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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

Spore, Mass Effect DRM Phone Home For Single-Player Gaming 900

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the incredibly-lame-ideas dept.
Tridus writes "The PC version of Mass Effect is going to require Internet access to play (despite being a single-player game), as its DRM system requires that it phone home every 10 days. Sadly, Spore will use the same system. This will do nothing to stop piracy of course, but it will do a heck of a good job of stopping EA's new arch-enemy: people playing their single player games offline." Is this better or worse than requiring a CD in the drive to play? Update: 05/07 17:17 GMT by T : According to a message from Technical Producer Derek French (may require a scroll-down) on the Bioware forums, there is indeed an internet connection required, but only for activation, not for all future play. Update: 05/08 04:10 GMT by T : Mea culpa. As reader David Houk points out, the 10-day window is in fact correct as initially described, so don't count on playing this on any machine without at least some Internet connectivity.
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Spore, Mass Effect DRM Phone Home For Single-Player Gaming

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  • My worry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:34AM (#23324356)
    I worry that this portends a day when consoles (and even blu-ray movie players) will REQUIRE an internet connection and do something similar to verify their games/movies. While piracy isn't as big an issue with console games/DVD's/Blu-ray's, it could set the precenent for a world where every piece of media we play would have the equivalent of a "Windows Genuine Advantage" check to function.

    And, of course, this isn't unprecented (on the DVD side, at least). Something very similar was done with the evil DIVX format [wikipedia.org] in the late 90's

  • FFS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShedPlant (1041034) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:34AM (#23324360) Homepage
    For goodness' sake, you must be joking! I've pre-ordered the game but now I'm considering leaving it on the shelf and playing a pirated version. Sounds way easier!
  • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:34AM (#23324364)
    It will just make the people who would normally not look for cracks go and find them. These people will then see that they didn't have to buy the game in the first place and EA will turn their paying customers into non-paying ones. Great job!
  • Worse (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:36AM (#23324380)
    What do you play on the road or in the air?
  • Worse. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Carik (205890) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:36AM (#23324384)
    It's worse than requiring a CD. I can easily carry a CD with me. I can't easily carry my network connection with me. And since I had been thinking about getting rid of my home network connection, it may mean I won't buy the game, or can only play it at work. What's the point in that?

    Yet another brain-dead attempt to prevent piracy...
  • Annoying (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Danse (1026) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:36AM (#23324390)
    Mostly because it won't do a thing to prevent piracy. I really don't understand how they can keep coming back to this idea of requiring a CD in the drive or an active internet connection for single-player games. It makes no sense and only inconveniences their customers. The pirates just replace the executable with a cracked version and have no trouble at all.
  • Worse. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Elemenope (905108) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:37AM (#23324400)

    Is this better or worse than requiring a CD in the drive to play?

    Worse. The state of my CD/DVD drive is my business and basically under my control, while my Internet connection is dependent upon staying in the good graces of a ISP company that may or may not have their shit together on any given day.

  • Bastards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mlwmohawk (801821) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:38AM (#23324428)
    The more this kind of crap happens, the more I hate the software industry. It's MY computer damn it. If I buy software, I should be able to use it the way I want.

    This is bogus. The problem with gamers is that they don't care about standing up for important principles and only care about shiny new games.

    Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo should all be forced, by lack of customers, to open up their platform and allow people who bought these devices to actually control their property. Software vendors who do this crap should have every game that requires internet access returned to the store for a full refund. (More damaging than *not* buying it.)

  • by inTheLoo (1255256) * on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:40AM (#23324450) Journal

    You know the thing does more than call. It has to receive some kind of "go" signal to play. It may be well done or it may not be and that will be just one more hole for your non free platform. Consoles, like the Xbox, are connected to your wallet.

    All of these gadgets are going to have network access. Big publishers dream of them being non free and pay per play. The last ten years of DRM and non free security dissasters prove better than anything else those dreams are impossibly flawed and that people hate it. Free software and free culture are going to overwhelm them.

  • Re:My worry (Score:0, Insightful)

    by ThisIsAnonymous (1146121) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:43AM (#23324494)
    This type of thing is dreamed of by most media companies. For example, consider the "watch now/instant view" features at Netflix etc. Most consumers are so impressed with the ability to watch a film instantly that they fail to think about the fact that they no longer own a physical copy of that film. If you cancel your subscription: the film is gone. If Netflix shuts down: your access to the film is gone.

    This type of thing will not only be done at Netflix etc. but obviously, it's going to start happening with game companies (and most media in general). What happens 5 years from now if you want to play Spore...does the authentication still work?
  • Re:FFS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Z-Knight (862716) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:43AM (#23324496)
    There goes at least one sale of Spore that has been officially lost. I'm never going to buy any game that require me to connect to the home office unless it is a network game and that's what I'm using it for. The stupidity in this requirement for a single player off-line game is unbelievable...I guess I'm not really as shocked as I pretend, but I'm horribly disappointed. Screw Spore.
  • Re:My worry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moderatorrater (1095745) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:43AM (#23324504)

    I worry that this portends a day when consoles (and even blu-ray movie players) will REQUIRE an internet connection and do something similar to verify their games/movies
    I worry about the same thing, but there's a counter-movement right now from many media companies where they're trying to add convenience and features rather than regulate them through DRM. These companies realize that DRM just means they're product is inferior to what pirates can put out with a minimum of effort and are trying to combat that.

    DRM is always going to be around because companies are always going to try to protect themselves from unauthorized copying. When the measures they take get to onerous, they tend to be scaled back or changed so that people can use the products again. We're at or nearing a peak in DRM technologies, and pretty soon more companies will be giving up DRM than are taking it up. In three years time I expect us to be reading headlines about one of the last companies giving up strenuous DRM in favor of more lax restrictions or no restrictions at all.
  • So they want you to report the fact that their licensing system is defective? Sounds to me like they already know.
  • Re:Bastards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by qoncept (599709) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:49AM (#23324622) Homepage
    "Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo should all be forced, by lack of customers, to open up their platform and allow people who bought these devices to actually control their property."

    If they did that, they'd be forced, by lack of licensing revenue, to stop making consoles all together. You're talking about a completely unrelated issue, anyway. Ever read up on the video game market crash?

    Honestly, this is not going to affect Spore at all. 99% of people have an internet connection, 95% won't care that they have to use it to verify their legal software is in fact legal. The people that don't have legal copies will either get one, hassle with it, or give up because it's too annoying. Copy protection measures like this are annoying to me because I don't plan on buying the software, but at least it isn't as annoying as having to dig through all your cds to make sure the right one is in the drive. Take a step back here. This is a method of copy protection that is less annoying to 99% of legitimate users than the current system of making sure you have the disc in the drive. EVERYONE here is in that 99%. What's the problem?
  • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:53AM (#23324670)
    Back door or not, this could be exploited almost more easily than other DRM just by setting up your own computer as the answering server, or for more advanced people, setting up a network box as the server. I can see whole floors of college dorm rooms sharing pirated copies and having the answering server set up in the nerd's room.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:54AM (#23324696)
    I don't like crap like this. I consider it to be consumer-hostile. The majority of the game-buying public, however, has internet access up all the time and doesn't even realize this is going on. And they don't care. The higher-level issues of who-controls-what just doesn't matter to them.

    So, game manufacturers will continue to get away with crap like this, because they only turn away a small handful of geeks who care.

  • by Atraxen (790188) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:54AM (#23324698)
    I'd say, sounds like someone inside the company knows, and is trying to collect enough evidence to convince the PHB's of it.
  • by Reziac (43301) * on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:55AM (#23324714) Homepage Journal
    And there may be your solution for when a company dies and takes their DRM with them, along with your purchase's bought-and-paid-for usefulness.

  • Naturally... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rwven (663186) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:55AM (#23324716)
    Another moronic publisher killing their market. People talk about the death of PC gaming. Well, this is it, and the companies killing it are too stupid to see it.
  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:55AM (#23324718)
    Actually it had the sound of a support guy who didn't agree with the system himself and wanted you to pester his bosses when it breaks so that they don't have to implement the system next time.

    Remember, companies and governments are not huge homogeneous decision making machines. I personally have to implement systems for my bosses that I KNOW are insecure or will perform poorly, but once it's bought or the decision has been made, it's my job to get behind that and make it work as best as I can, even if I don't agree with it.

    The best that one can do after the fact is an "I told you so!" to try and keep it from happening again, and customers complaining are a great help to the "I told you so!" campaign.

  • Re:Steam (Score:3, Insightful)

    by harl (84412) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:55AM (#23324720)

    Steam makes me do this already, just to play Portal, for example. It's nothing new.
    I refuse to by any steam product for exactly this reason.

    If I buy a single player game I want to be able to play it without asking permission first.

    Remember Divx. No not that one. The other one. People who payed for life time unlimited viewing now have coasters. Steam can do that to you at any point.
  • by Rasit (967850) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:55AM (#23324728)

    So they want you to report the fact that their licensing system is defective? Sounds to me like they already know.

    No, the forum mods most likely knows that this is a really stupid idea, unfortunately it is the suit guys (EA) that makes these decision so spamming the support center with complaints is likely the easiest way to let them know how you feel.

  • by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:56AM (#23324732) Journal
    Probably true, but what it SHOULD do is put the moronic company that came up with this fucktardedly hare-brained idea out of buisness.

    Damn it, we won this war back in the late eighties when we refused to buy copy protected CDs. WTF is wrong with you people? Don't buy into to this idiotic shit!
  • Re:My worry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dog-Cow (21281) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:57AM (#23324754)
    That analogy is completely flawed. People have been renting videos for decades. People are well aware that when they stop paying, the video goes away. I really doubt there are any Netflix subscribers who believe that Netflix are selling the movies to them.
  • Re:My worry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by initdeep (1073290) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:00AM (#23324806)
    Your reasoning in using Netflix is fundamentally flawed.

    Why?

    Because in using Netflix, you are NEVER going to have a Physical media for anything you watch from them.
    Not that you get to keep forever.

    You are renting the item from them for the purposes of watching, not owning.

    This is a HUGE difference.

    A better analogy would be the one already posted.

    That you PURCHASE from your local big box store a Blu-Ray movie, and before it will begin to play at all, you have to have your player hooked up to the internet and let it "call home" to verify that everything is correct.

  • by NitroWolf (72977) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:03AM (#23324866)
    I don't buy or play a lot of games... I choose carefully the ones I do want to spend time playing. Spore was definitely one of them, and Mass Effect had a good chance.

    Unlike the old days, I do actually purchase the games I play a lot. Of all the security methods, I've always found a crack for my legitimately purchased software so I don't have to have the CD/DVD in the drive. Steam is about my limit for DRM techniques. If I absolutely *MUST* have an internet connection to play Spore or Mass Effect, then I absolutely WILL have a crack to play it. The fact that this is required really leads me to think it might just be less hassle to download a pirated copy and forgo buying it at all.

    Are they losing a sale because I am pirating the copy? No. I won't buy it because of it's DRM. I will play the game and I will enjoy it - however, there's no sale lost because, if there were no other alternative than buying the DRM laden game, I wouldn't buy it.

    Like many other people, I am happy to fork over my money for a game I can copy freely or use how I wish. I am not happy, and will not fork over money for a game that is hostile towards me in terms of my freedoms. A perfect example of how DRM generates a pirate and costs a sale, whereas no DRM gains a sale. How many sales are gained due to DRM? I'd imagine very few compared to how many are lost due to DRM.

  • Re:My worry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:07AM (#23324912)
    Just like nobody plays games from the 70s and 80s?

    My kids play SNES games on the emulator every bit as much as they play their Wii. That's not nostalgia, because they weren't around to play the games in the first place. They are just good games.
  • Much, much worse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot <<ten.egdup> <ta> <todhsals>> on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:07AM (#23324916) Homepage Journal

    Is this better or worse than requiring a CD in the drive to play?
    If we CANNOT play offline, it is much, much worse. However, if you're going to be offline, just run it and have it check, and you're good for 10 days. Not terrible. This is much better than a CD.
  • by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:10AM (#23324956) Journal
    I'll try Spore just as soon as the drm is bypassed

    Please don't. In fact, please don't buy Spore at all. If they're stupid enough to pull this kind of anti-customner crap, how can they possibly be smart enough to make a decent game?

    DRM is a sign that the product sucks so much that its creators don't think it's good enough to pay for.

    Don't buy a product so bad its creators think nobody would pay for it.
  • Re:My worry (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Caldrak (1185251) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:10AM (#23324958)
    "Windows Genuine Advantage" has been hacked. Having to have a CD in the drive has been hacked. If your going on a 6 month trip to Antarctica and you want to bring your laptop with spore on it, I'm sure you'll take the time to run a hack that will break the call home function.
  • by Necroman (61604) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:10AM (#23324962)
    Exactly what I was thinking. What happens 10 years down the line when I try to play a game or watch a Movie that has some funky DRM on it, but I can't because the company is out of business or has shutdown the DRM server.

    This sounds like a horrid idea.
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:12AM (#23324984)
    Signing etc.

    This is the one DRM system where they don't have to give you the key with the lock.

     
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:14AM (#23325038)
    No. I just won't buy the game. I'll buy something else instead. I have other games I can play solo when I'm on the bus or the plane or wherever/whenever I have no internet access. Come on, let's face it, that's one big reason why solo games get purchased in the first place. Someone must have missed that point when the decision was made by some idiot with an MBA who doesn't even play games.

    I don't care to crack software - I don't care how easy it is. I'll still pay full price for a game, DVD or CD. I think it is a flawed assumption that people turn to cracks to play their games. They're not turning ligit customers into crackers, they're simply turning them into customers for their competitors.
  • Re:FFS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mtgarden (744770) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:15AM (#23325050)
    Agreed. They have been saying that network/internet access is required for a while. Without internet, the game would lose much of the variability in play.

    What they didn't mention was the phone home.... Now, I have to decide if I will buy it. Arg. Hate that.
  • Plays for Sure! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RocketScientist (15198) * on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:15AM (#23325058)
    I have other things I can spend money on, so this'll take a back seat. It disappoints me that I won't be able to play with Spore, but not so much that I'm willing to let them know how much I play it, when, what time of day, what my shopping habits are, and how best to advertise to me.

    And what happens in 5 years when I want to pull it out and play it again? I'm sure it will play right? Just like all those people who bought music from Microsoft thought "Plays for Sure" meant it played for sure.
  • Re:My worry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:16AM (#23325070) Homepage Journal
    Difference is, people aren't paying $50 for a rental.
  • Re:My worry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:19AM (#23325144)
    Rental costs are a fraction of ownership costs.
    So it is reasonable that you do not keep it after watching it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:22AM (#23325206)
    The problem with this system is, as you said, that assumes everyone is a criminal until proved otherwise. I wonder, what protection scheme would be acceptable?

    What about a system that assumes legitimacy unless proven otherwise? Phone home and everything, but make the game work unless home answers with a "is not valid" reply. This way, if you have no internet connection, or the servers are down, it will still work. Sure, people can disconnect their computers in order to play their illegitimate copy, but most people won't, and it will not annoy legitimate users in any way.
  • Re:My worry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tambo (310170) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:29AM (#23325368)
    I worry that this portends a day when consoles (and even blu-ray movie players) will REQUIRE an internet connection and do something similar to verify their games/movies.

    Some software apps do that. They store some of the data on a remote server, and the app has to go get it from the server in order to work properly - which, of course, involves an authentication step.

    The pirate groups simply - shock horror! - capture the downloaded content and hack the app to fetch the data locally.

    More and more apps are coming with increasingly exotic DRM: physical media locks that require both the media and a drive to play it in (and often don't work with certain kinds of drives); per-machine activation that resist application relocation; limited-time licenses; active internet connections.

    By contrast, the hacked, no-CD versions don't have all of the checks and restrictions and foibles of the authentic software. It's an image that you can move anywhere and use however you want. Sometimes, they even rip out the key check, so you don't even have to type in a serial key!

    The sad result is that, increasingly, a hacked version turns out to be better than the genuine deal. They just work, anytime, anywhere, no questions asked. More than once, I've found myself downloading a hacked executable to run software that I bought and legitimately own, even in ways that wholly comply with the original license - e.g., because the activation server for some defunct app had been taken offline.

    Yet we're still dealing with this, twenty years after similar schemes proved inane on the Commodore 64. I fully grok that developers don't give a damn if they're making users' lives harder for no reason. But it puzzles me that they don't understand that it's worse for them, too: it wastes development resources on snake-oil protection schemes, and it diminishes consumers' view of the company name. But they just don't seem to learn.

    - David Stein
  • by jythie (914043) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:30AM (#23325400)
    In the EA thread the support person tried to address that by saying that if they went out of business they would first product a patch to remove the DRM.

    I'm not sure how many people actually believe that though.
  • by Silvanis (152728) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:33AM (#23325474)
    Because then you can buy a legit copy of the game, register it with the password "Free4All", and post the CD key and password to anyone and everyone that wants to download a copy.
  • Re:FFS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MooUK (905450) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:35AM (#23325526)
    Count me in there as well. I was going to buy Spore as soon as it was released, as long as it didn't have idiotic DRM - which, apparently it does. Highly unlikely to make much difference to those pirating it (which of course I would never consider doing), but I'm not going to be buying it now.

    Email to EA it is then. Their loss, and they might as well know about it.
  • Re:Annoying (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Snowmit (704081) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:37AM (#23325584) Homepage
    And then not too long after (basically, as soon as Atari let them) Bioware released a patch that disabled the SecuROM check.

    And then we went through the same fucking cycle every time they released a new expansion pack for NWN.
  • by kenp2002 (545495) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:41AM (#23325648) Homepage Journal
    Chess
    Softball
    Kickball
    Baseball
    Soccer
    Checkers
    Go
    Hockey
    Football
    Water-Skiing
    Camping
    Sex
    Having coffee with someone face-to-face
    Remote control car races
    Whittling
    Gardening
    Lacross
    Golf
    Paintball
    Play a musical instrument

    ALL the above are DRM-free sources of entertainment. Seriously people I swear some of you don't realized there are other forms of entertainment besides sitting in front of a computer... Let them add as much DRM as they want, once they are all out-of-business from a lack of customers then DRM goes with them. Life is not digital, there is ebb and flow in the security vs. freedom. We had that useless "4th word on page 8" protection nonsense since the old gold-box D&D games. DRM has always been around in one form or another. I swear kids these days think they invented everything... It will get worse, then better, then worse again.

    Anyways, the very fact that the term Freetard is growing shows a backlash building to a degree, not so much towards pro-drm people, but the useless crap nerds complain about.

    The veneer of trendy is starting to wear off the geeks as people once again realize that life is not a scene out of Tron, we do not live in our computers. Pay cash, write a letter with cursive, and remember that not every source of entertainment must come from a computer.

    The pirates today are losing their edge, no longer rebels against over-priced software, but viewed increasingly as parasites that are damaging small game developers and empowering large EA type shops pumping out the same crap year after year.

    This is why gaming is moving to a service-like structure rather then a product. WoW, EQ, etc are all services really rather then a game-in-a-box. Soon all single-player games will requirer a monthly subscription to play (small as that fee may be) with central hosted servers to provide content. It's the old razor sales angle used for consoles, printers, etc... Give the game away and charge a use fee instead for content.

    I would like to thank all the warez teams in the 80 for bringing about "Software as a Service", as suggested by Bill Gates back in the 90s, a reality.

  • by tambo (310170) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:43AM (#23325706)
    What happens 10 years down the line when I try to play a game or watch a Movie that has some funky DRM on it, but I can't because the company is out of business or has shutdown the DRM server.

    You'll scoot on out to GameCopyWorld, or whatever equivalent of it exists in 2018, and you'll get yo'self a NoCD-hacked executable. Or, you'll just fire up your GigabyteTorrent client, hit an oldwarez site, and find the hacked-to-smithereens version.

    Either way, you'll be able to run Spore there in your DosBox v500.0 emulator under Microsoft Windows 12.5 on your 1,024-bit processor. And it will work just dandy, even though the internet by which the original wanted to activate itself will have ceased to exist five years prior.

    Why do I know that? Because you're posting on Slashdot. The odds that you have the technical wherewithal to defeat these lame-brain schemes are very good.

    But for the average user (who - *gasp* - might never have visited Slashdot) will be out of luck. And that's very sad.

    - David Stein
  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:44AM (#23325710) Homepage
    Of course they say that, but that doesn't mean the acquiring company will actually follow through on those promises.

    Game houses rarely "go out of business", they bleed for a couple of years then get blob-sorbed by a big media conglomerate like Vivendi or Sony, and you already know how those big guys love to "do good".
  • Re:FFS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by krelian (525362) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:45AM (#23325738)
    Every steam game phones home at every start up because you have to log in to your steam account before playing the game. UNLESS, you just put steam in offline mode, and then you can play every game you want - offline.
  • by somersault (912633) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:45AM (#23325740) Homepage Journal
    It's not like they'd need to, someone is going to produce a 'patch' to remove the DRM a couple of days after each game's release anyway..
  • Re:My worry (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Phisbut (761268) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @12:03PM (#23326110)

    Personally, I could care less that the game is checking for activation and updates once every 10 days. As long as I can play it where there's no internet connection, and I don't need a CD (or a crack I have to replace every time it updates the game) I'm happy.

    So you'll be unhappy when you go 11 days without an internet connection, and the game doesn't play anymore. Say I'm on a tight budget for a couple of months, and decide to cut the internet connection at home to save money. It would truly suck if I were to lose access to my offline single-player games as well.

  • by tambo (310170) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @12:05PM (#23326152)
    I hate how publishers have finally used technological measures to achieve what the courts won't grant them.

    It's not just technological measures - it's legal measures, too. They've successfully developed the legal fiction that, even though you bought a CD with some software on it, you didn't really buy a CD with some software on it. No, you bought a license to use the software subject to certain restrictions... that thing in your hands is just a tool to help you exercise the rights that you bought.

    The upshot is that the predominant right that the first sale doctrine sought to protect - your right, as a consumer, to sell a copy that you bought - is no longer available. Your CD key locks itself to your machine, and if you try to transfer the software, the buyer won't be able to activate the software.

    (Of course, this scheme burns you in other ways, too. If you want to use your own software on another computer that you own, you can't... unless the company lets you. And sometimes, it won't. At least three packages that I've encountered - Transcender, Kaspersky Antivirus, and RoboForm - restrict your purchased license to a small set of computers. Oh, you got a new machine? Great! Have fun re-buying the software...)

    - David Stein
  • Re:Why bother? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Reziac (43301) * on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @12:08PM (#23326196) Homepage Journal
    And how has DRM stopped sites like thepiratebay?? If anything, it has fueled them!

  • by statemachine (840641) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @12:17PM (#23326354)
    Dear Game Industry,

    If you are going to require that my copy of your game must phone home to be activated AND phone home every N days, even though that excludes extended periods of offline play, please let me suggest a way to ensure that my legitimate key will not be used by someone else either inadvertently or through piracy.

    I propose hashing my key with a password of *my* choosing, and you storing it upon activation. When someone else tries to play with my legitimate key, you'll know it's not me, and thus you won't simply ban that key. If legitimate key/password hashes started phoning in simultaneously from around the world, then at least you'd have a better case for banning that key from further play.

    Do not, under any circumstances, have the game software locally store my password. (And don't store it in the clear on *your* servers.) I don't want some unknown (but plausible) trojan/hacker stealing it from the disk (I prefer them to have to work for it). When time comes for reauthentication, just have the software ask again for my password.

    Perhaps with this new authentication scheme, you'll find that you won't need my copy to reauthenticate so often, if at all past the initial contact. No one's going to be able to reuse my key (gotten from a keygen or other means) online unless I give out my password. Obviously, this won't cut down on cracked copies that don't phone home, but it will cut down on the resources you need for authentication and the frustration level for your paying customers.

    Sincerely,
    statemachine
  • Re:FFS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by malkavian (9512) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @12:20PM (#23326422) Homepage
    The problem with a lot of people doing that is twofold. First, they pay the company for producing a flawed product.. And secondly they open themselves up to copyright infringement (hey, you've paid for the copy with the DRM in there, but you now have a second, that you've NOT paid for), and if perchance the download figures for that copy become available, you can bet that the industry figures will be crowing about how piracy is running rampant.

    Personally, I was looking forward to playing Spore. I don't buy many games these days, as I don't have time to play them.. But I buy everything that I consider worth the cash, and that doesn't play me around.
    Anything with DRM in it like that.. Well, that's a sale that was a guaranteed bit of money in their bank that they've just lost.

    Yes, there were elements of Spore that made use of a network connection to make gameplay more fun.. But it wasn't integral to the whole concept.
    For me, not a problem. I'll just find something else to spend the cash on and entertain myself with. Though I'll probably feel a tad miffed that EA have deprived me of something that I was looking forward to, and give me even more of a negative view of the company than I already have.
  • Re:Annoying (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @12:25PM (#23326514) Homepage

    No, that's not correct. It does "hurt the pirates" and for the good schemes it can be statistically proven to be true. The developers of, I think Heros, published some very interesting statistics on their experience with StarForce if you want to find the figures I'm thinking of, but I've seen similar stories repeated by other game devs.

    Look. Very few high-budget games are released without DRM. I know this is an emotional issue for a lot of Slashdotters, but the number of people here assuming they're smarter than, well, almost every game publisher in the world is pretty sad to see. Do you really think they pay for expensive DRM systems over and over again if it loses them money? Even if you assume some of them are completely dysfunctional, we're not talking about a few publishers. We're talking about the vast majority.

    DRM does work. It does not last forever, but it was never intended to anyway. The success of a PC video game DRM system is the time-to-crack. For good schemes this can be measured in months. For bad schemes it can be measured in days, or even be negative.

    The majority of a copies of a game are sold within the months following its release. After a year, sales of a typical game are minimal and if you lose them, well, no big deal. So if your DRM scheme holds up 6 months, that's 6 months with no piracy. It's well understood in the industry that the DRM cracking problem comes from people who just don't want to pay for the game. Very few are pure hearted people who conscientiously want to make backups of their disks. Some of those people will never pay for the game, ever, and some of them will pay for the game when it becomes clear that a crack isn't coming out anytime soon (because they want to play the latest thing, with their friends, etc).

    So, holding on for a few months can increase sales quite significantly. It's a simple economic equation - how much do you pay for the DRM vs how many extra sales do you get as various wannabe-pirates "time out" and decide to buy the game anyway?

    Of course it's not 100% business, there's an emotional aspect to it as well. Consider a developer at Infinity Ward and his perspective [blogspot.com]:

    On another PC related note, we pulled some disturbing numbers this past week about the amount of PC players currently playing Multiplayer (which was fantastic). What wasn't fantastic was the percentage of those numbers who were playing on stolen copies of the game on stolen / cracked CD keys of pirated copies (and that was only people playing online).

    Not sure if I can share the exact numbers or percentage of PC players with you, but I'll check and see; if I can I'll update with them. As the amount of people who pirate PC games is astounding. It blows me away at the amount of people willing to steal games (or anything) simply because it's not physical or it's on the safety of the internet to do.

    If you want to see what a good DRM system can achieve compare the piracy rates of console games vs PC games. Obviously due to its nature the PC versions will not get close to such low rates anytime soon, but the contrast is remarkable (I've read a game developer blog where they searched for torrents of their game for XBox 360 vs PC and the difference in number of torrents/downloaders was huge).

  • by residieu (577863) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @12:27PM (#23326540)
    Never trust any rights given to you in an agreement that can be unilaterally changed by the other party.
  • by xhrit (915936) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @12:29PM (#23326594) Journal
    We are sorry, but Big Name Sports 2k12 validation service has been discontinued. Please upgrade to Big Name Sports 2k13!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @12:35PM (#23326686)
    I'm not sure how many people actually believe that though.

    I do... hahaha I really think that a company going out of business will consider supporting a product in a way that'll neither earn much extra revenue nor drastically increase the value of any assets.

  • by Cornflake917 (515940) * on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @12:39PM (#23326760) Homepage

    Then there's Blizzard, who actively fucked over [linux.com] people making local-type servers for games like Warcraft and Starcraft.
    What is a "local-type" server? Bnetd was a piece of software that allowed anyone to emulate their own Battle.net servers. There was nothing local about these servers. These people got "actively fucked over" (as apposed to passively fucked over??) because people were able to enjoy multiplayer on the internet without having to authorize their CD key with the official Battle Net. Because of bnetd, there was no incentive for people to buy Warcraft III because they could just pirate the game and still enjoy internet mutliplayer at it's fullest. Blizzard was no doubt losing revenue because of this. They could have also potentially lost significant revenue to people who bought the game but still played on bnetd servers because they used Battle.net to advertise. I fail to see how people can demonize Blizzard for doing this.
  • by Lord Apathy (584315) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @12:45PM (#23326830)

    In the EA thread the support person tried to address that by saying that if they went out of business they would first product a patch to remove the DRM.

    No they won't. Don't fall for this shit. The first patch that fixes this "problem" will come in a few days, if it isn't already out. It will be posted to piratebay and other torrent sites.

    Really DRM and shit like this isn't really a big deal. There is always some one out there that will always fix these bugs and shit. DVD; fixed. HD-DVD; fixed. BR; fixed. iTunes; fixed. evilgame bullshit; fixed.

    Let them try this shit, someone will fix it for them. Problem solved.

  • by multisync (218450) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @12:54PM (#23326986) Journal

    What happens 10 years down the line when I try to play a game or watch a Movie that has some funky DRM on it, but I can't because the company is out of business or has shutdown the DRM server.


    Which again demonstrates the true purpose of these schemes: to prevent you from enjoying the media you purchased ten years down the road. They don't want us listening to our old music collections, or re-playing classic games. They want us to buy the flavour of the month today, and again tomorrow. They want us to pay something every time we listen to a piece of music, watch a movie or play a game.

    DRM is always about access control, not copy protection. CSS exists to prevent you from playing a movie in a region not approved by the studio, or from skipping past commercials. It does nothing to stop you from making a copy. The DRM in this game essentially forces the player to ask permission every time he wants to play the game he purchased.

    At the company's whim, that answer may one day be "no." I'm sure this is written somewhere in their EULA. If it isn't, what the hell, they can change it at any time they like without notice.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @12:54PM (#23326990)
    We used Bnetd to try to set up a local ladder for play with my friends, without a whole bunch of other people's handles getting in the way. Nothing serious, and the cry about authorized CD keys... I really don't give a shit about that.

    Because of bnetd, there was no incentive for people to buy Warcraft III because they could just pirate the game and still enjoy internet mutliplayer at it's fullest.

    If you really think that was the reasoning, you're certifiable.

    They could have also potentially lost significant revenue to people who bought the game but still played on bnetd servers because they used Battle.net to advertise.

    Which maybe, perhaps maybe, they should have realized there are some people who don't want to have to play on "their" network. Bnetd was awesome for the potential of setting up a local ladder and even the possibility to do that at a LAN party.
  • by Thelasko (1196535) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @01:13PM (#23327306) Journal

    In the EA thread the support person tried to address that by saying that if they went out of business they would first product a patch to remove the DRM.
    They will likely be too busy shredding documents or stealing office supplies to do that.
  • by tambo (310170) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @01:21PM (#23327450)
    Just imagine, you spend $20.00 on a DVD. Then you have to go on the Internet to register the DVD and provide a credit card that can be billed when you watch the DVD. Then every time you pop the DVD in the player it runs a check to verify that you have registered the DVD and have a valid credit card that is charged $5.00 every time you play it.


    Already cookin', chief. [arstechnica.com]

    "Software-as-a-service," a/k/a/ "software rental model"... translation: you never own anything - you pay and pay and pay and pay and pay, and if you stop paying, they turn off your rig. This is the holy grail for companies that don't really feel like developing new software, or in updating their software with appealing new features that you might actually buy. They'll just sell you the same thing for eternity.

    Of course, two other trends will also have to occur:

    1) Consumers are used to owning software, and won't voluntarily walk into a rented-software model. So they'll offer rentals as an additional option alongside purchasable software... but the MSRPs for purchasable licenses will slowly climb into the stratosphere [msdn.com], until cheap rentware doesn't look half-bad. Sort of disproves that whole "lipstick on a pig" thing, doesn't it?

    2) Want to just run a hacked version, and do away with the messy activation stuff? Nope, sorry, won't run on your new Trusted Computing [wikipedia.org] machine (which is kind of a funny name, since you can't trust it at all to do what you want, isn't it?) It only runs software (and music, and movies, etc.) that's been cryptographically signed with a limited-duration certificate. But you do want to play Halo 4, right?

    Folks... I've gotta fess up. After 20 years of running MSIntel systems (dating back to MS-DOS 3.2), I am closer to jumping ship and Ubuntu-ing out than ever before. There are dark clouds on the computing horizon, gentlemen... there's a storm a-brewin', and it's gonna cloudburst probably around 2014 or so. "When did Noah build the ark? Before the rain..."

    - David Stein

  • by Cornflake917 (515940) * on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @01:39PM (#23327702) Homepage
    Well personally, I used bnetd to play Warcraft III without having to buy it (I'm sure I wasn't the only one). I didn't end up paying for it until bnetd was gone. Bnetd was cool, but you have to admit that people were using it to playing pirated games to their fullest. Regardless, you can play Blizz games on LAN all you want. It's not that hard to set up local tournaments without software.
  • by p0tat03 (985078) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @02:00PM (#23328020)

    Most of your examples are completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. DirectX 4 games don't run so well on modern systems? Well gee, I suppose you want your old NES games to run on a Wii? Or you demand that old DOS games be maintained for compatibility indefinitely? There's a HUGE line between a product becoming incompatible with time, than to disable it artificially through DRM.

    Or Blizzard... They stopped people from producing their own server... while the official service was still running. They did not disable the advertised game experience in any way whatsoever. Questionable or not, this is NOT the same at all as DRM.

    And the formats you're talking about are NOT unplayable due to DRM, they are unplayable due to being an old file format that nobody uses anymore. This is, again, completely different from disabling features via DRM.

    Technology changes, you can't avoid that. Accept the fact that, unless you want to keep a basement full of old hardware, there will always be files and content you cannot get to in a decade's time.

  • by n0nsensical (633430) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @02:02PM (#23328044)

    Honest gamers like me have securom installed by their purchased games because people like you will pirate them at the first opportunity. ... I bought Bioshock, it installed securom, it works fine, I wouldn't even know or care that it was there. Anything that stops leechers pirating games is fine with me.
    Except copy protection DOESN'T stop people from pirating games, that's the whole point. If you didn't pay for the DRM it wouldn't exist either.
  • by jythie (914043) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @03:01PM (#23328866)
    Though the ironic bit is that often legit customers require pirate copies in order to actually play the games they buy.

    For instance, most games I buy for the PC I usually have to get a no-cd crack. For these internet-required games I could easily see that becoming an increasing priority again.

    What moves like this really risk doing is pissing off customers that don't have the savvy to get the cracks thus end up with a broken gaming experience that reduce the chances of them buying again. And stuff like this DRM yeah, works fine most of the time, but when it breaks it is really irritating... in this case people who don't always have internet, who travel a lot, or try going back to the game after EA has lost interest (ever try finding patchs for older games? Even big houses like EA and Activision have sizeable catalogs of games that they just don't bother hosting the patches for anymore)
  • by znerk (1162519) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @03:06PM (#23328922)
    This part's for Moryath:
    Huh. Right up until the ad hominem attacks, I was nodding along with you. Makes me kinda sad that, despite having the moral high ground *and* the right arguments, you had to resort to attacking the guy who disagreed with you, rather than stay on topic and defend yourself.

    Congratulations, you just brought yourself down to the GP's "mountain dew and masturbation" level. Right up until that, I was agreeing with you.


    Ahem. Now, to get back on topic:

    It's simple math. One game company's game, plus DRM, minus my wallet equals not much difference to their bottom line. Try division, though... One game company minus two-thirds of their customer base... it's the square route to "wow, we screwed the pooch."

    Unfortunately, the real world works like this:
    They'll see lots of pirate activity on gamecopyworld and bittorrent, without the corresponding sales revenue to back up that that many copies of the game even physically exist. They'll chalk up their lost revenue to piracy (at a mere $2,650.00/copy, if I look at other 'lost-revenue' statistics for my educated guesswork), and never even consider that their DRM is killing their sales. They'll pump a few more games out this franchise's pipeline, and see increasingly dismal returns on their investment. They'll continue blaming the pirates, while continuing to make crappy product with unnecessary and broken DRM.

    Wait a minute. This is EA we're talking about. These are the guys who we made the butt of jokes about re-releasing the same game over and over, with players' names changed to "update" them to the latest sports season.

    Who cares?

    Yeah, they may have actually made a decent game once or twice, but they told us *years* ago that we didn't matter, we were just mobile wallets, ripe for the taking.

    This entire argument (or even article), in my mind, is akin to someone saying "Yeah, don't buy Sony stuff, they have that rootkit thing. Now shut up, I'm playing GTA on my PS3". We already knew they suck; the real question becomes "why haven't they folded yet?" The answer is the same reason gold farmers dominate the MMO market... people are still giving them money.
  • Re:Why bother? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by multisync (218450) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @03:16PM (#23329072) Journal

    If people didn't steal so many copies of their product they would not have to result to such restrictive DRM.


    Ah, the myth that DRM prevents people from "stealing."

    Let's see ...

    1. Put DRM-encumbered DVD in drive
    2. Type "dd if=/dev/hdd of=/media/some_hollywood_blockbuster.iso"
    3. Burn resulting image file to a blank DVD (or mount it as a loopback device and point your media player at the mount point).

    DRM didn't do much to stop us from making a copy, did it? I simply made an exact copy of the original DVD, complete with DRM. After all, that's what my player is expecting.

    Let try another experiment

    1. Put DRM-encumbered Region 1 DVD in a Region 3 player
    2. Oops, won't play

    Or

    1. Put DRM-encumbered DVD in any player
    2. Try to fast-forward through Copyright warning, or commercials
    3. Oops, can't do that either.

    Let's make a 30 second clip of the movie so we can criticize it, or parody it, or perhaps use it in a derivative work. Oh, right, we can't because we would have to decrypt it with something like DeCSS, which the DMCA prohibits.

    The purpose of DRM is to control how the paying customer uses the media they purchase. But if they said that, it might make it more difficult to paint themselves as the victim and convince taxpayers that we should continue to enforce their copyrights while they erode the concept of Fair Use with DRM and EULAs.

    It sounds much more reasonable to say "we need DRM to stop people from stealing."

    Don't spread their lies for them.

  • little cry babies! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @03:28PM (#23329232)
    If you don't like a product, or how the creator makes it work, show them by not buying it, telling them you don't like it and telling everyone you know.

    As soon as you resort to breaking the law because you refuse to purchase it on the creators terms, you show them you are immature, and unreasonable.

    Will you stomp your feet and cry too???

    If you decide to break the law, it's your fault, and your responsibility, and no one else's.

    How can we teach these companies that DRM is undesireable, if few will tell them, and so many are willing to break the law and play the games anyway?

    Wouldn't it be more effective if we supported all the games without DRM, and not the ones with DRM?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @04:01PM (#23329682)
    Only, clearly, it doesn't. If they're going to treat their customers like criminals, I may as well live into it. Just so it is known, I very rarely pirate games. I appreciate the work they've put into these games, and I am beyond happy to pay them for it whenever they don't try to buttfuck me and run off with my money. Losing 50 dollars hurts me a lot more than not getting 50 dollars hurts them.
  • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @04:03PM (#23329706)

    Pretty good. VCRs, in my experience, aren't like DVD players, that kneel over and die every two years. The age of the built-like-a-tank non-disposable consumer electronics is over, it seems.

    The same was said about things in the eighties about things built in the sixties. The fact is, VCRs are just like DVD players. A bunch keeled over and died every two years. The ones that are still around are the ones that were built well.

    And your past was more interesting than your present because your memories are edited too.

  • Steam. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @04:13PM (#23329872) Journal
    For some reason, everyone seems to hate Steam. This is one feature I like about it.

    I can buy a game online, and then I can download it anywhere I have that username/password. No questions asked. (Unless it's Bioshock. Fuckers.)
  • Re:Why bother? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr2001 (90979) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @04:14PM (#23329890) Homepage Journal

    1. Put DRM-encumbered DVD in drive
    2. Type "dd if=/dev/hdd of=/media/some_hollywood_blockbuster.iso"
    3. Burn resulting image file to a blank DVD (or mount it as a loopback device and point your media player at the mount point).
    4. Discover that the disc you just burned is unplayable, because you can't burn CSS keys to DVDR media. You end up with a disc full of encrypted data but no key to decrypt it with.

    DRM didn't do much to stop us from making a copy, did it? I simply made an exact copy of the original DVD, complete with DRM. After all, that's what my player is expecting.
    Well, yeah, it did stop you in the case of DVDs. You're right about DRM in general -- it is fundamentally flawed -- but the way to successfully copy a DVD is to decrypt it using the key they helpfully provide to you.
  • by tambo (310170) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @04:16PM (#23329916)
    People with your attitude (I don't like the terms of sale, so I'll just take it) are the entire reason DRM exists.

    Conversely, attitudes like his develop because media companies - like many kinds of companies - are often unethical:
    • * They sell software that's full of bugs, and won't even be playable for several patches... or maybe they don't even admit that there are problems [afterdawn.com].
    • * They sell software that won't actually run on any state-of-the-art machine without half of the highly-touted features turned off.
    • * They sell software that requires some sort of crappy upgrade [gamespot.com] that you really don't want.
    • * They are trying to strongarm you into moving from a model where you buy software once, to a model where you buy the same software over and over and over and over again [arstechnica.com].
    So rather than trying to leap onto moral high ground, everyone involved needs to approach the issue from a practical perspective. That's the only way to make progress here.

    Look - iTunes, right? Did Apple sell iTunes to anyone as "The Right Thing To Do?" Of course not. They just built a really damn good product and gave it a very reasonable price. It's a blockbuster hit and a cash cow! No moralizing required! And it even lets users do what they want [tunebite.com]! Wow!

    - David Stein
  • by badboy_tw2002 (524611) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:39PM (#23330958)
    I think I've posted this a hundred times to /. already but I'll say it again:

    Game DRM is NOT about locking a game down forever. We're not stupid. We made the game after all, and that's a pretty hard task in itself, so there is some comprehension of what's going on. Do you think game makers have never themselves played a game before? People working in the industry now have been through all the copy protection out there you have, from entering in key phrases off the manual (just xerox the book!) to putting in the CD (GCW for the win!) to more modern systems like SecureROM and Steam. We KNOW it will be cracked. That's a given.

    The goal in this is a cat and mouse game to _delay_ the cracking. Games have a shelf life like movies and all other popular entertainment. It comes out, the marketing goes out, stores stock it for some amount of time, and that's your window to make the bucks. Pretty much the first few months (or maybe up to the next holiday season), and then something better is out to take away your players. The DRM is in place to (hopefully) prevent cracking such that Joe Average can't just download the game off a torrent site and play it. He might have to wait, and if he's excited enough to get it he'll buy it instead.

    That's the philosophy anyways. I don't know that there's any good evidence pointing either way whether it works or not. It does take a while sometimes to get a good crack for a game with more modern DRM stuff (sometimes you can have 0-days that are incomplete and it takes a while to get a good one out), but then again sometimes not. I'm actually fine with things like Steam - for me I don't ever notice it because I'm usually online. And it works when I'm offline on a plane or something but can still get that game of Portal in. I heartily believe myself in getting developers their money (its how I get my bread), but I also know there's a lot of people who'd jump at playing for free if its easy enough to do.

    Lastly, don't be so quick to blame the creators of the game. 95% of the time they have nothing to do with this stuff.
  • Re:Annoying (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rtechie (244489) * on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:47PM (#23331058)

    No, that's not correct. It does "hurt the pirates" and for the good schemes it can be statistically proven to be true. The developers of, I think Heros, published some very interesting statistics on their experience with StarForce if you want to find the figures I'm thinking of, but I've seen similar stories repeated by other game devs.
    What the fuck is this BS? How do you even begin to gather statistics of the number of copies of a pirated game "in the wild"? What you're talking about is claims about how long it takes for cracks to appear "in the wild" for various games.

    The success of a PC video game DRM system is the time-to-crack. For good schemes this can be measured in months. For bad schemes it can be measured in days, or even be negative.
    Which is bullshit. There is no DRM system that has lasted longer than 30 days for popular games. Most games are cracked in less than 3 and this number is going down, not up.

    The only anti-piracy measure that works consistently is server logins for multiplayer games. And even then, players can use alternative servers. Bnetd has been mentioned, I'd also mention all the pirate World of Warcraft servers out there.

    So if your DRM scheme holds up 6 months, that's 6 months with no piracy.
    Considering this DRM scheme does not exist and WILL NOT exist, this doesn't strike me as a good argument for DRM.

    Do you really think they pay for expensive DRM systems over and over again if it loses them money?
    They're not expensive. Most DRM systems are made by fly-by-night Russian companies that charge a relative pittance because:

    A) Their products do not work.

    and

    C) They are frequently stiffed by game companies BECAUSE their products don't work. The less the charge the less likely they're going to be stiffed.

    It's well understood in the industry that DRM vendors are con artists.

    It's well understood in the industry that the DRM cracking problem comes from people who just don't want to pay for the game. Very few are pure hearted people who conscientiously want to make backups of their disks.
    And they determine this HOW exactly? Psychic powers?

    (I've read a game developer blog where they searched for torrents of their game for XBox 360 vs PC and the difference in number of torrents/downloaders was huge).
    And this proves what exactly? Most pirated copies of games are burned and sold on the street. The PS3 has the lowest level of piracy for this reason (Blu-Ray blanks are expensive). This is why the GameCube used a weird disc format. There are also a order of magnitude more PC users than 360 users worldwide. What you are saying might be true of the USA, but the US IS NOT THE BIG MARKET FOR PIRACY. Eastern Europe, India, and China are.

  • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @06:27PM (#23331470)
    Oh please...

    As a game developer who has shipped 5 titles across PC and consoles, game developers have better things to do then putting in copy protection -- such as fixing bugs. If you take a look at the history of copy protection from the early 80's, it has NEVER worked. It is the _publishers_ insisting on it because they are under the delusion that it will magically make people buy their game.

    DRM exists because of one reason: greed to maximize profits. If publishers & 1st party titles could ban libraries, or loaning of games, they would.

    Lastly, you can't "steal" a game. All you do is copy it. The pirates have their own principles -- namely that the ownership of a some game is absurd.

    You probably think loaning of CDs is "immoral" too.

    All this DRM crap done has motivated me & others to stop buying or playing new games. If I have to go thru the hassle of getting a crack just to play the game without the CD, then I don't even want to bother supporting an outdated business model. I _don't_ want your shitty copy protection messing up my system with hidden or system .dlls. I'll stick with my old games.
  • Re:My worry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @11:16PM (#23333648)

    Yet we're still dealing with this, twenty years after similar schemes proved inane on the Commodore 64. I fully grok that developers don't give a damn if they're making users' lives harder for no reason. But it puzzles me that they don't understand that it's worse for them, too: it wastes development resources on snake-oil protection schemes, and it diminishes consumers' view of the company name. But they just don't seem to learn.

    The developers propably understand it just fine. However, when the shareholders ask: "What did you do to keep our game from being pirated ?", the developer needs to be able to give an answer which doesn't get him fired. So he'll install some harebrained DRM system - preferably developed somewhere else - which of course doesn't work but lets him say: "I did my best, it's those eeevil l33t h4x0rs."

    Basically, copy prevention is impossible, but that is an unacceptable answer for the shareholders, so the end result is a series of increasingly bizarre contraptions pretending to be solutions.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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