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Hey, did you know how much cash there is in computer pixels? The computer games industry is a real big money generator, with sales of over USD 22 billion in 2008 according to the Entertainment Software Association. That figure does not include sales lost through piracy issues!

Piracy is the main way computer games companies lose potential revenue. The most common form of piracy is in that of a pirated game, also known as a cracked game.

Diner Dash

What is a crack?

Most computer games come with some sort of protection, including copy-protection, serial numbers, hardware key, data checks, CD checks and trial/demo versions. These measures are used to try to stop unauthorized duplication and use of the original software. Cracks are programs that “crack” or disable these protections and are usually developed by other software programmers, usually known as “hackers”.

Bejeweled

As software protection grew more complicated, so did the cracks. Today, there is a crack for nearly every computer game released. Cracks may have started out as a form of rebellion but nowadays, pirated games syndicates earn an insane amount of money by selling pirated copies of games.

Cracks are especially popular in the casual games segment, which is the newest and fastest growing games segment. These games are simple, easy to play, and do not require a lot of time – making them perfect for working people! A couple of examples include the now-classic Bejeweled and Diner Dash series.

Diner Dash game

Companies like Gamehouse and Reflexive Arcade offer trial/demo versions of these games for free, but require a small payment if you wish to play the full version. The popularity of these games has led to an emphasis to develop cracks for these games, and also the emergence of pirated collections of casual games on discs.

Will cracks ever be eliminated? I doubt it.

As long as there are computer games, there will be some who will want to play without having to pay.