximately 80 USD today.

Pretty much as soon as I could buy games I did, and arguably too many. Goddamn steam sales.


#7

I don’t know if there’s a lot of overlap between people who simply pirate games and those who purchase everything, but I believe there are some people who do both. I could see someone buying games when they are on sale/bundled but choosing to pirate AAA titles as soon as they are released. I think it’s especially likely during this time of year when there are way more AAA games being released, and I feel like a single-player focused title like Wolfenstein is more likely to be pirated than other games with multiplayer/online components.

I’m not sure what the solution is other than intrusive always-online DRM. I’d be curious to see the piracy numbers on a game like Hitman (which requires an internet connection even for single-player) versus something like The Witcher 3 (which is easily available without any DRM).


#8

My stance has always been DRM should be used to stop easy blatant copying, e.g. copying to a flash drive and passing it to a friend. If people go to the trouble of finding a crack and then trusting that the crack isn’t packing malware as well then they were never going to be a sale in the first place. It’s why I’ve never felt like DRM should have progressed past CD key authentication.

I also think there is enough good quality free games to make up for not being able to play the hottest newest games. I have spent more time playing free games then I have paid games at this point I feel like and I don’t regret it at all. Some of my best gaming moments have come from playing free games in fact.


#9

I don’t pirate games, but I also don’t buy a lot of games.

I’m extremely mentally ill, and I’ve been unemployed on and off and living basically wherever I can for over a year now. I bought Destiny 2 and it was only after literal weeks of hand wringing about whether or not I could afford to drop the $79.99 (CAD) on top of the PSN subscription (For context I have made less than $1000.00 since january.) I’m not playing Mario, I’m not playing Wolfenstein, You can basically be assured that any AAA game that came out this year (And considering how some companies really don’t want to lower their price on some 2016/2015 games) with the exception of Destiny is not going to be purchased or played by me. My controllers are long since broken, I charge them by taking them apart and manually charging the lithium Ion batteries. What I am trying to illustrate here is that I don’t live in a world where I can afford to buy a game every month or every few months. I know I’m not the only person who is basically ejected out of this hobby because of their financial situation (Atleast at the AAA level) and I know that Waypoint is interested in people like me and their experiences in gaming and the community.

I guess the question I have here is whether or not piracy is essentially anti-capitalism or if it is anti-worker? I understand that the peoples who’s backs these games are constructed upon are not the leaders of the gigantic corporations behind them, but I also am under the impression (Based on SAG-AFTRA Strike) that most people in the industry don’t even receive bonuses based on how well a game sells. Will it effect the future of the games industry and therefore the lives of the people working in it because piracy is taking money essentially out of the hands of the rich that are behind these companies? Hell yes, of course they are going to do everything in their power, we know how the Rich work.

That in mind people like me are never going to buy these games. I can’t in good sense commit eighty dollars to a single player experience, that’s more than I have for groceries. That’s more than twice that I spend on groceries in a week, actually. I am not advocating, nor defending piracy, so much as voicing my issues with capitalism and that I think those two are related. I think these issues are more complex than they are made out to be.


#10

For major studios & publishers I’ve heard before that employees can receive bonuses for games that sell well. I don’t think there are too many situations where the development team is guaranteed a percentage of the profits but there are potential bonuses available if a game performs very well. Obviously the publisher is going to get the majority (if not all) of the profits so piracy in the AAA space seems like it would mostly affect the bottom lines of the larger companies in the industry. In the case of mega-hits like Destiny 2 and the latest COD I doubt these pirated copies would make much of a difference in the profit margins, but I could certainly see it being detrimental to the more “niche” titles like Wolfenstein and Dishonored.


#11

I’m probably going to come across as an insensitive jerk and I have never been in your situation but to me video games have always been a luxury good, and by that definition I personally couldn’t endorse piracy. Even if I disagree with how much they are charging or something about the publisher/developer rubs me wrong I couldn’t in good faith just steal the game.

I can afford to spend some money every month on entertainment but I very rarely spend it on the newest game. I stick to deals on games that have been long out or play something that’s legally free. I also try to find entertainment value in other things besides games, if I don’t have a single player game to play then I can fill that time with a book or movie.


#12

This is the broader question of whether or not the poor are entitled to enjoying themselves. Capitalism says no. I’m not gonna personally judge or begrudge the poor who find their way around the system in order to do what they need to do to keep going, but I wouldn’t lay this conundrum at the feet of the games industry.


#13

The recent Noclip documentary on CD Projekt Red might convince you otherwise on the value of piracy. Basically, the CDPR folks all got into gaming because the rampant piracy in Poland made it easier for them to get games. Had piracy not existed back then, we might not have The Witcher games now. I can only imagine the creative fires being lit right now in Sao Paolo or Lahore or Addis Ababa because of pirated games.


#14

I guess my entire counter argument really boils down to the fact that today thanks to the internet and the dedication of individuals empowered by free to use tools we have a lot of options to get entertainment, including games, for free legally.

Personally I would rather see young people grow up in an environment where they discover FOSS, gain an appreciation for it, and learn to give back to the community. The story of CD Projekt Red is great and they have done a lot for gaming as a whole but could you imagine how much better it would be if on the release of the Witcher 3 they also announced their older REDengine2 was open source? What if when Cyberpunk releases REDengine 3 was open source?

Look at Quadrilateral Cowboy, that game is built upon the open source Doom 3 engine! That game may have never existed if id Software had never released their source code. In fact most of Brendon Chung’s games are made on the open source id tech engines.

How many developers found their way into the industry because of modding? Total conversion mods used to be such a thriving community and it wasn’t unheard of to use it as a way of getting into the industry. Total conversion modding also attracted a very large multicultural community. As an example even to this day Zombie Panic Source continues to have a large Brazilian community and they modded our mod in ways none of us would have ever imagined such as adding classes to our classless game.

The honest truth is I do not understand the need to be a pirate.

In high school I had no way of buying games online, my parents didn’t trust online retailers and I didn’t have a debit or credit card. I owned a box copy of Portal and because of this I fell deep into the modding community and learned that I didn’t need to have the latest and greatest games to have fun. That in fact the people making mods were often 10x more original then anything AAA developers were putting out. Modding had this community around it where you started off playing with the things created because you were looking for free fun things to do and before you knew it you wanted to contribute back by making your own weird mods. You got to know people and everyone took pride in their work and most were willing to teach new comers. Teams of modders were almost always multinational and the only thing you were ever really judged on was your work.

For the most part total conversion mods are dead and in their place is a thriving indie game scene that is more diverse and interesting then ever.

My question I guess is why do you need piracy when the free things are not only often better in content but have a lot more potential to better you as a person?


#15

I still pirate today, primarily for AAA games to try the game before I slap down $60 quid. I also setup a homebrew Wii & WiiU at work so we had more games to play at the office.

Always online DRM is probably the strongest method to prevent it, otherwise I feel it’s always going to be this cycle of new anti-piracy methods that are just trying to slow down piracy around release times.


#16

So it’s a week later and anyone who pirated a copy (possibly compromising their system to ransomware, hidden cryptomining software etc) doesn’t get the patch deployed via Steam, doesn’t have their Steam profile reflect that they played the game (and achievements to say what they did/how they played), and that memory of getting access to the game after the early crowd (reviewers & influencers) but a few hours before everyone else is but a memory.

Later, if you wanted to play the game again, you’d need to go hunt a copy once more rather than connecting to fast, reliable local CDNs to grab the files as fast as your connection could handle it (making it a much easier decision to delete the game install now because you know you’ve paid to be able to download it in the future). If the game had support for things like Steam cloud saves then those saves would not be stored for that pirated copy. It generally sounds like this pirated copy is definitely the worst version of the game, even with it being a purely single-player experience.


#17

Pirated versions are always the worst versions (Though I doubt folks pirating care about achievements)


#18

Quoted for timeless insight:

In general, we think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem. For example, if a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable. Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customers use or by creating uncertainty.

Our goal is to create greater service value than pirates, and this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company. For example, prior to entering the Russian market, we were told that Russia was a waste of time because everyone would pirate our products. Russia is now about to become our largest market in Europe.

Here, being available a day earlier can easily be seen as offering a better service (at least for those hours of early availability). Many games have had DRM that makes the non-pirated version the weaker version in several concrete ways. My list of games that probably implemented Denuvo badly (read: management did not allocate the time required to do the task well) and had pervasive stuttering issues isn’t that short (there are some games like Doom that juggled the real-time decoding task without it coming at a cost to systems that should be expected to run games well).

I wouldn’t say that the pirated version being weaker was (or is even today) the only way things work out.


#19

I’m curious if anybody who preordered the game turned to piracy since it was seen as a better service.