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The Piracy Misconception of Multiplayer

PC Singleplayer games are cracked quickly, but what about Multiplayer games? Most people believe that they are uncrackable, and sometimes they are not even protected by a DRM. So why do Multiplayer games boast high sales figures?

James Grimshaw

June 7, 2011

3 Min Read

Often the PC multiplayer is quoted as 100% safe, and that it cannot be pirated. This is normally followed by quoting some WOW stats on profitability, and then accusing developers for being stupid, for not jumping on the band wagon.


The problem with this type of genre, people tend to commit to only a few MMO's (Massively Multiplayer Online). New MMO's enter a very competitive market, so they entice with incentives, and the most common is to make it free for a period of time or completely. Because unfortunately people will not automatically jump at your product no matter how good it is.


But it is a common misconception that multiplayer games are pirate free. Most people believe because the publisher controls the server, any pirates trying to access the game will be quickly found and booted out.


But as I pointed out to one such person on twitter, "What happens if the pirates own the server? Pirates in effect become the DRM; with the power to allow access to anyone they wish!"


In fact you might be surprised to know that there are several websites that cater exactly to this. Virtual Private Networks, VPNs, sites which allow you to connect with others regardless of the illegitimate nature of the game.


For example two of the more popular VPN's are: (Games Checked on 6th June 2011)



Currently hosting: Minecraft, Hunted: Demon's Forge, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Killing Floor, Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, Need for Speed: Most Wanted  ... and many others.



Currently hosting: HomeFront, Portal 2, Red Alert 3, Command Conquer Generals Zero Hour, Dungeon Siege 2, RC Cars, PES, Street Fighter, FIFA 10, Operation Flash point: Red River, Gears of War ... and many others.



So why do a select handful of legal MMO's games do so well???...One word, cheaters, or more precisely, the stopping of!


People hate cheaters, not illegal downloaders, but people that cheat on games. Some avoid the public VPN threads because on unregulated servers, the other people could be cheating. It is surprisingly hard to tell sometimes, even for the servermaster, they actually have to see real footage to be sure!


Speaking with many game publishers, they all rate this as the highest feedback issue... Unfairness!


Many Game Developers tell of people who passionately scream about the unfairness of a person or even the game. That often game updates will tweak a unit's armour by barely half a point and this will be met by praise.


MMO sit in a unique position, and are not the answer to piracy. On the one hand people see the value of a "God" making sure that the balance of good and evil is fair. But on the other hand people tend to stay with the brands that they know, which means that most new MMO's will fall away quickly.


But ...what do you think?

Do multiplayer games hold the answer to illegal downloading?

Or is it that we don't want to be cheated? And will pay for the privilege?

What Multiplayer games do you play?

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