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What Modern Games Are DRM-Free? 630

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-be-annoying dept.
IceDiver writes "I used to be an avid PC gamer. However, I have only bought 1 game in the last 18 months because I am sick and tired of the problems caused by the various intrusive, and sometimes damaging DRM schemes game publishers insist on forcing upon their customers. Once burned, twice shy! The EA announcement that upcoming releases will include SecuROM, along with verification requirements and major restrictions on installations left me wondering which recently released or upcoming games (particularly major titles) are being released without DRM? Are there any? How has DRM affected your game purchasing? Will EA be negatively affected by their DRM decision?" The ongoing DRM controversy was stirred by the recent launch of Spore. We discussed the public outcry from Amazon's reviews (which were subsequently taken down and then re-posted). EA's response to the outcry was to say that only one percent of accounts tried to activate the game more than three times, which is the limit without help from their customer service. Meanwhile, their efforts to find a "balance" between preventing piracy and not hampering legal users may not have been as successful as they hoped. According to Forbes, a P2P research firm found that illegal copies of Spore had been downloaded over 170,000 times already. So, is it time to create a whitelist for game publishers and developers?
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What Modern Games Are DRM-Free?

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  • by Lord Byron II (671689) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:34PM (#24987025)
    I wasn't about to ask permission from Microsoft to use something that I bought and paid for. Since then, I've personally converted three non-techies from Windows to Linux. These companies never stop to think of the sales they lose by trying to stop each and every last instance of piracy.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:50PM (#24987141)

      And DRM makes me a pirate.

      I'm a single childless guy on an average wage and therefore have some spare money about. I generally buy games. Or at least, used to. However the DRM in Bioshock and Portal (more time playing the DRM than playing Portal...) amongst others have seriously affected me. Pirating the game instead of purchasing it means that once I have it, I install and play it, instead of 'fight the DRM'. I don't think I've downloaded a single big-name game title that didn't work first go. I certainly have purchased such a thing.

      So, while my hourly rate isn't much, for both Bioshock and Portal I spent more hours than my equivalent wage would cost to buy the game, in Portal's case that's after tax :)

      Funny thing is that despite both games having convoluted and misdirecting self-help support sources, the problem in both cases was that I had software installed that can mount .isos. Yes, that's right. Other operating systems have native support for this function because it's so damn useful. Game companies on the other hand treated me like a pirate for having such software installed.

      So now I'm a pirate, due to the pain that game companies have caused me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be moral here - after all, I am stealing my entertainment - but the actions of the game companies have turned a paying customer into a pirate. Now there's an own goal for you...

      • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:55PM (#24987187)
        What DRM in Portal? Steam is the only thing with a DRM scheme I don't hate. It's a part of the industry where I know indie devs have a chance, and my money is going to the artists, and there's always good deals, and most importantly it always works, period. If you had a problem with Steam, I'd put money on it being because you did something wrong. But even if you did, Valve tech support is great so... I don't know this whole complaint is just alien to me.

        ...The DRM on Portal. *scratches head*
        • by PIBM (588930) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @12:15AM (#24987315) Homepage

          Someone randomly found the CD Key of my old half life game before I finally got to install steam. When I did, wanted to play back half life along with the updates, I was denied access to online play because I could not register the game.

          I contacted them and the reply was to send them the cd & box, along with a proof of purchase (I had bought the games over 8 years before!) and 20 bucks to cover the replacement.

          That would have been the only solution, short of buying again. I'm not using anything in steam or that I might think might end up in steam again.

          As for his question, World of Warcraft is DRM free, and the upcoming WOTLK is also supposed to be free of it too!

          I guess that count as a particularly major title :)

          • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 13, 2008 @12:25AM (#24987375)

            re: Half-Life 1 and my original key being stolen.

            Same thing happened to me. I sent in the CD case liner (which includes the barcode proof of purchase -- according to the instructions you were *not* to send in the original box or jewel case and for games older than a certain date, the receipt was also not necessary) and a check for $10 (the processing fee at the time, October 2007).

            I received my CD liner intact back from Valve soon after having all of the HL1 games activated on my account. It went through pretty quick.

            They also never bothered to cash the check.

          • by MetaPhyzx (212830) * on Saturday September 13, 2008 @12:34AM (#24987433)

            well, blizzard isn't perfect.

            I suffered a bout of ID fraud in which there were several online purchases of The Burning Crusade on a card of mine. All of the purchases were in to European arms of Blizzard.

            I tried to resolve this with Blizzard as at the time I'd had an account, and my son as well (no CC attached, using Game time cards only and none of these purchases were to my legit accounts). They responded with the typical "maybe someone charged your card...a family member" email they usually send.

            I called Blizzard as well and asked to speak to someone in account security. Couldn't get past the snaky rep who basically said they won't talk to you.

            I called the bank and had them issue charge backs.

            Prior to this experience, I was a solid Blizzard fan. Bought all their games, had a good time. They sent me an email after the bank did their business, I suspect it said they were freezing my account because of all this biz, but at this point I didn't care, and still don't (and probably won't unless they directly apologize, but that's unlikely to happen).

            Blizzard could do no wrong with me, and now they can't really do right. They make wonderful products, but horrid customer care. Hence, I won't be buying anything from them.

            Ironically I've had good luck with Valve. I had a copy of Half-Life 2 with which the CD Key had been used; I took a snapshot of the discs, with the manual key in view (and reciept) and emailed it to Valve. It was fixed in an hour. Same thing with EA and my copy of BF2.

            When I bought the Orange Box, I wasn't aware that it came with HL2, and Steam asked did I wish to gift it to someone, which I did. The thought that Steam isn't guaranteed bugs me, but as I've said.. I've had good experiences.

            • > I took a snapshot of the discs, with the manual key in view (and reciept) and emailed it to Valve. It was fixed in an hour.

              Can I get a link to where you downloaded that image? ;)

            • by jimicus (737525) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @09:58AM (#24989973)

              Couldn't get past the snaky rep who basically said they won't talk to you.

              I called the bank and had them issue charge backs

              Funny, in my experience "Sort it out now or I report you to the bank and let them sort it out" is a pretty effective way of getting problems solved.

              It's not particularly diplomatic but then neither is getting the bank to issue a charge back.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by PitaBred (632671)

            I'd have threatened to take them to small claims court for selling me a defective product. It's not your problem that someone stole your key... why the fuck should you pay ANYTHING else for the product you legitimately owned?

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              It's not your problem that someone stole your key...

              Actually, it kind of is.

              Suppose it was a console game, and someone stole your physical game disc. Should that be their problem?

              I find it much easier to keep track of a few pieces of information than a physical disc -- and, were this not the case, I could always write that information to a disc and keep track of the disc. With pre-Steam Half-Life, I could potentially lose the CD. With post-Steam Half-Life, so long as I don't lose my password, I can re-download the game.

              I think that hardly counts as "defectiv

              • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Saturday September 13, 2008 @01:18PM (#24991571) Journal

                You seem to be forgetting that unlike a physical disc where they will have to break in and take the thing,with those stupid keys there are automated keygens out there that can spit out dozens of keys per second until they find one that hits. Does that mean that if one of those keygens hits YOUR number you should just suck it up and buy a new game? This is also why I don't use Steam. I had the Half Life I:Game Of The Year Edition and my key got keygen'd.

                And now we have crap like Spore where they are obviously trying to take away our right of first sale by making everyone afraid to buy it second hand,and they wonder why piracy just keeps going up? Maybe if you didn't treat you customers like sh*t maybe they wouldn't be pirating. I know I have gotten to the point that I won't buy ANY game until it reaches the $20 or less bin because I know they will have a good working crack out by then so I won't have to worry about my system getting "Secure Starforced Buttraper V2.0" infections. As a PC repairman I have had to fix countless machines with "weird crashes" and it turn out it was SecuROM'd. And I have thrown away quite a few drives from folks that got the Starforce PIO bug.

                So while I would be happy to buy on release day to try all the new games I simply won't because of DRM. And I wanted to pick up Spore until I heard about the 3 activations BS(thanks Slashdot!) so that one won't even be on my "pick it up when it's cheap" list. But as always this is my 02c,YMMV

          • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Saturday September 13, 2008 @01:35AM (#24987815)

            I contacted them and the reply was to send them the cd & box, along with a proof of purchase (I had bought the games over 8 years before!) and 20 bucks to cover the replacement.

            My Steam account got hacked (after my pre-Steam Half Life/Opposing Force/Blue Shift keys were registered with it) and all I had to do was send them a photo of the CDs and the CD keys. No payment was necessary.

            'Course, I still hate Steam too, purely on principle.

          • by Locomorto (925016) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @01:43AM (#24987865)
            Persoanlly I prefer to give money direct to the developers when I can. Even on steam (which is quite nice IMHO), I'm sure they (valve) take a stake too. One game I did this for was World of Goo (which just went gold btw). In you pre-order, you also get a preview of the game which is mindnumbingly awesome. Disclaimer: I don't work for 2dboy, nor am I affliated with them in any other way then being a big fan.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bdenton42 (1313735)

            As for his question, World of Warcraft is DRM free, and the upcoming WOTLK is also supposed to be free of it too!

            I guess that count as a particularly major title :)

            Not sure how you can say that World of Warcraft is DRM free. You are required to pay a periodic licensing fee and authenticate every time you try to use the software. If you have not paid your licensing fee the software will not operate. That is a form of DRM.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by kbranch (762946)
              You're not paying a licensing fee, you're paying a subscription fee. The former lets you use your software while the latter lets you use Blizzard's servers. Big difference. WoW keeps working just fine if your subscription expires, you're able to log on to private servers without any issues (admittedly, Blizzard would love to stop that too, but they haven't been able to sue the private server projects out of existence). The only thing you lose is access to the official Blizzard servers.
        • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NOsPam.hotmail.com> on Saturday September 13, 2008 @12:26AM (#24987389) Journal
          most importantly it always works, period. If you had a problem with Steam, I'd put money on it being because you did something wrong.

          Bullshit.

          Steam is annoying as hell and frequently stops me using [photobucket.com] games I own.

          I paid money for that game so I own it. When I double-click on the icon, it is not a "request" for it to run. The game is fully installed, and doesn not need to be connected to Steam to run. Cracked versions work without the DRM-enforced waits.

          If the game does not start immediately, every time, it is broken.

        • Steam problems (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Digital_Quartz (75366)

          Steam hasn't always been so perfect. When HL2 first came out, I already had a Steam account, but I signed up for a new account since HL2 came with all the games I had in my first account.

          I forget exactly when this was (I think it was near the XMas rush after HL2 came out, I don't think it was when the game first came out), but one of Steam's authentication servers died under the load of all the new users signing up for HL2. The result was that all new accounts (including my "second" account) could not log

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by shish (588640)

          and most importantly it always works, period.

          Unless you're on a university campus with outbound firewall; then, even if you have the physical CD, you can't even play single player :-/ It also apparently does some funky network stuff which breaks VPNs and SOCKS-tunneling apps. The only way I found to make it run was to set up a VPN on a second box and use that as the gateway...

          If I'd have known that it'd be that much hassle, I would have just torrented it -_-

          Valve tech support is great so

          Since when? During the above I tried to find out WTF they'd done to break VPNs and tunneling,

      • by PapaBoojum (232247) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @12:12AM (#24987289)

        I'm a single childless guy...

        This is Slashdot. Mod parent Redundant.

      • by tukang (1209392) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @12:17AM (#24987327)
        They treated you like an animal and that's what you became
        • ... but what happened to personal responsibility? Everything the GP did, he did of his own free will. PC gaming is not some fundamental right that big gaming companies are depriving him of. If he's becoming a monster, then he should probably lay off the games for a while.

          That said, he seems to be aware of the morality of his own actions, which is a damn good start.

      • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Saturday September 13, 2008 @12:30AM (#24987409) Homepage

        Personally I appreciate how Blizzard had the sense to remove the look-for-CD-protection in Warcraft III, of course a cd key is still required to play on battle net.

        Their stupid requirement of having to use the CD and the risk of getting banned from bnet by patching the game or whatever made me use the original one ending up with big enough scratches on the CDs for being unable to install the game, for one of the discs to validate as a genuine one and finally this:
        http://cdcrack.istheshit.net/ [istheshit.net]

    • by FoolsGold (1139759) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @12:08AM (#24987261)

      Why? It's easier to get a pirated copy and continue using the same knowledge set of skills, techniques and software than it is to totally convert to another operating system.

      There's a reason XP is still pretty popular on the torrent sites.

      • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Saturday September 13, 2008 @12:47AM (#24987507)

        > It's easier to get a pirated copy and continue using the same knowledge set of skills,
        > techniques and software than it is to totally convert to another operating system.

        Kid, I have some bad news for you. If you are worried about your 'skills' you needn't worry because you obviously aren't earning your living from them. Otherwise you would know how stupid you sound. Try installing that piratebay copy of XP in a work environment and watch what happens. First disgruntled ex employee that is, ya know clueful enough to listen to the radio or read a magazine, sees that 1-800 get revenge AND a cash reward hotline to nark out pirate copies and your employer is in a world of pain and you are out of a job.

        Of course this isn't a problem in your bedroom/dorm but this is the time to upgrade your skills for the world of tomorrow... where with a little luck Microsoft won't be a monopoly anymore.

        • by FoolsGold (1139759) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @01:49AM (#24987903)

          Let me put it another way. Why give up a system where you can fly across the GUI, knowing precisely where everything is and have become totally accustomed to doing things quickly because of this knowledge, to another system where you basically have to relearn a large portion, JUST because of something trivial as the activation of XP?

          Now in a work environment, of course you're not going to resort to a pirated copy. But then again, most businesses are prepared to pony up the cash for a site license, and Microsoft takes care of businesses with the corporate versions which do not require activation in the first place. Microsoft aren't stupid in this regard. Since the businesses keep using Windows, there's nothing lost with the home user getting the pirated copy.

          • by rk (6314) * on Saturday September 13, 2008 @02:09AM (#24987995) Journal

            Maybe because some of us actually like to learn new things and stretch ourselves. And compared to learning a musical instrument or making fine cabinetry with hand tools, not at all difficult.

            "Why learn a new GUI?" when did Slashdot become Yahoo groups... *mumbles* damn kids on my lawn again.

  • by PunkOfLinux (870955) <mewshi@mewshi.com> on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:35PM (#24987033) Homepage

    Multiwinia doesn't have DRM as far as I know :) That's a pretty cool-looking game, I gotta say. Introversion does an AWESOME job with their games, in all reality.

    Plus, they run on Linux natively! :D

    • by bmgoau (801508) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @12:03AM (#24987243) Homepage

      Sins of a Solar Empire is also completely free of DRM.

      It scored pretty much 9/10 in every review.

      Sins of a Solar Empire is a science fiction real-time strategy computer game developed by Ironclad Games for Windows XP and Vista and published by Stardock Entertainment in February 2008.[1] Sins is a real-time strategy (RTS) game that incorporates some elements from 4X strategy games; promotional materials describe it as "RT4X."[2]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sins_of_a_Solar_Empire [wikipedia.org]

      Stardock Entertainment are also responsibile for the proposed "Gamers Bill of rights"

      The Gamer's Bill of Rights:

      Gamers shall have the right to return games that don't work with their computers for a full refund.
      Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
      Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game's release.
      Gamers shall have the right to demand that download managers and updaters not force themselves to run or be forced to load in order to play a game.
      Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will play adequately on that computer.
      Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won't install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their consent.
      Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.
      Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.
      Gamers shall have the right to demand that a single-player game not force them to be connected to the Internet every time they wish to play.
      Gamers shall have the right that games which are installed to the hard drive shall not require a CD/DVD to remain in the drive to play.

      http://www.stardock.com/about/newsitem.asp?id=1095 [stardock.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Digital_Quartz (75366)

        "Completely free of DRM" is a stretch; there's an activation step for downloading any patches for any of their games. Ditto if you buy their games online.

        But, their activation doesn't have a finite limit on the number of installs, rather it limits you based on the rate of installs. They don't publish the numbers or details, but essentially they're only going to stop you from activating if you activate WAY too many times in a month. I wish they were a little more transparent in terms of defining exactly h

  • by WARM3CH (662028) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:37PM (#24987051)
    Try Sins of a Solar Empire [wikipedia.org], one of the best games of the year that has no copy protection. So far they have sold 500,000 copies of it which is huge considering the modest budget.
  • by Nathanbp (599369) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:41PM (#24987077)

    Sins of a Solar Empire [sinsofasolarempire.com] made by Stardock is a recently released DRM free game (their other games are DRM free as well).

    We've discussed Stardock's [slashdot.org] anti-DRM [slashdot.org] policy before.

    No affiliation with Stardock, just a happy customer.

    • by pdboddy (620164)
      I second Stardock's games, and would recommend them to anyone. Introversion's Darwinia, Uplink and so forth are excellent as well. Steam has quite a few games for download, most of them without DRM.
      • by the unbeliever (201915) <chris+slashdot&atlgeek,com> on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:58PM (#24987211) Homepage

        Referring to Steam games as "not having DRM" is sort of funny.

        Steam *is* the DRM, although it is an acceptable version thereof in my (and many slashdotters) opinion.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          I can see how many people would consider it acceptable... however... what happens in the future if the steam servers go the way of all the earth, and you want to play a game that you paid for, but you had to wipe your drive to reinstall your OS - so you haven't got a hard copy, and you can't download the soft copy you paid for...

          You might say "i won't want to play it by then", but trends in retro gaming would beg to differ on the point.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Psychotria (953670)

            Well, they have said that if that scenario ever occurred that they'd release patches (for the activation stuff). I guess we just have to trust them at this point.

            As for the hardcopy/softcopy, this is what backups are for (and steam makes it easy to burn to DVD for games you've downloaded).

          • What happens when CD/Floppy Disc/Cartridge wears out, or the hardware/software required is no longer easily found.
            Any purchase has risk, understand it and evaluate the value accordingly.
  • Checkers (Score:5, Funny)

    by davidwr (791652) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:41PM (#24987079) Homepage Journal

    Now listen here Sonny, just yesterday I took my scooter down to the game store and bought me a brand new box of checkers for my grandson.

    Now sure, it doesn't have any of that D-R-whachamacalit that today's young'uns want but it's brand new and that's what counts!

  • it should matter. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon&gamerslastwill,com> on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:51PM (#24987143) Homepage Journal

    I'm not exactly using DRM as a selling point when I buy a game. It affects me, but I have security software which can prevent the DRM from doing harmful things to my computer.

    I buy a lot of games, and I honestly don't think the DRM is effective.

    Scenario #1: you bought the game and enjoy it. your friend wants to play the game without buying it. You can't copy the CD and have him play thanks to the DRM. or can you?

    Scenario #2: you don't want to buy a game, but you still want to play it. You can't download it from the Internet thanks to DRM. or can you?

    in both scenarios, DRM is useless. in #1, you can download a NOCD crack from the Internet and make as many copies of the disc as you want. In #2, the game has already been released by some cracking group without DRM before the game even hits the stores. Is harrassing paying customers really helping to gain more paying customers?

    DRM doesn't even deter casual gamers who would copy their own disc. Since the game has been cracked before it's even released, that DRM scheme is a waste of customer money.

    As I see it, this harmful middleware just eats into profit margins. Companies who make products like securom and starforce rely on the fear and ignorance of publishers to sell their harmful software. Who is to say these companies don't have their own agenda in installing their harmful and mysterious software on unsuspecting machines?

    Since we don't fully know what the software does, nor do they allow us to know, isn't it safe to assume it's malicious?

    • by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @02:13AM (#24988017) Homepage

      Well, assuming you're a twisted marketing/accounting guy...

      As with most DRM schemes, I think there's an ulterior motive here, and I think that's to kill the second hand market. Most people are unwilling to buy games with activation second hand, and most stores are unwilling to even take them for trade or sell them.

      Remember, the difference between Digital Rights Management and plain old copy protection is that DRM is about restricting your rights, and in this case they're taking away your right of first sale, plain and simple.

  • by afabbro (33948) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:51PM (#24987147) Homepage
    ...it's even open source [nethack.org].
    • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:54PM (#24987177)

      What about Angband [thangorodrim.net]?

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @07:21AM (#24989263) Journal
      There are lots of good open source games for people who prefer something a bit more graphical too. Some examples:
      • Battle for Wesnoth [wesnoth.org], a turn-based strategy game with some great single-player campaigns.
      • Vega Strike [sourceforge.net], the game Elite would have been if it had been made for today's hardware (honourable mention to Oolite [oolite.org], which faithfully recreates Elite but with updated graphics).
      • Nexuiz [alientrap.org], a superb FPS with completely new artwork, levels, and game design based on an incredibly heavily modified version of the Quake 1 engine.
      • FreeCol [freecol.org] (and, of course, the classic FreeCiv [wikia.com]), open source clones of the old Colonisation and Civilisation games, with large numbers of updates (and distressingly good single player AI).
      • Blob Wars: Metal Blob Solid [parallelrealities.co.uk], a complex platform game, full of gratuitous blob violence[1]. A sequel [parallelrealities.co.uk], this time in full 3D, was released last month.

      With complex and polished open source games in almost every genre being available, it's quite surprising how much people spend on commercial games from companies that treat them like criminals. Wikipedia has a good list [wikipedia.org] - I've not played more than a small fraction of them.

      [1] This doesn't quite count as open source. The game is all GPL'd, but a number of images were things the author 'found on the Internet' and are used without a valid license. It was removed from the OpenBSD ports system last week because of this, as the author refuses to address the problem.

  • It's just as likely that the explanation that Amazon gave was legit and that a technical error caused them to be removed (it wasn't just negative reviews, but ALL reviews on Spore retail which went away). Remember never attribute to malice that which can be more easily explained by a simple fuckup. They probably have never had that many comments on any single object before and some limit was simply exceeded. They fairly quickly reposted all comments and never removed the volumes of negative feedback on the
  • ETQW all the way. Aside from it being an excellent game and being DRM free, you can get a full copy of it for $15 on Amazon [amazon.com].

    P.S. it runs on Linux.
  • EA Spindoctoring (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sibko (1036168) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:58PM (#24987209)

    EA's response to the outcry was to say that only one percent of accounts tried to activate the game more than three times, which is the limit without help from their customer service.

    Spore has been out for 8 days, and that's if you count the early release in Australia. In 8 days they've had 1% of their customers install Spore enough times as to be unable to play the game.

    Bullet, meet foot.

  • by WDot (1286728) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @12:02AM (#24987233)
    The Unreal/Unreal Tournament series of games, including UT3, don't have DRM. However, Gears of War DOES, so avoid that one.

    As far as I know, Call of Duty 4 does not have any DRM. Searching "Call of Duty 4 $DRM" where $DRM equalled DRM, SecuROM, and Starforce, turned up nothing relevant.

    Be warned, both of those games are basically only good for the multiplayer, so keep that in mind.

    The Civilization series has strong single player, if you're into turn-based strategy, has no DRM, and really only requires a quick No-CD crack to be completely convenient. This includes every Civ I know of (2 to 4 + expansions).

    Telltale games from what I've experienced has no DRM. Their Sam and Max series of adventure games, when purchased directly from Telltale's site, can be redownloaded over and over. This is no large technical feat, however, as their episodes are ~80MB a pop.
  • GOG.com (Score:5, Informative)

    by JoeFaust (25587) <joefaust@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Saturday September 13, 2008 @12:02AM (#24987237) Homepage

    Good Old Games [gog.com] has just entered beta. They are offering older games for $5.99 - $9.99, completely DRM free. They've got some great games in their catalog, including Fallout [wikipedia.org] & Freespace [wikipedia.org].

    Being DRM Free [gog.com] is one of their major selling points.

  • http://www.galciv2.com/ [galciv2.com]

    Greatest 4X game ever. Period. Also DRM free.

  • y'arrr (Score:2, Informative)

    by azadam (250783)

    I'll admit I snagged a copy of Spore in advance of the USA release. Played it for a day or two, and gladly coughed up dough for a legit copy once it was available.

    Illegally downloaded copies != lost sales, I'm sure I'm not the only person who did it.

  • by mxs (42717) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @12:26AM (#24987387)

    ... and they claim this as a POSITIVE attribute ? One percent of accounts ALREADY hit the 3 installation limit ? This game has been out for ~a week. One week, and already one percent of the customers are plagued by this DRM-scheme (some percentage of which will already have gotten customer service responses akin to "buy a new one" by the helpful customer representatives, as has happened with "Mass Effect").

    After just one week, legitimately bought copies of the game stopped working for these people.

    What will the stats be in 10 weeks ? 6 months ? Five years ? Can YOU offer up proof-of-purchase for all your games after 5 years ? Good on you. Should you have to ?

    I find it pretty telling though that EA considers 1% for this timeframe to be a good number.

  • Subject (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @01:26AM (#24987757) Homepage

    Spore's DRM was so effective that the cracked version was leaked only *3* days prior to retail. The game companies are making progress!

  • by log0n (18224) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @01:48AM (#24987897)

    (in that order)

    I don't buy or play PC games. When I do any gaming it's on the 360 so none of this stuff is an issue.

    But this time.. I bought the game mainly because of a very cool special I was able to catch on the Hist Channel - went into both the tech and also the lore/idea behind it. Wasn't familiar with Spore until this. Saw all of the negative pub on Amazon before I purchased.

    I've opened the original (just so it can't be returned/exchanged when I'm done - that's wrong) but I downloaded and am playing the cracked version. I've done it this way to 1) support whoever needs to be financially supported (not paying and then playing is plain stealing), but also 2) hopefully send a message to someone somewhere (even if it ends up just being to me) that DRM/limited activation is the more evil of two evils. I'm not a gamer (tho WOW ftw) and I've got no problem next time just keeping my cash and doing without.

  • by protektor (63514) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @02:49AM (#24988245)

    You want to see the game companies sit up and howl like a howler monkey? Get the federal government to pass a law saying that everything sold at retail has the right to the "doctrine of first sale". That is that if I buy it and don't want it anymore I can legally sell it to whoever I want and companies can't do anything to interfere with that.

    You would see most of these DRM schemes disappear over night. This crap of your key tied to your account and you can give it away or sell it would be up in smoke. All these insane EULA's that say your not buying a copy of the software just the right to use it would be gone. Also they wouldn't be able to say hey if this blows up your computer it's not our fault, you can't sue us. Because then they would have to abide by the doctrine of fitness for sale.

    As it is right now software companies love to tell you, we own it not you. We're just allowing you to use it for awhile, and we don't promise anything other than there are some bits that your allowed to use that might do something or they might not do something, just be glad we let you look at it at all.

    Oh yea and don't you dare try and make anything compatible with our stuff, that's illegal. We sure showed those BNETD guys, and the Overhead garage door, and the printer ink guys not to ever try and be compatible with us. Why should we let you in on our ability to steal...excuse me..get all the money we can get from you? That's our money in your pocket and we'll be dang if we are going to share it with anyone else.

    Game companies and software companies in general hate the software resell market, because they aren't get anything from it. They don't want you to buy 1 copy and sell it to another guy who does the same. Dang that could mean like 5-10 people who bought the same copy over a 2+ year period and they only got 1 sale. They sure can't allow that to happen.

    Game companies *HATE* EB Game, Gamestop, and your local used game shop. They think they should be criminalized and run out of business for interfering with them making obscene amounts of profit. After all that isn't your money in your pocket it's their's and how dare anyone deprive them of it.

    Then the whole thing of telling people what they can and can't do with software once they bought. Oh sorry you can add 5 extra lives and 1000 bullets to the game that effects the balance and by passes our protection, it's not allowed. Also you paid good money for the game, full retail, but you can't put it in your gaming shop or cyber cafe without paying us more. Do car rental places pay special extra price for their cars? What about a library that loans out books? Why is software so special when compared to other fields? It shouldn't be.

    CD Key tied to accounts, and updates tied to specific people, and it's all non-transferable. Those are things that block the "doctrine of first sale" and should be out right illegal to do. If I want to sell my game I should be able to do it without any extra fees paid to anyone. I don't pay extra for my books I donate to the local library, or when I sell a book to a friend. Why is software suddenly special and needs to be protected different and given differnt rules?

    • Also you paid good money for the game, full retail, but you can't put it in your gaming shop or cyber cafe without paying us more. Do car rental places pay special extra price for their cars? What about a library that loans out books?

      The United States, home of Slashdot, restricts the "rental, lease, or lending" of copies of computer programs. However, nonprofit libraries such as those run by government agencies or educational institutions are exempt. 17 USC 109(b)(2)(A) [bitlaw.com].

      Why is software so special when compared to other fields?

      Because it is so much easier for an end user to make a new copy[1] of a sound recording or a computer program than any other kind of work.

      [1] "Copy" here includes phonorecords.

  • by dontmakemethink (1186169) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @05:16AM (#24988845)

    In every arts related job, there are the expressive parts that you love and the administration jobs that you hate. Every game maker is founded by people that just want to make great games. Then they have to deal with the bullshit that is required to make their games a success. Is it any surprise that game makers, the RIAA, and every other arts related industry has shit the bed when it comes to marketing their products.

    Let's face it, for every pirate out there, there are 100 people who are qualified to devise a way to market artistic digital media in a way that makes everyone happy. One problem stands in their way:

    NOBODY IS PROVIDING ANY INCENTIVES TO MAKE THE JOB ATTRACTIVE, AND IT'S A SHITTY JOB TO BEGIN WITH.

    I could go on for days, but most readers here have some insight into the situation, how much would you have to be paid to attempt to devise a reasonable scale for game makers to be reimbursed for their efforts?

    Think about it, who wants that job? Worse yet, who's willing to pay for it? Everyone acknowledges it has to be done, but it's the ugliest job in a sexy industry. "Hi, I want to work for your modeling agency, got any grease traps you need cleaned?"

    I record my own albums, book my own shows, drive the tour van, set up the stages, sometimes run sound myself, make my own posters, etc etc etc, and if I can do all that at age 34 and still run a successful studio, house tech at a local venue, AND still write good music, then these pukes who call themselves artists but can't deduce a way to bring their art to market can eat my shit. In fact, I happen to have a nice fluffy one brewed up just for EA.

    Fire in the hole.

"Right now I feel that I've got my feet on the ground as far as my head is concerned." -- Baseball pitcher Bo Belinsky

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