Windows 10 could disable pirated games and unauthorized hardware


Cries of "FUD!" ring out whenever potential issues and concerns with Windows 10 are pointed out, but there's no denying that the launch of this version of Windows has been more blighted than any other. The latest controversy finds Microsoft updating its EULA so that it is able to block pirated games and unauthorized peripherals.

While on one hand this seems entirely reasonable -- few people would argue too strongly that they should be permitted to play pirated games -- on the other it is confusing and worrisome. It is yet another example of Microsoft causing trouble for itself by failing to properly communicate with its customers, being insufficiently transparent and clear in meaning. Just what is an 'unauthorized peripheral'?

It is the lack of clarity that is likely to give the greatest cause for concern here. Without knowing how peripherals are authorized or not, it is impossible to know if any given device will be blocked from use or not. With Windows 10 hitting more devices than any previous version of Windows, the scope of this new EULA is far wider-reaching than ever before.

As noted by Alphr, Section 7b of the Microsoft Services Agreement reads:

Sometimes you'll need software updates to keep using the Services. 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 agreement covers Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows Phone, and all manner of other Microsoft services. While it is unlikely that Microsoft would suddenly take objection to the use of a particular keyboard or game controller, the EULA does indicate that the company could potentially block access to anything it decided not to authorize.

Many people will object to the idea that Microsoft is able to scan a system to detect the hardware and software that is running, and then use the results of this scan to determine what hardware and software may be used. With so many concerns about privacy being thrown up by Windows 10, this is yet another which is causing rumbles of discontent.

We've reached out to Microsoft for comment, and will update this article when we hear back.

Photo credit: Anton Watman / Shutterstock

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