Apple’s PowerBooks and iBooks got kicked up a notch this week, and it reminds me that laptop owners who play games on their computers suffer a problem that the rest of us don’t have to worry about too much — making sure they bring their discs with them when they play.
One of the most common forms of game copy protection these days is to require the physical medium to be in the drive when you play. It’s effective and it works reliably. For the majority of desktop Mac owners who keep their discs relatively well organized, it’s not an issue.
But for users who have adopted iBooks or PowerBooks as their only computer, it’s an irritation: You’ve got a machine powerful enough to play most of today’s A-list commercial game releases anywhere you please, but you’ve got to remember to take the discs with you when you go. Not a big deal if you do all your gaming at home. But if that’s the case, why’d you buy a laptop in the first place?
One way to work around this is to make disk images of the game CD. But if you have more than one or two games you play regularly, you end up wasting a lot of space on your disk with these images. What’s more, mounting disc images doesn’t always work — some games are smart enough to tell the difference and won’t work that way.
From quarter to quarter, people continue to buy iBooks and PowerBooks in droves, and that trend doesn’t show any signs of abating. Sooner or later, Mac game publishers should endeavor to find a better way of making sure their games are being used legally than through a system that just burdens road warriors with one more thing to take with them.