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Spore, Mass Effect DRM Phone Home For Single-Player Gaming

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the incredibly-lame-ideas dept.

Role Playing (Games) 900

Tridus writes "The PC version of Mass Effect is going to require Internet access to play (despite being a single-player game), as its DRM system requires that it phone home every 10 days. Sadly, Spore will use the same system. This will do nothing to stop piracy of course, but it will do a heck of a good job of stopping EA's new arch-enemy: people playing their single player games offline." Is this better or worse than requiring a CD in the drive to play? Update: 05/07 17:17 GMT by T : According to a message from Technical Producer Derek French (may require a scroll-down) on the Bioware forums, there is indeed an internet connection required, but only for activation, not for all future play. Update: 05/08 04:10 GMT by T : Mea culpa. As reader David Houk points out, the 10-day window is in fact correct as initially described, so don't count on playing this on any machine without at least some Internet connectivity.

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My worry (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324356)

I worry that this portends a day when consoles (and even blu-ray movie players) will REQUIRE an internet connection and do something similar to verify their games/movies. While piracy isn't as big an issue with console games/DVD's/Blu-ray's, it could set the precenent for a world where every piece of media we play would have the equivalent of a "Windows Genuine Advantage" check to function.

And, of course, this isn't unprecented (on the DVD side, at least). Something very similar was done with the evil DIVX format [wikipedia.org] in the late 90's

Bigger Worry: A backdoor is worse than a CD. (2, Insightful)

inTheLoo (1255256) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324450)

You know the thing does more than call. It has to receive some kind of "go" signal to play. It may be well done or it may not be and that will be just one more hole for your non free platform. Consoles, like the Xbox, are connected to your wallet.

All of these gadgets are going to have network access. Big publishers dream of them being non free and pay per play. The last ten years of DRM and non free security dissasters prove better than anything else those dreams are impossibly flawed and that people hate it. Free software and free culture are going to overwhelm them.

Re:Bigger Worry: A backdoor is worse than a CD. (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324670)

Back door or not, this could be exploited almost more easily than other DRM just by setting up your own computer as the answering server, or for more advanced people, setting up a network box as the server. I can see whole floors of college dorm rooms sharing pirated copies and having the answering server set up in the nerd's room.

Re:Bigger Worry: A backdoor is worse than a CD. (5, Insightful)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324714)

And there may be your solution for when a company dies and takes their DRM with them, along with your purchase's bought-and-paid-for usefulness.

Re:My worry (1, Insightful)

ThisIsAnonymous (1146121) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324494)

This type of thing is dreamed of by most media companies. For example, consider the "watch now/instant view" features at Netflix etc. Most consumers are so impressed with the ability to watch a film instantly that they fail to think about the fact that they no longer own a physical copy of that film. If you cancel your subscription: the film is gone. If Netflix shuts down: your access to the film is gone.

This type of thing will not only be done at Netflix etc. but obviously, it's going to start happening with game companies (and most media in general). What happens 5 years from now if you want to play Spore...does the authentication still work?

Re:My worry (5, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324754)

That analogy is completely flawed. People have been renting videos for decades. People are well aware that when they stop paying, the video goes away. I really doubt there are any Netflix subscribers who believe that Netflix are selling the movies to them.

Re:My worry (5, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324504)

I worry that this portends a day when consoles (and even blu-ray movie players) will REQUIRE an internet connection and do something similar to verify their games/movies
I worry about the same thing, but there's a counter-movement right now from many media companies where they're trying to add convenience and features rather than regulate them through DRM. These companies realize that DRM just means they're product is inferior to what pirates can put out with a minimum of effort and are trying to combat that.

DRM is always going to be around because companies are always going to try to protect themselves from unauthorized copying. When the measures they take get to onerous, they tend to be scaled back or changed so that people can use the products again. We're at or nearing a peak in DRM technologies, and pretty soon more companies will be giving up DRM than are taking it up. In three years time I expect us to be reading headlines about one of the last companies giving up strenuous DRM in favor of more lax restrictions or no restrictions at all.

Re:My worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324514)

What happens in 20 years when EA is no longer around or they stop hosting the verification server?...

Re:My worry (1)

The Only Druid (587299) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324572)

What happens in 20 years when EA is no longer around or they stop hosting the verification server?...
Well, the same thing that happens today when multiplayer servers for unpopular games go offline: they stop being functional. If users of Mass Effect and Spore are lucky, EA (or whomever) will simply disable the DRM as their company dies.

Re:My worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324772)

What happens in 20 years
You will be running a completely different OS that may or may not run these two games effectively, and even if it did you would find them laughably campy compared to any modern offerings

Re:My worry (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324700)

And, of course, this isn't unprecented (on the DVD side, at least). Something very similar was done with the evil DIVX format [wikipedia.org] in the late 90's

That didn't work out so well for Circuit City. Maybe EA can learn a lesson from that.

FFS (5, Insightful)

ShedPlant (1041034) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324360)

For goodness' sake, you must be joking! I've pre-ordered the game but now I'm considering leaving it on the shelf and playing a pirated version. Sounds way easier!

Re:FFS (4, Insightful)

Z-Knight (862716) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324496)

There goes at least one sale of Spore that has been officially lost. I'm never going to buy any game that require me to connect to the home office unless it is a network game and that's what I'm using it for. The stupidity in this requirement for a single player off-line game is unbelievable...I guess I'm not really as shocked as I pretend, but I'm horribly disappointed. Screw Spore.

Most people dont know and dont care (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324696)

I don't like crap like this. I consider it to be consumer-hostile. The majority of the game-buying public, however, has internet access up all the time and doesn't even realize this is going on. And they don't care. The higher-level issues of who-controls-what just doesn't matter to them.

So, game manufacturers will continue to get away with crap like this, because they only turn away a small handful of geeks who care.

Re:FFS (4, Interesting)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324738)

And they've just ensured that I will NOT be purchasing a copy. Not buying and then playing a pirated copy (which I tend to do with a lot of my existing games for a similar reason), but a transfer of $0 from myself to them in exchange for a copy of the game.

You hear that, EA? You just ensured that I will not be purchasing Spore, which up until this news was at the top of my buy list.

I'll keep the money set aside for when you change your mind. In the meantime, I'll be playing a Swedish [thepiratebay.org] version.

Re:FFS (2, Interesting)

Veritas1980 (1008679) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324768)

This is nothing short of ignoring anyone who is not always online. It is rude, callous and blatantly giving their fans the finger. I have now withdrawn my preorder.

Turn everyone into criminals? (5, Insightful)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324364)

It will just make the people who would normally not look for cracks go and find them. These people will then see that they didn't have to buy the game in the first place and EA will turn their paying customers into non-paying ones. Great job!

Re:Turn everyone into criminals? (2, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324732)

Probably true, but what it SHOULD do is put the moronic company that came up with this fucktardedly hare-brained idea out of buisness.

Damn it, we won this war back in the late eighties when we refused to buy copy protected CDs. WTF is wrong with you people? Don't buy into to this idiotic shit!

Steam (1)

DramaGeek (806258) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324372)

Steam makes me do this already, just to play Portal, for example. It's nothing new.

Re:Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324396)

yea but with steam you can go into offline mode to play your game.

Re:Steam (4, Informative)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324476)

Steam's a bit different - you can switch it to 'offline mode' (which happens automatically if it can't connect to the Steam servers), and it won't need to phone back again. You only need to be online to initially decrypt and update the game.

Re:Steam (2, Informative)

oyningen (1189553) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324580)

Offline mode has never worked for me. I find this out everytime my DSL is down for whatever reason, and I actually want to play a single-player game. And then I can't...

Re:Steam (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324568)

Steam makes me do this already, just to play Portal, for example. It's nothing new.
Steam requests me to do this already, just to play Portal, for example. This however is a step beyond, if it is in fact true

There, fixed that for you. Just remember that you can play Portal and other steam games (at least the Valve created ones, I have no experience with the other published games through steam) without an internet connection, and you can even disconnect your netcable, login counterstrike offline, and then re-connect your net cable and play a lan game with other people using the same method (and offline login!).
-----------
Computer with monitor: $600.00, Monthly Internet Access: $35.00; knowing what you're talking about for at least one of your slashdot posts: Priceless

Re:Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324624)

The system for Spore phones home every 10 days. Repeatedly.

Steam just asks for validation once and then you can go into offline mode.

Re:Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324638)

And isn't it also wildly awesome that the pirated version of Portal doesn't require an internet connection, or Steam for that matter?

Not that I'd ever..

Re:Steam (2, Insightful)

harl (84412) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324720)

Steam makes me do this already, just to play Portal, for example. It's nothing new.
I refuse to by any steam product for exactly this reason.

If I buy a single player game I want to be able to play it without asking permission first.

Remember Divx. No not that one. The other one. People who payed for life time unlimited viewing now have coasters. Steam can do that to you at any point.

Worse (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324380)

What do you play on the road or in the air?

Worse. (5, Insightful)

Carik (205890) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324384)

It's worse than requiring a CD. I can easily carry a CD with me. I can't easily carry my network connection with me. And since I had been thinking about getting rid of my home network connection, it may mean I won't buy the game, or can only play it at work. What's the point in that?

Yet another brain-dead attempt to prevent piracy...

Re:Worse. (2, Interesting)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324790)

I think it's worse, but should be considered as an alternative to CDs.

How about EITHER the game checks every 10 days, OR demands a CD be inserted at least every 10 days? I can't see checks going away any time soon (Arguments about them being a waste of space aside), and in the absence of requiring neither I'd prefer to be able to do an online check so I don't need to drag CDs around, but still be able to do a CD-based authentication if I have no network.

Summary has it a bit wrong, again (0)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324388)

Summary says: "that it phone home every 10 days" (emphasis mine)

TFA says "After the first activation, SecuROM requires that it re-check with the server within ten days (in case the CD Key has become public/warez'd and gets banned)."

Sounds like it only re-checks *once*, not once every ten days, ad infinitum.

it's the principle (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324526)

Today it's every 10 days. Tomorrow it's 30 times a second like Vista's insane audio checks.

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (5, Informative)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324544)

Update, as I read farther into TFA:

"just to activate the first time, and every 10 days after"

Now it's saying something different!

Also:
Commenter: "Sure, I have an always-on net connection but what happens if I don't play for 11 days and the moment I want to play my connection is down? Are you saying I'm not going to be able to play my perfectly legitimate purchased copy of the game, even the retail version, until I get permission?"
BioShock rep: "That is correct. And I would suggest that you contact EA Support the moment this happens (once you get your internet back) to report the issue. If there are people having problems with the system as designed, then Support needs to hear about it so they can help us evaluate it for the next game title."

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (5, Insightful)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324594)

So they want you to report the fact that their licensing system is defective? Sounds to me like they already know.

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (2, Insightful)

Atraxen (790188) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324698)

I'd say, sounds like someone inside the company knows, and is trying to collect enough evidence to convince the PHB's of it.

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324718)

Actually it had the sound of a support guy who didn't agree with the system himself and wanted you to pester his bosses when it breaks so that they don't have to implement the system next time.

Remember, companies and governments are not huge homogeneous decision making machines. I personally have to implement systems for my bosses that I KNOW are insecure or will perform poorly, but once it's bought or the decision has been made, it's my job to get behind that and make it work as best as I can, even if I don't agree with it.

The best that one can do after the fact is an "I told you so!" to try and keep it from happening again, and customers complaining are a great help to the "I told you so!" campaign.

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (4, Insightful)

Rasit (967850) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324728)

So they want you to report the fact that their licensing system is defective? Sounds to me like they already know.

No, the forum mods most likely knows that this is a really stupid idea, unfortunately it is the suit guys (EA) that makes these decision so spamming the support center with complaints is likely the easiest way to let them know how you feel.

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (1)

Lepton68 (116619) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324764)

So they want you to report the fact that their licensing system is defective? Sounds to me like they already know.
They already know, what they want to see is how many complaints they get. It seems if they get a lot of complaints they won't do it next time. Hopefully if they get an avalanche of complaints, and experience low sales, they will be forced to issue a patch..

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324618)

I want to see someone ask them exactly how this prevents piracy to begin with, since the pirates just bypass their scheme altogether. Why don't they ask that?

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324736)

I want to see someone ask them exactly how this prevents piracy to begin with, since the pirates just bypass their scheme altogether. Why don't they ask that?
Bioware: If we tell you, you can tell pirates and they will counter our scheme again.

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (1)

AngelKurisu (1173447) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324552)

It is in fact every 10 days, not just once. From the mod/dev person that was posting on the forums: "For clarity, though, an internet connection is not required to install, just to activate the first time, and every 10 days after. You can be completely connectionless for 9 days and encounter no problems playing Mass Effect. And you don't need the disk in the drive to play."

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (1)

ShedPlant (1041034) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324566)

No, that's incorrect. It does, in fact, check online if there have been ten or more days since the last time your copy was verified, ad infinitum.

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324604)

"Q: Why does MEPC need to reactivate every 10 days?

A: MEPC needs to authenticate every 10 days to ensure that the CD key used for the game is valid. This is designed to reduce piracy and protect valid CD keys."

That is taken directly from a post by Chris Priestly (Community Communications Coordinator)on Mass Effects forums.

http://masseffect.bioware.com/forums/viewtopic.html?topic=628724&forum=125

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324630)

later on in those forums(page 2) "just to activate the first time, and every 10 days after."

also, it checks your cd key against a growing 'blacklist' of abused keys...so you had better hope your key isn't stolen, or randomly picked by a keygen

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324702)

also, it checks your cd key against a growing 'blacklist' of abused keys...so you had better hope your key isn't stolen, or randomly picked by a keygen
If you used a keygen, then you should have a cracked version anyway, which wouldn't even perform the checks. This is retarded.

Re:Summary has it a bit wrong, again (2, Informative)

GarfBond (565331) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324646)

I'd say RTFA, but the clarifying details were on the second page so I won't. :)

For clarity, though, an internet connection is not required to install, just to activate the first time, and every 10 days after. You can be completely connectionless for 9 days and encounter no problems playing Mass Effect. And you don't need the disk in the drive to play.

Annoying (5, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324390)

Mostly because it won't do a thing to prevent piracy. I really don't understand how they can keep coming back to this idea of requiring a CD in the drive or an active internet connection for single-player games. It makes no sense and only inconveniences their customers. The pirates just replace the executable with a cracked version and have no trouble at all.

Re:Annoying (4, Funny)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324744)

Never mind, if my past experience with SecuRom is any indication, replacing the executable with the cracked version is going to be SecuRom's solution to any bugs in their DRM scheme. I know when I had problems with SecuROM not authorizing my copy of NWN, and wrote to them about it, they shipped me a little reporting tool (my box was almost exclusively used for NWN at this time), analysed the data, and sent me a link to a patched .exe and told me to replace my nwn.exe with that. What a waste, I could have downloaded the crack (which was probably SecuROM's own patched .exe) and ran that.

I've never seen a more useless company than SecuROM.

Lost me (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324398)

I don't play a lot of games, and I don't play any online, but this was going to be the first one in some time that I was planning to buy. But this just lost me. No doubt there will be a crack that will make it work without checking in, but I'd feel like a chump for paying them full price and then having to crack it anyway.

Worse. (5, Insightful)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324400)

Is this better or worse than requiring a CD in the drive to play?

Worse. The state of my CD/DVD drive is my business and basically under my control, while my Internet connection is dependent upon staying in the good graces of a ISP company that may or may not have their shit together on any given day.

agreed Re:Worse. (5, Informative)

Essron (231281) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324588)

dont forget air/sea travel, airports, bus stations, cabins, e-mail-less vacations.

I need my games most when I CAN'T get to the network...

Re:agreed Re:Worse. (1)

mshannon78660 (1030880) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324734)

Exactly what I was thinking - I like to have the capability to play games while travelling by air - and at my destination, I'd really rather not have to pay the daily rate for the internet connection for the 10 seconds it takes the game to authenticate. Having to carry the CDs is bad enough.

will be hacked shortly (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324408)

once the EA server is reverse engineered its just some virtual machine magic from there to make the game work.

Re:will be hacked shortly (1)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324464)

Wouldn't the cracking groups just remove the code that does the checking? That's what they do for CD-cracks anyways, I'd assume the same for this.

I wouldn't mind (3, Interesting)

AsmordeanX (615669) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324416)

Given my horrible luck with CD/DVD based protection systems I wouldn't mind that much if it phoned home from time to time assuming normal privacy concerns are met.

As a person with cable based internet there isn't a time when I'm not at home.

I think PC gaming is heading toward the persistent online authenticity check system. People look at games like Crysis which has been pirated to an extreme then WoW which was virtually immune to piracy for nearly two years and even now it requires a fair amount of fiddling and you can't play on the real servers.

I'm surprised at the 10 days though. That seems kind of long to me. Sounds like something a cracker could exploit. If there is a timer there is a way to stop it.

What A Load Of Shit (1)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324420)

So we pay thousands on a PC, monthly Internet fees, pay $69.99 for a game yet we still aren't trusted enough so we have to prove we are the rightful owners of it every ten days. Thanks but no thanks.

Re:What A Load Of Shit (1)

alcmaeon (684971) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324524)

I agree. I would not purchase their games at all. I'm done with everybody and his uncle thinking he has the right to snoop on me. Hell, I only use my PC for gaming, and I do that once or twice a month at most, so this game could would not be able to call home every 10 days anyway.

Doctrine of first sale (5, Informative)

eison (56778) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324424)

I hate how publishers have finally used technological measures to achieve what the courts won't grant them. This should be flat out explicitly illegal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine [wikipedia.org]

Re:Doctrine of first sale (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324652)

That's a good point. Does this open them up to civil suits, or better yet criminal prosecution, for violating the Doctrine of First Sale by techno means??

Someone else up above speculated that this will be a precedent for movies and movie players, such that to play the DVD/Blu-Ray/whatever, the player will have to phone home first to check that it's a legit copy.

How is different from being forced to call and check in with the publisher every time you want to read a book that you BOUGHT?

And what about library-owned copies? How do you verify those?? if they're "pre-activated", what's to prevent a decent hacker from emulating that?

I speculate that once Treach^H^H^H^H Trusted Computing becomes widespread, all such phone-home media will perform some sort of check against the TC chip, and will store the hash on the remote server -- as much out of your reach as the innards of that TC chip. At that point, you'll be forced to buy copies of everything for each and every machine you want to use it on, or go through a "deactivate here, activate there" process each time you move the media to a different player.

My solution is rather more simple: I don't need any of their shit that bad; I just won't buy it.

Bastards (3, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324428)

The more this kind of crap happens, the more I hate the software industry. It's MY computer damn it. If I buy software, I should be able to use it the way I want.

This is bogus. The problem with gamers is that they don't care about standing up for important principles and only care about shiny new games.

Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo should all be forced, by lack of customers, to open up their platform and allow people who bought these devices to actually control their property. Software vendors who do this crap should have every game that requires internet access returned to the store for a full refund. (More damaging than *not* buying it.)

Re:Bastards (3, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324622)

"Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo should all be forced, by lack of customers, to open up their platform and allow people who bought these devices to actually control their property."

If they did that, they'd be forced, by lack of licensing revenue, to stop making consoles all together. You're talking about a completely unrelated issue, anyway. Ever read up on the video game market crash?

Honestly, this is not going to affect Spore at all. 99% of people have an internet connection, 95% won't care that they have to use it to verify their legal software is in fact legal. The people that don't have legal copies will either get one, hassle with it, or give up because it's too annoying. Copy protection measures like this are annoying to me because I don't plan on buying the software, but at least it isn't as annoying as having to dig through all your cds to make sure the right one is in the drive. Take a step back here. This is a method of copy protection that is less annoying to 99% of legitimate users than the current system of making sure you have the disc in the drive. EVERYONE here is in that 99%. What's the problem?

You are a criminal by default (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324672)

95% won't care that they have to use it to verify their legal software is in fact legal.

So, guilt before innocence, you must prove you are not a criminal. It is unamerican and, sorry for the language, bullshit.

People who take this abuse deserve it.

Phoning home beats the alternative (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324432)

Is this better or worse than requiring a CD in the drive to play?

Does this mean that neither game will require a CD in the drive? If so, having enjoyed many games on the Steam platform, I'd say that yes, a quick internet heartbeat is much better than requiring a disc in the drive. It would be nice to know what data is transmitted, though.

Re:Phoning home beats the alternative (1)

GarfBond (565331) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324708)

This is much worse than Steam though - Steam lets you go up to either 30 or 90 days (I forget which) before complaining, which is much better. The likelihood of not having internet for a whole month is low, but 10 days? A long vacation could easily encompass that.

Such a pity (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324436)

And I was so looking forward to buying a copy of Spore.

It's things like this and the steep hardware upgrade curve, but mostly this, that has turned me off of gaming.

Great. Just great. (2, Interesting)

Deagol (323173) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324442)

Well, that ensures I will most certainly d/l a cracked version. I've got legit copies of a half-dozen PC games from over the past years that I've felt were worthy of spending money on. Spore was one of the games I was actually itching to buy. Screw this internet requirement crap -- they just lost a customer before they even left the gate. What if I want to play on the road? I won't even offer them the same respect I've given a few other mis-guided publishers, of buying the game and then getting the no-cd crack. I'm tired of this shit by game publishers.

Now that I think about it, I won't even bother with even getting an illegit copy. Why even patronize the product at all anymore?

Thanks for the info (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324452)

I might have bought Spore, now I will make sure to get up to date about the copy-protection before doing so (the link in TFA only confirms the "phone home" for Mass Effect).

If TFA is correct about Spore, the publisher just lost a customer.

The article says nothing about Spore (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324458)

This linked article says nothing about Spore that I can find. Unless it is buried on page 15. Even if it is there, I'll wait for something official before I get up in arms about it.

Re:The article says nothing about Spore (2, Informative)

AngelKurisu (1173447) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324608)

Quoted from the forum mod / dev person: "Yes, EA is ready for us and getting ready for Spore, which will use the same system." (on the second page)

Re:The article says nothing about Spore (1)

Bohnanza (523456) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324762)

It seems odd, since the basic concept of Spore is an online single-player game. The game will need to "phone home" anyway.

Worse (2, Interesting)

zifn4b (1040588) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324480)

What if I don't have an internet connection? What if I'm playing on a laptop in a location without access to the internet? What if the authentication server gets overloaded like what happened when Bioshock was released and there were a bunch of legitimate customers that bought the game that couldn't play for several days? What happens if the authentication server goes down? What happens when I want to play this game 5-10 years from now?

It's been said before but this does nothing to curb piracy. The pirates will crack this. Meanwhile, the customer who purchased a legitimate copy of the game will have their ability to play it be hampered.

Worse (1)

CelticWhisper (601755) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324482)

They either don't get it or don't care. It's not the act of putting a CD in the drive that people hate. I mean, I'm sure that's the case for some, but probably not the majority of Slashdotters.

The part people hate is the assumption that they're not "authorized" to be using the product they just forked over $50 to get. The part people hate is the notion that they need permission to play their game. The part people hate is the feeling that despite shelling out 50 dollars of their hard-earned money, they somehow don't own the game. And the part people REALLY hate is the thought that some company can arbitrarily take away their ability to play whenever they want just by pushing a button.

We don't care what form DRM takes. We care that the DRM is there at all, and we want it gone. Period.

FIXED LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324484)

Spore, Mass Effect to require cracks for single player gaming.

gamecopyworld is your friend (5, Informative)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324486)

I always buy my games (who needs to download multiple Gb files anyway, it's boring), but I hate these stupid copy protection schemes.

Most of the time I find someone posts a crack or workaround to gamecopyworld though, and they tend to work.

Not for freetards though, not one of them comes with a serial, you still have to buy the games.

I'll try Spore just as soon as the drm is bypassed, not before. I refuse to believe that I, as a legally purchasing game player, need to be watched by the content owner.

Far worse (for me at least) (1)

taupin (1047372) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324488)

It means that I won't be able to play either of these games, since I'm on dial-up, and there's no way I can justify tying up a phone line to play Spore to the rest of my family and anybody that's trying to contact us.

Still Not a Great Option (1)

sanjacguy (908392) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324490)

As an option, this still sucks - I can't wait to be in Alterac Valley and have my game suddenly minimize due to their "phone home" program crashing. Or better yet it makes me much happier I picked up an Xbox360 a year or so ago.

Worse- Look at the PlayForSure debacle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324506)

If you're following the "PlayForSure" debacle, you'll understand the danger of requiring a specific server to be online in order to access the content you purchased.

What's to keep EA from turning off the authentication server in 5 years when they no longer "Support" the game.

If you want to be able to play your game at any point in the future, this is a horrible thing: Can you guarantee that in 10 years when you break out that "classic" for some retro gaming that the internet authentication server is still going to be there?

Re:Worse- Look at the PlayForSure debacle. (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324668)

What's to keep EA from turning off the authentication server in 5 years when they no longer "Support" the game.

A lawsuit, preferably of the class action variant ;-)
Personally, I prefer to avoid the hassle in the first place, so no buy from me...

What a Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324518)

I was really looking forward to this game... Now I'm not even going to bother looking at the box. I don't know why they spend so much time on copy protection, all it does is irritate the users who legitimately buy. The people who pirate, are going to pirate regardless.

New Poll (1)

ebolaZaireRules (987875) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324528)

Is this better or worse than requiring a CD in the drive to play?

Better
Worse
Cracked exe
Replacement server
Cowboy Neal still uses tape drives

Modem? (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324562)

I wonder how much of the customer base this cuts out. Not everyone who could buy this game has broadband, and it seems silly to boot up your 56k modem to play a single player game. And what of those whose computer has no internet access?

So long, purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324564)

Well, there are two games I was planning to buy now on the "don't touch with someone else's money" list. DRM FTL.

This has been a critical feature of Spore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324574)

The whole point is that you constantly pull down other user created content that is integrated into your playing experience in real-time?

Will Wright himself pretty much told you the game needs to have internet access when he talked about these groovy features everyone has been oohing and ahhing about all along.

This is not news. Not even remotely.

Re:This has been a critical feature of Spore? (0, Flamebait)

dualboot (125004) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324710)

This just in!

World of Warcraft requires you to "phone home" to play! Damned anti-piracy measures!

Vicious Circle... (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324578)



Damn! I don't have an internet connection!!

I guess that means I'm now forced to download a cracked version just to play it....errr...wait...!

Damn!

kind of sad (1)

Satanboy (253169) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324596)

I was looking forward to playing spore and working on mods for Mass Effect. I guess I'll stick with UT3 and forget about these 2 games.

I see a problem with this. (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324610)

Eventually they aren't going to want to keep spending money to maintain the verification server, so after a few years, you won't be able to play anymore.

I could understand having this type of verification for online based games, but for single player games? For shame, EA, for shame.

I was looking forward to Spore, because it sounds like a game with near-infinite replayability, and those are the main type of games that I play. If I want to break out Sid Meye's Alpha Centauri, I still can, even though it has been 10 years since it was released. With this game, I won't be able to play it at some arbitrary point in time, based on the profitability of keeping the server active.

I, for one, won't be buying either of these games. I might downloaded the cracked versions, though. They are making it easier to steal than it is to buy. Stupid.

Just like MSN DRM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324648)

What happens when the authentication goes offline, as the MSN music service?

If they want to prevent piracy... (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324674)

If the publisher wants to prevent piracy (specifically CD keys and other activation codes) why not just modify the initial activation process just a little?

Possible scenerio: You buy the game. You install the game. You go online to register the game. It prompts you for the CD key, and then, after that, a password that you create. The key and the password are stored together on a remote server, and if someone activates a copy of the game without the corresponding password, the activation fails.

I understand that there would be some re-install issues due to system crashes and what not, but I feel a "help us prevent it" approach would be better than a "lets assume you're a thief" vibe the 10-day method gives.

Yarr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324692)

Let me tell you a story about two software titles, Rosetta Stone and Sins of a Solar Empire.

I initially had no plans to purchuse Sins of a Solar Empire. I installed the game from my friend's discs, and played it. This was possible because SoaSE doesn't phone home or require any activation. This allowed me play the game, and over come the initial disappointment, and eventually purchused the game. And let me tell you, it was great to be treated like an adult.

I bought Rosetta Stone after being wowed by the effectiness of their online demo. I payed arround $250 for the dutch version, and I feel it was well spent money. However, RS requires the CD, and if you use it like do, which is complete a lesson or two every night,it requires the CD to spin up and down a lot. I thought I'd just make an image, count it as my back up, and virtually mount it to solve the spin up/down issue. I was wrong. It took me an entire friday night and 4 different programs to finally create a virtually mountable image.

Now, the same friend who had lent me his Sins discs so I could install the game had also expressed interest in learning dutch with Rosetta Stone. I initally had told them could use the discs when I was done. However, that weekend I gave them the ISO I ripped and the supporting programs. That's right, Copy Protection turned me into a pirate.

I'm currently pushing this image out to bittorrent. Why? Because I was super pissed at the hoops I had to jump through to make the software usable to me.

I figure if EA is going to treat me like a software pirate, I might as well act like a software pirate. Looks like EA just lost atleast one paying customer of Mass Effect.

Naturally... (2, Insightful)

rwven (663186) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324716)

Another moronic publisher killing their market. People talk about the death of PC gaming. Well, this is it, and the companies killing it are too stupid to see it.

Vote with your Wallet (1)

ParadoxDruid (602583) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324746)

I know there's a lot of Spore love around (heck, I'm excited, too), but the only way to let companies know that this kind of stuff is going too far is by voting with your wallet-- if enough people don't buy the game, or buy it and return it to major retailers saying it's defective because they don't have a home internet connection, then something will change.

If your "shiny new game" lust overwhelms your outrage, then don't bitch about it here. You have a choice whether you play the game, and your money is how businesses judge their actions.

That's too bad (1)

chicagojosh (814051) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324756)

I suppose they're assuming everyone who would be able to play their game would already have an internet connection running in their house (especially if they plan on buying Spore.) Still, I'm not too keen on buying a game just to have it stop working on me if I, for whatever reason, can't connect to the internet when they say I should.

Well then... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#23324780)

Ok, well it looks like I *won't* be buying Spore the day it's released. Or at all for that matter. Meanwhile, Stardock will continue to get my money for their excellent DRM-Free RTSX games.

HOW-TO: Defeat copy protection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324784)

How to not be a slave to DRM, when these games come out:
- Download & install uTorrent
- Search for game at btjunkie.com or mininova.org
- Click torrent, play game, laugh at fools who paid and can't play because their internet connection is down.

just get the crack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23324794)

as long as it's crackable i don't worry much. i buy games and then dl a crack for them for many years now. even if i would only play 2 games at a time, it would be very annoying to switch the dvd in my drive. atm i am playing 6 games... i mean, man, i am not a disc-jockey or smt.

but i guess the day will come (soon) when games just don't check the protection online like they would do with the dvd, but download small required gamecontent right while playing the game, like maybe the positions of items and enemies in a level.
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