Piracy vs PC Mods

In case you haven't heard, there's something interesting going on in the world of game modding right now. And it all stems from a little game called Nier: Automata and a fan-made mod called "Fix Automata Resolution" or FAR (see what he did there?). In a nutshell, what the mod does is fix a bunch of problems and graphical glitches the game had at launch, making it so you can actually play the game on Steam. Basically, the PC audience of the game considers this Mod to be 100% essential and required to even play the game.

At the time of writing, it is my understanding that the mod's creator (Kaldaien) is so far ahead of the actual devs of the game in fixing these bugs, that they almost seem to have stopped trying to fix them because there is already a solution out there.

But where I think there's a conversation to be had, is over something included in the most recent update to the mod. In it, Kaldaien invokes the Steam API validity check, which basically pings the Steam server to see if you legitimately own the game. If it returns yes, everything is hunky dory. If it returns fakes, however, you get a little splash screen saying, "Use of this software is granted on the condition that any products being modified have been licensed to you under the terms and conditions set forth by their respective copyright holders" and it will just hang there and be completely unplayable until you uninstall the mod (making the game completely unplayable since for a lot of people it won't render properly without the mod).

Or as Kaldaien puts it, "Nothing malicious happens if you fail this check, you're just presented with an infinite license screen that you can click Accept on but since you don't respect licenses the license doesn't respect your click."

This has caused a good number of people to be COMPLETELY up in arms against Kaldaien. The flame wars have been so bad on Steam that Kaldaien has been banned from the forum FOR HIS OWN MOD. 

Kaldaien says that he's just trying to protect his own ass as a developer. That if his mod is used to inject code into software illegally, it's not the player that they will go after, it's the guy writing the software that lets them do it in the first place.

Which, I'll admit, is probably not a bad idea on his part.

But what do you think? Should modders care if the person using their mods legally own the game? Are pirates not entitled to modded content since they never paid for the game to begin with? Should someone add copy protection to their mod and have the game turn all the sound files into Macho Man Randy Savage sound bytes if they've pirated the game (regardless of what the mod actually is supposed to do)? Let me know what you think in the comments below.


I got two things for you this week. First, for the LCS, Mid-Season Invitational is in full swing this weekend. Starting each day around 2pm Eastern. Best team from each of the major regions duking it in group play to prove who's the best (SPOILERS: It's SK Telecom Team 1, seriously they're on pace to win the world championships for the third year in a row this year. They are the team to beat. Watch it over on LoLesports.

But wait, there's more!

This weekend is a pretty big Super Smash Brothers tournament called Royal Flush. Coverage is being held on a few channels over on Twitch beginning around 1pm Friday.

  • VGBootcamp: Melee 1v1 - Friday @ 1pm EST, Saturday @ Noon, Sunday @ 11am
  • MeleeEveryday: Melee 2v2 - Friday @ 1pm EST, Melee 1v1 Losers Bracket - Saturday @ Noon
  • SmashStudios: Wii U 2v2 - Friday @ 5pm, Wii U 1v1 - Saturday @ Noon
  • MasterHandGaming: Wii U Exhibition - Friday @ 5pm, Wii U 1v1 - Saturday @ Noon