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Seeking Technologies for Gaming Code Protection To Prevent Malicious Behaviour

Background / Description

The Open Innovation Platform (OIP), an initiative by the Info-Communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), aims to connect real business challenges to problem solvers.

 

Context

Ubisoft is one of the largest publicly-traded game company in the Americas and Europe, with several development studios across the world.

Ubisoft Singapore opened its doors in July 2008 and has since become the largest AAA lead studio in Asia with more than 300 developers. The studio’s notable achievements include working on every Assassin’s Creed game since Assassin’s Creed II, until the recent releases of Assassin’s Creed Origins in 2017 and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in 2018. They have also recently built an online, naval, and open world IP – the pirate game Skull and Bones.

Ubisoft is required to protect their games against piracy and cheating – and thus against reverse engineering and tampering. They are also looking to expand the set of code protection technologies employed to protect their games. They have been looking into code protection technologies based on compile time or post-compile time obfuscation. Since games are performance-sensitive systems, some of the obfuscation technologies currently available cannot be successfully applied to games as a whole due to the significant performance overheads that affect time, memory, bandwidth and resources.

Ubisoft has already explored existing solutions (VMProtect and Themida), but experienced challenges such as:

  • Little control over the complexity of the virtual machines (VM’s)
  • Little control over how the VM’s are applied
  • Little control over the performance impact of the VM’s
  • No support for Common Object File Format (COFF) files or raw streams of instructions

Thus, Ubisoft is looking for code protection/code virtualization/code obfuscation technologies that would allow them to protect the code of their games without significantly affecting the overall performance. “Code” does not necessarily need to refer to the whole executable, but also to the selected individual basic blocks of instructions or functions.

 

Problem Statement

What type of real-time code protection can Ubisoft incorporate into its games in order to prevent malicious behaviour by gamers, without affecting overall game experience and performance?

Technical Specifications

What Are We Looking For

  • Proof-of-Concept (POC) of the code protector that protects Ubisoft’s games against piracy and cheating effectively and in real-time
  • Code Transformation/Obfuscation stage must allow Ubisoft to:
    1. Control over obfuscation method
    2. Control over obfuscation complexity
    3. Control over resulting performance overhead
  • Code protection technology that is compatible with Ubisoft’s game codes so that overall game experience and performance do not get affected
  • Solution must be scalable across all of Ubisoft’s games

 

Possible Use Case
Ubisoft implements the solution in their game code. The code contains several functions that a malicious player can use to modify the gameplay behavior, if he understands them. The solution is used to obfuscate these functions, to hinder players from understanding and modifying these functions.

 

Eligibility

We are open to global and Singapore-based individuals, research providers and companies that have digital technology expertise and innovation capabilities. Some of these include Info-Comm and Media (ICM) start-ups, SMEs and larger companies. Problem Solvers should have the ability and desire to co-create and innovate with Problem Owners or/and other partners to translate their ideas into solutions that can address real business needs. 

There are no restrictions on the geographic location of the problem solvers who may choose to apply to this challenge. However, the POC needs to be demonstrated in Singapore. Global applicants must be prepared to bear the additional cost of travel.

 

Further Details

Technical details of the problem statements as well as information related to the innovation calls can be found on the IMDA Open Innovation Platform (OIP) which you will be redirected to after clicking on the 'Proceed To Details' button below and filling up a short form with your basic information.

Preferred Business Model

  • R&D Collaboration
  • Business Collaboration (Joint Venture, Distribution)

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