Covering (but not limited to) all of my thoughts on the PC gaming scene.
Mass Effect and Spore copy protection systems redesigned
Published on May 10, 2008 By Phazon88 In PC Gaming

Another case of the customer knows best. Recently you may have heard about how a intrusive form of copy protection was going to be included with Mass Effect and Spore that constantly connected to the internet (at the rate of every 10 days) just to check your serial was valid (with no check = no play).

There was a huge uproar as a consequence, with many potential buyers saying that they would just simply not buy their title (or even pirate it on purpose) just to get rid of this major intrusion.

 

If only publishers will learn that you must REWARD your customer for purchasing your game, not punish them. Make it easier to be a customer than to be a pirate.

Thankfully the voices were heard and the decision was reversed, with the new system being limited to one online check upon install and consequent checks when you download updates (which is reasonable enough). Still the limited installs is extremely annoying as you should have the right to install the game as often as you want since you payed for it.


Comments (Page 1)
on May 10, 2008
Thankfully the voices were heard and the decision was reversed, with the new system being limited to one online check upon install and consequent checks when you download updates (which is reasonable enough). Still the limited installs is extremely annoying as you should have the right to install the game as often as you want since you payed for it.


If they do it like other, similar systems, you can request additional activations. Heck, GalCiv II / Sins have limited activations -- its just that the limit is set high enough you don't run into it very easily.

Its just a matter of how its done. Activations are a (big) annoyance, but livable if I don't have to deal with a thrice-damned CD in the drive.
on May 10, 2008
This is a great thing.

However, we still need to keep the pressure on. Limited activations are not the way to go, especially when it's only 3 right now. Does anyone relish the idea of calling EA tech support and asking for another activation? I don't - and I know for a fact that within only a couple months I'll have burned my original three activations and will have to run to the phone to get a new one. And how many are they going to allow you to get before they decide you're getting too many and cut you off? No thanks, I don't think I'm in for this.

This needs to stop before more and more games start to come out with it. Imagine a couple years down the road, when you want to start installing (and activating) older games again just for nostalgia's sake - and you have to call for a new activation code for every single game. So you end up waiting, what, a few minutes? Hours? Days? For a game you want to install and play now? Why? I've already paid for the game. I shouldn't have to wait around for permission to install and play it again.

And if you're lucky enough to have activations left, where are you going to be if the worst happens and the servers are taken off line? Are you going to trust in their good will to release a patch to remove the activation requirement? I'm not.
on May 10, 2008
"EA teach sipert, no english pease."
on May 10, 2008
Quoting from slashdot:

"- Announce heavy-handed DRM
- "Listen" to backlash from fans
- Announce less heavy-handed DRM
- Pat yourself on the back when the fans lavish praise on you, knowing you still got your foot in the door anyway

Sudden outbreak of common sense, my foot!"

The DRM still sucks. It is still way more intrusive then necessary. It is still using SecuROM crap. It's not totally insane as first planned, it is "only" very bad. Yea right, go buy the game now because EA has done so much better. Welcome in the psychology trap!
on May 10, 2008
Common sense would be to strip all copy protection. However, it's significantly less (Edit)disagreeable. I will inevitably get a crack for the game if I run into an issue with the security. When the three activations are up, bypass them. Screw the phone call.

The phone home component is the idealogical sticking point that will not be compromised on. With that in it, I refuse to support the company. With that out, it's simply a nuisance and a waste of their time and money, instead of an ongoing objectionable act.

I object to being checked up on every five days, it amounts to spying. They can still drop dead for causing me grief but I wont mind giving them money in the meantime.
on May 10, 2008
It's less disagreeable in this form. Limited authentications means I won't pay more than bargin bin prices for the titles in question, but I wouldn't have bought them at all before.
on May 11, 2008
Wait a minute...what they had was beyond horrible. Now what they're rolling back to is just as bad as what was used on Bioshock and why I didn't buy that game either.

I'm starting to think this was done on purpose to soften people up to the idea of their latest copy-protection schemes. Next time we'll see them come out with a scheme that checks every time you play, and then they'll roll it back to the once every 10 days thing. They'll shock people and then pull back a bit. In some ways, this is likely a calculated move I would expect.

When their protection software requires me to activate, installs monitoring software onto my computer, or disrupts other programs or hardware on my system, then there isn't a chance I'll buy the game. I skipped Bioshock for its copy-protection, but I'm more interested in Mass Effect. That doesn't mean I'll buy it, but I may wait until it gets halved in price.
on May 11, 2008
Is completely confused about the celebrations.
The copy protection they've "rolled back to", is still the most intrusive measures that have been tried to date.

How on earth can people be willing to live with this form of protection.


When I buy a movie I expect it to work on any dvd player(that it's compatible with) I possess now and in the future. I should not have to beg the company to allow me to run it in how many years time.


This is not even remotely acceptable.

on May 11, 2008

For those interested, check out the responses at the Bioware Mass Effect forum: http://masseffect.bioware.com/forums/viewforum.html?forum=125

EA really wanna test the waters on this don't they. I hope they take this hostile reaction to heart that this is not how you treat potential customers. Particularly when your patch / post-release support history is pretty bad.

 

on May 11, 2008
Oh, come on, guys, stop complaining already. DRM sucks, true, but this new method will actually allow you to play without your CD! This is actually a step in the right direction for DRMs.

This means that I won't have to wait and search for a crack in order to install the game on my gaming laptop (I never use CD-required games on the go), and the guys who created the game will still protect their intellectual property, at least on launch day.

Mass-Effect is an RPG, which means that the game is "complete", and thus there won't be any small, incremental updates for it, a la GalCiv2/SupCom/Sins, so Stardock model of business is not 100% right for it.

Spore REQUIRES multiplayer to function properly. It is the base and core of the game - your creatures will interact with someone else's creatures all the time. Why not protect your business model that way?

While DRM sucks, I can't think of a better way I could protect my intellectual properly from warez-kids, at least on launch day. You guys like to moan, but think about it - if you buy the game, you just have to connect the PC to an internet once, and then forget about CDs or anything else. This shouldn't pose any proplem for people who legally bought the game. It's the best compromise between DRM and non-DRM.
on May 11, 2008
Phazon88: Thanks for that link. Very nice to read.
I think we have to thank StarDock for that. Before GC2 / Sins, people were complaining but didn't have a real argument against DRM. Now customers have seen first hand that there are good products without DRM and their demands did rise. Now customers start asking with confidence for a non-intrusive product. I really enjoy seeing that.
on May 11, 2008

Gormoth1: Yes while not needing the CD is good, the limited installs is not. Especially when its limited to 3 and there is no way of "revoking" a used install (which could be as easily achieved as by performing a verification check).

on May 11, 2008
Gormoth1: Yes while not needing the CD is good, the limited installs is not. Especially when its limited to 3 and there is no way of "revoking" a used install (which could be as easily achieved as by performing a verification check).


With all due respect, once you buy a single copy of the game, under any circumstances, you should NOT be allowed to install it on more than one or two computers. And while I might understand your concern regarding mis-indentification errors, such as the fact that you will waste 1 of your 3 tries accidently, or even regarding the fact that this is not future proofing of the game at all, since when you'll upgrade your PC you will still have to waste another install of your allowed 3, you still need to remember that this is not a free-pass for you to just buy and install on anything you wish, including your neighbours', your cousins', and your pet dog Timmy's PC. It's a piece of software that people worked very hard for.

And like I said, while I do agree that this is not really future proofing, you still need to remember that the game WILL be eventually cracked, be it a week, a month or even a year after release. The developers only aim is to protect their IP from casual downloaders, what you might call Zero-Day Piracy, in which fans simply cannot wait for the game to get to the stores and want to play it RIGHT NOW, as soon as, or even prior to the release. Stardock solved this by providing their SD central downloading service, but this work model doesn't work for each and every game, I'm afraid, for the same reasons I explained on my previous post.

For the millionth time, I do agree that DRM sucks, and I don't want to jump through hoops in order to play the game I legally purchased just as well as you do, but there aren't that many alternatives to protecting yourself from being robbed of your well-deserved money, if you're a developer. This is not a halfway bad model as you picture it, and unless you pirate your games, this is actually a better alternatives than many other forms of DRM.
on May 11, 2008
And just to precede the flames: no, I don't think that once you pay your measly $50 US you are allowed to do whatever you want with your purchased game, no matter how annoying this may feel.
on May 11, 2008
With all due respect, once you buy a single copy of the game, under any circumstances, you should NOT be allowed to install it on more than one or two computers.


I disagree! If I buy the damn thing it is my decision alone what I do with it. Nobody can tell me different. If anybody tries, I'll for sure not buy their game.
See how the DRM with mp3 (not playing on every device) worked. Same goes for games: I buy stuff, that means I own stuff. I own stuff, that means I can do whatever I want with it.
Big company thinks different? Screw them. That means they are never ever getting my money.

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