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Blizzard Boss Says Restrictive DRM Is a Waste of Time 563

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 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 Jorth ( 1074589 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @03:27AM (#32372782)
    Seriously, this is why I love this company. Ever since being a young kid playing Warcraft Orc and Humans, then playing multiplayer against my dad, I've known they make quality games, how they want, when they are ready. I still play Diablo 2 to this day, completing Hell difficultly on Hardcore still gives me a feeling of achievement lacking in recent games!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, 2010 @03:27AM (#32372786)

    So it's still only good until the server dies? Or are you going to be able to back up the activation?

  • by AwaxSlashdot ( 600672 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @04:27AM (#32373000) Homepage Journal

    And here Blizzard has a trick : WoW requires a monthly fee. So used games resell aren't a "threat" to its income.
    StarCraft 2 would essentially be played online thru its servers and there you will need to have a valid account and register your game, as you would need to with Ubisoft. No one plays offline and alone.

    Ubisoft's AssassinCreed2 is a game you can play only alone. So the "phoning home" from the DRM is artificial while it is "hidden" in games with a naturally online gameplay.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:59AM (#32373428)

    Clearly, Blizzard doesn't want your sales.

    LAN is what made StarCraft the dynamo that it is. By removing that, they've removed all incentive for most people to buy the game.

    They could only have two possible reasons to not include LAN (especially considering that it's coded and everything..) and those reasons are copyright infringement (stupid) and being the gatekeeper for all things StarCraft (really stupid).

    It won't affect copyright infringement because nothing affects copyright infringement. Not law, not dogma, not stupid commercials, not DRM, absolutely nothing. Hell, the beta was cracked so you could play without a beta key.

    If they want to be the gatekeeper for all things StarCraft, they can blow it out their asses. If I buy a game, it is mine to use when I want, how I want. Obviously this doesn't hold in a mass-user environment such as, but that's not what I'm talking about.

    Because they do not offer this seemingly normal feature, I'm not buying from them. I loved StarCraft to death, but StarCraft II is not worth it if it isn't my game when I buy it. I encourage many others to do the same if that's how they feel.

  • by Gadget_Guy ( 627405 ) * on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:14AM (#32373498)

    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.

    Rather than unable to connect, let's try unwilling to connect. I have always kept my games separate from my real computer network because I deem game programmers and DRM programmers to be suspect. Because I am installing things more often on a games system, there is more chance of things going wrong and viruses being introduced. For this reason, I always keep this away from my real data. The easiest way to do this is physical separation. This then limits access to the Internet.

    Furthermore, since "restrictive" can be a very relative term, you can do so with a straight face, in perfect accuracy, and be understood by most competent speakers of the English language, just like you can claim you don't like hot beverages but then drink a "cold" beer that's hundreds of degrees above absolute zero.

    In that case, no DRM is restrictive because there could always be something more restrictive. Therefore there was no point in making the claim in the first place because it would be stating the obvious. But really, this line of argument is just silly wordplay and doesn't prove anything.

  • Alright! It's nice to see a fellow GOG'er, welcome brother! After trying Good Old Games [] I don't know if I can really stomach jumping through the other guy's hoops anymore. Having to deal with a bunch of discs, or having it phone home, install nasty viruses like SecuROM or Starforce, no thanks.

    And from the looks of it they are just trying to put on a "happy face" to the same Ubisoft horseshit. And I quote "If we've done our job right and implemented in a great way people will want to be connected while they're playing the single player campaign so they can stay connected to their friends on and earn the achievements on"

    So how exactly is this different than the Ubisoft bullshit? He is just basically saying "We will make it so you WANT us to screw you hard baby!". I shouldn't need a fucking Internet connection to play a single player campaign and yet again it is just another excuse that screws the paying clients while the actual pirates laugh their asses off and don't have to deal with the bullshit. At least GOG treats me like a valued customer instead of a criminal. NO DRM, NO phoning home, NO payment hassles, NO limits to your installs, NO problems backing up the installers (just a single .exe), NO problems running on x64, in other words they make their option a better value than piracy instead of treating me like a thief for daring to give them my money.

  • by nate_in_ME ( 1281156 ) <me&natesmith,me> on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:32AM (#32374008)
    I had to once work on a computer for someone who had an app that installed off of a dozen or so floppies, and on the last one, it moved a file off the floppy to the hard drive, rather than copying it. If you told the program to uninstall itself, you were actually prompted to insert that last floppy, so the license file could be moved back. Unfortunately, the person who had the computer did not know enough to back up the computer, or even the floppy set, so when their computer crashed, we were unable to reinstall that program without jumping through a bunch of hoops with the company who sold it...
  • by billsayswow ( 1681722 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:42AM (#32374106)
    I have a few points to make. I would post directly to the relevant comments, but that would take too long.

    A) A history of letting you not need the disc in the drive anymore after a patch is NOT really a friendly way of stripping away DRM once the "hype" dies down. Besides, people are getting the dates wrong here, Starcraft removed needing the disc with patch 1.15, which was released almost ten years after the game debuted. Requiring online activation of a unique code is apples-to-oranges with keeping a disc in the drive.

    B) People still do have LAN parties, especially Starcraft enthusiasts! It's a classic of the LAN party, and was by far the most-played at the last one I went to. Now, I'm not sure how much data is actually launched up and down the tubes when you're playing online, but if you have a lousy ISP, or not the highest-speed service, having eight people all stacked up on one connection playing that game might be a bit much, especially if you have an ISP that throttles, or imposes other crappy limits, or, in my case, one that likes to disconnect for random periods of time, especially during the night.

    B2) The above point, either way, shouldn't be a matter of if it is or isn't a hassle, it should be a matter of, just because you can, doesn't mean you should have to.

    C) This whole discussion is instantly destroyed by the level of fanboyism for Blizzard, and the level of anti-fanboyism as well. I'm probably going to get modded down to comment hell for this post, for example. This is becoming a matter of "Awh, shucks, Blizzard are such great guys! I bet they'd buy me a new computer if my current one couldn't run Starcraft II" versus "DRM IS COCKS!!! GO DIE!!!"

    D) That being said, I really see no reason for anyone who loves SC1 to get SC2. I played the beta, it's pretty much just feels like a modded, or expansion-packed, or remastered SC1, with some bits from Relic's RTSes pasted on. I think the best way to avoid the alleged hassle of SC2 is to just... keep playing SC1.

    E) I think my biggest issue here, and the one I will leave off with (leaving out comments about stat tracking and achievement farming and whatnot), is just that Blizzard here is stating, and their fanboys in the room are happily restating, is that, put simply, they are awesome because they aren't doing what Ubisoft is doing. Even though they aren't as bad as Ubi, they're just as bad, if not worse, than the rest of the market in this matter. They're still being 'bad', they just aren't the 'worst'. But they're still being bad.
  • One Less Customer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:13AM (#32374398)

    Blizzard forever lost me as a customer when they removed LAN play from their games, and sued the bnetd developers for restoring the feature. As far as I'm concerned, Blizzard and Microsoft are part of the same Axis of Evil (but for different reasons).

  • by Jarik C-Bol ( 894741 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:52AM (#32374778)
    Having been poked in the eye with a stick once, I have to say, activating a game online induces far less blindness and ball-shriveling pain than being poked in the eye with a stick.
    Sure, its not ideal, but since when do we live in an ideal world? hell, if it was all rainbows and puppies, there would be no DRM, and every game produced would be mailed to you free of charge on the release date.
    However, the fact of the matter is, Blizzard put years of work into making this game, spending God only knows how much money paying developers. Seeing as they are not the Omnipotent Benevolent beings you desire, they find the need to attempt to ensure that the product they have created makes a large enough financial return that they don't lose money. Thus, they conclude, because its not all puppies and rainbows out there, that they will require an activation, thus creating a locked glass door that keeps the honest people honest.
    I have no illusions, DRM/activation/CDkeys/whatever are all Locked Glass Doors. If you want in badly enough, you brick the door and walk in, but to 90% of the population, a locked glass door means 'oh, i guess i have to follow the rules' . So as soon as the world is all rainbows, puppies and sunshine, you can have your damn DRM free games, but until then, all we can do is bitch about it, which really seems to not help much.
  • by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:42AM (#32376130)

    A single online activation isn't 'restrictive'. it's the norm for a wide range of software packages and it is not unreasonable. A simple system to prevent casual infringement is a non-issue. ALL DRM by it's nature is restrictive in some way, but most are oppressively so. You mention a lot of those oppressive systems in your post, none of which are as painless as the Blizzard alternative. They already release patches to remove CD requirements on their Old games. There is no reason they couldn't release a patch to remove the online activation if they should ever find themselves going out of business.

    At this point, I think we should be encouraging more sensible and sane DRM solutions, rather than immediately claiming that it will never be enough.

  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@gmai l . c om> on Friday May 28, 2010 @11:18AM (#32376524) Homepage
    I don't know about that, I enjoyed SC1 single player more than battlenet, maybe because I could play leisurely against the computer and not have to worry about being zerg rushed by some manic 14 year old, or some 32 year old basement dweller who focuse all of his frustrations with life into mastering every aspect of SC strategy and tactics.

This login session: $13.76, but for you $11.88.