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99.8% of Gamers Don't Care About DRM, Says EA 554

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-also-don't-understand-it dept.
arcticstoat writes "If you thought that EA might have been humbled by the massive Internet backlash against its use of SecuROM in its recent games, then you'd be wrong. Speaking at the Dow Jones/Nielsen Media and Money Conference, EA's CEO John Riccitiello claimed that the whole issue had been blown out of all proportion. 'We implemented a form of DRM and it's something that 99.8 per cent of users wouldn't notice,' claimed Riccitiello, 'but for the other 0.2 percent, it became an issue and a number of them launched a cabal online to protest against it.'"
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99.8% of Gamers Don't Care About DRM, Says EA

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  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:15PM (#25384235) Homepage Journal

    If you query the number of gamers you have left, of course you're going to get a 99.8% figure. (Though honestly, that exact figure sounds like bullshit to me. Did you know that 85.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot?) The question is, how many customers have you already lost where DRM was a contributing factor? Of those customers, how many can identify DRM as the problem rather than stating "the game doesn't work"?

    I almost guarantee that any study EA has done resulting in these figures was flawed. Based on his statements however, I don't think EA has done that research. Riccitiello pulled that number out of thin air. Even if EA did research that suggests that only 0.2% of users should have a problem, there's a huge gap between theory and practice.

    I'm an example of a PC gamer lost by the industry. I used to read PC Gamer regularly, wait for the awesome new titles coming out, and get lost in the worlds of these games. Eventually I stopped and gave up on the industry. If you're interesting in why, here are the key points:

    -- Lackluster games. The majority of games felt like regurgitated first person shooters. They were all the same with new skins. Hardly an interesting market.

    -- Technological problems. There's nothing more irritating than purchasing a game or getting a game as a gift, then not being able to run it. At least two of those instances were clearly DRM problems. The games would not even start. No error, no reason, just fail. Tech support then explains some BS about having a CD Burner. Because, you know, those are so uncommon in computers. (This guy explains it WAY better than I can. [youtube.com]) Not to mention the video card driver treadmill. Having problems with that game? Oh, well you need to update to Super Destructo Detonation Drivers version 34120123.1239213213 release 8231 patch -0123 revision B. It will make your system super-unstable, but your games will kick ass!

    -- Time. As I got older, I simply had fewer hours in the day to game. I no longer have the time nor the patience to work around the previous two problem. So I just stopped buying PC games. Nowhere was there a concious decision of "screw them", it was simply, "This does not interest me anymore".

    These days I have a console [wii.com] that lets me get the maximum amount of enjoyment out of the least possible time investment. Life is so much better than when PC games clogged my system's arteries.

    In closing, I'd like to say this: History has shown that good games sell. Period, end of story. Piracy has always been and always will be a scapegoat for the real problem of poor quality merchandise. Implementing draconian anti-piracy measures will only drive away the few customers you have left.

    • by mfh (56) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:24PM (#25384447) Homepage Journal

      Too true. (98.2% of our CURRENT customers love us. LOL)

      EA Before:
      "Hey Gamers, buy our wicked game because it's totally fun to play!!!"

      EA Later:
      "Hey Gamers, buy our new game because it has newer technology, better lighting, and it produces 100% more warm fuzzies than its predecessor!"

      EA Now:
      "Hey Gamers, bend over."

      • Re:EA Then and Now (Score:5, Insightful)

        by electrictroy (912290) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @01:32PM (#25385833)

        I agree with EA's assessment (althought 99.8% is rather high, 80% is probably more accurate). MOST people don't care about DRM restrictions... ...until EA, like Wlmart, turns off the servers and makes your $50 game worthless. ...or they try to play the game on their shiny-new Vista or Windows 7 computer, and the OS rejects it.

        A lot of people don't realize how bad DRM can be until they get bit on the butt by a non-functioning piece of software or music or video.

        • Re:EA Then and Now (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @01:59PM (#25386323) Journal

          80% is significantly different than 99.8%.

          Put another way, I'm sure they can fool themselves into thinking that 0.2% of their customers would've pirated the game if not for DRM.

          But if it's 80%, is there really any chance that they'd lose more than 20% of their customers to piracy, if not for DRM?

          For that matter, would any business be wise to make a decision that alienates a fucking fifth of their customer base?

          EA, I really wanted to buy Mirror's Edge. I was almost considering buying a console for it, so I wouldn't have to deal with the DRM. But with this attitude, I'm sorry, you're not getting a dime of my money, or a minute of my time.

          • by SharpFang (651121) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @03:54PM (#25388289) Homepage Journal

            Confusing 'users' with 'customers'.
            It's like you sell elk urine as a perfume, and claim 99% of perfume users love the elk urine smell.

            Nope.

            99% of perfume users hate elk urine smell and don't buy it.
            The 0.99% who buy it and love it are weird perverts who feel turned on by the smell.
            The remaining 0.01% are clueless morons who didn't know what they are buying.

            Yep, from people who -bought- the game, possibly well over 90% don't know and don't care. OTOH the rampaging piracy is in a major part influenced by DRM. If they surveyed -users- and not just -customers- they might come up with a totally different number.

        • Re:EA Then and Now (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Nerdposeur (910128) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @02:48PM (#25387177) Journal

          A lot of people don't realize how bad DRM can be until they get bit on the butt by a non-functioning piece of software or music or video.

          Exactly. 99.8% of 16-year-olds don't give a rip about cholesterol, either - but someday they will.

          People who don't care about DRM now will learn to care when their games/music won't work anymore.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BlackSnake112 (912158)

          I have set up a few people with a ghost image of their computer so that they can go back to a clean working computer. This way if the game DRM screws up their machine they can get it working again. It works but no one should have to go that far to play computer games. This is on a computer that ONLY plays games. No surfing, no email, games only. So far only single video card setups, so the whole sli/crossfire thing is not an issue.

          It is like the game companies do not want you to have more then one game or m

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Sj0 (472011)

          Hey, it's their business.

          If they're so confident that we're a small contingent, they can continue to release broken games, and I'll continue to buy games from other companies that don't limit the number of times we're allowed to install the games we paid for with (non-trivial amounts of) money.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by 3vi1 (544505)

          Not that I advocate such things, but it makes me wonder what kind of epiphany the public would have if there were to be a massive DDoS attack against the authentication servers of these companies.

    • Games not on Wii (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027)

      These days I have a [Wii] console that lets me get the maximum amount of enjoyment out of the least possible time investment.

      What do you do when you want to play a game that isn't on the consoles? For example, a lot of indie games are PC exclusives because the developer isn't a big enough company for a WiiWare license.

      History has shown that good games sell.

      Even good games from small companies?

      • Re:Games not on Wii (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rufty_tufty (888596) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:35PM (#25384669) Homepage

        Well I'm not the OP but I don't do PC gaming just console(Xbox 360 or Wii):

        "For example, a lot of indie games are PC exclusives because the developer isn't a big enough company for a WiiWare license."

        Unfortunately in that case I can't play it, (unless they do a Linux version). I'm sure there's some gold out there, but the signal to noise ratio has IME not been worth it.

        Frankly I see computer games as being for fun and not as another job - hearing what people go through to get games running on a PC sounds far too much like the bits of my job that I hate to pay for the privilege of doing it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by snowraver1 (1052510)
          I agree 100%. I bought my xbox a year ago and havn't played a game on the PC since. When I buy a game I just want to sit and play it. I don't want to muck with settings.

          I have no problem with copy protection on the xbox. It works. I put in the game, and the game plays, always.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Spatial (1235392)

            It works. I put in the game, and the game plays, always.

            That might be true if they'd just fix the diabolically bad hardware. I might even buy one. I hear the latest models have a 10% failure rate. Pretty good, coming down from around 35%...

          • by andi75 (84413) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @02:39PM (#25387037) Homepage

            > I have no problem with copy protection on the xbox. It works. I put in the game, and the game plays, always.

            Unless your 3-year old gets his hands on the games. Seriously, do you expect me to lock everything in a safe? He'd know the combination after watching me open it twice anyway...

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by vecctor (935163)

          Frankly I see computer games as being for fun and not as another job - hearing what people go through to get games running on a PC sounds far too much like the bits of my job that I hate to pay for the privilege of doing it.

          The reason you hear about the people that have problems is because they come on the internet to explain their problem and get help. You don't hear much from the people for which it "just worked".

          The greater array of hardware can cause issues, but it may not be as widespread as it appears.

          The most tweaking I have to do on a modern game is choose a resolution and quality, and most games have a function to estimate how high to put the settings. Having this choice is more complicated, I suppose, but that is a f

          • Re:Games not on Wii (Score:4, Informative)

            by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @01:57PM (#25386283)

            "The reason you hear about the people that have problems is because they come on the internet to explain their problem and get help. You don't hear much from the people for which it "just worked"."

            No, it's not. It's because people have problems, and in console land they just don't.

            I'm another person that moved off the PC to consoles, as much due to social reasons as anything (playing with friends on the TV is just nicer), but I recently purchased spore. It wanted to install a patch after a while because a lot of people had problems getting it to run at all. The patch broke my install.

            Sod that, I'm going back to my easer, cheaper consoles.

        • by Haeleth (414428) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @03:23PM (#25387703) Journal

          Unfortunately in that case I can't play it, (unless they do a Linux version).

          Wine is really getting quite good these days. You still certainly can't expect a game to work in it, but it's at the stage now where it's usually worth a try, particularly for indie titles that are probably going to be concentrating on fun gameplay rather than pushing technical boundaries.

      • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:42PM (#25384785) Homepage Journal

        What do you do when you want to play a game that isn't on the consoles?

        I don't. I'd love to play Little Big Planet, but I'm not going to invest in a PS3 to do it. So I just don't play.

        For example, a lot of indie games are PC exclusives because the developer isn't a big enough company for a WiiWare license.

        In the past I did purchase a few indie games. Especially the kick-ass Puppy Games [puppygames.net] titles. That being said, you need something absolutely incredible to overcome my current ambivalence of PC gaming. I simply don't care enough to endure the pain and anguish of PC gaming. Even though AAA games like Halo, Mass Effect, and Spore COULD be played on my PC, I. SIMPLY. DON'T. CARE.

        Crazy, isn't it?

        What's even better is that if I wait long enough, the great indie games will reach the WiiWare service. Defend Your Castle, World of Goo, Cave Story, Lost Winds, and other incredible titles are at my finger tips. All it takes is a credit/debit card and a bit of Wii Remote clicking.

        Even good games from small companies?

        Any game that did not reach its target audience is not being pirated, either. There have been good games throughout history that received a cult following ex post facto, but no one paid them any heed when they were released. If there is a healthy pirate market for the game, there is a healthy consumer market for it. Pure and simple.

      • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:42PM (#25384789)

        What do you do when you want to play a game that isn't on the consoles? For example, a lot of indie games are PC exclusives because the developer isn't a big enough company for a WiiWare license.

        WiiWare licenses apparently cost under ~3k. I can see that killing a solo-hobby-developer, but any entity big enough to call itself a small business can afford this.

        That said, I have never played an indie game that needed beta drivers, had crazy drm, or was otherwise particularly difficult to install and get running, so if the OP wanted to play one, it would probably be a no-brainer to just buy it and play it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Toll_Free (1295136)

        These days I have a [Wii] console that lets me get the maximum amount of enjoyment out of the least possible time investment.

        What do you do when you want to play a game that isn't on the consoles? For example, a lot of indie games are PC exclusives because the developer isn't a big enough company for a WiiWare license.

        History has shown that good games sell.

        Even good games from small companies?

        What do I do when a game I want isn't on a console? I go outside and play.

        I go climb a rock.
        I go ride a motorcycle (not recently, wrecked one)
        I go find something else to do.

        I don't let the gaming industry play my life out for me. If a game looks killer, but it isn't available on one of my platforms, I just ignore it. Pure and simple.

        Doesn't cost me anything, lost over 100 pounds since thinking this way, etc., etc., etc.

        Good games from small companies still sell and are played.

        Your logic would mean the Co

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by digitig (1056110)

        What do you do if you want to play a game that's only for a console you don't have? Either you don't play it, or you buy the console. It's got to be a damn good game to justify the cost of a console, and it would have to be a damn good game for the gp to try to run it on Windows. I'm with him: there's enough fun to be had on my Wii and PS2 that I don't see the need to upgrade to anything higher tech just for the sake of slightly more photorealistic graphics with same-ol' same-ol' gameplay.

    • by flitty (981864) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:25PM (#25384473)
      His numbers may be off, but I think the idea is generally right, even if DRM is stupid, most people don't care/know about what spying techniques companies use or put on your computer. Most people don't know in 10 years some games will no longer work due to authentication servers going down.

      The main problem with his thesis though, is that the smaller percentage (up to about 40-50% of gamers though, not .2%) are the ones who care about it. They are also the ones who are knowledgeable enough to Know how to use a torrent and how to navigate the pirate webs. So, you put dumb DRM schemes in a game, they WILL utilize the Torrent instead of purchasing the full game. I can't tell you how many CD-cracks i've used on Valid games i've bought because of a scratched cd not authenticating or annoying authentication. Yes, most people don't know what DRM scheme you are using on the latest SIMS expansion, so why intrude on these people?

      DRM doesn't do what they think it does. It encourages Piracy (by making valid copies less than their pirated versions) and spies on people who have no intent on pirating your game anyway or breaking any DRM.
      • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:51PM (#25384999)
        I would also guess that you're going to get a disproportionately high number of people who care about these issues in the hardcore gamer crowd than in the general population. When you're dealing with people who want to squeeze every last frame out of their rig, adding DLL's whose only purpose is to police your CD drive is just this side of legal.

        In other words, their target audience coincides nicely with people who are going to care about this issue.
      • ...if their game stopped working after six months, much less six years or a decade or more.

        That part of the anti-DRM argument, though philosophically valid and justified, isn't really going to get much attention in the 12-25yo market that makes up probably the same 99.8% of their revenue--and always has. Not to mention, with all the online components of games, people are pretty used to the idea of "server goes down, game dies" not to mention the idea of paying for it more than once and the obvious fact tha

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Frantix (1043000)
        While I don't support EA or DRM (and refuse to buy Warhead for that reason) I have been soaking up everything I can on the situation and have one correction to your statement... EA has clarified that they will release a patch to remove activation in the event that they take down an authentication server. Obviously this can be taken as a "we'll see" mentality but I thought I would post that they've addressed activation.
    • on the side claiming to be adversely affected by DRM.

      I put a lot of them down; and I mean a large percentage; to those just hopping on the band wagon. The "got to get my two cents in and feel as if I belong" crowd. Cost them nothing to claim to be part of the aggrieved party. It wasn't like they were going to buy it anyway but now they can claim offense which lets them continue feeling put down by the system/man/the other guy/etc.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ailure (853833)

      The computer upgrade treadmill have actually slowed down, compared to like, the end of the 90's. I remember back then, if your computer was older than two years it most likely wouldn't be able to run the newest games. That doesn't feel like the case anymore.

      Most games produced today should run fine on a average (non-budget) computer from 2005 (and perhaps even older than that), even if not with the prettiest graphics.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        It wasn't just games. Until around 2000, I was upgrading my PC every six months. A few months ago, the hard drive in my main machine died and I was back using my 1.5GHz G4 PowerBook until it was fixed. Aside from flash, the only way I could tell it was slower than my Core 2 Duo was looking at the CPU graph in activity monitor and seeing it using 60-80% of the CPU instead of 5-20%. In terms of user experience, for everyday work, a machine with only slightly better specs than the desktop I had in 2001 is
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I almost agree. And by the way, that was a very long post for being first, I was impressed.

      Regarding the difference in something like PC Gamer magazine. I never used to get the magazine but I saw ones occasionally. It's true, I used to go "whoa, I can't wait to see that game." Now it's more like, if anything, "That looks like it has really good graphics." That's about it. There were games that I played way back when (and I'm still young) that I loved because of the game mechanics, the story, the gr

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Like you, I was once a computer gamer. I remember having a Hercules graphics card (like EGA, but in monochrome). Test Drive 3 was the first game I played with a sound card. I remember DOS boot disks. Before that, I had to write my own games - demos used to be pages of code in magazines. "Looks like fun? Code it up and give it a try." So I've been a PC gamer for a long time -- long before it was cool.

      I played a lot of UO (admittedly, on a POL server.) I met a few friends on there - one even sent me a baby bl

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      I used to read PC Gamer regularly

      I had a subscription for over five years, then they got bought out and the pages shrunk, the number of pages was cut by more than half, and the advertising quadrupled.

      And the writing started sucking. They lost all the old reviewers and used the hacks from the rag that bought them out. It started sucking and I let my subscription lapse. My oldest daughter subscribes to a different game mag now, like you I got away from gaming. The industry got too stupid and greedy.

      Lackluster

  • by onion2k (203094) * on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:17PM (#25384283) Homepage

    Let's assume the statistics are actually correct. 0.2% don't want DRM, 99.8% don't care, and 0% are in favour. That should be enough of a message to realise it shouldn't be included. Especially when that 0.2% can damage the reputation of the game by giving shocking reviews all over the internet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      TFS:

      "...EA's CEO John Riccitiello claimed that the whole issue had been blown out of all proportion. 'We implemented a form of DRM and it's something that 99.8 per cent of users wouldn't notice,' claimed Riccitiello, 'but for the other 0.2 percent, it became an issue and a number of them launched a cabal online to protest against it.'"

      His numbers are hyperbole, of course more gamers don't like it but they know that they don't have a choice if they want to stay legit.

      "If you thought that EA might have been humbled by the massive Internet backlash against its use of SecuROM in its recent games, then you'd be wrong."

      I hate to say that he's right about a relatively small "cabal" comment- bombing Amazon. Not that the reaction wasn't huge, but when half of the comments are obvious dupes then the complainers lose credibility - they're seen as being a handful of crybabies who are threw a collective tantrum and they make the rest of the anti-DRM crowd look bad. Wait for the cracks o

      • by Znork (31774) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:32PM (#25384611)

        of course more gamers don't like it

        Heck, even he himself doesn't like it:

        "Riccitiello admitted that he personally doesn't like DRM, as it 'interrupts the user experience.' He also added that 'We would like to get around that. But there is this problem called piracy out there.'"

        Of course, for the potential customers who 'would like to get around that', piracy isn't the problem, it's the solution.

        Personally I have bought a number of EA games, but since they started using SecuROM they're permanently off the list. I have better things to do with my time and money.

  • because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tritonman (998572) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:17PM (#25384289)
    Because either 99.8% of gamers actually buy the games they play or 99.8% of gamers are confident in their russian software cracks websites.
    • Re:because (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zephiris (788562) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:43PM (#25384815)

      Just because you buy, it doesn't guarantee that the DRM won't bite you in the ass. Just ask SPORE users, perhaps?

      I recently bought an EA game...oh, the horror. Mercenaries 2: World in Flames. On more than one occasion, it would spaz out and refuse to let me merely start the game because the online authorization servers were feeling paranoid, and more than once (separate issue), the game's "DRM service" wouldn't start correctly, kept throwing a braindead error message and refusing to even allow the game to attempt to authenticate online.

      There's something inherently perverse about a game that will only allow you to the main menu...if it can verify that your copy is retail valid, and won't allow "internet is disconnected" play at all. Unfortunately (or fortunately for pirates), that's what EA does with virtually everything now. A few games were patched to have a '3 day' grace period. Huzzah.

      Mind, that's the first game I dared to buy since Unreal Tournament in 1999. It's not very satisfying to pay $50-60 for a game, only to have constant crashes, graphical issues, NO patches, buggy multiplayer, etc and so on, especially when you might finally have a computer that works better than the minimum requirements (and cost impossibly little).

      The game industry seriously needs a wakeup call.
      Why would anyone spend $60 on a new (even non-AAA) game now, if they can spend $60 and get a nice hardware-accelerated MPEG-2/4/AVC based TV tuner, or a 32GB usb key? Or another 4GB of low-latency DDR2-800 RAM? Or, if you EBay, a high-end video or sound card for half the normal price?

      For a triple-A, "I'll BE able to play this for 10 years if I want to", well supported with patches (when does this happen anymore?), utterly life-changing game...$60 is perhaps worth it.

      For a crappy half-assed game where they shut down the DRM and multiplay servers after six months... $60 is a grevious offense to the PC gaming public.

      Piracy isn't happening in record numbers because they're producing -quality- games, and nor does it eat into their figures even 10% as much as they claim. Most people who would only care about trying it, burning it into the ground, and getting bored with it after 2-3 days...often 2-3 days after they finish the game (that's not a typo).

      If the quality of games were higher, they'd see higher returns on investment, less piracy. DRM is like putting up a gaudy neon sign: "steal this game because we KNOW it's so crappy that no one would legitimately buy it".

      The more complex or aggressive the DRM, the worse the game is. Anyone remember Starforce? Can anyone name a single _good_ Starforce game? The new versions of SecuROM (anyone else remember when it was JUST a CD check?) are quickly flying straight towards that point of no return.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Aladrin (926209)

        I disagree about the price of software. Let's look at other forms of entertainment:

        DVD Movies: 2 hours (repeatable), $15+ ($60 for bluray new releases!)
        Theatre Movies: 2 hours, $7+ per person.
        Games: 20+hours (highly variable and repeatable), $60 (Some games are less than that, but many are more. Call it an 'average'.)
        Bowling: 1 hour, $10 per person.

        DVDs are $7.50 per hour if you only do them once. Theatre Movies are $3.50 per hour. Games are $3/hour if you only play for 20 hours. Bowling is $10 pe

    • Re:because (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jabbrwokk (1015725) <[grant.j.warkentin] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:56PM (#25385101) Homepage Journal

      I'm still a PC gamer. I made the decision this year to upgrade my PC one more time rather than buy an XBox 360 and I don't regret it. I can play Half-Life 2 (Episode 2), Titan Quest and Civ IV: Colonization, all great games that are not found anywhere else but the PC.

      However, and take note of this, any lurking EA PR flacks, I have made the conscious decision to not buy several games with Securom and other irritating DRM (Bioshock, for example) because of the last time a game with it (Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory) left a bunch of crap lurking in my system that caused my DVD burner to just halt or fail for no reason when I was burning backup discs of my family photos and documents.

      That's intrusive, irritating and unacceptable, EA. If you're going to put crap like that in your games, the installer must clearly state everything that is being installed on my system.

      That said, I know Titan Quest has Securom but there are ways to remove it [gamecopyworld.com] that don't require visiting dodgy Russian websites.

  • by pigiron (104729) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:18PM (#25384305) Homepage
    I'm on FIOS not cabal!
  • Obligatory... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reverend528 (585549) * on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:19PM (#25384351) Homepage
    Most people don't even know what DRM is, so why should they care about it?
    • by enderjsv (1128541) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:27PM (#25384517)
      1st install - don't know, don't care 2nd install - don't know, don't care 3rd install - don't know, don't care 4th install - "Hey Ma! What's the number to Geek Squad. This here game be broken."
  • I'm pretty sure 100% of the users noticed the DRM when they had to type in serial number to activate the product.
    most of them just forgot about it right after.

  • care. I'm expecting 499 other people to say they don't care.
  • by AvitarX (172628) <me@brandyHORSEwi ... minus herbivore> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:22PM (#25384395) Journal

    If gamers knew that installing a game had a chance of damaging their CD Burner, or causing crashes in non-game activities, requiring a system reformat I bet they would care. As it is, they blame "computers" and do not care.

    • I'm guessing 99.8% of people whose computers are in botnets also don't care because they don't know.

      Exactly. I'm guessing 99.8% of people whose computers are in botnets also don't care because they don't know. This does not make botnets a good thing, nor mean that those people would be happy if they discovered they couldn't use their Internet any more because the ISP cut them off.

      One need only look at the response to recent attempts to close down some music DRM authentication servers to see that when people are informed about their purchases and the limitations concerned, they most certainly do not suppor

  • They wish (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:22PM (#25384401)

    Now while I am one of the first who will tell you that personal experience doesn't equal empirical evidence, it isn't worthless in this case:

    100% of the gamers I know (including me), which is quite a few, care about DRM. None of them like the "3 activations only" crap. Now it is always possible that I happen to belong to a really, really outside group, but not likely based on their BS statistics. If what they claim is true, you'd think at least one of the people I know, and more like everyone except me, would be perfectly ok with it. That they aren't says that EA's statistics are BS.

    While I can perfectly well believe that most gamers are ok with DRM of some form, I'd bet almost none of them are ok with it when it interferes with their gameplay. Well, that's what these new DRMs are doing. The cause you to not be able to reinstall, they won't work with perfectly legit systems (Civ 4: BTS didn't like my DVD drive, and I don't even have any virtual drive software installed) and so on. Gamers care about that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      Yes, give them more ammo that you are an irrational, online cabal by posting bad reviews not of the game you have not purchased due to DRM, but of the DRM that caused you to not purchase the game.

      Yes, that will help your cause.

      • Re:Keep hammering! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @03:23PM (#25387701)
        Yes, give them more ammo that you are an irrational, online cabal by posting bad reviews not of the game you have not purchased due to DRM, but of the DRM that caused you to not purchase the game.

        Suppose I found that my hamburger contains rat turds. I talk to some friends who bought burgers from the same store and find that they found rat turds in their burgers too. I then pay close attention to the announcements regarding other products that store is planning to introduce in the near future - they say they're going to put rat turds in those too.

        So to forewarn others, I go to an online review site and write up about these new products 'These contain rat turds'.

        Even though I haven't bought those products, I know perfectly well there are rat turds in them, and that's why I haven't bought them. Are the rat turds an irrelevance to an otherwise tasty burger, excellent in parts? Or are they an integral part of the product, sufficient in themselves to ruin it entirely and make it deserve the worst possible review?

  • My Spore DRM woes (Score:5, Informative)

    by spun (1352) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (yranoituloverevol)> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:23PM (#25384425) Journal

    I've been playing Spore quite a bit until this weekend, when it simply stopped showing any graphics whatsoever after updating my video drivers. Rolling back to the old drivers didn't help. So I tried reinstalling, and the game would simply crash.

    After much futzing around and unhelpful EA support people basically reprinting their FAQ for me, page by page, I figured out the problem. I had patched Spore and uninstalled. But the DRM is never uininstalled, it lurks around forever. When I reinstalled the unpatched version from the CD, it was not what the DRM expected, and it crashed.

    EA provides no way to download the patch without running the game, but I found the patch file on gamershell.com. Patching the game let it run without graphics again, and I switched to windowed mode (good like finding the key combo for that in the printed manual or help files) and checked out the graphics settings, uhhh, 170Hz refrsh rate, WTF? Setting it back to 75Hz allowed the game to run once again in full screen mode.

    To reiterate: if you patch the game, uninstall, and reinstall the unpatched version, IT WILL NOT WORK, and the only component I can think of that would cause this is the DRM. Thanks EA, for making your paying customers prefer the pirated versions of your programs.

  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:25PM (#25384463)

    If 99.8% of the customers don't have an issue with the DRM (presumably they are not restricted in what they are doing), why have it implemented in the first place?

    DRM has the purpose of restricting what one can do with a digital product - be it a game, a song, whatever. If no-one ever runs into those restrictions, it's been a waste of effort. However if the restrictions are tight and many people run into them, they are presumably effective for what the manufacturer wanted, but will result in customers trying to circumvent it as they want to do things they are not allowed to out of the box. Such as making a back-up copy.

    So either DRM is a priori ineffective (restrictions so loose no-one notices them, so there is no effect of the DRM) to prevent complaints, or it is effective in restricting people but then will guaranteed result in protests and circumvention, rendering it ineffective after all.

  • Ric Romero Reporting (Score:4, Informative)

    by Deadplant (212273) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:25PM (#25384481)

    In other news, 99.8% of gamers are playing pirated versions of their games.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ceseuron (944486)
      I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out why 98% of gamers out there are playing pirated versions of their games. EA Games is the gaming industry equivalent of the "Dollar Store". Sure there's a few (and I mean FEW) EA titles that are decent but they're lost amidst a sea of mediocre games that EA pushes out regularly. EA Games putting DRM onto any of their titles is like adding Lo-Jack to your grandma's Chevy Chevette [photocarsonline.com]. You may feel good knowing that someone won't get away with stealing it, but at s
  • EA can live in their alternate reality bubble all they want, but there is no way that 98% of gamers support Digital Restrictions Management.

    Maybe it hasn't hit most yet, but their recent egregious DRM that limits the number of re installs does (as it will inevitably happen) it sure as hell will piss people off.

    • by ifrag (984323)
      With Spore? I don't think it will. The game is not really a timeless classic that people are going to keep coming back to. I'd say 3 (or 5) installs are probably rarely going to be entirely used up. If the game was what we were told it was going to be 2 years ago then yea, maybe that number would be too small.
  • by time$lice (901396) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:31PM (#25384605)
    EA has literally saved me hundreds of dollars thanks to their absurd DRM approach. Instead of buying BioShock, Spore, Mass Effect, etc, I've been able to pocket all that cash. It basically boils down to this: No one tells me how many times I can install something on my computer! How many times a year do I reinstall my OS? No one takes control of my computer and shuts down programs I'm using! Get a clue EA.
  • Liar (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rinisari (521266) * on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:34PM (#25384641) Homepage Journal

    Population as of 16:26 GMT (EST+5) Oct 15, 2008 according to census.gov

    • U.S. 305,418,292
    • World 6,730,303,140

    Assuming everyone in the world is a gamer, it would take 13,460,606 people worldwide speaking out against this to prove that statistic to be incorrect.

    Assuming the same for the U.S., it would take 610,836 people speaking out against DRM to prove that incorrectly.

    I'm sure that a significantly powered site spread to Slashdot, Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, and Facebook would probably demonstrate 610,836 people against DRM with no duplicates.

    It would be even easier if we assumed that only 50% of the US plays video games. Only 305,418 people would have to sign it. That's probably how many people visit Slashdot a week.

  • But in ten years time when they want to show their children/spouse/friends/whoever (or play it yourself) that funny game from ten years ago, and are unable to do so because they can't activate it... THEN they'll mind.

    EA is just hoping that none of them is getting that knowledge beforehand.
  • by faloi (738831) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:35PM (#25384679)
    What do you expect EA would tell a bunch of Wall Street types? "We screwed the pooch and a bunch of people went after us for it" or "everything is fine, we're a great place to send your money!"
  • by tnk1 (899206) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:40PM (#25384755)

    Who needs 3 installs for Spore when you basically can play the game only twice without being bored?

    The game was touted with tons of customizable features... few of them having anything to do with game play.

    Wow! I can download tons of imaginative designs for buildings and things, and no matter which one I choose, they all do the same thing.

    A DRM issue like this is only a problem for a game like StarCraft or Counter-Strike that people will be playing (and reinstalling) for ten years.

    That's not to dilute the point that Bad DRM is... bad. It does illustrate the point that most people don't care about DRM, until they actually get bent over by it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by loftwyr (36717)

      I don't understand your problem. Spore is great! you can play a simple game of eat or be eaten or any one of four Real Time Strategy games.

      You just have to sit though a boring and irrelevant link movie between RTS levels. Just because we were all told that it would be one big game that let you evolve through levels and learn skills and stuff, doesn't mean that's what they have to release. In Spore, if you click the right area or kill a monster, you win that skill! Great!

      They just have to hype the game

  • by The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:45PM (#25384861)

    My DVD drive hasn't worked in a week and half, despite repeated tweaks and reinstalls. While mucking around on my drive last night, I found a directory called SecurROM. No frigging idea where it came from. I don't know if this is just a coincidence or what, but if I delete that directory and my drive suddenly starts working again then I'm going to do two things. First, I'm going to torrent a copy of Spore. Second, I'm going to track down an EA executive and punch him in the cock just as hard as I can.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bloodoflethe (1058166)

      I wouldn't quite do that. Just deleting the directory doesn't completely remove the program and you may be setting yourself up for big fail.

      Supposedly this link should help out: SecuROM Uninstaller [securom.com].

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by brkello (642429)
      You might be a girl and not know this...but it would hurt him more if you aimed for the balls. You got the right general area though.
  • by Peet42 (904274) <Peet42@noSpAm.Netscape.net> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:52PM (#25385021)

    "0.2% of Gamers are too stupid to operate BitTorrent!"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @01:03PM (#25385243)

    I must be one of those who care able DRM. I recently bought Mass Effect, before I was aware of its draconian DRM policy.

    I started the installer, and when the End User License Agreement came up I decided to read through it.

    In the end, I decided I couldn't agree to their end user license agreement. I tried to take the game back to the store. Unfortunately, the clerk behind the counter refused to allow me to return the game because it was open software. I told her that I couldn't read the license agreement until I had already purchased (and opened) the software. She was polite but unsympathetic to my plight. I asked her to get me her manager. She returned (without her manager) and said her manager told her she cannot accept open software.

    I told her that should would then have to go get her manager because I need to know who it is who is refusing my legitimate refund. I explained that when this went to court, I would need his name and position in the store. She returned (again without her manager). She proceeded to hand me a business card with her manager's name on it, and a phone number for the company's customer support number.

    Not being one to give in too easily, I sat down on the bench by the refund counter and called the customer support number. The man on the phone was also rather polite as I explained the situation. He looked up the receipt number, and through checking my credit card (I'm guessing) explained to me that I had quite a purchase history at their store and very few returns. He saw no reason why the store couldn't handle the refund and asked me to hand my phone to the sales representative.

    The sales representative balked, and claimed, "I don't want to get into the middle of this." and wouldn't take my phone to talk to the service rep. I asked her to get her manager.

    She left and returned (again, without her manager) and explained to me that her manager refused to talk to me because I threatened litigation. So, I explained this detail to the person from customer support with whom I was still conversing with on the phone. The customer support person chuckled, and said he could do the refund through the corporate channels, but unfortunately it would take a couple weeks for the processing to go through. I said that was unfortunate but acceptable. I asked him if I should hand the game to the lady at the customer service desk. Then the guy said, "No, that won't be necessary. Just take the game home with you, don't tell them what we have done for you, and consider it a gift from us."

    Sure enough, 2 weeks later I got a gift card for the exact amount of the game + tax. I'd be a little disappointed about being refunded in store credit versus a return credit on my credit card but I do tend to buy a lot from this particular store so I decided to let it go.

    I'd like to comment the only downside to this is that it is unlikely EA will every find out about my dissatisfaction with their EULA and DRM. Chances are the company ate the cost themselves, and they will never find out about it.

    In the end, I was happy with the result from the company. I decided to install the game, since I have less of an issue with DRM and Freeware.

    For the record, Mass Effect kicks some serious ass. I'm actually glad I got to keep the game.

  • Consoles? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anachragnome (1008495) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @01:52PM (#25386191)

    It was sort of the other way around for me.

    I got tired of console games that were buggy/poorly tested etc. and could NOT be patched. I was stuck with the first release version.

    PC games at least gave me the aftermarket to fix problems with a game. When I could get inside them, or utilize cracks or whatnot, I began to see more cost value in a PC game. Yeah, I realize that in a perfect world, the games should be perfect on release, but they are not. For that simple reason, I choose to buy a product that at least gives me some latitude in making the fucking thing work to MY liking.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @02:29PM (#25386841) Homepage
    That's a load of rubbish. If gamers didn't care then game crack sites wouldn't be so popular. Fewer people would be pirating games and let's face it torrent users aren't some niche market.

    I think someone's study was pulled out of their backside.

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