Windows 10 can find and disable pirated games

EULA reveals Microsoft's plans to clamp down on PC piracy.

GameSpot Staff
GameSpot Staff
CNET's sister site GameSpot is the world's leading site for video game news, reviews, features, and more. Visit us at www.gamespot.com.
2 min read

Microsoft has updated its Windows 10 end-user license agreement, revealing the latest version of its operating system is capable of identifying whether counterfeit software or unauthorized hardware is running, and disable it.

As brought to light by Alphr, section 7B of the EULA explains Microsoft's ability to immobilize pirated software and hardware.

"We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices," the notice read.

In effect, this means illegally acquired games running on PCs, Windows phones, and tablets can be disabled. Although it is not clear what is meant by "unauthorized hardware peripheral devices," controllers that have been modified to provide unfair advantages in games are the most probable target of this clause.

Despite the advent of services such as Steam, which employ DRM to protect content, piracy has continued to be a key feature of PC gaming, with software often shared through torrent sites.

Although Microsoft is yet to provide official clarification on the matter, reports have suggested the EULA cited pertains to Microsoft services, as opposed to the Windows 10 software itself.

This means the changes made to the license agreement were intended to protect against illicitly obtained Xbox Live and Windows Store content, not all pirated content on a PC.

GameSpot has asked Microsoft for a statement clarifying the policy and will update this story when it has been issued.

Windows 10 is being positioned as a key part of Microsoft's video-game business.

In January 2015, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said Windows 10 could be "best operating system [Microsoft has] ever created for gamers on PC.

Among Windows 10's gaming oriented features is the ability to stream Xbox One games to the PC via the Xbox Gaming application. Additionally, Microsoft's has announced a number of games for PC including Fable Legends, which supports cross-play with Xbox One, and Halo Wars 2.