Welcome back to V.i. Labs’ weekly update on software piracy and copyright infringement. Last week EA ran into DRM problems with SimCity, IDC released a report on malware and software piracy and Microsoft established a new Cybercrime Center.
Customers of video game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) are outraged over the company’s decision to include an “Always Online” requirement to play the newly released SimCity. On SimCity’s launch day overwhelming demand overloaded EA’s servers, and since the game requires a connection to a server to be playable thousands of customers were left with a new game and no way to play it. In order to allow more players on its servers, EA has removed game features to reduce server load – further stoking the ire of SimCity’s once passionate fan base.
This failure of EA to anticipate the proper server capacity or potential backlash is perplexing. Last year the launch of Diablo III – a game from Blizzard also with an online requirement – faced similar problems when server overload made the game unplayable. In addition the online community Reddit vocally spoke out against and warned EA about an always on requirement when the developers of SimCity hosted an AMA or “ask me anything”.
In an effort to contain the fire, EA is now offering a free game to anyone who purchases SimCity – however, this may be too little too late. The game, while initially praised by critics, has just one and half stars on Amazon and the product description now includes a warning to customers about connectivity issues. The outrage has even launched a kickstarter campaign to create an offline clone of SimCity called Civitas, which so far has raised over $75,000.
A global study sponsored by Microsoft and conducted by IDC found that pirated software very often comes packed with malware, or malicious code. IDC estimates that about 3 in 10 of pirated software users will be infected by malware, costing them an aggregate $22 Billion in 2013 in order to clean it up.
“Our research is unequivocal: Inherent dangers lurk for consumers and businesses that take a chance on counterfeit software. Some people choose counterfeit to save money, but this ‘ride-along’ malware ends up putting a financial and emotional strain on both the enterprise and casual computer users alike” said John Gatz, chief researcher at IDC.
Long the target of software piracy and malware, Microsoft has decided to consolidate its digital crimes and software piracy divisions into a single Cybercrime Center. The new center will be located at Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington and will be staffed with 30 local team members. The center will be focused on software crime, digital child exploitation and software piracy.
Questions, comments? Is there a story or topic you’d like to see covered in depth? Please leave a comment below or visit us at our Software Piracy Initiatives Forum and discuss the topics with experts in the field.
Marketing Director at Revulytics
Michael is Marketing Director at Revulytics where he is responsible for corporate marketing, content, and social media. He has helped to educate the industry on the benefits of software usage analytics for compliance and product management through the company's blog and contributed articles in trade publications. Michael was previously a marketing programs manager at The MathWorks and principal at Goff Communications. Michael earned a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. from Colgate University.
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