China-based cracking group 3DM said that it will stop the piracy of single-player video games for at least one year, with the group stating that it will suspend its activities to be able to see if doing so would increase video game sales.
Back in January, 3DM expressed its frustration on Denuvo, an anti-piracy system that was implemented for the Square Enix and Avalanche Studios' game Just Cause 3.
In the past, piracy groups found it easy to crack software and could even release cracked copies of games before their official launch date. However, anti-piracy measures have drastically improved lately, and the Denuvo system implemented on Just Cause 3 has protected it so well that there are still no cracked versions of the game, despite it being released in Dec. 1 of last year.
In connection with the near-impossibility of cracking Just Cause 3, 3DM forum founder Bird Sister, also known as Phoenix, warned that with the development of anti-piracy measures, there could be no more pirated games within two years.
A month after Bird Sister's warning, it seems that the group is ending its cracking activities for now.
"We just had an internal meeting. Starting at the Chinese New Year, 3DM will not crack any single-player games," said Bird Sister on her personal blog.
However, she noted that cracks created by other groups could still be posted on the 3DM forums, but that the group will deal with them. This could mean that the group will be deleting such cracks from its forums.
"We'll take a look at the situation in a year's time to see if genuine sales have grown," Bird Sister then wrote, in what is a bizarre twist to the reason behind 3DM's decision.
Although the reason suggests that the group is taking a break from its cracking activities to help the video game industry in increasing sales, it is hard to believe that this is the top reason given 3DM's frustration with anti-piracy measures and Denuvo.
The group could be taking a break simply because cracking is becoming too difficult to do, and it would need a breakthrough in piracy methods to counteract the developing anti-piracy measures.
While 3DM is not the only group that is cracking single-player video games, its decision to withdraw from piracy for now represents what could be a turning point in the war of publishers against piracy.