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Mass Effect for PC: Why do people hate DRM?

Mike Doolittle's picture

Bioware's highly acclaimed and formerly XBox 360 exclusive RPG Mass Effect is fast approaching its release on the PC. Most PC gamers were undoubtedly pleased to hear about enhanced graphics, faster load times, and a re-designed menu system; but it's likely that fewer were happy to hear about the evil digital rights management that will be unscrupulously bundled with the game.

Like an increasing number of PC games nowadays, Mass Effect will require an online activation when it is installed. This has been common practice ever since Half-Life 2. But Mass Effect will also "phone home" every 10 days to make sure the key is valid, and it will carry a three-install limit. This has set many message boards afire with rants about "draconian" DRM and people threatening to pirate the game precisely because of the DRM.

It's times like this that I wonder why people are so adamantly opposed to DRM. It's worth noting that piracy came first; if people didn't steal their games, there would be no need for DRM. But the argument is something like this: the game will be pirated anyway, and DRM just inconveniences those who legitimately purchased their game.

But let's shift gears for a moment. The music industry has been similarly ravaged by piracy. It's easy enough to avoid any DRM simply by purchasing a CD. But that's not what most people do. The number one retailer of music is none other than Apple's iTunes. That's right – the same iTunes that gives you songs at 128kbps AAC and won't let you burn any song to CD more than five times. Apple has tried to appease the DRM-haters with iTunes plus, but it's a pretty small percentage of iTunes songs that use the "plus" format.

How has Apple managed to become the number one music retailer with such evil DRM? It's simple: most people don't care about DRM. I mean really, when you buy a CD, do you make ten copies? Twenty? Why on earth wouldn't five copies be enough? And the vast majority of people cannot tell the difference between a 128kbps AAC song and an uncompressed song on a CD. It's hard to imagine how iTunes songs would really inconvenience anyone.

So let's look again at Mass Effect. Is it really draconian to expect gamers to be connected to the internet? Sure, some people may want to play offline for some arbitrary reason, but is that really going to comprise a significant percentage of players? And what about the three-activation limit? How many times do you plan on re-installing the game? How many friends are you going to "loan" it to?

Here's the thing: due to various upgrades and reformats, I've passed the activation limits on one or two of my games. I simply contact the support with a request code given by the game, and they activate the game for me. Big. Deal.

The resistance to DRM like that seen in Mass Effect does not, in my view, come from a real belief that gamers are being inconvenienced in any significant way; rather, it comes from the belief that if you buy a piece of software, it's your property and you should be able to do whatever you want with it. But here's the thing: it's not your property. You are paying for the privilege of using the software, not ownership of the intellectual property.

But to the larger question: Does DRM really inconvenience legit gamers while utterly failing to combat piracy? Sometimes, yes, it has. But as long as piracy remains rampant, developers have every right to try to protect their software as best they can. Online authentication is perhaps the most promising form of piracy protection, and it's likely that more and more developers will use it, particularly as PC games move from the retail shelf to digital distribution.

Futhermore, I always have to cast a skeptical eye at those who claim that copy protection such as SecuROM causes bugs and glitches, because in the two and a half years that I've been a PC-only gamer, of all the 30 or so games I own, not a single one has caused me any problems at all due to copy protection. While it's not impossible that some users have legitimate problems, I feel that it's more probable that copy protection is often erroneously blamed other system issues.

Ultimately I feel that those who raise hell about DRM are in a minority. The alleged inconveniences are incredibly trivial, and if DRM can reduce piracy, it's good both for developers and gamers. And those who threaten piracy because of DRM? Well, those schmucks are probably already familiar with getting the five-finger discount. I challenge these irate gamers to offer their own solutions. PC piracy numbers are staggering, and causing many developers to leave the platform. If gamers don't like DRM, what other solutions might there be? What are these gamers accomplishing by throwing a fit and threatening more piracy, aside from egging developers to develop even stricter DRM?

DRM is not going anywhere. It's here to stay and until our society becomes a utopia where everyone is honest and nobody steals, gamers are just going to have to suck up the horrible inconvenience of plugging in their ethernet cable.

Category Tags
Series: Mass Effect  
Articles: Editorials  
Topic(s): Piracy & DRM  

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This article makes numerous

This article makes numerous false steps in logic, the chief one being the assumed cause-and-effect relationship between software piracy and DRM.

To assume DRM must and should exist to counteract piracy, which came first, is akin to saying grocery stores must and should insert magnetic strips into their apples to thwart the people who steal them, because the shoplifters came first.

It's a "he started it" argument, which is childish, and not smart from a business standpoint.

DRM is merely a tool--one way to fight piracy, an egregious and yes, draconian, tool, i.e., a bad tool, especially when it burdens the paying customer.

The argument that most users won't typically encounter DRM roadblocks does not excuse the trials of the few users who will, because, after all, it's the principle of the matter.

DRM assumes. It assumes you, the paying customer, the OWNER of the product, are a potential thief. It burdens YOU, the owner, with proving your ownership after the fact. This does not good business make.

If a company wants to be sure you really own something, the burden should and must fall on THEM to get the answer.

DRM makes the customer do the company's work for them. It's lazy, presumptuous.

There are better ways to counteract piracy. See Valve's Steam setup.

Countless, thorough studies reveal the "reverse effect" of intrusionary DRM, that it promotes MORE piracy by its very existeince.

Pro-DRM arguments, like the one made here, tend to ignore those studies.

Sorry I don't agree with

Sorry I don't agree with you. This is the whole concept of them considering its consumers as enemies and punishing them because of the people who do "pirate games" How many times does someone need to reformat a hard drive, multiple times I imagine. This is why PC games are selling so poorly, you cannot resell them, the require a code, and now all this DRM BS? that is just silly. Console games are way overpirced, 60 bucks + paying for DLC + xbox live fees, its terrible, but the games portability is far superior

Every console game is DRM

Every console game is DRM protected, and they're selling pretty well, don't you think?

Your music analogy is flawed

Your music analogy is flawed for a number of reasons. Firstly, the bit-rate of iTunes MP3s has nothing to do with their DRM. It may appear that it does because the Plus versions combine higher bitrate and stripped DRM, but it's not so. Secondly, there's a pretty big difference between being limited to making five physical copies (that can be used how and when you choose...all the DRM is removed in the transfer to CD) and having a limited number of activations of the product you purchased. Finally, there *is* an alternative to iTunes and other similar MP3 services for those who don't want the DRM. Not so much for DRMed PC games. I suppose one could claim that the 360 version of Mass Effect provides a similar option, but to me that's like claiming that records are an alternative to MP3s. The content's (essentially) the same, but there are some pretty profound practical differences. Besides, if the DRM drives people to the console version, that's not exactly helping PC games thrive.

It's pretty harsh to imply that people who've had legitimate trouble with games' DRM are somehow making things up. I'm happy for you that you've never had trouble. I myself went through the entirety of Bioshock (to name a pertinent example) without a hitch, but that's not true for everyone. Not by a long shot. And I *have* had to crack games to get them to work - in particular, Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising, which was completely unable to detect my legitimate retail CD in the drive.

I support some level of antipiracy measures. They're obviously needed. But the more draconian they get, the more they interfere with the experience of the legitimate user....and not the pirate, who's already disposed of them. One has to strike the balance between usability/consumer-friendliness, and effectiveness in stopping piracy. Since to date pretty much every anti-piracy system out there rates essentially nil in the latter category, I think it only fair to pick the one that rates best in the former. I'd say that's Stardock's "enter a legit serial for meaty updates" strategy. Which, alas, is only workable for some games. For the others....well, I don't know yet. But I'm quite certain SecuROM and Starforce aren't it.

I agree with the article.

I agree with the article. Note: legitimate buyers will always have the right serial code or whatever authentication they need, so I don't see how many of them will be disturbed about this.

On the other hand, even if DRM makes it harder to pirate a game than it is to buy the game, it succeeds. Let's face it, anyone with a bit of know-how and an internet connection can get the games much easier through torrents or sharing sites. This convinience of theft is what needs to be disrupted.

I won't rehash the obvious

I won't rehash the obvious problems with DRM, but I will say that the argument that it prevents piracy is pure lunacy.

BioShock was available on torrent sites with 24 hours and yes Mass Effect and Spore will be too.

There are people, thousands of people, who probably don't even play these games but who love the challenge of beating the DRM.

The bottom line is that DRM simply does not work.

Secondly, if I were a consumer and had issues with DRM, I might just sue the company on old property rights grounds.

Under the old property rights (and this may change in the near future, but it hasn't yet). I am the TRUE OWNER of that media, of that particular copy, and I have near TOTAL rights to do what I want.

Thirdly, if their DRM screwed up my system I could sue them for damages.

It's only a matter of time before some company institutes a DRM scheme that has a bug like the big in the old Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor game and it starts deleting the Windows System Folder. If that game happens to be a big seller like Half-Life or god forbid WoW...that company better have one HELL of a liability insurance policy to cover the losses.

It's not about Piracy.

This isn't about Piracy, EA know full well that a Hack will follow hot on the heels of the release.

This is about attacking the Second Hand Game market, which is far greater source of tangible revenue loss than Piracy (the ESA 'figures' on Piracy assume that everyone who pirated a game would have bought it had it not been pirated, which is complete tosh).

By limiting installs and making the system phone home, it makes it extremely difficult to resell the game once completed, and this is the idea.

So, don't let EA kid you they are 'fighting teh ebil pirates', cos they ain't and they know it, they are simply making sure that anyone who wants a legal copy of the game this time next year will have to give them the money rather than buy it second hand.

Can you imagine if Ford forced drivers to visit some kind of Parole officer every few months? Or told people they couldn't sell or buy second hand cars? There'd be outrage, and this is exactly the same situation.

Okay, while there was a lot

Okay, while there was a lot of stuff I disagree with in your piece, the biggest problem I have with DRM, specifically the proposed Mass Effect DRM, is that the DRM used, SecuROM, completely fails to work on my PC.

Why?

Because my hardware vendor failed to pay whatever ransom SecuROM asked for to make sure their hardware was recognised as "legit". Now none of games "secured" by SecuROM will work on my PC. So even if I legitimately buy the damn thing, I have to crack it anyway to play it.

Meanwhile, pirates get an easier time of it, the company loses even more money (by paying for a DRM solution that was ultimately worthless) and again, the end user gets the bill, not the pirate.

The best solution to piracy is not to punish users, but to make a product worth paying for. Pirates aren't going to buy them anyway, for the most part, so why should their opinion count for shit?

Consoles are also a closed

Consoles are also a closed system, where you can't install or customize every little thing about it.

Chris L, first of all,

Chris L, first of all, piracy on consoles is rampant. Mod chips and work-arounds are available for all consoles and handhelds. Secondly, the PC not only had more games released last year, but it had more critically acclaimed games released last year, with the average score on gamerankings.com and metacritic.com showing higher ratios for PC games than console games.

Consoles sell better because they are easier to use. Piracy is also less of an issue on consoles because the hardware manufacturers, Sony, MS and Nintendo, own their hardware. On PC it's every man for themselves, and companies have to take their own measures. Unfortunately, those measures only add cost and hassle to the paying customer, not to the pirate.

More money is lost through second hand sales than piracy every year, because pirates wouldn't buy the game in the first place. THAT is what companies are preventing with DRM and registration. They want to make sure that they, not the re-sellers like EB and Game, get the revenue, and with that I agree. EB and Game are nothing more than fronts for the used-game selling business.

I hope this article is not meant seriously?!

I hope this article is not meant seriously?!

people hate DRM because if I PAY for something I don't want nobody to tell me how to use it!

e.g. I don't want them to know when I play via online big brother/stasi-stuff. NO THANK YOU!

DRM = is a bad idea and it endangers your and my privacy. That's WHY!!!

DRM means that the music mafia (yes that's what the industry is!) want you to buy a CD for your living room, the same album as MP3 for your PC (ripping is stealing even if you OWN the CD, ya'know?!) and for your handheld player you should buy at least the MP3 file again... WTF??!!!!!
If you seriously defend such unfair (and illegal IMHO because of privacy issues) ideas then you're just a pawn in the game of the music mafia-slash-industry.[/quote]

BRILLIANT

Stephen wrote:

This article makes numerous false steps in logic, the chief one being the assumed cause-and-effect relationship between software piracy and DRM.

brilliance con....

BRILLIANT post, I was goign to drool in my 2 cents on how 30%(zippy logic) of the consuemr base will never buy in to what they are selling thus they are merely hurting them selfs annoying the consumers that do buy, I find online activation insulting, I am a self proclaimed black sheeple (complete with magical black paint and tinfoil hat) I am "energetic" over my consumer rights I see DRM as a way to ensure the consuemr will pay more than once or needlessly belittle and annoy the consuemr(steam).

DRM is pointless and costly, bioshock was fully creaked in a WEEK how many millions are they spending on on a zombie whale of a business plan?

As a gamer who seeks quality in games I no longer buy new and if I do its that rare random game that can balance fun and quality, after the casual nightmare of bioshock I am rethinking my 30$ limit on games,I got BS for 30$ and it is a broken out of the game that is underdeved and still unfinished because they will not patch it, I think I will move to a strict try before I buy route,it wont matter I buy used statistically there is no difference unless you count the hundreds of dollars that might trickle into the industry over the years by proxy but they seem to blow more on hard blow thinking their petty setups and udnerdeved projects are the sht.

I wonder what came first the industry not supporting products or consumers or the consumers saying fck it...... much like the music industry the game industry is displacing blame and going through denial its that addict to profiteering(rackets and price fixing).

Oh and before I return to recesses of the net I consider steam bloated spyware and thus will limit the games infected with it I buy,I will buy used and use the "steamless version" to protect my right to play a game I bought, the same goes for anything that uses online activation, altho its generally cracked away in less than a month.

oy the drool gets everywhere LOL

Flawed analogy, logic, support of DRM

Mike Doolittle, are you gunning for a job with the content industry? You've been drinking the kool aid about "DRM prevents piracy" quite a bit, based on the prevarications on this article.

If DRM was so important, why is Amazon, Lavamus, and other places selling MP3's that are DRM-free?

I bought two songs from ITunes, and then decided never again, due to the weak DRM restrictions. There are plenty of places that sell MP3's with no DRM.

Disclaimer-I don't care about Mass Effect, and don't support companies that push DRM aggressively and I spend money on the EFF, who fights DRM.

Forgot to add

Join the ECA and put in your thoughts for the gamer bill of rights
http://forums.theeca.com/showthread.php?t=4485

Current "draft"
http://forums.theeca.com/showpost.php?p=77426&postcount=43

Also takea look at this
PC game developer has radical message: ignore the pirates
http://forums.theeca.com/showthread.php?t=4560

Much like in the music industry there are a few people that get it.

In the end the harder the DRM the quicker you will draw "decrypters" out of the wood work and the more paying consumers you turn off, DRM is a loss for all but the DRM makers and the crazy coders that crack them for fun.

Easy. Two arguments: 1) It

Easy. Two arguments:

1) It does nothing against piracy.

2) If f***s customers. There is a BIG number of games whose performance has been hindered by DRM. Some couldn't even be loaded out of the box without a patch. And now you have to depend on a net connection?.

Sorry, anyone who thinks DRM is good is deluding himself and/or gets turned on when thinking about 1984

BTW, the captcha here is another example of overboard protection: 1 minute to write the comment, 2 to be able to submit it?. Sorry, but that's stupid.

Disagreed

Your argument's key assumption is wrong: that DRM stops piracy.

DRM does not stop piracy: DRM screws over paying customers, whilst pirates download the cracked version with no DRM whatsoever. Just because you have never experienced problems from DRM doesn't mean that it is not an issue. I, for instance, have never been run over by a drunk driver.

Besides, you argue that it's no big deal to have it authenticated every 10 days. I am about to switch broadband provider and won't have access for 3 weeks. If I bought Mass Effect or Spore to keep me occupied while I was waiting to be reconnected, I could be locked out from it after six days (assuming I got the timing spot on for maximum disruption).

Besides, if you bought the game legitimately (as the first authentication proved), why would it then become a pirated copy afterwards? You're arguing that a system which has no point isn't a problem because it won't affect you, but might affect others.

I think that this might be an indicator of some kind of non-logic based egomania - seek medicinal help immediately.

hehehehee

Anonymous wrote:

Easy. Two arguments:

1) It does nothing against piracy.

2) If f***s customers. There is a BIG number of games whose performance has been hindered by DRM. Some couldn't even be loaded out of the box without a patch. And now you have to depend on a net connection?.

Sorry, anyone who thinks DRM is good is deluding himself and/or gets turned on when thinking about 1984

BTW, the captcha here is another example of overboard protection: 1 minute to write the comment, 2 to be able to submit it?. Sorry, but that's stupid.

try megagames.com captcha,it could always be worse, frankly IMO a captcha should be no more than 5 characters long and be case insensitive but still I have seen crappy unreadable captchas this is only minorly annoying.

Quote: developers have

Quote:

developers have every right to try to protect their software as best they can

No, no they don't. My computer, my rules. They are not allowed to lower the security of my computer. I have a few hard and fast rules, and all they are is simple restatement of least privilege, one of the basic tenets of security. Games don't need these privileges, therefore they don't get them. If they require them, they don't get purchased and put on the computer.

  • No direct net access needed. I can transfer to it from my LAN, but it doesn't have access outside. Needless to say, single player only is all I do
  • No admin access needed, either for install or for use. There's no need for writing HKLM, or C:\Program Files or C:\Windows, or installing a service or a driver for a game. I've written security software that installs and works as guest on up, so a game can do it too
Quote:

Like an increasing number of PC games nowadays, Mass Effect will require an online activation when it is installed. This has been common practice ever since Half-Life 2.

One of the reasons I had largely dropped out of PC gaming was the upgrade treadmill. I was planning on building a kickass gaming computer for HL-2, I had waited years for this game. Then there was Steam. I don't care what game it is, those rules above are not getting broken, *PERIOD*.

If DRM is so hunky dory, why is it I have games that won't work on XP or WINE, yet if you crack it, it works fine on both? You artificially tie it to a system for no good reason.

So now I game almost exclusively on consoles. As a comment above indicated, yes, consoles are DRMed to hell and back. But these are not on the network, not even the LAN and have no access to other data. I have little concern about one game interfering with another (or with other software). It's not a general purpose machine, so the DRM is not getting in the way at all. It's a gaming appliance, which is what I want. No worries about compatibility, drop a disk in and play.

Who wrote the check?

Seriously, are you an industry shill?

In your "2 1/2 years" of gaming you've not paid attention much have you? Nor have you looked around much to see the problems DRM causes when the DRM determines your system is non-compliant because the hardware vendor didn't implement feature X for the DRM at the cost of performance.

You iTunes argument skips over the fact Wal-Mart and Amazon are gaining massive ground with no DRM what-so-ever or that even on iTunes people pay a premium to buy a song without DRM.

Since we've determined you did no research for this blog post (we won't call shill an article), google "Sony Rootkit" and learn what companies really try to do with DRM.

DRM has nothing to do with piracy, that is fact. DRM is a way to force users to purchase the same content over and over again, and prevent users from reselling the content in the "used" markets. Don't you think if there was a way to DRM books publishers would leap at the chance - not to stop Xerox copies, but to shut down those used book stores.

On thing is clear from all this, if Gamer Critics takes it's cues from the industry on pushing DRM, then it probably takes it's cues from publishers on reviews as well.

Hamad wrote: Note:

Hamad wrote:

Note: legitimate buyers will always have the right serial code or whatever authentication they need, so I don't see how many of them will be disturbed about this.

Tell that to the people that bought videos from MLB, or music from the MSN store, or music from Sony, or temporary glitches with XP and Vista

If you think servers will always stay up, you're incredibly naive. Companies go out of business, and will shutter things for other reasons as well.

Most of the review industry is tho

Michael C. Neel wrote:

Seriously, are you an industry shill?

In your "2 1/2 years" of gaming you've not paid attention much have you? Nor have you looked around much to see the problems DRM causes when the DRM determines your system is non-compliant because the hardware vendor didn't implement feature X for the DRM at the cost of performance.

You iTunes argument skips over the fact Wal-Mart and Amazon are gaining massive ground with no DRM what-so-ever or that even on iTunes people pay a premium to buy a song without DRM.

Since we've determined you did no research for this blog post (we won't call shill an article), google "Sony Rootkit" and learn what companies really try to do with DRM.

DRM has nothing to do with piracy, that is fact. DRM is a way to force users to purchase the same content over and over again, and prevent users from reselling the content in the "used" markets. Don't you think if there was a way to DRM books publishers would leap at the chance - not to stop Xerox copies, but to shut down those used book stores.

On thing is clear from all this, if Gamer Critics takes it's cues from the industry on pushing DRM, then it probably takes it's cues from publishers on reviews as well.

Most of the review industry is tho dose take its cues from publishers why do you think 7 is the new average and not 5?

Awesome post BTW!

Wrong

Hamad wrote:

I agree with the article. Note: legitimate buyers will always have the right serial code or whatever authentication they need, so I don't see how many of them will be disturbed about this.

On the other hand, even if DRM makes it harder to pirate a game than it is to buy the game, it succeeds. Let's face it, anyone with a bit of know-how and an internet connection can get the games much easier through torrents or sharing sites. This convinience of theft is what needs to be disrupted.

Wrong on both counts. First, a legitimate user might install a game, uninstall it and want to player it months later but not have the serial. I've had this problem several times with legitimately bought software that I then have to crack.

Second the biggest and worst one is that deterring more pirates than customers is somehow a winning strategy. It isn't but a lot of businesses think this and it is why they're failing. Everytime you lose a customer the business is failing. Businesses, even computer game businesses should be in the business to have customers and not to inflate their egos. Who cares if someone pirates? the company doesn't lose money. The only reason for DRM is to force pirates who are would-be buyers into buying the game. DRM like everything else in business should be measured against sales. If your DRM is driving sales down you should get rid of it, even if more people pirate your game.

This is the exact problem with Mass Effect. It drives away customers and a lot of customers to disable pirates who might not buy the game anyways.

Stardock is being successful in part because they understand the idea of "Make it easier to be a customer than a Pirate".

EA and Securom do not.

To paraphrase this article:

To paraphrase this article: "It's ok for big companies to tell you when you can and can't use things that are have purchased because you can't actually own anything anymore. They own what you buy and they own you. And if you don't like it tough." It's filled with similar holes in logic all over.

"And what about the three-activation limit? How many times do you plan on re-installing the game?"

I keep my games forever. I still break out the N64 to play 12 year old games, and I still play PC games from the early 1990s. Do they honestly plan to keep their activations servers and especially the phone numbers valid for 10+ years? What about people who pick this up out of the bargain bin in a few years? What about resale at Gamestop and Ebay?

"It's easy enough to avoid any DRM simply by purchasing a CD. But that's not what most people do. The number one retailer of music is none other than Apple's iTunes."

Yes, it is way easier to call the local best buy to see if they have some obscure album with your song, drive 15+ minutes with gas at 4$ a gallon, buy 12 songs that you don't want just to get one that you do, and then rip it to PC while avoiding rootkits. Instead, people use the itunes application that they already have because Apple shoved it down their throats. People can, and do in increasing numbers, use the amazon store which is DRM free, even if it is far less convenient.

"So let's look again at Mass Effect. Is it really draconian to expect gamers to be connected to the internet?"

Yes. Not everyone has broadband, and many people stuck on dial-up do not want to use the internet all the time. It will mostly likely take over 5 minutes to activate over dial up (counting connection time). That may not seem like much, but imagine having to wait 5 minutes everytime you want to play a game, as would be the case if every game had this protection.

"I challenge these irate gamers to offer their own solutions. PC piracy numbers are staggering, and causing many developers to leave the platform. If gamers don't like DRM, what other solutions might there be?"

What if the reason why people don't buy PC games is because of the DRM (or other unrelated things like poor controls and high system reqs)? DRM clearly hasn't stopped piracy, and since it was instituted, PC game sales have been steadily declining. People who are on the fence about buying this game won't bother because of this. I certainly won't recommend this over the "superior" DRM free 360 version.

About a year ago I installed

About a year ago I installed a Ubisoft title on my athlon 64 system with a Nforce 2 mobo, Windows XP Pro sp2, Lite-On DVD-RW drive and IIRC I had a 7800gt PCI-E card at the time. Before installing the game I was able to play WoW for hourse at a time with no issues whatsoever, as well as burn dvds of home videos (I have a 3 year old, she was 2 at the time) and generally had an excellent computing experience. After installing the Ubisoft game, which had Starforce protection, a lot of this changed. WoW crashed after an hour or so, burned DVDs built from unencrypted .avi source files from my personal camcorder (I put it this way because based on your article you believe every person who bitches about DRM is a pirate) ended up being coasters every freaking time. I went through about 10 dvd-rs, using different programs and calling tech support for Nero and Blizz (remember, WoW was acting funny too). I eventually gave up and figured it was a hard drive error or something and started work on finding what component it was that was at issue until I read a thread in [H]ardocp from other Ubisoft customers about their issues with Starforce.

I followed the instructions to remove Starforce from my system and lo, the issues were resolved. I've been building PCs and trouble-shooting PCs for well over a decade. The code wheels and key codes of yesteryear never caused this bullshit. You can call me a pirate all you want but I know for a fact that a .dll which was snuck onto my system by Ubisoft and run every time my system rebooted was causing system instability. After that experience I can't trust my money to a similar scheme which may or may not cause instability.

I don't think DRM is evil in the case of PC games, but I think buggy horrible DRM that fucks up systems is. The bottom line is that you cannot return PC games, if you buy a game that causes instability you are fucked. If you are fucked by DRM then there is not a damn thing you can do except enjoy the experience of being called a pirate by the company you just paid 50 bucks to.

Virtually stopped buying PC games

I have almost entirely quit buying PC games. There is the constant struggle to keep my PC updated so that games will function at all, and play with at least a moderate level of quality; there is the predominant reliance on Windows which I have come to hate with a passion; and there is the issue of DRM which (lucky you, Mr. Doolittle) has screwed up my hard drive on a number of occasions and then which has failed to install on new hard drives because I didn't install and then uninstall the game correctly.

Not all computers are connected to the internet (shock! horror!) and shouldn't need to be in order to authorize and play a game. I suggest you consult a company like Stardock which has done away with DRM and instead provides incentives like updates, bug fixes and expansion packs to ensure the majority of games are purchased rather than pirated.

The few recent exceptions on my Windows partition are games from Steam, which offer a number of conveniences in exchange for a permanent tether to my computer; a MMO game that is coded almost entirely in Java and so requires little in the way of proof that I own my copy of the game, and some games by the aforementioned Stardock, which I enjoy and support tremendously. If these games were only available as DRM'd PC disks, I would not own them. My experience with DRM (not just on games, but on all software and media) is one of limitation and restriction rather than freedom, and 'breakage' and failure rather than success.

I think companies should worry less about fixing piracy and more about fixing their broken business models which make piracy all but mandatory if you want to enjoy your games and media in ways beyond what the vendor misguidedly permits.

Oh, and the main reason people buy DRM'd music from iTunes is to make it available to their iPods through the iTunes program. Non-DRM'd music isn't selling well through iTunes because it's more expensive, and because there are other ways to get non-DRM'd songs (including CDs) and import them into iTunes if needed. Similarly, nothing keeps you from burning a CD full of songs in iTunes and then converting all the songs to MP3 from that disk. You can also reproduce that disk an infinite number of times with software other than iTunes. If you want songs encoded at a higher quality, you would either encode them yourself from CD or download higher quality versions from elsewhere. Other players may use different software and different music networks, but the issues are similar.

All this to say: let's not be naive or disingenuous about the hows, whys and wherefores of music piracy, and its relationship to game or other software piracy. There is no correlation, except that consumers want to own their digital purchases (and not just lease, rent or license them) and want them to work in the way that is convenient and sensible for them--not the vendor--in an unencumbered and dependable way. We want that from our toasters and microwaves, we want that from our chairs and sofas and beds, and we want that from everything else we purchase. In lieu of a digital consumers' bill of rights, we'll just do what we have to do.

A defence of Mr. Doolittle

I love how almost all the comments here are basically the same formula:
A.) Accuse Mike of being an industry lapdog
B.) Use the word "draconian"...seriously, stop using it. It refers to penalties and regulations, not contracts.
c.) Criticize Mike's iTunes analogy either by making fun of it and failing to refute it or by making up some bat shit crazy example that must somehow prove its ineffectiveness.
D.) Twist his words
E.) Talk about your rights.
F.) *Optional* Use incoherent English and make wildly tangential statements.

A few examples:

To the person who talked about magnetic strips in apples: while they don't put them in food, don't most stores tag items to make sure they can't be brought out of the store? Do you boycott those stores for treating you, the customer, like a thief?

To Mr. Imagine-if-ford-made-you... Seriously, ford ain't worried about you taking their car and making copies of it. That analogy does not work.

To the people who regularly reformat: seriously, I am curious exactly why you need to do this. I assume legitimate reasons, but you might want to keep your gaming confined to a machine that isn't constantly being wiped. I have reformatted twice. In 8 years.

Hag: there is a 10 day grace period. As long as you had the connection on install, that would be a single day you could not play.

Whoever it was: Mike never said people who had trouble were making it up. He said they were confused as to the source of their vexation.

People worried about privacy: Have you ever used a debit card to buy something? Hell, those of you praising Steam, are you sure your financial info is secure? I understand the fear for ones privacy... but you are worried about the stain in the carpet while your house is on fire.

And finally, this guy:

Rob wrote:

No, no they don't. My computer, my rules. They are not allowed to lower the security of my computer. I have a few hard and fast rules, and all they are is simple restatement of least privilege, one of the basic tenets of security. Games don't need these privileges, therefore they don't get them. If they require them, they don't get purchased and put on the computer.

Alright, really? You are damn right that is it your computer and therefore your rules. You have every right to choose what goes on your system... so you have every right not to buy a game that has software you do not want on your computer. You do NOT have the right to demand that you get the game without the protection software. In what world of self entitlement does it make sense for them to not have the right to protect their game, but you have the right to have it no matter what? Owning and playing the game is not a right, it is a privilege that you get by paying for it. You have a right to choose to buy or not buy the game, nothing more. If you want the game badly enough then you accept the software. If you don't want it badly enough, then you deal with it. You do not have the right to go pirate the game because it is your "right" to play it. You seem to be suggesting that they are going to forcibly install it onto your computer, charge you for it, and then install their copy protection.

Seriously, is so upset because the developers are trying to protect their investment. Apparently we all have rights to their hard work and tears but they have no rights to try to protect that. As long as they tell you what security measures they are using, you have the right to buy it or not. Are some of the measures annoying and stupid? Sure, but it is their right to that if they see fit, and it is your right to buy or not buy as you see fit.

It is NOT your right to pirate the game to teach them a lesson because you do not have a right to play the game. You have a right to buy the game. The difference3 is huge. I suspect many will and would have pirated it anyway. At least be honest with yourself that you are thieves and not some robin hood like freedom fighters trying to stick it to the man.

Hmm. Considering this guy

Hmm. Considering this guy seems to be a corporate tool, I have to wonder. Is he aware that the stuff on iTunes, Amazon, what-have-you, that is DRM-free is massively outselling the DRM restricted stuff?

Gee I wonder why that is. Perhaps people are willing to support companies that don't treat us all like criminals. Just a thought.

Interesting that you talk

Interesting that you talk about twisting peoples words and then go straight into twisting my words into making it look like I was talking about piracy and not Second Hand Sales. As I said earlier i my post, but you handily omitted, the Pirates will be using hacked versions of the game within months, and EA knows that.

This install limit is to prevent resale, not copying.

To counter Tristram.... how

To counter Tristram.... how marvelously Objectivist. Yes, you're quite right that these games represent a privilege- the catch is that this goes for, well, pretty much everything. Movie theaters can kick you out of a movie- mid-showing I might add- simply because they don't like your shirt. Think that's against the rules? At least some companies put those rules right there on the back of your ticket. Don't like it? Don't go to the movies.

Or don't get a car ("I didn't HAVE to build a car dealership here...")

Or don't buy food ("I didn't HAVE to build a grocery store here....")

Where does the line stop?

The catch is it doesn't. The government will only step in when these abuse-of-contract situations effect a person's genuine ability to live (such as ye old practice of sharecropping), but I say the spirit of abuse remains the same. While companies such as EA have the right to pull this DRM garbage, we also have the right to call it what it is- garbage.

And that is what it is: garbage.

My last comment was at

My last comment was at Tristram Draper btw, not sure if threading is working in here...

Not had one problem with

Not had one problem with SecuRom? I guess you never played GRAW on PC then.

I got it free from Ubisoft at a LAN party (i am talking a LEGIT copy handed out by an Ubisoft rep.) and installed it. The game kept thinking I had emulation software running or had a no-cd crack.... WITH THE DISC IN THE DRIVE. Same with a couple other people that got a copy. Made it really hard to play the following GRAW tournament (got 2nd place though :D )

Re-activating the game every 10 days is not much of a problem as usual, there are certain situations that would suck.

My main beef would be with only being to install it 3 times (and it monitoring my computer hardware). I have had games think that a new piece of hardware was installed (or taken out) when nothing has been touched. Hell, Windows XP did this and I had to reactivate it. You might say call customer support but taking a page from Bioshock, that can turn out to be a REALLY BIG hassle (if anyone caught the story, the developer and copyright protection people just kept redirecting you to the other)

In conclusion, YES, things can be a hassle. It might not be for you and I congratulate your luck, but it would not be the same for others. Windows Vista comes to mind all of a sudden....

Paying for the privilege?

Although you don't own the copyright in books, for example, you can do whatever you want with that particular instantiation of the books. Although you don't own the copyright in music, you can, in fact, make your own copies of CDs for your own personal use- when the CDs aren't themselves protected by digital copyright mechanisms (which contrary to the piece does on occasion occur- Sony rootkit debacle, anyone?). At any rate, an individual is not subject to the whims of the copyright holder- and that fact is IN copyright law, reflected in exemptions such as fair use, education, libraries and archives exemptions, the first sale doctrine, and so on. DRM (particularly coupled with the noncircumvention provision of the DMCA and overreaching licensing) destroys those exemptions.

I can load up my 10 year old copy of Planescape: Torment whenever I want. I won't be able to do the same with Mass Effect.

Get rid of DRM

Currently very old dos games can be installed and played.
Even older windows games can be installed and played.

When you have a game with DRM and authentication.
As soon as the DRM server is turned off.....
You will be able to install but NOT play a game that you have purchased such as mass effect.

Brilliant if you want to play retro games at some point in the future (NOT).

Cases in point are the music sites and video sites using DRM that have turned off the authentication servers .. have a nice day as your completely out of luck.
This has already occured and will continue to occur - ie the forcing to 'turn off' software or media via DRM.

I will not be purchasing Mass effect or Spore or any future programs that feature online authentication for the above reason - Once the DRM server is turned off - so does your ability to play a newly installed game.

I have owned a legitimately

I have owned a legitimately purchased copy of Morrowind for four years, and in that time I have reinstalled it six or seven times for various reasons (lack of hard drive space, system restoration, buying a new computer). And my internet access is far from constant - when I'm a little tight on money it's usually one of the first things to go.

So for some of us, Mass Effect's DRM DOES hamper our ability to play the game. Good thing I have the Xbox version. :)

''A few examples: To the

''A few examples:

To the person who talked about magnetic strips in apples: while they don't put them in food, don't most stores tag items to make sure they can't be brought out of the store? Do you boycott those stores for treating you, the customer, like a thief?''

err... yeah but if most stores left the magnetic strips on AFTER I LEFT THE SHOP, AFTER I HAD ALREADY PAID GOOD MONEY FOR IT, AND EVERY 10 DAYS THE DAMN THING KEPT SETTING ALARMS OFF ID BE F***NG ANNOYED!

"Interesting that you talk

"Interesting that you talk about twisting peoples words and then go straight into twisting my words into making it look like I was talking about piracy and not Second Hand Sales. As I said earlier i my post, but you handily omitted, the Pirates will be using hacked versions of the game within months, and EA knows that."

Dear Anon,
I apologize if you feel I was twisting your words. In fact, I was not even responding to you when I talked about reformatting, which I assume is the offending section. However, I do wonder, now that you bring it up, why the game companies who know that pirates will find a way around the install limit think that people buying them second hand won't.

D-,
I am not sure exactly what point you are trying to make about the car dealership and grocery store example. In fact, beyond the example of the movie theatre, It makes little sense to me. What does sharecropping or government intervention have to do with this situation? However, in the movie scenario, surely you are glad about those rules? I mean, if someone had a right to watch the movie no matter what, then the theatre couldn't kick out someone that was harassing or bothering other viewers. If I ever own my own business, I definitely want to be able to expel people who are interfering with its function.

But what does this have to do with gaming? I am at a loss as to how this even relates. I am, I admit, not the brightest man in the world. Could you please elucidate your argument for me?

Finally, Anonymous 2, re: paying for the privilege?

Well, that is not necessarily true. After ten years I suspect the limits on installs will have been eliminated... in fact, I'm pretty sure they would. Especially as people work on sequels or want to use their previous games as advertising for upcoming titles. Hell, Edios (it was Edios, right?) gave Deus Ex away for free with computer gaming world in preparation for Deus Ex 2.

THANK YOU!

Quote:

Tell that to the people that bought videos from MLB, or music from the MSN store, or music from Sony, or temporary glitches with XP and Vista

If you think servers will always stay up, you're incredibly naive. Companies go out of business, and will shutter things for other reasons as well.

The reason itunes does so well is that the majority of MUSIC customers haven't yet experienced a "lost" purchase due to DRM provider disappearing. Lucky for them Apple isn't likely to disappear soon, but if they are ever brought to face the harsh reality of the license they have signed without thinking, you can bet they'll be hunting for a "no-cd crack" equivalent for itunes purchases.

"To Mr.

"To Mr. Imagine-if-ford-made-you... Seriously, ford ain't worried about you taking their car and making copies of it. That analogy does not work."

Well, if you actually read his whole comment instead of skimming over it, you would know that his ford analogy mentioned nothing about making copies. The ford analogy was all about re-selling which is one of the things the DRM works to prevent; drivers would be pretty pissed off if they were not able to re-sell their old cars. With only a limit of re-installs it would be impossible to re-sell the game; kinda funny how EA tells us they are fighting pirates but doesn't mention their measures also prevents LEGAL re-sales of used games, or LEGALLY borrowing the game to a friend for a period of time... they probably realized that the fallout would be even worse if gamers realized that...

"To the people who regularly reformat: seriously, I am curious exactly why you need to do this. I assume legitimate reasons, but you might want to keep your gaming confined to a machine that isn't constantly being wiped. I have reformatted twice. In 8 years."

That's you... not everybody can go that long without reformatting (re-installed mine twice in 4 years; first time due to a problem that the only way to fix it was through reformat, and the second time because i noticed my computer was running much slower than how it used to), hell alot of people replace their computers all together. Taking into account my change in computers and the number of times i've reformatted said computers, my oldest games have gone beyond the 3 re-installs. Unlike hardcore gamers who know how to build their own computers and keep them updated, some of us less tech-savvy gamers buy new computers instead of updating the same old one. And the average consumer is NOT tech-savvy to the point that they are constantly updating their computers and instead buy new ones to keep up-to-date. Companies should be making things as easy on their costumers as possible; re-installs may not be a problem for the tech-savvy but the non-tech-savvy will be hurt and that ain't right... gamers should not be required to know that much about their computer to play a game

not to mention, the best way to prevent a computer from needing to be wiped would be to disconnect it from the internet to prevent virus's completely, since virus shields and what-not don't always work, especially for the very non-tech-savvy people... ofcourse, the DRM REQUIRES the computer be connected to the internet so that option is out.

Chris L wrote: Every

Chris L wrote:

Every console game is DRM protected, and they're selling pretty well, don't you think?

Because it is imposible to 1. obtain the media the system accepts to burn to 2. imposible to download directly onto the console. Futhermore console games don't come with asaine DRM methods like the ones EA is trying..

Not to mention the larger market for consoles then PCs

I have severe issues with

I have severe issues with this article and the assumptions it makes.

1. iTunes is a completely invalid comparison to DRM for computer games. The success of iTunes is tied completely to the iPod, and without the social status of the iPod, iTunes would have failed completely. It's an overpriced, overly-draconian system that is accepted only because it's socially cool.

2. Let's put this a different way. Let's say that you purchased a car, and every 10 days you have to drive to the car lot you purchased your car from and show the paperwork to the salesmen that you actually bought the car, or they have the right to seize your car. You'd be in a furious rage over it, and rightly so.

3. Before the music and movie industry spent huge amounts of money lobbying the US government to pass severely biased laws, we had a set of copyright laws that applied to software, music, movies, and other entertainment. It was called "fair use". Over and over again, as new technology came out, from video tape, audio tape, and CD burners, entertainment industries have always tried to resist the technology by suing under the concept that it violates their copyright. The courts, the judicial system, repeatedly shot down these attempts, under the concept of "fair use", which means that there are certain things that are reasonable to expect a purchaser of media to do with that media. The companies who produce such media finally wised up and simply lobbied for new laws. Your point of view flies in the face of a hundred years of copyright law and precedent.

4. You may not have a problem with the concept of being guilty until proven innocent (repeatedly having to prove you're innocent), but I do. Just because a company wants to make a profit doesn't mean it gets to throw the entire premise of the justice system out the window.

5. DRM *does* only trouble legitimate users. I promise someone will still crack Mass Effect, and people who don't want to pay for the game won't. There is a relatively small percentage of people out there that would buy the game to play, but won't because they can pirate it. Every pirated copy of a game out there doesn't equate to a lost sale.

6. This isn't about piracy, it's about control. Control of how code is controlled and accessed. Activation is a reasonable precaution to prevent privacy, I myself have no problem with that, but let's face it, checking in on you every 10 days will not curb piracy. It just another small layer of privacy peeled away. The publishers now can collect information on how frequently you play, when you play, and what hardware you play on, and can track the progression of your system. God only knows what other data the company could, in theory, gather for profit? Who would be the wiser? Dissecting the DRM methods to find out would be a federal felony, so we'd just have to take the publisher's word for it, and that is nerve-wracking.

7. You sound like a corporate shill. You have no new arguments to bring to the table, and to top it all off, you're untimely. Bioware has already stated that the 10 day periodic activation isn't going to be in the software. I doubt it ever was really. I think it was announced to create a hellstorm, and then when they "backed off" to the normal protection scheme, everyone would be happy with it. If that's the case, you played into their plan by helping fuel the controversy, which makes you a corporate tool whether you know it or not.

Tristram Draper wrote: You

Tristram Draper wrote:

You seem to be suggesting that they are going to forcibly install it onto your computer, charge you for it, and then install their copy protection.

If you've been paying attention to CERT, they have. See the root holes in the macromedia protection that comes with Windows. Not installing the application software was not an option.

Quote:

Seriously, is so upset because the developers are trying to protect their investment. Apparently we all have rights to their hard work and tears but they have no rights to try to protect that. As long as they tell you what security measures they are using, you have the right to buy it or not. Are some of the measures annoying and stupid? Sure, but it is their right to that if they see fit, and it is your right to buy or not buy as you see fit.

So, exactly where does it say on most boxes which is starforce, which is securerom, which is macromedia? Some simply say "doesn't work with all CD/DVD drives", this because of the protection. A list would be nice, and knowing what makes it incompatible so as not to buy a drive with that issue in the future.

And if they are protecting their investment and attempting to ruin mine (see various root holes in some of the protection drivers, rumors of hardware destruction, need to purchase additional hardware or software because of arbitrary decisions), they need to fully accept the liability of the protection, give full refunds without hesitation, as well as accept punitive damages if the protection results in the possibility of a breach when the game isn't running.

Quote:

It is NOT your right to pirate the game to teach them a lesson because you do not have a right to play the game.

Agreed 100%. However, I have trouble getting my panties in a wad over it. You get what you ask for.

schmuck?

i travel for work and more than 3/4 of the time i am not able to access the internet. therefore, with a game like this, i would have no choice to pirate it if i intend to play it. the system forces me to do this to a product i already bought.

schmuck? go to hell, you internet uncle tom.

i'm glad a game like ultima 7 didn't have DRM because origin systems no longer exists! you remember ultima 7 right... oh right, you've been a pc gamer for 2 and a half years.

you might be right about drm kid, but defending this bull doesn't help anyone. maybe your efforts will be better spent defending the RIAA as it tries to sue innocent internet users to extort them out of settlements.

FWIW i don't blame bioware for the DRM, it's almost certainly the distributor. bioware tends to patch out copy protection the first chance they get.

malkav11 wrote: I support

malkav11 wrote:

I support some level of antipiracy measures. They're obviously needed.

The presence of attractive multiplayer pretty much forces anyone who pirates the game to buy a copy. A game without this type of feature is all but begging to be pirated at this point in time.

If only the same were true in the movie industry for all the sequels and comic book movies.

"Is it really draconian to

"Is it really draconian to expect gamers to be connected to the internet?"

Easy -
1) Gaming laptop (point being, it has a battery)
2) Power outage
3) Nothing to do so you pull out the copy of Mass Effect that you haven't touched in a month (or at least 11 days)

and boom - a legitimate copy of the game in hand and the inability to play it.

Tristram Draper

Tristram Draper

a.a shill is a shill when the logic is flawed to the point of "let them eat cake" or in this case "I don't see it I can’t see."?

b.1. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Draco or his code of laws.
2. (often lowercase) rigorous; unusually severe or cruel: Draconian forms of punishment.

c.One cannot twist his words when they clearly state DRM is not bad or flawed.

e.EULA is not law, I have consuemr rights that OUT WEIGH thier right to lock the software up for my personal use.

f.Reading comprehension should compensate for poor English, unless of course you cannot read, or too lazy to do so.

Now for mew rebuttal

1.You can't copy a car and if it was stolen the owner of it would suffer not the maker, you can’t tie in physical theft with downloading because ultimately 1 is not 1 it’s not even 1 in 10, the ratio of real damage is beyond bias calculations even more so when 30% of all consumers will never spend money on new overpriced sht.

2.my computer runs 24/7 I don’t use backups and MS has made it so you cannot simple reinstall things like DX, all it takes is 1 hard crash/reboot and bits of windose SOL, I have had the direct ex go to pot 3 times in the last year sometimes being so a subtle it cannot run certain DX game types like the new UE3 games, thanks for not comprehending windose nor the need for fresh install every few months as well because the normal user will run it into the ground then either refresh it for format it.

3.Thank you master for giving me 10 days grace for paying for something I bought, ya buggy DRM that crashes systems or invalidates installs because of bad design is user error…I guess fit is that complicated no wonder people are not buying games… *lick*
4. People worried about privacy fall to 2 types sheeple happy to buy what being sold no matter the quality and the suits that want everyone to rebuy every year.

5.Yes I have the right to boycott the product I have the right to not put it on my PC but I also have the right to buy and protect my investment by HACKING the product for MY personal use.

6. Piracy is truly like thought crime with the supposed damage being so minor to such a large industry they have reversed their mentalities to save a penny buy spending millions on protections that are broken in a week, god forbid they support and nurture their products and stop treating their consumers life thief’s.

The game industries biggest threat is not pirates but the 2nd hand market or have you forgotten your history when the music mafia tried to ban the sale of used CDs and tapes, think about it the 2nd hard market is much like bootlegs it removes money that could go directly to the publisher, because bootlegging is relegated IE a crime its numbers are statistically minor compared to the 2nd hand market, even downloading on a world wide scale is only 30% of the consumer base if not lesser since I lump sharing, bootlegging and 2nd hand all in that category.
Of course if one could return the bad games maybe people would not feel cheated when they buy games and not be forced to protect their investment by previewing the product first, if it right no but neither is the industry ignoring all its flaws..

You must understand the numbers don’t add up, it’s only logical that DRM + rushing + bugs + quality + bad business practices + anti consumer mentalities in the media industries makes them weaker not stronger.

Why do people hate DRM?

Why do people hate DRM? Legitimate buyers hate it because it restricts what they can do with the game. If I buy a game and use it properly, why does it have to phone into a central office on a regular basis? People who don't buy the game hate it because it makes the game harder to pirate.

Of course, most piracy is circumvented quickly, so in the end it's only the paying customers that are inconvenienced. And, we know this.

Users will always have the authdentication they need?

Hamad wrote:

I agree with the article. Note: legitimate buyers will always have the right serial code or whatever authentication they need, so I don't see how many of them will be disturbed about this.

I suggest you talk to users of MSN Music or Google video. Both of those services used a 'phone home' type of authentication, and both have decided to shut down the authentication servers. As a result of that, all the customers have now lost the use of the products they paid for. they were not warned of this possibility when they paid their money, nor were they given any choice in the matter. for myself, I refuse to support any business model that can arbitrarily revoke my rights in this manner, so I refuse to pay money for anything that has to 'phone home' before it will allow me access to the software installed on my system.

Oh no, no trouble at all

You know... it isn't having to authenticate online that bothers me. It isn't even the idea of having to re-validate every 10 days that bothers me.

*and it will carry a three-install limit.*

THAT bothers me. I keep my games. When I'm done with them (or tired of them), I uninstall them. Later, I tend to reinstall the good ones and play them again. Uninstall when I'm done/tired of it again. And on, and on.

There are games I'd wager I've installed up to a dozen separate times on my computer over the years- all games I legitimately purchased, games I never copied or gave anyone else access to. How could one NOT understand how the idea of being limited to three installs would be upsetting? I should let it sit around taking up space on my hard drive even when I'm not playing it so I don't use up my uses of the game I paid for? Should I forgo buying new computers in the future because I'm afraid of using up installs on them?

This is blatantly ridiculous and unfair. Console owners aren't limited in how many times or how long they can play the game... but this makes PC gamers second-class citizens.

Starforce was the devil

Ugh, I remember Starforce. Even when you bought the game it was best to use a crack to bypass the copy protection.

Well, I purchased

Well, I purchased Battlefield 2 and never ever got it to run.

A lot of games are becoming problematic. DRM works on consoles because it is not draconian, and it is usually tested fro compatability.

Also Consoles are not laptops. They most annoying DRM by far is anything requiring the CD to be in the drive.

Steam is severe DRM, but I quite like Steam because it isn't broken and isn't massively annoying to work with.

Internet

Um let us also not forget that I still know a number of people who have Dial Up, or no Internet. I've had times where my internet was shut off for days because lets face it Road Runner is stupid.

So suppose one of those times where my own High speed internet doesn't work and I haven't played a game in a while, It's nearing that period, and boom. Customer Service guy can't get out here till the week after, and I'm losing my game.

As for how many times can a pc get formatted? Ever try living with computer illiterate idiots. I'm not calling my parents, or some of my friends idiots, though they are computer illiterate, but my computer in the family room when I was a teenager was reformatted 27 times for viruses, idiot computer techs, ect.

And as for the computer gen key? The Type you have to type in like on windows? I keep the box to everything, and I still don't always have that. That's why they always put it on the sides of computers with windows installed.

Lets pretend you buy a car,

Lets pretend you buy a car, and are then told you can only start it 3 times.
How would you feel?

Don't worry about having to

Don't worry about having to activate on the internet, just visit gamecopyworld and get the crack which will probably hit the net before the games on shelves. All paying customers should crack their games, its practically a requirement with the nonsense they put in your software. Yes I said "Your" software.

RE: Idiot Tristram

How, precisely, do you suggest they turn off the limit on installs? Considering that a DVD is unchangeable, any older version of the game will still expect to go running home to daddy and find that the server is off. Unless the DVD has a contingency saying "if you can't find the server, activate anyways" (which completely defeats the purpose of the DRM anyways), there's no way to.

Idiot. At least learn the technology involved before you decide to be a moron.

Pay more attention

amusingly, this article's post date is a day AFTER EA relented on their repeat-check policy in their games. Now they will only require a one-time online activation.

http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9940600-7.html

But hey, let's all post on something that we don't actually investigate, eh? It's still got DRM, but it's far, far less obnoxious.

Im not going to reiterate

Im not going to reiterate anything anyone said up there because they already covered it. but i will add this. I like the person a few posts above me bought BF2. i dont mind a serial key for multiplayer games, its come to be expected. but why do i need the cd in the drive while im playing also? i mean wtf weve already established that i have a legit version of the game by my serial #. why do you need to verify that i have a legit CD too? theres nothing on that cd i need while im playing the game. as a result i dont play bf2 anymore. too much hassle to go through. i did a full install then i have to track down the damn cd everytime i want to play? stupidity.

This is why steam is so popular, i disagree with everyone before who said that steam is drm or whatever bs they chimed in. ive been using steam since day one of the beta. its awesome. you dont need to be online to play any games bought through steam unless of course its an online multiplayer game. I dont have to keep up with an cd keys, or any cd's period. its like having my own personal backup server. plus, PLUS. i can make copies of my games on dvd and do whatever i want with them. i can even give a copy to a friend and let them try it out. or i can just tell them the username and password to my account and they can just download said games to their computer.

I dont see valve going anywhere anytime soon, but if they were to somehow fold and dissapear i can make a backup of all my games and they will provide me with a way to play them after they areno longer a company.

valve 1 evil publishers 0

lets face it, the developers arent the ones adding DRM, its the publishing fatcats looking to maximize profits.

i wont be buying spore or mass effect. a.) those games arent my cup of tea, b.) i dont want to go through all that bs just to play a game i already paid for. get rid of the protections. you arent stopping piracy. PIRATES GET A RAGING HARD ON TO BE THE FIRST TO CRACK ANY NEW PROTECTION. you're just adding fuel to the fire. if theres nothing to crack theres no reason to be a pirate.

you shoulda seen the uproar when someone finally cracked starforce.

Don't worry about having

Don't worry about having to
By Itsame on May 11, 2008 - 4:47pm.

It took a week almost 2 for them to make non buggy cracks for bioshock, altho ti was a frist to use securoms new setup so ME might be easier to do since they have been toying with the code, even steam games take less than a week to hack now.
----------------------------------------
RE: Idiot Tristram
By Anonymous on May 11, 2008 - 5:15pm.

This is simple dear friend a revoke tool to disable the activation system ^^

and I am not talking abotu revoking the Gdamn token I mean the whole fcking thing.

I mean really why make payign costumers suffer more than they have to remove the protections after a couple months, thats all thats needed to "protect" sales after that the game is cracked and any protection moot.
----------------------------------------
Im not going to reiterate
By Anonymous on May 11, 2008 - 6:07pm.

Bbaa baaa to you my little woolie friend, Steam requires a register account to be able to play SINGLE PLAYER GAMES OFFLINE, then we have the glitch that disables offline play when you update the steam, also certain steam titles can not be played offline.

Steam also has issues with not turning off updates, the whole setup is bloated and unneeded.

Steam is DRM even if discount anything else the registered account setup makes it DRM and the statistical gathering it dose makes it spy ware byproxy.

So I will take my steam titles without steam and there is nothing they can do about it because I have the legit game and box.

At least until steam becomes a small noninvasive app in the game like IDs check check system that doubles as a update notify and download app, if the game is found to have a invalided key/account by all means whack/lock it but the bloat/spy ware approach I will not have.

Console Games Protected...My

Console Games Protected...My Arse...

well sure

well, sure, the game publishers have every right to try to protect their game from being copied. As well, the playesr have every right to not purchase it.

You may have noticed that within 2 days of annoucning this whole thing, the "check in every 10 days" thing is gone, now.

Consoles games are pirated

Consoles games are pirated as any other PC games.

The reason I personally do not like DRM is that I simply do not want these extra software installed onto my system.
I buy the game for the game, not for added things - which is also why some people do not like the Steam platform to be included to games such as Half-Life 2.

Also I do not like the spying idea.
I bought the software, so I own it, can do whatever I want to do with it.

I do buy games but yet I download cracks also for the games I bought.
For the reason that I do not want to have the game cd or dvd in my dvd-rom drive whenever I want to play it to save the life of the disc.

DRM simply put, limiting your owner rights.

Anonymous wrote: well,

Anonymous wrote:

well, sure, the game publishers have every right to try to protect their game from being copied. As well, the playesr have every right to not purchase it.

You may have noticed that within 2 days of annoucning this whole thing, the "check in every 10 days" thing is gone, now.

and I haz as much right to hack the game(single player) I bought *lick*

Heh

Steam is DRM, but it is relatively unobtrusive and gives value back. I can run a Steam game from a shortcut, I can patch products dynamically, download and play my games anywhere in the world with the steam client and my login etc etc. There is enough value add from the system that makes the DRM bearable. It would suck if you didn't have an internet connection though...

But as for DRM being obtrusive, I give you *drumroll*

Titanquest - DRM inserted in to the game caused performance issues and CTDs if you replaced the .exe with a cracked version. Strangely enough, people using the disc (including myself) experienced similar issues. This was nominally fixed in the patch which consequently introduced a horrible rubber banding bug, which was never fixed. When asked about the DRM, Iron Lore said (paraphrased) "it's black box code, we don't know what happens inside it". Piracy (and the faults reported by said pirates which caused a huge publicity storm) apparently sunk their game. I would contend that a DRM system designed to induce faults deliberately injected in to the game is a bad idea. Either way, Iron Lore is history, they provided junk support for TQ anyway and if they had not put this code in their game, things might have happened very differently.

Starforce - Dear god, where to start. Scoring media, just not working, root kits, declined performance, refuse to run if you have emulation software (because there is absolutely no reason to ever use an iso... *rolls eyes*), cause degradation of actual physical drive performance. Most major IP's protected by Starforce either dropped it eventually (X3: The Reunion for example), were boycotted or people put themselves through hell due to loyalty to the franchise. Starforce is the biggest single argument against DRM. How many great titles never had their day because of this piece of shit?

Compare this to say SOASE (Sins of a Solar.. you get it ; ). Zero DRM. Critical and, last time I checked, commercially successful product.

Treating your customer like crap, or imposing DRM that isn't sensitive to the customer, will drive people away from a product that would otherwise

Value added content is the

Value added content is the above board method of encouraging buyers instead of pirates. Mass Effect had a perfect opportunity for this, because their expansion pack already out for the XBox 360 is being included. Instead, they should have had a forum registration for exp pack download, game SN required, but no DRM. Then those who wear tinfoil hats and live in log cabins in the woods might still buy the game without fear of "the man" spying on them.

It's the whole carrot vs stick, honey vs shit etc argument. I bought HL and HL2 because of the updates that kept coming... I liked having a integrated store, download center and game launch app in steam.

Two points

1) I may not have full ownership of the intellectual property when I buy a game, or any PC software for that matter, but I DO have ownership of the install disk, and the contents of that specific install disk, to do what I want when I want with it. So, if I want to make a backup copy of the disk, in case the original disk gets damaged and becomes unreadable, I should have the right to. If I want to make an ISO of the original disk and use a CD/DVD Rom emulator to play the game, so I don't have to run the risk of the original disk getting damaged, I should have the right to.

If for any reason I want to uninstall and re-install the game/software a number of times, I should be fully allowed to. Here's a scenario I doubt you've thought of. Let's say I install Mass Effect on my PC, complete it, and decide to uninstall it to clear up some disk space, which is something most PC users do (disk space doesn't grow on trees you know), then I want to re-install it later and play it again, that's 2 activations burned, one on the initial install, a second on the re-install. Now, let's say I download an update, there's an issue with the install of the update, and I need to uninstall and re-install Mass Effect, that's all three activations burned.

Now, if my OS has issues, and I choose to re-install it, and I want to play Mass Effect again, I have to call either EA or Bioware and ask their permission to re-install the game. Now let's say I re-install it, I start downloading an update, and it corrupts my install again, now I need to uninstall the game, call EA/Bioware back to get their permission again to install the game, then pray that nothing happens.

And what happens down the road, when support for Mass Effect is officially discontinued, and I want to re-install the game again to play it? I'd better hope and pray Bioware puts out a patch to turn off the DRM, otherwise I might not be able to play a game that I legitimately own.

2) You claim that having to connect to the internet should only inconvenience a small group of players, and that playing a game offline needs an "arbitrary reason". I can think of several reasons why having to validate online can be an inconvenience for more than a few people.

- There are still places that do not have high speed internet available at a reasonable price, or available at all. I know this because I work on a PC helpdesk, and have talked to a fair amount of people who are stuck with dial-up. I didn't have high speed DSL until about 2 years ago, but I was still part of the "minority" there, right?

- There are a group of people who choose to keep their gaming PC's offline as much as possible in order to keep security, anti-virus, and anti-spyware/adware software to a minimum. These people choose to do so because they want their PC's running at the highest speeds possible, the fewer processes running, the better.

- The men and women of the United States Armed Services serving over seas very rarely have an internet connection available, I know several people who have been on active duty, and they all said the same thing, they'd have PC games sent to them to play on their laptops, but would have to wait to install them until they had an internet connection available. But why should we worry about inconveniencing them in the name of stopping piracy, right?

And how much of an affect have any forms of DRM had on piracy in any market? If it's not available BEFORE something's release, usually within 24 hours someone has it available for download, anything that can be distributed over the internet can be found if you know how to look. Music, movies, games, software, operating systems, you name it, it's there.

And yes, DRM is a draconian means of piracy protection, it expects the people who pay money to support the people who make the software to jump through hoops just to install a game, it punishes them with limitations that are not used anywhere else outside of software and digital distribution. Let's take the example of Mass Effect's DRM and put it on some other things and see how it stacks up.

- Coming soon on all DVD players, all new DVD players will come with a unique code that will be registered to your name. All new DVD disks will come with a unique code that will be registered with an online database. When you put the DVD into your DVD player, the DVD player will register that DVD's code and it's own code with the database. After that, you will only be able to play that DVD on your DVD player. In order to play the DVD on another person's DVD player, or a new DVD player, you will have to contact a specific 800# to unlock the DVD from the database, at which time you can register it with another DVD player.

- Coming soon to all DVR's, all new DVR's will have software that will tell what shows you've watched, and what episode of each show you've seen. You can only watch a re-run of an episode 5 times. If the episode happens to be shown again, you will have to contact your DVR's tech support to get an unlock code in order to watch that episode again, because nobody wants to watch re-runs, right?

- Coming soon to all books, all books will be equipped with a 10 digit code. In order for the book to open, you will need to enter the 10 digit code each time into the provided equipment. We want to make sure that nobody's reading your book.

All of the examples above seem outrageous when put on something other than PC software, so why don't they sound outrageous when they're used on PC games and programs? Why doesn't it sound strange that in order to install a game I've purchased, I need to enter a string of characters from the game case or manual just to prove I own it? Why doesn't it sound strange that I would need to connect my computer to the internet to install a single player, offline game, to register it with Big Brother? Why doesn't it sound strange that I can only install my game a set number of times, even on the same PC, even if I don't make any changes to my PC's hardware? Why doesn't it sound strange that these measures are made to "combat piracy", even though the same game I'll be installing will be available to pirate just days after it's been release, if it hasn't been made available beforehand?

No

No, the reason we don't like DRM is because of things like:
Remember that MS plays for sure? MS just shut down a music service and told everyone who bought music from them that they they'd better activate their music on whatever computer they plan on using forever, because no more after this. Everyone who bought the music received a big screw you from MS (and its not like MS is going out of business or couldn't afford to keep it up for past customers, after all, they lost about $4 billion on xbox 1 including all games sales like halo 1 & 2. Those billions are only a few months cash profit to them, no big deal).
http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/04/microsoft-pulli.html

Then there's the past history of EA themselves. This is what we are really worried about that EA might shut down further authorization of its games at some point, or perhaps they might go out of business.
Surely not you might say.
Well you would be incorrect, just look at thier past history:
http://www.ea.com/information.jsp
Thats the official list of games (both console and PC) for which EA has ceased online service for. And it includes games as recent as 2006 and EVEN 2007!! on the list. 2007 was LAST YEAR.

Another example, turbo tax is shutting down authorization of installs of its older tax software. Its too bad if you need to get at some of your past tax info you dilligently saved in case you ever got audited. You won't be able to install the software anymore.

BTW, obviously you missed the example of Stardock and games like Sins of a Solar Empire, or Galactic Civilzations II. They were shipped without ANY copy protection. You can install and run it on your home computer, your laptop, your work laptop, your work machine, without any problems. Instead, they only offer upgrades and extra features if you have a valid serial.

This is an example that should be followed by everyone! The CARROT, not the stick.

Those games from stardock went on to become huge indie successes, making the top 10 seller lists for several months... and yet, OMG they didn't have copy protection. If a game is GOOD it will probably be a success.

Another few games that didn't use copy protection, company of heroes, Morrowind, Oblivion (morrowind and oblivion checked that a cd was in the drive with the files on it, but had no check that it was an original cd, a straight copy worked fine to run them, so there wasn't any copy protection)

Are you going to tell me that a game like Oblivion wasn't succeesful with its non existant copy protection?

Obviously the author needs to get out and read tech news a bit more before he blithers on about issues he's not fully imformed about.

He didn't even mention that EA relented on its DRM and is now only going to have a single activation at install (and when you update it) instead of once every 10 days for Mass Effect and spore. And yes, this was announced before the posting date of the article. If the author doesn't even bother to keep informed on the very games his article focuses on, I'm not sure we can expect the rest of his article to be informed.

You stated that you have the

You stated that you have the right to buy the game but not the right to play it.

You're wrong, you have the right to play it.

Under common legal theory, you have the RIGHT to use a legally purchased item for its intended purpose. If the developer has made it so that a True Owner (TO) cannot use a product for its intended purpose, the developer is LIABLE to that True Owner for at least a refund of the purchase price.

He may also be liable for a breach of what is called the "implied warranty of merchantability."

The use of DRM and particularly its potential effecting resale is treading on some very old and very hallowed property rights.

But the bottom line is that BONA FIDE PURCHASER of a piece of software is given an IMPLIED WARRANTY (or a RIGHT) to use that software in the intended manner.

So if you buy a computer game you ARE buying a RIGHT to play it.

Article is out of date

Um, you may want to research the article better in the future, the DRM was pulled days before this article was posted.

To clarify, just because a

To clarify, just because a contract exists and can be signed at one's own discretion does not mean the existence of the contract is fair. Sharecropping I used as an example because it is an example of a perfectly "fair" contract that just so happens to grossly abuse one party.

When I used the movie theater example, the caveat is that management can expel you for ANY reason- disruptive behavior or other such reasons are not necessary. It's important to note the distinction.

I feel that distinction should be made here. Anti-DRM behavior does sometimes go extreme, but it is reasonable to ask game developers to introduce protective measures that do not hinder us as consumers. The excellent example was given of how when a key-checking server goes down we can no longer install or play the game- suddenly we're no longer buying the games but renting. This is unfair to us.

I used the example of grocers and car dealerships because they are examples of /necessary/ businesses (we need transportation and food to survive). If these businesses treat customers grossly unfairly the law or legislation will step in. Gaming is different because it is a luxury, however I feel the spirit should be the same. While EA and other such companies have the right to protect their interests, their protections should not come at the price of fair trade or our ability as consumers to fairly use their products.

I hope that explains it at least a little?

So your entire argument for

So your entire argument for DRM is that those that have problem with it are a minority and are probably making it up? Tell that to the person who can't play the $50 game they bought, and stores will usually not take open games back. Ironically, the person will probably end up going on various sites to find out how to get around the DRM to play his legally purchased game.

Quote:

Like an increasing number of PC games nowadays, Mass Effect will require an online activation when it is installed. This has been common practice ever since Half-Life 2. But Mass Effect will also "phone home" every 10 days to make sure the key is valid, and it will carry a three-install limit.

One would think a single activation per installation would be sufficient. This once every ten days business is absurd.

Quote:

The music industry has been similarly ravaged by piracy. It's easy enough to avoid any DRM simply by purchasing a CD. But that's not what most people do. The number one retailer of music is none other than Apple's iTunes. That's right – the same iTunes that gives you songs at 128kbps AAC and won't let you burn any song to CD more than five times... How has Apple managed to become the number one music retailer with such evil DRM? It's simple: most people don't care about DRM. I mean really, when you buy a CD, do you make ten copies? Twenty? Why on earth wouldn't five copies be enough?

Don't forget once you burn the CD in iTunes all the DRM is gone.
Rip it as wav and you can burn as many copies as you want.

Quote:

So let's look again at Mass Effect. Is it really draconian to expect gamers to be connected to the internet?

Once per installation, no. Every ten days, that's well on it's way.

Quote:

And what about the three-activation limit?

People get nasty viruses and malware, and once you're infect often the only way you can trust the system is to wipe it out and start over. Rootkits have complete removal unreliable or impossible. Also Windows tends to suffer from what has been termed bit rot, that is it tends to slow down over time and even lose reliability. I've heard some advocate reinstalling windows every year or two.

Quote:

Here's the thing: due to various upgrades and reformats, I've passed the activation limits on one or two of my games. I simply contact the support with a request code given by the game, and they activate the game for me. Big. Deal.

A chore the pirates don't have to pay to endure.

Quote:

Does DRM really inconvenience legit gamers while utterly failing to combat piracy? Sometimes, yes, it has. But as long as piracy remains rampant, developers have every right to try to protect their software as best they can.

Sometime, try most of the time. $50,a trip to the store, and slight to moderate inconvience or a few hours on BitTorrent.
You don't get people to buy your products by treating everyone like criminals. The pirates aren't going to pay for it, but there are people who will if you don't turn them off.

Quote:

Futhermore, I always have to cast a skeptical eye at those who claim that copy protection such as SecuROM causes bugs and glitches, because in the two and a half years that I've been a PC-only gamer, of all the 30 or so games I own, not a single one has caused me any problems at all due to copy protection. While it's not impossible that some users have legitimate problems, I feel that it's more probable that copy protection is often erroneously blamed other system issues.

I've been a PC gamer since the DOS days. I can tell you I've had trouble that can be attributed directly to copy protection such as flawed kernel level drivers to security problems (thanks Sony). Starforce has become notorious for causing problems, and their response to the criticisms has been to threaten lawsuits instead of fixing it.

I'll buy the game but I won't tolerate the DRM. I'll give them game a few weeks, buy it, and crack the DRM.

Finally, DRM is security through obscurity. Upon close examination these systems just fall apart because the encryption they use wasn't meant to deal with their threat model. You encrypt an executable, the hackers know there has be a key shipped with it so people can play the game and that it exists in unencrypted form in memory. If companies try to hide like Sony did they get into legal trouble.

Two and a Half Years of Gaming?

Dear Mr. Doolittle,
Just how long exactly have you been a PC gamer?

You mention in your article that you have been for, and I quote; "two and a half years" a "PC-only gamer".

Based on your statement I’m certainly almost One Hundred Percent safe to say that I have been a PC gamer since you were either mentally or physically still in a diaper phase of your life. 1991 is when PC gaming started for me. That’s a good 17 years now.

You have been on the block for "two and a half years" (which I am sure is going to be considered an as-good-as-"null" figure to a lot of users whom are replying to your article), and yet you feel urge, the deserving right, to tell the rest of us that DRM is the way to go? Ludicrous. You have got absolutely no right to make any comments on "DRM", let alone those which you have already published.

I have been a PC gamer since the earliest forms of DRM, and it doesn’t take one to seek an "Expert Witness" opinion to deduce the obviousness of simply how far out of hand DRM has become.

I’ve gone through the DRM days of the "Keydisk" system (similar to "CD checks", just that you were only required to have the original floppy disk in your system once every few startups of the game), to the usual boring (and endlessly annoying) CD checks, to even "Region" checks which would check your systems locale.

Does anyone still remember the days of the most lunatic and redundant DRM of being asked mind-numbing questions every single time you started your favorite game and the only source of answers was the games manual?

So... fast-forward some years later... Lo and Behold, we now have; SecuROM, Starforce, Sony rootkits, and Online Activation (more on this later on) to name a few.

(Predictably however, there are going to be some of you (Mr. Doolittle comes to mind) whom will lack the ability to resist mentioning that it cannot be that much of a chore putting a CD into its drive. Agreed, however, let me put it to you this way: You have got absolutely no clue how revolting it is having purchased a more-expensive "Collectors Edition" of a game (for "Collection" purposes) just to find out that you’re required to insert the CD every single time you wish to play the game. It doesn’t matter how good of a CD drive you have, your CD will get scratched over time. Not very good for an item you wish to preserve for "Collection".)

Allow me to return to the subject-matter of DRM however. Arguing that DRM is the solution to piracy is about as daft as saying that candy bars at your local 7-11 should have magnetic strips scotch-taped onto them (and only after installing laser turrets at the front door where the magnetic sensors are) in order to counter the theft committed by your usual neighborhood kids.

See the impracticality here? Scotch-tape isn’t going to keep the strips in place, the kids are just going to be able to tear them off (in the same way how DRM is not going to keep the pirates from, well, pirating) and the laser turrets cost a staggering amount of money (in the same way how DRM isn’t cheap to license and produce).

It has to be said though that when it comes to "impracticality", nothing gets anywhere close to the dreaded technology bestowed upon us named; "Online Activation"... and I shall begin by seeking the devil and mentioning that Microsoft and Adobe were "okay" in doing it. Here’s my argument; in the case of Microsoft and Adobe, more than often enough we’re talking about software that goes into the high hundreds and well into thousands of dollars. How much does your game cost? In its highest, fifty bucks? At the same time, we’re talking about expensive software which you will maybe have either one or two copies of, hence it is not going to be a very big issue having to endure one or two activations or one or two calls to support centers shall activation fail.

Games? Having been an avid PC gamer since 1991, you can bet I’ve got plenty. I easily have more than half a hundred games installed at any given time. Would you imagine it to be a fun thing to do if every single one of those games required online activation and I would therefore be required to call up every single one of those game publishers support center for reactivation when I exceed my install limits after a few reinstalls? (This question is exclusively for you Mr. Doolittle.)

Cracks for me aren’t an option for security concerns. Though one has got to wonder just how "secure" DRM really is in the first place, and whether or not it poses a greater threat than using cracks which have the potential of being injected with malicious code. We have all seen the big huh-hah which came out of Sony’s long episode with their infamous rootkits. How do we know that similar threats to security do not lurk behind all the DRM which is being towed on us like garbage from a junk truck these days? It doesn’t take to be an IT security specialist to realize that DRM has its own share of security vulnerabilities, a lot of them related to elevation of privileges (which doesn’t come as much of a surprise since a lot of DRM is evolved around poorly written drivers).

Keeping to "security", it’s blasphemy that there are even games in the wild we can find today which requires administrative privileges to run or install (all courtesy of DRM I suspect), and that alone should raise plenty of alarm bells and red flags with respect to security. There is no API which requires administrative access which a game would require in order to run; and hence there should be absolutely no requirement to use an account with administrative privileges to run or install a game.

The only reason a game would ever require administrative privileges is to install DRM. To install system files, registry entries, and potentially defunct (and hence harmful) device drivers into your system and to alter the stable and secure state of your system in order to prevent you from pirating. DRM often uses highly discouraged techniques to attain stealth or a non-accessible/non-removable state (a typical example would be SecuROM storing files not in accordance to your file systems standards), and some DRM even goes out of the way to disable crucial Windows functionality (such as Safe Mode) simply to prevent anyone from circumventing the DRM technology.

Simply telling, isn’t it?

To sum it all up, DRM:
* Is expensive to create, and does not work (and hence is a complete waste of precious resources)
* Inconveniences legitimate users, while pirates do not face any of its annoyances
* Reduces public-reputation as it often employs ill-favored techniques and technologies
* Reduces sales due to the point above regarding public-reputation

Honestly, funding to DRM should instead be channeled to charity.

I still fail to forget the moment when Sony’s multi-million dollar DRM was beaten by a bored bloke with a half-dollar marker pen.

DRM is not about combating

DRM is not about combating piracy. Its about control over the media, over the medium.

You bring up Apple and iTunes. I'll bring up Microsoft and their music service. Heavily DRM-entrenched, and they recently announced that they're shutting down their system. What does that mean for everyone that bought music thru their system? They cannot re-authenticate off MS's servers, and will no longer be able to use their music on another system. If Apple were to go under (unlikely, but who knows what the future holds) those millions of songs "bought" would become unplayable.

When I buy software, I want to do with it however I want within my own domain. I do not need another company dictating to me how I use the material that I purchased the right to use.

Surely the way to combat

Surely the way to combat piracy is to incentivise the gamer and not hit them with a big stick all the time. For example you buy the game and have a legit code then you can get extra DLC from the internet. Non intrusive and it's a win win situation for the game and the software manufactrer.

Here is another way make your game availble for download for free paid for with ingame advertising. You want the game without advertising you pay for it. Again its Win Win. You have just taken the need to pirate out of the frame. Why beacause most people can't afford 2-3 games a month at $60 a go. So they pirate. Using this method you now get revenue from a game people would have pirated by making it easier for them not to pirate.

It's far easier to get what youwant with incentives than big sticks.

Its probably been said

Its probably been said before in these comments; I don't exactly have the time to read through them all. But here's the thing: this sort of DRM is just useless, and the only person that it inconvieniences is the customer who legally made the purchase to begin with. Even if these are very minor inconvieniences; assuming 100% of the gaming populous always has an internet connection wherever they go so that they can upload their information to play a game, and assuming that if they reinstalled windows (which I do *quite* frequently between 3 computers and while testing other OSes),or had a hard drive crash that forced them to, that the call to support would be as easy as pie and they would be back up and playing in a matter of minutes... Even assuming all of that is true, it is still a series of hoops to jump through for something you paid a good deal of money for, when the pirates that can and will find a way around it are playing for free, and without all that need for activation.

And the key here is that pirates *will* break the activation need, and they *will* continue torrenting those games illegally. It is an inevitability. Just look at Windows Vista, which has a protection very similar to this proposed plan that phones home to make sure everything is still "genuine". Remember how long it took people to set up fake activation servers and crack that? Not very. And I think if something as big as an OS backed by a company like Microsoft has this problem, then something as simple as a video game won't be able to pull it off, either; even if it is backed by the ultra-conglomerate EA.

So wait a minute here....

Given the time this was written/published, I find it a little odd. Seems like the author is saying that consumers shouldn't be allowed to give feedback to the international corporations who make the products they buy. It must really annoy you that the unwashed masses are able to have any kind of effect on EA games while they refuse to listen to the bourgeoisie of the gaming world.

How sad.

How sad, also, that you think that just because you've had no technical issues with DRM that means absolutely nobody has at all. News Flash, not all of us are running Falcon Northwest systems with custom paintjobs, some of us have a mish-mash of components that keep Bill Gates up late at night worrying about how his next OS will ever work with so many different configurations. With many DRM systems it truely is easier to be a pirate than to be a legit gamer.

As far as people who don't have internet access or have limited internet access, what about our brave men and women serving overseas? They should just go to one of those lovely internet cafes they have all over the green zone in Iraq? I suppose Mike Doolittle has the distinction of being one of the few people who both hates our troops like Jane Fonda while also supporting the rights of multinational conglomerates like Dick Cheney.

Bravo, good sir, you are both moveon.org and Fox News all at the same time. A feat which is difficult to achieve.

How DRM create's

How DRM create's piracy.

Step 1 - DRM annoys consumer.
Step 2 - Consumer searches for solution.
Step 3 - Consumer finds the only solution is cracking and does so.
Step 4 - Grumpy and or cheapass consumer takes the small step from downloading cracks for games they bought to downloading cracks for games they didn't buy.

This is a fairly common path to PC piracy. It's not the only path but don't for one minute trick yourself into believing it's not a common one.

Speaking for myself, I don't mind DRM mechanisms as long as they aren't obtrusive. Checks to keep using installed software every ten days are ridiculous and annoying. While I do normally have internet access I might not have it when I want to play my game and anyone who doesn't think that's a problem is just a dumbass. The announced changes of one check at install and checks when downloading content and/or updates is fairly unobtrusive IF it is done competently though. I'm not thrilled about the three install limit before having to deal with customer service. This is generally ok though I think such systems should purge installs after approximately 3-6 months. This one step takes things a step further in minimizing the impact on legit customers while having the same practical impact on pirates.

MY first experiences with

MY first experiences with Copy Protection was the 'Lenslock' thing you got with later versions of Elite, where you had to hold this bit of plastic about an inch from the screen to read this garbled set of letters that appeared. Of course, if you lost the lens, you couldn't play the game you had paid for.

Things haven't really changed all that much, unfortunately.

I don't have a problem with the online registration, I'm used to that these days, and if the copy is legal, it's only really a problem to those without Internet connection, it isn't perfect, but as a one-time verification, I can understand its existence.

It's this whole '3 installs' that really annoys me, and console owners don't really seem to be able to grasp why it is annoying because, of course, they don't ever have to install a game, however, since I do coding, 3D Rendering and Music creation, a PC is about the only option I have.

Everybody knows that re-installs with Windows are inevitable, a well kept system can run for a good few years, but the habit of dropping system files all the the hard drive that a lot of software seems to adopt, can eat the space and speed. Not to mention the fact that Hardware failures, and upgrades, can often lead to reinstalls as well. So what happens if I want to play my legal copy of Spore in 5 years time? I'll have pirates laughing at me because they can play, whereas EA have my money, and I can't.

I'm very very rapidly losing faith in the sections of the Video Game industry that are allowing pure greed to overtake common sense.

Sorry, meant to add, it's

Sorry, meant to add, it's ironic that some of the worst culprits for dropping invisible or unexplained files into your System folder and creating the system instabilities that end up leading to a re-format/reinstall are Copy Protection oriented.

Pfft

Looking at my library of older games, I've installed Quake 1 something like 10+ times, and most of the companies that made these older games are out of business now. If Microsoft can't keep a DRM server up (playsforsure), what makes you think a tiny game company that goes belly up will maintain their DRM server for free?

The entire point of buying something, is that you own it. And buying software really is buying software, not leasing it, and the Supreme Court has recognized this.

DRM tries to make it so that it's more like a license, that you continually need permission from the company to play a game you own, which is what really pisses me off about it.

I haven't pirated a game in years, but I've installed any number of cracks for my software, because I've lost the installation disks for some, and because I hate having to swap discs out of my drive in order to play a game I own.

What extra-special pissed me off about the 10-day reactivation DRM is that I travel for work a lot, and it would mean that I'd have to take the extra step of re-validating Mass Effect every time before I went on a business trip -- if I forgot, I wouldn't be able to play a game that I fucking bought and own. That was what really made me mad.

Remarkably shortsighted

I tend to agree with your statement that those who are concerned about DRM in video games are likely a minority.

I certainly do not agree that the inconveniences of DRM are "incredibly trivial" for everyone: I switched from a desktop PC to a laptop some time ago, and because of the built-in drive I can't play the games I bought that have StarForce protection anymore. For me buying any game with a disk check comes with the risk of not being able to play it at all, and with the added "benefit" of me trying to then get the money for the game I can not play refunded. I also had the pleasure of a prolonged "no it's his fault" mail ping pong with 2k Games and Sony about Bioshock. EA/Bioware explicitly refer to armed forces personnel when they announced they would not enforce reauthentication every ten days. Your blanket statement comes across rather egocentric to me.

Copy protection make it harder for me to buy PC games, because I have to spend time and effort because of it. I bought fewer games because of this and I have a negative image of companies like 2k Games. Now I am only one person and you could say "tough luck" to me and whoever else had similar experiences; you could state that increased sales from copy protection outweigh the losses from people like me. That may be true, or it may not. I am not aware of any reliable statistics that would show that copy protection significantly boosts sales of retail PC games.

I personally think that PC game makers would be well advised to work on providing people with a better and/or more convenient gaming experience compared to pirated games than to spend their money and reputation on copy protection measures. The idea of licensing a game "service" instead of selling a product is a good one in my opinion. It's just that the service shouldn't be used to annoy paying customers, but instead to provide them with a superior experience. Unfortunately some game makers seem to prefer the one-shot solution of purchasing copy protection to the efforts involved in good customer service and product development after their product has been sold/licensed.

Value added restricted

Value added content is the
By Anonymous on May 11, 2008 - 8:35pm.

Heh
By Asmo on May 11, 2008 - 8:33pm.

one thing steam has yet to do right is install it register it and play it fully offline after that, it has to many hooks and requirements, they need to ensure that its fully updateable and playable offline IE pop it online to update it go back offline.

Steam is TOO intrusive thus why I do not use it for their games.

DRM doesn't work -

DRM doesn't work - professional scene groups get a hold of the games executatble usualy before it's available in retail and have cracked it before the game is actually released. Often this means that a complete scene release is out before the retail version is widely available.

DRM is known to cause problems for legitimate users, such as limited installs, number of concurrent installs, security issues, performance issues, and in some circumstances it can slow down and even break hardware (see the problem with some optical drives with early versions of starforce)

People using pirated copies don't have any of the above issues, their copy has the DRM removed for them.

People don't like draconian anti-piracy measures which cause the issues present above, it's only logical then that some percentage of people who would have otherwise had bought the game, would go on to pirate it instead, or at the very least boycott the game due to draconian anti-piracy, there is good examples of both these things happening, read any large game forum.

The NET effect is that you do nothing to stop piracy, and you specifically target your legitimate users and cause them grief.

OK, let's by honest about

OK, let's by honest about this. Don Moar, a Lead Programmer at Bioware was surprised when Bioware said that they had decided not to go ahead with the 10 day activation thing. I was sort of too.

However, 99% percent of the about 12-1500 posts on the subject where negative and about 90% percent of these 1500 posts said that they wouldn't buy it - just because of the 10 day re-
authentication thing. I'm pretty sure this was the main reason for EA and Bioware changing their minds, not some tactic etc. Money, plain and simple. They were worried (and hopefully within full rights) that they wouldn't sell enough games. Period.

They could maybe let 1500 sales go away, but not 15,000 and certainly not 150,000 sales - if we assume that every person said 'don't buy MEPC' to about 5-10 people. And if EA understands something it is about money....

As for the DRM scheme, I'm sorry, but I don't agree with your Michael. DRM stands for digital rights management - a way to manage digital rights. Right now, the big corporations are holding the big bucks and the leeway in the negotiations with the little guy i.e. the fans and the consumers. Hence, corporations such as EA can do what they want in terms of DRM, it seems. Not say - anymore. People won't simply take it anymore.

And one of the reasons they won't take it anymore, is the simple fact that people still remember the horrid Bioshock DRM incident last september (in september 2007) in which loyal Ken Levine and Irrational Games fans and customers who bought the game couldn't
1) install the game 2) activate the game or 3) play the game - just because of the DRM scheme Bioshock used. (securom version 7)

Many people also got mad at 2K when it seemed they only gotten two activations (which in this case is the same as two installs) on either two computers or two user accounts. I got especially mad when I learned that there weren't any disclosure about the two limited installs/activations or the use of securom. Contrary to what 2K did, Bioware and EA has been veru upfront and honest about the use of securom and how activiations we get.

I agree, however, that publishers etc. have every right to defend their work from being copied, pirated or stolen. However, publishers etc. have not the right to make unconscientiable methods in doing so i.e. not lend the little guy e.g. the consumer an ear. Right now the publishers etc. are holding all the cards and can dictate to the consumers what they want to - in the contract between. This is not however how negotiations are supposed to work....at least not in our day and age...

On the other hand, I don't understand why some people are so nervous about having to activate the game over the internet (or over the phone). Mosy people have internet these days or they can access to it at a friend's house. The three limited activations are a problem for me (and a lot of others); I would like to see it raised to 5 or more, since this means that people can install Mass Effect on their laptops and their desktops. Many people seem to have 1-2 laptops or 1-2 desktops in their homes today.

People also seem to be worried about what will happen if I want to play Mass Effect for PC in 10 or 20 years time. The answer of course being this: Noone can really know. Yes, you can play DOS games on Dosbox, but that's just because win 98 still is DOS-based under the windows hood, not so with win XP...

Even though, I don't pirate, copy or steal any games, cds or movies, I agree that even this DRM-scheme for Mass Effect won't stop the pirates...

Dailup and the rest

OK, let's by honest about
By Karsten on May 12, 2008 - 5:35am.

The net is not everywhere, one time activation for a new install is not bad, if I can install it and pop it offline and only put it online as I need that would be great.

Tokens is just a backhanded method to damage the 2nd hand market but I will welcome it it makes the used games cheaper and I can always crack it to play it.

I wont be buying it new because it diminishing consumers rights that much more, publishers are protected by law but no one protects the consumer.

Anti consumerism in business

The trouble here is corporate mentalities they are focusing on 2 or 3 angels to try and force blood (IE profits) from stone.

1. No returns saves them money but lower the glut costs associated with the volume buying retail dose, one member of the family makes a profit the head of the family gets their cut.

2. Forcing the need to buy new by breaking the game or tieing it to an account.

3. Diminishing the 2nd market with limited reinstalls and tieing it to an account.
(and please do not argue there is no 2nd hand PC game market.... you might be shocked to know the world dose not revolve around retail chains.)

4. Ignoring a released game to focus time and money on a new project.

Mildly broken argument.

We spent a long time as a society obtaining the right to be innocent until proven guilty. DRM assumes that you are guilty, that you will abuse the software, until you can prove yourself innocent.

For that alone it should be reviled.

There will always be people who'll do whatever it takes to get something for nothing. This is fact. But if the product is a good one, and priced reasonably, people will buy the real thing.

I would like to suggest that people visit
http://www.defectivebydesign.org/
for more information on why DRM is undesirable.

There is no innocence in a token system.

Mildly broken argument.
By Anonymous on May 12, 2008 - 6:24am.

Forcing a token system or anything that would break the game after 5years (and closed servers) assumes everyone is guilty.

Sorry there is not balance here, balance makes it so a phone option is always a option, that you can return crappy games in 14 days to get your money back let retail tack and black list abusers (if I can not return a crappy product then I will work that much harder to ensure my investment is well spent),that the net is not required for play but may be needed for install.

These things will only make people that much more likely to BUY the product, but forcing these sever and cruel schemes dose nothing but jade consumers.

Exactly! This is about

Exactly! This is about killing the resale market for games which is far more lucrative for retailers than selling original titles. Check out Gamespot's profits in a down market and see how much was derived from used game sales.

DRM is necessary to stay in business! Wait, it's not?

The number one selling PC game this year, to date, has been Sins of a Solar Empire. It has no copy protection whatsoever. It has a serial key which is used only for online play, not game activation, and even then allows two people to play from one copy on their LAN. You may install it as often as you wish, on as many machines as you wish. You lose your CD, they let you download it from their site again, free. You lose your serial, you can contact support.

Stardock (the publisher of Sins of a Solar Empire) gets it. Fighting piracy doesn't mean inconveniencing customers. Most people who pirate intending not to pay weren't going to pay ANYWAY, and research has shown that despite your claim that in reality, no one cares, a DRM provider's own study showed something in the order of 28% of PC game purchasers would at least consider not buying a game because of DRM. Not even half! No, it's not, but 28% is still a LOT of people you don't want to make consider spending their money elsewhere.

Stardock gets it, and it's paying off for them, in spades.

The DRM wasn't pulled, it

The DRM wasn't pulled, it was just modified to take out the "connect to the internet every 10 days" stipulation. You still have to connect to the internet to activate the product, and you still only have 3 activations, that is, if you remove SecuROM after you uninstall the game, which you'd have to do with third party tools.

That's another point about DRM, some forms of DRM, like SescuROM and Starforce, require you to download a separate tool, sometimes third party, just to take it off your system, they do NOT remove themselves when you uninstall the game, and most of the time you don't even get a warning that it's installing. Sound like anything to anyone? Classic definition of Malware.

What is the solution them=n, you fracking whiners?

Wow, reading through the replies I am struck by one recurring theme...you all missed one VERY important line:

"If gamers don't like DRM, what other solutions might there be?"

The solution is not "stop using DRM". That does not do anything at all to reduce piracy.

Thos who say "make a better game" obviously think Half-Life was a horrible game. You can download it and people definately did pirate it. Yet it was an amazing game. That is not a solution either.

Rather than be part of the problem and just while like little children who have no life, come up with a better solution than the current DRM schemes.

I know, whining is easier, which is why most of you do it. Sadly, I have come to expect nothing more from most gamers.

*sigh* wrote: The number

*sigh* wrote:

The number one selling PC game this year, to date, has been Sins of a Solar Empire.

Actually, Call of Duty 4 is still beating it, but Sins of a Solar Empire is a close second.

The reason Sins is so popular has very little to do with DRM and a LOT to do with filling a very empty genre. You have made a logical fallacy in connecting the lack of DRM to the success of the game.

Great game (though I do not like the genre, those who do say the game is great) is what spurs its sales, not the lack of DRM.

One of my biggest complaints

One of my biggest complaints about the phone home DRM is that EA has proven over the years it has a very short term memory when it comes to supporting the on-line components of their products. So I am beholden to EA keeping the authentication servers up pretty much indefinitely. I still play games that are 10+ years old, can you tell me that the authentication servers will still be up in 3-5 years or more? SecuROM has a long history of making games unplayable, just because Mike D. hasn't had any issues does it mean that there is a valid gripe here, I know of several individuals that are affected by this so don't give me any BS about this being a non-issue. I'll buy the game, but more than likely will download and install the cracked version once it becomes available

I agree with what many are saying, most of the DRM in use today is to prevent a second sale. Media companies really dislike the first-sale doctrine, since tehy can't get rid of it let's use piracy as a way of stomping out the proper rights consumers have.

Naivity

CybrSage wrote:

Wow, reading through the replies I am struck by one recurring theme...you all missed one VERY important line:

"If gamers don't like DRM, what other solutions might there be?"

The solution is not "stop using DRM". That does not do anything at all to reduce piracy.

Thos who say "make a better game" obviously think Half-Life was a horrible game. You can download it and people definately did pirate it. Yet it was an amazing game. That is not a solution either.

Rather than be part of the problem and just while like little children who have no life, come up with a better solution than the current DRM schemes.

I know, whining is easier, which is why most of you do it. Sadly, I have come to expect nothing more from most gamers.

That’s like saying change will only happen when I become president..that’s kind of naive no?

The industry has its own set of mentalities which will only change with time, its like government only it has a easier time adjusting itself once it mandates something.

I will boyycot and rail against poorly made products and draconian schemes that damage consumer interests,without middle ground there is no balance and both sides will lose out.

You miss the point

CybrSage wrote:
*sigh* wrote:

The number one selling PC game this year, to date, has been Sins of a Solar Empire.

Actually, Call of Duty 4 is still beating it, but Sins of a Solar Empire is a close second.

The reason Sins is so popular has very little to do with DRM and a LOT to do with filling a very empty genre. You have made a logical fallacy in connecting the lack of DRM to the success of the game.

Great game (though I do not like the genre, those who do say the game is great) is what spurs its sales, not the lack of DRM.

You miss the point, the protection DRM brings to the profit equation is a MYTH, all it dose is pay the DRM company out of the publishers pocket and then they get pissed with a game dosent sell well because they screwed up from the start mishandling it.

Cryisis comes to mind, what causes more damage to a game lacks quality, focuing on a niche in a niche market or piracy?

Obviously its the first 2 with the 2nd being the core reason why some projects fail, the marketing and or "adjusting" the product to that market fails.

Publishers need to cost cut and DRM should be the first to go as well as the casual lacks quality(bug work,options,over all quality) foolishness thats destroying the industry from the inside.

Privacy before Piracy

First, the entire article really says, the industry is going to do it, bend over and take it. The rights of the customer be dammed.

Second, I'm opposed to DRM that connects to the internet on my music, movies and games, not because I intend to pirate them, but because I don't know what the information is being used for. It's a privacy thing. How hard is it to document what UPC has what CD-Key, and who purchased that UPC. Then they can track what games you buy and even how often you play them. Personally, I don't want BioWare to know how often I play there game, it's my business.

The idea that a company can deactivate a product after 10 days, just because the person hasn't gone online and told the company that they bought it and who knows what other type of personal info, is absurd, and wreaks of creeping assuming of power. I know it has been said hundreds of times, but the best defense against this sort of thing is to not buy the game, that's the best punishment you can give the company, short of suing them, but you need legal grounds for that.

When I buy a 360, it will not be connected to XBox Live, because I already pay for the internet, I'm not paying for the right to connect to the M$ servers. That will solve the DRM issue for consoles for the foreseeable future.

@CyberSge Jack? Is that

@CyberSge

Jack? Is that you?

To be honest, the answer is to let the companies know you are unhappy about what they are doing and suggest they find another way of doing it, after all, THEY are the ones that make billions every year not I. So, yes, what you call 'whining' is what got us the few concessions we have got.

Maybe you would prefer it if we 'put up and shut up', I don't know, it's already been suggested that the user could be credited an install when you uninstall the game, so that you can have three active installs, but if you install one of those, you gain an another, but this, obviously, fell on deaf ears.

So, you tell us, rather than voicing our concerns, what would YOU have us do to make our feelings heard?

Mass Effect

I have legally purchased most games that Bioware has ever created. I will not be purchasing Mass Effect (or pirating it, just so we are clear). I suspect that the 3 activation limit is more about thwarting used game sales than piracy.

I disagree with you. When I purchase a game, it is mine to do with as I please, short of copying and redistributing it. One of my rights is to install it 50 times over the next 50 years, if that is what I desire.

I will simply be exercising my right not to rent a piece of software. Anyone who enjoys renting, feel free to send your money to Electronic Arts via way of their lapdogs at Bioware.

Successful troll is

Successful troll is successful.

People Pirate for 1 reason I believe

To fully enjoy the best of the best games on PC, you must upgrade you vid card every 2 years, almost. Most PC gamers have pirated before, also when you favorite game stop working correctly because of vid card driver updates you also feel cheated. Hence I left it all behind bought a next gen console and never looked back, I know the quality of the games will be the same or better with no hardware adjustments/upgrades for at least 5 year, no bad ports of StangleHold for me, no First Person shooters that feel like they had been developed for a different game platform that has specified configured controllers. At my friends house I saw the requirments for his Guitar Hero 3 for the pc and couldn't believe it, GHIII isn't a graphics intensive game you should easily be able to play that with a mid range Nvidia 6600 card.

Don't tread on me!

1)Yes it is too much to expect people to be online. Not everyone has internet access or can log on every day (ex people in the military)

2)What if I upgrade my PC and/or want to play again years later? Well tough luck because I used up all my allowed installs.

3)These are SINGLE player games! Mass Effect has no multiplayer and neither does Spore.

I understand that companies want to protect their assets but there is a fine line between piracy protection and punishing those who honestly pay for something.

The Problem

The issue isn't so much whether DRM causes issues or causes true inconvenience, it's the precedent publishers and developers continually attempt to establish in the pursuit of ever more draconian copy protection schemes that are likely ineffective.

Look at EA's decision to couch that hideous system in Mass Effect and Spore, two titles that are virtually guaranteed to see obscenely high sales. It was a blatant attempt for EA to further justify wasting time, money, and effort licensing and implementing a DRM system. Had it gone through, EA would then say "Hey, those two titles sold like gangbusters! That must mean this DRM worked! Let's put it in everything!".

The impact of piracy and whether DRM does anything to reduce it is already hard enough to determine, and the evidence may well point to the latter, in that draconian DRM serves to disenfranchise legitimate users while doing little to deter actual software pirates. It's likely in fact that even if piracy were somehow completely impossible that publishers would see only a token increase in sales, since the majority of pirated copies are sold in places where the same titles would not be available in the first place, namely the third world.

It's certainly true that many users would simply not be affected by DRM. Unlimited internet connections are nearly ubiquitous in developed countries and few people are likely to ever install a game more than thrice, and given the customer service alternative, this is certainly workable. But the principle remains: the more you let a publisher get away with, the more they will attempt to get away with.

If this scheme were accepted, how long until EA decided we could do with an authentication every THREE days? Maybe a consistent connection would be required for Mass Effect 3? Perhaps a subscription to any and all future content via EA Link (EA's proprietary download service) would be needed before any installation would be possible. Perhaps the authentication servers would suddenly "shut down" after a few months, requiring everyone to buy the "Gold" edition which needed no prior authentication.

This is a slippery slope fallacy, sure, but I believe the danger is clear: companies will try damned hard to get away with everything they can, and with this case in particular only outcry would work to deter them. As mentioned those two games were guaranteed by their hype to sell incredibly well, so "voting with your dollar" probably would not work (since most people would not care or be unaffected).

And while games are certainly gaming is most definitely a privilege and not a right, consumers should fight to keep the power they have and not simply let it slide because it doesn't affect them.

Would you let it slide when it was announced that you'd have to call the police once a month to assure them that you weren't committing any crimes? Would you let it slide when their rationale for the measure was "Well, most people don't commit crimes anyway, so why would you care that you had to call us once a week...unless you were a CRIMINAL!"

Hmmm...purchased or pirated?

A pirated version of software is (generally) free, always in stock, and doesn't have a DRM. That seems to be a lot more consumer friendly. And you can bet your donkeypuncher that this game will be on bittorrent with a DRM hack within a week or two.

Now I know piracy is wrong, and I myself don't pirate work. I'm in the industry, so piracy would just be cutting my own throat. But there's a few things our industry needs to understand.

NOBODY likes it when their computer sends information to a corporate entity, no matter how benign. DRM might as well be spyware. And in a current climate where people are fighting to keep their personal information personal, DRM is going to become a casualty.

Second, your punishing those of us who attain the product legally, while those who obtain it illegal are barely inconvenienced. It's like locking everyone up in jail on the off chance that there might be some criminals in the mix. Meanwhile the criminals are walking free because they have copies of the keys.

I stopped buying music because of the RIAA and DRM. I just listen to the radio. I no longer feel the need to "collect" music that's just going to wind up on a "classics" channel in 10 years anyway.

To sum up, as long as legal versions create greater inconvenience than pirated versions, piracy WILL THRIVE! It's a lesson I think we might have learned form prohibition.

>> And those who threaten

>> And those who threaten piracy because of DRM? Well, those schmucks are probably already familiar with getting the five-finger discount.

WRONG! many legitimate owners (myself included) of games (and applications as well) use cracks to circumvent the DRM on the game they purchased! who wants to deal with it? for the pirate, it's a minor inconvenience - piracy might be slightly delayed but not prevented in any meaningful way. For the legitimate "owner", it's annoying (and sometimes a showstopper) with ABSOLUTELY NO VALUE ADDED!

furthermore, you are making a similar over-reaching assumption that DRM advocates make: if you use a crack you have stolen the game (or app) and that = lost revenue. this is simply wrong. like I said above, there are reasons legitimate buyers use cracks but beyond this, sometimes a game is downloaded/cracked by a gamer who had no intention of ever buying it - this does not equal a lost sale.

you have a "let them eat cake" attitude towards this issue. Don't you see the Marie Antoinette in this statement?:
>> gamers are just going to have to suck up the horrible inconvenience of plugging in their ethernet cable.

>> Is it really draconian to expect gamers to be connected to the internet?

YES! because what you're actually saying is: "is it really draconian to expect gamers to PAY FOR connecting to the internet?" You are awfully free with other people's money, aren't you?

>> simply contact the support with a request code given by the game, and they activate the game for me. Big. Deal.

right, and it wouldn't be a big deal to call Nike every 10 days to ask them if I can wear the sneakers I "bought" from them - I'm really only renting the shoes until they wear out.

Doolittle... about freedom squashing DRM, that is! I hope you got good bling for this article you wormy shill!

sorry, had to add something

sorry for the double post but I had to add one last thought

your opinion on DRM doesn't bother me, what bothers me is that you can't understand why people hate it. this is what is so disturbing about the article.

just thought you might want to know why you got flamed so hard in the comments.

forums

Heres the forum thread for this article if you ant to chime in there
http://www.gamecritics.com/forums/showthread.php?p=149733#post149733

It is actually a good

It is actually a good security pratice to not have a machine connected to the internet unless needed these days due to all the prevalance of spyware, adware and trojans out there that can infect an un-updated machine without any user interaction. Most PC users dont bother or know how to keep their computers up to date, or dont understand how routers can work as a firewall.

I have been an IT Administrator for over 10 yrs now and I cant count the number of times I have fixed peoples home machines that were "Broken" to the point of them being ready to by a new machine with a simple reformat to remove all the extra resource eating crap that gets installed on them over time. Even my own machine which I am very carefull about what programs are installed on needs to be reformated about every 2 yrs to keep running well.

Any parent who is smart will ensure that their childs pc is not connected to the internet if its in their room, or locate the pc in an more public. This is both to protect them and prevent them from unknownly infecting the computer through various downloads they agree to without thinking about.

I still play several of my games that are 10-15 yrs old such as the Baldurs gate series by bioshock, if these games had online activations what is the likelyhood that they would still activate online after all this time, through the EA acquisition.

All of those are good reasons for not having an internet required limited activation DRM product. Many DRM products do have techinical issues as well, there is ample evidence on the support boards for bioshock about the launch problems DRM caused. That is just one example, the Sony Root kit case was even worse.

PC gaming is declining not due to piracy but because they are harder to use and configure. If you buy an Xbox 360 game you can stick the disk in and be playing in 2 minutes. When you buy the same game for PC you need to install it, then activate it or put in a CD key. Once this is completed it needs to be configured and tuned for your hardware and graphics, it may run choppy if you dont have a high end computer that cost at least 4 times what and Xbox cost. You also have to deal with patches and other software interfereing. Different hardware can have bugs, especialy with graphic adapters that others do not. The list is nearly endless, but Piracy is not one of those items stopping people from buying PC games.

As DRM is currently used,

As DRM is currently used, it's only to aquire information on a users complete system, surfing habits and every bit of software used on the machine. They in turn sell this info to marketing companies and advertisers to increase revenue. Meanwhile, releasing unfinished glitchy games (100+mb patch for Fear was released BEFORE my pre-order came in - they had to have gone Gold knowing full well it was unfinished.) This was followed up by several other patches, one of which actually helped me, several months and $90 later...
Now, i'm about to put in my BF2142 DVD. It's showing signs of wear no matter how careful i've been for the last year and a half and I will probably have to buy it again to complete my in-game unlocks. :p At least it kept functioning long enough to see their in-game adverts. :p

While the above analogy regarding "Fords" didn't really apply, I can think of no other industry that charges full price for a product "to be finished later". This drives kids like my son away from PC gaming in droves. The addition of Rootkits, spyware, adware and draconian DRM schemes to unfinished PC games make it hard on the paying consumer(me) and it seems a lot to ask from me just to play a GAME with my son. Until these issues are addressed (Epic's Mark Rein seems to be trying), Piracy will flourish and be used as a scapegoat by the industry to shove more money-making schemes at us PC gamers. I currenty spend $300-$400 on a gaming card every year and a half or so and often get a buggy game right in the box with it. (Was PC Tech for years and have hand-built 5500+ systems, so ignorance should be ruled out.) Next purchase? PS3.

DRM isn't timeless

I still occasionally play XCOM, loading it up from the original disc I purchased back, what? 1996? Microprose doesn't even exist anymore, and in 10 years will the activation servers for Mass Effect still be able to authenticate my game so I can play it? I still throw in Fallout 1 on occasion, what if I had to activate it and the servers were no longer availabe? Did I pay $50 for a shiney coaster? The only thing DRM accomplishes is to limit the rights of legitimit owners. It does absolutely nothing to battle piracy, adds to the cost of the game, really just pisses me off. There were a couple of games in recent memory that were heavily talked about as not being DRM'd, Gal Civ II for instance, which I bought just because it had no DRM. I think I maybe played it for all of an hour, just wasn't my thing, but that company deserved my support and the got it.

Or hell, what about internet

Or hell, what about internet 2.0 ? Even if EA is still around the game would be like "OMG what happened to the IP addresses?!".

The death of the pc gamer

30 games, wow, that is like a years worth of gaming to a heavy gamer, so is that enough experience to be worth putting your great opinion out.
Heavy gamers have hundred of games on their sheves, and likely have played thousands in their gaming life. The games on the shelves, mostly are classics from 10-20 yeats ago and get reinstalled dozens of times, especially after a new upgrade or new OS. A pc upgrade is a common occurrance to the heavy pc gamer. Alot of games that are played, but are forgetable, are resold and the funds used to get the next game.

The new DRM will kill all that. It threatens to kill our hobby and our passion. If this DRM becomes the norm, there is a very real chance we wont be able to play any of our favourite games years down the track. That every time we upgrade our pc, or buy a new pc, we are suddenly locked out of a dozen or more games and have to email dozens or more of companys (if they exist) to beg for our games to be playable again. And if we are lucky, we may be able to play our game that day. (rather than that minute as we are now used to)

Also if we buy a game and we dont like it for whatever reason, we currently resell it to fund our next purchase. That resell value is gone. We are now renting our games, and when we are finished, it goes into the bin. Disposable games for the same price as we pay for fully owned games!!

i guess you dont use steam

i guess you dont use steam or ever have. that was the biggest load of retarded nonsense ive ever seen anyone write.

so what you have to register an account to use steam, its an online store what did you expect? anonymity? i dont have any glitch that disables offline play. no **** certain titles cant be played offline. these are called multiplayer games and require other people from the internet to play against. the statistical spyware as you call it is a survey that they ask you to take every month or 3. its not mandatory, a little box pops up and asks if you want to be in on it. it only collects hardware info so you can see who uses what. i thought i was paranoid but goddamn you take the whole bakery, **** the cake.

I simply refuse to

I simply refuse to agree--whether by clicking OK, breaking a seal, or reading a EULA before proceeding--to cede my customary rights as the owner of a purchased item to use it as I please. I do not care if that product is a banana, an automobile, or a digital product. Furthermore, I simply refuse to recognize any regulation that claims to remove that right. Catch me if you can.

People hates DRM because it

People hates DRM because it only hurts paying consumers. Oh yes, it will annoy one brilliant genius pirate for a couple of days who'll have fun breaking it, and then, it will be hassle-free for everybody.

About online activation specifically, the problem is that once you've paid the FULL price, you still have nothing. You have to regularly ask for permission to use what you have just bought. And they might answer
- yes,
- no because of some changing "normal usage" rules,
- or not being there anymore to answer.

And I say regularly as there is no such thing as a one-time only activation : the goal of those systems is to tie the game to your hardware so it cannot be copied around. If the DRM detects your hardware has changed, it will ask for authorization. And it can be very sensitive: with Bioshock, switching from an admin to a user windows account counted for 2 machines.

The media industry is full of horror stories of activation servers disappearing or being simply dumb and rigid (and being backed up by their corresponding "consumer service"). Be a professional journalist and check
- what happened with the closure of the Virgin, Sony and old Microsoft music store; activation servers went dark with no DRM removal tools supplied.
- The Major League Baseball switched the DRM on their videos. Previously bought contents stopped working and it took them 6 months and a lot of bad publicity to finally accept to transfer the rights to the new system.
- And what about Steam with its new "region locking" feature which has remotely killed games, some which were working for several years, just because they feel the consumer hasn't pay them enough money?
- And what about xBox Live downloadable content which might or might not work offline when your console serviced (expect a few month for the fix calling technical support regularly) - and if you upgrade your console (buying an Elite instead of a Core), MS will reward you by refusing to authorize your content to be used offline with your shiny new box
- Lesser known software also had their activation rendered impossible either because the publisher is gone (DVDxCopy) or just because he feels you are using a too old version (Broderbund Print Shop).

You can only tolerate these protections if you have a blind trust in the publishers: trust that their servers are properly scaled, trust that their support staff is efficient and not too paranoid, trust that they will release a patch whenever the server will be shutdown. Yet, they refuse to trust their paying consumers, even after being paid the full price of the product, and have a great track record of releasing unfinished games, canceling patches, shutting down game servers after 6 months, etc... So why should they be trustworthy if they have no contractual obligation?

Possible solutions
- trust your consumers
- make console games
- make multiplayer online game (where a simple check for blacklisted or simultaneous used CD-Key is sufficient)
- do not sell your games but make them available through a subscription business model (online check is then acceptable because if the DRM is becoming annoying, you can stop paying - the business relation is much more balanced)
- to prevent pre-launch piracy (the worst one), do not release the executable on the disk, but make it freely downloadable the d-day. The exe can then rely on a simple CD based protection.
- If you really want to use product activation, make it optional. People who do not want (or cannot) activate will used the CD as the dongle.
- Support your game regularly as each patch will required to be cracked

DRM doesn't work.

Here's a quick example of what a poorly executed DRM does. I went on lauch day and paid full price for Master of Orion 3. I installed it with much anticipation only to have it dump to the desktop each time I launched it. Fortunately I know more than my fair share about computers and was able to isolate the problem. The copy protection included code which looked for virtual drives and would not execute if the game was being ran from it. My high performance hard drive used a virtual SCSI driver. I waited 2 weeks for someone to crack it so that I could play my legitimately purchased game. DRM will only work if it is completely transparent and never locks out a legitimate user. This will simply not happen. Don't even get me started on the problems that I have had with XBLA.

Yeah

"To the people who regularly reformat: seriously, I am curious exactly why you need to do this. I assume legitimate reasons, but you might want to keep your gaming confined to a machine that isn't constantly being wiped. I have reformatted twice. In 8 years."

Ya know what? That's a dumbass question not worth answering.

It kind of also shows that

It kind of also shows that he's still using Windows ME or has always done upgrade installs.

Enjoy your low FPS while DooingLittle to speed things up.

What a shame

What a shame this article is. We do not need any apologists for Digital Restrictions Management amongst videogame fans. I've already been bitten by DRM badly enough - it refusing to allow me to play games that I legitimately purchased - that I'm incredibly wary of it. I don't accept that I should have to give up my convenience, and even my ability to play the game in some cases, because there are "pirates" out there. Hell, that just makes me more inclined to become a "pirate".

SecuROM is garbage.

well congrats on never having had a problem with DRM. i, unfortunately, haven't been that lucky. I purchased Command $ Conquer 3 some time ago, and played all the way thorough with no issue...then i wanted to play online. An update was necessary to do so, so i updated, and because of the update to secuROM, i can no longer play. You see, secuROM is a really lousy DRM, it mistook Process Explorer (a legitimate windows tool, distributed by microsoft) for a virtual CDROM drive, and would not allow me to even start the game, because it thought my copy was illegitimate. to my knowledge, EA NEVER fixed this problem, so now not only can i not play online, but i can't even play the regular game either.

That's why i hate DRM....it's a prime example of just how little regard the companies have for their paying customers. you can't play the game, but what do they care?, they have their 60 bucks, so it's all good for them..

Lets pretend you're not an

Lets pretend you're not an idiot for saying that.....sorry, I can't!

So you can only play Mass Effect 3 times? Bull. Let's change your stupid, tired analogy to, "You can go back to the dealership, tell them you 'lost' your new car, and they will give you a new one, free of charge. But after the third time you 'lose' your car, they ask you to please show your receipt before you get a fourth one."

THAT is a better analogy. 95% of users will only install a game once. Some, due to system crashes or upgrades, may legitimately install it more. The vast majority of those who need more than three installs.....are scum-sucking thieves.

nighstalker160

nighstalker160 wrote:

BioShock was available on torrent sites with 24 hours and yes Mass Effect and Spore will be too.

There are people, thousands of people, who probably don't even play these games but who love the challenge of beating the DRM.

And the Parade of the Poorly Informed continues.....

Yes, a file called "BioShock" was available on torrents right away. Was it a working crack? NO! LOL!!! BioShock, despite being one of the most anticipated games of last year, and getting the full attention of most of the cracker community, took and unprecedented ELEVEN FULL DAYS TO CRACK. Let that sink in for a moment.....eleven days. Most games are cracked in 24 hours, if not prior to release. Eleven days. That is a HUGE jump forward in effectiveness, and it hints at a future where piracy will be significantly curtailed.

Second, we need to start defining thieves into better classifications. The old, tired saying about how everyone likes to crack games is bull. There is a tiny portion of technically-savvy people who crack games (lets call them "pirates"), and once they post them on torrent sites, millions of less savvy downloaders (lets call them "thieves") simply download and play. They could care less about the technical challenge. They just want something for free and don't care who it hurts.

So, yeah, DRM will always be seen as a challenge to pirates. And if they were all we had to worry about, I'd say forget about DRM. But it's the hordes of thieves we need to do something about. And since they get no satisfaction out of cracking a game, they get very impatient waiting for their free download. If new DRM measures made it take a month or longer to crack, I guarantee some of those people would get tired of waiting and some (not all) would buy it.

This is stupid.

I think that in the end this will only hurt the game. I was planning to buy the it but i wont do it after reading this. Something is really wrong if piracy makes the game experience better, wich it probably will in this case.

We want the game on the pc, not EA and Bioware.

Who doesn't have the internet?

I don't have the internet.
I live in South Africa, where our internet prices are outrageously bad. Prices are about 800% above the world average last I checked.

DRM in Mass Effect

No matter what one thinks of DRM like what's in Mass Effect, the way EA is doing this is what bugs me. From what I understand, installing a game patch or even video card drivers will use up an activation. If this is true, it's going to be quite easy to get to the 3 activation limit. Also from what I understand and contrary to the first post, EA is NOT going to give out another activation code if the 3 are used up. They are going to require purchasing the game again.

DRM is one thing but this is something quite different if EA is going to do it this way.

Hopefully in time EA will drop the activation limit on Mass Effect the way it was done with Bioshock.

Tristram Draper wrote: To

Tristram Draper wrote:

To the people who regularly reformat: seriously, I am curious exactly why you need to do this. I assume legitimate reasons, but you might want to keep your gaming confined to a machine that isn't constantly being wiped. I have reformatted twice. In 8 years.

Owning and playing the game is not a right, it is a privilege that you get by paying for it. You have a right to choose to buy or not buy the game, nothing more. If you want the game badly enough then you accept the software. If you don't want it badly enough, then you deal with it. You do not have the right to go pirate the game because it is your "right" to play it. You seem to be suggesting that they are going to forcibly install it onto your computer, charge you for it, and then install their copy protection.

Seriously, is so upset because the developers are trying to protect their investment. Apparently we all have rights to their hard work and tears but they have no rights to try to protect that. As long as they tell you what security measures they are using, you have the right to buy it or not. Are some of the measures annoying and stupid? Sure, but it is their right to that if they see fit, and it is your right to buy or not buy as you see fit.

This is part of the Mass Effect End User License Agreement, it doesn't specify the NUMBER, you click accept...then how many? I want 3 billion, it is my right since it says so on the license agreement.

"The first end user of this License can install and authenticate the Software on a set number of machines which may vary by product."

I don't care if you have a pc with and years of garbage on, I like my system clean of crap. I format every year. I hate DRM, though I can live with it, but 3 installs?, WHY LIMIT THE INSTALLS WHEN YOU HAVE COPY PROTECTION?.

WHY LIMIT THE INSTALLS WHEN YOU ARE SO PROUD OF YOUR DRM?.

Basically flawed

Mr. Dolittle, your arguments fall flat because of some fatally wrong assumptions you make.

Piracy will always be there, no matter how elaborate the measures to protect a product. The only thing that software producers hope for is getting the most out of the first two weeks after a game goes on shelves.

Producers do not leave the PC because of piracy, but because it is cheaper to develop for standardized consoles. Two of the biggest players on the market, Electronic Arts and Activision, stem back from the time when copying games was as or even more rampant than now, the 1980s. They made it through that time quite nicely, although their business was much more centered on the very home computers it was easy to pirate games on.

I also don't see how online activation can be "most promising", as you like to call it. As has been proven with "Mass Effect" now and "Bioshock" before, instead of disabling the CD check the crackers will now simply disable the online check. It is therefore -only- the paying customer who is forced to send data of unknown content to a game's company.

The only real copy protection that will work is to offer a definite advantage over a pirated game. Maybe you are not old enough to remember a company called "Infocom" that had a very well working copy protection: They included props with their games, like authentically looking newspaper clippings, business cards, letters, medical reports, ID cards etc., that got the player deeply involved in a game and who were needed to actually solve it. But just having to have these goodies was for many people a reason to get an original Infocom game, although the pirated versions were readily available.

Maybe in that light I also have to remind you that it was EA who decided that nicely done boxes are to be declared obsolete and games should come in DVD cases - which led to inadequately short manuals in small print that many times lacked vital information. What kind of buying incentive does that give over a pirated version? Furthermore, what kind of buying incentive when it gets coupled with copy protection that treats the paying customer like a hostile entity that has to be distrusted on every step?

And all this without even mentioning the side implications: What happens when you want to sell your used game? What happens when the authorization server gets turned off one day and the developer forgets to disable the online check?

Mr. Dolittle, based on your previous commentary on this site I wouldn't have thought you are as naive as was demonstrated by this piece.

OMG What a terrible article

This article is terrible. It is not even worth to spend 5 minutes explaining why. It should be deleted.

Chris L wrote: Every

Chris L wrote:

Every console game is DRM protected, and they're selling pretty well, don't you think?

Console games are NOT protected by DRM. They just have simple copy protection that prevents the console from playing anything but original copies. There's no requirement to authenticate with an online server - not at install nor at 10 day intervals, discs can be used on unlimited numbers of machines, running a game won't install extra software into the system that effects performance of other programs. You just need the original disc in the drive, pure and simple. Which is just how PC games often were before this DRM BS popped up.

We are not a minority. You

We are not a minority. You are just sucking up. We all hate that bullshit. How much could it possibly effect game makers anyway?

Look at FFXI. That has to be the most frustrating installation ever made. If you don't know what im talking about just Google it and you'll see.

We buy the game, we want to play it ASAP. No one wants to be bothered by stupid bullshit like this...

Why Peaple Hate DRM

I have had so many frustrations trying to install and reinstall so many games I'v recently purchased that I'm just about ready to give up on PC gaming for good. I now find myself ovoiding any game that features a persistent internet connection reqirement or any title from steam.
I recently purchased Empire Total War "I'v been a long time fan of the series" It took me several hours to finnish downloading all the necessary files just to play the game, a couple of years ago I perchased Half-life 2 and recently tried to reinstall it and now since I used an old E.mail address I have long since forgoten and lost I can no longer activate the game, and I have had several other similar experiances. This is a Big Deall to many of us that don't care about the touted so called advantages such as
"NO Need For A CD to be Installed"or"Online achievement awards"
I would would trade those advantages anyday if I could only load and Play my games anyware, anytime and as many times as I wanted to.

In response

DRM is a horrible inconvenience and sometimes a fraudulent device for legitimate customers and a very minor obstacle to pirates.

> This has been common practice ever since Half-Life 2. But Mass Effect will also "phone home" every 10 days to make sure the key is valid, and it will carry a three-install limit. This has set many message boards afire with rants about "draconian" DRM and people threatening to pirate the game precisely because of the DRM.

Many times, people want to be able to play the games they purchased without being connected to the internet. This isn't some sort of vocal minority, either. Essentially nobody who owns a PC has internet access 100% of the time, and not being connected to the internet, if anything, is a reason for someone to want to be playing a single-player game. And yes, many people threaten to pirate games with strong DRM measures. This is a rough equivalent to boycotting, and is the most effective way for gamers as a whole to combat excessive copy protection.

> It's times like this that I wonder why people are so adamantly opposed to DRM. It's worth noting that piracy came first; if people didn't steal their games, there would be no need for DRM. But the argument is something like this: the game will be pirated anyway, and DRM just inconveniences those who legitimately purchased their game.

I'm not completely opposed to DRM. I don't think that anyone is. We're against excessive DRM, where aside from the obvious cost of money, pirating a game is significantly more advantageous than purchasing it legitimately, the inability to play a single-player game without an internet connection being one huge and common drawback.

> But let's shift gears for a moment. The music industry has been similarly ravaged by piracy. It's easy enough to avoid any DRM simply by purchasing a CD. But that's not what most people do. The number one retailer of music is none other than Apple's iTunes. That's right – the same iTunes that gives you songs at 128kbps AAC and won't let you burn any song to CD more than five times. Apple has tried to appease the DRM-haters with iTunes plus, but it's a pretty small percentage of iTunes songs that use the "plus" format.

> How has Apple managed to become the number one music retailer with such evil DRM? It's simple: most people don't care about DRM. I mean really, when you buy a CD, do you make ten copies? Twenty? Why on earth wouldn't five copies be enough? And the vast majority of people cannot tell the difference between a 128kbps AAC song and an uncompressed song on a CD. It's hard to imagine how iTunes songs would really inconvenience anyone.

The music industry is much different from the software one; you're comparing apples to oranges (no pun intended). The first major difference is the price. Paying a dollar or two to burn more copies of a song onto a CD that, note, can be played anywhere at any time, is a slight inconvenience. Paying another sixty bucks per game because your machine crashed/got a virus/got upgraded/needed cleaning/etc. is extremely frustrating. Although multiple installations isn't a particularly big deal for most gamers, the ones who regularly maintain their computers are punished.

> Here's the thing: due to various upgrades and reformats, I've passed the activation limits on one or two of my games. I simply contact the support with a request code given by the game, and they activate the game for me. Big. Deal.

Here's the thing: companies go out of business after a bit of time, and their customer support is rarely so helpful.

> The resistance to DRM like that seen in Mass Effect does not, in my view, come from a real belief that gamers are being inconvenienced in any significant way; rather, it comes from the belief that if you buy a piece of software, it's your property and you should be able to do whatever you want with it. But here's the thing: it's not your property. You are paying for the privilege of using the software, not ownership of the intellectual property.

When I purchase a game, that game becomes mine. It's not my privilege to play the game, as you stated, but it's my right. It's the publisher's privilege to receive my money. I don't have to buy their product if I don't want to, but if I do give them my money, they are legally required to give me what I paid for. Many people are unable to use the software they legally acquired because of DRM. Game companies disallowing their customers from properly using their software (meaning the ability to run, transport, and retain ownership of the software) is impractical because our continued use costs the company absolutely nothing, opposed to renting a physical object that isn't so effortlessly replaced.

> But to the larger question: Does DRM really inconvenience legit gamers while utterly failing to combat piracy? Sometimes, yes, it has. But as long as piracy remains rampant, developers have every right to try to protect their software as best they can. Online authentication is perhaps the most promising form of piracy protection, and it's likely that more and more developers will use it, particularly as PC games move from the retail shelf to digital distribution.

That first "sometimes" is a gruesome understatement. The first Humble Indie Bundle had absolutely no DRM protection. They made 1,273,613 USD in a couple weeks off a package of games costing a total of less than $100. The exclusion of DRM has been shown to be profitable, not harmful. Developers have nothing to protect. People who pirate their games cost the developers absolutely nothing, and the majority of pirates have been shown to be those who would not or cannot buy the game in the first place, which is something far too many developers don't seem to understand. In short, piracy is the theft that profits the thief and costs nobody.

> Futhermore, I always have to cast a skeptical eye at those who claim that copy protection such as SecuROM causes bugs and glitches, because in the two and a half years that I've been a PC-only gamer, of all the 30 or so games I own, not a single one has caused me any problems at all due to copy protection. While it's not impossible that some users have legitimate problems, I feel that it's more probable that copy protection is often erroneously blamed other system issues.

You are impossibly fortunate. Copy protection negatively impacts quite nearly everyone. However, the primary issue isn't that DRM prevents play on certain hardware or under certain circumstances, it's that DRM prevents play after the product has been purchased with no possibility of a refund.

> Ultimately I feel that those who raise hell about DRM are in a minority. The alleged inconveniences are incredibly trivial, and if DRM can reduce piracy, it's good both for developers and gamers. And those who threaten piracy because of DRM? Well, those schmucks are probably already familiar with getting the five-finger discount. I challenge these irate gamers to offer their own solutions. PC piracy numbers are staggering, and causing many developers to leave the platform. If gamers don't like DRM, what other solutions might there be? What are these gamers accomplishing by throwing a fit and threatening more piracy, aside from egging developers to develop even stricter DRM?

Nearly all of us offer the same solution: either minimize DRM or eliminate it altogether. Nobody gains from DRM. The customer is inconvenienced, the pirate is given obstacle, and the company suffers losses from increased piracy, all due to the inclusion of DRM. I'm not the first to point out that studies have shown that DRM itself causes more piracy than it prevents.

> DRM is not going anywhere. It's here to stay and until our society becomes a utopia where everyone is honest and nobody steals, gamers are just going to have to suck up the horrible inconvenience of plugging in their ethernet cable.

On the contrary, with large publishers moving away from the platform, independent developers are gaining prominence. Indie games are rarely DRM'd to even the smallest extent, and they're also pirated the least. DRM ought to be gone before the decade is over, and though there will always be those who can't or wouldn't buy a product the the first place who pirate games, this is a minority and one which costs the publishers nothing at all.

DRM dose 2 things it makes

DRM dose 2 things it makes harder to jump in and out of a game and it it adds extra levels of bugs.

It simply is not worth the cost of operation but publishers are more interested in their peer groups than real world facts.

Activation requirements are the worest, get rid of them and check keys,user names and IPs you can mitigate things much more effectively but at the end of the day its not worth the cost, put more effort into protecting the online components from cheating/double logins,ect than anythign else.

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