Mass Effect DRM Causing Backlash Among PC Gamers

If you’d like to play the PC version of Bioware/EA’s hit XBOX 360 title “Mass Effect,” you’d better have an internet connection. Why? Because in order to remain “activated” the game will need to reauthorize itself via the internet every 10 days. Go 11 days without checking in and your game won’t work until you do. Some gamers are saying that this requirement makes them feel like criminals, and doesn’t make a lot of sense for a game that otherwise doesn’t require an internet connection.

From the Mass Effect forums:

It is good that Bioware and EA want to kill piracy — but really, though; at what expense?…If somehow a copy of MEPC game gets out w/out any protection around comes out, that copy won’t be hindered by any checks. Why should a legitimate buyer of MEPC have to pay money to be treated like he’s a pirate when he isn’t the pirate?

Say you, the legitimate MEPC owner, has lost their Internet connection — and it’s say not on your end, but your ISP’s. What now? Will you be locked out of your legit copy of your game for NO REASON?

Say you, legitimate MEPC owner, tried to get your copy verified online from its online check — but, for some reason, EA and Bioware’s servers are down. Or say, too many MEPC users are booting MEPC at once to get verified and you just can’t connect for a good while — whether it’s 2 minutes, 20 mins, or 1 hour or more. That’s an inconvenience. So, will the game boot b/c you can’t get your legit copy verified?

Let’s hope EA and Bioware are planning on operating these servers in perpetuity, because Mass Effect is very addicting, and if you don’t agree, my level 60 Adept Nemesis will Singularity your ass.

What do you think of this style of DRM? Are they punishing the ones who don’t steal? Or is this necessary to protect their investment?

Mass Effect for PC System Specs, SecuROM and FAQ [Bioware]

Comments

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  1. mantari says:

    Also, it is a time bomb. Because, just like DRM, it works for as long as the company supports the authorization server. When they stop running the server, you’ve got a dead program.

  2. FLConsumer says:

    The Ruckus internet music service is somewhat similar to this. You can download as much as you want, but the DRM’d files expire after 30 days. Want to use those with your MP3 player? Good chance it won’t work with it because of that. In the off chance that you bought a Zune, they’ll charge you an extra $10-20/month for the privilege of copying your songs to it…and they’ll also expire after 30 days. FairUse4WM takes care of this little problem rather nicely.

    At least EA games is using a rather insecure channel to do this (internet). Shouldn’t be long before the hackers figure out a workaround. Nothing a little bit of packet sniffing shouldn’t be able to cure.

  3. ShirtGuyDom says:

    Makes them feel like criminals? A lot of PC gamers are criminals. This is a product of rampant torrenting. It’s a price we PC gamers have to pay in order to offset the issue of illegal downloads.

    I remember hearing Crytek say that for every 1 copy of Crysis sold, there were 5 copies illegally downloaded. This is mainly the reason why they’ve completely abandoned PC exclusives going into the future.

    PC gamers need to confront and fix this piracy issue. Complaining and moaning about a possible (yet still admittedly flawed) solution is like welcoming the destruction of PC gaming.

    You want PC gaming to stay alive? Take the steps to fight piracy and deal with the consequences. You have nothing to fear but a little inconvenience.

    As an avid PC gamer, I have absolutely no problem with this way of protecting PC games. Sure, there’s a possibility that the servers might get closed down one day, but this is EA we’re talking! It’s not going to cost them a lot to keep a couple servers running for this purpose.

    So stop bitching people. Stop bitching or come up with a better way to stop piracy.

  4. MonkeyMonk says:

    If the copy protection bothers people so much they should just buy the 360 version . . . or not buy it at all. As a consumer you have the right to not support companies that employ practices you don’t approve of.

  5. uberbucket says:

    They are also doing it with Spore for the PC. I hope this is not a trend.

  6. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @uberbucket: Why not? So you can torrent games and have nothing to worry about?

    If you buy Mass Effect or Spore when they come out, LEGALLY, and you have an internet connection, you have little to nothing to worry about.

  7. uberbucket says:

    Actually I have more of a problem with them using SecuROM than I do with the 10 day activation.

  8. Imakeholesinu says:

    Like all companies who attempt to stop piracy they are taking it out on the legitimate owners of the products.

    Knowing this will definitely turn me off from purchasing the game and I own a decent PC and a PS3.

    Software companies like EA who were great during the golden era of DOS gaming have turned to a money hungry, toss-the-customer-under-the-bus-and-run mentality.

    Then again, the internet gaming community has done little to prove that we’re not all 12 year old boys named Jason.

    If anything, this type of “phone home” DRM is nothing more than a big sigh of relief for pirates as you will have legit owners hacking the game in order to stop it from phoning home as well. It adds to more people and a greater knowledge base in order to achieve the goal of the common mentality of software ownership which is, if I walk into a best buy and pay $59.99 for a game, I OWN that game and can do whatever I want with it.That is the consumer’s mentality towards software. The consumer doesn’t want to read an ELUA. It is the same as if the RIAA said that I don’t own all of the CD’s I purchased in the last 18 years of my life.

    No matter how hard the gaming companies, RIAA, and MPAA try to enforce it, if the consumer is shelling out cash and they are saying “you don’t actually own that” then the consumer is going to shoot back, “I gave you your money go away now.”

  9. Imakeholesinu says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    Sure you do, you have plenty to worry about. Big Brother is now able to watch you.

    Do you want EA watching over all of you habits online? I do not want any company watching what I do online and knowing about what games I do and don’t play.

    What if I was to load this game on a laptop and take it for a long trip where there was no wifi? What then?

  10. Archavious says:

    I really wish MAPC is available via Steam.

  11. tinky XIII says:

    I’m thinking a week or less after Mass Effect’s release, there will be a SecuROM crack, making it a moot point anyway.

    Every game I buy, I use no-CD cracks just to save wear and tear on my games and drive. If I choose to get mass Effect, it will be only after SecuROM can be completely disabled. The fact that EA is trying to do this is almost enough for me to pirate their games that use technology like SecuROM. This sort of thing doesn’t sit well with me and really shouldn’t with anyone.

  12. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @Imakeholesinu: Oh come on. Big Brother? Really? Give me a break.

    “What if I was to load this game on a laptop and take it for a long trip where there was no wifi? What then?”

    Where would you be where there’d be no internet at all (you can take a little ethernet cable with you if need be) where you’d want to spend time playing Mass Effect?

  13. azntg says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: Until you decide that you want to play that game again 15 years down the line. It happens. I still pop in CDs of games I bought over a decade ago and play them again from time to time.

    The big question is, if you purchased the game legally, will the activation server still be running at the time you decide to “revisit” a game 10-15 years later? From industry track record, the answer is likely to be NO. And unfortunately, at that point, the only loser is the person who legally purchased a license to the game.

    Shame, it really is a damned if you do and damned if you don’t thing.

  14. MustyBuckets says:

    I don’t understand why PC games don’t take something from Steam, all PC games come encrypted, and your CD key is tied to your account, and with that CD key, you can then download the key to unencrypt your game. The CD Key then goes to a server where it is registered to your user name and password, along with all other games made by that company.

    If it was just one game tied to that service, I can see it being misused, but many games, like Steam, and you don’t want to give your password out because you don’t know who out there will change it, and then take ownership of all your games.

    I don’t know… The moral is that I, like some other people posting, won’t buy a copy it until it is cracked to the point where it doesn’t call home, and doesn’t need the CD in the drive.

  15. TechnoDestructo says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    Yes, and making it more of a pain in the ass and a generally more unpleasant experience to buy a game than to pirate it is definitely the way to go in tackling that problem.

  16. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @azntg: I’d much rather let down a relatively small number of PC gamers 10 years down the line than let down every single PC gamer in a few years when I decide that PCs aren’t worth putting games on at all.

    Even still, what’s stopping EA from getting rid of the online check requirement when they close down the servers? I mean, by that time they will have probably satiated the market with whatever particular game is in question.

  17. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Really? Registering online and having it auto-check is that much a pain in the ass? Please.

  18. BugMeNot2 says:

    I’m a big Bioware fan and once PC version of Mass Effect was announced I made a note to buy it. Even tho they’re using this draconian method of authorization, I’ll still purchase it because I want to support Bioware. The copy protection is usually done by publisher, in this case EA (die die die).

    I’ll end up buying it but using the crack once it is released. Having to activate it every 10 days is just plain retarded.

    Also, about activation server not always being up is pretty hallow argument. A lot of companies come out with patch that removes all protection a year or so after release.

  19. watduck says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    “Sure, there’s a possibility that the servers might get closed down one day, but this is EA we’re talking!”

    What about the MSN Music store? This is Microsoft we’re talking! It’s not going to cost them a lot to keep a couple servers running for this purpose.

  20. ShirtGuyDom says:

    You guys having this backlash against this system are just completely missing the big picture, or rather the bottom line. EA isn’t publishing Mass Effect because they want you to play it. They’re publishing it because they want you to buy it. And that’s totally acceptable and totally normal.

    But this whole piracy thing is a giant thorn in their side. To get around it (and to make, you know profit), they have to make the legitimate buyers go through extra steps. If you’re not willing to make Mass Effect (or whatever) profitable, then you’re not really supporting the people behind it. If you want to have the game be released and easily pirated just so you get an easier experience, then you’re incredibly arrogant and self-centered, and completely miss the main purpose of why publishers publish games, and an important purpose of why developers develop games.

  21. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @crice: There’s a difference between a product worth continued support and a product not worth continued support. I highly doubt Microsoft closed the MSN Music Store because it was financially unsound to run the servers.

  22. uberbucket says:

    I have nothing against game developers/publishers protecting their intellectual property, I really doubt anyone does. I just don’t think installing malware and rootkits on the computers of paying customers and the headaches that are caused as a result, is the best idea.

  23. mac-phisto says:

    why do companies spend so much time & effort creating a system that’s costly, reduces sales & in the end always fails? will someone find a hack for this? of course. it’s ea’s tiny room of programmers against thousands of crackers all over the world. what do you think?

    here’s a question – maybe someone who has some programming experience can answer to the feasibility of this: why aren’t activation keys randomly generated (not based on one or more algorithms, but truly random population) & then why isn’t a list populated that “checks off” the activation keys with appropriate registration information when the game is installed? future attempts to activate with that key would fail b/c it wouldn’t be contained in the active key list. & perhaps even require registration of an email/password if a user wants to retain their ability to transfer their license to a different machine.

    it seems to me that a system like that would be much less intrusive, would allow users flexibility in their “one use” & would disable many popular piracy attempts.

  24. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @uberbucket: Of course it’s not the best idea. But it’s the most feasible and practical. Would I rather EA hunt down pirates person by person and make sure they can never pirate anything ever again? Yes. Because that would solve the problem without hurting anyone except the pirating bastards that deserve it.

    But that simply isn’t possible. So you have to find a middle ground. You have to sacrifice a bit of your convenience to ensure that you can get the pleasure out of playing any PC game at all. The people who are backlashing against this plan just aren’t willing to sacrifice anything. I say screw that arrogance.

  25. watduck says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    No, I think YOU are missing the point as the consumer and gamer. Why should you, as a gamer, have to jump through hoops to play a game you are WILLING to buy in the first place? WHY should legitimate buyers go through the extra steps to play a game? We paid the money. I don’t want a potentially crippling DRM messing up my gameplay experience.

    This DRM will just turn away the casual gamers who DON’T have an internet connection. Expect EA to receive a lot of complaints regarding why Bioware PC isn’t working.

    Case in point, look at Galactic Civilizations II.

    [www.boingboing.net]

    No DRM at all. You can pirate if you want, but if you want game updates or extra content, you shell out the money for the serial. Simple AND effective. The gamers who support the game will buy it without fear of NOT BEING ABLE TO PLAY THE GAME BECAUSE OF DRM.

  26. ironchef says:

    they are trying to discourage the RENTAL of games.

    Besides this is a STUPID move.

  27. watduck says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    Well see, that’s my point. We’re not going to be able to play Mass Effect when the authentication servers get shut down for WHATEVER reason.

  28. mac-phisto says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: i have no problem with a game company wanting to make money off the sale of games, but they’re not selling a game here. they’re selling probationary use of a license that’s dependent on a third-party service that they neither provide nor pay for (namely, your ISP).

  29. mechanismatic says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: Yeah, and the Native Americans didn’t have anything to fear from the US Army in the 19th Century as long as they weren’t hostile. Oh wait…

  30. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @crice: Why? Because if we don’t, then there will be less and less new PC games for us to legally buy because more and more developers will give the middle finger to the PC platform as it becomes less and less profitable.

    I’m trying to help solve a problem. By accepting these terms for playing a game I legally bought, I am helping to stop piracy. As a gamer and a consumer, I want to ensure that I have something to consume and something to game with.

    “This DRM will just turn away the casual gamers who DON’T have an internet connection.”

    What casual gamer is going to play Mass Effect?

    “Case in point, look at Galactic Civilizations II.”

    Great! A huge step forward (as stated in the article)! All we need to do is wait for this to catch on. Yeah, totally reasonable to expect that to happen overnight.

  31. mac-phisto says:

    @crice: thanks for that link…i’ve been looking for that game for a while now (i found it 6 months ago, wanted to check it out & forgot the name). going to download now!

  32. Moosehawk says:

    Either way people will still be able to get away with pirating Mass Effect with activation. There are ways to get around almost everything in the computer world.

    For example, I’ve known people who have an illegal copy of windows running and they use it everyday without any sort of problem. They even download security updates straight from Microsoft using a blinder program.

    All BioWare is doing is making it more difficult for pirates, but in the end, a pirate is a pirate, and they want their shit for free so they’ll do what it takes to save $50.

  33. watduck says:

    IMO, publishers spend all this money trying to combat piracy to NO AVAIL. Games will still get pirated regardless of how complex the anti-piracy systems are. They’re fighting the inevitable here. I’m sure once MEPC comes out, the cracked version will pop up within months, if not weeks. Look at Bioshock.

  34. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @crice: Yeah, that’s a risk. How often do you think that will happen? I don’t think EA is going to do this cheaply and set up one server in a basement to handle this.

    @mac-phisto: God, mountains out of molehills. Yeah, I’m sure Mass Effect not working due to problems with people’s individual ISPs is going to be a noteworthy issue. Or not.

    @mechanismatic: Oh Jesus Christ. Don’t even try to make this analogous with issues that are so far above video games.

  35. watduck says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    I find it amusing that your mantra for “anti-piracy” is to willfully bend over backwards for the publisher. There is a reason why the thread at the MEPC forum is 50+ pages now. People do NOT like this type of DRM. You, sir, fall into the small population that agree with what EA is doing.

    I DID NOT say that everyone and their mother should drop DRM right away a la GCII. I merely demonstrated how a game can still be successful without crippling DRM.

  36. Daniels says:

    It’s a price we PC gamers have to pay in order to offset the issue of illegal downloads.

    So the copy of Baldur’s Gate I bought 10 years ago should be unplayable now because Interplay went under or because BioWare doesn’t feel like supporting it anymore?

    Really?

  37. uberbucket says:

    Anyone remember all the crap with Bioshock when it first came out? I was so looking forward to playing that game and the DRM was so fucked-up I couldn’t even install it. That was the last game I bought on release day.

  38. watduck says:

    Furthermore, it’s this type of DRM that will TURN AWAY potential buyers of the game. I wanted to play Bioshock on my PC very badly, but upon reading about the horrific DRM in place, I did not buy it. The same will happen with Mass Effect.

    ShirtGuyDom, remember Starforce? Wouldn’t you love to have THAT on your PC too?

    *sigh*

  39. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    @ShirtGuyDom or SPA Lapdog:

    You clearly don’t see the slippery slope this creates. Punishing the buyer is the same lame tactic the **AA crew only alienates the customer base and as history proves, it does very little to curb piracy. As you so mocked another poster about ‘Big Brother’, your memory seem short to Sony’s little rootkit stunt that left a lot of people’s machines vulnerable to all kinds of havoc.

    Like the **AA dirtbags, I think the prices they command feed the piracy issue. We are voracious consumers, fed by the constant barrage of advertisements and demands for our attention. Those that succumb to the messages and must have that CD/DVD/Game/etc can’t possibly keep up with the price points demanded. $18 for a CD, $20 for a DVD, $60 for a game – adds up quickly. And since we’re the voracious consumers that we are, our attention spans are exceptionally short, so the cycle feeds itself over and over. What’s the average play time in months for a game? For many, it’s not very long – sure you may have favorites, but then the next hot thing comes out, and that $60 game is shelved.

    Want to slow the hemorrhage of piracy? Lower the price point to where it’s not worth the time to pirate. There are plenty of people out there who will see the value in just buying it instead of pirating it, just because it is closer to an impulse buy price that requires little thought. I’m sure they will make their money without issue, but instead of doing it with a focused group, they’ll do it in volume. If it’s a successful title, the sequels and add-ons will help that revenue stream continue…IN VOLUME. Oh, and the development effort for an add-on is not nearly as intense as the initial game framework, so that could be considered gravy.

    Piracy is going to continue no matter what. Why not curb it by setting more reasonable price points?

  40. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @crice: Bend over backwards? Having to check my game online is bending over backwards? Come on dude, now you’re just pulling stuff right out of your sphincter.

    Yeah, I kinda figured I was only in a small population here. That’s irrelevant though. I’m just willing to sacrifice more to help combat piracy. When a system comes around that helps to stop piracy that doesn’t affect the legal user I’ll welcome it with arms more open than anyone else, which is why I liked how GCII works.

    Until that day though, I am willing to do a lot to keep PC gaming alive.

  41. watduck says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: No, I am not pulling crap out of my ass. For an OFFLINE SINGLE PLAYER GAME, why should I have to worry about my internet connection or the authentication server status. That, my friend, is called jumping through hoops.

    I find your crusade to keep PC gaming alive admirable, but misguided.

    Seriously, think about what happened with Starforce. That was nasty.

  42. mac-phisto says:

    @Moosehawk: & the more difficult they make it to adhere to their licenses, the more people that would have bought the game will turn to piracy.

    slightly different, but an example from my life – adobe. i’m goddamn tired of adobe’s constant updates that hog my memory & make opening a pdf doc take forever. so i found & downloaded alternatives. they drove me to find something else. so i did.

    & this won’t be any different. this will turn more buyers into pirates than it will pirates into buyers.

  43. strathmeyer says:

    What’s interesting is that this is getting enough attention (like the Sony rootkit) that this feature will probably be “disable” by a patch in the far future, whereas we will have the crack the day it comes out.

  44. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @Daniels: Yep. Would you rather never be able to play a PC game at all because no developer wanted to waste time developing PC games?

    @crice: I’m not saying the method is perfect or even preferred.

    @TheSpatulaOfLove: SPA Lapdog? Go fuck yourself. I didn’t want to make this ugly or anything, but you can kiss my PC gaming loving ass.

  45. watduck says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    It’s sad because I’m gravitating toward console gaming BECAUSE of this DRM mess. It’s so much easier to just pop in a disc and play, without having to worry about the phases of the moon or the rising tide.

  46. forgottenpassword says:

    Didnt you know?

    A business’s customers are the enemy!

    That’s how it is these days.

  47. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @crice: Yeah, Mass Effect being an exclusively offline game (except for inevitable patches and the fact that you have to actually download the “Bringing Down the Sky” add-on) makes this less likable. But think about it. How many people who are interested in a game like Mass Effect don’t have an internet connection? I’m not saying it’s necessarily okay to give a big middle finger to those people, but I am saying they do make up quite a small minority.

    Perhaps I am a little misguided (I can admit that this method isn’t the best, and I have(, but I’m going with what we have here. I love how GCII works. That’s a great system. Let that catch on and let be championed.

  48. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @crice: So piracy screws PC gaming on multiple levels. It makes the platform less financially sound, and drives gamers away when companies try to implement what they think are the best solutions. Man, this piracy thing really is a serious issue!

  49. bravo369 says:

    10 days is a little too quick. if anything it should at least be 30+ days. But i agree with some other posters…for a game that doesn’t require internet, phoning home is pretty stupid. does it have it as a requirement on the packaging? if not then i wouldn’t that be grounds for some kind of classaction

  50. watduck says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: I’m not blaming piracy for that though. I’m blaming the publisher for trying to prevent something that is bound to happen.

    You really can’t stop piracy. With GCII, someone finally realized that.

  51. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    If I could, I would probably never leave the house. That being said, you just made it ugly by acting like a fool in a public forum and resorting to f-bombs.

    I’ll tip my hat to you though – you are passionate about PC gaming, and I appreciate that. What concerns me is that you’re willing to open yourself up for more of the same by agreeing with this tactic. There are better ways, but because EA is the 800lb gorilla, they think they can get away with crap like this. THAT will kill PC gaming, not piracy.

    I certainly hope this backfires on EA and it teaches them a lesson.

  52. uberbucket says:

    I was going to buy a copy of Spore for my retired grandfather when it comes out. He lives in a motor home traveling all over the place. I’m pretty sure he’s in areas with no internet for extended periods of time.

    I doubt I’ll get it for him now, which is sad because he really thought the game looked interesting and unique.

  53. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @TheSpatulaOfLove: No, you made it ugly by needlessly insulting my integrity. Using mature language isn’t ugly, it’s talking.

    Of course there are better ways. But I’m willing to adhere to this method to help fight piracy. Maybe that makes me the arrogant one then, eh? Maybe I want to keep PC gaming alive so much (because I love it so much) that I’m willing to let publishers use tactics that screw over some people.

    I don’t care about the people who want to play Mass Effect who don’t have an internet connection. My internet connection is always fine and I would only obtain Mass Effect legally so I have nothing to worry about. The keyword is I.

  54. Valhawk says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:
    If you are one of those people who bitches at receipt checks then by god are a hypocrite. You are making the same logical error as most people on this issue, you assume that people who would pirate this would convert to sales if the pirated version was not available and that is just not true.

    Also for everyones enjoyment the best article about piracy ever, care of GC2 dev Dragonol:
    [forums.sinsofasolarempire.com]

  55. Heresy Of Truth says:

    I think of myself as an low level lazy gamer. As such, I hate downloaded games because they can be glitchy depending on who hacked them. If I want a game I’ll buy it.

    The exception to this is when the DRM is stupid, and more of a pain in the butt than scrounging a copy online. I’m really into buying any software I use to support the folks that made it, too. However, this kind of DRM does not inspire that kind of loyalty. I was going to buy Spore come hell or high water, but this kind of DRM is nixing that fast. I don’t need to play a game that makes it that hard. I’ll put my money towards a Wii fit.

    Lastly, after reading ShirtGuyDom’s responses, it makes me think of those CEO’s and company employees that post (sometimes in their daughters account) trying to defend crazy practices, or slamming competition.

  56. mac-phisto says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: wow. what are you, 16? pretty small “world view” there.

    which is it – you want to keep gaming alive, or you don’t care b/c it doesn’t effect you?

    tactics like these kill people’s interest in gaming. not understanding that proves your lack of maturity.

  57. TechnoDestructo says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    Actually, yes, it can be. If I’d had any games like that I wouldn’t have been able to play them when I lived on a military base where the only non-library internet access was 50 dollars per month for barely-above-dial-up speed DSL which was totally not worth it.

    So during all that time I’d have been without my game.

    You shouldn’t need an internet connection to play a game when you’re not using online components.

    You know, like console gaming (or like it used to be). What you claim is there to keep PC gaming alive only hurts it.

  58. uberbucket says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:
    I don’t care about the people who want to play Mass Effect who don’t have an internet connection. My internet connection is always fine and I would only obtain Mass Effect legally so I have nothing to worry about. The keyword is I.

    Wow, could you possibly sound any more selfish? As long as the game works for me screw everyone else who bought it and can’t play it?

    Entitled to your opinions yes, no matter how wrong they are.

  59. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @Valhawk: Receipt checks? Like when the guy standing next to the door compares your bag to your receipt? No, I don’t have a problem with that. Little bit of a hassle, but they’re doing it to stop people from stealing stuff. Kind of a similar situation here. Kinda.

    “You are making the same logical error as most people on this issue, you assume that people who would pirate this would convert to sales if the pirated version was not available and that is just not true.”

    Really? You think that no pirate would buy the game if they couldn’t pirate it? Kind of a sweeping generalization there, but partly true I suppose.

    @mac-phisto: 18. Close! What I said was I want to keep PC gaming alive, but am perhaps arrogant in that respect because I don’t care about the few people who get screwed by tactics like these. I’m not sure what you’re talking about that “doesn’t effect [me.]” Not sure how the few that get screwed conflicts with my want to keep PC gaming alive.

    While on the topic of age, I guess you’re too young to realize that asking how old someone is is perhaps the lamest and oldest rhetorical question (even though I answered yours for lulz) you could ask on a forum. Welcome to 2008.

    Of course they kill people’s interests. That’s the entire issue I have here.

  60. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Why were you playing video games on a military base? Did you not have better things to do? I mean, you said right there that there was a library.

    @uberbucket: Oh. My. God. Read the paragraph right above that. Actually, based on that response, I’ll copy it here for you:

    “Maybe that makes me the arrogant one then, eh? Maybe I want to keep PC gaming alive so much (because I love it so much) that I’m willing to let publishers use tactics that screw over some people.”

    Go back to the universe where you only read the last paragraph in peoples’ posts.

  61. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @uberbucket: I’m gonna go ahead and add laugh out loud to my response. Seriously dude.

  62. mac-phisto says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: yeah, it’s almost as old as trolling.

  63. redkamel says:

    shirtguydom, their DRM is what CD companies are trying to do. No one likes registering stuff. I dont even register things I buy. Why should I? People want to take things home and have it be thiers. Theirs. All theirs. All mine. When I have to check in with EA everytime, when I might not be able to install it on all my computers ad infinitum, play in ten years, why buy it? I used to be a PC gamers. then I switched to console because I kept losing my Warcraft codes, or everytime I got a new computer or did a clean install Id have to dig up codes, or call customer support…for like five games. It was retarded. and that was just the codes on the CD insert.

    given a choice between inconvenient DRM that could even possibly restrict me, and piracy, people will go piracy. Why pay if you arent going to own the product?

  64. Zannen says:

    A point that threatens to be lost here is that over-strict DRM will encourage piracy, rather than fight it, and lead people to abandon PC gaming, rather than flock to it.

    A new computer game competes not only with pirated versions of itself, but also with everything else that time and money could be used for. (For more, look up ‘opportunity cost’.)

    It’s a tough business, to be sure. A new computer game competes with every other computer game a potential customer has access to – new or used, recent or retro, pc or console, hard media or downloadable, offline or online.

    Buying Mass Effect for the PC currently involves $40 to $60, some initial installation inconvenience, and uncertainty as to how long you will be able to play the game before you run out of activations or the authentication servers shut down.

    If there is anything at all that I prefer spending my $40 on (to be conservative), then EA loses.

    For the smart consumer, there are many, many alternatives to buying Mass Effect – even among computer RPGs. For example, $15 will buy two time-consuming, high-quality RPGs from Strategy First as a direct download. These have minimal DRM, and play perfectly whether or not you’re online.

    If you like reading, $40 will buy at least four paperback novels, which may well provide more hours of entertainment than Mass Effect.

    If you like movies, that can buy a lot of DVDs. If you like food, it’s a nice night out. And so on.

    EA needs to understand that it is selling a luxury good with a number of close substitutes, and an extremely large number of imperfect substitutes. If it wishes to stay in business for the long haul, it needs to make purchasing and playing its games as convenient as possible.

    Punishing legitimate purchasers is NOT the way to do it.

    For those who wonder whose side I’m on, I just counted 47 PC game boxes on my shelf. That does not include games I’ve purchased in downloadable form online. I also own a Wii, Gamecube, DS and PSP.

    I will not buy Mass Effect for the PC, because it’s not worth the bother. There are many superior uses for my time and hard drive space. Despite being an avid gamer, I did not purchase Bioshock, and I will continue to avoid single-player, offline games that require online anti-piracy checks.

  65. mac-phisto says:

    @redkamel: exactly. i use no-cd hacks & keygens all the time for games that i bought that i can’t find the keys for – my game collection is horribly unorganized.

  66. uberbucket says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:
    You can’t be for real.

    This has gone from mildly amusing to downright sad.

    You are utterly clueless and not worth anyone’s further attention.

  67. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @mac-phisto: And equally reprehensible. Oh wait, I see what you were trying to do there! Aw, calling me a troll, how original. And clever. I bet you’re a really cool person in real life. That’s what you’re going for, right? Respect and all that?

    This whole thing is teetering on the edge of becoming not serious and totally fun.

    @redkamel: Yeah, I don’t so much have a problem with CD codes. But I’m all crazy organized so I, personally (this is me, mind you, not everyone else), don’t have problems finding CD codes.

  68. ShadowFalls says:

    I guess all those people who buy it will end up having to look for a crack for the game they legitimately bought, just to get it to work.

    As already mentioned, if they stop supporting the game or DRM type, or the company goes under for whatever reason, you get screwed out of a game. One does still wonder for all those Windows XP users out there too. When support ends, how long till you can no longer activate the product?

    I think the important logic is the only reason this game has “Internet Connection Required” listed on the system requirements is for the stupid DRM.

    In the end, it only pisses off the paying customers as those who don’t pay end up with a cracked version that does not have this “protection”. Little overall was accomplished. Those who they wanted to keep from playing it, won’t be limited, those who paid for the game will have to deal with any issues that arise.

    To give some people a sigh of relief, there should be a set time period in which they release a patch to disable the protection. This would be within a likely normal period for PC games to stop selling, perhaps 2 or 3 years.

    At least you could gain a little respect from your customers…

  69. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @uberbucket: You serious? You don’t see how I admitted, just one paragraph above what you quoted, that I realized my position reflected arrogance on my part?

    You don’t see how I turned my argument around on myself to show some humility? You don’t see that. Or is that why you think I can’t be for real? Yeah, admitting you’re argument is perhaps based on your own arrogance is pretty unprecedented, no?

  70. othertim says:

    I’m ashamed at the number of people in this thread advocating theft.

    If I didn’t already own a 360, I’d be happy that Bioware decided to port this excellent game to the PC (and provided I had a computer that could run it) and would happily support them with my money.

    I honestly don’t see how this affects me as Average Consumer.

  71. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @othertim: Big mistake. Did you not see what I just went through after supporting this? I admitted my own arrogance!

  72. Starsmore says:

    How’s this sound to people?

    You pay the gas station $50 to fill up your car’s gastank. You’ve paid for that gas (paid for it before you filled up the tank, no less), and now it’s yours.

    Except now every time you want to start your car, you need to call the gas company’s customer service department, give them the number off the receipt, and they’ll activate the special anti-gas-piracy nanites that’ll let you start the car.

    But god forbid you be driving a Toyota, because the gas company doesn’t like Toyota’s, so the gas you paid for won’t work in your car.

    Or you’re out in the boondock’s somewhere, and you have no cellphone service.

    Or their call center is closed for any number of reasons (holiday, disaster, weekends, etc).

    If this shit happened, there’d be riots in the streets. This is the EXACT SAME THING as the DRM they are slapping on this game.

  73. Starsmore says:

    Toyotas, not Toyotas.
    Boondocks, not Boondocks.

    Oi, I’m going back to MGO.

  74. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @Starsmore: Nobody pirates gas. Well, any gas pirates there are don’t pose a serious threat to the gas industry, at least.

  75. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: DISCLAIMER: Above comment for lulz.

  76. Starsmore says:

    You missed my point.

    I’ve paid for something. I’ve exchanged my money for their product.

    At that point, they have no further say in what I can do with that product.

    It doesn’t fly in any other industry, with any other product, why do we let it slide in gaming?

    “Because we like games and want them to continue” is a bullshit answer. So is the belief that if the pirated copy didn’t exist, everyone who pirated a copy of Hawt-Game-10 would instantly pony up the $50/$60 for it.

  77. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @Starsmore: Sorry, my disclaimer came a little late.

  78. othertim says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: My basic point is I don’t think DRM affects nearly as many people as some on various forums around the internets think it does.

  79. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @othertim: I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m saying everyone else on this website probably hates you now because you’re supporting Big Brother and stomping on customers.

  80. othertim says:

    @Starsmore: The argument I see for copy protection is that as far as gaming goes, without any, you’ve effectively reduced the potential market for their product by the amount of people that you know, by simply reproducing it on your own as many times as you want and giving them a copy.

    I can see why companies would consider this unacceptable, that’s all I’m saying.

    I miss the old days when if you didn’t to pay for or couldn’t afford something, you couldn’t have it. Seemed simple enough.

  81. TechnoDestructo says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    My eyes lost focus for a moment there, that was so stupid.

  82. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Yeah, reading when you can’t play video games is so stupid.

  83. mac-phisto says:

    @othertim: refer to the link in Valhawk‘s post to see what a dev (who also works on the business side of the equation) has to say about the matter. it’s a good read & shows why this is a waste of time, money, resources & in the end does exactly the opposite of what it intends to do – instead of stopping pirates, it stops buyers.

  84. pagancollective says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    This is one of very, very few times I’ve ever posted on The Consumerist.

    Not all of the childish behavior throughout this thread belongs to you, but the large majority of it does and quite frankly it’s embarrassing to read.

    Furthermore, instructing servicemen on how they should be spending their free time displays a level of idiocy that is simply stunning. What started off as a rather ridiculous rant slowly turned into an insulting show of selfishness.

    “Why are you playing games on an army base?”

    Uh, what fucking business of it is yours?

  85. Czum says:

    It seems to me that the basis for supporting this DRM is flawed, i.e. that it actually will stop piracy. Problem is, these schemes pretty much ALWAYS get cracked – there are contests to see which hacker cracks them first.

    I give this scheme no more than a month before it gets cracked. At that point, the pirates will be d/ling freely, while the legit purchasers will still be stuck having to phone home every 10 days.

    Bottom line for me: if I’m in the market for a new game, all things being equal (playability, quality etc) I’ll go for the non-DRMed game just so I don’t have any POTENTIAL hassles in the future.

    And I really do believe that the hassles will start soon after the games are widely shipped. I’ve made the mistake of buying DRM’ed music online; literally every time I’ve upgraded my computer, my licenses have had to be downloaded, which always involved a call to tech support for the music service, to get permission to reset the licenses so I could re-download the songs again. Yes, eventually I got the songs again at no further cost (except time), but what a pain. Now I burn them straight to CD, then rerip to MP3 (of course this introduces issues of loss). But I shouldn’t have to do this! I’m a legitimate user and I paid for this!

    So if I was to, in a moment of weakness, buy one of these DRM’ed games, you can bet I’d be looking for the crack ASAP.

  86. Drywin says:

    I have a problem with this. I am active military, while deployed I don’t always have access to the internet on my laptop. I know im a small % of gamers tho.

  87. whuffo says:

    After thinking this through, I’ve decided not to purchase Mass Effect or Spore. They’ve chosen a method of protecting their profits but haven’t given any consideration as to how this is going to affect their customers.

    I wrote up a long dissertation about why this kind of DRM is an incredibly stupid idea for Slashdot today; I don’t feel like typing it in again right now.

    Basics: I’ve got a firewall protecting me from the “rest of the internet”. It blocks everything except what I’ve configured it to allow. When this game tries to authorize itself, it’ll fail because it won’t be able to contact their servers. Should I be required to reconfigure my firewall or disable it in order to play this game?

    How about the internet connection that’s built into the game? Is it fully secure, or are there one or more flaws that the bad guys can exploit?

    And why should I accept any of this for a game that doesn’t use a network connection for any purpose other than the software company’s desire to make sure that I’m not depriving them of some profit? This only affects the paying customers of the company; the pirates will be using copies with the DRM bypassed.

    So here’s my choices: pay for a copy and open the door to hackers, pirate a copy and play without worry, or just say “screw it” and pass these products up. My choice: screw it. Your choice may be different…

  88. pecheckler says:

    I once installed a game that used the copy protection mechanic of DRM. It was X3: Reunion, and it was using “Starforce DRM.” The game fucking destroyed my computer. My Windows XP installation was ruined.

  89. Czum says:

    One more point for clarification: I MIGHT be willing to put up with non-intrusive DRM if it really did put a dent in piracy. But I have yet to see a DRM scheme that works in the long run, so why saddle me with something that is unlikely to work anyway?

    To the games industry: each time you degrade the gaming experience (in-game ads, DRM, disk checks etc), you give me one more reason to spend my disposable income on something OTHER THAN GAMES. Never mind the PC vs. console debate – enough inconvenience in games will drive money to other areas completely.

  90. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @pagancollective: Sorry that my “childish behavior” made you have to post. Who are you again to try to make me feel bad about having fun with what was a semi-serious discussion but turned into a not-so-serious back-and-forth?

    I don’t know how many of you are taking this seriously anymore, but if you are, um, I apologize for whatever of my input you took seriously.

    As for the “instructing servicemen on how they should be spending their free time,” I’m pretty sure the entire situation was in a hypothetical context, and I’m pretty sure my responses were entirely sarcastic. But okay, sorry (to TechnoDestructo, not your presumptuous ass).

    But, I guess you’re so important and adult that you have the right to call me an arrogant idiot (paraphrased from your actual wording, of course) and be “embarrassed” by reading my (what I thought were obviously) tongue-and-cheek comments.

  91. Tansis says:

    Once when I was a boy I pirated and now that I’m a man I borrow… Stand alone games have no future on the PC (Consoles will kill the PC star), but MMO games will always work better on the PC (World of Warcraft has millions of customers to prove this).

  92. Madjia says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    It’s commendable you want to keep PC gaming alive and well, but all the posts you make here, all revolve around one point, it’s all about YOU!

    As long as YOU can keep playing the game, cause you have internet connection, you want to keep PC gaming alive, so YOU won’t be without games, screw everyone else. YOU are organized with all your keys of software, so screw everyone who loses one key. Come back in 10-15 years and let me know if you still have all your keys and CD perfectly in order.

    Seriously, get off your high horse, only one presumptuous arrogant person in this thread.

    (I also didn’t catch that your comment about service men and women was tongue-in-cheek, you have no clue how jabs like that can hurt, especially since you get shit all the time)

  93. VashTS544 says:

    Its funny how no one has brought up how you can easily get a modchip for consoles x, y, and zed to play pirate copies, legal copies, imports, or turn it into something else. With a modchip, I can take an original Xbox, put in a larger hard drive and turn it into a media center. As for myself, I prefer PC games over console games, always have. I do think that while, sometimes, anti-DRM arguments can get a little blown out of proportion, I still think they are valid. To point out how a good game sells well; look at World of Warcraft. Now, wait. Don’t tell me about all the checks and monitors and stuff that it runs because I already know. I can also tell you that people who want to pirate software enough will find a way around any kind of DRM. I have played on illegitimate WoW servers with a friend who showed me. I honestly couldn’t stand the sub-dialup speeds I getting to some server in Russia. I also just don’t care for it. Also, I pose this question to ShirtGuyDom. Can I not pirate the game and send $50 to Bioware? That should cover whatever they were getting from EA. I don’t like EA and don’t want any of my money going to them. However, I do like Bioware, so couldn’t I do this? Also, here is an idea. What if a company who is making an anticipated game (like Mass Effect PC), what if they leaked their own code online for pirates, but hidden in the code is a command to destroy the partition table and boot sector of the hard drive at a certain time? Would that work for you? Some PC game companies are flushing away the industry by putting the DRM on the games as well as adding in-game advertising. I don’t want PC gaming to die, and I don’t think it ever will. PCs are a lot more versatile than consoles, you keyboard, mouse, and you can control the video quality. That always bugged me about console games that end up slowing down when there are to many graphic effects on screen, I could change settings to make it run smoother on a PC, but not a console.
    Anyways, PC gaming, I don’t think, will die unless the platform (the x86 processor architecture) does.

  94. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @Madjia: I’m gonna go ahead and quote myself here:

    “Of course there are better ways. But I’m willing to adhere to this method to help fight piracy. Maybe that makes me the arrogant one then, eh? Maybe I want to keep PC gaming alive so much (because I love it so much) that I’m willing to let publishers use tactics that screw over some people.”

    You’re not telling me anything I don’t already know. So who’s on the high horse?

  95. Madjia says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: You are willing to screw over some people who might love PC gaming just as much as you.

    They shouldn’t be screwing anyone of their customers over, they just need to be a little more creative instead of having their software ‘phone home’ every ten days.

    I’m a software developer, I deal with this kind of stuff for every project I work on. If I would disable our software if you can’t phone home after the tenth day due to connectivity problems, I’d have a big problem with my customers.

    I think people who pay for PC games should be just as valued by the publishing companies as customers, they make money from us, and I actually expect -something- for my money.

    If all of us get mad about all the DRM and stop buying games, PC gaming will die all the same.

  96. D-Bo says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: @ShirtGuyDom: You’re seriously such a fanboy that you’ll let them do whatever they want so long as they keep making games?

  97. TechnoDestructo says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    C’mon, one more shovel load.

  98. war59312 says:

    Stupid as hell!

    The pirated copy will simply remove the check and only valid users will have to deal with this BS! Now even more people wont buy the damn game.

    Same goes with all forms of DRM. DRM does not stop the bad guys, it only stops causal pirating.

    People don’t get it apparently! Pirates are not potential customers!! They never where going to buy the product in the first place!!! So so stupid!!

  99. NinjaMarion says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: A little misguided? EXTREMELY misguided. You asked for a better solution to this garbage DRM, and when provided one, your only response is, “Like that’ll catch on quickly.” It doesn’t matter how quick it can catch on. It’s a MUCH better way to actually treat your customer like a customer rather than a criminal, and a much better alternative to this primitive authentication that, and get this, WILL NOT STOP ANYONE THAT WANTS TOPIRATE THE GAME FROM DOING SO!

    Windows has WGA, yet I’m running a downloaded copy of XP on my desktop right now because I wanted to have a fresh, clean, empty install rather than dealing with all the useless bloaty crap that came / comes with my / a new computer’s legally licensed copy.

    @ShirtGuyDom: Not really, this is nothing like current receipt checks. This is like receipt checks where once you get home, you’ve gotta call the store every 10 days to let them know that the milk, toilet paper, and that football you bought are still not stolen.

    @ShirtGuyDom: Actually, that’s pretty much why tons of places make you pre-pay, because of all the drive-offs that are stealing tankfuls of gas. Yet the gas station simply makes sure you pay before giving you the product. They don’t then make you verify its authenticity every 10 days (or even, let’s say, every day until the tank’s empty, given that games last years and a tank of gas’ll give you two weeks tops, unless you never drive at all)

    @uberbucket: It’s a shame he would’t be able to connect to internet properly to play the copy you would legally buy him.

    If only there were some way the game could be played without it. At least all those pirates won’t be able to play it. Oh, right. Piracy will still exist. Guess you can always count on them to give you the proper service you shoulda gotten for your money.

  100. xDimMaK says:

    I think they’re getting a little too obsessive…

    And do they even list an Internet connection as a system requirement? Or have a warning on the box that says you can’t play an offline single player game without a working Internet connection? I don’t have the PC version so I can’t check myself.

  101. xDimMaK says:

    And I think it’s interesting that all these arbitrary restrictions on proprietary software are actually driving customers away… which I’m sure is the opposite of what they intended to do…

  102. pecheckler says:

    One day China and it’s unforeseen future allies will take over the world.

    On that day, this argument will no longer be relevant because of the almost unanimous Asian belief of community ownership. Just look at the Asian countries level of software piracy and lack of care for intellectual property rights.

    A company that manufactures cars has to design the vehicle and than craft the raw materials, cut, shape, and mold the parts, and sweat and bleed to craft such a product to be sold… for each and everyone one. Each car must be constructed, requiring real work and labor.

    Compared to developing an animate product, software is merely the “development and design period” of creating that product… nothing more.

    Software requires a single period of work and labor to craft a product, which upon completion can merely be replicated at no cost. Each replicated product can be sold at any cost, yielding potentially unlimited revenue, and nearly 100% profit per sale after the cost of development has passed.

    But for now; if you are a follower of the presumed western beliefs on intellectual property ownership, but still despise Digital Rights Management or any other form of anti-piracy, than you are either confused or are a hypocrite.

    Mainstream standalone games aside, you always have an open source alternative.

  103. I don’t get this at all.

    Those who are going to pirate the game will do so once the cracks come out for it.

    This check will do nothing to curb piracy in the least, and all those wishing to pirate it will still pirate it.

    So who gets hurt from this? Joe Consumer and Sally Buysalot.. that’s it. Legit customers are the ONLY people who get punished here.

    WTF is wrong with people *supporting* these draconian acts of anti-piracy? THEY DON’T PUNISH ANYONE BUT LEGIT CUSTOMERS!

  104. CyberSkull says:

    This is the real reason why cracked software is popular, the cracked version doesn’t make you jump through all the hoops just to use the damn thing.

  105. ogman says:

    Just say NO! I don’t buy anything with DRM anymore, and I especially wouldn’t buy it from EA. This stuff will not stop until it hits these idiots in the wallet.

  106. alstein says:

    The first thing I do after buying a game, is download the crack for it.
    That should tell you how screwed up the system is.

    At least the two best game companies for the genres I play (Stardock and Paradox) don’t use any intrusive DRM whatsoever, just enter in a CD-key on install and you’re good for life.

    The real solution to intrusive DRM is to let those companies lose enough money to go out of business, or to stop doing the practice. Buying the 360 version is worse then doing nothing as well, as that will just encourage them to move to consoles, which are more profitable for them, and less for the consumer.

  107. AstroPig7 says:

    @obamaramallama: Over 100 posts and this has been glossed over a few times already, yet it is the most damning argument against this type of DRM. There are cracks for Adobe’s DRM, and there will be a crack for this type of DRM. So how does this combat piracy again?

  108. aphexbr says:

    Wow. We really have an industry shill here in the form of ShirtGuyDom, don’t we… Dom, here’s my points to you:

    1. “But, piracy kills games”. Bull. I’ve been hearing this for a long time, well before the internet. To combat piracy on the Amiga and Atari ST platforms, the response from the industry was to try a bunch of anti-piracy tactics ranging from requiring players to input specific codes from the manual every time the game was started to messing around with the disk format to stop direct copies. The special formats caused a bunch of problems if your disk heads were slightly misaligned, and guess what happened if you lost your manual? Yep, you couldn’t play the game. Pirate copies had neither of these problems, so people often chose those instead.

    Part of the problem here is the general theme of my comments and lot of others here – it’s the paying customers, not pirates, who are penalised. I have a lot of games installed on my laptop with no-CD cracks. Why? Because I don’t want to have to take 20-30 CDs with me everywhere in case I want to play a game. So, not only do pirates demand the cracks, but so do paying customers – this stuff actually increases the pirate market!

    2. Why would people who don’t have internet want the game? Well, first of all not everyone’s online. Some people can’t afford it (maybe choosing to buy games instead of browsing online), or live in shared accommodation where it’s difficult to spilt the bills.

    Then, let’s remember that this requires a connection *every 10 days*. Here’s 2 scenarios where this is a problem. First, when I moved into my new apartment, it took nearly 2 months to get the phone line and broadband installed. Guess how I passed the time? Yep, playing games. Imagine this – my internet’s out, so I decide to pick up a couple of games to give me something to do when I’d normally be online. I get the game home, it needs to be activated. Damn. Maybe I take my computer round to a friend’s house to activate the game, but I can do this once, not every 10 days. So, I either take the game back, or I just accept the fact that I’ve been screwed. Not good.

    Another example – let’s say I install the game, along with a few others, to play while I’m on the road. Maybe my wi-fi’s busted or maybe the motels I’m staying at don’t offer wi-fi. If I forget the activation before I leave or the activation runs out while I’m on the road, I’m screwed – again the product I’ve *legitimately* paid for is rendered useless because the vendor assumes I’m a dirty thief.

    3. Part of the reason why DRM was so unpopular on music downloads was because they allowed you to *less* with your purchase. I buy a CD (or download and MP3), I can rip it to any device I wish and I can resell or lend it to friends if I want. DRM tried to enforce “you can only play this music on authorised devices and never let anyone else use it”. That pissed a lot of people off, and DRM is well into the process of being scrapped.

    It’s the same here. The pirates don’t care about this – they see the DRM and activation as a challenge. When they accept the challenge and break it, the only people being penalised are those who *bought* the game. The people wanting to download it just have to wait a week or 2 longer.

    Eventually, people get pissed off with this. They either stop buying the games with DRM, start pirating instead or they move to a different platform – remember it’s *PC* gaming that having problems, not console games.

    Pissing off your customer is not the way to keep your business going.

  109. pastabatman says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    I really think that you’re missing the big BIG picture in a general sense.

    one of the things that drives me nuts in this world, or maybe it’s just the interwebs…dunno, is that many many people have misconceptions about how the world really works in small ways that are extremely fundamental and ultimately incredibly important.

    let me explain. many people, for instance, confuse “illegal” with concept of say a breach of contract.

    meaning – people will say: “if your break the EULA, that’s illegal.” No it’s not. It’s not ILLEGAL. It’s a breach of contract. It may also end up being a reasonable breach of contract. depends what the contract says.

    There is no such thing in this country that says if you sign a PRIVATE agreement it is ILLEGAL to break that contract. I’m talking about illegal = police + jail. Not that you won’t be legally found liable.

    on the flip side, in say a EULA they can write WHATEVER THEY WANT.

    repeat – they can literally write ANYTHING.

    Like: “if you breach, we get you 1st born.” they can say this if they want.

    now, if you breach that provision, and they take you to court for your baby, the Judge will say: “Um..you can’t own people in this country so your claim on the baby is void.”

    what the hell does this have to do with a stupid video game?

    People are quickly believing that what perceived authority says and wants, IS law.

    Like here on this site all the ID checking and receipt signing and the belief that many private entities have about what they can and can’t control in the public’s life.

    so the BIG picture? People in this country (and elsewhere) are being “trained” or really slowly eased into to accepting the authority of private entity’s SELF INTEREST.

    THAT’S my issue. everyday it’s something else. Something that we all think we HAVE to do to protect the self interest of a frickin business.

    I personally don’t even care,in a day to day reality, if my game phones home, it’s that we do it because “hey, it’s a small sacrifice we make so that we play games”

    this ‘sacrifice’ keeps coming and coming. growing and growing. and in the end people are accepting it more and more without really even understanding what they have to or don’t have to accept. I sure as hell don’t know entirely anymore..

    But of course THEY never have to sacrifice. It says so, right in the EULA….that they wrote.

  110. 2719 says:

    This protection will be bypassed. And just because of this I will not buy this game but I will get it for free.

    Did the same thing with BioShock. I was about to order it but after reading about DRM problems I decided to simply get the game for free.

    I understand companies exist to make money and I have no problems with it but I do have problems with jumping through hoops just to use my paid product. I do not care why the hoops are in place, I don’t want to know. If someone wants my $50 they better treat me with respect because if they already think I’m a pirate I might as well get it for free.

    Besides there is absolutely no reason for a single-player game to require internet connectivity.

  111. The Commenter Formerly Known as StartingAces says:

    Draconian DRM drove me to consoles. I have no issue with a one-time phone-home or CD-key, but when games I love (and paid for) started coming with rootkits that interfered with things besides my gaming, I couldn’t take it.

    I understand why companies put DRM on games, it’s as easy as it ever was to pirate games.

    On a side note, I suspect that the horrendous amount of complaining people did about Crysis’ system reqs as well as Crytek’s long history making console games – has more to do with them switching to console only than piracy.

  112. @ShirtGuyDom: “I remember hearing Crytek say that for every 1 copy of Crysis sold, there were 5 copies illegally downloaded.”

    You know, for ever 1 copy of a book sold direct, NINE copies are bought resale or borrowed from libraries, and that model’s worked for a century and more. A 5:1 ratio simply isn’t that bad.

    “I’d much rather let down a relatively small number of PC gamers 10 years down the line than let down every single PC gamer in a few years when I decide that PCs aren’t worth putting games on at all.”

    Except that this solution — the one you’re advocating — INCREASES rather than decreases piracy and makes the problem WORSE, not better. This system will do nothing to stop pirates, who will simply crack it and ignore it anyway, and punishing legitimate consumers for obeying the rules makes them STOP OBEYING THE RULES.

    YOU are the one missing the big picture. Misguided and illformed attempts to stop piracy MAKE THE PROBLEM WORSE. If you have a problem with piracy, don’t support efforts to combat it that result in increasing the problem!

    I mean seriously. If you’re going to have an opinion on piracy, at least read up a little on the issue!

    “I’m trying to help solve a problem.” You may be trying, but you’re so uneducated on the problem that your solutions make it worse. You don’t combat piracy by creating more pirates.

  113. GizmoBub says:

    One of the real shames of all this is that it’s pushing everyone to non-generative platforms for gaming. On a console you can’t develop mods or tweak your games. They simply exist in a static environment where all the control is determined ahead of time and the gamer is a passive recepticle. Computer platforms (for now) allow a degree of tinkering that can enhance enjoyment.

    On a broader level it is people like ShirtGuyDoom who will lead us to a bleak future of tethered internet devices and trusted computing where 3rd parties control what we can and can’t do on our own home computers. What’s the big deal, right? If we’re not doing anything wrong we have no reason to be worried, right? WRONG. There’s a certain value to our own privacy and that ability to develop new things. Forget about bittorrent, in a world like there might not even be an openoffice.org…

    DRM is inefficient and only wastes money for the producers/distributors and frustrates legitimate customers.

  114. chrisjames says:

    I wouldn’t be so worried about the authentication servers being shut down. That’s an inevitability, but it’s likely that the game will be re-released sans phone-home when that happens. Pay for it again for $20 in five years and you get unlimited access afterwards. I’m not saying that’s fair. If I pay $60 now, I want to play it now and forever without paying another cent, but I try to remind myself that I’m not purchasing the game, only the privilege of playing it at the publisher’s discretion.

    We’ve let them bork the legal system into allowing the seller to take back whatever the consumer has purchased at any time they feel. This concept has been around since the early days of floppy, if not before then. Our primitive ideas of copyright and IP have made all of our software purchases meaningless, and by supporting these companies that exploit these ideas, you are agreeing that when you pay $60 for a game, you are paying $60 for a near worthless slice of silicon and plastic and a pretty box. If you’ve paid to download it, then you’ve paid for nothing. The misguided attempt to foil piracy by supporting anti-piracy measures doesn’t keep the video game industry alive, it keeps the video game consumer oppressed. In fact, by their terms, you have more incentive to pirate the game than not to, because if you’re not purchasing the actual software, and you don’t really want that box and the blank CD/DVD it comes with, why pay $60 for them?

    Of course, it’s a legal stretch to claim that it’s okay for them not to provide once you’ve given them money, even though that’s what your purchase agreement says (and yes, it does say that), but they will do and are doing what they can to make that stretch.

  115. fostina1 says:

    this drm is fine if they wanna pay for my internet.

  116. And one last time: @ShirtGuyDom: “I’m just willing to sacrifice more to help combat piracy. … Until that day though, I am willing to do a lot to keep PC gaming alive. “

    What you are sacrificing is PC gaming itself. You are not combating piracy. This kind of solution MAKES PIRACY WORSE. If you truly love PC gaming as much as you say you do, educate yourself on the issue and don’t support solutions that will kill the industry! Srsly.

    I don’t think the question about your age was irrelevant, because it clears up a lot. I understand what it’s like to be 18 and think you have all the answers. I stand in front of a classroom full of 18- to 22-year-olds every day and teach them ethics (including issues related to piracy). I also understand that at 18, brains are still developing and the ability to understand complex ethical and philosophical issues is deeply limited, as is the ability to see more than one side of an issue.

    Mature thought, which requires the ability to see others’ points of view, and to think through situations that are complex and multifaceted, rather than simple and black-and-white, develops over time, and philosophical thought is one of the last areas of the brain to fully “turn on.” The difference between an 18-year-old and a 22-year-old in my classroom is staggering. The 18-year-old may be smarter, but typically doesn’t have the nuanced thought the 22-year-old has.

    I suspect you’re not aware of it, because you’re not processing at an adult level yet, but your comments do come across as very juvenile, and they do read like you’re willfully missing the point. Now that we know you’re 18, however, we know it’s not willful; you simply are not yet neurologically and developmentally capable of participating at an adult level in discourse of this type. I am sure that as you continue to mature, you will come to understand this type of debate better and will be able to participate in it in a more appropriate fashion.

  117. glitterpig says:

    Wait, wait… they’re doing this with *Spore*? I’ve been waiting for that game for THREE YEARS! Eagerly awaiting, even. And in one swift stroke they’ve removed all incentive for me to buy it. Good going. Maybe I’ll pick up a cracked copy or something.

    Bioshock was going to be the first fps I ever bought – but after the foofah about the DRM, I didn’t bother. I already have games that can’t be played because the authentication servers are gone – and once that’s happened to you once, you don’t fall for it again.

  118. mantari says:

    Sadly, as much as I’ve been wanting it as one of the few games I get each year, I too will no longer buy Spore.

    Obviously, they’ve chosen their most anticipated/popular title to sink a poison pill into. They wouldn’t have done this with a third rate title. But still, software that phones home is software that phones home. EA doesn’t respect its customers.

  119. ThunderRoad says:

    Well, now I’ll just warez a version of it with the DRM disabled. Way to go EA. You LOST a sale.

  120. mac-phisto says:

    @GizmoBub: awesome point. i grew up on pc gaming, but gradually switched to consoles. back in my quake days, my favorite server was one that ran a mod with secondary functions on all the weapons (for example, you could use a grapple hook to attach yourself to any surface in the game & then switch to guided rockets & frag players anywhere – it was awesome). i used a character generator in baldur’s gate to make my guy so powerful that virtually every swing of his warhammer fragged an enemy in a wonderous shower of meat parts. i ran mods/tweaks on starcraft, c&c – hell, i even had a few mods on civ2.

    the initial reason i switched was b/c i couldn’t keep up with the cost of running new games (late 90’s – virtually every game out required the latest $300 gfx card, new CPUs were being released about every quarter, RAM was undergoing some major changes & was expensive as hell, like 128MB for $150+). the industry alienated me by requiring more than i was willing to invest.

    & although i’ve begun to buy pc games again (strategy games on consoles mostly suck), this is also more than i’m willing to invest. boo to you, ea!

  121. MrEvil says:

    Here’s the sad part, and why this is just mental masturbation on EA’s part. If they didn’t put in the DRM, the game would still make sales, but EA being greedy would claim because it didn’t make their impossible prediction that piracy is killing PC Gaming. With the DRM me and alot of other gamers aren’t going to buy it, and then they’ll again claim the PC is a dead platform.

    All this is is an attempt by the software publishers to finally write-off the expense of developing games for a heterogenous platform. Weather they DRM the games or not, they will claim either Piracy or poor sales as the reason for the PC’s decline as a gaming platform.

    I also wouldn’t write off the PC as a gaming platform, not until the console makers open their machines up to indie developers at least. The PC will still be a viable gaming platform as long as there are game makers willing to make games in their free time and for a small chance of getting any money. Valve seems to be very comitted to the PC going so far as delivering community features like you get with XBox Live. I mean, I don’t see the Xbox version of the orange box getting the Gold Rush map for TF2, nor the unlockable weapons.

  122. Hawkins says:

    I think there’s an important point being missed here.

    Installing this game means that you are installing phone-home software of dubious intent.

    Put your paranoid hat on for a minute: you just installed software that does God knows what (clearly not with your best interests at heart) to sniff around your hard drive and send whatever it wants, in a secret encrypted stream which you must allow, back to its masters.

    This is the PC that you do your banking on.

    Think game makers are above destructive shenanigans? The excellent Consumerist coverage of the UbiSoft/Starforce debacle is instructive.

  123. Beld says:

    Considering I just finished a round of games 10-15 years old, I’d hate to think what would happen if I tried to play Mass Effect a while from now. Think of what has happened to the customers of the MSN Music Store. Sure, Bioware will probably release a patch that removes the check in the future, but, for me, “probably” is not good enough. The 60$ cost plus internet checks does not outweigh the likely possibility of a patch in the future that would stop the checks.

    This just highlights the endemic misunderstanding in the music, movie, and gaming industries. That is, they treat the customer like a criminal because piracy exists. However, pirated copies of games and music often DO NOT treat their “owners” as criminals, requiring no arcane measures like CD checks and phoning home. The same is true for pirated copies of movies. The customer chooses the path of least resistance and the business loses out as a result.

    Companies need to focus on their actual fans, who will buy the game, and not on pirates. As Galactic Civilizations 2 proved, there are people who will buy a game no matter what, there is a small minority of people who pirate and then buy the game, and there is another minority of people who pirate the game but had no intentions of ever buying it in the first place. These people were never customers, why sacrifice your real customers for them? Add extras to the game for all customers, increase the value of the game as time goes on, remove protection that just hinders legitimate buyers.

  124. PinkBox says:

    Great… so if I go on a ten day vacation, I have to leave my computer on if I want to keep my copy of Spore validated?

    Why can’t they change this to once every 30 days instead? Ten days is a bit too strict.

    It isn’t like it will make a difference to begin with. You know the hackers will overcome the need for validation anyway.

  125. dmartinez says:

    I smell class action lawsuit for false advertising.

    Unless they say on the box (outside) product requires Internet connection and can be terminated at any time they are in for a ball of trouble.

    I am a heavy game user but I for sure will not buy any game with this kind of DRM.

  126. cerbie says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: you mean, “you have nothing to worry about until the game is no longer supported.”

    @pecheckler: I can’t really say, “right on,” but you definitely get it. I think copyright is a fine idea, but both sides want to have their cake and eat it, too.

    The copyright holders want to get as much control as possible, including forms of control, such as most DRM, which would not allow use after support expires, much less after copyright expires.

    Copyright now lasts far too long, and the penalties for illegal copying and distribution (sale is another matter) is far out of line.

    On the other side, most of the people pirating are living in a culture and economy going more and more towards service. You pay for ongoing processes and support, and expect to be paid that way, yourself (most of us, anyway).

    I won’t deny that piracy can hurt, just as it can help. One of the best FPS games of all time, Starsiege: Tribes, is an excellent example. It flew off the shelves, but then got pirated out of the profits it should have reaped. Sierra’s response to that is certainly a good bit of why Tribes 2 was never finished (I don’t mean, “never released”).

    Finally, DRM like this does not stop piracy. By making the pirated copy superior to the proper retail, along with cheaper, anyone on the fence becomes encouraged to pirate.

    However flawed, a system like Steam is probably the best compromise we have, at the moment.

    I used to buy a game, then get the crack. Now, I just avoid the games altogether.

  127. @ShirtGuyDom: That’s the dumbest reasoning I’ve ever heard and it’s also the reason I despise Steam. If I can’t get online, I can’t use steam (without first setting Steam to offline mode while I’m online). I can’t start steam in offline mode because for some reason it constantly crashes. This makes lan parties at Universities without open guest lines very difficult. We had to pull out a switch and get one guy who actually went to the University to log-in and ICS his connection the last time we had a Counter-Strike lan party because half the steam clients failed to start in offline mode. Note, this was a LAN party upwards of 30+ persons…

    So yeah, this DRM shit is getting very annoying. I absolutely despise it and think it should burn. Atleast for Windows Media DRM’d material, I can strip it and keep it for my own usage. Hell, I might even re-encode it so I can play it on other devices. Does that make me a criminal because I want to be able to use the material I paid for the way I want?

    Well if thats the case, then the system as it stands has gone to shit.

  128. Nelsormensch says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: Just put everything on Steam. I’d be elated if I never had to buy a PC game DVD again.

  129. I’ll also point out that DRM does absolutely nothing to stop piracy. Period.

    Perfect example, ask anyone who’s decided to encode their license based software for web development with ionCube how well that serves. Need a better example? Ask Invision Power Services…

  130. @pecheckler: Racist much?

    On some theoretical level, I agree completely. Intellectual property rights are paramount, and people have the right to protect them.

    But first, the notion of the Asian Menace is a smokescreen. It has nothing to do with nationality and everything to do with getting a leg up.

    Second, the right to protect is tempered by reasonableness. The point isn’t that some anti-piracy measures aren’t justified (though they may be counterproductive, but that’s another discussion) it is that some are unwarranted or excessive.

  131. Vulpine says:

    I don’t know about you, but this DRM thing has just prevented me from buying Mass Effect. Why? Because I refuse to activate XBox Live! and refuse to give my XBox access to the internet.

    I will NOT pay $50 for a game I can only play for 10 days.

  132. Here’s really why I don’t like this whole business:

    Assume I have, as I, in fact, do, have two alternatives: the PC game and the XBox 360 game. Both have interfaces customized for the relevant platform. The PC game has free DLC. The XBox 360 game has…well, it doesn’t have an invasive copyprotect scheme. Which am I going to buy?

    I was going to buy Spore. I was going to build a whole new PC for Spore I was that excited. Hearing this, I do not want to buy Spore. I’ll get a Wii and save the rest of the cash for my retirement or something, when us old school PC gamers will sit around and bitch about how games have gone to crap.

    Piracy is hurting PC gaming. Anti-piracy is killing it.

  133. cerbie says:

    @mac-phisto: mmm, Lithium? Don’t worry, PC games will also end up too locked down for that sort of thing.

  134. blackmage439 says:

    “but, for some reason, EA and Bioware’s servers are down.”

    This has already happened with Windows’ Genuine [Dis]advantage DRM scheme. The servers went belly up for a day, and many Vista owners saw severely decreased functionality because their copies were magically considered pirated versions.

    EPIC FAIL. :'(

  135. Xmar says:

    Its not stopping piracy of the game & its angering potential legitimate buyers. Its a lose/lose situation.

  136. mac-phisto says:

    @cerbie: i think it was rune, but i can’t remember exactly. you’ll have to forgive me, it’s only been about a dozen years.

  137. DashTheHand says:

    Whelp, looks like I’ll wait for the hacked version to show up on ThePirateBay then. I’m regularly without internet since I do a bunch of gaming on a laptop in a WiFi / internet dead zone and don’t have the patience to deal with this kind of DRM bullshit.

    90% of the games I own are legit CD/DVDs. The other 10% aren’t because of crap like this or because they’re so old they aren’t worth the 40 bucks the company still wants for them. Come on, a 12 year old game that isn’t under 10 bucks now?

  138. taka2k7 says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: hmmm…. Iraq, Afghanistan, other remote locations that your job takes you to for many months….

    Peeps, you need to keep in mind that some people work in regions where internet is either totally unavailable or very expensive. Why should they be penalized for not having internet access for a game that doesn’t require it?

  139. ShirtGuyDom says:

    You guys are totally crazy. I though people who posted on a site like this would be little more intelligent than people posting on other forums and be able to take things just a tad more lightly. Just a tad. Learned my fuckin’ lesson, didn’t I?

    Note to self: No more sarcasm or playing devil’s advocate. Jesus.

  140. ianmac47 says:

    Frankly, this sort of DRM is a good reason to find a copy that has been hacked, so you don’t pay money for a crippled game.

  141. ehlaren says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: I’m sorry but are you a moron?

    “Complaining and moaning about a possible (yet still admittedly flawed) solution is like welcoming the destruction of PC gaming.”

    Do you seriously believe that the actual solution they’re putting in won’t ALSO be a cause of the ‘destruction of PC gaming’ like you say.

    Hmmmmm, let’s see. Don’t even say ‘pirate’. There are 2 choices here that are relevant. 1 – game is purchased and 2 – game is not purchased. Do you really think that with the retarded as hell activation requirement as stated it is going to lean more to 1 or 2 – regardless of the ‘pirate’ word.

  142. ehlaren says:

    Sorry, if I just added onto the pile. But , you were like one of the first posts and I’m so tired of seeing these silly, uninformed, insane comments and arguments everytime the evil ‘piracy’ word is uttered.

  143. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Just download a cracked copy. No need to spend money on a copy you can’t use.

  144. azntg says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: It’s a good thing you stopped coming back to this article. I have never seen such a huge outlash against a commenter since a racist comment was made in another article by somebody else.

    I don’t know about you, but we’re not a relatively small number. There’s a camp that’s solely for upgrading at every new hardware and software release and there’s also a camp that treasures some of the oldies. Both are a longtime PC tradition and still pretty strong.

    To say otherwise is to simply expose yourself.

  145. Geekybiker says:

    Everyone’s answer to copy protection always seems to be “why bother, they’ll just crack it.”

    I work in the games industry. Simple fact is that fighting piracy is just a delaying action and we know it. From the moment a game is released you have a couple month window to make nearly all your profits. Most sales come in just a couple weeks. Then retailers boot you off the shelf for the next big game. So every week we can delay pirates results in more sales. People get frustrated waiting and buy a copy instead.

  146. johnva says:

    @Geekybiker: So why not do something like have the DRM at first, and then issue a patch that removes it after a year or so?

  147. mariospants says:

    That’s just great. So what happens if you try to sell your copy of ME? I’m sure you get the typical limited number of servers per license crap, but if, in 5 years, the license server is kaput your copy is worthless – even as a trade-in. Ooh, wait, now I get it, this isn’t about piracy at all. This is an attempt to stem video game resale.

    Nice move, EA, very clever.

  148. redkamel says:

    dom: next time say you are playing devils advocate, say so in the beginning, so it doesnt look like a cop out when you admit. Or just apologize, no one will be mad.

    Future Devisl Advocatate advice: when people prove their point, stop beating it like a dead horse.

    I cant believe I am still reading this tread. Kudos to you for your endurance.

    I wrote some more about anti-piracy, but I think everything that needs to be said has been said.

  149. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @redkamel: Like I said, I wrongly assumed that people here were smarter than people on other forums and would be able to more easily pick out sarcasm and me playing devil’s advocate. But I was wrong.

  150. watduck says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    It’s obviously very hard to read sarcasm over the internet.

    By the way, your servicemen quip was very, very low. You should be ashamed.

  151. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @crice: Like I said, I assumed that some people had read, like, A Modest Proposal (Johnathan Swift), or something, and could catch sarcasm. And like I said, I was way wrong.

    By the way:

    “As for the “instructing servicemen on how they should be spending their free time,” I’m pretty sure the entire situation was in a hypothetical context, and I’m pretty sure my responses were entirely sarcastic. But okay, sorry (to TechnoDestructo…”

    So excuse me if I go ahead and say “who the hell are you?”

  152. tortcat says:

    People will just buy it THEN go and get the crack that will be sure to be out there bypassing the check

  153. mac-phisto says:

    @Geekybiker: since you’re in the industry (assuming your on the programming side), can you comment to my original question? in short – why don’t companies generate completely random (not algorithm based) keys, retain an active list of keys & check the keys off the active list when a game is first activated?

    all the answers i’ve heard to this previously were along the lines of “not economically feasible”, but it seems as though this e.t. bullshit would require heaps more time, money & energy to work properly.

  154. Breach says:

    Such a bunch of BS, I cannot beleive these idiots still think DRM works in the slightest.

    It will work fine until 24 hours later hackers create a rouge authentication server or crack to break this “feature”, which is ALWAYS without fail what happens to DRM infestations.

  155. sburnap42 says:

    @Geekybiker: I got frustrated with copy protection crap causing me problems and bought a console. I got sick to death of buying games like Diablo II or Medieval Total War only to have them refuse to play because the damn copy protection didn’t like my CD drive.

    If your PC game sales are dropping, that’s part of the reason.

    The irony is that those times where the damn copy protection caused me to be unable to play the damn game I paid real money for, the solution was to just go download the crack.

  156. P_Smith says:

    Users who don’t like this should take the games back for a refund in massive numbers, a la the recent Vista/Soundblaster debacle. Demanding users have constant and possibly insecure internet connections to computers or game systems is just asking for trouble.

    Companies don’t pay attention to valid complaints. They pay attention to money, so you’ve got to hit them where it hurts, in the wallet.

  157. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @aphexbr:

    Well put.

  158. axiomatic says:

    DRM will never be willingly installed by me ever again on my PC. (Other than the crap DRM that comes with my OS Vista)

    I have been burned before by Sony’s DRM. So if your game uses it, then I’m not buying it.

    It’s that simple.

    Stardock has the right idea with “Sins of a Solar Empire” no DRM, cheaper cost of game.

    This gets you more market saturation and you don’t have to pay the DRM developer.

    Trust me the DRM is too easy for pirates to strip out anyway so why bother with the cost?

  159. Saboth says:

    Same kind of crap with Bioshock. I read it was a good game, got rave reviews, but I wasn’t putting malware on my computer to run their game. OBVIOUSLY I am not a criminal, as I bought the game. Why am I being subjected to spyware and malware to play their game? So…needless to say I never played Bioshock, on PC or XBox 360. That company lost a sale.

  160. Techguy1138 says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:
    Bullcrap.

    I’m not an avid PC gamer buy I do play PC games. My gaming PC is no longer on a network connection. That would make this game unplayable for me. I’m glad that I found out about this issue here.

    I don’t feel the need to run a network cable to my bedroom just so EA can check up on my copy of a game.

  161. selectman says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: Thank for for giving us this lesson in the Lifecycle of a Troll:

    1. Troll repeatedly makes argument that is 100% airtight (in his head).
    2. Others begin to poke holes in said argument.
    3. Troll responds with distractions and hand-waving, and self-righteousness.
    4. A few well reasoned, balanced rebuttals appear, providing little room for Troll to repeat step 3.
    5. Feeling painted in a corner, Troll ignores all substantive arguments and begins throwing around insults, feigning a lack of serious belief in his original argument. This is usually accompanied by retroactive claims of sarcasm.

  162. Czum says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: Like I said, I assumed that some people had read, like, A Modest Proposal (Johnathan Swift), or something, and could catch sarcasm. And like I said, I was way wrong.

    Sorry, couldn’t let this one pass. There was a study done a few years ago on email and “intent” (sorry, can’t remember the citation). Basically, participants were told to email a message to a recipient, but were instructed to put a particular spin on the message to connote an implied meaning – so the message would be intended to be sarcastic, or polite, or happy, or angry etc. They then surveyed the senders and the recipients about the content of the message. Over 80% of the senders were positive that the emotional cues in their message were clear and that the recipient would “get” what they were saying. But it turned out that only about 40% of the recipients correctly interpreted this implied meaning.

    Bottom line: if you assume that others can interpret your implied frame of mind (tone or intent) by what you type, you will be wrongly perceive more than half the time – even if you are _sure_ that your meaning is clear.

  163. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @selectman: That is totally, completely, unequivocally, not what happened.

    1. My argument was sarcastic. I was playing devil’s advocate.

    2. Of course others poked holes in my argument, it was sarcastic.

    3. Please quote me doing that.

    4. Again, provide quotes.

    5. Throwing around insults? I don’t know how long you’ve been following this, but I was the one who’s been insulted.

    Thank you for further showing me why such sarcasm straight up does not work here. You want me to throw around insults? Fine. You’re a pretentious, short-sighted, immature ignoramus.

    I was waiting for someone to come along and say “you’re just saying you were sarcastic to save face.” Took longer than I expected, but such dickery never fails.

  164. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @Czum: Ah, good, there’s a study to back up what I learned.

  165. mechanismatic says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: So because PC Gamers aren’t getting killed, it’s okay that they’re getting the shaft. What website do you think you’re posting to?

  166. Czum says:

    Sorry, ShirtGuyDom – not meaning to pick on you specifically, just used your comment as a starting point. I think it’s good for all of us, especially in forums like these, to remember that our comments can (and typically will) be misinterpreted. I’ve been on the net in one form or another for about 16 years (back to the days of non-graphical websites (using Lynx)) and still have problems interpreting intent. If I intend an emotion to come across, I try to make it clear, but don’t always succeed. I’ve seen too many flamewars start when a comment intended to be helpful was misconstrued as an attack or criticism.

  167. xDimMaK says:

    @Geekybiker: “So every week we can delay pirates results in more sales. People get frustrated waiting and buy a copy instead.”

    You’d like to think that’s true, wouldn’t you? Fact is, the majority of pirates were never potential customers. Ever. Or at least that was true before DRM stepped in.

    But now, the average consumer and the media is starting to catch on to what DRM is — and they don’t like it. You’re creating a lot of negativity about you and your games. I think I’ve counted a good 10 lost potential sales just in these 2 pages of comments already for that very reason.

    DRM has literally pushed otherwise legitimate consumers to become software pirates, or to simply not buy your game at all. And this isn’t limited to the gaming industry either. I’ve had a few friends ask me about Linux after they heard about DRM in Windows Vista.

    You’re just losing potential sales in a sad effort to gain sales that never would have existed either way. And not only that, you’re wasting time and resources in the process.

  168. GizmoBub says:

    If only the intense backlash against DRM were more clearly voiced outside this forum. It’s something of a collective action problem but it would be a great step towards progress if consumers could band together and in a single voice say no to DRM.

    Aside from the fact that DRM doesn’t stop any of the piracy, rather disadvantaging unsophisticated users under the guise of combatting the hackers, it also bloats both the production cost and the purchase price for content.

    Who’s with me to just say no to DRM.

    While we’re at it maybe we could fight back against the paracopyright regulations of the DMCA…

  169. @ShirtGuyDom: “I was playing devil’s advocate.”

    When you play devil’s advocate, you make clear you are advocating for a position you do not necessarily believe. You do not a) present it as your own argument and then b) get all upset and offended when other people take you at your word. That is called a) lying and b) whining.

    And you are still coming across as a child, not a mature participant in the conversation. I know in your own head what you’re saying sounds great, but it’s coming across as immature and petulant. Sorry.

    (And yes, it pretty much does sound like you’re retroactively claiming sarcasm because you got caught out. That’s definitely the “tone” we’re all reading.)

  170. koruptid says:

    The part here that boggles my mind is this… DRM has little to no effect on anything besides “casual” piracy, that is to say that people borrowing the game from their friends and installing it. people downloading pirated versions of the game will end up downloading a patched version of the game which bypasses any server checks through whatever means a crafty hacker comes up with to bypass the controls. It seems pretty apparent that in this case the attack will either involve disabling the check or just rerouting it to an answer from something on the same machine…. either way all this does is hurt legitimate users who have to deal with the headache.

    my question to EA is this…. what about your college age players who are on college dorm networks which heavily filter IP connections? what’s that you say? sorry.

  171. radio1 says:

    This is why EA sucks.

  172. selectman says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: 3. TechnoDestructo made a valid point about gaming in unconnected/poorly connected places, such as military bases. You chose to shift the debate to an argument about whether you were joking about your response to him, rather than his actual comment.

    4. Eyebrows Mcgee made the following point: [consumerist.com]
    You then proceeded to the behavior noted in 5.

    In addition, you also glossed over your own central thesis; that the only salvation to PC gaming is DRM. Instead, you focused mostly on accusing others of not wanting to save the industry:

    “@uberbucket: Why not? So you can torrent games and have nothing to worry about?”

    “@Daniels: Yep. Would you rather never be able to play a PC game at all because no developer wanted to waste time developing PC games?”

    Those statements are all fine if you can actually prove that PC games cannot succeed without DRM. This point was woefully ignored, however.

    The fact is that this is an open question. You must acknowledge this to have any credibility.

  173. ShirtGuyDom says:

    @selectman: I wasn’t going to respond to you (I’ve been pretty much done with this whole thing for a while) until I came across this:

    “In addition, you also glossed over your own central thesis; that the only salvation to PC gaming is DRM.”

    Way to be wrong. I never said that the only salvation of PC gaming is DRM. In fact, I’ve stated multiple times that it’s not the best solution, and I’ve supported the system than GCII uses wholeheartedly.

    But fine. I was trolling. I’m sorry. Can we please move the fuck on?

  174. WraithSama says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: @Eyebrows McGee:
    Eyebrows McGee’s exactly right. It absolutely appears that you’re calling devil’s advocate now that it’s clear you’re fighting a losing battle.

    Heavy-handed DRM is only going to compel more people to get their hands on a pirated version that’s DRM-free, or to crack their copy once they purchase it. Ultimately, this DRM will become a complete non-issue and totally ineffective because anyone wishing to bypass it simply will. That’s the fatal flaw with pretty much any DRM. Someone WILL find a way around it, and that’ll be it.

  175. selectman says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: I appreciate your admission and I’d be happy to move on.

    I should have worded my point about your central thesis better. I know that you said many times that Mass Effect’s system is not ideal. My point was simply that it was nonetheless crucial to your argument that their system or one like it (potentially superior) is necessary. Others argued that no system was necessary. That’s all.

  176. aphexbr says:

    @ShirtGuyDom: The sad thing is, it was impossible to deduce from your original comment that you weren’t serious, even if you were Swift himself. Sadly here are people out there who hold those opinions. if anything, the responses to your comments simply prove how vehement the opposition to DRM is , and how much EA have to lose by implementing it in this way.

  177. Logan26 says:

    One thing everyone seems to be overlooking is that SecrCRAP is spyware/malware. It prevents you from ing running legal licenced software, software MS has provided themselves for you to us in Vista. You need 3rd party software to remove it without a format reload as there is no patch or removal tool that can or will do it.

  178. @ShirtGuyDom: Thanks.

  179. trujunglist says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    Yeah, no demo + insane system requirements = people making sure the game will run, if at all, before purchasing.

    It’s a little like saying “buy this lotus, no you can’t test drive it, just trust us, it’s really great.. you have seen the pictures right? doesn’t it look great with that guy sitting there? nevermind that you’re like 2 feet too tall to sit in there..”

    ahh fuck it, people don’t deserve explanations sometimes. that one is too obvious.

  180. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @shirt

    Why don’t you go read what Ironclad said about piracy prevention.

    The simple way to end piracy is having a game worth playing, a comprehensive demo, and not using something that f**ks with your customer’s computer OR game experience. Starware is a nightmare, Securom doesn’t like a lot of burners (which are standard drives on PC’s now), and Sony used a rootkit (for MUSIC), and I have friends that don’t have internet. Oh well, there’s always someone cracking this crap 15 minutes after it’s released.

    I don’t advocate piracy, as I believe people should be paid for their work. Don’t make a demo? I’ll advocate someone trying it for about an hour to see if they like it.

  181. watduck says:

    Sorry to beat the dead horse, but:

    [www.penny-arcade.com]

    :)

  182. FrankM says:

    Supply & Demand + piracy is what caused this situation; but I hope that the companies involved are smart enough to offer a non-DRM version of the software (and a patch for existing buyers) after the title has been around for 3-4 years.

    I’d (begrudgingly) expect DRM on a new $50 title, but when it’s 4 years old and available under $20…. one would expect the DRM to be dropped as the title is closer to “end of life”.

    Maybe this company needs to state “we have a patch that will disable the DRM check and it will be freely released in the event that the product is discontinued, or our company is dissolved or purchased by another entity that no longer chooses to support this product.”

    yeah, right.

  183. Firstborn Dragon says:

    Wait they’re doing this with Spore? DAMN IT! That was the ONE PC game I was looking forwards to. If this is true, then I’m going to cancle my pre-order.

    Sorry but I’ll pirate a copy before I buy into that BS. I’ve had to house sit for over two weeks before w/o net connection. I play games. Frnakly these dragonian mesuares are driving me to download games. I don’t run a machine for game companies to check on every ten days. I use it for ME.

  184. OldStyleLite says:

    @ShirtGuyDom
    This is the First time I have ever posted on a forum. I feel compelled to completely support ShirtGuyDom position on everything in this thread. His original comments about DRM were completely coherent, and from the standpoint of his argument, very rational. While some of his sarcasm was subtle, if you read most of his posts (which I did) It becomes clear. His responses to criticism of him and his arguments actually shows a level of maturity much beyond his 18 years. This was one of the most entertaining forum threads I have read in awhile. Kudos to you, ShirtGuyDom. We need commentors like you, so keep on posting!