LGP on Copy Protection

June 24th, 2008 by Crusader

Linux Game Publishing sent in the following regarding their previously reported copy protection system:

LGP has announced a new copy protection system that is to be used on future games. Due to the immense publicity that has surrounded this announcement, we have written a statement clarifying the system, our motives, and reasons.

24 Responses to “LGP on Copy Protection”

  1. nod51 Says:

    Well I preordered the game, so now I need to get it, play it with copy protection and wait till a hacked binary with the copy protection stuff gone so I can enjoy my legal game without startup interruptions. Those that wait for the cracked version in the first place will only get to play without the problems right away!

    I understand the reasoning which is why I am not canceling my order, perhaps this will allow for online bittorrent downloads and save me a little money on pointless boxes/manuals/shipping. Heck, I hope the copy protection is good enough for Windows only game companies to feel like they are protected in Linux, more games!

    I don’t blame LGP, I blame the Linux users that download commercial games for free. I had really hoped that the retards that did this stuff would stick to their pirated Windows at least until Linux gets to ~33% market share.

  2. Thunor Says:

    I think it’s very very sad that so many [Linux] gamers are pirating LGP games >(

    I remember a time when Linux gamers were crying out for commercial games/ports. Stealing them isn’t the way to reward Linux developers.

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  4. SpoonMeiser Says:

    …wait till a hacked binary with the copy protection stuff gone so I can enjoy my legal game without startup interruptions.

    My understanding is that there will only be user input required the first time you start a game. After that you don’t need to worry about it, so there is no need to get a hacked version, or whatever.

    The only time that there would be an interrupt at the start of the game, is if you don’t have an Internet connection. Even then it’s only periodically. Say, every 10th time (I don’t know what number they’ll actually use) you start the game without it being able to verify itself via the magic of t’Internets.

    For me, this is no problem at all – I have an always on connection. For other, I would suspect that it’s a minor annoyance at most. I guess time will tell.

  5. Nemoder Says:

    I’m with nod51 on this one, I won’t even consider buying that game until there’s a good crack out for it. My internet connection is often flakey here and the only reason I have to buy single player games is for when I’m offline.

    It’s too bad time is being wasted on copy protection software that could better be spent on actually fixing existing games (fullscreen Majesty on Ubuntu 8??) or finishing the games that after so many years still haven’t been released.

  6. Conzar Says:

    So there are a couple of issues here.

    1. LGP is releasing old windows games that aren’t really worth the time they put into porting it. Sorry … but who wants to buy some irrelevent old windows game in GNU/Linux? If someone is gonna throw money at a game in GNU/Linux, then it will be for a “new” game … like the Penny Arcade game.

    2. Copy protection only works well if you design your game around network play. Guild Wars and WoW are good examples of this. Does it mean that Guild Wars or WoW can’t be hacked. No … but it does require the server code to be stolen plus someone has to host the servers (the barrier to entry for someone to hack and play these types of games is much higher).

  7. Andre4s Says:

    To bad it’s needed. But I don’t mind.

  8. A08 Says:

    Chances are people who like the game buy it anyway and people who don’t wouldn’t have bought it in the first place. If the copy protection system does not work for some reason (and it happened a couple of times to me), the player who actually bought the game is left in the rain while the people having a hack/crack can play. That way they are driving more people go getting the crack and in the end the mind set changes to: “If I have to go through such a hassle, why do I pay for it?”.

    I am actually fine with online activation using a serial key and stuff, but only for online play as if the system does not work, chances are you could not get online anyway. I am also fine with a one time activation but I do not like the periodical check-up on single player games.

    My suggestion would be:
    * Put in online activation on install using a serial key
    * Let the user create an online account and let him/her enter a username and password, so that ALL GAMES purchased can be used using the same credentials
    * Use check-ups only when using “automatic updates” or online play and do not require it for single player modes
    * add some value like: make the game downloadable and sell the key – that is the way to go nowadays – see Savage 2!

  9. nod51 Says:


    My understanding is that there will only be user input required the first time you start a game. After that you don’t need to worry about it, so there is no need to get a hacked version, or whatever. :

    When launching the game for the first time – and on a routine basis thereafter — is the “LGP Security System Manager” input box for entering the game’s key. For Sacred: Gold, the key is 20 characters long with four dashes.

    I took it that every now and then (every other time you start it? once a day? once a year?) it will ask you for yet another password (for each game) I will need to write down in a text file or something to remember. I agree that 1 program that asks you to log in then allows you to run any of your games would be better for me. Heck it would be nice to allow distribution of free games in that system as well and then have a store to download the game (via torrent?) right there and play it. Sadly this solution only ties to the internet more and those with slow/no connection will get left behind. I would be interested to see how this actually helps combat piracy, perhaps LGP can release another hacked binary of the hacked binary in a year and see how many reports they get.

    I am getting ready for a world where you rent the game instead of own a copy of it. At least it is just a game and not something important like an OS, database, or office application.

    Please don’t take this post as a rant not to buy the game, as I stated in my other post I preordered it and, for the sake of Linux gaming, wish you would to. If this copy protection is to succeed/fail it will not be by pirating it now but by the influence on pirating and problems it causes.

    On an almost unrelated note (Sacred being the first game they will use this on), when I first heard Sacred was the one being ported I went to find the Windows demo. After finding many dead links to the demo and many torrents to the hacked full Windows version, I finally found the demo and played through it with wine. I could have pirated/bought the Windows version and have it finished, but I want more games like this for Linux.

  10. kgroombr Says:

    1. LGP is releasing old windows games that aren’t really worth the time they put into porting it. Sorry … but who wants to buy some irrelevent old windows game in GNU/Linux? If someone is gonna throw money at a game in GNU/Linux, then it will be for a “new” game … like the Penny Arcade game.

    If nobody wants to play them, then why are they pirated so much? I have personally found so many people seeding and leeching LGP games it is crazy. I don’t like copy protection as much as anybody, but as long as it isn’t a pain in the A@@ then I am all for it if it will ensure a bright future for Linux games. As long as there are no good Linux games, then Linux will always be a niche system and we will not have any games. Games are a big driving force in the popularity of an OS.


  11. Logy Says:

    Maybe those of you getting your panties in a bunch about this horribly invasive copy protection should actually read the information from the source.

    When you install, the system will ask you for the key that came with the
    game, and then for a password, and, optionally, your email address.

    Once the key has been verified on the LGP servers, and the password registered
    then you are good to go, you never need to worry about the system again. It
    will call to the LGP servers each time the game starts, to verify its
    details. It does all this in the background. You do not need to enter
    anything when you start the game.

    They also explicitly allow you to install copies on any of your own machines.

    Oh, lord, how can we survive such oppression.

    What’s absolutely appalling is the fact that they feel this is necessary in the first place. I was naive enough to think that the majority of Linux gamers out there would be smart enough to recognize the necessity of supporting the few companies that provide commercial games for Linux. But noooo…

    The press release also describes how they came to the conclusion that there were more pirated copies of their games in circulation than purchaced copies.

    Even better, the assclowns who are pirating the game are taxing the resources of LGP by trying to get tech support for their pirated software!

    That’s like stealing eggs from the henhouse, then coming back to ask the farmer for some good omelette recipies.

    The Linux gaming market isn’t like the Windows market. It is not a thriving, bountiful place where there are truckloads of money to be made. Every sale counts.

    There is exactly ONE company in the business of porting commercial games to Linux, and if you’re going to play their games and not pay them, then you are eroding the future of commercial gaming for Linux, because you are showing other game companies that there is no profit to be made in the already tiny Linux gaming market because more Linux users would rather pirate a game than pay for it.

    You are inconveniencing paying Linux gamers by making them deal with copy protection schemes (no matter how non-invasive) created to thwart the likes of you (not that you care, you selfish pricks).

    You’re also harming yourself, because if LGP can’t afford to license new, better games, there won’t be any newer Linux games for your short-sighted, cheapskate ass to pirate.

    In summary, if you’re pirating Linux games, you are a parasite and a scumbag. You have no excuse, and you should be ashamed. Anybody who cares about the future of gaming under Linux should shun you like the scabby, leperous freeloader you are.

  12. ThoreauHD Says:


    This topic was discussed to some extent with the beta testers. I didn’t give my opinion then, mainly due to hardware issues(I’m rebuilding my computer as I type this). So here begins the lesson.

    Software is like water, wind, or gravity. If it is more efficient for the software to authenticate to do it’s job, then it will authenticate. If it is easier for software to stand alone to do it’s job, then it will stand alone.

    The example given before was World of Warcraft, as a for authentication point. There is usefulness in authenticating in that game. You get downloads and constant updates that only an online service can provide. If the world is dynamic that you are playing in, then the value is in authenticating and downloading. If WoW was just some quake map with robin hood outfits, authenticating would be useless.

    If the world you are in is static, unchanging, and can be updated by the server hosting the session, then authentication has no purpose. And if it has no purpose, it will be removed. This isn’t malice or evilness or greediness. It’s efficiency.

    I am also buying this game because it’s for Linux. I’m a bigot that way. Whether the authentication is of any use is up to what the game developers develop. If they slap together a game with no dynamic nothing, then all you are doing is making yourselves feel better. But if that’s what matters, then go for it. Maybe you’ll get some extra sales. It may be worth it to you.

    As an aside. Here’s some yin-yang insight into piracy. Pirates don’t crack games unless they have to. They don’t distribute games unless they have value. Pirates have more customers than all the other software companies of the world combined. If they release crap, they get berated 6 ways to Sunday and all for millions to see. And the beratement is never-ending. By contrast, a paid developer can call it a bug and stay employed, while a pirate doesn’t get that chance. They are shitlisted immediately, insulted in every language, and get paid nothing for their trouble. While that’s off topic, I just thought I’d tell you who you hate.

    The above principle of efficiency isn’t just for linux games. This is for everything that is data. Movies, tv, music, applications, network os’s, gps devices, phones- keep on a goin. It doesn’t matter. It’s the path of least resistance.

    As far as linux games getting pirated in general, I personally buy them- but I do it intentionally. I can pirate any piece of data this planet has ever produced for the last 20 years if I wanted to. But I choose not to. One is just as easy as the other. Really.

    As everyone else here has the same access that I do, so I would guess that I’m not alone in my convictions for supporting people that deserve it, and pissing on those that don’t. I hear that’s called capitalism. Support software that deserves to be supported. Copying good software without giving back is very anti-GPL. And nobody, not even pirates like that. Anyway, I’m rambling. i try to limit my free association to stuff people care about. So I guess I should have been stopped at Hello.

  13. gordallott Says:

    a “copy protection” method that not only logically obviously won’t work (in terms of stopping pirates) but has also prooven not to work time and time again in the past. all stuff like this does is punish the people who actually support the company and buy the game.

    Do the smart thing LGP, don’t punish your customers, change your business model to make buying your products more attractive, let people download the games straight to their computer instead of waiting for shipping of cds/dvds, give nice extra’s to those that do buy. quite frankly stuff like this only encourages people to pirate your games, it defiantly won’t stop a single person pirating them that much is obvious.

  14. Thunor Says:

    You know all it takes is one cracked copy of a protected game to appear on a file sharing network and the problem reappears.

    This isn’t going to stop piracy at all, it’s just going to annoy legitimate customers.

    If you want to dissuade paying customers from sharing their purchased games then you could simply require the customer to unlock their purchase using a unique product key (offline) that is tied to them only i.e. their name and address constitutes part of the key. The customer could be required to reenter this key when applying updates or requesting support. You won’t be seeing any of those purchases being shared real soon, but it won’t stop crackers from removing the protection.

    I think you’re [LGP] going to have to do a number of things such as that stated above and being the first to seed networks with special unprotected versions that are sabotaged in various ways, and then continuing to flood networks with differing sabotaged versions so that cracked versions get lost in the crowd. Additionally make gamers aware that pirating Linux Games is damaging the adoption of Linux and artificially bolstering and prolonging the life of “other” evil OSs.

    Subterfuge is your friend. You need a cunning plan.

  15. Conzar Says:

    If nobody wants to play them, then why are they pirated so much?

    Wanting to play something does not equate to wanting to pay for something.

    Have you done a survey of the people that downloaded/pirated the game that really enjoyed it and felt the need to buy it. Or are most of those people downloading it just to see how crappy/old/and out dated the game is.

  16. nille Says:

    I like LGP ports they do the best Linux ports.
    I buy most of there games.
    I have nothing against copy protections, but it must still be easy for the buyer.
    I don’t like the need of an internet connection.
    And why one password for each game?
    I would rather have an launcher that i log into that holds all my LGP games and only need
    one password for all my games.
    But for playing games locally om my computer i can’t see why i would ever need an internet connection.
    I would like an launcher that i log into and that also checks for updates and might even let me
    download games that i bought.
    How does this copy protection work if i sell my used game?
    Do the new owner need my supplied password to play it?
    Do i need to change email to the one for that user?
    Can he/she change the password to something he/she can remember.
    Like i said i don’t have anything against LGP using copy protections but it must still be easy for
    paying custumers.
    So i rather see an launcher thats need me logging in as an registered user to be able to launch the game.

  17. salsadoom Says:

    This is just plain stupid and there are no two ways about it. Copy protection never reduced piracy on windows, and it won’t on linux either. How bloody stupid are those morons at LGP?

    Oh yeah — there is a huge warez market for old, crappy, half-assed ported windows games on linux. LGP has yet to produce a single good game and now they are spending their efforts on copy protection? Give me a break. I bought all the good games that came out for linux — and there are a few, QuakeWars, and Savage2 are recent examples of good linux games. LGP has just ancient titles. Oh. And copy protection now.

    What a pack of idiots. LGP does not, and has never mattered because their games are too old and they are too blind to see it. I mean, is that what they are blaming their poor sales on? “OOooh! Those pirates are stealing our profits!” Which was never true on windows and isn’t true on linux. Its your ass games that are the cause of the poor sales. Put it this way, even for free (ie, pirated), LGP’s games are not worth having.

    This will have zero effect of linux gaming because LGP is the definition of irrelevancy.

    Now, the rumors of -native- Steam on Linux on the other hand, would be a huge shake up.

  18. mibran Says:

    I agree with Logy: If pirating is an real issue here, I understand LGP’s motives to add a copy protection. I would accept any CD/DVD-based protection system.

    But connecting to LGP servers every time I want to play a game isn’t acceptable for me. As a gatherer of games I like to play titles being 10 or more years old. Of what use is any game that refuses to start if the publisher has gone broke? I could trash the game and the money I’ve spent for it, because there are no servers left to affirm it’s legality.

    I’ve been a fan of LGP and am willing to support any company that makes serious efforts to establish Linux as a gaming platform alternative. But this type of copy protection is unacceptable.

  19. nod51 Says:

    Come and see the violence inherit in the system!


  20. rah Says:

    These copy protection schemes are all based on one assumption: users will buy games (or any software) if they can’t copy them. This assumption is false. I quote from an essay from the GNU project:


    Owners say that they suffer “harm” or “economic loss” when users copy programs themselves. But the copying has no direct effect on the owner, and it harms no one. The owner can lose only if the person who made the copy would otherwise have paid for one from the owner.

    A little thought shows that most such people would not have bought copies. Yet the owners compute their “losses” as if each and every one would have bought a copy. That is exaggeration–to put it kindly.

    What this copy protection scheme is really about is that LGP people see that there are people copying their games without paying and it incenses them. It makes them angry; emotional. They feel the need to strike back against those they see as stealing from them. LGP’s copy protection is about revenge; it’s about pettiness; it’s an emotional outburst. It is, basically, childish.

    People who are willing to buy a game will buy it. Those who aren’t, won’t. This silly copy protection scheme will do nothing to change that.

    I, for one, will no longer be buying games produced by LGP. I suspect I won’t be alone in this. Coupled with the somewhat dubious quality of their games, I see LGP’s future prospects dwindling. The time is ripe for a company capable of producing high-quality games for the Ubuntu crowd. Sadly for LGP, I don’t think that company is going to be them.


  21. Thunor Says:

    The time is ripe for a company capable of producing high-quality games for the Ubuntu crowd. Sadly for LGP, I don’t think that company is going to be them.

    Why for the Ubuntu crowd? You mean the GNU/Linux crowd. Maybe you think Mark Shuttleworth can magic something with his millions.

    When you say high-quality, do you mean triple-A titles? If that is so then if LGP with all it’s experience can’t get triple-A titles then who will. Big game companies aren’t interested in Linux because there’s relatively nothing in it for them. I think you’re going to have to wait until Linux has a much greater market share than it currently has before anything that qualifies as triple-A comes our way.

  22. ntime60 Says:

    There wouldn’t be any need for copy protection IF the product in question was of good quality. Most people don’t mind funding/paying for products that are worth it as long as the price is fair.

    I’ve bought SUSE when I didn’t have to and actually I’ve bought SUSE in versions 10 and 11. I will most likely continue to buy SUSE. Why? because their quality is there and I want to see SUSE succeed. The same goes for gaming, I will only buy games that are on Linux. I could get them for free, but what is the point? The idea is to promote our choices while letting the noise (crappy software) die out.

    The argument for years has been “The devs go where the $$$$$ are.” Windows has market share so where is the $$$? Like it or not those are the facts. That is why WE (you and I) need to PAY for what we support and NOT buy Windows titles too.

    The second thing we need to do is out market M$. A grass roots effort will work but EVERYONE needs to promote Linux, even in their sleep, we need to make people get tired of hearing it, we need to help people with issues in awk or sed or whatever for the 5 billionth time.

    Only when there is a demand will the money follow.

    As far as LGP and copy protection, IF the game is good I will purchase it regardless if it has copy protection or not. BTW if it made by a human it can be broken/bypassed by a human. Copy protection is usually a minor annoyance at best. See my first paragraph. Make a good product and people will buy it. It is simple.

    I have a right to my data which includes any software I buy, I should have the ability to backup my data. If you want to pull a M$ then fine I won’t buy your crap.

  23. ThoreauHD Says:

    I think nod51 sums up everyone’s observations.

  24. Sketchbag Says:

    I personally think that any game developed using Linux or its BSD values should also be free. I believe that is the reason so many people may feel the need to pirate a game that has in-fact been made for free using software found in Linux. If I wanted to contribute a good portion of my income towards video games I would not choose Linux as my platform….any distro. The fact is Linux is a work in progress, always has been and to pay money for something that won’t work a few months down the road because of a new kernel is not in my interest at all. What ever happened to working together under the value that information and ideas are public domain. Pay for games for Linux. Bite me. Copy protection…….really….are we windows? Have we completely lost all direction. Linux is suppose to be for people who have “outgrown” mainstream operating systems and desire more control, to take that away is just ……..murder. The second Linux gains any type of mainstream desire, we will lose the ideals that come with it. If no one remembers Linux is about the expression of free ideas, never meant to be payed for in any way , just contributed to. If you want to make a game for money , do it for windows. If you want to make a game for Linux make it for everyone. Besides we will steal it anyways regardless of the operating system.

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