Online portals have and will continue to be hacked, says industry veteran

Braben: Online not final piracy solution

Industry veteran David Braben has called on the industry to not be complacent in the view that online game portals will end piracy.

In a new Develop opinion piece, the Frontier Developments founder agreed that online-focused game platforms largely circumvent the threat of illicit file sharing.

“But experience shows it is unlikely to last,” he warned.

“There are quite a few worrying aspects to this. Some of the online distribution services are already now damaged by piracy; look at the recent ruling against Apple, suggesting ‘jail-breaking’ the iPhone is legitimate.

“That is a very dangerous precedent,” he added.

Braben’s observations come as part of a wider look at social and online gaming, with the Elite creator exploring what he sees as four ‘misconceptions’ of the sector.

He agreed that online-only games such as World of Warcraft provide a valuable answer to piracy – yet they are not without their own side-effects.

“The downside to this is the maintenance of back-end servers for each game; not a problem while the game is new, but when are the servers and support turned off?

“Eventually this time will come, and where are the genuine players left then? And what about single player? The key thing is to make sure common platform functionality – offered by Live and PSN – is used rather than bespoke servers, but this currently doesn’t address the pre-owned issue.”

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