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LGP To Introduce Game Copy Protection 388

libredr writes "Phoronix reports that Linux Game Publishing have developed an Internet-based copy protection which will be used in their upcoming commercial game port, such as Sacred: Gold. Any user will be able to install the game, but to launch it he will need to provide a valid key and a password, which are validated against LGP's servers. The key/password combination will allow a user to install the software on different computers. However, an Internet connection will be required even for a single-player game, which might be a hassle for some users. This scheme has enraged some of the beta testers and LGP CEO, Michael Simms, responded he regrets he has to introduce a copy protection scheme, but has to do this since a lot more people download their titles instead of buying them, to the point they even received support requests for pirated version. But will every pirated copy magically transforms into a sale, or will this scheme just annoy legitimate users and be cracked anyway? One really wonders."
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LGP To Introduce Game Copy Protection

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  • Hassle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FredFredrickson ( 1177871 ) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:18AM (#23916405) Homepage Journal
    Assuming you need to validate online EVERY time you play- this eliminates playing : in an airplane, on a road trip, when the internet's down, in class (some class rooms have wifi blocked), and at my parents house when visiting for the weekend.

    I have a better idea, if I must have this game, I'll just crack it. But then why go through all that trouble to "fix" a game I purchased and put the security of my system at risk by running an unknown program?? Might as well steal the whole thing.
  • How is this bad? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Beached ( 52204 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:23AM (#23916475) Homepage

    Really, anyone who "Downloaded" the beta will have an internet connection. You can disconnect if you still use dialup or satellite after it validates you. So a few kb of data. It lets you install to as many computers as you want too.

    Look at how many people use steam. It does a lot more than validate an account and people love it. It is also better than an activation based system where you get X installs and that is it. Again, this lets you play it anywhere.

  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Digital Vomit ( 891734 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:24AM (#23916497) Homepage Journal

    ...has to do this since a lot more people download their titles instead of buying them...

    So, reducing market exposure via pirated copies is somehow magically going to translate into higher sales?

    Honestly, who buys a game as a last resort when they can't find a pirated copy of it? Conversely, software piracy has introduced many people to games and game series that have directly led to sales.

    It's amazing that some people still think casual piracy is detrimental to the video game market.

  • the usual trap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:25AM (#23916513) Homepage Journal

    Copy protection that inconveniences the honest user will:

    [ ] make some of your honest (and now inconvenienced) users walk away
    [ ] make pirates come to you so they can pay and have a less comfortable (but legal) copy

    Hint: Only one answer is correct.

  • Re:uh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AngelofDeath-02 ( 550129 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:29AM (#23916575)

    I think it's more of an issue that support costs a company money. This is normally fine, as it is factored into the cost of the game. If you pirate a game you really have no right to expect a paid employee to assist you in getting the game to run. You're on your own.

    This sounds more like a statement of principle than anything else, but maybe I'm wrong.

  • false dichotomy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OglinTatas ( 710589 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:31AM (#23916599)

    some "piracy" (unsanctioned demos) will be converted to sales, and some legitimate users would be annoyed by the scheme.

    If there is a legitimate demo I might try it, and then if I like it I will buy it. If there is no demo I won't download an unsanctioned game; I will wait until there is a review from one or three sites I trust, and or good word of mouth about it, and only then will I consider buying it.
    DRM/copy prevention/anti"piracy" schemes WILL annoy me, and no amount of awesome will get me to buy such a game. It's good to hear about these things before I consider a game.

    Of course, I run a mac and an ubuntu rig, so I'm not in the target market for many game companies anyway.

  • Re:uh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FredFredrickson ( 1177871 ) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:32AM (#23916623) Homepage Journal
    That seems like a stupid idea. It's very unlikely I'd steal a game, find it broken, and then go out and buy it after that.

    I understand, I shouldn't steal in the first place- but I'd just assume it was horribly coded and that brings my likelyhood of purchase even lower.

    *Disclaimer: I personally purchase all games I play- However, I do steal no-cd cracks so I don't have to bother, and I also steal serials some times to play a lan game of command and conquer.. I'm not purchasing two copies to play a few games against a friend in my own house. I'd say the only game that got that right was Sins of a Solar Empire (which I didn't even like), but there was no copy protection, and they even allowed multiple installs. It is a multiplayer game by design, and they accepted that. I didn't like the game too much, but am still happy I gave them my money.
  • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Southpaw018 ( 793465 ) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:37AM (#23916701) Journal
    But will every pirated copy magically transforms into a sale, or will this scheme just annoy legitimate users and be cracked anyway? One really wonders.

    A thief walks into a fine winery and takes a bottle without paying for it. Just walks out the door. Two days later, the thief comes back and asks what food might go well with the wine he stole. The store, shocked and appalled at how brazen thieves are becoming, puts locks on the cabinets and asks that people contact an employee, who is nearby and ready to help at any time, to get wine out of the case.

    The author of this summary would respond that the store is so inconveniencing its patrons that it ought to be closed down. That response has nothing to do with software freedom or idealism or the right way to do things or being sensitive when legitimately protecting one's assets. This is utter detachment from reality itself.

    The OSS crowd steals from its own. This story and the few comments already ("If they put copy protection on it that annoys me in any way I'll just steal/crack it") makes that very clear. I'm siding with the authors on this one. Linux advocates always seem to complain when games won't work with Linux. Then, if this story is any indication, when they do work with Linux, the same people who complain that games for profit never work properly run out and immediately steal the game. Do you really expect people to develop multimillion dollar games for Linux if that's how things work?

    Put your copy protection on the game, man.
  • Re:Failsafe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:40AM (#23916749)
    Makes you wonder - if they are willing to remove checks in case of any problems, why bother annoying your customers in the first place?
  • Re:Hassle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:41AM (#23916795)

    When I walk into a store, I expect and accept a certain level of 'theft prevention' to be in place.

    Perhaps they have security monitors covering the out of the way nooks of the store.

    Perhaps they have someone in 'plain clothes' that wanders the store watching for people shoving things into their purse.

    Perhaps they have certain items locked in a cabinet or with tags that trigger an alarm when removed from the store.

    These things I accept because I realize that people steal and that one of the things a store must do to stay profitable is to cut down on amount of five finger discounts taken.

    I realize that these things don't prevent theft 100%, and so does the store. In fact, the store probably also realizes that depending on the 'quality' of the store, a good percent of the shrinkage in their product could be due to their own staff.

    But even though these things don't work 100%, I accept them. And do you know why? Because these things rarely ever become an inconvenience to me.

    If, on the other hand, a store began requiring pat downs or strip searches every time I entered or left, I would stop patronizing them.

    Is what LGP is proposing really a strip search level deal? Because honestly, when you threaten to just steal their games, that's what you are indicating to me. That you consider this an unreasonable measure for them to take that you would rather screw them over as a matter of principle.

    Honestly, myself, I think this is a fairly benign manner to approach the issue.

  • by Broken scope ( 973885 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:48AM (#23916911) Homepage

    I think people like steam because it keeps games up to date for them, allows them to buy games, gives them good DL speeds, allows them to install the game anywhere, and because valve has done so much to improve the reliability of the service.

    Pre-orders get beta access, they tend to offer great sale prices and combo packs. When I bought the orange box, I ended up with an extra copy of HL2. I was able to gift that extra license to a friend.

    The 2 issues I had with my account were fixed quickly, and I can play my games even when my connection isn't working.

    Valve has also made it clear they will release patches to make games playable without steam if the company ever goes tits up.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cliffski ( 65094 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:49AM (#23916937) Homepage

    excellent post. I don't even port my little indie games to linux, because its' not viable. Not that a lot of lunux gamers would be interested, but the general sense of entitlement to free games by people in that community means that the majority who wanted it would pirate it.

    Its not just market share or driver support that results in less linux games, its the perception the community gives off that they will refuse to pay for software that convinces devs it's not worth porting.

    I give it ten minutes before some dork makes a comment that the guy is just copying the wine and not taking it, and I bet $50k that the dork posting it has never run a software biz.

  • Re:Failsafe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:51AM (#23916971)

    This is virtually irrelevant.

    Should anything 'happen to LGP' there may not be anyone left to distribute said patches. Are the patches already written, are tested? Or are they basically saying that while they are laying off employees and struggling to cover the rent as they file for bankruptcy they'll direct their efforts to writing patches for all their software?

    Normally, for this sort of protection, the source / patches is put into escrow to be released when certain conditions are met. So that a 3rd party can act to release the source/patches when something 'happens' to the vendor.

  • Re:false dichotomy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:00AM (#23917137)

    The thing is *IF* I was running a company that was publishing a game I would ask this simple question.

    Does the copy protection make me money?
    Lets say it costs 80k to put this thing in and maintain it. Need servers and more bandwidth now and patches (programmers, testers, release packages, support people) to it when people crack it.

    If the cost of gaining people who come in (converted 'pirates') plus the cost of people who would steal the game but bought it (because they were too lazy to crack it). If that value is greater than the cost then it is worth putting in. Otherwise you are putting an extra support cost onto yourself to say 'people cant steal my game in some board meeting'. When the reality is most software can be cracked very quickly on the PC. This is the real way to get rid of this junk. Are you making more money because of this junk? Do you have the numbers to back that up or did you dummy up some?

    This is why you are seeing top notch games on consoles right now. The consoles are currently 'hard' to crack due to the firmware updates being pushed.

    There is a perceived value in adding 'copyright protection'. When it is a security theater. It *WILL* be cracked if the game/system is cool enough.

    The one that really roasts my balls is the demos that have the copy protection in them. Then they leave the junk behind when you uninstall it. You are giving the game away for FREE anyway... The thinking here is that the code that runs the demo could be converted to 'crack' a real game. The game WILL be cracked anyway. The other one that roasts my balls is the ones that disable (break) functionality on my computer in case I might WANT to copy something. Even though I do not do this. I have legit uses to burn things on my cdrom...

    To tell a computer programmer that 'something cant be done' and he will act like a 'starved lion falling upon the zebra for food'. Each love the hunt and challange of doing it.

  • Re:Failsafe (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dupont54 ( 857462 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:06AM (#23917245)
    Is this written down in a legally binding document?
    "Yes, if we are no more here, we will be authorised to release a patch (alhtough we won't be there to do it..."
    The music, video and software industry is full of horror stories about activation servers going dark, even with the servers' owner being still around.
  • Re:Hassle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:10AM (#23917305)
    Lets see... If I go and buy something from a store, do they follow me home? Look at what I am using it for? Try to make sure that I am not in violation of any of the warnings? No, once I have bought it, I can go home and do whatever I want with it, something that this doesn't let you do.

    I also have had one of the tags go off that the cashier didn't remove for some reason, they didn't say over the loudspeaker stop thief nor did they handcuff me and call out the police. No. They admitted it was the store's fault, took off the tag and I was on my way. DRM is like whenever a tag goes off you handcuff the person and call the police until they give proof they didn't steal anything.
  • Re:Hassle (Score:2, Insightful)

    by residieu ( 577863 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:17AM (#23917473)

    I get mixed feelings about product placement, on the one hand it can make things more realistic for there to be real brands around. I can easily see it getting too intrusive, though. And you'll end up with every soda being a coke (no pepsi anywhere).

    I like what City of Heroes did. As well as making up names for businesses around town (City of Gyros), there are ads playing off real products (Red Beast energy drink, InFront Steakhouse). I suppose since they remind me of actual products they could still be effective advertisements, but I don't feel like I'm being slapped in the face by them

    And of course, product placement doesn't work for all genres. It's fine to have ads plastered all over the cars in our NASCAR racing game, but would look really bad to be suiting your dwarf warrior up with Armor-All brand heavy platemail, and Mountain-Dew superior mana potions.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 3.14159265 ( 644043 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:25AM (#23917633)
    Just a small patch to your scenario:

    "A thief walks into a fine winery, replicates one of the bottles with his treckie replicator, and walks away without paying anything".
    See, the bottle stays in the fine winery, no thievery actually happened. And no piracy.
  • Re:Hassle (Score:2, Insightful)

    by residieu ( 577863 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:27AM (#23917687)
    There are already enough ads on the splash screens. It seems like every game I get lately has 5 different splash screens, each advetising a different layer of the producer's structure before I get to play.
  • Re:uh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Holi ( 250190 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:28AM (#23917709)

    If they pirated your game are they really your customers?

  • Arrogance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brkello ( 642429 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:55AM (#23918319)
    It is becoming pretty clear from all these DRM articles lately that many Slashdotters are extremely arrogant. I say many because I have to assume that is the case when the majority of the comments that are modded up deal with people saying either: DRM is bad and will cost them more customers than if they left it open or DRM will cause the posting Slashdotter to pirate the game. I say this is arrogant because there is just some sort of assumption that what they are saying is factual without any thing to back it up. You may feel that DRM costs them more customers because you won't by it, but more likely it is the case that they ran the numbers and found that not to be true. Also, it is arrogant to think you are morally ok to pirate the game just because they do something you don't like.

    I am fine with the people who buy the game than use a cracked version. But the people who just pirate and justify it are just nuts. I actually don't care if you pirate the game, just don't make up stuff saying that what you are doing is right. If people didn't pirate, there wouldn't be DRM. Yet Slashdot blames the companies for adding DRM and openly admit they will pirate the game. This just further justifies their actions. I just don't understand why some of you are so irrational about this. It is like a religious debate where facts and logic have no room to exist.
  • Re:No, yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The End Of Days ( 1243248 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:02PM (#23918497)

    Does it matter? Does the fact that pirates don't intend to buy the game somehow give them the right to procure it for free?

  • Re:No, yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:18PM (#23918871)

    No, it won't, but it might get them more sales by slowing down the pirates.

    What? No one ever bought a game because they couldn't pirate it.

    But plenty of people have not bought a game because it difficult to pirate it.

    Personally, I don't pirate because I'm well to do and have plenty of money to spend on games. That and the games I prefer are usually small developers and I personally feel that they should continue making games so I buy them.

    However, I have not bought games simply because of the copy protection they have used. I just don't have the time or effort to crack my own games for the same reason I won't pirate them, so if I hear that a game (Codemasters I am looking at you) has StarForce, SecuRom, or the like... I won't even consider purchasing or pirating it.

  • Re:Does work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clodney ( 778910 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:33PM (#23919285)

    Given that it is an online key activation scheme, your post is equivalent to asking, "how will encryption ever work on an open system like Linux".

  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by delt0r ( 999393 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:43PM (#23919533)

    The OSS crowd steals from its own. This story and the few comments already ("If they put copy protection on it that annoys me in any way I'll just steal/crack it") makes that very clear.
    Hang on a minute. What makes all these folk OSS crowd? The fact that they read ./ ? Given that M$ windows is/was the more popular OS for viewing this site it should be clear that the link it not there.

    Don't pull others into the mud with these very broad, unfair and incorrect assumptions.
  • Re:Failsafe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sancho ( 17056 ) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:46PM (#23919595) Homepage

    It's not good enough, though. Authorization the first time you log in? Maybe good enough. Authorization every time? What if I'm travelling and my hotel doesn't have Internet access. I guess I don't get to play your game. The game that I paid for.

    Of course, if I just pirate a cracked copy, I don't have to worry about activation. Once again, companies fail to see the forest for the trees. Cracked versions of their games will get on the market. Once they do, not only are people downloading and installing them despite the intrusive copy protection, they're also driving otherwise legitimate customers to do the same.

  • Does this mean (Score:5, Insightful)

    by polyp2000 ( 444682 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:47PM (#23919623) Homepage Journal

    That piracy on linux is so rife that this is neccesary? If it really is the case that linux users are pirating games for the platform then shame on you. If we want linux to be taken more seriously as a gaming platform then you have to be prepared to put your wallet where your mouth is and support those companies that are putting the effort in.


  • by doulos05 ( 945501 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @01:02PM (#23920021)

    It's not some kind of strike, I just won't pay for games that have DRM. That doesn't mean I won't download it and get a crack.

    Let me make sure I understand this correctly. You will not pay for a game that has DRM. That is, you will vote with your wallet and refuse to give money to companies which protect their games with DRM copy protection. Excellent use of free-market economics.

    But, you reserve the right to download it, find a crack, and play the game without having paid for it. This is like saying you refuse to buy things from Walmart because they put small stores out of business, but then turning around and stealing things from Walmart because "I can't find this in the smaller stores."

    Is DRM a Bad Thing? Undoubtably. It prevents people who have purchased a product from using it while providing a temporary hindrance to people who intended to steal it all along. Vote with your wallet. It's a business strategy and, if it lacks support in the market, it will fail. Be proactive about it. Write the company and say "As interesting as this game is, I will not support a company which prevents paying customers from using what they are paying for. Therefore, I will not play it."

    But, when you then decide, "You know, I am really interested in that game." If you download it and crack it, you have broken the law. And, you have sent the company the wrong message. Because you have told them, "I refuse to pay for something I can steal for free." Their only logical response is to make it more expensive to steal. Because they are beholden to their stockholders to produce a profit, which makes giving the game away for free problematic.

  • Re:Hassle (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @01:35PM (#23920731)

    Straw man. This is an entirely different situation - you don't have a Duplicomatic 3000 in your basement that can make infinite copies of the stuff you buy at the store for free. If you did, stores may in fact be inclined to follow you home...

    No, but I still have a copier in my basement that can copy any book I feel like, yet publishers aren't making me verify my books. I even have a scanner and therefore could put an entire book on Limewire. As for the Duplicomatic 3000, if we had that there would be no need for work now would there be, so no stores, no money, no government. Nothing.

    Nor does copy protection. Last I checked I've never had the cops show up, or my computer blare sirens, for failing a copy protection check. All I've seen is a fairly benign error, and in the vast majority of cases customer service has always been accommodating and helpful. Wait, that's exactly like the store experience. Whoops. You also might not know this, but when that alarm at the store goes off, you are automatically presumed to be a thief until proven otherwise - next time try walking away from that alarm and see what happens.

    Oh sure, for now it is just a minor inconvenience, but still if this moves beyond games, think of how hard it would be to run a business if you depended on software with this level of copy protection. Or think of the Windows WGA when the servers were down. This is exactly why we need 0 DRM.
  • by AndrewNeo ( 979708 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @01:42PM (#23920931) Homepage
    You can turn the Steam News notices off in the options, cough cough. The 'ads' when you're downloading are a feature of the server -giving- you bandwidth (aka, for free) and it's just a whole one picture that you don't have to click and doesn't do popunders or anything. And most of the time it's a Valve server anyway.
  • Re:Failsafe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @01:45PM (#23921019)

    Why alot of linux users want everything and they want it now. for example the BBC offer streaming iplayer, but people still produced a tool to download the full .mov versions (thanks iphone users :D).

    I personally use a combination of the two due to technical reasons.

  • Re:Failsafe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eternauta3k ( 680157 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @01:50PM (#23921129) Homepage Journal
    Because, while the company is alive, they want to make a profit (and they think the way to get more profit is copy protection). Once the company goes belly-up, they don't need any more profit and want to let people keep on using the game.
  • Demos exist. (nt) (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:08PM (#23921519)


  • Re:uh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tiber ( 613512 ) <> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:05PM (#23922535) Homepage


    How about running the game under emulation? It used to only be a complaint from the WINE and classic gaming crowds, now that MS is shoving Vista down everyone's throats, it's going to be a lot more common. The same for a "key" disk. Nothing pisses me off to no end like a game which won't run without a having the CD in my drive. Nevermind that as a sysadmin, I would much rather have a second battery in my expansion bay rather then the DVD drive.

    There's two very good, real world reasons for you.

  • I've bought games from them before. Some were ok, some were lousy. Well, ok, tastes vary.

    The games that I bought frequently don't work, though, because they presume something about the OS that was true several versions ago. This implies that any game that does work is fragile, and can be expected to break in the future.

    Now they want to add a technology that is long known for increasing the brittleness of games. I'm supposed to cheer at this? My reaction is to consider whether it's really worthwhile buying any of their games. Will the game still work after the SDL upgrade? I can't know ahead of time, because the source is closed. What about after the kernel upgrade? After the security patch?

    This does not add benefit to me, it drastically reduces the benefit. Even if they offer support, it means many extra hoops to jump through, and it's not always true that they *have* a decent answer.

    It's true, when a game of theirs breaks after this I won't know that it's the copy-protection that caused the break, but that's what I'll likely presume, as copy-protection is noted for causing breakages.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @07:00PM (#23925927)

    and includes a very minimal and polite way to ensure you actually payed for it
    Did you read the article? Or the summary? This game requires that you enter a password and be connected to the internet every single time you want to play, even offline. How on earth is that minimal? Requiring a CD-key during install is minimal. Requiring a disc in the drive during play is minimal. Requiring an active internet connection and password entry every single time you play is just about the worst DRM yet seen in PC gaming.
  • Re:Failsafe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Matt Ownby ( 158633 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @07:41PM (#23926425) Homepage Journal

    I feel that as long as the company's server is online and responsive, that online authentication (like steam does) is a great idea with more benefits than drawbacks.

    First of all, let's compare the pros and cons of using something like Steam to play Half Life 2 vs playing a pirated copy.

    Using Steam to play Half Life 2, I
    - get automatic patches
    - can download all game content from any location I'm at without having to search for it.

    Playing Half Life 2 pirated? Well, I
    - probably won't have the most up to date patch because the crack for it doesn't exist yet
    - would have to wade through malicious sites trying to find a crack, bombarded with a bunch of annoying pop-ups and banners or (see next)
    - may have to advertise to the world that I'm downloading a cracked copy of HL2 because my IP address is visible via Bit Torrent
    - may end up downloading a bunch of malicious software bundled in with the cracked version, because, let's face it, I have NO way of knowing where this cracked version is clean; what is to stop Mr Leet Hax0r from injecting a keystroke logger service along with the crack that he has so "generously" provided?

    Using pirated software is so incredibly inconvenient vs using Steam that aside from the legal and moral aspects, it is a complete no brainer for me to purchase the games. I'm currently investing 2-3 hours a day in Valve's Team Fortress 2, a title which you can purchase for __$20__. Who in their right mind is going to try to pirate Team Fortress 2?

    And sorry to say, but if I'm a game developer and 10,000 people are pirating my game, I'm not going to care about the 10 people who want to play my game from their internet-less hotel room. That is also a no brainer. Online authentication is here to stay and if/when the developer/publisher goes out of business, as you pointed out, if the game is popular enough, cracked copies will be readily available, so your argument about needing to have a non-authenticating single player game is null.

Some people manage by the book, even though they don't know who wrote the book or even what book.