5 Real Security Dangers of Downloading Pirated Video Games

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5 Real Security Dangers of Downloading Pirated Video Games

While fantastic video games are released on a regular basis, new games are pricey. Nobody can afford to purchase every new release, therefore some gamers resort to piracy to play for free.

Piracy isn’t safe even with older games. Aside from ethical concerns, there are just too many hazards associated with playing unlicensed games. Here, we look at some of those dangers.

1. Pirated Games Could Infect Your PC With Malware

It’s no secret that pirating software of any type is risky. When you download from a reliable source, you may be pretty certain that the file you’re obtaining is exactly what the distributor says it is. Legitimate gaming retailers would face severe consequences if they distributed malware.

When you download public torrents, though, you lose trust. How do you ensure no one tampered with the file before posting it?

Horror tales, such as one from Kaspersky about a player who was infected with ransomware while attempting to download a pirated game, should serve as a deterrent. Even if you have a backup of your data, are the hours you spend recovering your PC really worth the game’s $60 (or less) price tag?

According to The Register, a substantial number of individuals who pirated the original Watch Dogs when it was released were infected with Bitcoin mining software. This squandered their system’s resources in order to profit the virus developer.

Without a doubt, not every cracked game download contains malware. But consider this: when a new game is released, individuals who wish to tamper with other people’s computers for profit or for fun have a ready target. Impatient players will rush to get their hands on the first crack of a new game, which might be an expensive error.

2. You Could Lose Online Gaming Privileges

Playing pirated games, especially on consoles, is a crime that may result in a suspension from Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. According to CNET, Microsoft notoriously banned almost a million Xbox Live users in 2009 for altering their Xbox 360 systems and playing unauthorized games.

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According to Microsoft’s Xbox Live Community Standards page:

“Inappropriately accessing or utilizing material may lead to fraud and ruin fantastic experiences for other gamers, sapping the enchantment of Xbox Live…


Play a pirated game

Play a game before its release date

Share your profile with another person

Try to access accounts you don’t own

Use someone else’s intellectual property in an illegal manner.”

If you violate these guidelines, Microsoft sets out the penalties clearly:

“If you breach Xbox community standards, limitations may be put on your profile and/or device…

We may permanently suspend a profile or device if we can no longer trust it as a result of a serious violation or if we are unable to address persistent undesirable behaviors. When a profile is permanently suspended, the owner forfeits all licenses for games and other material, Gold membership time, and Microsoft account balances.”

In summary, pirating games is against the code of conduct, and you may face account limitations, up to and including permanent suspension. If this occurs, you will lose access to any digitally purchased games as well as your Xbox Live Gold membership.

That’s a lot of money squandered while attempting to save a few dollars by pirating games.

3. It’s Illegal to Pirate Video Games

Piracy of video games, like illegally downloading music and movies, is a criminal felony in the United States. Punishment may vary from repaying the copyright holder to serving time in prison.

Of fact, since so many individuals steal software and video games, the FBI would be unable to capture them all. You’re unlikely to spend half a decade in prison for downloading an illicit copy of Battlefield.

Regardless, you’re still doing something wrong. And, given your ISP and the authorities already monitor pretty much everything you do online, proving that you’ve committed piracy shouldn’t be too difficult.

4. The Game Might Not Even Work

Many game makers do not wait for the government to take action to curb pirates; instead, they take action themselves. Some use digital rights management (DRM) methods that render illicit copies inoperable. Others, on the other hand, go more imaginative with in-game copyright protections.

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EarthBound, a SNES RPG released in 1994, is one of the most well-known examples of copyright protection. If the game detects that you are using an unauthorized copy, it displays anti-piracy warnings and significantly increases the number of adversaries in the game. This made the game unpleasant to play, but the ultimate punishment comes at the conclusion. The game stalls and deletes your whole save data during the last encounter.

Developers have lately come up with novel techniques to annoy pirates. The original Crysis swaps your bullets with chickens, making it impossible to fight adversaries. In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman’s glide maneuver drops him on the ground, preventing you from progressing through the game’s introduction. After numerous hours of play, the Talos Principle seals pirates in an elevator.

Game Dev Tycoon, an independent game launched in 2013, is a simulation title in which you labor to develop fresh video game concepts and sell them to grow your company. Its anti-piracy strategy was exceptionally clever: the creators purposefully sent a cracked version to pirating websites.

In the cracked version, your in-game studio ultimately becomes infested with pirates who take your game without paying, preventing you from generating a profit. According to the creators on the Greeenheart Games site, pirates ironically went to forums to protest about the game’s piracy, implicating themselves as the true criminals.

These and other cases demonstrate that pirating a video game may not even result in a useful product. And you’re harming developers that rely on game sales to earn a livelihood, particularly independent development teams.

5. You Might Get More Than You Bargained For

This is a danger comparable to the first, yet it is still an issue. When you enter the realm of game piracy, you expose yourself to the risk of unsuitable material. Aside from viruses, looking for a cracked copy of a game on pirate sites may expose you to sexual or other NSFW material.

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By inadvertently hitting the incorrect download button, you might cause explicit popups or install malware. Who knows whether the “game” you’re pirating is indeed the proper video game?

After all, you already know that someone who violates copyright and distributes a video game illegally has a shaky moral compass. What would stop someone like that from substituting nasty movies or anything like for your planned game?

When you enter the wild west of illegally obtaining games, you expose yourself to everything and everything on the internet. You may not have a major issue, but don’t be shocked if your game contains more than you anticipated.

Piracy: Not Worth the Risks

People often approach piracy casually, yet these genuine dangers demonstrate that it is a serious concern. Fortunately, there is good news: you no longer need to resort to piracy.

Streaming services and app subscriptions have reduced the cost of once-expensive activities to manageable monthly payments. This also applies to gaming: services like PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass allow you to play as many games as you want for a monthly fee.

Even if you don’t have them, frequent deals imply you can get premium games for cheap if you’re patient. There are even legal methods to get high-quality games for free; you just need to know where to search. Don’t jeopardize your security for a little sum of money and the fleeting joy of playing a new game straight soon.

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