Don’t Let Copy Protection Annoy Players

When you put a copy protection in your game, please: Don’t let it annoy players.

Here’s something that happened to me couple of days ago:

My computer’s processor had a ‘burn out’ (it smelt really bad in the room that day…).

The next day I got my new computer (AMD Athlon 3500+, 2 Gig mem, NVIDIA Geforce 6600 GT 128meg video card… ahh the speed…).

The same day I installed my Windows XP Pro (paid 150 euros few months ago).

Everything else was working fine and I started to activate the Windows again, but…

… I got a message in screen “It seems that this product has been activated too many times.” And then some more text explaining my (legal) registration key was not working.

I must say I felt quite… well – bad. I mean, it was just a few months ago when I bought the darn expensive Windows and now it says I couldn’t use it! I didn’t panic (but I must admit this really annoyed me: after all, I had been a honest customer and paid what was asked – and now they causing problems to me!)

Luckily – after searching & reading for a while – I found a toll free customer support number (and even Finnish speaking customer support)I managed to get a new phone activation key… and it worked. But, it took me some extra time and annoyed me a bit. I think it was a bad example about copy protection.

Please, don’t let the copy protection harm the relationship with your players.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Copy protection has only stopped the casual pirate from copying the game and that has never been the problem. The problem is with the professional pirates copying the game for repackage/resell.

    For the professional, most games are cracked before they even hit the streets.

    The solution? One is accounts tied to specific keys much like MMO’s. For a user to get updates, support or additional content they need an account.

    Will pirates still get around that? Of course. But keep in mind they aren’t going to buy your game anyway. Our focus should always been on providing the paying customer the best experience possible.

  2. @yotix: Heh. Whining about windows does not make you a producer, alone ;) You must also be able to praise unix while keeping mac out of the way…

    Just kidding.

    Seriously, you might missed the point of the post… The hint (and the *title*) was:
    Don’t let copy protection annoy players. That was in the title plus mentioned in two sentenses in the post. The window’s *copy protection* case was used just as a bad example. Hopefully that got cleared now.

    And if anyone asks: I have Windows XP Pro version and I’m happy with it. I think Macs and Linux are fine too. Use whatever you want.

  3. *snore*
    Whining about Windows is a producer hint?
    Cool, then I’ve been surrounded by producers for the last five years without noticing.

  4. A friend from college had reinstalled his system, as Windows users are wont to do. When he reinstalled Office, it basically told him that he pirated it!

    After calling Microsoft and giving the information needed, the woman said, “Of course. This copy has been installed three different times on three different computers!”

    To which my friend replied, “No, it was installed three different times on MY computer.”

    He eventually got to use his legally purchased copy. Meanwhile, I know that my Gnu/Linux system won’t ever accuse me of piracy. B-)

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