One Way Sony Could Fight Piracy: Load Times

Piracy is bad news — if you are a big game company. If you are a pirate, then I'm sure it's all gravy. But big game companies like Sony are hoping to put an end to that freeloading gravy train.

A Sony Computer Entertainment patent from August 2011 that was published this month and unearthed by NeoGAF user Disorientator (via game site Darkzero) shows that Sony is working on tech to detect pirated software by measuring load times against what is considered the standard and thus acceptable range. If the software does not fall within that range, it cannot be used.

The patent isn't only for physical media, but it can also be used for digital games too.

It's unclear whether or not this tech will find its way onto PlayStation hardware in the future (rumour is that similar tech is already on the Xbox 360). If the tech does appear on Sony's consoles, smart money says the tech will just become yet another layer of onion for hackers to peel away.

Sony Patent Application - Detect pirated software by measuring load times [[email protected] via Darkzero via MCVUK via VG247]


Comments

    I was under the impression that piracy was not a major problem on the PS3, the 360 has some piracy and the Wii also but not nearly as much as previous generations of hardware.

      It isn't really that major given how difficult or expensive piracy has been. But piracy does still exist on the PS3 so it's only smart that Sony tried to keep ahead of the game a little bit.

      I think you have it backwards - PS3 is the easiest console to play pirated games on - i believe this was the main factor for most of the PS3's sold in the last 1-2 years

        no you do, you can mod ALL xbox's, cannot say the same for the ps3

        What? sorry that is totally wrong. Having come from a place where pirated PS1, PS2, Wii and Xbox games were sold so abundantly and openly, I can tell you that there are NO pirated ps3 games there. I don't know where you got that impression from.

    This is just an extra layer of protection to stop loaders as they have no way of directly manipulating the speed of IO requests, custom firmwares are still good to go.

    "ony is working on tech to detect pirated software by measuring load times against what is considered the standard and thus acceptable range. If the software does not fall within that range, it cannot be used."

    They are measuring on load times? Yet their own BluRay technology is notorious for being slow. And by reading the patient, the system faults software for loading too fast. What planet are Sony execs coming from these days? Fast load times (especially with BluRay media) is a good thing.

    And the real kicker - what about the games they plan to stream from PSN?

    Sony (or any publisher for that matter) really does not want to get it. The main contributing factors for piracy are:
    * Cost (especially in Australia where the price is higher for no reason other than they can)
    * Availability (some games are just not available and/or have not been localised)
    * Because people can pirate for no reason other than they just can.

    And the worse factor of all? Some people pirate or circumvent the copy protection because they have been locked out of their own, legitimately purchased game, because of false positives or short comings in the design of the DRM.

    They can try and tighten the DRM as much as they want - but it's only going to harm the legitimate consumer and not do a lick of difference to the pirates.

      I've never been locked out of any game in my PS3.

      This technology seems to be absolutely non-intrusive - if I've bought the disc, it'll load in x to y timeunits. If it's pirated, presumably it'll fall outside this range and not load.

      It doesn't effect me at all - how do you suggest this harms me?

        Can you put a much faster hard drive on a future Sony console, such as an ssd? If it didn't come with an ssd then I think not because of this. Same goes for disc drive.

        And that's how it should stay. Games on consoles are starting to fall down the same path as PC games.

        Also when it comes to load times all media wears down over time, even BluRay. So how can Sony tell if the load time is actually piracy or because the equipment is failing?

        Though yes, I did get carried away - I should have kept it to PS3 instead of gaming in general.

        The point I am making is that the anti-piracy measures are futile and only exacerbates piracy. The measures Sony have now are fine. And we all know what they say if something isn't broke.

        You can't make a backup of your disc even though you are allowed to by law in Australia (this is common to all consoles and most PC games are harder to copy too).

          Funny you should mention that Steveo.

          I remember years back, Microsoft actually "encouraged" people to make backups of their install media and use the backups instead.

        The only time I've been locked out of a purchase was when I bought P4A the other day off the US PSN. Disgustingly it will not work on my Australian PS3.

        Back on topic, I love the idea of a company saying 'We know you pirated it because our system is too crappy to boot the game that fast!'

      * Cost (especially in Australia where the price is higher for no reason other than they can)
      * Availability (some games are just not available and/or have not been localised)
      * Because people can pirate for no reason other than they just can.

      Considering the PS3 is region free, cost and localisation is not an excuse (heck you can buy cheaper Xbox games from PAL territories as well).

      It is simply because people can pirate and don't want to pay.

        "It is simply because people can pirate and don't want to pay."

        Technically, I covered that in the third point.

        The point I was making was that anti-piracy measures are futile. But my mistake was making my post on piracy in general instead of just for the PS3.

          Yeah, I was just saying 1 and 2 aren't really valid and it's mostly all about #3

          :)

            Piracy/counterfeit product is not new.
            I think you'll find that many peoples' purchasing decisions are based on multiple factors.

            Ease of access, stability/reliability, localization, price, additional features (eg: deleted scenes on a DVD/online social/multiplayer on a game), legal consequence/ethics (other).

            Now, when it comes to a movie, the average pirate beats out a DVD on pretty much every option.
            It's easier to download something in a few minutes than it is to put on pants and go pick up a DVD from a store or wait for it to be delivered by mail. The quality can be just as good or 1:1, depending on the size you grab. Localization is broader when you can just add a subtitles file to the movie directory on your PC, price is unbeatable, legal consequences are negligible because you're unlikely to be caught, and a lot of weighting is given to the 'feature' of being able to skip all that FBI warning/studio-logo bullshit to just watch a fucking movie without being lectured about something someone else is doing. (Odds are good if you are seeing the FBI warning, you actually paid for the disc, and if you didn't, it's cut out.)

            People put different weightings on different stats. For some, price is the be all and end all and that'll never change. But for others, price isn't that big a deal, but pirates still win out because of the ease of access/features of skippability. This is probably why netflix has become so successful. They tackle the pirates on the ease of access issue and are not incredibly higher on price, which they offet with the bonus of being legal/ethical. Valve spoke on this subject plenty with regards to gaming - Steam sales reduce the price advantage of piracy, and Steam beats it completely on ease of access, reliability, features, and legal consequences/ethics.

            If your price stat is getting your ass kicked by pirates, you need to adjust your sliders to boost your other stats, and buff any of the stats which are so low they're causing you to critically fail.

              The legal/ethical thing should hold more weight with people. pumping more money into the video game industry is good for everyone. People suck

                Well, not necessarily. Look what the shareholders have done to this industry.

                Devs aren't getting much of that dosh, it's all going to publishers who have recently been hindering and stepping on the creative minds who do the hard work with their statistics and what not.

                Just look at Capcom. They could REALLY do without the cash.
                http://d1vr6n66ssr06c.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/megaman_avatar_header.jpg

                Last edited 26/02/13 12:19 pm

                  "Devs aren't getting much of that dosh, it's all going to publishers who have recently been hindering and stepping on the creative minds who do the hard work with their statistics and what not."

                  Give this guy/gal the prized ham as he/she gets it!

                I'm not sure how old you are, but if you can draw the conclusion that it is unfair that devs aren't being appropriately rewarded for hard work, then you may have noticed by now that we do not live in a world of 'shoulds'. And rather than fervently wishing (highly ineffective) or trying to force about a change to the very core of how people operate, one might be better off recognizing and acknowledging how people operate, and find ways to manipulate or take advantage of that.

                ie: If you don't have the power to part the waters for you like Moses, maybe you should build a boat instead of trying to walk on the bottom of the sea.

    Muppets Treasure Island!

    Brilliant film, that...

    Forget piracy - focus on hackers and cheats. if you can keep your legit customers happy they will keep coming back.

    When I read gravy I heard it in Tim Curry's voice

    Day made

      Viiilderness Gurllllss!

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