5 Dangers of Downloading Pirated Games
5 Dangers of Downloading Pirated Games
Even though cool, fun-to-play video games are released all the time, new games are expensive. Lots of people can't afford every new release, so some people turn to piracy to play for cheap.
But even with older games, piracy isn't safe. Ethical considerations aside, there are too many risks to playing pirated games. Here are 5 dangers of downloading pirated games that you should know about.
1. Most Pirated Games Contain Malware
It's no secret that pirating any software is dangerous. When you download from a reputable source, you can reasonably trust that the file you are downloading is what the distributor claims. Because legitimate game stores will get into a lot of trouble if they share games containing malware.
But that trust disappears when you download on public torrents. How do you know that someone didn't modify the file before uploading it? As one report from Kaspersky about a player getting hit by ransomware while trying to download a cracked game should act as a warning.
Even if you have backups of your files, are the hours you spend restoring your system really worth the game's $60 (or less) price tag?
As reported by The Register, a large number of people who pirated the first Watch Dogs after launch were treated with Bitcoin mining malware. This wastes their system resources to make money for the malware authors.
Of course, not every cracked game download will contain malware. But think about it: people who want to tinker with other people's computers to make money or even just for fun have their targets wide open when new games come out. Impatient gamers will jump to the first crack of a new game available, which can be a costly mistake.
2. Can Lose Online Game Privileges
Specifically on consoles, playing pirated games is an offense that can result in a ban from Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. In 2009, as CNET reported, Microsoft famously banned nearly a million Xbox Live players for modifying their Xbox 360 consoles and playing pirated games.
Microsoft's Xbox Live Community Standards page states the following:
"Accessing or using content in an inappropriate way can contribute to fraud and ruin a great experience for other players, undermining the magic of Xbox Live...
Play pirated games
Play games before their release date
Share your profile with others
Try to access an account you don't own
Using someone's intellectual property in a way that is not permitted”
If you break these rules, Microsoft clearly outlines the consequences:
“If you violate Xbox community standards, you may encounter restrictions on your profile and/or device….
We may permanently suspend a profile or device if we can no longer trust it due to egregious violations, or if our attempts to correct repeated negative behavior are unsuccessful. Under permanent suspension, the owner of the suspended profile loses all licenses for games and other content, Gold membership time, and Microsoft account balance. “
In short, game piracy is against the code of ethics and you can accept restrictions on your account, up to permanent suspension. If that happens, you will lose access to any games you purchased digitally, plus your Xbox Live Gold subscription.
A lot of money will be wasted in the process of trying to save a few bucks by pirated games.
3. Pirated Games Are Illegal
Just like downloading music and movies illegally, stealing video games through piracy is a crime in Indonesia. Punishments can range from paying a fine back to the copyright holder to spending time in prison.
Of course, many people pirate software and video games, making it impossible for the authorities to catch them all. Chances are you won't spend half a decade in jail for downloading an illegal copy of a game.
Even so, you guys still made mistakes. And since your ISP and the government track basically everything you do online, it shouldn't be too hard to prove that you've committed piracy.
4. The Game May Not Work
Many game developers don't wait for the government to stop piracy, they take matters into their own hands. Some use digital rights management (DRM) systems that prevent illegal copying. But others are getting more creative with in-game copyright actions.
One of the most famous copyright protections is 1994's EarthBound, an RPG on the SNES. If the game detects that you are using an unauthorized copy, it shows an anti-piracy message and greatly increases the number of enemies in the game. This makes it miserable to play, but the ultimate penalty comes at the end of the game. During the final boss, the game freezes and wipes all your save data.
Recently, developers have come up with creative ways to mess with hijackers. Game Crysis replaces the climbing game player's bullets with chickens so that he cannot defeat the enemy. In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman's glide move knocks him to the ground preventing him from getting through the game's introductory section. The Talos Principle locks pirates in an elevator after several hours of play.
With this example, it's clear that pirated video games may not give you a usable product. And you're hurting the developers who depend on sales from games for a living, especially the independent development teams.
5. Getting More Than Offered
This is a similar risk to the first point, but still a problem. As you explore the world of game piracy, you open yourself up to the possibility of inappropriate content. Aside from direct malware, browsing pirate sites and looking for hacked copies of games can expose you to pornography or other NSFW content.
You can have explicit popups or install something bad by accidentally clicking the wrong download button.
After all, you already know that someone who illegally violates copyright protection and distributes video games has a questionable moral compass. What would stop someone like that from trading your expected game for a disgusting video or something?
When you dive into the wild west of illegally accessing games, you open yourself up to anything and everything on that part of the web. You may not have any serious problems, but don't be surprised if your game comes with more than you expected.
People often treat piracy in a casual manner, but this real danger shows that it is a serious problem. Luckily, there's good news: you don't have to do piracy anymore.
Streaming services and app subscriptions have turned what was once a costly endeavor into affordable monthly installments. This also applies to games. Services like PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass let you play as many games as you want for a set price a month.
Even without it, regular sales mean you can pick up premium titles for cheap if you're patient. There are even ways to get high-quality games legally for free, you just have to know where to look. Don't risk your safety to get some money and new gaming thrills right away.
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