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Games Your Rights Online

Can You Fight DRM With Patience? 309

Posted by Soulskill
from the napalm-works-better dept.
As modern DRM schemes get more annoying and invasive, the common wisdom is to vote with your wallet and avoid supporting developers and publishers who include such schemes with their games. Or, if you simply must play it, wait a while until outcry and complaints have caused the DRM restrictions to be loosened. But will any of that make game creators rethink their stance? An article at CNet argues that gamers are, in general, an impatient bunch, and that trait combined with the nature of the games industry means that progress fighting DRM will be slow or nonexistent. Quoting: "Increasingly so, the joke seems to be on the customers who end up buying this software when it first comes out. A simple look back at some controversial titles has shown us that after the initial sales come, the publisher later removes the vast majority of the DRM, leaving gamers to enjoy the software with fewer restrictions. ... Still, [waiting until later to purchase the game] isn't a good long-term solution. Early sales are often one of the big quantifiers in whether a studio will start working on a sequel, and if everyone were to wait to buy games once they hit the bargain price, publishers would simply stop making PC versions. There's also no promise that the really heavy bits of DRM will be stripped out at a later date, except for the fact that most publishers are unlikely to want to maintain the cost of running the activation, and/or online verification servers for older software."
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Can You Fight DRM With Patience?

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  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @04:42AM (#31520334) Journal

    It doesn't need to be long time - this week EA removed SecuROM from Bad Company 2, only two weeks after release date. It's just the first sales and trying to make sure pirated version doesn't get out too early, even if that's not usually possible (wasn't now either). But EA has been really good at learning this, either they ship their game without any DRM or release it after a few weeks of first sales if pirated version is out already. As weird as it sounds to say this about EA, I wish Ubisoft and Activision would learn from them.

    • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @04:55AM (#31520374)

      How does waiting for a publisher to loosen DRM equate to fighting DRM?

      Gandhi and King taught non-violent resistance, but you can win against human beings. You can't win against a profit motive.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sopssa (1498795) *

        Isn't that the point of the article? If you want to have a game but not with DRM, wait until it's released or patched DRM-free. However the article implies that it's some obscenely long time, while in BC2 case it was just a couple of weeks. Personally I don't care - I buy the games I want from Steam and I can't really recall having any problems with them. Sure I don't like the idea of DRM and it would be cool to have the time to fight against every thing in the world, but sometimes it's nice to just enjoy t

        • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:08AM (#31520436)

          I will not even buy games with DRM schemes I refuse to be part of off Steam. Simply to do my share of showing that this sort of DRM is not acceptable.

          Besides, who really keeps checking game pages for the patch that removes certain aspects of DRM? Do you really go back every week to see if a year-old game finally got stripped?

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by sopssa (1498795) *

            No one, as most people don't really care if their game has DRM. If they want a certain game, they just buy it.

            Ubisoft like always-online DRM does worry me, but I mostly play online games so I would have to be online anyway and their master serverlist servers would need to work too.

            However, most people seem to suggest that fighting DRM with piracy is a good option. It isn't. If you're refusing to buy a game because of DRM, then you shouldn't pirate it either but spend your money on some of their competitor w

            • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:57AM (#31520952) Homepage Journal

              I agree with Opportunist. DRM keeps me from buying games, too. And I doubt very much that he and I are so unique that we're the only ones.

              Remember, we killed DRM in music. It looked for a while like we were going to have to accept DRM when buying music, and today you can buy any music you want without it.

            • by NickFortune (613926) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @07:06AM (#31521036) Homepage Journal

              However, most people seem to suggest that fighting DRM with piracy is a good option.

              I don't think "most" people suggest that. In fact I can't recall seeing anyone suggest resorting to piracy as a strategy for changing the behaviour of games publishers. What I have seen is an awful lot of people declare their intention to download rather than put up with various DRM schemes. I think that's a difference worth noticing.

              The important thing isn't that it's a good idea or a bad idea. The key point here is that the games comnpanies are teaching the wrong lesson here. DRM is teaching a generation of game players that buying games == "problems" while priating games == "it just works".

      • You can win against a profit motive. By not handing over money. Profit requires someone willing to buy.

        • by SharpFang (651121)

          This still requires the other side to have a clue.
          They will happily blame you not giving them your money on everything except themselves. The first thing they will claim when you refuse is that you are a thief.

      • by thijsh (910751) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:10AM (#31520446) Journal

        You can't win against a profit motive.

        Yes you can, by withholding said profit from them. I refuse to buy games at new prices unless I know in advance the game is completely worth it... for that there needs to be a basis of trust that goes back some games. Once i've been screwed by a mediocre game that's made even crappier by requiring activation/disc inserted/internet connection I see this as a reduced value for those games... DRM devaluates games. I won't refuse to play it, but I will wait until it hits the bargain bins (and that can be surprisingly fast sometimes).

        Once game publishers see that they can combat piracy with 'added value' (extra's and artwork) instead of the 'reduced value' that DRM offers they will see profits rise again.

        • by delinear (991444)
          That's a personal win for you, and I feel the same way (actually I gave up buying most PC games around the time Oblivion was released because I had so much hassle with DRM and patches and hardware incompatibilities and have only bought DoW:II, Witcher and Fallout 3 on PC since, everything else I play on console) but it's not a win against DRM while so few people follow suit. Maybe if enough people withheld the cash and let the publishers know why it could work, but realistically as someone else said, gamers
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by thijsh (910751)
            Yeah, gamers are impatient... but the other (even easier) alternative is just downloading a cracked copy of the game. If only studios start seeing these 'losses' as a result of the reduced value of their games and work on that instead of making their games suck more.

            A friend of mine buys a lot of games brandnew, but has been screwed by crappy DRM several times (disc unreadable errors halfway into the game or refusal to run after install etc.) and the fix in this case was simple: torrent a copy of the game
        • by halowolf (692775)
          And it can work en masse. Its just a pity that the masses are not motivated very often to coordinate a united front. Though nowadays they would probably be labelled terrorists or something. I remember when McD's was crippled by patrons ordering all their burgers without the bun. The ensuing glut of buns left restaurants virtually crippled, with more deliveries of buns coming in. I had a hearty chuckle about that one. McD's soon capitulated to the protesters demands. Though it was so long ago I can't remembe
      • How does waiting for a publisher to loosen DRM equate to fighting DRM?

        Well, for one, it rewards the companies for removing DRM much more quickly. They much prefer to strike while the iron is hot and the hype is prevalent than months later when a new game has come out.

        However, it is true that while people pirate the games when they come out, companies are not going to release without DRM. So, I suppose, the best way to fight DRM is to not pirate it, even when the DRM is broken/removed. Show that it's presenc

        • by Nathrael (1251426)

          However, it is true that while people pirate the games when they come out, companies are not going to release without DRM.

          Maybe not completely without DRM, yes, but certainly with acceptable DRM. Take a look at Mass Effect 2 - all it had was a simple non-rootkit CD check. Sure, it's DRM was easily circumvented and the game was available in certain circles long before it's official release, but I've bought it nonetheless (and so did many others).

          As funny as it may be, EA got burnt early and hard (see: Spore) and thus slowly, but surely starts to wise up regarding DRM, and it's just a matter of time until other publishers fol

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        How does waiting for a publisher to loosen DRM equate to fighting DRM?

        Unless "PAT1ENC3" is the name of a new scene group, I'd say it's not going to do much to fight DRM.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        yeah, I don't get that. I guess the suggestion was that inaction = action, even though it's not.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by El_Muerte_TDS (592157)

      EA didn't remove DRM, they replaced DRM. Instead of SecuROM on the Steam copies of that game you get the Steam DRM (erm... still have the Steam DRM).

    • Yes and EA also confirmed that the next C&C title will have an Ubisoft like always on DRM scheme...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Great so I have SecuRom on my computer because of that peice of shit Bad Company 2 which has been FULL of bugs since its release.

      And we're not talking just bugs...we're talking feature incomplete bugs... What a fucking pile of shit Bad Company 2 is.

      The game is ok... but the quality in which the software was released.... is criminal.

      It's as if they said "fuck it, lets just put this alpha out"

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @04:42AM (#31520340) Journal

    Can You Fight DRM With Patience?

    I realize that this is in the game section but allow me to recount a story from not two weeks ago. A story in which I almost threw my XBox 360 through the goddamn wall. I have one machine that runs Windows XP and connected to that via cat5e cable (shared internet connection) is my XBox 360. In order to share my media (about a TB of MP3s and Videos -- all very legal unless it is unlicensed video), I need to have this Zune software installed. Fine. I had installed it a while ago and though somewhat resource intensive in its UI and "bus service," it worked.

    Then I upgraded my computer's CPU from a single core to a quad core. I decided to rip my newly acquired MST3K licensed DVD of The Final Sacrifice [wikipedia.org] to watch Zap Rowsdower in disgustingly high definition (better than my VHS rips anyway) across a network on multiple devices.

    The Zune software stopped working. Blew an error box whenever I started the service.

    I reinstalled the Zune software. Nope. I went to Microsoft's support. Searched everywhere. I uninstalled the .NET libraries related to the Zune software (the bloat is really hilarious) and all updates. Reinstalled everything. Still not working.

    Finally I found that my error code was related to me not having valid ... you guessed it ... DRM user files. What I did to cause my DRM files to shit the bed, I'll never know. Is it hashing something with a unique processor string? Was it the extra two gigs of RAM I also added? I don't know. I do know I wasted the better part of a night and did not get to watch Zap ask if they have beer on the sun.

    The fix was simple. You had just had to run some executable in Windows that re-initialized all your DRM files. So I tried to run it. Guess what. You can't run it if you don't have valid DRM files in your Local Settings directory. So I deleted them. No luck. Same behavior as if I had tried to start Zune. So I Googled. And I searched my OS hard drive for anything with 'drm' in the title. Curiously enough, my Netflix installation had some executable to the effect of drmreset.exe. At this point, I would try anything. I tried it and it worked. I couldn't believe it.

    Now, I'm thinking it's good I didn't use the Zune software to rip anything to DRM encrypted format ... because I bet resetting your DRM files in your user directory make those files undecryptable.

    And what caused all this? I still don't know. Was it because I had the Netflix silverlight crapware installed to watch Netflix? Was it because I had XNA installed as well? Was it simply a CPU upgrade? I have a masters in computer science. And this is the shit they expect your regular consumer to figure out.

    In my unfortunate above example, DRM is unavoidable. I couldn't "wait" that out. I couldn't watch streaming media on my game station. Something that should "just work" was hilariously disabled by none other than DRM. It's everywhere. Especially in gaming. This is just one story of DRM inhibiting my ability to enjoy something I paid money for. And it pisses me off. To the point of slowly migrating away from gaming. If you haven't had to tangle with DRM and you're a gamer, just wait. You will.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sopssa (1498795) *

      Why would you use something like Zune for streaming to 360, especially if you're ripping your files yourself from DVD so they don't contain any DRM? Granted I rather stream to my PS3 than 360 because I like the interface and PS3 Media Server [google.com] better, but TVersity works just fine with 360 too. Maybe there's some specialized 360 streaming software too like PS3 has. But streaming from Windows Media Player or Zune is just shit. Try the alternatives.

      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:08AM (#31520438) Journal

        Why would you use something like Zune for streaming to 360

        Good question! Where would I get such a crazy idiotic idea?! Perhaps it was the fact that the manufacturer of both my gaming system and operating system (of that machine) suggested it [microsoft.com]? And at what point in the future of TVersity does a fancy little update to my XBox 360 render TVersity useless?

        Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the link to TVersity and will try it out at home but Microsoft disabled third party storage on the XBox 360, how long before they get bored and engage in a little cat-and-mouse game with TVersity? I wish I could drop $300 and get a PS3 and use your suggestion but I don't think I should have to invest that much in order to watch The Final Sacrifice streaming from my personal computer to my TV.

        But streaming from Windows Media Player or Zune is just shit.

        Honestly, everything was working in an acceptable manner right up until something happened to my C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM files. Is it WMP & Zune that are shit or is it just the DRM? I know I'm not going to be Mr. Popular for saying this but Zune software is just as good/bad as the iTunes software. Its UI is pretty. It's bloated. It's "free" as in the executable's downloadable but you just have to pay a lot of money in auxiliary products to be able to use it.

        • by sopssa (1498795) *

          I don't think there is any incentive for Microsoft to start fighting against TVersity. It doesn't really matter for MS how you stream you content to your 360. Besides, both 360 (as well as PS3 and even many TV's) use Universal Plug and Play [wikipedia.org] for streaming on network, not some proprietary 360-only technology.

          • I don't think there is any incentive for Microsoft to start fighting against TVersity. It doesn't really matter for MS how you stream you content to your 360.

            You said you owned an XBox, did you notice how you can buy video and music via Zune's Store?

            Allow me to spell this out for you very clearly: they wanted me to install Zune software because they want the marketshare of me purchasing all of my songs and videos through the Zune software. It functions just like iTunes Software in that it's supposed to be your one stop shop for dumping oodles of cash towards the RIAA and MPAA. iTMS is a cash cow for Apple. You're crazy if you think Microsoft doesn't want

        • by Aceticon (140883) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @07:21AM (#31521172)

          Funnily enough I have this cheap no-name external-HD/Media-Player device that allows me to play XViD and DivX encoded files on my TV. I can either play files from my PC via Ethernet (NOT streaming, just files in shared folders), from the internal HD or from USB mass storage devices.

          There are out there other (more expensive) devices just like it that play HD.

          No DRM, no issues: my PC doesn't even need to be on. It's not even brand new technology: I've had this for 3 years now.

          Going for media playing solutions from the likes of Sony, Microsoft or Apple is like tatooing on your forhead "I'm a Dumb Media Bitch".

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by eldavojohn (898314) *

            Going for media playing solutions from the likes of Sony, Microsoft or Apple is like tatooing on your forhead "I'm a Dumb Media Bitch".

            Oh sweet! I have to have it! How much and who do I have to pay to get it in Official Comic Sans MS ©?

            But in all seriousness I thought I was just bending over backwards to play by the rules although in reality it seems I've been grabbing my ankles so the rich can get richer.

      • by Inda (580031)
        Why use anything at all?

        My 360 can see my network share. It can navigate through the folders. I only exchanged short keys to get the XBOX talking to the PC. It plays Xvid and VOBs. I don't use the Media Centre [sic], although that was needed to exchange keys.

        I'm baffled.
    • To the point of slowly migrating away from gaming. If you haven't had to tangle with DRM and you're a gamer, just wait.

      But see, you've said it yourself - "slowly migrating away".

      We're all of the same, we're all far too *PASSIVE* about this stuff, I am the same. What we should be doing is taking the stuff back to where we purchased it from and demanding a refund or that it's fixed immediately because it's not fit for purpose.

      I really do not give a shit what games companies do to stop pirates copying their ga

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        Any kind of DRM affects you negatively. There have been a lot of protection schemes over the years, from doc checks to "original DVD required" to serial numbers to the now popular online registration and perpetual connection scheme. All of them have some impact on you and may or may not limit your chance to play the game if you lost the manual, DVD or serial or cannot go online for some reason.

        The question is just what degree is still acceptable to you.

        What's worst about DRM is that it does affect you, the

        • by sopssa (1498795) *

          How is that Assassins Creed 2 with Ubisoft's new online DRM working out for you? There still isn't pirated copies of that which work correctly.

        • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:30AM (#31520546)

          I agree, and I've played games for over a quarter of a century now (Damn! My fingers are tired!).

          In that time I've seen some *CRAZY* game protection schemes including Lenslok [wikipedia.org] on Sinclair ZX Spectrum games, as well as unlock keys generated from coloured stripes in manuals (because in those days there were only black & white photocopiers).

          Nowadays, I don't think any of it is acceptable because I'm a cynical old man in his 40s. But in those days, it used to piss me off a little, but it didn't stop me buying more protected games and/or copying them - so whilst I don't have much good to say about most modern games, I can see why kids today are putting up with the same crap I was willing to put up with.

          The only thing that was better "then" was that the protection wasn't as intrusive - i.e. you put in a code, then went off and played the games. These days there's information being retrieved from your PC and console, stored on some centralised server somewhere...

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by delinear (991444)
          I bought an XBOX to avoid dealing with DRM on the PC (I know the XBOX is DRM'ed to death, but at least stuff generally just works out the box), but now that I have a shiny 250gb hard drive with my favourite games installed to the drive I *still* have to stick the original disk in when I want to play (which makes me sound lazy, but in reality I have two XBOXes in different parts of the house so I have to go disk hunting whenever I want to change games or just go play upstairs so my other half can have the bi
      • by delinear (991444)
        I totally agree we should complain more when stuff doesn't work, but good luck proving which bit of software/hardware was at fault in GP's case to the checkout monkey at your local media store. The interactions between all these things are so baffling to the average user (and even the not so average user with specialist knowledge) that they've got very little chance of getting their money back, let alone dealing with stores which have a no returns policy for PC software, etc.
        • Don't get me wrong, I entirely agree with you!

          And let's face it, that's exactly the reason *WHY* games companies *CAN* do it, because their audience probably aren't going to be people who are, or even want to be, particularly tech savvy people.

          And likewise, I am not saying there's an easy solution for us - because if you hold back buying games then games companies may well start putting on less DRM but they're also going to start releasing a lot less as well... as I said elsewhere, they want the majority of

    • by delinear (991444)
      The crux of this is they don't expect the regular user to figure out all of the above, they expect them to get frustrated but just end up buying their content all over again. That was the only reason DRM was ever used with video/audio media, it certainly wasn't to fight piracy, even casual piracy is still idiotically simple. Suddenly the media companies were facing a switch from physical formats which degraded over time to a pure data format which would theoretically last forever. How else are they going to
    • by Jaysyn (203771)

      Why did you get a MP3 player that is encumbered with such shitty DRM? I'm sure there are much more open devices out there.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mbyte (65875)
      Oblig. xkcd comic :
      http://xkcd.com/488/ [xkcd.com]
    • by rdnetto (955205)

      I feel for you, but I'd like to weigh in with my experiences using the 360 for media - I've found that it's generally pretty painless and works as expected (though it doesn't support MKV, which is disappointing). You occasionally have to manually add new files to the library, but that's it. The only difference is I used Vista/Win7, so support was built directly into Windows.
      Also, I was under the impression that the recommended software for sharing media under XP was Windows Media Connect (DL [microsoft.com], link courtesy

    • I have a masters in computer science. And this is the shit they expect your regular consumer to figure out.

      No! An emphatic no!

      They don't expect regular people to figure this shit out. They expect people to become annoyed, give up and buy more of their stuff, because paying more money "makes the annoy go away".

      That of course just "a side effect" of the battle against those evil pirates whom the good regular customers should blame for the rising prices.

      (... My ass!)

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @04:57AM (#31520388)

    Games have become such huge business surrounded by such huge marketing hype that the games companies can now basically do what they like.

    They don't care about the "intelligent gamers" who sit on the fence for a while after a game is released, read reviews & see what problems there are before they think about buying it - they're interested in the fanbois and the screaming kids who force their parents to queue up at midnight on release day, ultimately it's about how many copies are sold in the first couple of weeks.

    Screaming kids don't care about DRM and fanbois will find a way of rationalising the inconvenience of DRM into something that is good.

    I'm still disgusted with myself that even though Fallout 3 is one of the best and most absorbing games I have ever played, I still put up with having to insert my game DVD into the drive every time I play it, even though I log into Windows Live each time and have already purchased some of the DLC.

    With that said, I waited about a year after release before I bought it and even then the game was suffering from some fairly bad crashes due to bugs in it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Games have become such huge business surrounded by such huge marketing hype that the games companies can now basically do what they like.

      You are so wrong.

      When you're a company, it doesn't matter how much money you're making, so long as you can make more, you are never happy. There's no "financial freedom" in the world of business, only a mathematically optimal point at which you strive to reach, and once you've reached it, you follow that point as it changes over the ever-changing market.

      So yeah, DRM will s

      • So yeah, DRM will stay, but not because the companies "want" it. It will stay because the companies compulsively must have it.

        Sorry, I don't see the distinction.

        I'm sure you know as well as I do that the whole purpose of capitalism is to price goods at the highest price the market will bear but not make it too expensive so you don't actually get the sales you want to get.

        If a new movie, game or music CD does not do well in the first few days of its release (and/or doesn't get a lot of pre-release orders/boo

    • by sa1lnr (669048)

      "I'm still disgusted with myself that even though Fallout 3 is one of the best and most absorbing games I have ever played, I still put up with having to insert my game DVD into the drive every time I play it"

      Install the game directly using "setup.exe" not the launcher, then make a shortcut for "fallout3.exe" again not the shortcut for the launcher that the install makes. No dvd needed in the drive.

      Works for me.

      • Thanks for the info, I'll try that. I must admit someone else did mention to me that there was a way of doing it.

        The best I managed to do was find a cracked .exe but it was in Polish and I really try to avoid cracks these days....

        • by sa1lnr (669048)

          The only unofficial patch I used is this one that disables the loading of "Games for windows live".

          http://www.fallout3nexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=1086 [fallout3nexus.com]

          My only other advice is get or make yourself a dart gun asap, it's a must for taking down Deathclaws. Dart to the leg cripples them then a couple of combat shotgun blasts to the head. :)

          Oh yes, bottle-cap mines are useful for softening up the heavy hitters.

          • Thanks for the advice on Death Claws but this is the second time I've taken a character to Level 30 and beyond, so I've well-versed in dealing with them!

            I have to admit, I've built lots of the custom weapons but haven't really used them much in anger - this time I did the "Mothership" DLC quite early on in the game and made sure I got off the ship with a huge amount of alien weaponry & ammo; all I will say is the "Destabilizer" alien rifle you find on one of the mothership missions is a *GREAT* piece of

            • Incidentally, my Death Claw strategy is about 4 blasts with "The Terrible Shotgun"!

              • by sa1lnr (669048)

                I'm only on my first run-through, sneaking and head-shots has been my main strategy up until now.

                I was having a real good time then discovered the joys of super mutant overlords, albino rad scorpions and the real pain that is feral ghoul reavers. Currently getting a pasting in vault 87.

  • How about an escrow system where I can pay my money for the game, but don't receive it until the DRM is removed? And if the price drops in the meantime, I get a refund. Or if I decide to cancel, I get a full refund. That way, the developer will see that there are gamers out there wanting to put money in their hands for a legitimate copy of the game, but unwilling to put up with the DRM.

    In the meantime, I can download the cracked version... :)

    • by Tim C (15259)

      if the price drops in the meantime, I get a refund

      That's no different to just holding on to the cash yourself. It would send more of a message if you were willing to put your money in escrow to pay the full current retail price when the DRM is removed, even if the price subsequently drops. (As in, "I want the game, I want it at that price, but I do not want the DRM" as opposed to "I want the game, I do not want it at that price, I do not want the DRM")

      In the meantime, I can download the cracked version... :

      • by AccUser (191555)

        if the price drops in the meantime, I get a refund

        That's no different to pre-ordering from Amazon.

        <sarcasm>In the meantime, I can download the cracked version... :)</sarcasm>

        There - I fixed it for you. :)

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:03AM (#31520404)

    Hold on a second: Is that summary supposed to tell me "go buy the DRM infested crap or else publishers will stop making PC games"? How about NOT infesting it with "you are a criminal and if not, prove it" DRM that makes me NOT want to buy the game? I want the game at release. Hell, who doesn't? I also do not mind paying 50 bucks for it. Or 60, now that the Euro is getting weaker too. But I DO mind the infection of my machine with something of dubious quality that gives me no net benefit whatsoever. I'm not gonna bend over and pray they use a little lube this time.

    And now I get told "if you don't bend over, they'll stop making games for you". Are you fuckin' kiddin' me? Make games that I want to buy and I'll buy them! Stardock is a good example. I don't care if they cost 20 bucks or 60 (ok, a bit, but it's certainly no showstopper for me), I'm not waiting for games to get to the bargain bin. I'm waiting for a game that doesn't ram stuff up my ass that I dunno where it's been before.

    Prime example, R.U.S.E. It sure looked like a good candidate for my next RTS. I liked the beta. But, Ubi, sorry, no deal. Take out your "stay online to play single player" copy protection, I'll buy. Leave it in, I will not.

    It is that easy.

    So please don't try to guilt-trip me with the notion that if we don't swallow that crap they'll stop making games for PC gamers. If anyone is to blame for that, it's the idea that gamers are criminals. Unless they can prove themselves innocent.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aladrin (926209)

      I agree. I refuse to continue polluting my computer with all their DRM crap. Long ago, I didn't mind... But then some DRM was released that accidentally destroyed some hardware and the company refused to admit it. There's no way in hell I'm going to install software that can potentially destroy my hardware.

      So my solution? PS3 and XBox 360. Yes, they technically still have DRM, but at least the DRM on them doesn't have a chance to destroy anything, and it never gets in the way of me playing the games.

      I

    • by delinear (991444)
      Just to add to that - if they stop making DRM-infected games (even at the cost of just not making games for the format), then I wouldn't cry over it. If there is a viable PC games market (and the fact that there are still lots of games released for the PC suggests there is, despite people predicting the death of PC gaming for the last decade - sure it might not be as lucrative as the console market but it's there, company's don't make games for fun after all) then publishers making games without DRM will ju
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        Stimulate it? Ruin it!

        We're not far from the point where people (not just the /. geeks, but your everyday Joe Randomuser) will rather buy a game for his console than for his PC, not for the convenience of "slip DVD in and it starts" but for the uncertainty whether the PC will work altogether. Will my DVD drive be compatible with their protection? Will my online connection be stable enough?

        If anything, DRM ruins the PC as a game platform. It doesn't save it, or even stimulate it.

    • I'm waiting for a game that doesn't ram stuff up my ass that I dunno where it's been before.

      People could insert a fire hydrant in my ass if they told me on which street corner it had been standing.

      No wait... that doesn't sound right...

      People could... uhm... no, I don't really like have stuff inserted in my ass.

    • Same here, Ubisoft has lost me as a customer over their DRM, and given the sales stats, they did not sell more probably they sold less due to AC2 having a DRM which is too aggressive. By now it normally would be on top of the charts worldwide. Well in Germany enough lemmings made it into the top five but thats it and in the US it does not even show up in the top 10 and last time I checked steam, it also was not on the top but around 5 or so.

      Quite miserable for a AAA title which got its fair amount of hype u

  • And if a lot more people completely boycots DRM-crippled software/games/music/movies, vendors will be forced to stop using DRM.

  • by JackDW (904211) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:06AM (#31520422) Homepage

    If a game comes with DRM that you don't like, you really mustn't buy it. If you do, it rewards Ubisoft or EA or whoever, and the DRM scheme will either be used again or made worse!

    Pirating the game sends the same message. The publishers do have some idea of the numbers of peopls who are copying their games, and if there are many more than expected, then the DRM scheme will be made worse!

    Therefore, it's very important to check the "Requirements" for a game before you buy, even if your PC will clearly be capable of running it. Respectable stores like Steam will warn you about the types of DRM used by the game in clear terms, and you can decide whether it's too much. This information isn't in large text in the centre of the screen as it should be ("Warning: SecuROM", "Danger - Game Published By Ubisoft") but it's there, and these days you must always check for it.

    Can you fight DRM with patience? Well, yes or no, it's your only option. Voting with your wallet is your only way to discourage this sort of thing. Eventually the price will be lowered and (maybe) the DRM will be removed to pick up extra sales. Then you win.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by El_Muerte_TDS (592157)

      Respectable stores like Steam will warn you about the types of DRM used by the game in clear terms

      Steam only warns about the additional/external DRM, not about itself. There is no "Warning: to play this game you need to be logged in on Steam and have the game fully updated"

      • You can play a steam game without updating it in offline mode. The Valve games (HL series etc) anyway.
      • Respectable stores like Steam will warn you about the types of DRM used by the game in clear terms

        Steam only warns about the additional/external DRM, not about itself. There is no "Warning: to play this game you need to be logged in on Steam and have the game fully updated"

        A very large reason for this is the fact that it's rather obvious that you need to have Steam running and be logged in to play. They don't really need to warn you of that. It'd be kind of like warning you that you need to turn on your computer before you can play it.

        As far as the updating goes... Every game I've got has an option to control how the game is updated. I can tell it to only update manually if I want to. Yes, the default is to update automatically. Yes, that has bit me in the ass once or t

    • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:36AM (#31520582)
      Here's an anecdote for you. It's something I'm considering sending in an email to Ubi once I have a few more instances under my belt.

      Browsing the gaming section of my local supermarket (they still sell PC games! I'm amazed at that) I encountered a guy roughly my age looking at Assassin's Creed II. He'd spotted the "Constant Internet Connection Required to Play." sticket on the front, and was looking at roughly the area I'd say was the "System Requirements" part of the back now. I asked him what he thought of the "Always On" DRM.

      "I don't mind. I have broadband anyway."

      Surely you're aghast at the prospect of all of the bandwidth usage! The sheer audacity of UbiSoft for insisting that you're connected to the internet to play a single player game!

      "No, not really. I have 30GB per month, I never use it."

      Does it ever slow down or disconnect quickly when someone else in the house is downloading some music, or have to reboot your modem / router sometimes?

      "Yeah, but I usually play a game while it reboots."

      Well, every time that happens the game will pause. If it's disconnected for too long, it will quit and you lose your progress. You don't get the option to save.

      "Well, they do say to save early, save often!"

      - And this is why DRM is here to stay. Nobody else cares.
      • Well, every time that happens the game will pause. If it's disconnected for too long, it will quit and you lose your progress. You don't get the option to save.

        "Well, they do say to save early, save often!"

        I think you should have emphasized the fact that Ubisoft could have decided to build the game in such a way that he wouldn't _ever_ lose his save games just for disconnecting from the net, but they didn't because by inconveniencing him, they believe they can get more money out of people. Emphasize that Ubisoft has a choice, and they choose against your interests for their own greedy motives.

        I think that might work well. People don't like being taken advantage of, or being under the power of someone else.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
          Why would I do that? I'm not trying to convince him for my sake! I gave him the information, and he rejected it. His short term benefit of *Oooooh shiney shiney new game!* was more important than his (and our) long term benefit of *No more draconian restrictions on games!*

          That's the beauty of our current state of cultural development; People are allowed to make stupid decisions for rubbish reasons. It's their money, after all.

          FWIW, I hope BT do some major exchange work in his area and he's stuck with a
      • by Aceticon (140883)

        Most people learn best what's bad for them by trying something and getting hurt.

        Those of little wisdom only learn anything this way: they're just too mentally short-sighted to see much beyond the "uuuhh, shinyyyy".

        A couple of disconnections of one's connection, a couple of "going for vacations but the game doesn't work there", a couple of "Ubisoft's servers down due to unexpected problems" will do wonders in educating the unwashed masses.

      • And this is why DRM is here to stay. Nobody else cares.

        Pretty much.

        As long as folks are more-or-less able to play their games, they're happy. If it freezes or crashes or does weird things now and again... Oh well. It's just a game, after all.

        And if it gets annoying enough, most real gamers know enough to locate a no-CD crack.

        So they'll keep buying the stuff, no matter how invasive the DRM is.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by IBBoard (1128019)

          But Assassin's Creed 2 doesn't have a need for a CD, so no-CD cracks won't work. And Ubisoft said that their new "always online" DRM is proof against anything, so there's not going to be a "no-Internet" crack and even the 'real' gamers will be stuck with it :(

          Oh, hang on [slashdot.org]...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Except that if he can't play this game the next time he can't get online and he needs something to do in the meantime, he will remember what you said (even if he doesn't remember when or where he heard it) and realize that Ubisoft did it to him on purpose. The thing is, the next time after that he goes to buy a game he will remember that he can't play Ubisoft games if he loses his Internet connection (even if they have abandoned said DRM by then) and will likely choose not to buy their next game. Of course,
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by the_bard17 (626642)

        What everyone's missing with that "Permanent Internet Connection Required" sticker: It doesn't require a permanent connection to the internet. It requires a permanent connection to Ubisoft's servers.

        So your single player, offline (except for the DRM) game doesn't work if Ubisoft's servers are down, regardless of the status of your internet connection.

        Blame it on bad server maintenance, pirate clans attacking the Ubisoft authentication/login servers, whatever... Since Ubisoft released Silent Hunter 5 and AC2

    • by DrXym (126579)
      Therefore, it's very important to check the "Requirements" for a game before you buy, even if your PC will clearly be capable of running it. Respectable stores like Steam will warn you about the types of DRM used by the game in clear terms, and you can decide whether it's too much. This information isn't in large text in the centre of the screen as it should be ("Warning: SecuROM", "Danger - Game Published By Ubisoft") but it's there, and these days you must always check for it

      The problem with "respectabl

    • Pirating the game sends the same message. The publishers do have some idea of the numbers of peopls who are copying their games, and if there are many more than expected, then the DRM scheme will be made worse!

      Yeah, pirates should worry about not encouraging nasty DRM, because the nastier the DRM, the fewer paying customers there are to freeload our DRM-free version off of.

  • by fan of lem (1092395) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:20AM (#31520494) Journal
    You can fight DRM not with patience, but with Reason [wikipedia.org].
  • Incidentally, DRM and commercial control is one of the main reasons, I believe, that there are so few commercial games released for Linux.

    If you're a Linux user running a Linux OS then you're probably a fairly savvy computer user, and you're running an open OS where, if something untoward is happening deep down in the OS, there's a chance you will notice it.

    If you're running Windows or playing on a game console, there can be all sorts of checks and processes going on that you will never know about because y

    • by skine (1524819)

      Incidentally, DRM and commercial control is one of the main reasons, I believe, that there are so few commercial games released for Linux.

      Or it could be that Linux only accounts for about 1% of OS market share, while Windows is over 90%. Interestingly, the iPhone accounts for about 0.5%.

  • There use to be these horrible protections in the 90's. It all vanished, only CD-KEY check remained. And now we see another wave of zealot-protection from game dev's or game people.
    Maybe is interesting that these protections are added by the publishers, against the will of the game studios. A good game can be ruined by a bad DRM, but that will kill the game studio, it will not affect the publishers much.

    Most of these new DRM systems seems designed to stop people from sharing games with friends or brothers

  • Mixed feelings... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cbope (130292)

    Not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, removing a bad DRM from a game X weeks after release is at least an improvement over not removing it at all. Maybe it gives the publisher a warm fuzzy feeling that they are fighting piracy at release. Although we all know the reality that the game is often cracked within hours of release and in some cases it's cracked before release.

    But from a customer perspective, I still feel like I'm getting screwed by the publisher if I go out and buy a new game shortly a

  • Perhaps the brainwashing of the MAFIAA made you forget, but we started out as the dominant ones. That’s why they came up with the whole DRM schemes in the first place.
    And perhaps you noticed, that DRM can not work by its very definition. It’s a physically impossible concept.

    The whole reason they are getting so crazy, is because they are doomed to die, and they know it. And I’m only talking about the publishers, that nobody needs anymore since the Internet replaced them. Not about the artis

  • Early sales are often one of the big quantifiers in whether a studio will start working on a sequel

          The author says this as if a sequel is a good thing. If it's true that all sequels are better than the original version, wouldn't the wise choice be to skip version 1 and buy the sequel?

  • I do not buy games. Period. I don't pirate them either.

    Plenty of free games out there! Sometimes free demos are enough for games like halo, half-life 2, (sorry if I'm talking about old demos, I don't even bother with most new games anymore because even the demos are DRM'd up the wazoo). Freeplay MMOs like Runes of Magic and Allods keep me pretty well entertained after serious pointless grinding on an MMO like Anarchy Online. However! The point being is they are not only free of DRM they are free of cash out

  • anachronism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CiderJack (961987) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:04AM (#31520724) Journal

    Anyone remember Chess? Go? Cribbage? Bridge? Risk? Tabletop D&D? Monopoly for chrissakes? How about Mancala? Reversi? Pente? Dominoes? Darts? How about a friggin game of billiards/pool? Gin-Rummy anyone?

    Oh right, the lack of DRM is what killed those games :P

  • Yes, insomuchas they will start removing it if sales start to hurt because of DRM. Think music sales from amazon and e-music.

    No, insomuchas the oblivious in the board room still see it as due diligence. They don't get out much. Their collective finger can't find the pulse of their customers.

  • by GF678 (1453005)

    For every person who avoids purchasing a game with DRM, 10 more will buy the game because they are not aware of the DRM, do not consider the DRM to be significant enough to warrant avoiding the same, or simply don't give a shit anyway. Hence, a minority boycott does absolutely fuck-all to convince game publishers to change the status quo of crappy DRM strategies. It is the wider community's indifference which is giving publishers free reign to do what they like and continue it.

    What you CAN do is stick to yo

  • It generally took a while, but it was always one of the good things with some of the patches from Relic Entertainment (creators of Dawn of War). Dawn of War and its expansions were all DRM protected (although I think each was broken before release) but after a while one of their patches removed the DRM. Some companies would keep it on indefinitely, but at least some get it half-right and remove it in the end.

    The bad thing about that DRM was that it was the only thing stopping the game running fine in Wine.

    • by jonwil (467024)

      Blizzard has removed DRM from a number of its titles including Starcraft and Diablo 2.
      This happened (at least according to Blizzard) because of the release of the MacBook Air and other "doesn't always have an optical drive but can run the game" laptops (remember, Blizzard releases mac ports of all their games)

      Will be interesting to see what kind of DRM Starcraft 2 has (given that you need to be online always in order to play)

  • Obligatory (Score:3, Funny)

    by WegianWarrior (649800) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:16AM (#31520794) Journal
  • Yes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by obarthelemy (160321) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:37AM (#31520866)

    That's what I do. Waiting before buying games has one big drawback: you're out of synch with the rest of the market. And several advantages:
    - less/no DRM
    - lower price
    - patches
    - mature community/forum
    - more feedback on how good the game is
    - opportunity to try it at friends

  • DVDs / cd's for games will not go away with usa slow download speeds as they are it's just takes to long for most people to download a 9gb+ game and a steam like systems is ok with you just need to be-online form time to time and not 24/7 with good up time.

  • That's what I do, if the game has crap DRM on it that's going to stop my computer from burning disks and other nonsense it's not going on my computer. I recently saw Civilization IV 'The Complete Edition' for sale and reading the back of the box it said in a nice yellow box "DRM Free. The Complete CIV IV experience with no Digital Rights Management limitations." - so I bought the game finally.

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