Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, made some very interesting claims yesterday when he was speaking at the Wedbush Morgan Securities annual conference. During his talk, he stated that, right this very moment, a stealth encryption chip called the TPM is being put on the motherboards of almost every PC that's currently being made.
What does this chip do?
Apparently this chip contains rock-solid encryption software with a verifiable private key. I don't claim to know a whole ton about encryption and password hacking and public and private keys, but from what I understand, they’re incredibly difficult to crack.
While I doubt that this will be 100% hacker-proof, it seems like it might put a pretty big dent into online piracy, or at least increase the amount of time that it takes for big name releases to hit the internet, which will likely cause an increase in sales.
I've pirated my own share of things I probably should have purchased, but I view this as a blessing and a curse. A curse because I can't get things for free anymore, but a blessing in that we might see the revitalization of genres that have all but disappeared from the PC. In an attempt to thwart piracy, pure single player games have virtually disappeared from PCs. Most companies include a significant multiplayer component, which is often given more emphasis than the single player game, and then require all players to log into company run servers, making it difficult for piracy to succeed. Even for Diablo II, which is about 10 years old now, it is incredibly difficult to get on Battle.net if you don’t have a legit copy of the game.
Single player games fell by the wayside, in part because it was so easy to pirate them. Companies found they made more money making games like TF2, where you have to be online to enjoy it, far more profitable because they lost less money to internet thieves. If piracy is slowed, perhaps we'll see a resurgence of adventure games and more story-driven single player games on the PC.
For people who know about encryption, do you think this will have any noticeable effect on piracy, or is it just another pathetic attempt to try and stop something that's uncontrollable. For PC gamers, do you think that, if piracy is actually reduced, it will change the landscape of PC gaming? Or are MMOs and online shooters so entrenched that it really won't make a difference?