Novel ways to prevent piracy of videogames don't come along too often, but when they do it's usually worth discussing; from Digital Rights Management (DRM) to one-time use activation codes, Cloud Copy Protection (employed by Ubisoft, but currently on hiatus as seen with its absence in AC: Revelations), unstoppable mutant scorpions (used by Serious Sam 3: BFE dev Croteam to discourage early piraters of the game and everything in-between.
While many developers and publishers have made their hatred for the piracy scene known, others are finding unique ways to get their message through to those most likely to pirate their games. World of Goo developer 2D Boy used the games' absence of DRM as a sales tactic, pleading gamers to purchase the game legally through legitimate sources, stating at the time “we like to think people will be good, and we want to give the best user experience possible.” Now, Starbreeze Studios, creators of sci-fi shooter Syndicate, have followed in their footsteps with a similar tact. Reddit user MikkelManDK posted onto the popular social news website a screenshot showing off a '.nfo' file within the files on the game, downloaded from Origin. Such files are often reserved for pirates who drop the files of their type into illicit copies of the game, usually including some text-based ASCII artwork with their logo, for bragging rights.
Starbreeze took a different approach. Included within the file were just two simple install instructions, “1) Insert Disc 2) Play ;)”, and a few choice words to urge those looking through the file to apply for a job with the company if they boast an expertise within art, modelling, texturing, sound design, programming and game design. The full message goes as follows:
Are you bored with watching from the sidelines? Ready to make the switch?
Do you have considerable talents in any of the following areas?
Art, modeling, texturing, sound design
If you meet one or more of those criteria, and want to be a part of the fun,
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!
For other ways to contact us, see below.
The message concludes with a plea to those who may have pirated the game to consider the implications of doing so, while re-iterating the amount of real-world hours, investment and hard work gone into creating the game that they are getting for free:
Over a hundred people spent several years of their lives making this game.
If you like what you play, please consider purchasing it if you haven't.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.