FADE (or DEGRADE) is digital rights management software developed by Codemasters. It operates by detecting if a game has been pirated, and initially allows the player to use the game normally. It then gradually degrades certain game features over a time, eventually rendering it unplayable.
FADE introduces deliberate errors in some of the sectors of the disc (which resemble the errors a scratched CD-ROM/DVD-ROM has). When the disc is copied, the error-correction mechanism (both CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs employ error-correction techniques) will notice the errors and automatically correct them. When the game is launched, the game's executable looks for these errors, and if they are present then it is an original. If they are not available, then it knows it is a fake. There is no notification or error message that tells the player that a fake disk image has been detected, which makes it very difficult for software crackers to determine if their crack has succeeded in defeating FADE. FADE will introduce many issues in the game, rendering it unplayable, giving the impression that the game is simply "buggy". For example, in ARMA 2, FADE will begin by gradually decreasing the accuracy of the player's weapons, making it very difficult to hit a target. FADE might reverse the left/right controls of vehicles, or make them randomly start and stop moving. Eventually it will turn the player into a bird and display a message saying "Good birds do not fly away from this game, you have only yourself to blame".
ARMA 3 released on September, 2013 uses FADE as piracy protection.
Serious Sam 3 uses FADE by introducing overpowered or indestructible enemies in the zone.