StarForce copy protection blasted

Written by Brett Thomas

March 16, 2006 | 17:57

Tags: #brad-wardell #copy-protection #starforce

Companies: #stardock

In an interview with GameSpot this week, the Lead Designer of the popular Galactic Civilizations II game (made by Stardock Software) spoke out on a recent issue with StarForce CD copy protection and the industry as a whole.

First, a little background: StarForce copy protection has been used in many games, and has caught flak from consumers previously for assigning unsigned device drivers in an effort to protect software. Apparently, last week one of their forumgoers mentioned how great GalCiv II was selling, and that it might be attributed to Stardock Software's unique, non-pain-in-the-backside approach to copy protection.

To retaliate for this post, one of the StarForce moderators posted a link to a torrent site featuring GalCiv II, stating that the game did well in SPITE of its lousy copy protection, not because of it. StarForce has since apologized for the action and removed the post from its forums.

Enter GameSpot, who decided to interview Brad Wardell, the lead designer of GalCiv II. Brad had some interesting things to say about Stardock's apprach to software piracy, as well as an insight to the industry as a whole.

"What other publishers do to protect their intellectual property is up to them. I simply don't [think] CD-based protection is particularly effective. Any copy protection system, in my opinion, should be focused on trying to increase sales - not stop piracy. The two aren't the same. Most people who pirate a software product would never have purchased it. It's pointless to waste time on those people. The people to focus on are the ones who might have bought your product or service but chose not to because it was easier to pirate it."

He goes on to state that "The question is, how many legitimate gamers choose not to buy a game that has CD protection because they're on the fence and know that sooner or later, they'll probably lose that CD?"

Take a read through the rest of the interview here.

Though this is something that many of us have discussed on the forums ad nauseam, it is nice to hear some of the people in the industry are starting to sit up and take notice. We can only hope that this not only is a growing trend in the PC Games industry, but in copyrighted content as a whole. As a footnote, Stardock is not going to attempt any type of legal action against StarForce for their intentional link to copyrighted content.

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