Microsoft could, but probably won't prevent users from playing pirated games

By Scorpus
Aug 17, 2015
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  1. Microsoft has quietly updated their Windows 10 Services Agreement so that the company could theoretically prevent users from playing "counterfeit games" or using "unauthorized hardware peripheral devices."

    The Services Agreement is a secondary user agreement that Microsoft makes you digitally sign in order to access some of Windows 10's included applications and services, such as Skype and Xbox. The recent updates to the Agreement concern section 7b, which now states:

    Sometimes you’ll need software updates to keep using the Services. We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices.

    This new addition to the Agreement theoretically allows Microsoft to stop users accessing pirated copies of games in Windows 10. Microsoft could implement a scanner in one of their Windows 10 services that checks for pirated games on a regular basis, and prevents them from launching when detected.

    But as The Verge notes, it's unlikely that Microsoft would actually implement this sort of piracy protection in Windows 10. Detecting whether games installed on a system are pirated or not is a complex process, and if the OS was constantly scanning what apps are installed, users would complain about having their privacy invaded.

    What's more likely is that Microsoft will prevent users from running pirated games with integrated Xbox services that should have been bought through the Windows Store. This would be similar to how Steam uses DRM to help stop the piracy of games in its store, and how you can't just copy an Xbox One game's disc and expect it to work in another console.

    Still, the discovery of this clause in the Services Agreement isn't great news for Microsoft and Windows 10, both of which have already been criticized over a range of privacy issues. Some of the most widespread complaints involve Windows 10's Wi-Fi Sense feature, and how Windows Updates are now distributed through a peer-to-peer network.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,100   +526

    I'm more worried about this

    "or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices"

    Seeing as there is no certification process for windows hardware, this could mean anything that isn't a MS mouse or Xbox controller.

    Nothing like vague ToS to crush customer rights.
  3. yRaz

    yRaz TS Evangelist Posts: 1,826   +877

    MS did a really good job of hyping up windows 10 and now we're finding out how hard they're trying to bend us over with the ToS. What business is it of theirs what software I'm using it? If I wanted to give my personal data away I'd use facebook. Perhaps someone will make a cracked version of windows that prevents all this spying they're doing. I know enterprise users aren't going to put up with MS's spying
  4. Cryio

    Cryio TS Booster Posts: 191   +57

    The only thing Microsoft will check is for cracked or counterfeit apps and games from the Windows 10 store. Put away those tinfoil hats.
  5. alabama man

    alabama man TS Addict Posts: 198   +100

    As long as steam and gog works I'm fine. I guess their goal is to prevent xbox streaming piracy but I'm afraid the will make so that everything that's not bought from ms store is going to be "illegal" or "pirate". Also afraid dx12 games will be ms store exclusive. Hope I'm wrong cause win10 has been great except for audio which they say their fixing (5.1 and 192000Hz wont work).
    psycros likes this.
  6. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,937

    The problem is we don't know exactly what they know about us, they probably have our whole lifes history on file by now which we've sent unknowingly to them which has already been scrutinized by by some 3 letter agency. So, if you see black SUV's patrolling up and down your street and goons in black suits, sunglasses and earpieces loitering about... you'd better hope it's your neighbor's activities they're more interested in.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
    psycros likes this.
  7. DaveBG

    DaveBG TS Addict Posts: 216   +72

    How would they know if the game is pirated or someone gave me his CD ? Also most cracks are tested on windows 10 already and if the cracker sees it wont run will modify the crack...
  8. noel24

    noel24 TS Maniac Posts: 299   +152

    It's just lawyerish writing. Yeah, fighting piracy and cheaters is OK, but after first row with modding community, players of games unplayable without unofficial cracks and hacks, shaking down peripheral devices manufacturer, or simply giving evidence they are snooping around Your HDD, M$ would effectively shoot their own foot, speeding up transition to SteamOS, Android or other Unix OS as a gaming platform. So no, they are probably won't do nothing about pirated games, even their own, at best block access to online modes for modified games.
    psycros likes this.
  9. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Booster Posts: 125   +49

    Heres a sarcastic question. does this rule apply to people that pirate windows 10 itself? lol. also thanks to this I will probably never move to windows 10 (not that I had plans to anyway.) the fact that I'm scared of microsoft supposedly catching me doing something naughty is of no concern to me because I don't do that crap anyway. it's the simple fact that if I pay you for your application that should be the end of our relationship and you should therefore leave me alone until you release something new (excluding windows updates of course.) my other reasons for not switching is windows 10, like windows 8 and 8.1 is ugly to me, full of unnecessary garbage that I don't need and I have to scour the internet to fully disable half the stuff. thirdly I've seen directx 12 in "live action" and I'm not impressed. windows 7 will be with me for a very long time. I don't pay for things just so they can spy on me. I didn't buy my tv in hopes that there was a hidden camera inside of it watching and recording me. I didn't buy my mattress in hopes that there was a microphone in it so someone can hear me mackin on my lady. I pay you, you eff off. end of business. go away microsoft. ffs
    DanielR, Adhmuz and psycros like this.
  10. BlueDrake

    BlueDrake TS Evangelist Posts: 344   +101

    The whole needing updates to continue using the "Services", most likely refers to the OS itself. Obviously Microsoft is going to do what they want, because they tossed the OS out for free. Even pirated copies for the most part, can be considered legit on Windows 10 upgrades. If that becomes a thing and you need to get certain updates, or the OS is effectively locking you out that will make headlines for sure.

    Apparently there's also a way to kick Windows Defender to the curb, since it likes to be invasive regardless of having security in place. I'm just waiting to see more changes by people out there, how Microsoft handles it as a response and the back and forth tug of war. Right now I'm content with Windows 7 as right now, I see Windows 10 in the headlines for all sorts of things. I have a full year to upgrade and honestly there really is, no interest from me to upgrade.

    Small speed improvements on reboot, some games "might" perform better, etc. It isn't a huge reason, for me to consider a somewhat backwards OS. Apple has their own clauses in various things too, but Microsoft really is going the extra mile to be obnoxious. I'm not massively impacted on anything, if anything I'd rather focus on upgrading hardware instead. OS is negligible when really, there's been a lot of general skepticism about it since before launch.
    Adhmuz, psycros and stansfield like this.
  11. stansfield

    stansfield TS Enthusiast Posts: 76   +14

    Previously when I got an OS I owned it. With W10, I don't own it, I share it with Microsoft and any other party that they want to pass on my info to. I don't want a store, I don't want gimmicks, I don't want stuff I wouldn't ever use. Windows 10 No Way!
    Darth Shiv and Ziffel like this.
  12. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,100   +526

    Yeah, I don't get what they were thinking with this one. No way enterprise is going to touch such a connected operating system. It would take a considerable amount of work to get the OS into a state where it would be suitable for use in any sensitive data environment. If the OS is scanning, that also means it has to send this data too. Sounds like an easy hole hackers can exploit.

    There's a good chance the cracked version won't have this issue.
    psycros likes this.
  13. smoken

    smoken TS Rookie

    They cant keep people from pirating the OS how will they stop anything???
  14. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Maniac Posts: 302   +104

    The enterprise versions will have more control. Either way, this articles are really over exaggerating Windows 10 "woes".
  15. Ziffel

    Ziffel TS Booster Posts: 75   +62

    Good luck with that. Many games have no trace of piracy. GoG installers for example, are completely DRM free.

    Besides, I'm almost 100% sure that this EULA clause is meant to pertain to MS studios' own games (like Gears of War, Halo, etc)
  16. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,295   +663

    We await your proof.
    Darth Shiv likes this.
  17. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,295   +663

    Windows 10 may not break Microsoft as a company but its certain to do them serious harm. Its as if Microsoft's #1 goal was to deliver the exact *opposite* of what the vast majority of customers wanted. And boy, did they ever succeed. Sure, every version of Windows has had its criticisms: XP was called the "Fisher-Price" OS because of the sudden inclusion of primary colors on the start menu and other parts of the UI. Vista was labeled a dog on performance, which was somewhat deserved. Its real problem was having almost no usable drivers available at launch (and even many months later). Windows 7 seemed to break from this mold by taking the best ideas of previous versions and packaging them into a very stable and debugged product. Then Microsoft's jealously of Google and Microsoft reached fever pitch and they closed themselves off completely to customer feedback, fired or drove away anyone who'd ever delivered a successful product launch and put transvestites in charge of their UX. The result was Windows 8 which was the diametric opposite of Windows 7. Windows 8 took everything we HATED in previous Windows releases and stuffed it into a big steaming pile. Windows 10 is Microsoft's very tacit acknowledgement that they completely blew it..but really, its not even that. The bulk of what made Windows 8 their biggest failure since Microsoft Bob is still there to annoy and repulse. Windows 10 amounts to little more than a new theme for Windows 8. They didn't even have the good sense to allow live tiles on the desktop! Their big tentpole feature is stuck on the start menu, which puts the lie to the phony "insider" program. Only suggestions from the Metro loving yes-men (all 20 of them) were taken seriously. Desktop users are still second class scrubs as far as Nadella is concerned.
  18. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,617   +494

    I know this is a lot of work for absolutely no pay off, but wouldn't be possible to block the ports that report to Microsoft? Or even block the IP range entirely? I wouldn't be bothered, I'll stick to Seven. But theoretically you could just block the snooping from within your router. Also disable, uninstalled these services that are designed to report back to Microsoft, I'm thinking something along the lines of the custom Black edition OS that were popular back in the days of XP.
  19. stansfield

    stansfield TS Enthusiast Posts: 76   +14

    Do you realize how many IP ranges Microsoft have?
  20. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,617   +494

    10s of thousands, hence why I couldn't be bothered, but for the hardcore Windows 10 advocate it's an option. Also why I mention blocking the port, that blocks it on every IP.
  21. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,100   +526

    Even if the enterprise editions have more control, that's more work for system admins. I still wonder about all the microsoft customers who don't need the enterprise edition but want privacy. Software programmers, artists, and other professions come to mind.

    Microsoft should have realized by now that control should come before shoving things down people's throats.
  22. stansfield

    stansfield TS Enthusiast Posts: 76   +14

    Could use Peerblock with a MS blocklist and whitelist what you wanted but still somewhat cumbersome.
  23. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,408   +463

    Ok so normally I stand by Microsoft but not this time, they could go down on a cactus for all I care right now. I'm hating the forced updates with changes in the SoA, besides this news.
  24. noel24

    noel24 TS Maniac Posts: 299   +152

    I just read on Rock Paper Shotgun that M$ blocks old DRMs, which means in a new OS my collection of CD/DVDs would be useless without some cracks or workarounds. Unless I consider buying a new digital re-edition? Windows 10 and M$ shady workings and EULA writings are looking worse and worse every day.
  25. Cryio

    Cryio TS Booster Posts: 191   +57

    Aparently old DRM in games worked by using some .DLL in the Windows OS. Since no one has used Securom or DRM of the sort, since at least 2008, Microsoft removed legacy, useless code from the OS, since it became a security risk that was unpatchable some years back.

    If you want to play your old games, either buy them from GoG, Steam, use a virtual machine with XP-Vista-W7 or simply dual boot to an older OS.
    Darth Shiv likes this.

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