Author Topic: PIRACY MODE  (Read 113 times)

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October 01, 2020, 11:58:53 PM
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Software piracy was and is a major problem. Do you think, it would fit if there was a like an extra (hard) mode, where your software gets pirated frequently and you have to buy/research/develop a copy protection to stop this for some time? This feature is also aviable in similar dev games like GDT or MGT, and it fits there very well. Would love to see something like this in Software Inc.

Original post made by me:
I altered it, because it was somewhat unorganised. If something is missing in this thread, please priorise the reddit post then.


Disclaimer: This is MY opinion and idea of a mode like this. If you have other ideas relating to this, improvements or so, please, feel free to write them in the comments.

This idea should represent something like a Hardcore mode (Piracy mode).

My idea would be like this:

The game is normal, except for your software getting pirated frequently. This leads to lower sales. To stop this, you have to develop and buy a copy protection. This leads to protection the software for several time, so the sales don´t go down to zero, because everyone pirates it. The efficency (time until cracked) of the copy protection however is depending on these factors:

-Features of the copy protection: The protection software needs to have better features, to stay efficent. After sometime, a feature is useless, because it is old and already cracked.

-Quality of the software: Like with the normal software, a copy protection needs high quality too. If the quality is low, it gets cracked fast, if its high, it needs more time. But the quality has another effect, which is listed somewhere below.

-How many times it got cracked: You can use a copy protection several times, but the efficency (time until cracked) will sink everytime a software with this copy protection gets cracked. Eventuelly rendering it useless after sometime.

To put this in example:

Examlpe 1: You release your high quality, high features copy protection with some software for the first time. It takes several months (or days) to crack. In this time, your sales aren´t effected much and stay normal. After sometime, it gets cracked. Sales will fall quickly, but not to zero in every case (i will state more about this below)
You reuse this software, but next time, it only needs half the time until its cracked. A third time, and its cracked after a month for example.

Example 2: You release a high quality, but old feature copy protection. This will lead to a crack almost instantly, becaue everyone knows how to crack it. This means, you always have to stay updated with your features, to stay efficent. If the copy protection would be bad quality but high feature however, it will work for some time, but worser than a high quality, high feature copy protection would do.

Affect on fans
Just having a copy protection doesn´t do all good. Like in the real world, people dislike DRMs.
In the game, the higher the quality of the copy protection, the less fans you gain, because for real life examples, see "StarForce" or "SecuROM". Those high quality software was hardly disliked, because it needed so much power on the computer. This means, a low quality copy protection wouldn´t last that long, but less fans are disagreeing with you.

Development of the Protection
It would be developed like your ususal 2D Editor or Audtio tool. Selecting features, selecting name,.. BUT it only gets sold to other companys (you can buy their copy protections too) and NOT to consumers. This gives you more of the thinking, if you want to develop that shiny copy protection for 100k without having any effect first.

Cracker groups
These can be sued, eventually leading to a lot of money, but more disagreement by (some) fans. After getting a lawyer, there is a random, very low chance, that these get caught. You can boost that chance, with assigning your lawyer with the task to find them.

Physical and digital distribution
In the early game, like till 1995 or 2000, physical distributions are more a target of piracy. After 2000, digital distrubution get pirated more. This affects the kind of features you have to choose.
For example, physical distribution: Encryption of the data files; Digital distribution: Online activation code

Quality and price of the protected software
The higher the quality of the software and the lower the price, the less it gets pirated "I want to support that company !"
However, a high price, maybe even coupled with bad quality leads to higher piracy: "I wouldn´ pay a penny for that trash!"

Short summary of the sales/fans effects:
High quality copy protection: Normal sales, less fan growth
Low quality copy protection:Less sales, normal fan growth
No copy protection: Very low sales*, normal fan growth.
*depends on the the quality/price of the software, and of your fanbase. A software on your own os is less likely to get pirated that on a foreign OS that is full of foreign people.

Ending example
Copy protection: High quality, high feature
Protected software: Bad quality, high price

So, you release a software called "Example", which is protected by your copy protection "FairLight". Due to its high quality and high feature, it needs several months to crack (other cases: High quality, low/old feature -> Protection would be cracked fast; low quality, high feature -> Protection would last some time, but less than high quality protection) . While this time, you get normal sales, but your fan counter rises slowly, or even falls. Now it gets cracked. Your sales drop, and this effect gets boosted by the fact or your bad quality software (which were only aviable for high prices for months and is now for free.)

Next Software.
Copy protection: Still awesome
Protected software: Now better and cheaper
Your second software has the same protection, but it gets cracked way faster (instead of 6 months for example in 2 or 3). Why ? Because the crackers already know, how to attack it. In the next software, it would be completely useless. But your software still sells pretty great, because its cheap and high quality, people are willing to pay for it. But theres still a lot of pirates left. ADDITIONALY: Just because "FairLight" copy protection with its features is now useless, doesn´t mean "FairLight 2" with the same features is bad. Its less strong than "FairLight" but still effective. Otherwise, if the features would wear out so fast, you soon wouldn´t have any left.

With the features, i would let the features wear out eventually, for every copy protection. So for example "Feature A" in Tier 1 works finde in 1980, but in 1985 its useless. If you produce a high quality copy protection in 1985 with "Feature A", its practically useless. So you have to add "Feature B" in tier 2, to make it safe again.

And at the end, you should also be able to see, how many copied are pirated (like you see the amount of sold copies). This makes it possible for the player, to see how effective his protection is.

One last thing.
Fans are cracking your staff less frequently. Lets say you´ve got a 2 Million fanbase, and you release something for your OS. It gets cracked seldom, because many fans are using your OS. But if its bad quality however and fans are leaving, piracy will rise. Also piracy will still be a problem on other OS for example, were not much of your fans are present. A Text Editor on OS B thats full of non-fans lead to high piracy (also based on the rules above). Also, not all fans are fans because the bought your software. Like i said above, no copy protection menas low sales but normal fan rate.

I hope i did not forget anything, if you, dear reader, have time left, please, also read my reddit post. It should be similar, but its more of a mess. If something is missing here, please write it in the comments.

At the end, i want to thank the developer for this game, and thank you, dear reader, for reading this idea and answering to it.

Have a great day, fellow developers !

« Last Edit: October 02, 2020, 12:48:19 AM by Bulwaifson »

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