Hacker Ports Xbox 360 Game To PC, Calls It 'Justice'

Some Russian hacker, unilaterally deciding that PC gamers have the inalienable right to play the 2011 Xbox 360 game The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile (pictured), just up and ported the thing, saying "This is not piracy, this is restoration of justice." According to a translation of the GameDev.ru forums, the hacker, named Barabus, said "the authors are not very nice to publish the game exclusively for the Xbox 360, making it impossible for PC gamers to play in such a great game."

Then, "Given that developers ignore the PC platform, about any loss of profit for them is not out of the question. After all, if they wanted to earn money, then the game would be issued on all available platforms."

Given that his studio's creation has been cracked and put on another platform for free and lectured on its business practices, Ska Studios founder James Silva has taken the matter in stride. "I'm not mad about the crack itself, in fact, I'm actually pretty impressed," he told IndieStatik. "But I'm bewildered by the cracker's attempt to justify the morality of it."

Silva said he'd have been happy to explain why The Dishwasher has no PC version if the hacker had emailed him.

To Eurogamer, another Ska Studios employee, artist Michelle Juett, was less tolerant. "I'm kind of livid myself," she said. "I just see him as the over-entitled gamer saying 'I deserve this because I want it!' ... [T]rying to justify it morally really irks me."

The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile Unofficially Ported To PC; Hacker Says It’s Not Stealing [IndieStatik] The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile unofficially ported to PC, but the original dev doesn't mind... much [Eurogamer]


Comments

    Good on him, we need more of this.

      No we dont.

      Now imagine however that this hacker contacted the development studio with his finished product. Sounds like they may have worked with him then he could have done something special and be recognized for it.

      Last edited 06/06/13 8:13 am

        While i agree he could have handled it better in that aspect, i still think he did a good thing by cracking it, i ignored the "morallity arguement" competely, i saw it as the guy making a point about how easy it was and that given the game would have been built on what is essentially a PC, how could they not release it on the platform on which it was born?

          For any number of reasons? It's their IP, their game, they're allowed to release or not release it on whatever platforms they wish for whatever reasons they wish. We might think those reasons are dumb (surely more platforms leads to more sales?) but we're still not the people allowed to make that choice, much less just force what we want to happen.

            "but we're still not the people allowed to make that choice, much less just force what we want to happen."

            Why not?
            he wasnt selling the game after cracking it, he wasnt trying to claim the game as his own creation.
            He wanted to play a game not available to him, and share it with other people in the same situation.

            In all honesty, he probably did the company a favour, they get free publicity and now they know there is another market available for very little effort.

            Last edited 06/06/13 11:48 am

              Why not? Oh, I don't know, the fact that it's still theft?

              If I rip a DVD to DivX and then give it away for free so people without DVD players can enjoy it, do you think the movie studios would thank me for the free publicity?

                Thats the problem right there, caring what the movie studios want, its all about greed.

              Because what you're saying is that if you want something, just take it. It's an extremely arrogant viewpoint that means we can tell either tell people what to do with their property or just steal it ourselves. It's garbage, people don't just decide they have the power. Kid is just full of ignorance and seems to crave a pat on the back.

                sure buddy, its ignorance that i believe the world is going down the toilet because of people like you.
                people who roll over and take it when they are told by companies to get stuffed?
                Companies are greedy and need to be taught a lesson, they need to know that they cant treat the people who make them successful like shit, but since the high majority of people like yourself are morons and seem to be ok with getting shafted on a daily basis, they just push it further every day.

      I wouldn't mind seeing more of it. ...Minus the attempts at moral justification - that's just contrived and waving a target in the air for people to shoot at.

      A better answer to, "What you are doing is wrong!" might have been:
      "No shit. I'm not doing it because of right or wrong, I don't give a shit about right or wrong, what I give a shit about is my desires being met. And they're not. And it was very simple to meet them... so I have. Right or wrong doesn't factor into my motivations at all."

      'Market forces' aren't just where money is being spent. It's where it's not being spent. All those lame-ass excuses to make ostensibly single-player games into always-online affairs are thinly-veiled attempts to hide what is primarily an anti-piracy move. And it doesn't always have to be beating the consumer with a stick - see Apple's move to reduce song prices in itunes, and strip out the DRM. Probably part carrot, part trying to reduce customer support overheads on fixing issues when their DRM repeatedly and reliably screwed legitimate customers.

    “I’m not mad about the crack itself, in fact, I’m actually pretty impressed,” he told IndieStatik. “But I’m bewildered by the cracker’s attempt to justify the morality of it.”

    I totally agree with this. If you crack a game, there's no reason for you to make up some crappy moral excuse.

      This is what annoys me about piracy sometimes - the way pirates often try to justify their actions, or make themselves out to be Robin Hood type "moral" criminals.

      "There was no demo" or "It's overpriced" or "It's got DRM" or some other reason, when truthfully for the vast majority of pirates the real reasons is "I can get it for free without any negative consequences". What's wrong with just admitting that? What's wrong with saying "I'm impatient and cheap, and I have no real understanding of how my actions are hurting anybody, so I feel no remorse at pirating content". I think it would be refreshing to see this level of honesty.

      Last edited 06/06/13 10:47 am

        because its not always about money, i cant remember the last game that i pirated without going out and buying if it was worth the money... in fact almost every game i ever pirated i now own, in some cases multiple copies.

        Sure there are people who pirate because they are cheap, or poor, or in some cases cannot get the game in their country or platform, but its not as one sided as people make it out.

          Yeah I agree it's not always about the money, but I think it's mainly about the money.

          Imagine if people could make a copy of a car, or a tv, or any other physical item with the ease in which they can download a game/movie/album, and with the same knowledge that they will never get in trouble for it, and that they are not depriving somebody else of that item, they are only depriving the manufacturer of a sale, which they probably wouldn't have gotten anyway as the person couldn't afford to purchase that item normally... While there would be heaps of people like you who would only use that "physical piracy" to test out products, and then at a later time they would pay for a "real" version, the vast majority of people would just take advantage of it and never pay.

          People always take the path of least resistance, it's human nature. They will be good if there are rules in place, or if the moral implications are direct enough that they can appreciate the damage they would cause. But an issue like piracy is so murky and grey (it's not really stealing... is a pirated game really a lost sale? etc), that it just becomes easier to not worry about it.

          Back to the magical "physical piracy" nano-duplicator analogy: Can you imagine what effect that would have on all those industries? Instead of people just not getting the best car / biggest TV because they couldn't afford it, they would get it anyway because it would be the easy thing to do.

          And there'd be those people who would justify it as well, saying "In my country we can't afford an 80" TV", and "The newest Lamborghini has DRM (which they only implemented to try and stop piracy)". Only the honest people would say - "I like free things!".

            I do see your point, but im of the belief that greed is what holds back humanity from so much greater achievements.
            I honestly believe that while it sounds nerdy, star trek has the right idea, everyone on the planet working towards the greater good, no currency, no lacking for anything no wars and constant technological and scientific advancement.
            Almost everything wrong with the world and the human condition comes down to greed

            Piracy while bad based on today’s societal beliefs, should be something embraced, society as a whole should be more willing to share ideas and make sure no one is lacking, instead or arguing who came up with using a rectangle for a phone first, but unfortunately we don’t live in that world :(

            I know that sounds like some hippy rant, and i almost hate myself for sounding that way, i honestly believe the world suffers because humanity looks at things the wrong way.

            And im not some white knight looking for a cause, im actually a prick, i hate stupid people, i rage at most things that frustrate me, but even someone like me can see the benifit of shared knowledge across the board to make things better for all. (a little off topic, but i think still relevent)

              I don't think it's a hippy rant - I like the vision of Star Trek too, but it helps a bit that they have replicators :) One day humanity might settle in to that altruistic and peaceful future... if we're lucky!

              I think piracy has had some positive repercussions, and that the changes that piracy is forcing upon the industries effected by it are unavoidable and will ultimately be better for the consumer.

              But I think a reason that people are so greedy is because they often can't admit to themselves when they're being greedy. Cognitive dissonance makes them justify it, often in extremely absurd ways. I think the first step to people acting more morally for the good of society is admitting that they often act in very selfish ways. There's a general feeling today in first world countries that people deserve everything they want, and I think it would be much healthier if they could be honest and differentiate simply 'wanting' something from 'deserving' something.

              I want the latest Game of Thrones episodes now - YES! I deserve the latest Game of Thrones episodes now - NO! My only justification for downloading them is because I WANTS them! :) Some other people try to construct arguments for why it's unfair that they're not easily available in Australia and they deserve to have them now. That's the only thing that annoys me really.

                very good points, and i think you're right on all, and I’ve always been a believer that piracy has forced companies to look at the way they handle people, the world sadly has voluntarily moved from "The customer is always right" to “the customer is only a $ sign".

                Definitely not something I’ll see in my lifetime, but i can dream lol.

              Woah get outta my head dude!!!

    That's the age we live in now. People think they have a right to anything whether they can access it with what they have or not. People can't afford an album, they download it. Someone doesn't have pay-TV to watch their favourite show, they download it. A game is released on a platform they don't have, they crack it. Before the internet truly kicked off people used to just shrug their shoulders and get on with life, now there's always someone willing and able to make something available for free for everyone. They can either do it the right way, i.e creating Baldur's Gate as a mod in NWN2 and releasing it for free after 7 years of work, or they can do it the (morally) wrong way and create a crack.

    Not sure why this is article worthy though. People have been cracking games for ages now. Is it just that he tried to justify it?

      While I don't agree with the morality of this, thinking that people have changed is naive.

      The medium has definitely changed, but I would think this isn't so different from people making alcohol during the prohibition. Maybe the publishers should consider releasing it properly

        Your analogy would perhaps be correct IF the person claiming the moral high ground had also stolen the ingredients, recipe and still.

          Part of the reason organized crime was so successful in the prohibition era was because yes, a lot of the booze they sold was actually stolen. And though it didn't seem to happen as often as video games have portrayed, people did get beaten, tortured, even killed over it.

          People drinking it sure didn't care where it came from, they just wanted to drink.

          Haha it is a wonky analogy but there's not much to compare it to.

          He definitely had an xbox/emulator, the original disk and pc though :p

    It's an XNA game. The hacker is right. It takes about 10 minutes to release a PC version (change target platform, fix any platform specific references), and boom! Access to a larger market.

      Oh god we have another Internet hero

        never styled myself as an internet hero, just that if some random programmer can do it, they could have done it in-house.

      Nah.

      If it were that easy everyone would do it.

      I think your missing the major "Business" part of your equation.

      You have no idea how long it takes to make a PC port, do you?

        In XNA I do. The major platform-specific issue is input. The framework is by and large identical in this instance.

        It's not like they built a game engine from scratch using C++ and platform specific hooks into the system... it's a managed language on a managed framework.

    Would of been easier just to put it on Steam in the first place and make some money from it.

    The game isn't on pc so they expect no money from that market....hence when that market cracks and plays it the publisher shouldn't need to worry about lose of income.

      Except there are such myhtical people who own an Xbox and a PC. So these gamers get the free version on PC and ignore the 360 one.

        I concede your point. I'm sure this game crack will destroy the developer.

        Last edited 07/06/13 12:18 am

          Building strawmen, the last resort of those with no point.

          Piracy isn't some modern-day robin hood story, it does have an impact, and for indie developers that impact can be more than they can afford. Case in point; Project Zomboid. People pirated the alpha, fine. Those same people constantly pressing the "download update" button ended up costing the developers as they started to get hit hard by the massive amount of drain on their servers.

            Since this story broke the developer has announced they will bring the title to the PC. So there's a new money stream for them. One that wasn't there before. Who knows if the crack had anything to do with it or not but I think it does. I think in the long run the company will make games for both platforms. In the long run I think their income will increase.

    What was stopping him from buying a 360 to play it?

      Are they in a country that doesn't get xbox live?
      The article is a little light on details.

    I'd love a crack of Halo 3 and Halo 4, imagine those sweet ass graphics.....

      I would love to see the newer Halo's on the PC, and many other exclusives. I completely understand why MS and Sony keep their IPs exclusive, but I can't help but mourn for the lack of those titles on a powerful PC. The Last of Us looks amazing, but it also looks like it could do with a modern graphics card helping to render it.

      So while I disagree with how this hacker has interfered with an indie developer, I would totally forgive him if he could somehow "hack" Red Dead Redemption over to the PC. :D

    still doesn't answer the question of why they didn't release it on the PC if it was a fairly easy thing to do.

      Because it's their game and they can do whatever they like with it?

      With the first game in the series they were a prizewinner in MS' Dream.Build.Play competition, from which they won $10k and a XBLA publishing contract. Presumably the contract provided for platform exclusivity for this and who knows how many more games.

    i applaud the cracker for his technical chops, but maybe not his justification. business reasons behind a release on xbox 360 only would be opaque to the fanbase, but would most likely largely be anti-piracy driven.
    I wonder if we will see more of this when the ps4 and xbone come out since they are 'normal' cpu's?
    xbox 360 is powerpc cpu, so he would have had to re-compile the runtimes, right? or am i missing something that xna allows as a language like write once run anywhere?

    More PC Elitists... Don't get me wrong, I love PC, but I'm tired of the elitists demanding every game should be for them. They have enough, let exclusives be exclusive for once.

    But it's not just PC elitists, I said the same thing about people wanting that Spartan Assault game on Xbox. People should just be thankful things exist and stop demanding things.

    I agree with the general consensus that there isn't a moral argument to be made here, but nonetheless I'm glad he did it. The game is a quality title that had fallen into total obscurity due to the platform it was released on. At least this might draw some attention to some of the developers other games.

    I think people are jumping the gun here, I mean assuming he did pay for the original game in-order to crack it, then technically he's not being 'cheap' as so many people describe. I think the justification is about right, if say your xbox360 died and you were left with a bunch of disks you couldn't use but you paid for I believe its ok to crack to enable it on your pc the same with roms/emulators.

    Then, “Given that developers ignore the PC platform, about any loss of profit for them is not out of the question. After all, if they wanted to earn money, then the game would be issued on all available platforms.”

    I love that people who make this argument conveniently ignore the people who would have bought it on the Xbox but now won't because they can get it for free on the PC...

    It's the dev's game, they can release it how and where they want. We can complain all we like, and ask them to release it elsewhere, but ultimately its up to them and we need to respect that rather than just go "well if you won't do it I will" with someone else's property. It's not morally justifiable at all. Making a point about ports? Maybe, but that doesn't make it right.

    I just see him as the over-entitled gamer saying ‘I deserve this because I want it!’ … [T]rying to justify it morally really irks me.

    Arguably, the hacker did obtain a copy of the game (probably illegally, let's be honest), cracked it, converted it, then made it available for distribution. I'm not sure that's reflective of so-called "entitlement culture" - the hacker did some (legally very dubious) work to get to where they got.

    For anyone else who downloads it for free and justifies it by saying it's the developers fault for not releasing a PC version and so they shouldn't have to pay, they could be justifiably accused of being an "over-entitled gamer".

    The moral argument that if a studio chooses to forgo a profit by not releasing on a platform, they can't complain if someone else releases it for free on said platform does have some limited merit. As is often the case, a developer's/publisher's assertion that something represents an attitude of a community of "over-entitled gamer[s]" has the faint whiff of hypocrisy about it. There's a moral/ethical difference between no one getting profits that you never intended to get for your work (trade restriction), and someone else getting profits you never intended to get for your work (copyright).

    Having a look at XBLAs terrible monopolized pricing system and the fact that so many games I've bought on it have been released on pc (WINDOWS PC) for way less prices than XBLA. Yeah I like what this guy has done. Especially since it take a whole lot more effort to port over a game than just crack some executables.

    I got rid of my xbox a week after having it, i would have never played this game, now i have an opportunity to play it.

    Sure its wrong that this guy ported the game without the IP holders permission, but if you watch anime and think about how many shows you have watched with fan translated subtitles, this is not much different.

    Still its not too late to make this right, devs could contact this guy, work with him to make this an even more solid port, then release it on steam and share some of the profits with him.

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