IMG: As you know, some Mac gamers have been complaining about the fact that the new 1.03 Halo patch includes a CD check. Could you explain why this decision was made?IMG would like to thank Peter Tamte for his generous time.
Tamte: Almost all PC games and a huge number of Mac games (including many earlier MacSoft games) do require a CD be inserted to play. We initially didn't do this with Halo because we felt it just punishes the people who have purchased the game. However, the massive theft of Halo online has forced us now to adopt a variety of copy-protection schemes, and a CD-check is integral to all of these copy-protection schemes.
IMG: Do you have an estimate as to how many copies of Halo may have been pirated?
Tamte: We can only physically track less than 10% of the piracy, and we have physically tracked more units of Halo being stolen on the Internet than have been sold through stores so far.
IMG: Why wasn't a CD check implemented in the initial release of the game?
Tamte: We really, really don't like punishing the honest people who have purchased our games. We got dragged kicking and screaming into copy-protection by the large number of people who are apparently comfortable stealing Halo on the Internet.
IMG: How rampant is piracy on the Mac? Is it more rampant than say on the PC side? What sharing network is the primary
source of piracy for Halo?
Tamte: I don't think Mac piracy is more rampant than PC piracy. As for which file-sharing network is the primary source for Halo -- asking this is like asking which pimp can get the best hookers. I know there are legitimate uses of peer-to-peer networks. But, since the vast majority of their use is to trade stolen merchandise, I don't want to direct any more people their way.
IMG: Some shareware game companies on the Mac have embedded code into their programs that check to see if their software is using a valid serial number. When launched, the program connects to the Internet and to the company's web site, and makes a check to see if it is using a pirated version. If it is, it simply refuses to run. Do you think MacSoft and other gaming companies need to start doing this in order to prevent piracy?
Tamte: Yes, it is very likely you will see these -- and other -- forms of copy-protection in the future. It is terribly unfortunate that the honest people will have to waste their time with copy-protection. But, there are just too many dishonest people willing to steal games on the Internet now.
We're trying to understand why people who would never steal a game from CompUSA feel it's ok to steal the same game on the Internet. Either way, it is illegal. Either way, it means the people who created the entertainment YOU enjoyed didn't get paid for their hard work. Either way, it causes fewer games to get released.