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piracy countermeasures?

10-11-2010, 12:18 AM
#1
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Atlanta GA
Posts: 1,224
piracy countermeasures?

I'm planning to do a pretty awesome game which probably won't be coming out for a while (a year or 2?) and was wondering what are some good ways to fight against piracy? Does any of the online services have any way to detect cracked software? (gc,plus+,openfient,crystal etc)? Besides going free + iap, anyone else find good ways to counter piracy? I remember beejive did something that blacklisted your phone if you ran a cracked software, but I think that's server side. So ya... any insight?
10-11-2010, 03:00 PM
#2
I've just implemented some effective anti-piracy code for Line Ninja. I've not had brilliant download volumes from the App Store so far and I'm getting about a 10:1 ratio of cracked versions versus the official version.

How do I know? At the moment the current version implements the piracy check but doesn't disable the game in any way, but posts the stats to a simple hosted aspx page on a Windows Server. Today I've just submitted an update for Line Ninja in which the game ends at a score of 12 ands prompts the user to buy the official version if it detects a cracked version is running. Note the posting of data to the server is not necessary for the piracy check, I do it purely to collect the stats.

My code implements a method I found published that checks the app for an encryption flag (cracked versions are generally unencrypted). At the moment this seems to be a valid check against the automated cracking tools used. I considered it a worthwhile investment of my time, only taking a few hours to implement and test.

If anyone wants any further information or some sample code then please feel free to PM me.

Line Ninja, are you ready for an amazing A to Z experience of line drawing games?
iTunes: Line Ninja
Website: http://lineninja.com

10-11-2010, 10:01 PM
#3
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,076
The automated tools are used first on everything. Then if your app is any good, and people want it, it gets put in a queue for case-specific cracking, which has a fast turnaround (hours not weeks).

You are only wasting time on copy protection that could be better spent on the app. Only a smal fraction of downloaders would pay forth game before trying it anyway, if they wanted it at all. People would save their money for the EA and Gameloft games, not even try the thousands upon thousands of risky no-name apps.

😈
10-11-2010, 10:47 PM
#4
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 3,013
Alright, here it goes, my dark past. Well, actually not so dark. When I was jailbroken ages ago, I was against piracy. But then I wanted to try out apps I was thinking about purchasing, and if I liked them I'd get them. So I downloaded "Stick Skater" and when I opened it, it said something along the lines of "this is not a legal copy" or something like that. I don't know if that helps. (But for the record I did by Stick Skater anyway)

I'm what you could call a "casual" mobile gamer.
10-11-2010, 11:19 PM
#5
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Atlanta GA
Posts: 1,224
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donovan1209 View Post
Alright, here it goes, my dark past. Well, actually not so dark. When I was jailbroken ages ago, I was against piracy. But then I wanted to try out apps I was thinking about purchasing, and if I liked them I'd get them. So I downloaded "Stick Skater" and when I opened it, it said something along the lines of "this is not a legal copy" or something like that. I don't know if that helps. (But for the record I did by Stick Skater anyway)
lol it's ok. About everyone that has jb their devices has probably dabbed in ********** before =)


Weirdly I must have been a minority, who 'tried' the big wig games because they were pretty expensive and the free version usually comes out a long time afterwards. If the app is under $5 I usually buy it if I'm half interested =)

Now I have a disposable income, I usually just buy what ever I want lol.
10-12-2010, 03:07 AM
#6
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,076
It's Human nature: we can consume more information than we can obtain for money. So, people generally buy what media they can afford, and obtain the rest through sharing. This is true for books, newspapers, magazines, CDs, DVDs and now digital content.

It's good for the collective intelligence, and yet still profitable. Yes there will be freeloaders, but they're not the ones who are spending or have money TO spend, for that matter. Small potatoes.

😈
10-12-2010, 03:03 PM
#7
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: UK / Toronto
Posts: 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevePerks View Post
I've just implemented some effective anti-piracy code for Line Ninja. I've not had brilliant download volumes from the App Store so far and I'm getting about a 10:1 ratio of cracked versions versus the official version.

How do I know? At the moment the current version implements the piracy check but doesn't disable the game in any way, but posts the stats to a simple hosted aspx page on a Windows Server. Today I've just submitted an update for Line Ninja in which the game ends at a score of 12 ands prompts the user to buy the official version if it detects a cracked version is running. Note the posting of data to the server is not necessary for the piracy check, I do it purely to collect the stats.

My code implements a method I found published that checks the app for an encryption flag (cracked versions are generally unencrypted). At the moment this seems to be a valid check against the automated cracking tools used. I considered it a worthwhile investment of my time, only taking a few hours to implement and test.

If anyone wants any further information or some sample code then please feel free to PM me.
It's good to hear devs are still coming up with new and custom anti-piracy measures. For as long as we continue to combat piracy in every little way we can, even despite the fact that the apps will likely be cracked eventually, when there exists enough faulty pirated apps out there, it makes piracy that teensy bit more labor-intensive and irritating. And as most ex-pirates will probably tell you, there is always that 'last straw' that eventually turns them to the reliability of the legal option.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sticktron View Post
It's Human nature: we can consume more information than we can obtain for money. So, people generally buy what media they can afford, and obtain the rest through sharing. This is true for books, newspapers, magazines, CDs, DVDs and now digital content.

It's good for the collective intelligence, and yet still profitable. Yes there will be freeloaders, but they're not the ones who are spending or have money TO spend, for that matter. Small potatoes.
There are more free games on the app store than we could consume in a lifetime. You can't justify piracy.
10-12-2010, 04:48 PM
#8
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 217
There just a bunch of douche bag...! they buy a 800$ phone but can t buy a 3$ games for it.?!?!
Each version of ironfist was protected against piracy... but it usually get cracked within a week.

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10-12-2010, 09:34 PM
#9
If your game isn't coming out for over a year, you should worry about finishing your game first before thinking about adding piracy protection.

Freemium is becoming a viable business model. Pirates will have to go find something else to bootleg. Arggg.
10-15-2010, 04:06 AM
#10
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Singapore
Posts: 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by sticktron
You are only wasting time on copy protection that could be better spent on the app.
I tend to agree with this. Getting into an arms race with pirates is an uphill battle not worth the time and effort; time and effort that would definitely be better spent improving the app.

I see an upside to piracy though: pirates crack and download virtually everything, but they only keep and use the apps they enjoy. These are the apps they tell their friends and family about, and many of these friends and family members do not pirate apps. It's the same logic as how websites like Free App A Day work: install a large userbase who download for free, and let word of mouth takes over. Of course, if your app is not appealing, neither will help.