Tagged With drm

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Back in the '90s, the Sega Saturn was the most powerful video games console on the market. If the Sony PlayStation was a car, the Saturn was a military tank. But it was an expensive over-engineered machine and it failed to make an impact in the gaming market. So complex was the Saturn that some of its internal functions remained a mystery 20 years on, particularly its elusive digital rights management (DRM) system.

In July, hacker and academic Dr James Laird-Wah managed to crack the DRM and uncover its inner workings. He went through the painstaking process in excruciating detail at hacker conference Ruxcon 2016. Laird-Wah's findings could potentially save the rising number of Sega Saturn consoles with dying CD readers.

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More than two months after release, it's still not possible to pirate Just Cause 3. The same is true for Rise of the Tomb Raider, released for PC in late January. Cracking computer games used to be measured in hours or days, but now, it's turning into weeks and months. The nature of piracy is changing in a big way.

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Super Mario 4D Universe — or whatever the next one will be called — should come with every single level in the Mushroom Constitutional Monarchy unlocked. The next Grand Theft Auto should make all of its missions immediately playable in the very first minute. Uncharted 4 should let me jump into the middle of Nathan Drake's adventures as soon as I slip the disc into my PlayStation.

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Above, via Kotaku reader SilentAssassn87, a lovely little dig from the developers of The Witcher 3, CD Projekt Red, who are quite critical of the restrictive anti-piracy method known as Digital Rights Management (DRM).

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Well this is interesting: GOG.com, the digital retailer best known for selling old games without DRM, is branching out into film and TV. The folks at GOG are pushing hard on the "DRM-free" angle here too, promising that nothing they sell will be saddled with the copyright restrictions you might get while buying a TV show on iTunes or Amazon.

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Digital rights management (known by its more villainous acronym "DRM") isn't quite the same topic it used to be when most of our games came on CDs and DVDs. Instead, they've been replaced with always-online requirements or the need to run titles through clients such as EA's Origin or Uplay from Ubisoft if you want to enjoy features such as multiplayer. The latter killed its DRM "solution" a few years back after "listening to feedback" and now maintains the stance that DRM is not the answer to piracy.

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You'll see that, yes, these are folks we have written about over the past year, people with stories others have found inspirational, or whose individual triumphs show that notoriety in video gaming isn't limited to hot shot developers or esports professionals.

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On May 26, two weeks before E3, a man named Pete Dodd started a thread on the message board NeoGAF. Microsoft had just announced their next-gen console, the Xbox One, and with it, customer-unfriendly policies like used game restrictions and a mandatory 24-hour Internet check-in. Meanwhile, Sony was staying quiet about their own possible plans for digital-rights management (DRM) on the PlayStation 4.

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This could be the biggest backtrack in gaming history: Microsoft will reverse course on their DRM policies for Xbox One, dropping their 24-hour Internet check-in requirement and all restrictions on used games.

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Few major developers could be as publicly anti-DRM as CD Projekt Red, makers of the Witcher series. Yet there they were with The Witcher 3, getting a good five minutes of stage time with the Xbox One, the face of console DRM going forward. The studio is committed to releasing on Xbox One but none too happy about being in such a bind.

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It's clear what Microsoft thinks of game ownership — the Xbox One's policies don't communicate much of a belief in it. Sony scored a lot of points on Monday, but to be fair, it was a defence of the status quo. Where does Nintendo come down on the subject?