Blizzard blames piracy for lack of StarCraft 2 LAN support

By Justin · 70 replies
Jun 30, 2009
  1. In a follow-up to yesterday’s announcement that StarCraft II would lack LAN support and the subsequent public outcry, Blizzard has gone on record to explain their controversial move. Unsurprisingly, the company’s decision was rooted in piracy, coming as an attempt to curb illegal downloads after the game is released. Bob Colayco of Blizzard told Joystiq that this “safeguard” against piracy wasn\'t an easy decision for them, indicating they knew many players would be unhappy with it.

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  2. yukka

    yukka TechSpot Paladin Posts: 861   +67

    Right. This will definately stop illegal downloads of Starcraft 2. If anything their decison to have 3 different released copies, 1 for each race in single player will increase the downloads. And once someone works out how to crack a version to run over Lan, even more downloads.

    Futile imo.
  3. I think you rather missed the point, when asking about why not STEAM or something similar... The LAN party fans are upset because they don't want to (or in many cases can't) connect through the internet for the party. So seriously, what good would an online authentication system do in a LAN party situation? If you already have the internet access, you don't necessarily NEED the LAN support. By definition, the 2 formats are basically mutually exclusive in this situation.

    I can see why Blizzard went the way they went, because I've seen a few LAN parties myself where lots of "mysterious unlabeled CD" copies were passed around so everyone could play. If you force the connection to be through the internet, I'm guessing through an authentication check of some sort, at least you are making the piracy to play by LAN harder. After all, a cracked version that had LAN support could be played anytime anywhere. I can foresee official LAN support coming sometime after the initial launch, probably as a patch, once the initial sales rush has died down, and piracy is not as big an issue to Blizzard. It's that first huge rush that publishers worry about piracy affecting the most anyhow... After that period, they tend to do things like loosen up (or remove) DRM, etc.
  4. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I'm going to quote myself on this thread to support this amazingly intelligent unnamed guest.

    I'm probably also going to quote the unnamed guest on a future post.
  5. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,718   +860

    (shrugs) Time and time again the issue of piracy has come up as a reason why PC gaming companies are changing the way they do business and/or develop their products.

    I'm just hoping that one day these simpletons who feel the need to steal will realize the insanely negative impact they're having.
  6. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    Thought we already knew they did this for piracy from there pov...anyway still a bad move and Blizzards way of DRMing SC2. While I'm sure small part of the decision for this was to prevent piracy, the guys at Blizzard are not stupid and know its a cat & mouse game where in the long run they are on the losing end no matter how you look at it. It seems they want to have more control with bnet. I still think this is one big bone headed move from Blizzard alienating many loyal SC fans who might not have access to bnet for various reasons. Man even to think all the small competitive SC LAN's too =/.

    If anything at all this might drive more to piracy especially if some 3rd party LAN app or localized bnet is created. Just baffled by this decision...=?
  7. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    It's called using piracy as an excuse to achieve ulterior motives. While I have no doubt they hope this will help, I cannot believe its the only reason. Same shenanigans politicians and others use when attempting to censor the net using child porn as the "sole" reason. Which utterly sickens me.
  8. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I think their just too lazy, there isn't much of a point, and despite the small amount of extra work, they are already very late in getting this game out.
  9. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 942

    I don't agree at all that piracy is the actual problem here. I believe that's only being used as a scapegoat for another agenda. They need a valid excuse to justify stripping out a rather enjoyed feature of their games, and piracy is the catch-all blame phrase. They use pirates as a scapegoat because they know it is difficult to argue against.

    I don't condone piracy. It is theft, and it is you telling the developers and publishers behind a game that you don't feel their product is worth paying for. That said, changes to a game shouldn't be made from a "ruins it for the rest of us" standpoint.

    I believe that platforms like STEAM are a step in the right direction, even though I am opposed in virtually every way to DRM. As to the unnamed guest who claimed that my suggestion was foolish, I would remind him to look at the numerous single player Steam games available. They require authentication once, or for newer titles, every "once in a while" - not every time you play them. It would be acceptable, in my eyes, for Blizzard to require a game be authenticated however many times per month in order to sustain LAN play.

    However, Blizzard blaming piracy on a design change is just wrong. Thieves will steal games regardless of the changes made to them. Third-party cracks and pirated copies will still surface for StarCraft II. There is nothing Blizzard can do to stop that - they know that as well. Removing LAN play as an option, in my opinion, has nothing to do with piracy.

    So why remove it at all? I believe there's another reason. I can't tell you why, because I'm not on the inside, but I'd assume it has something to do with marketing. Statistics gathering. Profile generation. That's just my guess; Blizzard doesn't want people playing it on a LAN because they want to gather as much data about people playing the game as possible.

    Paranoid? No, I'm not saying that data gathering is a bad thing. I'm just saying that logically it makes more sense than blaming it on piracy. If that's the case, though, I'd want them to be honest about it.
  10. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I think it prevents simply copying the starcraft folder in program files, that works just fine for LAN play, but you can only have one on bnet at a time. You can even share the program files folder and run it on multiple computers off a single legit copy and play on LAN. Simple and easy way to illegally play at a LAN party. There are also the mini versions of starcraft where it is cramped into a tiny file size, so single player doesn't fit, but LAN games are their primary objective.
  11. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,185   +208

    I think they removed the lan option because there are lots of programs out there that will emulate a lan connection across the internet. Free online multiplayer for people who download the game, as these "private" servers dont ask for prod keys and such.
  12. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,718   +860

    I think hellokitty and fimbles pretty well explained the piracy aspect of your doubt, Justin. It's no secret that all you need is one client to have the game run in a LAN setting and the rest can piggyback. That's piracy, no two ways about it.

    And given that there is no other argument available as to why they wouldn't provide LAN capabilities is enough for me to take Blizzard at their word.

    I'm sure we'll hear more about this complete with specific explanation from Blizzard as the release date gets closer.
  13. purity999

    purity999 TS Rookie

    I look at it like this, I'm in the military, and if I ever go back to Iraq or Afghanistan, we don't have internet access. The only way for us to play is over a LAN. We mostly played CoD4, but there were times when we ever fired up the original SC. Lack of LAN support for SC2 is seriously wrong.
  14. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 942

    Who's arguing that isn't piracy?

    I just gave you an alternative argument that to me seems very plausible.

    If there are any ulterior motives, I doubt anyone would ever speak publically about them.

    I stand by my assertion that Blizzard's motivation is for data gathering, and has little to do with piracy.
  15. What I find ironic is that, at least from my experience, the people who went on to work in the computer field were the biggest pirates in high school. Yeah, the CFOs and marketing people at these companies may not have been pirates, but I'd be willing to bet that most of the people on the technical side of things at least dabbled in "sharing" in their youth.
  16. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Pirates, hackers, and illegal stuff is how you really learn :).
  17. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    Pirating has been occurring since the first software was written on a computer. Back in my C64 days over 3/4 of the games and programs I had were copied. Piracy is always going to exist I just hate the fact it is being used as an excuse by developers. Why could they not make the host computer on a LAN authenticate each copy of the game? Yes I know it can be cheated but if they are going to cheat it, they're not going to buy the game anyways. They should just come out and admit that they're money grubbing anal retentive nazi's and they're going to do what they want because they're rich as **** and don't care.
  18. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Blizzard, if piracy is the issue, then require account & product key verification online first before LAN game play.

    This isn't because of piracy.. This is just an excuse not to spend extra time developing a LAN game play system.
  19. Starcraft 1 is said to have 10 Million copies sold since release. Considering that game alone has some of the weakest copy protection (CD Key only, WHICH WORKS compared to other DRM methods) I don''t see how they are concluding that sales have suffered due to Piracy. Their games have sold plenty since then such as the Warcraft 3 series too.

    Blizzard is just pulling bullshit out of their asses. Doesn't surprise me, they're pretty aggressive ;D
  20. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    Don't pirated versions get around stuff like online activation for LAN play already?

    They are just challenging the pirates to create a slightly better crack. Sounds like they are penalysing the people who pay... again.
  21. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    The only way I can see them stopping piracy in this case is if the entire server code is never released to clients and battlenet is the only server that can host games.
  22. What I wouldn't like to think would be that blizzard would make me buy a battlenet account and pay it monthly to play a multiplayer game that I already bought. Following the WOW business scheme so I pay the game many times over.
  23. shossofe

    shossofe TS Enthusiast Posts: 47

    huh, so my guess was correct. It is because of piracy. Of course, this wouldn't prevent people from pirating the game. But I think that Blizzard's main goal is to just not allow pirates to play online. Of course, this gives me some ideas. If we are allowed to host a server on and let people on your freinds list join or something, then that can be considered LAN to me. But still, it's hard to do that with 4 other people using your internet connection. This may prevent pirates from playing online, but what the hell are these stupid companies thinking. How is this gonna stop someone from downloading the game and playing single player?
  24. easy way to reduce piracy.....reduce the F&*#NG price. really how much is a movie on dvd, how much is an album on cd, they also put a lot of work and resources into their productions. I know my game collection would be 10 times bigger if they were cheaper, when it costs 80-100AU$ it's way too much for buggy, unoriginal titles. $50 would be a reasonable start.
  25. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    Very nicely put Justin, Blizzard wants more control imo. I don't blame them, but I personally thought they were better then this - maybe its not even there decision but someone from higher up...nevertheless HK and Tom I've been reading your opinions and I respectfully disagree and also think they are a bit naive. There have been plenty of different ideas and routes Blizzard could go to help prevent piracy which are not overly bearing on certain customers and as far as I know they haven't discussed or given reasons to why they think THIS is the only way.
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