2K Games has defended its right to employ tough anti-piracy measures to stop its titles being ripped off before they even reach store shelves.
The publisher was criticised for the the release of BioShock on PC as it required an awkward authentication set-up before consumers could begin playing, but believes it was necessary as many games are stolen during the manufacturing process and cracked pre-release.
"We went to great lengths to avoid the piracy issue," commented Martin Slater, senior programmer for 2K Australia, reports GameSpot. "We achieved our goals. We were uncracked for 13 whole days. We were happy with it."
"But we just got slammed. Everybody hated us for it. It was unbelievable," he said.
"We were trying to avoid production DVDs going walkies between the manufacturing process and actually turning up on shelves. You find with a lot of games, what happens is that anywhere between manufacturing and the stores, one of these DVDs will go walkies and end up in the hands of crackers," he admitted.
As a multiformat title, Slater said that it's important that a pirate PC game doesn't cannibalise sales of the genuine console game.
"When you're releasing simultaneously on the 360 and the PC, one of the things in the back of the publishers' minds and the people who want to make all the money is that we don't want to lose console sales to people ripping off the PC and the piracy issue.
"If they can get a cheap pirated version on PC they may not buy the 360 SKU, which is probably your main SKU," he added.
Slater said the the company wouldn't adopt the same methods that it had for BioShock — awkward downloads for consumers can be just as time consuming and technically challenging for the developer — but it is willing to enforce strict measures in order to stop games losing sales to illegal piracy.
"I don't think we'll do exactly the same thing again, but we'll do something close," he stated.
"You can't afford to be cracked. As soon as you're gone, you're gone, and your sales drop astronomically if you've got a day one crack."