Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Games Your Rights Online

Tensions Rise Between Gamers and Game Companies Over DRM 447

Posted by Soulskill
from the opposing-interests dept.
Tootech recommends an article at the Technology Review about the intensifying struggle between gamers and publishers over intrusive DRM methods, a topic brought once more to the forefront by Ubisoft's decision not to use their controversial always-connected DRM for upcoming RTS RUSE, opting instead for Steamworks. Quoting: "Ultimately, Schober says, companies are moving toward a model where hackers wouldn't just have to break through protections on a game, they'd also have to crack company servers. The unfortunate consequence, he says, is that it's getting more difficult for legitimate gamers to use and keep the products they buy. But there are alternatives to DRM in the works as well. The IEEE Standards Association, which develops industry standards for a variety of technologies, is working to define 'digital personal property.' The goal, says Paul Sweazey, who heads the organization's working group, is to restore some of the qualities of physical property — making it possible to lend or resell digital property. Sweazey stresses that the group just started meeting, but he explains that the idea is to sell games and other pieces of software in two parts — an encrypted file and a 'play key' that allows it to be used. The play key could be stored in an online bank run by any organization, and could be accessed through a URL. To share the product, the player would simply share the URL."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Tensions Rise Between Gamers and Game Companies Over DRM

Comments Filter:
  • Is he bloody stupid? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Securityemo (1407943) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:48PM (#33336684) Journal
    The user has the key. The user can retain or share the key, or just share the material unencrypted. As for remote DRM, even if you bloody well upload large parts of the game's code remotely it's just security through obscurity. As well as a source for nusiance and flakiness/unplayability.
    • by KahabutDieDrake (1515139) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:52PM (#33336706)
      They have talked about this new DRM system before. Basically they think they can sell it to the game publishers on the basis that "only one person can play it at a time". Similar to the way steam works. IE: I can give my steam account to anyone, but only one of us can use it at any given time. I think that most of the publishers will stick with more traditional DRM, and continue moving away from PC games as a whole (since the console market is somewhat more secure). In any case, to answer your question. Yes.
      • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:55PM (#33336722)

        continue moving away from PC games as a whole (since the console market is somewhat more secure

        The sad, slow, and painful death of PC gaming.

        • by mlts (1038732) * on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:05PM (#33336774)

          If the big names go away and leave the PC gaming industry, that would be good for PC gaming as a whole. We would see indies take over and fill the vacuum with original IP, and not just another FPS sequel.

          Piracy? NWN1 did something which did well at stopping piracy in the long term, and that was eventually chucking the CD-ROM DRM and requiring a valid and unique CD key to play multiplayer. No matter what, the pirates will be cracking the game anyway, might as well just keep them from using network services which legit players would use. This is a simple DRM mechanism, and it does an excellent job long term.

          Already, the big names treat the PC platform like crap. Might as well just show them the door, let them have the uber locked down console market, and let Blizzard, ID, and indies with something original to write take over.

          • by Moridineas (213502) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:49PM (#33337004) Journal

            Already, the big names treat the PC platform like crap. Might as well just show them the door, let them have the uber locked down console market, and let Blizzard, ID, and indies with something original to write take over.

            Blizzard? I'm not sure they really deserve that anymore. Yes, they create good games still but think of some of the recent annoyances.

            no LAN play for SC2... SC2 is linked to one and only one battle.net account ever (effectively getting rid of resale and eliminating multiple people being able to play online via one copy of the game)... bnetd. etc

            • by SpazmodeusG (1334705) on Monday August 23, 2010 @01:05AM (#33337370)

              You're forgetting the worst thing Blizzard is currently doing. Region locking. Someone with a US copy of SC2 simply cannot play with a friend in Europe as each copy is region locked to one online server. It's destroying the international pro-gaming scene which is what Starcraft is meant to be all about.

              The reason they do this region locking isn't to prevent piracy either. It's so they can charge a different price in different regions. Maximising short term profits at the expense of pro-players support.

              • by x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) on Monday August 23, 2010 @02:44AM (#33337834)
                Wow... thanks for posting that. I had no idea that region locking existed in SC2 before you posted that. I live in Mozambique, Africa as a missionary and wanted to buy it and play with my 3 brothers who live in the States. Looks like I won't be wasting my money on THAT.
              • by crossmr (957846) on Monday August 23, 2010 @02:46AM (#33337848) Journal

                What's worse is that they're not even providing all languages in all regions. Living in South Korea, yet not being fluent in Korea means I can choose a low-ping version I don't really understand, or a high ping version I understand. Multiple e-mails to blizzard resulted in a round around and a suggestion I just buy a copy so that I can contribute to some suggestion thread to recommend they smarten the hell up. No. Fuck you Blizzard.
                You have completely and utterly gone to shit and should be embarrassed of what you've become.
                 

              • by arth1 (260657) on Monday August 23, 2010 @08:02AM (#33339188) Homepage Journal

                You're forgetting the worst thing Blizzard is currently doing. Region locking. Someone with a US copy of SC2 simply cannot play with a friend in Europe as each copy is region locked to one online server. It's destroying the international pro-gaming scene which is what Starcraft is meant to be all about.

                The reason they do this region locking isn't to prevent piracy either. It's so they can charge a different price in different regions. Maximising short term profits at the expense of pro-players support.

                Unfortunately, it's nothing new, and nothing unique to Blizzard. Back in '99, I moved from one continent to another, and brought with me my copy of Baldur's Gate. When I bought the "Tales of the Sword Coast", it would not work on my copy, because it was region locked. I had to go to napster to find an illegal copy of it. Bioware support refused to replace either of my copies -- they wanted me to re-buy the software because I had moved.
                That's the true face of region locking.

            • by Vaphell (1489021) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:06AM (#33337938)

              i hear ya

              recently LAN thing backfired quite nicely - there was a tournament at gamerscom or whatever that was called and battle.net lagged few times not to mention dropped connections in a best of 3 showmatch. There were thousands of people watching it live and via internet and players were lagging and dropping. Epic F.A.I.L.

              I read the forums from time to time and I really hate how when some rather clueless casual player asks '- there is only one profile, how can i share it with my brother?' fanboys counted in dozens rush in to inform him he's being cheap and should fork out 60 bucks for his brother too, because sc2 is the best thing since sliced bread. It doesn't matter that these brothers have only 1 pc.

              Recently blizzard announced that 1st name change is free (because many people were not aware of permanence of their handle and typed some junk to play, just like in sc1 where you could have multiple nicknames), but they will charge later. Price is unknown but to charge few bucks for running an sql oneliner? Seriously?

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            Right.If a product has DRM,I don't buy.Hit the bastards in their pocket book,they'll learn REAL FAST.

          • by westlake (615356) on Monday August 23, 2010 @01:01AM (#33337346)

            If the big names go away and leave the PC gaming industry, that would be good for PC gaming as a whole. We would see indies take over and fill the vacuum with original IP, and not just another FPS sequel.

            What you will get is a flood of low budget - low risk - casual games.

            Already, the big names treat the PC platform like crap

            The big names have treated the single player PC gamer rather well of late: Bioshock, Dragon Age, Fallout, Mass Effect, etc.

            As for iD, whatever the merits of Carmack's game engines, he hasn't released a genuinely innovative or significant PC game in the last ten years.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by aekafan (1690920)
          I hearing about this, the death of PC gaming, for years now. People keep spouting PCs are dead platforms for games. BS. Which console was it that had WOW, EVE or Starcraft II? Which System let me buy FO3 GOTY edition for $2.50 and GTA IV for $3.50? Oh wait, that's right, none of them. When Consoles can match my PCs performance (look at Mafia ii PC compared to either console version) or price, then i will look them up.
        • by kestasjk (933987) *
          As far as I can tell more people are buying more games than ever for the PC; they're easier to pirate but they're easier to buy and are generally quite a bit cheaper on PC I find. Plus we have Trusted Platform tech around the corner which could bring a lot of the typically console-only hardware-based DRM protections to the PC.

          And I just can't see everyone playing FPS/RTS on controllers, or everyone stopping playing FPS/RTS, or everyone buying keyboards and mice for their consoles.. And it's hard to imagi
          • by poetmatt (793785)

            trusted hardware is incredibly old, it's not "around the corner", it's been here for years. However, it's only for enterprise, because if you actually had trusted platform enabled on your PC by default there'd be antitrust issues and to say heads would roll is an understatement. It will never happen.

            plenty of consoles can and do have keyboards and mice, because they use USB now. why is this some magic surprise? The issue is that consoles have nowhere near the graphics capability of a PC, so adding a keyboar

        • by ultranova (717540) on Monday August 23, 2010 @06:31AM (#33338748)

          The sad, slow, and painful death of PC gaming.

          Pretty unlikely, since PCs have both larger installed base and far lower cost of development than any console. They are also technologically superior, so the most ambitious games - especially complex simulators and strategy games - simply can't be done on anything else.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        console market more secure? hahahahha.

        you do realize that pc gaming and console gaming really isn't that different as a concept, right?

        trying to say that a console business is a bigger industry or whatnot is just looking at apples and oranges, because the business itself is not similar.

        Consoles are 100% drm by design.

    • by mlts (1038732) * on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:14PM (#33336834)

      Don't forget:

      DRM writers can write drivers; they can be cracked.
      DRM writers can use hardware dongles; they can be virtualized.
      DRM writers can demand use of servers; the servers can be emulated.
      DRM writers can download items in pieces; the chunks can be put together via snapshots of a filesystem and memory.

      For every item, there is a counter. Every dime spent on more Draconian DRM means a dime less spent on making the game suck less. And to me, some of the big PC companies which sell DRM with a game attached needs to start spending their cash on quality of releases, not new DRM schemes which will get cracked anyway.

      • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:50PM (#33337014)

        There's one more serious oft-overlooked problem with DRM. For every copy of DRM'd software they sell they spend money every time somebody calls or emails with an activation problem. There's an on-going cost of maintaining servers and software to keep giving permission for installs. Basically, over time, their profits are getting eaten away by their own customer service. Sadly I think it'll take a couple of years before anybody realizes the problem with this. Heh.

        • Not just that (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Sycraft-fu (314770)

          DRM also costs money in and of itself. If it is your own, you pay someone to develop it. If it is third party, you pay a per copy license fee. Either way you pay someone to implement it in the game. The more complex and tricky the DRM, the harder the implementation. Some extreme ones, like the Cubase protection, does dongle checks on almost every operation, even opening menus. Lots of extra coding to make that happen.

          Also of course if the DRM is invasive, it may cost sales. I won't buy Ubisoft titles with t

    • Yes (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday August 23, 2010 @12:26AM (#33337176)

      Unfortunately, many publishers really ARE stupid when it comes to DRM. They think it is a fight they can win. Also they get focus on the wrong thing. They want to reduce piracy at any cost, rather than focusing on increasing sales, which is what matters.

      Even if you could make a 100% uncrackable DRM it wouldn't be useful is said DRM was so invasive that nobody was willing to purchase you game. You've have stopped piracy, but killed sales. It would be like a store so determined to eliminate shoplifting that they sealed all exits except one and had armed guards strip search all customers and employees. It'd probably work but nobody would shop there so in the end it would be worse than doing nothing at all.

      I'm quite sure the reason Ubisoft is changing is because their DRM has probably cost them sales, as well as costing a good deal of money to administer. I know I'm two of the sales they lost. I was planning on getting Assassin's Creed 2, since it looked like the first one but with the annoyances taken out. Also Settlers 7 looked interesting. After hearing about the DRM, I wrote them off. I didn't pirate them, they've been cracked despite the "server side processing" shit, I simply played other games. There's no lack of good games out there, I lack the time to play them all so if they want to be assholes that's fine, I'll just spend money elsewhere.

      What publishers need to concentrate on is DRM that is non-invasive. I'm not saying DRM is worthless, I'm sure there are people who are cheap and won't pay if they can easily get away with it, but you want to make it so that the DRM doesn't hurt legit users, but actually helps them. Steam is a good example in that regard. If you get a Steamworks protected game, it is to your benefit not to crack it. Reason is when you register it on Steam you get all updates automatically from good servers, and you can redownload it as you please, again from fast servers. It actually improves your experience, makes things easier. So even if someone doesn't care about doing the right thing, the easy of use, their laziness, can convince them to pay.

      If companies wise up and start focusing on increasing sales, by making things better for legit users, rather than trying to decrease piracy, I think it'll go a long way.

  • No DRM for me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:49PM (#33336690) Journal
    Crap like this is why I put my money where my mouth is and buy from Good Old Games [gog.com]. NO DRM, NO limits on installs, easy and hassle free, and even works perfectly on x64.
    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Yea, except when you want to play real classics like Independence War, or Myst.

      Good luck with that.

      (it's still a great service, but their 100% compatibility statement is garbage)

      • Interesting that you mention Independence war. I have copies of both 1 and 2 on disc and neither of them have any sort of DRM. Iwar 2 has a disc check, but it's removed by the official patch. It's been a while, but I've run Iwar 1 on modern systems. In fact, this computer, which I use as my gamer rig has run it. WinXP if that matters. AFAIK it doesn't need any special compatibility. Although you might have trouble with input devices, if you use anything other than a fairly standard Jstick.
  • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:51PM (#33336694)
    I just bought two copies of GTA IV (pc version) for me and my girlfriend, in the hopes that there would be some cool co-op. After installing 'Rockstar Social', and having to get a damn 'Games for Windows' Live-esque account, and having to register account after account and confirm this after that after serial after serial, I said, well, Fuck. It. In the trash they go, and $40 down the tube. Shoulda looked at the reviews [google.com] first I guess.

    Overreaching DRM and poorly written interfaces upon interfaces are the death knell for PC gaming. I am sorry, but they just keep getting worse, and worse and worse. Albeit the gaming experiences might be improving, the overall software experience is absolutely terrible. The amount of disneylandish crap pc game devs are pumping into games to mimic the consoles is absolutely infuriating, and doesn't seem to be getting any better.

    I'll say it. I love PC gaming, but it is definately an industry that will die if they don't all get together and streamline some of the bullshit. Steam is the closest thing we have, albeit still is one more interface you have to use to get to another interface to start/load/join a game.

    Back to Q3A and CS 1.6.
    • Not to mention the fact that you always have to have the latest patch to play a 'Games For Windows Live' game, even in single player. Those of us with slower internet connections don't want to wait several days to play the game because there's a new 7 gig patch that fixes a bunch of glitches that you never even noticed before.
    • by johnhp (1807490) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:01PM (#33336748)
      Steam isn't just an interface It replaces the role of the brick and mortar store, as well as the role of the CD/DVD media. It also acts as a library of games and their mods, and provides anti-cheating features (if developers choose to use them). So rather than feeling like Steam is just "one more interface" standing between me any my possessions, I tend to think of it as a merchant who sticks around to organize and update my games.

      Long term, I see Steam as the big rival to iTunes. I think they'll eventually start to carry movies, and eventually music too.

      And as I've said before, I don't think PC gaming will ever have a chance to die. The line between consoles + TVs and PCs + monitors is very fuzzy even today (the XBOX and XBOX360 are already basically x86 PCs running Windows 2000), and in five or ten years it will disappear completely.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MakinBacon (1476701)

        There are some games where Steam can be a real pain in the ass, like in GTA4. You already have to be logged into both Rockstar Social Club AND Games For Windows Live; if you buy the Steam version, you literally have to log into three separate DRM systems to play the damn game.

        Also, Steam is somewhat scary to me because I wonder what'll happen to my game collection should Valve eventually go out of buisiness or shut down steam (probably not in the near future, but it could very well happen eventually). I'

      • by gman003 (1693318) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:30PM (#33336918)

        To reword it into something more witty...

        Detractors look at Steam, and see the DRM, resource usage and potential spyware.
        Advocates look at Steam, and see the Digital Distribution, community features, automatic updates, and synchronized saves.

        It's a matter of which seems more important to you, and I, for one, see the (relatively minor) DRM as worth the other features.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by PhrostyMcByte (589271)

          Advocates look at Steam, and see the Digital Distribution, community features, automatic updates, and synchronized saves.

          Don't forget, detractors also look at the automatic updates bit. Valve has seriously broken their games plenty of times -- in the old days, people would've reverted the patch and got on with things. Now they're forced to wait days or weeks for a fix.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by LingNoi (1066278)

        It's not a replacement for a brick and mortar store. At the store I can get a refund or at least credit towards a different game; steam? Tough shit because you're obviously a pirate or cheap stake that has already finished the game if you're asking such a thing.

        When I asked for a refund because the game I bought that day was crashing on startup they re-directed me to this [steampowered.com].

        I bought a game with my credit card through Steam and either don't like it or don't want it anymore. Can I get a refund?

        The fuck? Don't w

        • by genner (694963) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:47PM (#33336992)

          It's not a replacement for a brick and mortar store. At the store I can get a refund or at least credit towards a different game; steam? .

          Which store is this? I'm not aware of any store that will give refunds or store credit for a PC game unless it's still shrink wrapped.

        • by johnhp (1807490)
          I haven't had to deal with that issue. For specific problems of software quality, I see it as more the developer's problem than Valve's.

          At any rate... there is something you can do. Buy your games with a credit card, and if you feel like Valve has screwed you over, call the card company and cancel the payment. It's called a "charge back" and people who know about it do it constantly to software companies. At least one developer/publisher I worked at allocated a strong percentage of their income for
      • by the_humeister (922869) on Monday August 23, 2010 @12:41AM (#33337256)

        And as I've said before, I don't think PC gaming will ever have a chance to die. The line between consoles + TVs and PCs + monitors is very fuzzy even today (the XBOX and XBOX360 are already basically x86 PCs running Windows 2000), and in five or ten years it will disappear completely.

        Well, other than the fact the XBox 360 is PowerPC and not x86, I agree with you.

      • In countries where there are real consumer protection laws (pretty much all developed countries but the US), if you buy a game in a store and it doesn't work in your machine, you can easilly go back and get a refund (in the UK the magic words are "Not fit for purpose" and "Trading standards").

        However, it's almost impossible to have your consumer rights respected by an online trader, especially one not based in the same country as you are.

        This is why I don't buy games online anymore (unless we're talking abo

    • by 3vi1 (544505)

      I've got a different problem. The DRM in L4D and L4D2 kick me out sporadically while checking my SteamID. None of my other Steam games give me any such problem. This is most likely because I'm playing them under Linux (as they work fine under Windows on the same machine)... It's pretty aggravating when your 100% legal game works 100% under your OS of choice *except* for the DRM.

    • It's not just PC gaming - they're starting to do the same crap with consoles too. For some idiotic reason the gaming industry wants to run themselves out of business.
    • by BLKMGK (34057)

      They aren't pumping console crap into PC games - they are building games for crappy consoles and porting them to PCs! I was all set to purchase the latest Supreme Commander "sequel" until I found out they did this and the interface was dumbed for consoles! Oh and it was STEAM only - F that. No sale! I finally found my old CD for the previous game and I play UT2K4 when I want a FPS. How sad is it that i play a six year old game just to enjoy gaming on my computer? That's how bad it is now...

    • by black3d (1648913)

      Ditto. I was disgusted with the bullshit you have to install to play GTA4 on PC. I wish I'd known about it beforehand because I would have just pirated a copy of it instead. Felt so violated by the install process that two days later I formatted my PC (just to make sure I got rid of every last piece of crapware it put on my system - I don't trust "uninstall" when they're pushing invasive DRM) and threw the game away. I've purchased every GTA game on PC up to this one - I won't be buying another. Congrats Ro

    • by Legion303 (97901)

      "Shoulda looked at the reviews [google.com] first I guess."

      GTA4 appears to be the highest rated game of all time across all platforms. Not sure looking at reviews would have helped you avoid it, unless you enjoy F-rated games. I don't personally get the high ratings it enjoys, but facts are facts.

  • Game companies will never let you resell a game you don't have on a disc. Unlike with games printed on physical mediums, there is no chance of a downloaded game being unplayable due to scratches, and there is no "shiny newness" that a game that wasn't resold has. Either used copies would be cheaper than new copies and there would be no point in buying new copies (which I can't imagine game companies allowing), or game companies would make the used copies the same price as new copies and it would be a moot
  • by Superdarion (1286310) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:59PM (#33336736)

    I bought a copy of Neverwinter Nights when it came out and... well, they actually did with the game the very same thing the article is suggesting.

    You have your CDs with your serial, which you use to install as many times as you want, and Bioware actually allows you to store that Serial in their servers, protected by a password.

    Do you feel like sharing youre game? Just lend your CD key to someone, which could just mean to lend them the password for your account with bioware. Also, if you lose the damn booklet in which it came printed, or if you're just not at home, you can always retrieve your serial from their servers, provided you remember the password.

    Now THAT's what I call value.

    On an unrelated topic, they also ported their game to linux after a while. You didn't even have to buy it again! Just download the installation package for linux (yes, download, for free, from their servers), use your windows serial and you're all set. Suffice it to say it worked like a charm.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:19PM (#33336860)

      Uhmm no offense but they only 'ported it to linux' due to the fact that they'd lied about linux support right up until 2 weeks before release, promised it would be out by the end of the month, then kowtowed for 6 months while really putting it out while all those people who bought it release day on the promise of linux support VERY SOON started to discuss class action lawsuits against them for false marketing.

      But that could just be me. And you'll also note Bioware has not had a single game *SINCE* that supported linux, even though a number of other games used derivatives of the engine.

      - A Former Bioware fan.

  • Say you will not use an aways on drm, use a more well respected company's aways on drm... And yes I know of steam's offline mode but RUSE is an RTS. Offline mode would be pretty much useless.
    • Well if you're never going to play offline, why are you so upset about a system that requires you to be online?

      I know there are plenty of other issues with DRM, but I really don't see how this would be one of them for somebody who thinks playing offline "would be pretty much useless"

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      Steam's offline mode works for LAN gaming, and might work fully online, depending on the game. For something not using the Steam server browser, RUSE probably can't tell what mode you're in.

      And I, for one, never play RTSes online. Too many obsessive experts, too hard to find someone who just wants to have fun. LAN gaming with your friends works for that.

  • Ruse sucks - so you don't have to waste any time on it (was demoed on steam)

  • God Almighty, I thought that damn thing was gone forever.

  • Download caps may hit games hard some day with drm systems and any kind of on live system will run of that fast 5 Mbps can hit the comcast 250 gb cap fast.

    How well does the Ubisoft system work with dial up or satellite internet. For one thing any thing like on live is out for them.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:09PM (#33336810) Journal

    "Alternative to DRM"? No, this is just another form of DRM.

    I like what Steam offers. I think it's a fair trade. I'm still not going to call it something other than DRM.

    You know what the "alternative" to DRM is? Not putting fucking DRM on your products!

    • Exactly. DRM = Digital Restrictions Management. Being without DRM would be what digital is: without any restriction. Anything which tries to make digital limited like physical is a step in the wrong direction.
    • by black3d (1648913)

      I can live with Steam's DRM. It's hassle-free and as long as Steam is around, I can play all my games, wherever I want, without any discs. Great! Now if only Steam let you transfer your licenses to another Steam account - that would be solid GOLD. Even set up an online store where you can sell or trade games with other players, with Steam (and the publisher) taking a percentage of the sale. Steam would replace EB Games. :P

  • "Digital property" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Andorin (1624303) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:20PM (#33336866)

    Realistically, something is your property insofar as you can control it; my car is my property because I have the keys and can do what I want with it. (It helps that I legally own the car as well, but legal property rights do not guarantee that things won't be stolen.) If someone does steal my car, then legally I still own it, but realistically I don't have it anymore.

    Copyrighted and publicly released media such as video games are legally owned by the copyright holder(s), but realistically, they are 'owned' by either everyone or no one. Once something goes on the Internet, any privately held control over it is basically nullified. Anyone can copy it and redistribute it to anyone else. The 'owners' can come close enough to actual ownership by not releasing the media or information, but once that happens it is, for all intents and purposes, public domain.

    That's why I think the term "digital property" is an oxymoron. It can't exist because of the nature of the Internet, which is the unbiased sharing of information from one computer to another, and no DRM garbage will change that.

    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      The words Intellectual property and digital property are complete bullshit because publishers don't treat it as such. They sell you a license to view or experience their media which is non-transferable. That's as far away from property as can be imagined. The term really needs to die and people need to see reality for what it really is; you're renting a game.

  • The IEEE Standards Association, which develops industry standards for a variety of technologies, is working to define 'digital personal property.' The goal, says Paul Sweazey, who heads the organization's working group, is to restore some of the qualities of physical property — making it possible to lend or resell digital property.

    But, but, it's "imaginary" property. How else are we going to illegally download movies, music, and games, if we start giving it physical properties?

  • I loved Ruse in the open beta.

    That DRM was the only reason I didn't pre-order the game and was not buying it.

    If they dropped that I'll buy it as soon as it's confirmed to work just fine offline.

    Of course no one else cares about that, but it was annoying to really like a game and also not be able to play it because the DRM was retarded enough to make buying it not an option. Steam I can live with.

  • "...simply share the URL".

    <sarcasm>No, I don't see how that could possibly be abused.</sarcasm>

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Monday August 23, 2010 @12:05AM (#33337096)
    I stopped getting tense after MechWarrior4. When that stupid game didn't work in any CDROM drive I owned due to DRM, I stopped buying new games for PC. I only play old games or open source games, both of which I have plenty.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aladrin (926209)

      I think all older gamers have some story like this. I still buy games, but only very, very seldom. My 'gaming pc' is actually being used as a media center now since I use it for gaming so seldom. Anyhow, my story:

      Neverwinter Nights. I stick it in, start playing... 10 minutes later it crashes. No errors, just gone. Try again. And again. And again. Eventually I went online and got the NoCD crack thinking maybe my CD drive was bad. It fixed the problem. Thing is, my CD drive wasn't broken... The D

  • This isn't a software engineering problem, it's a social engineering problem. DRM can help to some extent, but it can't possibly be a complete solution and it can't be strong enough to approximate a complete solution without causing a host of problems. There are a few key points:

    • Almost all DRM is hackable, especially DRM which is advertised as unhackable.
    • Strong DRM and weak DRM both have the effect of curtailing casual copying, but it's unlikely that any DRM can curtail determined copying.
    • "More powerful" D
  • by RichiH (749257) on Monday August 23, 2010 @06:31AM (#33338746) Homepage

    I decided I wanted to play Bioshock. Yes, it's a few years old, but so what.

    Living in Germany, I can only buy a censored version. I am over 18 and want to play the game as it was intended to be played. Steam not an option, then.
    Looking for physical media, I realized that SecuROM is still used with the DVD variant. I refuse to install any such thing on any machine I own or maintain.

    I contacted Steam support, looked around the web, etc. I tried _really_ hard to play by the rules.

    Long story short? I bought a DVD and installed Bioshock from an age-old torrent that has been alive for a few years now. To add more irony to irony, the torrent download was faster than the typical Steam download and apart from a single .reg, I did not even install Bioshock. I runs happily from where I extracted it.

    People... DO NOT MAKE IT HARD FOR ME TO GIVE YOU MONEY! You would think that should be obvious...

  • by benhattman (1258918) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:12PM (#33345640)

    Anyone who's paying attention already knows that all DRM is crackable for people who are sufficiently cheap. In fact, I'm inlined to believe that excessive DRM only posses a "challenge" for players to crack. Instead of just having a game to play, there's the game of cracking the DRM, with the reward being you get to play a game.

    I think social-hacking by game makers would be a much more effective and affordable approach. To do it properly, they'd need some kind of carrot and stick approach. Here's an example, let's say the game takes a good old CD key. When it boots the first time it tries to authenticate with a server. If the server is found, and the key is valid and never before used, the loading screen displays something along the lines of "Thank you for purchasing this game. Your money allows GAME_COMPANY_X to make the best games possible." If it connects and the key is valid but not new, they could select a message based on how recently the key was used by someone else. If very recently, they could splash "It looks like you may be borrowing this game from a friend. We approve of sharing, but hope you'll love this game enough to purchase your own copy." Or, if the last user hasn't loaded in a while, it could display something friendly about reselling the game.

    Meanwhile, if the server finds the key is not authentic, or is being used by lots and lots of people at a time it could display "You do not appear to have an authentic copy of our game. We do not believe in punishing people who play our games, so we will not record your IP address or in any other way violate your privacy, but do know that our developers must be paid to produce games of this quality. So, if you like the game, please buy a legal copy or share one with a friend."

    My wording might be incorrect, but I think a simple scheme like that might go much further towards encouraging players who like the game to buy it while removing the fun of cracking from those who just like a challenge. Also, if I do purchase a valid copy and for some reason my key is being used by other people or I'm not on a network, I can still play the game and the message itself may even be positive. E.g. we can't authenticate you, but please enjoy our game anyways, and please play a legal copy.

    The only problem with this kind of idea is that to CEOs it doesn't look like you're doing anything. They won't realize it's probably more effective at reducing theft than any DRM they can dream up.

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders. -- Gauss

Working...