FiringSquad: There have been complaints that StarForce interferes with serial ATA drivers, RAID drivers or USB utilities. Now we haven't had problems here at FiringSquad with StarForce, certainly nothing like "StarForce has killed my USB card reader/messed up my SATA drive" but is there the possibility that StarForce can interfere with some legitimate hardware and software? It's possible that would-be pirates are badmouthing it due to their frustration, but certainly there's some truth to the problems.
Abbie Sommer: Glad to hear you haven’t had any problems, truthfully very few people do. Our code has never been more stable or compatible. We get a minuscule amount of emails reporting trouble in proportion to the quantity of protected game discs that have shipped. In the past we did have a few problems with USB driver conflicts, it was fixed and publishers were advised to make patches to update the protected games. I think you are correct about the outcry; some of the forum posters are using the driver controversy as a means to vent their frustration at not being able to make a 1:1 copy of the game. This is not the first time, and it won’t be the last. I know that gamers often reply on help from forums to get a problem solved, but when it comes to copy protection issues they really should contact the publisher or us to get accurate information.
FiringSquad: In an industry when copy protection is often effective for only hours after first being released and usually games are available to pirates from distribution channels or shady press members a week before they appear on store shelves, how does your company plan to remain ahead of the game?
Abbie Sommer: Good question. The demo issue is a perfect example of how we are trying to help prevent the games from getting put onto P2P networks before or on the day of release. We also have a product that can protect a CDR, which is a great way for a publisher to protect press review copies. Lastly, we’ve even entered the download market with a new product activation system called ProActive. So, if a publisher wishes to provide his or her customers with an alternative purchase method, they can use it to protect their downloadable titles. Our sales guys are stressing the need to protect all versions of the game prior to release in order to protect publishers’ revenue. Implementation of a good protection for a game (demo, review copies, etc) needs to be thought of months before release, not weeks, to be truly effective.