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EA Loosens Spore, Mass Effect DRM

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the actually-listening-to-your-constituency dept.

PC Games (Games) 249

An anonymous reader writes "In response to recent criticism, EA has decided to eliminate the periodic validation of Mass Effect and Spore. 'Specifically, EA's plan to dial in to game owner's computers every ten days to check whether they were running a legitimate version of their software has been scrapped, ShackNews reports. EA had planned to use the validation method for upcoming titles Mass Effect and Spore. EA now says that validation will now only occur when a user attempts to download new content for either game. Chief among the voices in opposition to this measure were members of the armed forces, who pointed out that they could not rely on having an internet connection every ten days.'"

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Sudden outbreak... (5, Funny)

thealsir (927362) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358132)

of common sense?

Re:Sudden outbreak... (5, Funny)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358252)

Something like that, sure.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/5/9/ [penny-arcade.com]

Re:Sudden outbreak... (4, Insightful)

Skylinux (942824) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358940)

Nice, if I had a mod points I would give one to you. http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/5/9/ [penny-arcade.com] is very funny ... still laughing

The DRM still only allows three total installs for the lifetime of the game
How is this better then constant validation? So if I install it on my Desktop, Laptop and maybe at work ... I would only play it on one computer at a time.
Now if one of the machines crashes, I am thinking about my Gaming (win XP) Desktop here, it has become unstable and needs a reload soon .... I would have to beg to get one more install.... keep your game!

Re:Sudden outbreak... (2, Interesting)

Barny (103770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358260)

Yeah, are we sure this is:

a. EA
b. Worded correctly

Just doesn't sound like EA....

I'm scared ;(

Re:Sudden outbreak... (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358432)

They said that one of the primary objections were from soldiers. I think looking unpatriotic/unAmerican/unSupportTheTroops would be very bad for business.

Re:Sudden outbreak... (4, Funny)

ppanon (16583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358726)

They said that one of the primary objections were from soldiers. I think looking unpatriotic/unAmerican/unSupportTheTroops would be very bad for business.
Maybe another factor was the realization that a large number of soldiers are coming home from Iraq with PTSD and good weapons handling skills and that it could be bad for more than business.

Re:Sudden outbreak... (4, Funny)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359016)

(Apologies in advance to those this may offend.)

A new psychological condition is predicted to appear among service men and women serving in combat in Iraq: PEASD (Post-Electronic-Arts-Stress-Disorder).

Re:Sudden outbreak... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358702)

I know!

I swear, I read the headline as "EA looses Spore..."

Re:Sudden outbreak... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358314)

Do not downmod posts "overrated" simply because you disagree with them.

Then how do you propose we deal with patently-incorrect posts? Posts that spread blatant misinformation? My only thought is that someone could respond to such a post with correct info, but then mods have to waste points modding that post "Informative". I don't see how that's any better.

Re:Sudden outbreak... (1)

esp_ex (148837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358392)

of common sense?
Seems to me it isn't an outbreak common sense if EA had to be pushed to change its policies based on consumer demands.

Re:Sudden outbreak... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358628)

It is an outbreak because they reacted to the pushing, usually that ends with the company just ignoring everyone and going ahead anyway.

Re:Sudden outbreak... No not Really (4, Insightful)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358434)

No, more like reacting to bad publicity. Sort of like what our elected officials do. Float a trial balloon and then act according to the poll results.

Re:Sudden outbreak... No not Really (-1, Flamebait)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358476)

But it's for our brave soldiers in Iraq! God bless 'em. Jesus loves killers, and wants them to practice bloodshed with EA games.

Re:Sudden outbreak... No not Really (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358508)

Yeah, Spore looks to be one of the bloodiest games of the season!

Re:Sudden outbreak... No not Really (0, Troll)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358636)

Fuck You, fuck Jesus,fuck EA, and fuck the White Mule You Rode In On!
Nothing in your reply has anything to do with the subject.

The mention of soldiers in Iraq is nothing but a smoke screen for your own flamebait ideals.
The US soldiers are only dealing with the shit job they were assigned, nothing more, nothing less. Most would rather be home with their families, not sent into a hostile environment to further our Gov't.'s goals.

It is a fact that they are there, and if you would talk to some of them, you would understand that most do not want to be there, but they are doing their job, and some of it is appreciated by the Iraq people. (not all, but some)

BTW, what do YOU do for a living? Is your job totally without fault or negative repercussions for the whole world? Do you live in a glass house without fear of thrown rocks?

Seriously, WTF do YOU do for a living? WTF do you do except flame on /.?

I assume from the 'jesus' and 'god' references that you are one of those fundamental christian nut-jobs. Forgive me if I am wrong. (you asshats DO believe in forgiveness don't you?)

*disclaimer- I have just went from Kubuntu gutsty to hardy, and have not got my set up where I want it, so please excuse the puncuation and grammatical errors---but the content aand meaning still stands)

Re:Sudden outbreak... No not Really (3, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359234)

I don't know what the GP does for a living, but I'm active duty Navy in the submarine force. We go underwater in a nice enclosed space for months at a time, away and largely out of contact with our families (I'm married), something you might consider a bit on the arduous side compared to most civilian employment.

I also know a lot of people from other service branches, from various backgrounds with varying perspectives on the war. Of course most of those soliders would "rather be home with their families" as opposed to dealing with a hostile combat environment every day. That said, those same soldiers are proud to be serving their nation (the "government" you speak of in your post), and have a job where they voluntarily agreed to accept and execute whatever orders are deemed necessary by those in command. That includes the Commander in Chief.

Just some perspective from a Sailor.

Re:Sudden outbreak... No not Really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359244)

YHBT.HTH.HAND.

Re:Sudden outbreak... No not Really (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359248)

most do not want to be there, but they are doing their job

That's what Eichmann [wikipedia.org] said, too.

Re:Sudden outbreak... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358438)

More like, trial balloon didn't blow over so well this time around.

It'll be back. Don't you worry. Just not this year.

Re:Sudden outbreak... (1)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358466)

Yes, and good on them for listening. Of course, over time publishers will try and slip in more and more net-based checks, but it's great to see a huge amount of bad publicity can have an effect on their decisions.

Re:Sudden outbreak... (5, Insightful)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358514)

- 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!

Re:Sudden outbreak... (5, Interesting)

chrisb33 (964639) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358776)

I was thinking the same thing - could they really have been serious about the 10-day DRM? It wasn't as if people's reactions were unpredictable, so I find it hard to believe that they honestly thought people wouldn't complain. As you pointed out, this seems more like a conscious "Door-in-the-face" technique [wikipedia.org] than a legitimate retraction.

Screw them... (0, Troll)

packeteer (566398) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358134)

Chief among the voices in opposition to this measure were members of the armed forces, who pointed out that they could not rely on having an internet connection every ten days.'"

I call BS. There is no reason why anyone would want to not check in. If you are not guilty you have nothing to hide. We dont need to military to be able to relax anyway...

Re:Screw them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358164)

I hope you are just being ignorant. My friend Joey is in the army and I get to talk to him maybe once a month. The army has more important things to do with its bandwidth then to let some guy activate his copy of Spore/Mass Effect.

Re:Screw them... (0)

packeteer (566398) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358216)

Oh wow nobody can pick up the sarcasm eh? I figured by saying "If you are not guilty you have nothing to hide" people would pick up the ridiculousness of having to check in every 10 days. Of course the military should be able to play games, thats why i mentioned (sarcastically) that they need to be able to relax.

It's really too bad that EA can't see how rediculous an idea this was untill the military protests it. I supose though that is a good tactic becuase who can not support troops oversees? It just depresses me that if it was not for military gamers this might not have happened. Civilian gamers are just too easy to push around i guess.

Re:Screw them... (3, Funny)

Grave (8234) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358328)

So it could be said that our military is not only protecting us from terrorists and imaginary weapons of mass destruction, but from evil corporations as well now?

*salute*

Re:Screw them... (1)

jadedoto (1242580) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358170)

I'm glad you can think so selfishly. My brother happens to be over in Iraq now, and doesn't have a reliable internet connection and his job is to sit in a tent in the desert supervising Iraqi soldiers once every other day... It's not that they don't need to relax (after all, spending months away from home in a war torn zone isn't that bad), but rather some of them would maybe prefer to play video games every once in a while as opposed to jerking off with their buddies? I know my brother is annoyed with not playing his Steam games, and I'm sure that group of military folks complaining about not having an internet connection have a completely valid complaint. And yes, there's nothing to be concerned about when you have legit software, but it's annoying when you can't use the software so that the company making it can squeeze more money out of their software.

Pictured? (5, Funny)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358140)

> EA had planned to use the validation method for upcoming titles Mass Effect and Spore (pictured).

Those games look a lot like a joystick.

Re:Pictured? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358186)

They're really advanced.

Publicity (5, Informative)

Emb3rz (1210286) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358144)

The original story on this garnered attention from quite a large crowd (even just in the scope of Slashdot). It would have been foolish on their part to plug ahead when, as was pointed out by a poster on the original thread, their customer service was already trained with what to tell people who didn't like the model: 'complain so that we don't make the same mistake with our next game release.'

Phew! (5, Funny)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358148)

I was worried I'd have to actually buy Spore.

Re:Phew! (5, Insightful)

Perseid (660451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358204)

I don't know about everyone else, but protection like this makes me MUCH less likely to buy a game.

Re:Phew! (2, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358368)

I'm not sure I undestand why you're less likely to buy it after the changes. There's no regularily set phone-home-and-authenticate functionality so after the intial install an online registration you never have to bother validating your copy of the game if you don't want to get new patches or play online (both of which require you to have an internet connection in order to accomplish.) so I fail to see what the fuss is about.

I suppose it sucks if you don't have internet access (but then how are you posting to Slashdot?) to begin with, but considering they dropped the overly silly requirement of having the CD/DVD in the drive while playing the game, they've more than made concessions. I'll also mention that this allows you to easily install and enjoy the game on multiple systems since you don't have to haul the stupid CD/DVD around.

Either I've completely misunderstood you or I can't even comprehend what you're objections to the new scheme that they've developed are.

Re:Phew! (5, Interesting)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358446)

...after the intial install an online registration you never have to bother validating your copy of the game if you don't want to get new patches or play online... they dropped the overly silly requirement of having the CD/DVD in the drive while playing the game

Shelving the new requirement of needing a connection every few days, and then dumping the old requirement of occupying my DVD drive with a disk, is excellent news. Alcohol 120% will be out of business, but I'm glad I won't need them.

This is a win for both sides. Company saves money on non-game related development and infrastructure; customers' frustration level drops.

Trust EA to have class? Trust (1)

Morromist (1207276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358488)

I too hesitate to buy such games even though I have constant internet access.

The reason:

Steam always messes up, tells me I don't have Counterstrike and I have to reboot to get it to work.
If something as seemingly well designed as Steam doesn't work very well I suspect EAs version will be a nightmare.
Its hard enough for EA to make anything right in my experience and I would be very cautious even if Blizzard did this.

Also it sets a dreadful precedent for games requiring internet.

And finally it wont stop the pirates, probably not even a little bit.

Its worthless in the first place, annoying in the second, broken in the third, and fourthly and lastly its evil.

Re:Trust EA to have class? Trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358542)

Nothing stops the pirates yarrr!

Re:Phew! (1)

Perseid (660451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358498)

I meant the protection they were going to use before they changed their minds. Sorry for being confusing.

Re:Phew! (5, Insightful)

Clockwork Apple (64497) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358210)

I was more worried I would have to boycott Spore. Checking in when I DL content is ok cause then I am connected, but if the game is going to stop working due to extended lack of access to a connection, well... fuck em.

Re:Phew! (4, Insightful)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358296)

I was worried I'd have to pirate it.

So they did it for the media coverage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358162)

...to get people talking about the game again. Pretty smart move, I guess.

The Horror (5, Insightful)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358168)

Chief among the voices in opposition to this measure were members of the armed forces, who pointed out that they could not rely on having an internet connection every ten days.
1914/18... Trenchfoot becomes rife due to lack of access to dry footwear/socks.

1939/45... Troops freeze through the Battle of the Bulge, across Russia.

2008... Access to certain videogames sometimes limited in certain situations for a few days until net access can be resecured.

I know "Won't anybody think of the troops!" is second only to "Won't anybody think of the children!" and can thus never be questioned unless you're a terrorist as well as a paedophile.. but there comes a point where the rallying cry is used for such ludicrously trivial things that it just devalues everyone involved.

Re:The Horror (5, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358182)

Um, what? Nobody is comparing it to trench foot or freezing in the winter because you're stuck outdoors and people are shooting at you. However there is a large class of people who go without internet connections for long periods of time, and that class of people doesn't appreciate this kind of DRM scheme. It says nothing about other bad things they may experience.

Your argument could be used to justify almost any bad treatment.

"Sarge, this stew tastes like horse meat!"

"Shut up and eat your stew, Private. Just be glad you don't have trench foot!"

Or, what the hell, I guess I shouldn't ever complain about anything, because some of my ancestors had to live through famines.

Re:The Horror (1)

Shai-kun (728212) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358278)

But horse meat is tasty >_>

Re:The Horror (1)

Perseid (660451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358218)

Here's where your analogies fall down: What EA was planning to do was pure choice, a choice based on greed and the fact that EA hasn't actually cared about video games for many years.

How about? (5, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358220)

You don't like their policies or practices then don't fucking buy it. Thats the loudest thing you can say.

Re:How about? (5, Insightful)

Rasit (967850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359152)

You don't like their policies or practices then don't fucking buy it.

You need to start thinking like a Suit guy.

Most of them seems to think they have a God given right to sell as many games as their marketing department projected, if they don't meet the projections then it s clearly due to Piracy and weak DRM.

If we don't make sure to tell them why we are boycoting them then we will eventually end up with something like this [penny-arcade.com] .

Re:How about? (2, Insightful)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359172)

Well, apparently there seems to be some sort of middleground here too.

Whereas I agree that boycotting a certain product can be a very good tactic, I also think that if it's possible (with minimal effort) to let the producer know beforehand that you have problems with some aspects of their product, it can accomplish the same thing where you still get to play their product, and them realising that this time, they took it a bit too far.

I'd pretty much call that a win-win situation.

I was btw in the camp of boycotting Spore if this DRM would have shipped with it; But I'm also forgiving enough in this instance that I see they realised that it would have been costing them a lot of customers, and I'll happily buy their game now.

Uhhhhh (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358264)

I think that the real reason is because military personnel are non-trivial consumers of entertainment products. When you have a bunch of young people, with a good deal of free money on their hands (if you are deployed in a combat zone you get more pay, and generally have few expenses since everything is handled), and a situation that sucks, well that's a good target for entertainment goods. I know when one of my ex roommates graduated and was getting ready to go off he got a nice laptop and plenty of games and movies. The guys who do Red vs Blue said Iraq was one of the top countries ordering their DVDs. Wasn't Iraqis ordering, it was troops.

Thus it would be dumb for EA to shut out a large market. Especially since both of these games have strong single player components, and thus are of interest when you aren't going to have net access.

It isn't being used as a rallying cry, it is that the soldiers were honestly concerned they wouldn't be able to get their game on.

New Meme? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358344)

Chief among the voices in opposition to this measure were members of the armed forces, who pointed out that they could not rely on having an internet connection every ten days.


{meme}Won't someone PLEASE think of the poor soldiers?{/meme}

Re:Uhhhhh (1)

XorNand (517466) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358372)

combat pay == "good deal of free money?" Weird... I can relate. I play with computers all day and mysteriously some company keeps depositing a lot of free money into my back account twice a month.

Re:Uhhhhh (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358450)

I dare say free was used in the sense of "not allocated"

Re:Uhhhhh (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358484)

Free as in "Money which can be spent on whatever one wishes."

This isn't hard, and if you are an OSS advocate as you seem to be you ought to know the word has more than one definition.

When you are living in a crap tent that the military provides for you, eating crap food that the military provides for you, and doing the jobs the military tells you to in their equipment, you discover that your living, dining, and transport expenses are rather low. Thus the money that they pay you is free to be used for pretty much whatever you wish. Also, monies earned while in a combat zone are tax exempt.

Who cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359124)

Really?
Does anyone care what the bottom 10% of their graduating class are doing?

You dont want to work at Burger King or swing on a pole?
Fine.
You want to kill people for a living?
Knock yourself out.
But dont ask me to care.

Whatever happened to hooker, smokes and drugs?

Re:Who cares? (1, Interesting)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359260)

I was in the top 5% of my graduating class, and was a professional software developer for several years before joining the Navy. Kinda messes up your worldview, huh? You're an idiot.

Re:Uhhhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359162)

I'm a submariner. We spend months at a time underwater. Funny thing is, my chief just mentioned the fact that he'd never buy the game due to the crappy DRM scheme. Your take on the impact of the active duty military customer is pretty accurate.

Re:The Horror (0, Redundant)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358528)

Wow, talk about completely and utterly missing the point!

Soldiers--and many thousands of US government personnel deployed aboard--frequently don't have continual internet usage. (btw, I've personally run into a number of US military people who play WoW...but anyway). They are a large block of people who buy video games and have downtime to play games irregularly.

EA WOULD be stupid to ignore that block, but not for any of the tortured reasoning you attempt.

Re:The Horror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359098)

I think that it more of a testament to our times that it is easier to cop out with "we are thinking of our troops" rather than state: we hate our customers, but are afraid that they wont buy our product. The most imporant thing for coporations is to let the public "know" that they dont care what they think, otherwise the public might know where the power lies.

Um, there's a problem with this. (5, Insightful)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358184)

EA now says that validation will now only occur when a user attempts to download new content for either game. Spore is built on downloadable content. Throughout the game, the creatures you encounter, the worlds you visit, the buildings you see--they are all player-created objects and will all be downloaded in the background while the game is running. Spore is a game that only works well with downloadable content, and if I have to enter a validation code every time the game decides to download a creature or a planet, I'm not sure the promising gameplay will be worth the hassle.

Re:Um, there's a problem with this. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358224)

You don't have to enter a validation code. The validation code (or hash thereof) is stored on your computer and checked against the database automatically when you try to download content.

So, unless you're downloading new stuff, it'll never try to re-authenticate. The previous scheme mandated that you re-authenticate every 10 days regardless of whether you could go online at the time or not which was pretty onerous for people who don't have 'net connections... like me when I visit my parents on their boat. A place where I'd like to play games when I can't be online, y'know?

I hope they get a revoke tool like Bioshock. I have 3 machines that I'd play Spore on already (laptop, home game machine, work game machine). What if I replace one? I'm screwed :/

Re:Um, there's a problem with this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358230)

You don't have to actually enter a code except for the very first activation. The subsequent validations are invisible to the user and are merely to ensure that the copy is still legit and the key has not been disseminated.

Re:Um, there's a problem with this. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358234)

You probably won't have to enter a code multiple times by hand.....
  Your code will probably be saved on your system...

Re:Um, there's a problem with this. (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358336)

Except that by definition, if you're downloading new content, you have an active net connection. The 10 day thing was arbitrary. A user might be without net connection at that time, at which point they wouldn't be accessing such content but would still be barred from playing the single player game.

Re:Um, there's a problem with this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358376)

The complaint was that people with very limited internet access can't play the game when they're offline for several days. If you're downloading content then you're able to get online and the check isn't as big of a problem.

If you're complaint is that the game has DRM... then this obviously doesn't get rid of it.

Re:Um, there's a problem with this. (2, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358404)

My understanding from my following of the game since it was first announced is that due to the way in which the various creatures that inhabit a universe are defined, it's possible to download thousands of them with relatively little effort. I forget which conference or event it was at, but Will Wright explained that due the fact that everything in the game is proceedurally generated, it is possible to express a creature design not in terms of graphics skins and other large files, but as something very similar to DNA. The game reads a few thousand bytes worth of data and is able to take that information to recreate the creature that someone else uploaded. Even if you're playing on dial-up, you'll be able to get this new content ridiculously fast.

You've also made the assumption that you have to enter a validation code. Why wouldn't the game just store the key that was used to register it and automatically take care of it? It probably won't be a hastle unless the key has been orgied out to all of your friends and the authentication server flags it as suspicious and bans it. There might be a few false positives but for the most part I don't forsee you getting locked out unless you're playing with a pirated copy.

Re:Um, there's a problem with this. (1)

Taelron (1046946) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359216)

I was thinking the same Damn thing and checking the forum first to see if anyone else said it...

So now instead of evey 10 days looking to verify you, its going to check anytime you need some new tidbit of data... Which could be multiple times a day...

I've said it before, I'll say it again. (4, Insightful)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358190)

DRM has no right to exist, and anyone who implements it should be severely punished. DRM should be resisted by any and all means necessary. We deserve a DRM free future, but we will have to fight for it. Do everything you can to end DRM today.

Re:I've said it before, I'll say it again. (4, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358452)

I don't want to come of as pro-DRM, but I have a simple question for you?

Do you plan to purchase or play this game?

Considering that it's a heavily anticipated game and generally recognized as being one of the more creative and innovative titles to come in in a while, it's probably reasonable for me to expect that you want to play Spore. Your stated hate for DRM leads me to believe that you couldn't bring yourself to actually pay for any product that comes with any type of DRM. Assuming that you both want to play this game and don't want to deal with the DRM, would you pirate it?

If so, you're contributing to the reason why these companies think they need to have DRM. I can understand why people will pirate things when cost is a factor since I did it myself once upon a time, but if you pirate this game simply to spite the paid version which has DRM you're probably not doing the cause any help.

I appologize in advance for potentially mislabeling you or constructing a situation involving you from so little information, but I have a feeling that there are a few people who will pirate the game just because they dislike the notion of DRM despite the fact that they're going to play the hell out of it and had the money to easily purchase it.

Re:I've said it before, I'll say it again. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358518)

I would buy this game even if it were closed source. I'm not RMS. But the DRM is where I draw the line. I am a Linux user yes, but I have closed source software on my Linux boxes including Windows programs that run under Wine. But those programs don't have DRM.

This is blowing my mind (4, Insightful)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358732)

Assuming that you both want to play this game and don't want to deal with the DRM, would you pirate it?
The DRM is meant to prevent people from pirating the game, but he's going to pirate the game to avoid the DRM, which justifies EA's use of DRM, even though without the DRM he would buy the game.

Actually, you know, that's probably exactly how the execs over at EA think.

Re:I've said it before, I'll say it again. (4, Insightful)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358822)

Honestly, I think you have it a bit backwards. This might be how The Industry thinks, but the lessening of DRM suggests that they've actually realised it's not quite so simple as that.

You state it yourself: Assuming that you both want to play this game and don't want to deal with the DRM, would you pirate it?

The answer to that is clearly "yes", which means "I would have bought if it weren't for the DRM". Publishers are realising that not only do most copy protection schemes not hugely inconvenience pirates, but it actively inconveniences your paying customers.

if you pirate this game simply to spite the paid version which has DRM you're probably not doing the cause any help.

If you buy it regardless of the DRM, what incentive does that give the publishers to stop using it?

I think it's more accurate to say that this is the ONLY thing* you can do to help, but it only helps if you make sure they know that they are losing sales specifically because of the DRM measures. Mentioning it on forums is a good and semi-anonymous way to get the point across. If they're reading "yeah I love the game, the copy protection is annoying but it's worth the hassle" then they'll get the message that ... their paying customers think it's worth the hassle, and they'll keep using it so long as they think it helps reduce piracy*. If they're constantly reading "I would've bought it, but the protection was too invasive" then their attitude toward it will change.

What it comes down to is that they make a list of pros and cons for and against their protection schemes. In the pros list, they have "might reduce piracy, for a little while". In the cons list they have "increases development and support costs, inconveniences users".

So, make sure they add "reduces sales" to the cons list, and it starts looking like a very poor return on investment.

* - since nobody knows how many people have pirated a game, not buying it is effectively the same as pirating it. The fact that any piracy figures are (by necessity) made up means that it gets the blame any time sales are lower than hoped.

Re:I've said it before, I'll say it again. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359022)

There have actually been some studies done at publishers. It's not hard for them to monitor torrent/warez/crack sites.

The presence of a zero-day or first-week torrent release and crack has been shown to have a notable impact on first week sales of a title. When the cracked torrent release hits within the first couple weeks after a launch, sales have a detectable sudden drop.

Unfortunately I can't link to or cite these sources as they aren't exactly posted on the web to read, but if you think about it, it's fairly logical.

Re:I've said it before, I'll say it again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359194)

The way I see it is I have been looking forward to a PC version of Mass Effect. If they had stuck with the idea of 10 day validations and 3 total activations I would have simply pirated it since the pirated version wouldn't have those annoyances. Now that they are removing these flaws, I will certainly buy it.

I have been burned too fucking many times in the past. Bought too many games that didn't even work until I applied a crack to a game that should have just worked. Returning the game was never an option because I wouldn't know if it worked or not until it was opened and there are no returns on opened software. Those companies are fortunate that I was nice enough to not sue them for fraud, but instead sought out my own solution (a crack).

This change of heart has restored some of my faith in both Bioware and EA. Let's just hope they continue down this path.

Re:I've said it before, I'll say it again. (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358538)

Ok, since you're taking it upon yourself to arbitrarily declare "rights," and you clearly want to control people's actions in this way (morality police!), I have a question: you say DRM has no right to exist. What about CD checks? License keys? etc? because it seems that you're complaining about all of those things?

Re:I've said it before, I'll say it again. (0, Troll)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359142)

Insightful? give me a break. you are just whining whilst making no attempt to explain how content creators get paid without the ability to prevent piracy. I'll restate your complaint:

"Tax has no right to exist, and anyone who implements it should be severely punished. Tax should be resisted by any and all means necessary. We deserve a Tax free future, but we will have to fight for it. Do everything you can to end Tax today."

An ignorant and one-sided, silly position, but no different to your post.
Unless you want no entertainment or digital content to be produced? (or only produced by hobbyists). personally I LIKE professionally made entertainment content, and don't mind paying for it.

Re:I've said it before, I'll say it again. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359188)

You are comparing two unlike things.

DRM is a means of turning our computers against us. It is an abuse of our rights as computer owners.

Taxes are small government levied fees on property. They don't determine how I can use my property. Almost all DRM invades privacy and exists to restrict uers to a monopoly platform.

Life goes on (4, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358206)

There probably isn't a lot of love for EA around here (or many parts of the internet in general) but you do have to admit that they responded fairly well to the situation. From what I've read the approach that they're planning to take now is actually pretty good, if not better than what most of us are probably used to dealing with. The fact that I don't need to have the CD in the drive while playing the game [kotaku.com] is a nice touch, especially for anyone who likes to switch between games frequently.

The only thing that you could really complain about is the necessity of an internet connection to validate on install. The only other time it bothers to validate is if you're downloading an update or using some other online feature which means you're already connected to the internet.

As someone who was a little put off by the overly encumbering DRM that was originally planned to be included, I'd like to tip my hat to EA for listening to their customers and making a wise decision.

More to worry about than that (5, Insightful)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358360)

The only thing that you could really complain about is the necessity of an internet connection to validate on install.
As with any complicated software system (especially one acting over the internet), there's a lot that can go wrong. If it doesn't work for any reason, they'll have spent a lot of money turning happy customers into angry returners.

A wise decision would be to forgo the DRM altogether, and apply the savings to reducing the retail price of the games. I guarantee that will have a far greater effect on sales than any DRM scheme ever would.

Re:More to worry about than that (1)

darkzeroman (939170) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358640)

A wise decision would be to forgo the DRM altogether, and apply the savings to reducing the retail price of the games. I guarantee that will have a far greater effect on sales than any DRM scheme ever would.
And I love it when people start guaranteeing how the market will perform. First of all this "guarantee" doesn't even take into account any kind of data/figures/costs, BUT NO FOLKS, HE CAN GUARANTEE IT.

Re:More to worry about than that (1)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358684)

Sigh.

Sorry I failed to meet your rigorous standards for slashdot commenting. Can I at least get credit for spelling everything correctly?

Then you and I can move on without discussing the lack of evidence that copy-protection has ever resulted in increased sales for any product.

Re:More to worry about than that (1)

darkzeroman (939170) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358748)

But isn't evidence something that is absolutely necessary, especially for this? When you are trying to show increased sales for DRM vs non-DRM? We can talk all day about how things "should" work, or how we "think" it should work, but what good is that if there is no evidence to prove it? I can hardly constitute myself as evidence, but I can say one experience. A few years ago I wished to play a game that had online multiplayer, however, an unique serial key was needed to play online. So I went out and bought the game. There, the sale of the game just increased by one. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one since there are many people still playing on the servers.

Re:More to worry about than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358794)

Can I at least get credit for spelling everything correctly?

Not quite. In the context you used you should have written affect, not effect.

Re:More to worry about than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359202)

Nope, he was right with effect, actually...

Re:Life goes on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358694)

Why its perfectly fucking useless, and we all know it.

Time and again we've seen companies try to use DRM to 'secure' their software.

Time and again hacker groups do us the favour of showing us how to disable that crap and get on with useing the software we own how we want to, without it phoning home.

And the 'legitimate' customer suffers because their stuck jumping through hoops us criminals don't have to bother with anymore.

I carry around the XP genuine advantage killer on my thumb drive when ever i travel, its practically a utility now when fixing peoples computers, spyware and virus check, install firefox instead of IE, kill the genuine advantage crap.

Point taken (1)

miss.nixxi (677770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358276)

Okay so I get your point. Having been deployed myself it's really wonderful to play video games. For me it relived tension and helped combat depression. So I ask this, why shouldn't I play video games, or have that ability be hindered? Is that a comfort that the military shouldn't have? So when I raised my arm and got sworn in I stopped being a human being? No I don't think so, thanks for thinking that way.

Piracy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358318)

Armed pirates are always more effective

I DID IT! IT'S ALL ME! (5, Funny)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358352)

In a drunk fit last night I actually sent a rant to them about it, I don't remember what I said exactly but I pointed out that DRM has actually driven me to download games instead of pay for them and if I couldn't expect to defeat the copy protection bullshit then I just wouldn't play the game.

Nothing no one's thought or said before, but I'm sure if enough gaming curmudgeons drank enough smirnoff ice at the same time while listening to EBM then there would surely be a rival to the mass mailing botnets that don't actually have anything useful to tell anyone.

It's freaking hot in here and Qwerty pisses me off. I'm going to drink some vinegar and go to bed.

Re:I DID IT! IT'S ALL ME! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358770)

QWERTY pissed me off too.
I've typed in colemak for a year now.

~ethana2, too lazy to sign in.

spore (pictured) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358420)

spore is some shitty joystick from the nineties?

fuck man I thought it was a computer game

Welcome to the Slashdot Spank (1)

Greymoon (834879) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358448)

I have to ask why someone at EA thought this would be a good idea. Did they think someone would buy the game, install then validate, and THEN install a pirated version? This has to be the idea of some dimwit trying to make a name for himself within the company. Welcome to the Slashdot Spank, EA and Mr. Dimwitty.

This happen to me once.... (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358468)

One time I suffered from loose spore. There was a mass effect then too. Not a pretty sight.

Not loosened enough... (1)

Anonymous Daredevil (109528) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358502)

I'm glad they dropped the 10-day-phone-home, but really, this DRM is still bad. It sounds like the same system BioShock used, and that was bad. In fact, it's even worse because you only get 3 computers instead of 5.

It's a 3 computer install limit based on a hardware profile of your computer. If you install a new video card you need to reactivate the game using up your 2nd slot unless you remembered to uninstall the game first, or use the revocation tool if they even have one.

We don't want this hassle.

It's still bad, even if it's a little better (5, Insightful)

Mark McGann (570684) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358526)

One of the things about being god awful bad at something is you can improve a lot and still stink.

The DRM still only allows three total installs for the lifetime of the game (although you can call EA tech support and ask for more, no guarantee though). I have many games that have existed on more than three of my personal computers. Just glancing at my shelf I see 1830, Star Fleet Command, Transport Tycoon, Starcraft, Rome Total War and the list goes on. I don't want to have to beg tech support every time I upgrade my game machine, many of these companies don't even exist anymore.

The fact of the matter is that DRM that limits the total number of times you can install the game is unacceptable. They may have fixed other problems with the DRM, but this issue remains.

Re:It's still bad, even if it's a little better (5, Insightful)

IKnwThePiecesFt (693955) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358844)

I think a good compromise for this would be if they limited installs within a given period of time. Like three within a month. That would massively curb a cd key being shared online in a large pirate ring but would effect very few customers.

mod parent up (0, Redundant)

CamoCoatJoe (972244) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358946)

I think a good compromise for this would be if they limited installs within a given period of time. Like three within a month. That would massively curb a cd key being shared online in a large pirate ring but would effect very few customers.

MIA (2, Interesting)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358590)

I know I'm missing something here. Whatever brain cells I have left aren't firing properly, BUT:
WTF are US troops playing video games on? Laptops?
Pay a few $ at an Iraqi internet cafe?
Also, what kind of minimal system requirement do these new EA games need to run and can military issue hardware cope with it all? Are they running XP or Vista or their own custom OS?
The reason for why EA is doing this as reported seems to be a con. Just doesn't make sense

Chief among the voices in opposition to this measure were members of the armed forces
???

Re:MIA (2, Informative)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358648)

Yes, laptops. And it's not military issue hardware. Soldiers are allowed personal possessions. A lot of soldiers these days choose to bring their own computer to give them some entertainment in their off hours. In this respect they're little different than you or I, except that their housing is provided by their employer and often doesn't come with net access, or with extremely limited access.

The real question is (1, Funny)

Zerth (26112) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358654)

Who in the DOD with a few stars on his shoulder called up EA and said

"I like this game very much and I'd really hate it if a B-52 was to accidently drop "training ordnance" [noquarterusa.net] whilst over your HQ because I was angsting over a save lost because the game failed to contact the mothership after some terrorists took out a sat-dish."

Since You Insist, I'll Stop Beating My Wife (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358662)

The fact that because of outside pressure EA has changed their mind about constantly invading users' computers means nothing. You can count on a company that has this mindset to do whatever it thinks it can get away with to maximize its profits. Considerations like common decency or respect for the customer just aren't part of its world view.

I'm not advocating a boycott or anything, but I would strongly suggest that a common sense approach to any dealings you have with EA is to treat them as you would a poisonous insect: flashy and attractive, but if you're going to play with it, keep a good grip on the tweezers.

This is much worse (1)

Sigvatr (1207234) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358736)

I think Spore is intended to download new content more often than every 10 days. I think one of the ideas behind the game is that you can encounter other people's creations all over the joint without having to go out of your way to download them. Which means EA will be snooping around in your computer more like a few days a day.

Next up... (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359200)

Now can there be some way to get the armed forces to deal with some of EA's slave-labor policies?
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