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Are games protected from being copied?

A topic by DireBoarGames created Nov 14, 2017 Views: 2,092 Replies: 12
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I am considering to place my game on, but wondering about one thing. Is there any kind of protection for games here? For example, Steam uses key system. What about here? Is there anything preventing from buyers from just copying the game? Is it usual for local sellers to buy copy protection from somewhere else?

Thank you in advance,


Moderator itself doesn't apply any DRM, if that's what you're asking. Individual creators are free to put their own copy protection into the downloads they provide (at least I'm not aware of any rule against it). But you won't make many friends around here that way.

Thank you for your reply, and also for a warning not to use external copy protection. I guess I'll risk releasing my game for now (early access), and will think when it's time to release full version.


We don't have any issues with you adding copy protection. The way to do it would be to verify with the API that the person running the game actually owns your game. You can use our server-side API to accomplish that:

Games launched through the app are automatically passed a JWT API key. If you'd like to have the same protection without using the app then you'll need to implement "Log in with" using OAuth apps:

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There are some creators not uploading quality games on itch because there is no easy DRM protection. If you ever wondered why an indie developer wouldn't post a game on itch and would on steam, this is probably a big consideration the developer went through. I've seen some developers doing what DireBoarGames mentioned as well, uploading the early access version but when the game is complete they are removing the game from itch. This kind of sucks for itch and its users and the developers.

I am sure I don't need to go on a long rant about DRM, but some of us developers would like an easy option for it whether it makes us friends or not :\


Based on the developers we've talked to, DRM generally isn't the limiting reason. The default DRM added to Steam is easily cracked from what I'm aware of, and once your game is cracked there's no much you can do to prevent illegal distribution. DRM makes it harder for legitimate players to run your game, and generally doesn't stop pirates. There are other DRM free sites that do quite well which backs up this observation.

I think part of the reason why people remove their game after they've run a beta is that they want to consolidate how they distribute their game. Each new platform they distribute on is a slight overhead in terms of keeping things updated. Many developers don't have the extra resources to maintain pages on alternative platforms. We're trying to combat this by making things as easy as possible.

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You have made it easy, and it does add more work to distribute to multiple platforms and portals.

Here are my thoughts. I know they are not requested. So read, don't read, whatever.

I agree that many forms of DRM make it harder for legit users to play the game, and this is one of the ironic reasons itch could benefit from integrating a user friendly system. One of the reasons that pirated games thrive is the convenience (especially when you don't have to pay for it). But a good DRM backed system can be convenient too. There is added value to an online platform that organizes your games, gives you access to them on any computer once logged in, promises to help protect you against malware. It's one of the reasons I'd rather buy a game off an online platform and have it in my library then go back to the old way of having a scratched up disk with my key written on the top in marker.

But even with all that, there are arguments against it. I've heard them. I've even made them myself, before I started creating my own projects and learned how hard it is. I was never into downloading torrented games, but I've had a number of games that I bought that I couldn't play because the DRM broke and that really made me mad. I've also played new games that require a constant internet connection even when playing offline, and that also made me mad.

There will still be DRM cracked games out there. With a convenient system there is one place it can help developers, even if the game is already out there illegally. Not all users are inclined to steal. Sometimes one friend wants to play a game with another friend, and it's in that moment there are 3 choices the friends have.

1) buy the game

2) bit torrent download the game

3) pass the game on a USB drive

It is a battle against convenience. I think most would like to support the creators they like, but it is just too convenient to pass it over on that USB.

Hello. I must agree with Tartle games. If i cannot get any DRM via your api i will not upload my game. With no DRM i can place it on fileshare myself.  DRM will not stop piracy but at least someone has to decompile exe file first and not every kid can do that.


Place it on a fileshare yourself then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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I want to upload my game, but I dont understand how to implement copy protection. I read this topic, but I dont undestand needed steps =( My games don't need any permission like "camera, location, audio, etc"

Can you help please?

P.S. What I understand in "needed steps":

1) With web-request: 

1. Send web request to content like: client_id: (that is taken from(?) or written by user, and he can find him in(?)) game_id: (that is taken from(?) or found in(?))

2. Get answer with content like: is_purshased: true (or false or 0 or 1)

2) Some plugin

1. Go to, download "some name". 

2. Run function (?) on application start 3. Get answer

Or something like that


Yes, they generally are. The protection is called "copyright laws". For details, consult the law in your country.

Any other protections are generally harmful for both creators and users. There's no need for to give up its good name and reputation in exchange to broken and ineffective systems.

^ This. So much this.
Here's a tip to the OP and other devs considering putting in DRM: If it doesn't get pirated, nobody cares about it (or you've invented an uncrackable DRM, which is unlikely considering even Denuvo, once touted as the end to game piracy by Chinese cracking group 3DM) has been cracked multiple times and will continue to be cracked).

And here's a story. About a guy called Jack. He is a poor fellow. He can't afford games unless he is absolutely sure he will like it (and demos often won't cut it since they'll be literally the best parts of the game with some of initial slog/grind that may or may not be there being cut out). So he goes to TPB to get games. And now he noticed your game in the "new uploads" section. So he downloaded it to see if he likes it or not. And he really did enjoy your game.

Now, Jack can't buy your game yet, he can do so only when the next month comes around, but that's only part of the story. You see, there's Helen and Bob to consider as well. Helen and Bob don't game much. They have money for games, they simply don't have the time and only play the titles that they either know they'll enjoy or which were recommended to them by their friend Jack. Your game isn't some breakaway indie hit (yet) and you can't afford advertising the big AAA companies can. But, fortunately for you, Jack is now big fan of your game who will recommend it to anyone with a pair of ears and a computer. Of course Helen and Bob will buy it. And Jack will buy it the very next month.

Instead of one purchase, you got three (and potentially more from other Helens and Bobs), people who wouldn't even look at your game until it was all over Kotaku, RPS and other sites. All because Jack initially pirated it and liked it.

Admin moved this topic to Questions, Ideas & Feedback

I'd like to chime in as I tend to wear multiple hats.  I'm a game modder, a gamer/end-user, customer/consumer, game community manager (FreshGaming), indie game endorser/advocate (on Twitter), and a budding game developer myself.

I'm quite acutely aware of just how much of a tremendous time & resource sink it is to develop video games.  I've helped out and chatted a bit with several indie devs and indie dev teams about their experiences working on games.  I haven't released anything publicly yet up until now precisely because I realize that my skills are sorely lacking to making a quality product that will be successful in a crowded gaming market.

So when I speak my words, please heed them because they come from personal and professional experience.

There are zero games on this website that are worth paying for if they were encumbered with DRM.  There is not a single dev that has responded so far in this entire forum thread with a game that is worth playing while encumbered with DRM.

GoG (Good Old Games) is an absolute treasure trove of both old and new.  Expertly-curated games and gaming experiences that are not meant to be just 'one and done' completed but to be enjoyed for many lifetimes and then some.  The entire GoG marketplace has been and always will be 100% DRM-free.  Games on GoG not only survive but THRIVE and you can ask literally any game dev on GoG whether it is worth being there versus Steam.  Go ahead.
GoG has some problems; their curation is a bit too aggressive to the point of blocking new Visual Novels (VNs) and only allowing a few high-profile VNs in so that they maintain good PR to the gaming public; they also tend to heavily favor games that are already popular or by devs who aren't releasing their first-ever games project.
My bank blocked GoG's overseas payment processor due to being flagged for fraud.  So my GoG collection thus far has been all freebies and giveaways.

Then there's the Humble Store which automatically gives 10% of every purchase to charity and then on top of that it offers rebates in the form of wallet credit for certain purchases.  With a heavy emphasis on donating to charity, I've actually subscribed to their Humble Monthly instead of any other competing service precisely because of the 10% per month charitable donation system they offer.

Tell me please, ANY of you indie devs.  What fucking game is there on this entire website that is such a special snowflake as to warrant DRM?  If you want Steamworks-style features then go pay the $100 USD and get on Steam.  They have zero barrier to entry now.

You are not here because you want to be more like Steam; otherwise you'd be over on Steam instead.
You are here precisely because this is an open/fair environment that saves money and passes on those savings to you in the form of a significantly lower expense ratio when it comes to getting games released and making money from them.

As someone with many hats, kindly "FCKDRM".  GoG has proven that DRM is not required to make money.

If you as a game developer feel your game needs DRM to survive then perhaps you shouldn't release it at all.  If it is something you are afraid people will refund then don't release it at all.  Kindly spare your customers the time wasted in actually giving your games any attention.  Go over to Steam and dump your games there and have your Steam DRM which is bypassed with a simple cracked DLL file.  Go right the fuck ahead.  Be forgotten like all the other Steam dumped trash and waste your time and your life as a game developer constantly blaming piracy for faults that lie within.