Game Piracy Explained
Game Piracy is a contentious issue in the PC community. With some in the industry even considering it a floor inherent in the platform. To that end, they opted not to port their titles to the PC. And if they did they stacked DRM upon DRM in a misguided effort to minimize piracy. On that note, we’ve analyzed the two most restrictive of these. DENUVO and UWP.
This Explanation hopes to give you a better understanding of how piracy works by exploring the mechanics of its ecosystem and the groups that make it possible. But if you know someone curious about how piracy works please share this post with them.
Video game piracy involves modification of the DRM files. The components that check the game’s legitimacy and stop illicit copies from working. This is what anti-tamper software like DENUVO are supposed to prevent. These protections can also break with file modification, known as cracks. Pirate groups are classified by the role they play in the production and distribution of these cracks.
Game Piracy Behind the community
The community behind game piracy is known as The WAREZ SCENE. An underground group of people specializes in the distribution of copyright materials. Groups like CODEX, STEAMPUNKS, CONSPIRACY, RELOADED and FAIRLIGHT. These groups are known for their consistent, reliable and secure cracks.
Scene groups are restricted to use game crack methods in order to run games in all PC configurations. If a group uses different methods to crack, the crack release nuked. It means that other scene groups put a flag to the crack as inappropriate. Skid Rows modify the .exe from Deus EX: breach to crack the Deus ex mankind divided. Instead of an actual crack for the games DENUVO’s protection.
These restrictions also forbid scene groups for making multiplayer available to pirates. Even though after following the proper procedure, still the cracks are unstable on a certain system. The nuked release either by the cracker or the scene groups are often following the proper crack to fixed the issues.
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An unstable crack release by steampunks
Conspiracy released a proper crack for Ghost Recon Wildland. And in doing so nuked steampunks’ earlier crack for instability. Steampunks’ uses different methods, which are forbidden by scene rules. And things turns out a nuked and unstable release of the game. Conspiracy chides Steampunks for using a forbidden method by scene rules.
Blaming this for steampunks unstable crack. As to how they release their crack they upload it onto underground top sites. From which it is leaked onto private, and public trackers like the Pirate Bay.
The upload contains the crack files bundled with the game installer and an ISO file. This ISO file can be burned onto a disk extracted like a zip archive or mounted on a virtual drive then install the game and copy the crack over to the game directory. Thanks to the simplicity and reliability of this process.
Undoubtedly scene groups tend to be secretive and not allow speak to the public. They communicate through the instruction bundle along with their crack. They using the decorative ASCII art, A style that has since been adopted by groups outside the scene. Scene group does not host their website not try to generate any profit
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Second Category of Game Piracy group
The second Category of Game Piracy groups called peer-to-peer. Broadly speaking peer-to-peer is an umbrella term for all non-scene groups. With 3DM and REVOLT being the two most notorious.
Peer-to-peer groups play a variety of roles from distributing scene cracks to cracking games themselves. In the latter case, they are not bound by scene standards and are thus unrestricted in the methods they can use to break DRMs.
Case-in-point revolts voksi used a kernel driver to bypass DENUVO, a method off-limits to the scene. The wider array of techniques available to peer-to-peer.
Though the quality of peer-to-peer cracks is often questionable and nowhere near the scene standards. Case in point the first cracks for DENUVO came from peer to peer group 3DM. Those said cracks contain bugs, and unstable.
Another benefit of the lack of restrictions is that peer-to-peer groups are free to take a crack at pirating multiplayer, which was successfully achieved by NT authorities FIVEM for Grand Theft Auto V. ALTER IW NET and FOUR DELTA ONE for modern warfare 2 and REVOLT Steamworks fixes for a plethora of Steam titles.
Peer-to-peer groups are not as reclusive as a scene. 3DM is another example as its members maintain profiles on social networks and even a blog to keep pirates updated about their activities.
Unlike the scene, peer-to-peer crackers have occasionally opened avenues to receive donations from the pirate community. Overall peer-to-peer groups have carved out their own niche. Offering early but unreliable cracks for impatient pirates. While the scene meticulously scoped their cracks to perfection for a proper release.
The last and optional Game pirate category
let’s move on to repackers, the last and perhaps the only optional category in our list. Unlike the two previous groups, Repackers don’t crack their games themselves. But rather they compress the scene and peer-to-peer releases down to smaller sizes.
These compressed files are then bundled with customized installers to be distributed in what they call repacks. Repacks also separate language files. So only the language needed can be installed further saving on drive space and download time.
This service is preferred by pirates with limited storage space and slow or capped internet. To be fair there is a trade-off here. Free packs sacrifice faster installation for faster download and smaller file sizes.
Repack is actively attempting to make a profit out of this. Indeed with quite a few donation requests and have websites loaded with ads and cryptocurrency mining scripts. Repacks are also carrying the greatest risk. As some repacks have been reported to contain malware.
Case-in-point repacks a SATA infected his Just Cause 3 and Rise of the Tomb Raider repacks with a Bitcoin miner. While core packs releases carried a whole host of worms viruses and other malware. Which they later had to admit and apologize for.
Of course, the safest way to play games is to buy them. Unless the game in question uses SecuROM or Starforce.