Atari Anti-Piracy Idea Is Literally Years Behind

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell proudly proclaimed the end of piracy at a security conference last week, thanks to a revolutionary new “Trusted Platform Module” security chip. He didn’t seem to know that the chip has actually been out for a few years and piracy remains unpurged. But that’s okay, Mr Bushnell, we’ve put together a handy list of reasons the world isn’t the way you want it to be:

  1. The chip is hardware. That might provide better security, but when the evil criminals can sidestep your cunning scheme by “choosing not to pay for the extra parts that stop them doing what they want”, it may have a slight flaw.
  2. People are unlikely to take gaming hardware advice from a company whose last products were the Lynx and the goddamned Jaguar (may the gods of gaming forever spit on its malformed controlpads). We don’t want to be mean or anything, but when you release a collection of games exclusively for the N-Gage in 2005, there’s a chance you don’t have a damn clue about trends in gaming at all.
  3. You could fit an anti-piracy chip with white phosphorous landmines and the only effect it would have is that the .nfo file of the pirated copy would read “This release is in memory of l33thaxxor, So7idSna3e and MrBurns998″. The only way to make a game uncrackable is to keep it in a lead lined box, preferably in orbit around another planet.
  4. People like selling software. You might have forgotten the feeling (I know it’s been a while). Alone In The Dark doesn’t count because that’s Infogrames’s, not yours, and shit like Jenga World Tour doesn’t count because Jesus, Atari, at least pretend to be trying. New computers may be including the TPM chip, but since we haven’t quite reached the consumerist ‘ideal’ of being forced to buy a new seller-designed system every year, and until then makers won’t risk losing part of the paying market.
  5. Never underestimate the efforts of pirates. If you ever doubt the dangerous levels of dedication obsessives can bring to bear then check out the wikipedia pages for Sonic The Hedgehog. Then remember that’s just the retarded maniacs, imagine what the ones that can actually do useful things like programming are capable of.
  6. In fact, if you ever do come up with a system the pirates can’t crack, don’t bother with the penny-ante business of video games. Sell that wonder-coding to the CIA or somebody.