To download a game from the Internet, and not have problems, what we must do is buy it in one of the many digital stores that we can find on the Internet: Steam, GOG, Epic Games, uPlay, Origin … The number of platforms to buy games in digital format it is very varied. From their clients, these games are downloaded, installed on our computer and we can start playing them. However, surely we have ever seen on the Internet a type of game called “Reloaded” or “Repacked” . Do we know what these games are? Should we lower them?
Reloaded vs Repacked
The first thing we must bear in mind is that if we have reached a “Reloaded” game, it is that we are already bordering on illegality. Games that are labeled “Reloaded” can mean two things. The first one is that the person who uploaded it for the first time has uploaded it again (rare), and the second, more common, that the RLD hacker group has broken the DRM of the game and distributes it for free to over the internet. This group of crackers started their adventures because of the DRM SecuROM, and today they have become one of the worst nightmares for developers.
The Repack games are similar. The difference is that these “packers” are not the ones who crack the games, but the ones who divide them into several parts, compress and upload them to the Internet. A 40GB game could be left at just over 4GB if the packer is good. What they do is divide the game into several parts (mainly languages) and compress the largest files (textures, sounds, etc.) with very powerful algorithms to reduce the size to the maximum. Users can choose which parts of the game they want to download (for example, only one language) and avoid downloading the others.
These games tend to download much faster, but take much longer to install as they have to decompress all the data.
Repackers work is not illegal. They are not modifying the game. However, they almost always distribute executables from certain groups (like RDL, Empress, Codex, CPY, etc) to remove DRM. And therefore Repack copies are just as illegal as Reloaded copies or any other modified to remove DRM.
The dangers of downloading crackers games
Legality is not the only problem that we will have to face if we decide to download these types of games. We must also know that we may be putting our PC in danger without knowing it. It is not the first time that a cracker, or a repacker, has hidden malware in the games they have downloaded. This can be new malware, not detected by antivirus, or a malware that we must execute if we want to be able to run the game.
We remember that the executables of the games have been modified by people we do not know. And besides removing the DRM, we don’t know what else they have done inside . In addition, these types of games always run as administrator on the computer (and without admin permissions they do not work), therefore, there is something else.
Is it legal to download these games?
In short, no. Although, as always, there may be exceptions. Making it clear that they are pirated games, and that we should never support piracy, because of DRM like Denuvo there are certain situations in which downloading these games would not be so frowned upon.
For example, suppose we have bought a game that we really want to play. However, when installing it on our PC, the DRM does not let us. Or we have serious performance issues, something very common when we talk about Denuvo. So what happens to the 50 or 60 euros that we have spent on the game?
In this case, the Reloaded or Repacked versions from the Internet may be a solution. The games are still illegal as they have been modified to remove the DRM. But, since we have paid for the game, we have the right to play it . It would be like listening to a music CD recorded (or converted to MP3) from our original CD. It is not legal, but it is not illegal either. It is a private copy, for private use, that is executed in a legal vacuum where the only thing that would rule would be our morality.
The same applies, for example, to an old game that we have on CD if our computer does not have a reader. Are we unable to play? If we have the game purchased, and we download a digital copy, with its activator, we have every right to play it the same as if we did it from its original disc.
If the game is DRM free, is it legal to download it for free?
There are some developers (luckily more and more) that are against DRM like Denuvo. However, contrary to what people think, the fact that a game does not have DRM does not give us the right, under any circumstances, to download it and play it for free .
Not including DRM means that the developer has decided to invest the money from this software (which is not exactly cheap) in improving the game to be able to enjoy it better. A clear example is The Witcher 3, a DRM-free game that, obviously, downloading it from the Internet for free would be illegal.
We should not confuse DRM-Free with Free-to-Play gaming.
Download free games for PC legally
Of course, if we go to the Reloaded and Repacked copies to save ourselves the game, we are doing something illegal. And not only that, but by feeding crackers to keep doing business and making developers lose money.
If we don’t want to spend money and want to download games for free, legally, there are other very interesting alternatives. The first of them is to resort to stores, such as the Epic Games Store, where they give us games every week. These free games, if we acquire them, become our property with all rights. And we can download them and play them as and when we want.
Also another way to save money on video games is to resort to another type of business, such as subscriptions. Game Pass for PC, Microsoft’s service, gives us for 10 euros a month access to more than 100 games, triple A, to play on any computer with Windows 10. All titles from Microsoft, EA, and many from third-party developers we can find them here. Taking into account that a new game can cost us 50 or 60 euros, the Game Pass is, above all, profitable.
In Steam and Humble Bundle, although it is not usual to get free games, we can get important titles much cheaper than on other platforms. Considerable savings that help reduce piracy.