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DRM Shuts Down PC Version of Gears of War 598

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-know-what-really-grinds-my-gears dept.
carlmenezes writes "It seems that the DRM on the PC version of Gears of War came with a built-in shut-off date; the digital certificate for the game was only good until January 28, 2009. Now, the game fails to work unless you adjust your system's clock. What is Epic's response? 'We're working on it.'"
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DRM Shuts Down PC Version of Gears of War

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  • HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BikeHelmet (1437881) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:01AM (#26663193) Journal

    See, the catch22 with DRM is, it's fine until it interferes with your gaming - and then it's gone too far.

    Most DRM seems "fine" until the day you realize it has crossed the line. :P

    And lately it seems just about all DRM is like that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:05AM (#26663217)
    Don't buy DRM games. That's it. Or, buy it, and crack it, so it works. Every gamer knows this, and is doing it (not all of them buys the game though). Fuck DRM.
  • Idiotic Design (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:08AM (#26663229) Journal

    A proper DRM system would obtain date and time information from a known valid source.

  • This is more evidence that DRM hurts the honest consumer.

    As we all know, the pirates wait for the DRM-free... "collectors edition" release on The Pirate Bay.

    Why do people continue doing it? Did they start when the economy was in a healthy growth period and then think "more DRM, more economic growth for us, it must obviously be causal".

    (now there's a good application of "correlation is not causation" for you)

  • by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:13AM (#26663257) Homepage

    We could call it a "cartridge", and we could call the device it plugs into a "game console".

    What a novel idea.

  • Re:Idiotic Design (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:16AM (#26663273)

    A proper DRM system...

    I stopped reading at this point, my oxymoron detector kicked in pretty quickly.

  • There was a time I would never have even considered running a pirated version - my main experience with pirated software has been cleaning off Trojans installed by NoCD cracks or the like.

    Now... I can see the claims that DRM is (sometimes, at least) truly more of a hassle for honest consumers than for software pirates. That is a truly sad thing.

  • by jsse (254124) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:30AM (#26663347) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps if everyone did this, we'd see DRM take on a more practical appearance like a USB dongle - or even the entire game on a USB dongle - and without time limits or requiring web authentication.

    This approach is too customer-friendly for them to consider. The mission of DRM is more than destroying piracy, it means to destroying second-hand game market and cross-boundary water-goods trade as well.

    The era of customer-oriented marketing strategy has long gone. Nowaday, all customers are treated as criminals and pirates. Face it man. ARRRR!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:33AM (#26663365)

    Hmm. Ok. Did that work? I ask because I have a (bought) copy of Far Cry 2 which is no longer playable because it's been installed too many times. Ubisoft's answer is that that shouldn't happen because the install is "revoked" when you uninstall it. But I can't f'ing uninstall because it's not damn installed (I reinstalled windows without removing programs...who does?)!

  • by Psychotria (953670) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:35AM (#26663387)

    How the hell is a USB dongle for a game "customer-friendly"? Actually, how is a USB dongle for any piece of software customer-friendly?

  • Not DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chaos Incarnate (772793) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:41AM (#26663409) Homepage
    It's not DRM. It's cheat prevention. Big difference.
  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PaganRitual (551879) <splaga&internode,on,net> on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:50AM (#26663465)

    I'll get flamebaited for this but I had the exact same experience with Steam. It seemed like a great idea, but then I lost internet for a week, and Steam started up, told me it couldn't find an internet connection and click this button to start in Offline mode, at which point it told me that it couldn't start Offline mode because it couldn't connect to the server.

    I've since started purchasing disc copies of the games I've already had the misfortune of getting from Steam when I can find them cheap and I don't bother with seeing anything else that is available.

    It always amazes me that Steam is heralded as the future of PC gaming at the same time as everyone bitching about DRM, which Steam is just the same as the rest, it's just that Steam is blatant about it's constant need to authenticate, except of course when you put it in Offline mode and you get a period of unobtrusive gaming. Until next time it decides you're a pirate and needs to authenticate everything.

  • by jsse (254124) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:51AM (#26663471) Homepage Journal

    How the hell is a USB dongle for a game "customer-friendly"? Actually, how is a USB dongle for any piece of software customer-friendly?

    With a plug-n-play dongle: you don't need to install; you don't need to web-register prior to playing; you can ebay it when you get bored with it...(the list could go on but I think I shouldn't do all the thinking myself. :)

    If you don't find those anti-piracy measures in recent games annoying, you probably haven't been using a paid copy of game for the past few years. ^^

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday January 30, 2009 @04:05AM (#26663541)

    They can disclaim all they like, doesn't do anything. For one, there are things you can't just disclaim away. I can't go and sell a product that blows up and kills people randomly and say "Hey, I had a disclaimer saying that it might randomly kill you, it's their own fault." No, the fact that I was selling something clearly unsafe makes it my fault.

    Also EULAs are ex post facto and have no exchange, which isn't allowed in contracts. What that means is after you've already bought it they are saying "Here's additional terms you have agreed to." No, sorry, can't do that. Contracts have to happen BEFORE the fact and have to involve an exchange. You can't just tack shit on later.

    So while they can try to just write it off after the fact, it isn't going to work.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dangitman (862676) on Friday January 30, 2009 @04:09AM (#26663571)

    I've since started purchasing disc copies of the games I've already had the misfortune of getting from Steam when I can find them cheap and I don't bother with seeing anything else that is available.

    So, you've rewarded companies for including DRM. If they didn't put DRM in, they would have only sold one copy to you. Why didn't you just contact Steam technical support?

  • Re:Idiotic Design (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hecatonchires (231908) on Friday January 30, 2009 @04:11AM (#26663587) Homepage

    Finally, a decent reason for region encoding!

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @04:33AM (#26663709)

    Why wouldn't he just pirate the games?

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoodleSlayer (603762) <ryan@severe b o r e d o m . com> on Friday January 30, 2009 @04:34AM (#26663721) Homepage
    Assuming you have a phone that can be tethered to your computer so you can connect. It kinda breaks the "no internet access" thing. Or should it be expected that people will spend $40/month for a wireless internet plan, or $30/month on top of their current cell phone plan for provider-approved tethering. (Yes I know there are unlocked phones and jailbroken iPhones that you can tether without the approval of your phone company, but not everyone has that either.)
  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jimicus (737525) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:50AM (#26664099)

    At the risk of being modified flamebait, the DRM has already won.

    You've bought the product once on Steam, found it doesn't work and rather than contacting the publisher to say "Either it works or I don't buy any more", you've gone out to buy it on DVD instead.

    The free market theory doesn't work very well when the customer's reaction to being screwed over is to go back and ask for more.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Friday January 30, 2009 @06:10AM (#26664179) Homepage

    Yet, the same people furiously defend Steam as the saviour.

    What Steam does different is that it not only restricts your rights, but it also provides a very useful service. Patching PC games was and still is a huge annoyance, installing and patching Armed Assault took me a solid hour and with Stalker its the same thing, finding and installing half a dozen patches is just not fun. Steam doesn't have those problems, since it all runs automatically and thats what people love it for. That it is also a DRM platform is bad, but its something that people hardly notice in normal use, its just when DRM breaks that people notice it and get annoyed and most of the time thats only when they already spend tons of money on DRMed software.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xlsior (524145) on Friday January 30, 2009 @06:15AM (#26664207) Homepage
    What are Steam tech support going to do for me over the phone when I don't have an internet connection? Provide me with a way to force Steam into Offline mode when it doesn't want to, i.e. a way of avoiding the DRM? Unlikely

    Even if you know that they won't be able to do anything about it -- each and every phonecall by a paying customer complaining that their program screwed up, is one more chance that they suits notice that things aren't working smoothly. Over time, this can lead to changes such as extending the grace periods if nothing else.

    If you don't TELL that things didn't work and that you're annoyed, then things will never change.
  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jlarocco (851450) on Friday January 30, 2009 @06:59AM (#26664379) Homepage

    The free market theory doesn't work very well when the customer's reaction to being screwed over is to go back and ask for more.

    That's just FUD.

    "Free market theory" is that buying and selling takes places voluntarily between two rational parties, both of whom agree to the terms of the deal. If he thinks he's getting shafted, but keeps buying the games anyway, then it's nobody's fault but his own. If he doesn't think the game is worth buying a second time, then he simply shouldn't buy it. The fact that he does buy it is not the fault of the video game companies, and it's not a problem with the free market.

  • by Kneo24 (688412) on Friday January 30, 2009 @07:09AM (#26664411) Homepage

    Let's face it, Epic has gone on record numerous times saying that they were thinking about not giving the PC platform another thought. It's really no surprise that they'd botch this. They're the type of assholes to bite the hand that's fed them for so many years. Instead of adapting to how the market has changed, they would probably rather abandon it.

    Their track record as of late on the PC market hasn't been great. These guys are ailing dinosaurs who don't seem to get it. Maybe I'd actually even give a shit about their games if they weren't so mediocre. Maybe I'd actually give a shit about their games if they weren't just the same fucking iterations over and over again.

    Wake me up when Epic does something that isn't an epic fail.

  • Re:Idiotic Design (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday January 30, 2009 @07:20AM (#26664471) Homepage Journal

    I think you're confusing a code signing certificate with an SSL certificate.

  • by spottedkangaroo (451692) * on Friday January 30, 2009 @07:24AM (#26664481) Homepage

    The hilarious part is that it only froze up on the people that paid to have DRM installed on their machines. The stolen copies are just fine I'm sure.

    I think the secret is, if you really really want to give them your money: buy a copy, never open it, and install a stolen version.

    I have two copies of Titan's Quest (never opened), a copy of Flatout 2 (never opened), two copies of NWN2 (no), a copy of Jedi Outcast (no), Jedi Academy (no)...

    Mostly it isn't even the DRM, simply having to even put the CD in is an unnecessary hardship. Why should I be inconvenienced because I bought it and the people who stole it get the good copy?

    I think it's time the stop treating customers like shit and I say so on my registration cards. Fat lot of good it's done.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crumplecorn (904797) on Friday January 30, 2009 @07:51AM (#26664629)

    For anything which doesn't require the Internet to function, Internet connectivity is an unreasonable expectation.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sobrique (543255) on Friday January 30, 2009 @08:01AM (#26664683) Homepage
    Steam provides control of what you can play and when. It sweetens it somewhat with convenience. It's a bit like someone wearing a condom when you get raped. Strictly speaking better than the alternative, but still fundamentally unpleasant.
  • by Admiral Ag (829695) on Friday January 30, 2009 @08:01AM (#26664687)

    "This is stated explicitly in the customer agreement, under the heading "Fraud"."

    Yours or theirs? :-(

  • by The MESMERIC (766636) on Friday January 30, 2009 @08:03AM (#26664699) Homepage

    I had a really bad experience with Orange Box. Long story.

    Anyway, I don't have a Windows PC any more - that one blew up.
    But I began missing playing games like Grand Theft Auto and so on.

    I am scared of this DRM thing.
    I hear so many bad things about GTA 4 because of DRM issues - I keep wondering if ALL games are DRM-locked as standard these days. I keep postponing investing on a new Gaming Machine.

    Fear of purchasing is the worse feeling towards a business. It's worse than boycotting.

    RIAA or Not - People do feel scared of buying a DVD movie or Audio CD. But with DRM people are feeling nervous about purchasing Games that end up messing with your PC.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @08:47AM (#26664959)

    > "Free market theory" is that buying and selling takes places voluntarily between two rational parties, both of whom agree to the terms of the deal. If he thinks he's getting shafted, but keeps buying the games anyway, then it's nobody's fault but his own.

    I've highlighted the part of free market theory which has failed to help you out. Knowingly allowing people to screw you out of more money is decidedly NOT "rational" from an economic standpoint. In fact, it is very directly in conflict with the behavior economists expect from a rational person, so much so that it cannot be reconciled with it.

    Yes, the situation is all his fault. But it proves that these transactions violate the presumptions (and therefore, will not follow the predictions) of free market theory. Given that it violates the axioms you've put forth, it would be quite unreasonable to expect free market theory to hold.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by langelgjm (860756) on Friday January 30, 2009 @08:47AM (#26664969) Journal

    "Free market theory" is that buying and selling takes places voluntarily between two rational parties, both of whom agree to the terms of the deal.

    The problem is that when you introduce DRM, "the terms of the deal" aren't always obvious or disclosed.

  • Another act (Score:3, Insightful)

    by meist3r (1061628) on Friday January 30, 2009 @08:59AM (#26665035)
    In the grand scheme to make PC gaming the most miserable experience there is. Casual pirates love the PC, it's easy, fast and pretty reliable. Consoles ... not so much. That's why they build their PC versions (or worse-ions) of well selling console titles so poorly that anyone will consider buying an Xbox before they think about PC gaming again.

    I said it before [slashdot.org] and at times, I will have to say it again.
  • by meyekul (1204876) on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:04AM (#26665063) Homepage
    How do you fill out registration cards if you never open the boxes? Seriously though, you have a good point. Remember back in the day when you used to get STUFF with games? Like a real book, maps, posters, figurines, etc? Those days it was totally worth it to go buy the game, you can't download or copy the nifty stuff (maybe posters or books, but anyway..) If they want to sell more stuff, they should make something worth selling and keeping.
  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bertNO@SPAMslashdot.firenzee.com> on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:08AM (#26665091) Homepage

    I often work away on business, i take my laptop along for entertainment, and often cant justify using the overpriced internet access in the hotel... I could be away from home for up to a month in some cases.

    And not long ago, a storm took down the telephone cables near our house... Because so many were damaged, it took them quite some time to get everything working again.

  • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:20AM (#26665165)

    Who said software should be free? You are lumping unrelated issues together for some reason.

    Rather, this piracy issue is not the customers problem, so the customer should not ever have to deal with it or be inconvenienced by it. It is the problem of the content owners. Piracy is the cost of doing business, so accept it and quit screwing with paying customers or pick another industry. In no situation is it acceptable for the content owners to screw with something I paid for after the fact.

    If DRM measures ever inconvenience paying customers at all, it is an absolute fail. It doesn't matter if the number of problem cases is small, they have a responsibility to ensure that the people who PAID them aren't affected by their irrational and ridiculous restrictions, and if i AM affected in any way, you owe me a refund.

    And to make it even more insulting, the DRM doesn't actually stop piracy of any kind, so it is all for nothing. The end result is that these companies are saying their interests are more important than the customers.

  • by Archimagus (978734) on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:31AM (#26665291)
    One of the best ways we as consumers can help fight DRM is to buy games from companies like Stardock. All of there resent releases have NO DRM. Galactic Civilizations and Sins of a Solar Empire are their big titles. Don't pirate these games. Stardock is trying to prove a point, that you don't need DRM to sell games. They believe that if you make games that people want to play, provide excellent customer service, and don't encumber them with DRM that they will sell more games, and it seems to be working. These games have no DRM at all (unless you consider typing in your product key to be intrusive DRM). There is no SecuRom, no install limits, not even a CD check. Also, they freely in the EULA give you the right to install the game on multiple computers as long as you own them and are the primary user. Most EULA's state that you are only allowed to install to one machine. Cheers.
  • by neomunk (913773) on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:33AM (#26665301)

    Yes, that's right, lets blame PIRATES for GoW not working. The poor production companies are just protecting themselves by purposefully selling a broken product (if you claim that GoW isn't broken, you forgot to read the title, summary or article) in order to... to what? To make sure that people who don't know how to find a crack (or cracked version) aren't copying the game? A simple CD check could do that. You say it's to keep the honest, honest, but it does not keeping them honest at all, it either teaches them that only cracked games work properly, or you just straight up lose a customer. I personally think the lesson being taught is that honesty is punished, and not worth the effort.

    I'm not entirely sure how you can fight against piracy by making sure only pirated copies work as they are supposed to (in the consumer eye). Blaming pirates for game company failures isn't going to win over any supporters. "Your game would work, but we had to cripple it because of pirates" is so weak of an excuse as to be transparently stupid to all but the least mentally capable gamers (and I'm talking REALLY unable to comprehend causality).

    Automakers would not put an anti-theft device in a vehicle if said device caused your engine to stop at random times (like when driving) and be unable to be restarted until the auto company did something secret inside the engine compartment. They would not sell it if there were certain driver/automobile combinations that simply did not work (i.e. if the car just plain won't start if the an "incompatible" owner tries to drive it). Furthermore, if they DID install such a foolish device you would hear very few people blaming carjackers for the utter foolishness of the automakers. No one would believe it, and nor should they. It is the very same here.

  • by Synn (6288) on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:48AM (#26665423)

    The solution is to tie content to online experiences that require a valid verified user account.

    This is why MMO's are never pirated. The game content is useless without an online paid for account.

    Other games could follow a similar strategy. Create additional content or a community that really enhances the game experience and require valid keys to access that content.

  • by LilGuy (150110) on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:57AM (#26665505)

    While you make good points, the immediate response I could see in this situation is that "you can't just copy a car to all your friends for free."

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:00AM (#26665539) Journal
    That's horseshit.

    If he thinks he is getting shafted, but buys the game anyway, then he is factoring in the "shaftage" as part of the price he's paying.

    This doesn't contravene rational thought, nor does it contravene a free market.

    He values being able to play the game high enough that he is willing to pay for it twice. That does not mean it is an irrational action.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:13AM (#26665695)

    Instead of pirating Sins of a Solar Empire, you could have just downloaded the demo version to check it out. Thank you for being part of the problem.

  • by jacksonj04 (800021) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:20AM (#26665753) Homepage

    You lend people books and you can no longer use the book until they give it back. You don't make a copy of the book and give it to them. That's why it's a problem - it's copyright infringement.

    I dislike DRM which makes the game difficult to play or messes with my system. As far as I'm concerned anything else is fair game. If I don't notice the DRM is there, it doesn't bother me.

  • by sorak (246725) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:29AM (#26665857)

    Why is it the customer's responsibility to enforce the law? If I own a convenience store and I have a problem with shoplifting, it isn't the law-abiding customer's responsibility to become volunteer crime fighters when they're in my store.

    And, if my attempt to prevent shoplifting involves giving every customer a full cavity search, making false accusations, and occasionally not giving the customer what they paid for, then I have failed to come up with a realistic and workable business model. I would have no one to blame for that fiasco than myself.

    So, yes, Epic should be held responsible for the business decisions they make and for the consequences those decisions have on legitimate customers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:31AM (#26665877)

    Let's say I buy a game that "phones home" over the internet before I can install or play it, something like Steam. Now let's say it's five or ten years from now. I'm feeling nostalgic and I want to play this (now) old game. What happens when the "phone home" server is no longer being maintained? Am I SOL?

    I thought about this because I have boxes of games that are five, ten, or more years old (like Myst, Riven, Serious Sam, or Diablo) that I'd like to play again.

    So does this method of DRM in effect put a limit on how long I can play a game?

  • by mweather (1089505) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:38AM (#26665975)

    No one really likes DRM however there is little effort on the Anti-DRM Camp to come up with a solution that fixes the companies problem, of illegal piracy, or sharing a copy with your friends.

    I have a solution: don't worry about things you cannot control.

  • by Cthefuture (665326) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:41AM (#26666011)

    Yep. I completely stopped buying anything from them after they never released the Unreal 3 client for Linux like they said they would. Since they have always supported Linux in the past I didn't worry. Ended up wasting my money on that game and now they lost me as a customer. I used to love the various Unreal titles because they all worked on Linux. Same with the Quake series.

    Gaming has been going down the crapper for years now. Consoles suck even for casual gaming.

  • by tixxit (1107127) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:44AM (#26666065)

    In no situation is it acceptable for the content owners to screw with something I paid for after the fact.

    Ah, but you didn't pay for it. You paid for the right to very limited use of it. Seriously though, I agree with what you say.

    The good thing is, customers hate piracy with a passion. One or two headlines like this will mostly go unnoticed, but it won't take much more for people to really start avoiding DRM encumbered games. It just takes one quality games producer to stop using DRM for the other producers to see a dip in their profits; and trust me, one will. They will see it as an in; a way to make their games better than the competition, by spending less no less! Amazon did it with their MP3 store, and forced a speed up of iTunes DRM-free adoption.

  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:45AM (#26666073) Journal

    No one really likes DRM however there is little effort on the Anti-DRM Camp to come up with a solution that fixes the companies problem, of illegal piracy, or sharing a copy with your friends.

    This is an irrelevant point. DRM doesn't fix the problem of piracy either (and just as likely encourages it). It's not up to other people to fix companies' problems. Just because a perfect magic solution doesn't exist, this has nothing to do with DRM being awful.

    Any of the disadvantages of DRM can be considered a trade off for reducing piracy

    Evidence?

    I think the goal for anti-DRM Groups is to find a way to fight and reduce piracy.

    I think that should be the goal for the DRM groups - i.e., they should be anti-piracy, not pro-DRM.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:48AM (#26666129)

    That it happened in the first place.

    There is no reason for these measures to be taken, it's been shown over and over again that DRM drives people to piracy because of some retarded thing like this or a max install amount or tying the disc you bought to an account that is non transferable or even requireing an internet connection 100% ofthe time that you are playing the game while you aren't even playing the game online.

    These are the kinds of anoyances that push people to start pirating in the first place, it starts with a patch to get around this retardedness, which the game maker then releases a new patch that gets required for whatever reason that prevents that piracy patch to work, and they go back and forth for a while with the user caught in the middle.

    By the time the comapny releases a new gam that the customer wants to play, the customer will likely have had it with the gtame makers crap and will just pirate the game outright instead of trying to obtain a legitimate copy as the hassle of the game maker's DRM isn't worth the cost of the game at retail.

  • by neomunk (913773) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:54AM (#26666207)

    I'm sorry, I (as a consumer) am not responsible for how some publisher wants to guard their IP. You say that no DRM isn't an option, but it is, as all free software users know. Just because you've precluded no DRM as an option doesn't mean I have some responsibility to help you protect yourself from me at my expense, to suggest so is silly.

    About the "a lot of complaining" I "do", I personally think that people who buy a broken product and don't complain are foolish, and making life harder for all of us by letting scam artists ply their trade in the open.

    Now, where's YOUR solution to making DRM locked down games actually WORK as advertised? That seems like a far more reasonable request than what you ask of me, no?

  • by Kopiok (898028) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:55AM (#26666227)
    The DRM for TF2 works on a different principal, however. The game is online-only, so you can assume your player will have an internet connection when playing in the general server pool. The general server pool almost polices its self with many servers looking for only legitimate installs in order to prevent cheating. The game is also tied to Steam for DRM, so you can assume that the player has a Steam account. When playing online it checks for a legitimate Steam account, and LAN it checks for a legitimate install of Steam. Valve is also constantly releasing updates, requiring the game to be continuously re-hacked, like you said. Also, being that the servers in question are pirate servers, there is probably going to be a high hacker:legit player ratio.

    So, as you can see, there are many many legitimate reasons why people would want to get a legitimate copy, and most of it has to do with playing the game online rather than the DRM measures. It is inherently tough to play pirated. For something like Gears of War, however, should not ever lock up. If I want to play single player now, I need an internet connection (not always possible for me) to update the DRM files that can break it this easily? No sale.
  • by Sancho (17056) * on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:55AM (#26666229) Homepage

    And that's why analogies fail on Slashdot--everyone tears them apart not for the reasons that they are similar, but for the reasons they are different.

    The point is that for some reason, we let software companies get away with remotely disabling the products that they sell to us. We'd never put up with that from other industries. It doesn't matter that software can be perfectly copied--that's not a justification for the behavior.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tixxit (1107127) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:00AM (#26666285)
    Two wrongs don't make a right. If you get screwed over by DRM, the ethical thing would be to learn your lesson, and don't buy games with DRM in the future. If someone sells you stale bread and tells you, "this bread is stale," then you don't like it because it is stale, it does not give you the right to go and steal some more bread. Toss it and buy your bread from someone who sells non-stale bread next time.
  • by MightyYar (622222) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:06AM (#26666353)

    No, the best way you can fight DRM is to come up with something better that would stop piracy to some significant degree.

    That's not going to happen. IP is an invention of the government and information cannot be protected except by hiding. The problem is, if you are a game seller you can't hide your information or people won't be able to play your game. The answer is to have an online component that requires you to identify yourself as a legitimate buyer, or to suck it up and accept piracy as part of the cost of doing business in an artificial economy.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:08AM (#26666375)

    But then your car would wear out faster, and so you'd have to buy a new one sooner...

  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:08AM (#26666377) Journal

    I doubt he was doing anything but trolling, but I do have a counterpoint... have you SEEN what passes as a "demo" these days? I can't speak for SoSE's demo since I never tried it (not into RTSs) but I've seen a hell of a lot of demos lately be 75% trailer/cutscene, and maybe 5 minutes worth of game time. There more like "tech demos" than demos of the game.

    Things often left out...

    The saving system: Often disabled in demos or omitted entirely. Is it save anywhere like the PC games of yore, or FF-type "save points" right after the hard ass boss?

    Cutscenes: Can you skip em?

    Difficulty(legitimate): How tough is the game compared to your threshold of frustration?

    Difficulty(stupid):(q.v. "Nintendo Hard") Does a platform game throw flying-meandering knockback enemies at you on tiny platforms, while denying you any sort of way to attack in the air? (this basic mechanic can probably be tested in the demo, but there are plenty other stupid design flaws like it. This one just happens to be one of my "favorites")

    You get the idea... not defending the illegal downloaders (nor condemning them), just offering another POV on "demos".

  • by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:09AM (#26666381) Homepage Journal

    I think most users could care less about online leader boards compared to just being able to play the damn game.

  • by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:14AM (#26666449) Journal

    Piracy is the cost of doing business, so accept it and quit screwing with paying customers or pick another industry.

    Piracy grows when left unchecked. The only thing standing between us and pirating everything until everyone packs up and goes home is:

    a) the law (or more precisely, the enforcement thereof)
    b) guilt
    c) for the seemingly select few, knowledge of what will happen in the long term

    Without a), and with b) and c) dwindling as people increasingly choose free stuff over morals and reasoning, piracy will grow.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:26AM (#26666615) Homepage

    "Free market theory" is that buying and selling takes places voluntarily between two rational parties, both of whom agree to the terms of the deal. If he thinks he's getting shafted, but keeps buying the games anyway, then it's nobody's fault but his own. If he doesn't think the game is worth buying a second time, then he simply shouldn't buy it. The fact that he does buy it is not the fault of the video game companies, and it's not a problem with the free market.

    Ooooo - interesting angle. Since both parties are not fully informed -- in this case the buyer did not know the game included default-fail security, or did not understand the degree of risk -- it is not a free market transaction. So it is not a failure of the free market, it is a failure of our society to protect the free market system from being infected by non-free-market transactions.

    I like that angle. Not sure I 100% agree, but you're making me think, and that is the highest praise I can give.

    Thanks! :)

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fjandr (66656) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:27AM (#26666627) Homepage Journal

    "Wrong," however, is frequently relative to circumstances. When circumstances change from "I can play offline" to "this game has broken due to my lack of an internet connection," there is certainly a legitimate argument for disabling the thing that breaks the game. For people without the skills to remove the DRM themselves, downloading a cracked copy (while not necessarily safe) fulfills the original spirit of the sale: to play the game.

    Then again, this would technically not be piracy since you own the game. It would, however, break the EULA. There is an argument to be made for breaking a contract when the game maker does not fulfill their end of the bargain, especially since a remedy for not agreeing to the EULA is to return the game. Returning the game is an option that is flatly denied pretty much universally, so the manufacturer has included a legal provision that they know cannot be exercised by the consumer. There is no meeting of the minds in an EULA, and they are crafted in such a manner that your only option in not agreeing to the contract after you have purchased the media is to take the loss and sit on it. If they want to base their contract on fraud, there is no ethical dilemma in ignoring the contract to get fulfillment from the manufacturer.

    Again, "wrong" is defined by the circumstances surrounding an action. A wrong can quite certainly be transformed into a right, given the appropriate situation. This is true for many legal issues as much as for ethical issues.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bertNO@SPAMslashdot.firenzee.com> on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:36AM (#26666729) Homepage

    I'm concerned with getting them from non pirated media...

  • by russotto (537200) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:38AM (#26666749) Journal

    No, the best way you can fight DRM is to come up with something better that would stop piracy to some significant degree.

    The best way to defeat DRM, the way which has worked in the past, is to break it. Over, and over, and over again. As each scheme is broken, the DRM publishers come up with a new one. Each new one is nastier and more intrusive to the paying customers, causing compatibility problems and total failures. After enough of this, paying customers refuse to buy DRM encumbered products, not for ideological reasons but for practical ones. And then DRM largely goes away. It happened before.

    What brought it back? The DMCA, of course. Making the DRM breakers hide from the law made DRM look viable again.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:39AM (#26666769)
    Agreed. Demos which come with half of the content locked don't represent the full enjoyment to be had from the game.

    Best demo ever? Shareware Doom. First episode, all the through. How many copies did it sell? 1.1mil. 8th highest sales through '93 to '00. That was when mainstream PC gaming was STARTING.
  • by Lulfas (1140109) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:44AM (#26666821)
    My copy works just fine, I wonder why? Oh, right, I got it from Piratebay. Torrented downloads: They just work.
  • by LingNoi (1066278) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:57AM (#26667007)

    No, after paying customers refuse to buy DRM encumbered products game developers give up on the PC and just make console games.

    This is already happening.

  • Re:My Reponse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by j.sanchez1 (1030764) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:00PM (#26667055)
    Epic's repsonse may be "Working on it"
    My response is http://gamecopyworld.com/ [gamecopyworld.com]


    The first rule of GameCopyWorld is that you don't talk about GameCopyWorld.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:16PM (#26667273)
    I download mine from Usenet. It doesn't have this problem its still working. I also bought the game and was going to remove the pirated version and install the one I purchased from Best Buy. I guess I will just continue to use the pirated version. I am thinking about returning the one I purchased since its still unopened but I guess i'll just keep it. I t really sux that the version i bought is broken according to this report and the one i downloaded is working fine without a hitch. What gives??
  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DavidTC (10147) <{slas45dxsvadiv. ... } {neverbox.com}> on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:19PM (#26667309) Homepage

    Um, because the store and the publisher need to know that the game sold so they will continue to offer games like that.

    Otherwise, the store will just say 'Oh, yeah, the last game like that sold two copies here, despite it apparently being somewhat popular in that genre. We had to send the other copies back. Let's not buy any of the sequel, no one who shops here buys them.'.

    Not that big a deal for the popular genres, but if you like something like adventure games or RPGs or puzzle games or any of the other non-mainstream genres, you'll end up SOL when it turns out that almost no one bought Oblivion so they've essentially stopped carrying RPGs.

    Likewise, games don't even get made without publishers. And unlike the store, you are actually behaving unethically from the publisher, they deserve a cut of the game they helped underwrite in exchange for said cut. (As opposed to the store, who don't 'deserve' to make money off any particular copy.)(1)

    Of course, a few copies failing to get purchased from a publisher is unlikely to affect what sort of games they make, whereas doing that from local stores might, especially repeatedly for games in the same genre. When a store is only selling three or four copies of a specific game, one or two can easily matter in the decision to stock more.

    Granted, in this day and age, you can just purchase them all from Amazon or other online stores that carry all products, but many of us like being able to purchase locally.

    1) This is assuming that the problem you have isn't with the publisher, which is hard to demonstrate. Pirating the game and sending money directly in might be a good idea in that case, especially if you can get a bunch of people to do it.

  • by Watts Martin (3616) <layotl&gmail,com> on Friday January 30, 2009 @02:13PM (#26669001) Homepage

    Do you have any statistics which back up your implicit assertion that piracy is significant enough that it threatens the business of game companies?

    I'm absolutely serious here: every game gets cracked by pirates anyway, so DRM is not effective at stopping piracy. It's not even effective at delaying piracy appreciably, from all reports I've seen. Yet game companies seem to by and large stay in business (and when they do go under, piracy is by and large not cited as the reason). It seems fairly evident, then, that

    - DRM does not prevent piracy, its stated purpose;
    - Piracy is not significant enough to threaten the livelihood of game publishers;
    - DRM does massively inconvenience legal game buyers.

    This would suggest to me that the idea that we need to "come up with something better" than DRM in order to "fight" it is fallacious. If DRM is not effective at doing what it's intended to do, but is effective at alienating your product's legitimate customers, there's no good argument for continuing to use it.

    A shopkeeper who keeps hitting his customers in the face with a frying pan on the assumption that a non-zero number of them are trying to shoplift is not doing himself any good. "I'll keep doing it until you give me a better way to discourage thieves" is not a rational stance.

  • by toriver (11308) on Friday January 30, 2009 @07:28PM (#26672999)

    As much as we would all love for this to be the case, in truth, game sales drop like a rock the day a crack is released.

    [citation needed]

  • by toriver (11308) on Friday January 30, 2009 @07:34PM (#26673081)

    You do not get it and are pulling numbers from your ass:

    1) DRM is ALWAYS cracked at some point.

    2) You only need ONE cracked copy to get on the internet, then everyone will have access to it. At that point the DRM is worthless as a means to prevent copying since anyone can download it for free and do not need to make a copy of someone else's purchased (legal) copy.

    3) DRM is usually intrusive, and thus represent an inconvenience. This inconvenience is only experienced by honest customers, while freeloaders who get hassle-free copies gratis are the benefactors of the whole sorry mess.

    And DRM solutions are usually licensed from some snake-oil salesman from a third party and thus ADDs cost to the product anyway.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by isilrion (814117) on Friday January 30, 2009 @07:37PM (#26673125)

    Toss it and buy your bread from someone who sells non-stale bread next time.

    And that's the big difference here. I can buy my bread from whoever wants to sell it, but I can only buy Spore from EA.

    Not that I've ever wanted to play Spore, but it's silly to believe that I should get screwed instead of turning to a third party to solve my hypothetical needs, and is quite insulting that you call that steal.

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