Bushnell Believes Trusted Computing Can Eliminate Piracy

chipglow.jpgGame piracy is a big deal. Protection mechanisms have improved over the years, but the industry still suffers significant losses because of it. According to a 2005 report by the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia, piracy costs local developers around $100 million per year. A scary number when you consider the industry only generated $136.9 million in income in 2007.

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell reckons Trusted Computing (TC) is the answer. A few days ago at a Wedbush Morgan security conference, Bushnell explained that Trusted Protection Module, or TPM, chips are currently being built into motherboards, and could be used to slow down, and even stop, piracy.

"What that says is that in the games business we will be able to encrypt with an absolutely verifiable private key in the encryption world - which is uncrackable by people on the internet and by giving away passwords - which will allow for a huge market to develop in some of the areas where piracy has been a real problem," he went on to say.I'm not an expert on Trust Computing platforms, but what I can tell you is that TPM chips are indeed being included on new motherboards. Note that the system is opt-in, requiring activiation via a PC's BIOS, but nonetheless the technology is there.

Not that you should be freaking out just yet - the concept has been around for some time, but has yet to see much use in consumer PCs. It was not specifically designed to curb piracy either.

What makes TC different to other DRM systems is that it's based in hardware. This means that all parts of the process can be secured from software tampering - be it storage (both volatile and non-volatile), input/output or encryption/decryption. The Playstation 3 incorporates a similar philosophy with its Cell processor, which has so far proven difficult to circumvent with mod chips.

But I wouldn't be so worried about the technical aspects. The full implementation of TC (whenever that happens) will take us one step closer to a computing environment in which we have no control over our PCs. The criticism section of the Trusted Computing article in Wikipedia outlines the situation in detail. To a degree, Bushnell is supporting this future.

Encryption chip will end piracy, open markets, says Bushnell [Gamesindustry.biz]


Comments

    FAST FORWARD! GRIM FUTURIST TIME!

    In the not-so distant future evil corporations control what you can access on your computer, but there is hope! After the great software war of 2010 many individuals have taken to underground computing, purchasing modified 'pirate" rigs to circumvent the system. Now, the pirates are fighting for our right to unlimited access!

    [BRIEF BOMBASTIC MONTAGE, OPENING CREDITS]

    The year? 2015: The true beginning of the rebellion!

    "Bushnell Believes Trusted Computing Can Eliminate Piracy"

    Another sucker , another customer for the software protection snake-oil salesmen. It really should be an unavoidable and immutable law of the universe (like thermodynamics) that it is IMPOSSIBLE to create a cipher that can't be cracked.

    It is not that someone hasn't managed to do it yet, it really is impossible. It cannot be done, period. No argument. No way around it. Sorry execubots, it can't be done.

    It is always some fucking suit-wearing posing no-brain upper management type that bangs the drum for the next and greatest "uncrackable" software protection system. I hope that this Bushnell fool is willing to pay for every single trusted computing module from the significant depths of his own pocket.

    Anyone remember how long it took for a cracked and working copy of Robocop 3 for Amiga (I think it was, my memory is hazy) to turn up on the doorstep of the "our protection is uncrackable" publishers? It seems foot-in-mouth disease is still prevalent.

    Yeah, meanwhile in Australia still pay double for games.

    **** you DRM and region lock. First you install you root kits on our pc, then you force internet access and now you force it ON OUR OWN HARDWARE!?!

    This can't be legal, it just can't.

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