It’s E3 time: the annual video game conference — still, barely nominally, a trade show — is taking place this week in Los Angeles, drawing developers, publishers, and media from around the world to gawk at titles large and small. From Facebook games to Fallout, everything is on display… including the long history of the contentious, adversarial relationship between the companies that make the games and the consumers who play them. [More]
Tim downloaded a computer game from Stardock but found that it’s been crippled by DRM issues that treat him like he’s a common pirate. At first he found customer service unresponsive and thought he would be out $10 (Stardock ended up refunding his money).
Hate Starforce? Want to sue them? Well, Christopher Spence has already done it on your behalf. Christopher has filed a $5M class action lawsuit against Ubisoft for using Starforce DRM in their games, and if he wins, you’ll be entitled to collect if you’ve ever had your system infected by Starforce.
Caveat: the second people start sissily flapping their hands at their sides in a huff and crying “libel” is the second we roll our eyes and start rooting for the other side. People don’t understand the term, thinking it somehow gives them legal power to sue people who criticize or insult them. But when the other side to root for is Starforce, and when rooting is shothand for “root kit,” we’re ready to grasp the peaked tips of our skulls and pull ourselves in bloody half by the scalp, to accurately externalize our division.
Starforce — a Russian company that sells highly-invasive copy-protection to software companies and threatens lawsuits against its critics — went up about a tenth of a notch in our books when they apologized to Stardock for posting links to illegal torrents of their most recent game, in response to Stardock’s implied criticism of their software.
Here’s the stories, or “word wars” if you will, you took the most sick, voyeuristic pleasure in watching again and again this week.
Earlier this week we reported on Starforce, a gaming copy-protection company located in the cold, vacant womb of Ex-Soviet Russia, actually encouraging their site visitors to warez a game made by Stardock, a company that had criticized Starforce and its ilk’s heavy-handed DRM methods. They even posted links to where users could download Stardock’s game.
A brief history: for those of you who aren’t into video games, you might not have heard about Starforce, a Russian company that has become infamous amongst the gaming community for an extremely invasive and draconian copyright protection system that has, according to numerous forum posts, completely broken many customer’s computers. Starforce denies these claims and smugly mention that they recently held a contest for $10,000 dollars to prove in their office that Starforce breaks systems. According to them, no one won. The problem? They required you to demonstrate it in some Muscovite office complex, under their supervision. We doubt many people were twitching to fly to Russia just to lose a $10,000 bet on some dreamed-up technicality.
Please excuse our breach of form this morning, but the Deals Round Up will have to wait, because we work up cranky and then the internet was full of stupid again. It seems that Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing discovered StarForce, the malignant copy-restriction curse suffered by many PC gamers, only to be threatened with a lawsuit after criticizing the product as “malware.”