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PC Games (Games) Piracy Games Your Rights Online

Blizzard Boss Says Restrictive DRM Is a Waste of Time 563

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-about-lan-play dept.
Stoobalou writes "Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce reckons that fighting piracy with DRM is a losing battle. His company — which is responsible for one of the biggest video games of all time, the addictive online fantasy role player World of Warcraft — is to release StarCraft 2 on July 27, and Pearce has told Videogamer that the title won't be hobbled with the kind of crazy copy protection schemes that have made Ubisoft very unpopular in gaming circles of late. StarCraft 2 will require a single online activation using the company's Battle.net servers, after which players will be allowed to play the single-player game to their hearts' content, without being forced to have a persistent Internet connection."
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Blizzard Boss Says Restrictive DRM Is a Waste of Time

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, 2010 @03:27AM (#32372784)

    Hasn't Blizzard said you'll need a connection to Battle.net for multiplayer, even if you're playing with someone in the same room?

  • by GrayNimic (1051532) on Friday May 28, 2010 @03:33AM (#32372806)
    The second link confirms that there still will be no LAN support - the 'offline' mode is for the single-player only. Any networked game, including on a LAN, has to go through Battle.net 2.
  • by Hinhule (811436) on Friday May 28, 2010 @03:39AM (#32372840)

    This is the standard for games these days.
    I'm afraid we are going to have to live with it.

    Those who can't, well guess you'll be playing the cracked version.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, 2010 @04:12AM (#32372940)

    Unfortunately, they still require online activation, don't support LAN play, and are region locking SC2 so that you can't play with people from a different region without purchasing that regions version.

  • by MrZilla (682337) on Friday May 28, 2010 @04:14AM (#32372946) Homepage

    What exactly are you talking about?

    It's a single online activation. It would not surprise me if they release a patch sometime in the future to remove even that, especially if they take down the auth server. Blizzard has done similar things in the past, although on a small scale. You are not, since 1.15, required to have a CD in your CD drive to play Starcraft or Broodwars.

    I don't mind that they are trying to protect the single player part of the game from casual copying. That multipalyer is forced to be on battle.net only is slightly annoying, but I had not intended to play anywhere else anyways.

  • by rikkards (98006) on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:02AM (#32373444) Journal

    No but looking at past behaviour and extrapolating when they bring the servers down they will put out a no-cd patch.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:51AM (#32373696) Journal

    Yes, you will have trouble installing this on the non-existent computers that have no way to connect to the Internet, even temporarily, but still are modern enough to meet the other system requirements

    It can also be a question of location. When I get a new machine, I use the wizard thingy to move my home directory and installed apps across. One game, Escape Velocity Nova, notices that it's running on a new machine and wants to update. First time I noticed this was when I tried to play it on the train. Ooops, no Internet, couldn't play it. I then tried a bit later to play it on campus. Well, there is Internet, but the firewall blocks the port that they use for authentication. I don't think I've tried reactivating it since then, I just make a note not to give Ambrosia Software any more of my money (and wrote them a polite email explaining why).

  • by Ralz (1634999) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:02AM (#32373774)

    LAN play is dead.

    I participate in local 'LAN parties' fairly often (3-4 times a year). We tend to get about 60 people turn up to each one and it seems to be getting more popular at each event, so I'd say that there is still a place for LAN play.

    We also occasionally set up our own small LAN (about 10 of us) at a friends house.

    One of the great things about playing LAN is that you're all in the same room, so you can sort teams and communicate between your team easier, which I find gives a much better gaming experience. It's much more fun than sitting alone in front of your computer talking into a headset.

    So for me, and quite a few people I know, LAN play is important in a game, and when a game only has online multiplayer and no LAN, it's pretty shit. 60 people playing an online game through a 2Mbps connection doesn't work too well...

  • by Brandee07 (964634) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:46AM (#32374702)

    They released no-CD patches for Warcraft 3, Diablo 2, and Starcraft 1, you know. They have a good track record here.

  • by ildon (413912) on Friday May 28, 2010 @09:26AM (#32375146)

    Battle.net 1.0 is still up and it's been 14 years. So far so good.

  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Friday May 28, 2010 @09:35AM (#32375266) Homepage

    What are your principles exactly then? If you want Free Software, obviously Blizzard's games are not for you. They never made any pretense to that fact. Of course, if you want Free Software there are only a VERY limited number of games that are for you (Beyond the 17th free version of Majong.) If I were to make a Venn diagram of "games I want to play" (beyond killing time a few minutes here or there) and "FOSS games" the overlap would be pretty small. If you want a game with no DRM at all, again, Blizzard's games aren't for you. They have always made token anti-piracy efforts to keep the most casual pirates from simply giving away copies of their games. Again though, the number of games you *can* play is kinda slim.

    If you want a sane, reasonable DRM policy, Blizzard seems to fit the bill. Their protection schemes have never been terribly onerous, and they often make the DRM go away once the game is past it's first blush of popularity. They aren't asking for much here. "Hook up to our servers once so we can verify the game." 95% of the people playing will use B.net for online games at some point anyway. Unless you plan to install SC2 on a classified government network with no possibility of hooking up to the Internet, there's practically no way this can be considered onerous.

    The concept of SOME kind of check to make sure you actually paid for the game you're playing isn't going to go anywhere when the games are made by companies that want to make money. I have no objection to Blizzard making money, they've made a ton of games that I've spent *many* hours being entertained by. I therefore feel perfectly comfortable supporting their reasonable and painless approach to making sure you bought your game.

  • Bonus -- if you like LAN play, you get sued [wikipedia.org]. Add Warden to the mix, and I hate Blizzard with a passion. "No onerous DRM?" Can't play on a LAN without access to your servers. Spyware monitoring your computer's memory every 15 seconds for an EULA violation. What are these? Pictures of cute little kittens?

  • bnetd is about Starcraft. Warden is about WoW. This whole article is about Blizzard, which makes both of those titles, in addition to your Diablo II.

  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Friday May 28, 2010 @12:45PM (#32377742)

    Which, rather surprisingly, has never been cracked (at least as of the last time I heard anything about it, which admittedly was a couple years ago).

    That's because there is a version of Windows XP that doesn't require activation, and it happens to be much better than the version that ships with non-business PCs.

    What version is it, you ask? Why, Windows XP Pro - Enterprise. What's great about this version is it doesn't even need a crack a lot of times. These versions generally come with several hundred to several thousand CD keys, so depending on who's enterprise keys were stolen, thousands of people could install XP with no problem.

    Why do it the hard way (cracking activation), when there is an easy way that gives you a better product? That's the only real reason Windows Activation wasn't cracked. Who was going to download Home when they could download Pro and not have to deal with it?

    This is similar to what happened to Windows 2000: The code for 2000 and 2000 Server were identical, the only difference between them was a registry key and a few thousand dollars. No need to hack the system, just change the key and voila! Server version at Desktop price. Obviously they fixed it eventually, but a lot of people took advantage of that little mistake.

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