Anonymous asked in Games & RecreationVideo & Online Games · 1 month ago

COMPUTER SCIENTISTS: How does a video game know it's pirated?

I try playing GTA V I got for free (illegally) but the game refuses to play. 

11 Answers

  • Rita
    Lv 6
    2 weeks ago

    There's a Theorem in computer science. Rice's theorem - Wikipedia . Spelled out more plainly, you can't ever quite be sure what a program does, unless it's ...

  • 4 weeks ago

    Developers have written in various checks within the game code to periodically check if it's a legitimate purchased copy or a pirate copy of a game.  This generally comes in TWO FORMS.

    First is a necessary evil that we have to live with today in modern society: Digital Rights Management, aka DRM.  While the amount of DRM can severely vary, from very light (similar to what Steam utilizes, which only requires you to just log into the service) to overbearing (what EA utilized with Spore, limiting number of installs / reinstalls & requiring a "call home" every 7 days; & with 2013's SimCity, requiring a PERSISTENT internet connection to play the game, even when playing without any multiplayer options).  While in the past, there were physical forms of DRM like having to utilize a special item OR utilize the manual to clear this (some could be bypassed with serious effort), most of it nowadays is purely digital & in the background.

    This is what GTA V utilizes as you have to log into Club Rockstar servers to play, but it also provides cloud save support with it.  As Rockstar doesn't have a record that you legally purchased the game, they prevent the game to run until that's remedied.

    Second are internal checks written into the game.  These are utilizing specific data points within the game's RAM that is checked & what's known with the game's hardware.  For some of the control games that have battery save support, one of the simple checks would be to see how much RAM is available for save files.  If this amount doesn't match up (as a pirated version is providing MORE RAM than what is expected), it fails the check & triggers the anti-piracy payload.

    There are various checks that can be done where the game might check a specific value in RAM or searching for anything out of the ordinary.  If things fail the check, the game can only assume it's been pirated & trigger it's anti-piracy payload... which varies by game & developer.  Using GTA IV as an example, when the game detects it's pirated, it engages what's referred to as the "Drunk Cam" (where the camera increasingly sways as if you were drunk, getting worse over time).

    Ideally, these triggers would NEVER happen & developers wouldn't have to write such stuff into their games...  but it's the sad fact that some people choose NOT to play by the rules & the developers are forced to do so.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Various security measures to prevent you from stealing it.  Looks like this one worked as they designed it. 

  • 1 month ago

    It is in the coding

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • My only guess is that simply having all the game files isn't enough...sometimes when the game is being installed it throws additional files elsewhere to ensure it runs and also in a means to prevent piracy to an extent.

  • Cantra
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Back in my day, the Commodore Amiga had a few anti-piracy methods. One of them was that the drives that created the game disks, could do so in a way that a customer's drive could not, but could still read.

    For example, the official disk could have two sectors with the same memory address, but different values. So sector 45 could hold '2', sector 46 could hold '8', the second sector 46 could hold '6' and sector 47 may hold '3'.

    The copy routine could sum these up, going 45->46->47, and it would read the first sector 46. 2+8+3 = 13. Then it could go 47->46->45, and this time it would read the second sector 46. 2+6+3 = 11. The totals are different and this would pass the copy check.

    On a copied disk, made on a consumer's machine, there would only be one sector 46, meaning a forward and backward sum would always be 13. That is how the copy protection knows it is a pirated disk.

  • 1 month ago

    The only people I know who play hacked discs have hacked consoles. Gta v is like 15 dollars right now

  • because games have outbound  message sending protocols which sends info back to a master server, ,and  from what is sent, the coding on the master server can identify whether it's an acceptable match or not, and allow or not allow what is known as a "handshake" to take place, or otherwise.

    That's why hacked games don't  work online or only work temporarily, as soon as the server protocol has been changed, the temp functionality will stop, part of what hackers do is block that outbound  communcation from the games coding

    @Jeff no idea if you d/t my answer but what i would say to you is, how does your expalnation explain  "WHY" it happens?, it doesn't

  • 1 month ago

    I'm no Computer Scientist, but if I recommended from a CS class I took in college, when you try playing a video game, there is a "crack protection" which tests to see if the game is authentic or pirated, since you mentioned you got GTA V illegally, the crack protection won't pass so it would alert the game system that the game is an illegal copy so it activates anti-piracy measures. If you it was a legal copy, the crack protection would pass and you would be allowed to play without interruption. 

  • 1 month ago

    the computer is a very smart machine it must know somehow.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.