PS3 piracy threats cause phone-home DRM

The last time game developer Capcom tried to impose Internet-based copy protection on one of its games, it was forced to backtrack over a storm of complaints.

In that instance Final Fight: Double Impact was hobbled with a piracy-busting scheme which phoned home every time the game was booted, but Capcom forgot to mention that little nugget of information to potential purchasers. An omission which eventually lead to the DRM scheme being hastily withdrawn.

The company has decided not to repeat the mistake with its latest release, Bionic Commando Rearmed 2, by making it clear that the game won't work unless it gets a sign-off from the company's servers.

The game's listing on the PlayStation Network (PSN) clearly states, "You must log-in to the PlayStation Network each time to play the game," which would be fair enough if the game boasted some kind of essential on-line element, but according to Joystiq that's not the case. "Rearmed 2's co-op is an adamantly offline-only affair, like its predecessor," states the gaming blog.

Sony is currently embroiled in a constant game of cat and mouse with hackers and crackers, with new battle lines being drawn on what seems like a daily basis.

The recent revelation of a private key used by Sony and other developers to confirm the identity of genuine games has left the Japanese electronics giant facing the prospect of widespread piracy on the platform.

Other outfits have attempted to use 'always-online' DRM schemes in the past and have come under fire for punishing legitimate gamers rather than the pirates.

The hackers will, of course, see the latest DRM nonsense as a red rag to a bull, especially as there is no palpable benefit in the game's on-line play mode.

Is it just us, or would Sony and its its game-developing partners be better served using all of the energy they expend trying to thwart a handful of pirates making the console and its games better value for money?