22 March 2013 Video game watermarking
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Abstract
The publishers of video games suffer from illegal piracy and information leakage caused by end-consumers, "release groups" or insiders shortly after or even before the official release of a new video game. Mechanisms to prevent or at least postpone this illegal redistribution are DRM or copy protection mechanisms. However, these mechanisms are very unpopular, because they restrict the customers in playing the game and demand a high administration effort from the developers and/or distributors. Even worse, most copy protection mechanisms have proven to be insecure as "patches" for circumvention usually are available quickly and easy to get. To satisfy the challenges of security and usability, this work introduces the idea of using digital watermarking to protect all available and suitable media types and software binaries contained in a video game. A three-layered watermarking deployment approach along the production chain is proposed to detect leakage in the release phase as well as during the development process of a boxed video game. The proposed approach features both copyright watermarking and collusion secure fingerprints embedded as transaction watermark messages in components of video games. We discuss the corresponding new challenges and opportunities. In addition, a prototype watermarking algorithm is presented to demonstrate the adaption necessity of classical image watermarking when applied to video games to satisfy the requirements for transparency, security as well as performance. The watermark capacity is significantly increased while inter-media and inter-file embedding is enabled and the associated synchronization challenge is solved by robust hashes.
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Waldemar Berchtold, Marcel Schäfer, Huajian Liu, Fábio Touceira Takahashi, André Schmitz, Sascha Zmudzinski, Martin Steinebach, Jonas Wieneke, "Video game watermarking", Proc. SPIE 8665, Media Watermarking, Security, and Forensics 2013, 866506 (22 March 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2005851; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2005851
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