Codemasters has created a unique anti-piracy system that makes a PlayStation game gradually degrade when being run from an illegally copied CD.

While it is becoming practically impossible to prevent a PlayStation game CD being physically copied and illegally duplicated, Codemasters has placed a piece of encrypted code within the LMA Manager 2001 game software that can identify if the game is being run from a pirated CD.

If this encrypted code is triggered it automatically instigates a number of subtle changes that adversely effect gameplay.

Thanks to this self-modifying software, the pirated game looks and plays like the real thing - to start with. However, over period of time, elements of the gameplay start going seriously wrong such as the player's chosen football team's performance becoming worse and worse.

"There is a huge problem with piracy in the PlayStation market and it is having a serious impact on developers and publishers. Normally, we'd use copy protection that attempts to prevent duplication, but that seems to be getting cracked more easily by ardent pirates so we're trying something new" said Simon Prytherch, producer of LMA Manager 2001 at Codemasters.