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Linux Business Entertainment Games

LGP To Introduce Game Copy Protection 388

Posted by timothy
from the pay-to-pay-to-play dept.
libredr writes "Phoronix reports that Linux Game Publishing have developed an Internet-based copy protection which will be used in their upcoming commercial game port, such as Sacred: Gold. Any user will be able to install the game, but to launch it he will need to provide a valid key and a password, which are validated against LGP's servers. The key/password combination will allow a user to install the software on different computers. However, an Internet connection will be required even for a single-player game, which might be a hassle for some users. This scheme has enraged some of the beta testers and LGP CEO, Michael Simms, responded he regrets he has to introduce a copy protection scheme, but has to do this since a lot more people download their titles instead of buying them, to the point they even received support requests for pirated version. But will every pirated copy magically transforms into a sale, or will this scheme just annoy legitimate users and be cracked anyway? One really wonders."
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LGP To Introduce Game Copy Protection

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  • Failsafe (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rinisari (521266) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:15AM (#23916371) Homepage Journal

    The CEO did say that, should anything happen to LGP, he and all of his dev team are authorized to distribute patches which remove the check.

    • Re:Failsafe (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Bandman (86149) <bandmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:28AM (#23916551) Homepage

      That's fantastic. I wish more companies would do this.

      It would be very nice to be able to install a patch via CD to Windows XP to make it not authenticate against the MS servers once support for it dries up.

      • Re:Failsafe (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sancho (17056) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:46PM (#23919595) Homepage

        It's not good enough, though. Authorization the first time you log in? Maybe good enough. Authorization every time? What if I'm travelling and my hotel doesn't have Internet access. I guess I don't get to play your game. The game that I paid for.

        Of course, if I just pirate a cracked copy, I don't have to worry about activation. Once again, companies fail to see the forest for the trees. Cracked versions of their games will get on the market. Once they do, not only are people downloading and installing them despite the intrusive copy protection, they're also driving otherwise legitimate customers to do the same.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Matt Ownby (158633)

          I feel that as long as the company's server is online and responsive, that online authentication (like steam does) is a great idea with more benefits than drawbacks.

          First of all, let's compare the pros and cons of using something like Steam to play Half Life 2 vs playing a pirated copy.

          Using Steam to play Half Life 2, I
          - get automatic patches
          - can download all game content from any location I'm at without having to search for it.

          Playing Half Life 2 pirated? Well, I
          - probably won't have the most up to date

    • Interesting that they would do this. Also, a good thing, if they actualy follow through. As a consultant, I have many clients who paid a lot of money for specialized software tools that are now useless because their publishers have gone out of business, so their license servers went off line.
    • by snarfies (115214)

      They are "authorized" to. That doesn't mean they actually WILL.

      Not to be a jerk, though, but the fact that this is a Linux port should, in itself, be sufficient copy-protection. I kinda doubt that a crack will appear anywhere nearly as quickly as for a Windows port.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Why alot of linux users want everything and they want it now. for example the BBC offer streaming iplayer, but people still produced a tool to download the full .mov versions (thanks iphone users :D).

        I personally use a combination of the two due to technical reasons.

    • Re:Failsafe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lisandro (799651) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:40AM (#23916749)
      Makes you wonder - if they are willing to remove checks in case of any problems, why bother annoying your customers in the first place?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by srlapo (1210476)

        "Phoronix reports that Linux Game Publishing have developed an Internet-based copy protection which will be used in their upcoming commercial game port, such as Sacred: Gold."
        The really backward thing is that they removed the copy protection for the Windows version of Sacred Gold with the last patch. Why go out of the way to protect the Linux version with a "call home" system when the Windows version is free of such things?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Eternauta3k (680157)
        Because, while the company is alive, they want to make a profit (and they think the way to get more profit is copy protection). Once the company goes belly-up, they don't need any more profit and want to let people keep on using the game.
    • Re:Failsafe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:51AM (#23916971)

      This is virtually irrelevant.

      Should anything 'happen to LGP' there may not be anyone left to distribute said patches. Are the patches already written, are tested? Or are they basically saying that while they are laying off employees and struggling to cover the rent as they file for bankruptcy they'll direct their efforts to writing patches for all their software?

      Normally, for this sort of protection, the source / patches is put into escrow to be released when certain conditions are met. So that a 3rd party can act to release the source/patches when something 'happens' to the vendor.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dupont54 (857462)
      Is this written down in a legally binding document?
      "Yes, if we are no more here, we will be authorised to release a patch (alhtough we won't be there to do it..."
      The music, video and software industry is full of horror stories about activation servers going dark, even with the servers' owner being still around.
  • Hassle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:18AM (#23916405) Homepage Journal
    Assuming you need to validate online EVERY time you play- this eliminates playing : in an airplane, on a road trip, when the internet's down, in class (some class rooms have wifi blocked), and at my parents house when visiting for the weekend.

    I have a better idea, if I must have this game, I'll just crack it. But then why go through all that trouble to "fix" a game I purchased and put the security of my system at risk by running an unknown program?? Might as well steal the whole thing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by netruner (588721)
      This is why the whole paradigm used for copy protection is broken. Currently, the attempt is to verify (and reverify and reverify) the pairing of licensed product to a user.

      There has to be a better way - the best similarity I can find is what was used in broadcast TV around the 1950's (no broadcast flag there, but no recorders either). There were sponsors that paid for product placement and cheezy ads. How much would a company pay for the splash screen of a popular video game? Also, why use lame gener
      • Because there is a also a huge amount of screaming about in game ads.
        Personally I don't want to see adds on the splash screens of games I paid for.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Not in splash screens, okay, but in-game sounds okay to me... What about nice Coca-Cola skins on the can distributors in FPS? It's actually prettier than some of the skins game devs do use (thinking of Half-Life 1 here, yeah it's old ugly and such, but I'm so not a gamer I can't remember anything else off the top of my head)

          I happen to think it would be good. More immersive than "Caco Caloc" in green on black, at least :-)

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by residieu (577863)
          There are already enough ads on the splash screens. It seems like every game I get lately has 5 different splash screens, each advetising a different layer of the producer's structure before I get to play.
        • Depends on the ads (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Jesus_666 (702802) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:15PM (#23921659)
          Whether or not I'd like ads in my game depends on how the ads are executed. There are good and bad ways to put products into a game. Some examples:

          Coca Cola is inserted into a Deus Ex-workalike.
          Good: Soda cans are now Coke cans; there are a few Coke vending machines throughout the game.
          Bad: Characters talk about how much they'd like a refreshing can of Coke Zero - full taste and zero sugar, yum.

          Subway advertises in a multiplayer FPS.
          Good: Billboards around the map show the "eat fresh" slogan; a downtown map contains a Subway.
          Bad: Subway baners in every loading screen; every urban map contains a Subway; the Subway Muppet is seen anywhere near the game.

          Dunkin' Donuts sponsors the next GTA.
          Good: There are several DDs sprinkled throughout Abstract Concept City, acting as cop magnets; one mission can be made easier by distracting a cop with a box of donuts.
          Bad: Every single cop in the city and half of the underworld have no other discussion topic but which kind of donut they love most; every problem can be solved by tossing donuts around, Hostess Fruit Cake-style.


          In general, if the product placement is done tactfully and unobtrusively I entirely agree with it and am happy to have my games subsidized. If it's blatant and in-your-face I want the corp in question to piss off and take their product with them.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by residieu (577863)

        I get mixed feelings about product placement, on the one hand it can make things more realistic for there to be real brands around. I can easily see it getting too intrusive, though. And you'll end up with every soda being a coke (no pepsi anywhere).

        I like what City of Heroes did. As well as making up names for businesses around town (City of Gyros), there are ads playing off real products (Red Beast energy drink, InFront Steakhouse). I suppose since they remind me of actual products they could still be ef

      • by p0tat03 (985078)

        I see a few problems with your comparison...

        1 - TBS (I'm sorry, PeachTreeTV) has been getting into the habit of interrupting shows with ads lately. I don't mean commercial breaks - I mean HUGE things that take up half the screen while the show is *running*. This annoys me (and everyone I know) to no end. In-game product placement is closer to *that* than it is to traditional commercial breaks (which you know about and are expecting). I wonder if games with commercial breaks work?

        2 - How much does the av

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        DISCLAIMER: This post was not checked for speling and grammar- if you complain- you're a whiner
        Ha! You misspelled "winner"!
    • Alternately, you end up with a stack of dongles plugged into your PC. (One of my clients has had to issue its software developers USB hubs to accommodate all the dongles they need.)
    • Re:Hassle (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:41AM (#23916795)

      When I walk into a store, I expect and accept a certain level of 'theft prevention' to be in place.

      Perhaps they have security monitors covering the out of the way nooks of the store.

      Perhaps they have someone in 'plain clothes' that wanders the store watching for people shoving things into their purse.

      Perhaps they have certain items locked in a cabinet or with tags that trigger an alarm when removed from the store.

      These things I accept because I realize that people steal and that one of the things a store must do to stay profitable is to cut down on amount of five finger discounts taken.

      I realize that these things don't prevent theft 100%, and so does the store. In fact, the store probably also realizes that depending on the 'quality' of the store, a good percent of the shrinkage in their product could be due to their own staff.

      But even though these things don't work 100%, I accept them. And do you know why? Because these things rarely ever become an inconvenience to me.

      If, on the other hand, a store began requiring pat downs or strip searches every time I entered or left, I would stop patronizing them.

      Is what LGP is proposing really a strip search level deal? Because honestly, when you threaten to just steal their games, that's what you are indicating to me. That you consider this an unreasonable measure for them to take that you would rather screw them over as a matter of principle.

      Honestly, myself, I think this is a fairly benign manner to approach the issue.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Sometimes they do become an inconvenience though. I went to Walmart, to pick up a second steering wheel for MarioKart Wii. The plastic steering wheel, which costs $10, and contains only plastic, no electronic parts or anything was locked in the case with the games. I had to wait around 10 minutes for the clerk to get the guy with a key. Apparently the clerk didn't have his own. Not only that, once it was removed from the case, we had to pay for it at the games counter, even though we planned on doing
        • Which meant I had to do 2 debit transactions instead of 1. Good thing my account comes with unlimited transactions.
          Are there banks in the United States that don't offer unmetered debit card transactions to their personal checking customers, as long as the customer keeps sufficient funds in the account?
          • by Knara (9377)
            I, likewise, was not aware such things existed.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Serzen (675979)
            Some banks charge for all debit (as in enter your PIN to verify) transactions, some only if you make more than a handful (most commonly in my area, 6) per month. It's another of the filthy ways our financial institutions are able to soak us for fees that they haven't earned to try and make a quick buck off the customer. If your balance is getting low, and you make a couple of debit purchases, they can slap you with the transaction fee and try to bleed you into the red, in which case they get to slap you w
        • by Chyeld (713439)

          How did that affect your willingness to purchase such items from Wal-Mart? If it happened repeatedly, would you not simply and naturally stop purchasing from them?

          If LGP's authentication servers are often down, then yes, it becomes an issue and I wouldn't buy from them anymore. But at the baseline, this isn't that big of a problem.

          It boils down to a matter of perspective.

          Those who look at this through the fisheye lens of "Any copy protection is evil" are obviously going to hate the idea. But then in my expe

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            I always like the fact that Linux games didn't subject you to this sort of BS.

            If they decide to raise the BS factor on their products, it will certainly
            enter into whether or not people will buy it.

            When you catch a pirate just tell them to pay for the damn game.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by hairyfeet (841228)
            Well,personally it means that i will never purchase this game. I keep my gaming PCs off the Internet for a reason: I don't like online play and don't want a bunch of Internet related crap(like a firewall) slowing down my pc when all it does is play games and lets me watch cable through my capture card. While I wouldn't mind slapping an extra Ethernet cord on my router one time to simply activate it there is no way in hell I am going to jump through weekly hoops just for the privilege of playing your game. A
      • Re:Hassle (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:10AM (#23917305)
        Lets see... If I go and buy something from a store, do they follow me home? Look at what I am using it for? Try to make sure that I am not in violation of any of the warnings? No, once I have bought it, I can go home and do whatever I want with it, something that this doesn't let you do.

        I also have had one of the tags go off that the cashier didn't remove for some reason, they didn't say over the loudspeaker stop thief nor did they handcuff me and call out the police. No. They admitted it was the store's fault, took off the tag and I was on my way. DRM is like whenever a tag goes off you handcuff the person and call the police until they give proof they didn't steal anything.
    • Re:Hassle (Score:5, Interesting)

      by antic (29198) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:47AM (#23916899)

      I'm wondering (in a half-baked idea kind of way) if a potential solution to this sort of copy protection is incorporating it into the game world. e.g., part of the storyline in suitable games involves going online, authenticating, and performing some sort of action. Something that is partly seemless, something that people actually want to do, not too much of a hassle, but limits involvement to paid-up users?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AKAImBatman (238306)

        There was a video game called Rocket Ranger back in the 80's that used this device called a "Secret Decoder Wheel" to compute the fuel necessary to go from destination to destination. In fact, you had no way of punching in where you wanted to go. You only entered the fuel amounts.

        Of course, the "Secret Decoder Wheel" was really a fancy lookup table [sayad.net], so it's wasn't too difficult for determined pirates to defeat this protection. But it was something in the vein you're thinking of.

        The game can now be (legally!

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Creepy (93888)

          In the late 1980s a lot of games moved to decoder wheels (e.g. Pool of Radiance, Captain Goodnight). In the beginning, most were fairly simple, single wheels, but as pirates cracked and included the lookup table automatically and later posted the answer on the screen (and sometimes forced a certain answer always) and publishing companies went to much more elaborate ones (making it all the more fun for pirates...). This form of copy protection died entirely with the CD-Rom because few people could copy the

    • this eliminates playing : ... in class
      Let's just hope your teacher doesn't read Slashdot!
  • by tjwhaynes (114792) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:19AM (#23916425)

    The beta mailing list for Sacred had some discussion on the new key feature but I'd hardly call it an "enraged" exchanged. No chair throwing was observed. Any protection system is a thorny issue.

    Pretty much every commercial game I've bought for Linux has some sort of activation system, key lookup or similar. Most of them have some system for authenticating once online and then going offline thereafter. DropTeam even offered a way to generate an authorization on one machine and use it on a non-networked machine.

    Storm in a teacup.

    Cheers,
    Toby Haynes

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Pretty much every commercial game I've bought for Linux has some sort of activation system, key lookup or similar. Most of them have some system for authenticating once online and then going offline thereafter. DropTeam even offered a way to generate an authorization on one machine and use it on a non-networked machine.

      No commercial Linux game I've bought has required online verification for installation and off-line play. The only time online activation has been required has been when connecting to a game

  • How is this bad? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Beached (52204)

    Really, anyone who "Downloaded" the beta will have an internet connection. You can disconnect if you still use dialup or satellite after it validates you. So a few kb of data. It lets you install to as many computers as you want too.

    Look at how many people use steam. It does a lot more than validate an account and people love it. It is also better than an activation based system where you get X installs and that is it. Again, this lets you play it anywhere.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Broken scope (973885)

      I think people like steam because it keeps games up to date for them, allows them to buy games, gives them good DL speeds, allows them to install the game anywhere, and because valve has done so much to improve the reliability of the service.

      Pre-orders get beta access, they tend to offer great sale prices and combo packs. When I bought the orange box, I ended up with an extra copy of HL2. I was able to gift that extra license to a friend.

      The 2 issues I had with my account were fixed quickly, and I can play

  • ... from the community response to BioWare's Spore / Mass Effect 10-day re-activation check.

    I'd post the details, but almost everybody here was part of getting it removed anyway.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Digital Vomit (891734) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:24AM (#23916497) Homepage Journal

    ...has to do this since a lot more people download their titles instead of buying them...

    So, reducing market exposure via pirated copies is somehow magically going to translate into higher sales?

    Honestly, who buys a game as a last resort when they can't find a pirated copy of it? Conversely, software piracy has introduced many people to games and game series that have directly led to sales.

    It's amazing that some people still think casual piracy is detrimental to the video game market.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Shados (741919) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:40AM (#23916747)

      Honestly, who buys a game as a last resort when they can't find a pirated copy of it?

      A ton, and I mean, a TON of people. Its really just anecdotal (but thats enough to prove the amount is > 0 at least, hehe), but I always hear less tech savy people how they finally caved in and bought some game/software/windows/whatever after they couldn't find a crack/got a virus from a crack/crack glitched a part of the game/wanted to play NOW and the crack wasn't available yet.

      PC game piracy is so high, that if you can just delay the mainstream pirated version a day or two, that probably translates in significant sale. Of course, the better, far more effective way, is to have the purchace of the game be a key to access the online part of the game... but that sucks for single player games like Oblivion/Devil May Cry/etc, to the point that the barrier for entry of offline games on PC becomes impossibly high.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dookiesan (600840)
      I knew people who played games all the time but never bought anything--not a single title. Same thing with music CD's a few years ago. These folks absolutely would buy _something_ if it were impossible to pirate, because they do buy console games which require much more work.
  • the usual trap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:25AM (#23916513) Homepage Journal

    Copy protection that inconveniences the honest user will:

    [ ] make some of your honest (and now inconvenienced) users walk away
    [ ] make pirates come to you so they can pay and have a less comfortable (but legal) copy

    Hint: Only one answer is correct.

    • If only one answer is correct, then why are you using checkboxes? Use radiobuttons, man.
      ( ) Option A
      ( ) Option B

      Silly ASCII user interfaces aside...
      This isn't to stop full-on pirating. In the end, if somebody really, really, really wants to, they'll just completely reverse-engineer the authentication and set up a local server (128.0.0.1) for the software to contact. The local server then says everything is A-OK and the game continues. (There's more complex implementations, of course.)

      But what it does sto

  • Not a single copy protection scheme worked on a closed OS like Windows. How would this even work on an open system like Linux.

    It will only annoy (legit) customers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by clodney (778910)

      Given that it is an online key activation scheme, your post is equivalent to asking, "how will encryption ever work on an open system like Linux".

  • false dichotomy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OglinTatas (710589) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:31AM (#23916599)

    some "piracy" (unsanctioned demos) will be converted to sales, and some legitimate users would be annoyed by the scheme.

    If there is a legitimate demo I might try it, and then if I like it I will buy it. If there is no demo I won't download an unsanctioned game; I will wait until there is a review from one or three sites I trust, and or good word of mouth about it, and only then will I consider buying it.
    DRM/copy prevention/anti"piracy" schemes WILL annoy me, and no amount of awesome will get me to buy such a game. It's good to hear about these things before I consider a game.

    Of course, I run a mac and an ubuntu rig, so I'm not in the target market for many game companies anyway.

  • This is just going to annoy potential users, and reduce sales of the game.

    Eventually it will cause less games to be ported to Linux/BSD/etc as the companies will assume that Linux users aren't interested in games (instead of realizing Linux users aren't interested in games that phone home and have irritating copy protection).

    Those that do get a copy the game - one way or another - will probably crack the program (or redirect validation requests to a daemon which always returns a positive verification).

  • Instead of starforce-like apps creating instability in the system and fighting for resources, network-based authentication is really the way to go. It doesn't clog up your system, and it doesn't destabalize by hooking into low levels.

    Hopefully it actually does function by turning some number of pirates into legitimate customers. Selling 30 copies of a game in a week is a really, really low number. I suspect that torrents will continue to exist (due to the simple fact of hex editing). But we'll see. Hop

    • Instead of starforce-like apps creating instability in the system and fighting for resources, network-based authentication is really the way to go.
      That might become the case once always-on Internet access becomes as widespread in homes throughout English-speaking countries as plain old telephone service, but as of 2008, that hasn't quite happened.
  • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @10:37AM (#23916701) Journal
    But will every pirated copy magically transforms into a sale, or will this scheme just annoy legitimate users and be cracked anyway? One really wonders.

    A thief walks into a fine winery and takes a bottle without paying for it. Just walks out the door. Two days later, the thief comes back and asks what food might go well with the wine he stole. The store, shocked and appalled at how brazen thieves are becoming, puts locks on the cabinets and asks that people contact an employee, who is nearby and ready to help at any time, to get wine out of the case.

    The author of this summary would respond that the store is so inconveniencing its patrons that it ought to be closed down. That response has nothing to do with software freedom or idealism or the right way to do things or being sensitive when legitimately protecting one's assets. This is utter detachment from reality itself.

    The OSS crowd steals from its own. This story and the few comments already ("If they put copy protection on it that annoys me in any way I'll just steal/crack it") makes that very clear. I'm siding with the authors on this one. Linux advocates always seem to complain when games won't work with Linux. Then, if this story is any indication, when they do work with Linux, the same people who complain that games for profit never work properly run out and immediately steal the game. Do you really expect people to develop multimillion dollar games for Linux if that's how things work?

    Put your copy protection on the game, man.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cliffski (65094)

      excellent post. I don't even port my little indie games to linux, because its' not viable. Not that a lot of lunux gamers would be interested, but the general sense of entitlement to free games by people in that community means that the majority who wanted it would pirate it.

      Its not just market share or driver support that results in less linux games, its the perception the community gives off that they will refuse to pay for software that convinces devs it's not worth porting.

      I give it ten minutes before s

      • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by cerelib (903469) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:32AM (#23917829)
        This is a bit of a plague among linux users, but the status quo of the software biz may not hold up in the future. Many large software companies are switching to different business models (i.e. service oriented around open source products). The business landscape is changing and that should not be ignored.

        Your games (democracy, kudos) look very interesting and I am sure your current business model does well, but there are other ways people make money in the small games market. For example, what if your game was flash delivered and ad-supported? You might get more people playing it and more often (i.e. at work). This may or may not be the right choice for you, but it is a model that you do have to compete with in the small games market.

        Anyway, democracy looks interesting and I might try the demo, but it would have to be pretty awesome for me to shell out $20 USD. It looks like the kind of game that I might pay $5 or less for. As a matter of full disclosure, I typically only buy used video games that are $10-$15 or less and only about 3 in a year. So I am a bit of a tough sell. Any other games I play are open source (Urban Terror), abandonware (I just tried the old Neuromancer game), or one of my small collection (Fallout [2], System Shock [NOT 2, that game pales in comparison to the original], Ascendancy).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 3.14159265 (644043)
      Just a small patch to your scenario:

      "A thief walks into a fine winery, replicates one of the bottles with his treckie replicator, and walks away without paying anything".
      See, the bottle stays in the fine winery, no thievery actually happened. And no piracy.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kscguru (551278) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:42AM (#23918037)
      Hear hear, wish I still had my mod points.

      To each and every person whining on this thread about how copy protection violates the spirit of Open Source - yeah, it does. And if you don't like it, don't touch the game. Don't buy it - and don't download it either. This noise about how you have some sort of entitlement to steal/pirate/"illegally download"/crack/ "screw-the-man!"/whatever a game simply because you have a political disagreement about copy protection is pathetic.

      The difference between Richard Stallman / the FSF and half the posters on this article is that RMS avoids software he disagrees with entirely and ACTIVELY contributes to software he morally supports. In other words, he has principles, votes with his actions, and his patronage of free software DIRECTLY contributes to more and better free software. Whereas the "gimme my Linux games NOW and FREE and screw copy protection!" crowd is in it for a shiny new game, but by NOT paying for (or otherwise patronizing - e.g. with word-of-mouth advertising, filing good bug reports) Linux games they are killing the future of Linux gaming for a quick fix now. This isn't the behavior of rational individuals - this is the behavioral profile of drug addicts.

      With apologies to all the honest Linux gamers out there. It's a shame the rotten apples are so enthusiastic about spoiling it for the rest of us.

    • by zarkill (1100367)

      The author of this summary would respond that the store is so inconveniencing its patrons that it ought to be closed down.

      there's a difference between "ought to" and "will be".

      if you run a winery, and your real, paying customers are used to being able to get their own bottles off the shelves, hold a couple side by side, read the labels, put one back, and otherwise interact freely with that wine without having to get an employee to help them - once you lock up the cabinets, the only important question is "are these locks going to annoy my paying customers so much that they'll just stop shopping here?"

      so far it seems that

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by delt0r (999393)

      The OSS crowd steals from its own. This story and the few comments already ("If they put copy protection on it that annoys me in any way I'll just steal/crack it") makes that very clear.

      Hang on a minute. What makes all these folk OSS crowd? The fact that they read ./ ? Given that M$ windows is/was the more popular OS for viewing this site it should be clear that the link it not there.

      Don't pull others into the mud with these very broad, unfair and incorrect assumptions.

  • this is the least intrusive, and very close to Steam, the main difference being that LGP games will have a different log-in for each of their games. However, either of those two beats Starforce and its ilk with ease.
  • Really, I think this is great for them. It's about as simple a plan as they could do. It doesn't install crap on the computers, you just have to log in before playing. OH well. No one thinks this is going to keep out the crackers... those people will defeat any scheme. But this will keep someone from burning it on a CD and distributing it to every single person they know...

    And even if it doesn't produce one more sale, if it keeps them from supporting stolen goods, it's worth it.

  • by Gori (526248) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:08AM (#23917267) Homepage

    Everybody always whines about the lack of linux games. We all know how much effort it takes to write a game, especially a good one. Now here is a company offering something that looks fairly decent, and includes a very minimal and polite way to ensure you actually payed for it. First thing everybody says, no I will not buy it, since it requires me to prove that I bought it ?? WTF ?? Are we really surprised there are not many commercial quality games out there ?

    If you want linux games, you either make your own/help people make them, or you pay for them. It is that simple. Im buying this one when it is out of beta, just as I preferably buy hardware that has good vendor supplied OS drivers for them. Vote with your valet.

    • by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn@earthlin k . n et> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @06:52PM (#23925835)

      I've bought games from them before. Some were ok, some were lousy. Well, ok, tastes vary.

      The games that I bought frequently don't work, though, because they presume something about the OS that was true several versions ago. This implies that any game that does work is fragile, and can be expected to break in the future.

      Now they want to add a technology that is long known for increasing the brittleness of games. I'm supposed to cheer at this? My reaction is to consider whether it's really worthwhile buying any of their games. Will the game still work after the SDL upgrade? I can't know ahead of time, because the source is closed. What about after the kernel upgrade? After the security patch?

      This does not add benefit to me, it drastically reduces the benefit. Even if they offer support, it means many extra hoops to jump through, and it's not always true that they *have* a decent answer.

      It's true, when a game of theirs breaks after this I won't know that it's the copy-protection that caused the break, but that's what I'll likely presume, as copy-protection is noted for causing breakages.

  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:17AM (#23917491) Journal

    This isn't specifically a Linux gaming issue. That it should be showing up in the Linux context just shows how serious the dilemma facing the PC gaming industry has become.

    Before I go any further; I am a huge fan of PC gaming. I didn't own a console until I was 22. I grew up playing PC games like the Ultima series, the X-Wing and Wing Commander games and, later, the Westwood/Blizzard RTSes. I still buy and play PC games and the games as it's clear that, until developers start making better allowances for mouse and keyboard play, some genres (particularly RTSes) will never work properly on a console.

    However, PC gaming is now hurtling towards an abyss. I know people have been saying this for years. But now, for the first time, I believe them.

    We have now reached the point where, when a new first or third person shooter comes out on both PC and consoles, I will always buy the console version. Why? While I don't much like console controllers for playing fpses, I can tolerate them. The resolutions on my HDTV can't compare with what my PC can put out, but they are good enough. But, more than that, I know that with a console game, I do not need to worry about falling foul of a copy protection system which either means I can't read the disk (used to happen a lot... I had to go through 3 DVD drives before I found one that could run all of my games), have to remove some of my existing software to play it (can you imagine "Hey, it seems you have Gears of War game-data on your 360's hard-disk! No Halo 3 for you then!"?) or access the net every time I want to play it.

    I can't entirely blame the PC gaming industry. Piracy levels are absolutely ridiculous. Of course, anybody with half a brain knows that not every pirated copy of a game means a lost sale. But there's no denying that more than a few people who would have considered a purchase will instead be lured by the siren call of bittorrent. I know a few people who work in the industry and a lot of these developers, outside of a few big superstars, operate on the thinnest of margins. Anything they can do to prop said margin up, they will.

    I don't honestly know what the solution is. Between the traditional hardware hassles and the new copy protection woes, buying a PC game is starting to feel like more trouble than it's worth. Over on the consoles, the copy-protection mechanisms are invisible to the average end-user. With Sony deciding to get rid of region protection for games, I'm actually in a position where I have no complaints whatsoever regarding the extent to which my PS3 and PSP are or are not locked down.

    Of course, this isn't to say that there aren't problems on the horizon in console-land either. My big emerging gripe there regards firmware updates. All three of the systems out there insist on these on a regular basis if you want to use any online features. The 360 version isn't too painful, but the Wii version is distinctly irritating and the PS3 updates are far too frequent, take far too long to download and fail to download far too often when the servers are busy.

    • Over on the consoles, the copy-protection mechanisms are invisible to the average end-user. With Sony deciding to get rid of region protection for games, I'm actually in a position where I have no complaints whatsoever regarding the extent to which my PS3 and PSP are or are not locked down.
      Until you want to play a new independent game, only to find that it's available only for Windows and Linux because Sony rejected it, Microsoft rejected it, and Nintendo rejected it.
      • by RogueyWon (735973) *

        True.

        However, for an overwhelming majority of gamers (including myself), I suspect that the offerings on Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network and Wii-ware will be "good enough" in this respect.

        The fact is that despite the gems scattered out there, most indie games are awful (while most mainstream commercial games are merely average-ish). Now that my job means I have less free time, I'd rather spend what gaming time I have playing decent games rather than sifting through trash to find them. Having somebody

    • You're pretty much right about a lot of those points. Except for the fact that you forgot about the biggest copy protection mechanism on Consoles. The console itself. Maybe its a dongle that accepts software. Maybe its a large pretty dongle that looks good by your TV. Maybe its even a dongle that does things other than execute software that was written for it. But in the end, the console itself IS a copy protection mechanism.

      So you've had to worry about your DVD drive, at least you can change it yourself wi

  • Mass Defect (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jaysyn (203771)

    Is this guy retarded? I'm not buying Mass Effect for this *exact reason*.

    Meanwhile, Sins of a Solar Empire, a DRM free game, enters it's 6th month on the top 10 selling games list.

  • Arrogance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brkello (642429) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:55AM (#23918319)
    It is becoming pretty clear from all these DRM articles lately that many Slashdotters are extremely arrogant. I say many because I have to assume that is the case when the majority of the comments that are modded up deal with people saying either: DRM is bad and will cost them more customers than if they left it open or DRM will cause the posting Slashdotter to pirate the game. I say this is arrogant because there is just some sort of assumption that what they are saying is factual without any thing to back it up. You may feel that DRM costs them more customers because you won't by it, but more likely it is the case that they ran the numbers and found that not to be true. Also, it is arrogant to think you are morally ok to pirate the game just because they do something you don't like.

    I am fine with the people who buy the game than use a cracked version. But the people who just pirate and justify it are just nuts. I actually don't care if you pirate the game, just don't make up stuff saying that what you are doing is right. If people didn't pirate, there wouldn't be DRM. Yet Slashdot blames the companies for adding DRM and openly admit they will pirate the game. This just further justifies their actions. I just don't understand why some of you are so irrational about this. It is like a religious debate where facts and logic have no room to exist.
  • ... would be: "Irrelevant game publisher finds way to become even less relevant."
  • Does this mean (Score:5, Insightful)

    by polyp2000 (444682) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:47PM (#23919623) Homepage Journal

    That piracy on linux is so rife that this is neccesary? If it really is the case that linux users are pirating games for the platform then shame on you. If we want linux to be taken more seriously as a gaming platform then you have to be prepared to put your wallet where your mouth is and support those companies that are putting the effort in.

    N.

    • Re:Does this mean (Score:4, Interesting)

      by IamTheRealMike (537420) * <mike@plan99.net> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @01:50PM (#23921131) Homepage

      Not just games, any commercial software. I used to work for CodeWeavers and we had exactly the same problem - people would file support tickets but had not actually paid for the software. And this is a company that is a huge open source LGPL-code contributor!

      We had internal statistics (that it's not my place to share) on how much the average support ticket cost, and how many customers filed tickets. To be blunt, the support load was nearly killing the company when I was there. Of course people warezing the binaries and then asking for help was one of the most offensive things they could do.

      Sadly, using Linux does not convert one into a paragon of virtue. Piracy exists on every platform, it just varies as to the extent of the problem.

  • But will every pirated copy magically transforms into a sale

    No, but some will. Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

  • by dltaylor (7510) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:44PM (#23922147)

    I have many legitimately purchased games on my Linux box. I bought games from Loki, back when, specifically to encourage the developers to bring games over.

    I will NOT buy any software with a "phone home" requirement. I just deleted LGP's bookmark.

  • by macdaddy (38372) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @04:04PM (#23923561) Homepage Journal
    A CD isn't required. Score 1 for us. The product can be installed on more than one PC at a time. Now we're 2-0. The CEO said that they'll release a non-DRM fix if the company ever goes under so your purchase has future guarantees. 3-0! So what are ya'll bitching about?

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