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Mass Effect DRM Still Causing Issues

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the three-strikes-and-you're-out dept.

Windows 593

An anonymous reader writes "There was some discussion last month about the proposed DRM for Mass Effect and Spore that required the game to phone home every ten days. They backed down from that, but have left in that a user is only allowed 3 activations per license key. A license key is burned up when the O/S is reinstalled, when certain hardware is upgraded (EA refuses to disclose specifics of what), and possibly when a new user is set up in Windows. Only in its first month, some users are already locked out of their games from trying troubleshooting techniques to get the game running."

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Thats what they get (5, Insightful)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830031)

Thats what they get for buying it instead of pirating it. The cracked version(s) don't have any problems like this.

Protection like this certainly doesn't encourage paying for the game when the free version is better.

Re:Thats what they get (5, Insightful)

Reapman (740286) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830097)

So true... people still hack the software to make it work, but those trying to follow the straight and narrow get nothing but grief. How is this a good thing? Reminds me of the DRM used a few years ago (still is?) where the game was faster cracked since it wasn't constantly scanning the CD drive verifying the disc was still in there.

Re:Thats what they get (5, Informative)

Winckle (870180) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830525)

Yep, I get that with Civ 4, which doesn't have cd keys for the game or the expansions, it has the old fashioned "disk in drive" copy protection.

5 minutes and 3 no CD exes later my game runs even better.

Re:Thats what they get (4, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830537)

Like many such schemes...
The radio in my car requires entering a code every time the battery is disconnected, as the legitimate owner of the car i have forgotten the code and gone to considerable expense to get it recoded...
The guy who recoded it didn't take very long, neither i suspect would a thief. So only the legitimate user gets inconvenienced, anyone who steals the radio will have a lot less problem with the "anti theft" mechanism than i have.
On the other hand, my radio is obsolete (1995), a nonstandard size, and riveted and bolted into the car so it's not likely to get stolen anyway.

Re:Thats what they get (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830161)

That is so true. In 2005 I purchased Civilization 4 from direct2drive.com. A few weeks ago I had the urge to play civilization, downloaded it from d2d and installed it. When I tried to activate it with my CDKEY it told me I was out of activations. It took about 36 hours, two emails and registering all over again with a 'support site' to get this resolved. I'll torrent my future games thank-you.

Re:Thats what they get (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830243)

That's the problem with most if not all copy "prevention" (the quotes are necessary, since it prevents jack) mechanisms: Those who play by the rules get shafted while those that don't get rewarded.

The actual problem with DRM is that, unlike with ordinary goods where I have an additional value when I buy something rather than hoping it "falls off a truck". I get warrenty, I get a manual, I get support, I may get cheap(er) addons. It's exactly reverse with DRMed goods. You get more value out of "stealing" it.

Yes, convenience is a value in a good. Actually, convenience has become a good in and of itself. Valet parking is nothing but a convenience, still people pay for it. The reason why Windows is still more in use than Linux with private users is the convenience of its use and the software for it. Convenience is a big selling point. And just this important key point is actually better when I copy&crack software rather than buying it?

That's why DRM will fail with the masses. Not because of the privacy invasion or the "phoning home". People don't care about that. But they do care about the loss of convenience.

Re:Thats what they get (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830389)

"That's the problem with most if not all copy "prevention" (the quotes are necessary, since it prevents jack) mechanisms: Those who play by the rules get shafted while those that don't get rewarded."

Just like gun control.

Re:Thats what they get (4, Interesting)

cduffy (652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830457)

Yup -- that's why I'll put up with Steam, but not with SecuROM: Steam is convenient; it reinstalls my games for me if I replace my hardware, prevents me from needing to keep track of physical media and CD keys and whatnot, and (ever since I've had it, at least -- I didn't get on the bandwagon at first release) Just Works; the only thing I worry about is whether I'll be able to fire up my old games and go for a trip down nostalgia lane 20 years from now when the good folks at Valve have gone on to other things.

SecuROM, on the other hand...

Re:Thats what they get (0, Flamebait)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830633)

Then again, if people actually did what they were supposed to and actually supported the things they enjoy using instead of stealing them, DRM wouldn't be needed.

The argument is was the chicken first or the egg, and I'm going to get modded down for this, but it needs to be said. It's also the people who are guilty of stealing who are the loudest to laud DRM's pratfalls.

Three words (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830367)

Class. Action. Lawsuit.

Re:Thats what they get (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830655)

Even when I get my hands on licensed copy of a game with useless copy protection, I still get a crack for it. It's awkward to say I trust code that's been around on the street more than I trust something supposedly pristine and perfect from the original developers.

A virus that can wipe out all my files is somehow less frightening than -choosing- to rub up against SecuROM and company.

This should be good news for Electronic Assholes, when the activation servers aren't around anymore they won't have to bother releasing a patch to unlock the game. In fact, they don't even need the activation servers now, they just have to point users to ThePirateBay. Save them all sorts of trouble!

News flash (0, Redundant)

Patrick Fisher (1272434) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830037)

What's this? DRM causes massive amounts of consumer frustration while doing little to protect the rights of the property owner?

Huh.

Vista Obligatory (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830051)

a user is only allowed 3 activations per license key. A license key is burned up when the O/S is reinstalled, ...

If you own Windows Vista, then you'll have about 3 days to use your license ;-P
           

Re:Vista Obligatory (0)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830333)

a user is only allowed 3 activations per license key. A license key is burned up when the O/S is reinstalled, ...


...And that's why they don't make games for Linux, folks!

Re:Vista Obligatory (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830581)

I haven't reinstalled any of my linux systems for years...
If you use a distro like gentoo the upgrade process is incremental rather than depending on fixed release versions, so you gradually update things as they come along. At least one of my installs dates from around 2001.

Re:Vista Obligatory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830475)

HAW HAW HAW.

Hey guys, come look at the funny man. HAW HAW HAW, HAR HAR HAR.

Well, (2, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830059)

That's the downside from copy protection. If you make it too weak, it is easily cracked. If you make it to strong, you lock out legit users. Try to avoid 99,999% of that or you will get disgruntled customers and that's a big no-no for companies. Since Spore is a single-player game, a harsh copy protection will only tick off legit costumers. A free bit of advice, DON'T. It will cost you more than you will get from it.

Re:Well, (5, Insightful)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830201)

That's the downside from copy protection. If you make it too weak, it is easily cracked. If you make it to strong, you lock out legit users.

And it'll still be cracked

Since Spore is a single-player game

and mass effect too...

Re:Well, (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830405)

There is no distinction between weak and strong copy protection. No matter how strong, it will be broken. Whether 1% or 0.000001% of the people have the skill to break it is meaningless, it only takes one person to break it. Then it's spread millionfold through the net. Whether someone else breaks it too doesn't make a difference.

There is a difference between copy protection that is a minor nuisance (i.e. having to have the disk in the drive to use the software) and a major nuisance (i.e. disabling the software altogether after a while). The first will be swallowed grungedly. The latter will cause people to find a way to get around it to use the software they legally bought again.

If this has any effect, it will make more people search for ways to disable copy protection. It will show people who didn't even think about copying how to do it, how to acquire "cracks" and how to download cracked software.

And once the initial "work" is done to get a hand on such software, the incentive to keep doing it is immense. It does take some time initially to dig up sources for cracked software, but once you have the source, getting more software without buying for it is fairly trivial.

So the net effect of crippling DRM methods like this is to drive more people towards cracked soft. Because once you know where to get it, it's easy to get more.

Re:Well, (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830613)

Yeah, a lot of people waste money on software until they realise it's possible to get better stuff for free.

Redundancy Department: Just Say No! (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830417)

>That's the downside from copy protection. If you make it [...] it is easily cracked.

HTH. HAND.

Re:Redundancy Department: Just Say No! (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830707)

It's my understanding that I think you meant the Department of Redundancy Department, it seems you intended to say.

DRM is pointless (0)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830061)

DRM keeps an honest man honest, and that's it.

Re:DRM is pointless (3, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830131)

DRM drives a honest man to not liking DRM. Those who use software against the wishes of the content creator are rewarded with superior quality.

Re:DRM is pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830157)

Er... doesn't this show that it forces an honest man to resort to dishonest means to get what they paid for?

Re:DRM is pointless (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830447)

Yes, because they paid for it, you nincompoop.

Re:DRM is pointless (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830187)

It doesn't even manage that feat. It encourages honest people to crack the DRM so that they get to use software they paid for. Ultimately they learn to just bit torrent it and have done.

Re:DRM is pointless (2, Insightful)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830189)

Yeah, but it also turns an honest man into whatever it takes to get his damned game working since he feels entitled to it (rightly so cause he did pay for the thing).

I had brought a copy of Supreme Commander:FA and went to bit torrent for a copy of it since it would NEVER install all the way. Plays like a champ with the copy I got offa Pirate Bay, no insert CD or nothing.

BTW - I do know the latest patch removes the 'copy protection' on it.

Re:DRM is pointless (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830615)

Yeah, but it also turns an honest man into whatever it takes to get his damned game working since he feels entitled to it (rightly so cause he did pay for the thing).
AFAIK, using cracks still requires that the original game be installed, which means the DRM is already on my system, ready to be exploited. I won't place my system at risk for a tasty bit of entertainment fluff, so I honestly don't even care to buy the game at all. What's the point of buying the game and pirating 'in protest' if your system is already screwed. No thanks.

The truly honest act is not to reward the producers of this nonsense at all. Don't buy media that is DRM encumbered.

Re:DRM is pointless (5, Insightful)

LiquidAvatar (772805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830195)

I'd disagree - this DRM is making this honest man pirate. If a DRM suite cripples my legitimate use of the product, then I'm going to acquire the product without the DRM.

Re:DRM is pointless (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830249)

The question then is whether you remain an honest man having done this.

Re:DRM is pointless (5, Insightful)

digitrev (989335) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830359)

No, the real question is will you continue to remain an honest man because of this? If your software acquisition process looks like this:
  1. Buy software.
  2. Install software.
  3. Get frustrated.
  4. Crack software.
you'll soon start to cut out steps 2 and 3, and then just cut out step 1.

Re:DRM is pointless (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830579)

Better question is, should you be held personally accountable for having funding DRM by making a purchase?

Far as I'm concerned, if you bought it, the finger is pointed at you for giving them money to perpetuate this shit.

Re:DRM is pointless (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830661)

Amen. Don't buy it.

Re:DRM is pointless (1)

^_^x (178540) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830211)

Not even, sadly...
Since I started working for a living and actually being able to afford good games, I buy them. I'd buy Mass Effect to try it.

However the DRM is an absolute deal breaker. If I try it, it won't be the purchased version! TBH though I'll probably just let it slide and not play unless someone hands me a precracked disc.

Re:DRM is pointless (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830239)

Not really.
I bought FS2004. I run the cracked version of it because I don't want to have to find the disk every time I play it.
I am honest because I am honest.
In this case I doubt I will buy Spore. The DRM is just too big of a pain do deal with.
DRM seems to be making honest people into criminals.
Seems way to like prohibition to me.

Re:DRM is pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830257)

No, it turns an honest man into a dishonest one just to get what they paid for to work.

Re:DRM is pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830313)

I would say that enough DRM makes an honest man not so honest.

Re:DRM is pointless (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830387)

DRM keeps an honest man honest, and that's it.

DRM like this, that fucks paying customers over and leaves them feeling cheated and angry, turns an honest man into a pirate. Because that's what he'll do next time around, when he sees that his neighbour's downloaded copy from mininova runs every time without any hassle.

Re:DRM is pointless (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830473)

Actually, as I pointed out a few posts above [slashdot.org] , DRM makes a honest man dishonest. At the very least, it tempts him really, really badly.

People actually buy games still? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830071)

The pirated version works great.

Who the fuck would actually pay for a game? ahahahahahahaahaahahahahaa

Re:People actually buy games still? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830339)

people who realize that a hundred people worked for several years to produce something to entertain them, and have a fucking sense of right and wrong?

Re:People actually buy games still? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830663)

Perhaps if these people weren't doing us wrong (drm schemes that severely hinder the customer, see the article) we'd feel more bad about doing them wrong.

Umm... could anyone explain? (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830085)

Why the heck should I buy that crap? No game is good enough to make me jump hoops like a circus lion. Personally, I'd feel insulted. I get to cry, rant and rave, spend my time and money trying to find a solution to their copy protection problem, while I watch others play the cracked and downloaded copies.

Is that the message I should get out of this? Buy and cry, but copy and enjoy?

Re:Umm... could anyone explain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830335)

the message you should get out of this is "buy an Xbox 360".

then you don't need "troubleshooting techniques to get the game running" in the first place.

Re:Umm... could anyone explain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830495)

the message you should get out of this is "buy an Xbox 360".

then you don't need "troubleshooting techniques to get the game running" in the first place.
Enjoy your red ring of death.

Re:Umm... could anyone explain? (1)

wal9001 (1041058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830593)

The message you should get out of this is "buy Sins of a Solar Empire."

Quick fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830089)

www.gamecopyworld.com

Pirate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830093)

Pirated versions.
They Just Work(tm).

O/S? (1)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830103)

What on Earth does O/S mean?

Re:O/S? (1)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830177)

Operating/system

Re:O/S? (0, Troll)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830423)

No, OS is operating system. I can't work out what the slash is doing in the middle though.

Re:O/S? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830193)

O/S --> Girl sitting holding her knees. For Vista, it's a guy taking a dump.

Re:O/S? (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830383)

I think people get Operating System (OS) mixed up with Input/Output (I/O) and you end up with O/S.

No problem for me. (1)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830127)

I've been playing the game just fine for the past week. I use a crack, though. I refuse to install SecuROM or be limited to three installations. Sure, you can contact EA and get it activated from them, but that's just ridiculous in this day and age.
Great game, though.

Re:No problem for me. (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830567)

Unless they push a patch some day that removes this lunacy, I guess I'll never know. Since I refuse to break the law for a game, and certainly don't feel like being at a company's whim whether I may or may not use what I bought, I guess the only option left to me is not buying it.

Ya know, despite what ads tell you, there is still this option...

Don't buy DRM'd games! (4, Informative)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830135)

I warned people about the same BS with Bioshock. You don't want to pay $50 to just hire a game, because anything that stops you from using what you buy is hiring.

Re:Don't buy DRM'd games! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830453)

I warned people about the same BS with Bioshock.
And look how well they listened to you.

Re:Don't buy DRM'd games! (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830697)

But if you can't even use what you hired, what is that?

Spore... (3, Informative)

JediLow (831100) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830151)

Well, I was looking forward to getting Spore when it came out - if this DRM remains though there's no chance that I'm going to buy it.

Re:Spore... (1)

Rocky1138 (758394) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830363)

I'm in the same boat as well. I don't mind having to put the CD in to play but only allowing you install it 3 times or phoning home every 10 days? No thanks. I'd rather not play. Best wishes, EA.

Re:Spore... (4, Interesting)

Mascot (120795) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830371)

At least Bioshock and Mass Effect have used it so far. Unless enough people protested by not buying those, I don't see why they'd remove it from Spore.

It's a pity, but a lot of people either are ignorant about the DRM, or don't care. Obviously they never bought music from an online store that since shut down.

Re:Spore... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830619)

I wanted Spore really badly. I've been following every single snippet of information that was issued about it. I was preparing to hand in my annual vacation when I know about its release date.

Looks like I'll have to find something to do for my vacation now. Yes, I want to play that game. No, I don't accept the terms under which I'd be able to.

Re:Spore... (2, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830675)

Same here. I've bought most SimCity games (as far as they've worked under cedega), and was going to buy Spore once it got there, but this is simply a total dealbreaker. This is product is defective by design.

Screw Piracy (4, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830173)

I legitimately own this game and use cracks on it anyway. I don't see why I should be inconvenienced more than the pirates.
I do this with all my games, mainly because I don't want to have to have the disk in the drive if there's no legitimate need for it.

Re:Screw Piracy (4, Insightful)

DarkMage0707077 (1284674) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830503)

I personally prefer "Sins of a Solar Empire" creator's model of copy protection: the game will technically work fine if you pay for it or not...for version 1.0.

If you want updates and any add-ons they come out with, though, you need to purchase a key(one-time purchase only, mind) in order to register the game.

I love it: I downloaded two of their games and tried them for 3 days. One, I got rid of; the other, SoaSE, I liked so much that I went and bought a legitimate key to register with online.

Granted it has its flaws: it would be very easy for someone to pirate a game with this kind of "protection". Even the key itself would be easy to spread around, I bet.

But if you actually like the game, don't you want to see improvements and add-ons come out for it? And/or more games like it? Most people are aware that these things cost money, and without that money, no more will be made like it. So if customers like what they see and want more, they come back and pay for more.

Re:Screw Piracy (1)

Siridar (85255) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830659)

Err...i'm not sure if its different for you guys over there in the states, but here in Australia the PC version of mass effect doesn't need the disk in the drive to play. That's what the online auth is all about...

A solution? (1, Informative)

Tarindel (107177) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830209)

if 3 activations isn't enough for a particular user, it is possible to call EA and request more. A hassle, yeah, but better than not playing.

Get Smart (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830317)

And who do you think, in the end, gets to pay for all those support calls?

Hint: It's doesn't come out of the bonus system of the company's principals.

Re:A solution? (1)

Jhembryn (1309351) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830345)

It's bad enough I have to call Adobe to get Photoshop or Acrobat re-registered when I switch computers at work.... I don't want to have to call someone because I upgraded my system at home for a GAME. I've never put a crack on a game in my life, and I've been buying games since 1990. This sort of crap will change my mind real quick. I never even bought Half-Life 2 after I heard about Valve's system of distribution. Now I'm reconsidering a purchase of these. Or maybe I'll just go with the flow... and start cracking.

Re:A solution? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830645)

Steam isn't that bad really...Don't have to keep up with your media, it's convenient and mostly transparent.

I'm not a crazy about DRM but I'm a lot more concerned about ease of use than I am about having to be a registered user. Just not a big deal.
 
//Disclaimer: I work with a lot of commercial software that comes with goddamn physical dongle keys, so "logging in" seems trivial in comparison.

Re:A solution? (1)

digitrev (989335) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830433)

And if 640 KB isn't enough RAM, just install more. A hassle, yeah, but better than not having working software.

Re:A solution? (1)

SpecBear (769433) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830471)

I disagree. I'm not playing, and I think that's far better than providing profits for a company that treats its customers with such contempt.


Re:A solution? (5, Insightful)

Mascot (120795) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830487)

And not playing is exactly what you'll be doing once they shut down the activation servers.

What you are doing, in effect, is accepting the fact you're renting a game, but still paying full price for it.

I for one won't accept that. Either slice the prices down to rental levels, or let me actually own the game I buy. They're doing a great job not getting my money. Not such a great job keeping me from enjoying the games. If they ever change their minds and want my money after all, they know what to do.

Re:A solution? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830673)

Great idea. So every time I reinstall the game I make an international call that can take from somewhere between a minute and 15. And after the 10th time I'll be questioned about my honesty, I'm sure.

Care to tell me why I should run that gauntlet? The statement alone, "better than not playing"... hello? It's an effing game. It's neither some critical application nor anything else that could be remotely important. And, bluntly, if a friggin' game is enough reason for you to swallow everything a company requires you to do, I question whether DRM is the problem you have.

Another Stupid DRM Demonstration (1, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830225)

Yet another demonstration of stupid DRM problems and angry users. Just repeat after me: There is no perfect DRM, and then quit acting like there is.

time to... (1)

FireXtol (1262832) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830259)

demand a refund! Teach fuck-ups a lesson.

I'll just keep on waiting. . . (4, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830293)

I've liked some of Bioware's earlier releases, but I guess I'll just keep on waiting for Mass Effect, till they come to their senses.

Honestly, if Bioware never 'needed' DRM (outside of a license key) for earlier games such as the Baldur's Gate Series, Neverwinter Nights, Knights of the Old Republic, etc, and made millions upon millions of dollars of revenue, why do they suddenly need such restrictive DRM? I guess it's to keep people like me from buying the game who probably otherwise would.

Publishers, pay attention: DRM doesn't generate more revenue, it costs you revenue. It's costly to develop and deploy, and to some extent, reduces your sales. I doubt a single person who would have pirated a non-DRM'ed version will actually pay because of the DRM, but it definitely goes the other way - some percentage, even if small, of potential customers who would have payed will be turned off by the DRM and will simply not purchase the game.

Also, DRM like this violates the Doctrine of First Sale [wikipedia.org] - you know, that little concept that if you buy a book, recording, or copy of a computer program, you can let your friends read it, listen to it, libraries can lend it out, etc. Any DRM which prevents lawful re-use of a legally purchased copy should itself be illegal, but of course our corrupt congress which only cares about pandering to rich lobbyists don't care about flushing a century of copyright law down the toilet.

Re:I'll just keep on waiting. . . (4, Informative)

Surye (580125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830507)

Honestly, if Bioware never 'needed' DRM (outside of a license key) for earlier games such as the Baldur's Gate Series, Neverwinter Nights, Knights of the Old Republic, etc, and made millions upon millions of dollars of revenue, why do they suddenly need such restrictive DRM?
I'll give you a hint [slashdot.org] .

Re:I'll just keep on waiting. . . (2, Interesting)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830565)

Also, DRM like this violates the Doctrine of First Sale [wikipedia.org] - you know, that little concept that if you buy a book, recording, or copy of a computer program, you can let your friends read it, listen to it, libraries can lend it out, etc. Any DRM which prevents lawful re-use of a legally purchased copy should itself be illegal, but of course our corrupt congress which only cares about pandering to rich lobbyists don't care about flushing a century of copyright law down the toilet.
The law and precedent is clearly present now, but EA will never come around on this voluntarily. If someone were to take them to court over their restrictive licensing/authorization practices, it would take a while, but that would put a stop to it. As far as I know, companies that sell software that is clearly sold, not rented, must follow the first sale doctrine; a shrinkwrap "license" that specifies otherwise is simply illegal.

But no one has really challenged this yet, and especially not in the case of games.

Lesson I take away is... (4, Interesting)

Krinsath (1048838) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830297)

The same that I've sadly come to the conclusion about many times. Your best bet is to buy the game, stick the box on the shelf and then use the pirated version. I'm all for creators receiving compensation for their work because they work hard and pour themselves into their work, but at the same time I'm not going to let their (or more correctly their publisher's) paranoia about what might happen to their software deny me the goods/service I paid for. As the a sage bit of advice goes, the people who were going to steal your product were never going to be your customers and generally going to draconian lengths to stop them will make your actual customers steal your product because it's less hassle than the legitimate version. SecuROM in particular has been a grievous offender in this regard.

I'm not sure where they got the idea that treating their legitimate customers to a worse experience than the ones who steal their product was all that smart, but I'm pretty sure it was from the same think tank that told the RIAA that suing their customers would be good for business.

3 activations?? (3, Interesting)

sokkalf (542999) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830341)

I still have old games I install from time to time, most notably the Baldur's Gate series.. They have survived tens, if not hundreds of OS (re)installations (including getting them running in WINE, virtual machines etc) and various computers I've had over the years. With a limit like this, I certainly wouldn't have bought it again, but probably pirated it.

Re:3 activations?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830679)

When you uninstall the game, that activation becomes usable again. That is, after you uninstall the game on one system, you can freely install it again on another.

The intent was that you could never have the game installed on 3 computers simultaneously. Unfortunately the DRM that enforces that doesn't know the difference between a different computer and a reinstalled OS, ungraded processor, etc.

Have me shovel. (1)

Char-i-o's (1195873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830343)

Here's a shovel for you EA, and I'm not going to be the one to dig your grave.

Let's call a spade a spade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830349)

These aren't "issues". They are "problems". These two words used to have different meanings, and I for one would like to keep it that way, but perhaps I'm in the minority.

For God's Sake Someone Sue Someone Already (3, Insightful)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830379)

I really think this kind of bullshit violates the first sale doctrine. By and large the courts have never sympathized with the view that shrink-wrapped software is licensed and not bought; and this has been confirmed in some recent higher court rulings.

When you guy a game, you have bought it. The courts now *clearly* recognize this. (To wit the recent case involving auctions of Autodesk software on eBay in alleged violation of Autodesk licensing.) You definitively have the right to sell it. It seems that along with that right must come the right to use it yourself .

I wonder why Will Wright subjects us to this shit, or at the least, why he tolerates it. Why hasn't he gone the Sid Meier way and left his lame publisher? If EA wants guaranteed income, why not charge a reasonable subscription rate for online gameplay and content?

Meanwhile I don't see any way that EA will be made to stop this short of a boycott (not likely with Spore and Mass Effect) or legal intervention. EA already got the smackdown for its illegal employment practices; why not its illegal "licensing" practices?

Re:For God's Sake Someone Sue Someone Already (2, Interesting)

eddy (18759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830547)

Developers without fail will publicly blame the publishers, neatly "forgetting" to mention that they, the developers, agree to the terms in the contract when they sign it, thereby validating it. If they really didn't want this DRM crap then they wouldn't leave control of it to the publishers, but they do, time and time again. Then they try to shift the blame.

Us gamers need to realize this and not accept the weak excuses of developers who support these braindead DRM schemes.

I don't know about the rest of the world, but I now do my PC game purchasing decisions based on DRM, moreso than price.

Re:For God's Sake Someone Sue Someone Already (1)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830665)

Spore is Will Wright's ten year labor of love; seriously, I don't know why he would let EA put such a bad taste in the mouth of customers who have been excited about the game ever since they saw its first demos.

Developers without fail will publicly blame the publishers, neatly "forgetting" to mention that they, the developers, agree to the terms in the contract when they sign it, thereby validating it. If they really didn't want this DRM crap then they wouldn't leave control of it to the publishers, but they do, time and time again. Then they try to shift the blame.

Rediculous (0)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830397)

There is already a pirate version of Mass Effect released for the PC once again proving that DRM doesn't work, so why are the publishers even bothering? This really confuses me. The added cost of the R&D for the DRM, it's licensing etc. just takes away from the much needed profits the games companies keep saying they badly need. All they do is inconvenience legitimate buyers and cut in to their margins.

--
Free Playstation 3, XBox 360 and Nintendo Wii [free-toys.co.uk]

Re:Rediculous (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830715)

And, it only takes one time breaking the DRM to make it worthless for its intended goal.

3 license installs ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830407)

Ought to be enough for anybody :-)

I won't be buying any game with such a ridiculous limitation. 3 activations? Are they seriously suggesting that over the lifetime of the game's use by their customer it is unlikely that people would have to reinstall the game on a new machine (hardware failure, upgrade), or reinstall the OS on the same machine, more than 3 times?

I guess I won't be buying any more EA games. A pity. I have several older ones on the shelf that I still play from time to time. It's been nice knowing you, EA.

Glad I played it on 360 (0, Offtopic)

wilgibson (933961) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830465)

This is why I am totally fine with having played the game on 360. While I have a system that could run the game, I would rather it just work and I not have to fiddle with copy protection. Besides the fact that I got to play it last December, instead of waiting until June.

I just bought this game Sunday night... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830491)

I picked this up from Target Sunday night after a buddy of mine told me that it was out for the PC. I came home and installed it...

I think it took 4 hours to decompress 9GB off of the DVD. I'm not sure, I ended up falling asleep before it completed.

So, Monday night, I came home from work to play it. What a pain in the ass.

a. needs new drivers, but
b. looks as good as BF 2142 (which worked on my older drivers and ran faster)
c. we're talkin' "high seas" choppy (12-16 fps) even on 800x600 with linear aliasing and no music.
d. OTOH BF2142 can run in 1600:900 widescreen at 60 fps.

Did I mention that it failed to load after (I kid you not) 10 minutes on the splash screen? Apparently, the SecuROM DRM blacklists SysInternal's Process Explorer. Yeah, major hacking tool. Whatever.

Ok, so, I upgraded drivers, turned off PE and rebooted (!), and fired it up again. Like I mentioned, choppy sound fx and graphics and crazy load times (we're talking no UI response for upwards of 10 minutes).

Eventually, I did get to "play" for about an hour or so before an uninterruptable cutsceen black-screened-of-death my computer. Why oh why aren't they using industry-standard works-forever Bink video? Or if they are, they've seriously misimplemented it.

It should go without saying that this game appears to have undergone the most lazy subcontracted porting job from the xbox to the PC.

Against my better judgement, I'm putting it on the shelf until they release a patch rather than returning it. (Mainly because I don't think Target accepts software returns...)

Bottom line: I got what I deserved for buying this game without doing any research beforehand. (Surely, this is 2008, and Big-Name games aren't released in a broken state, right? wrong.)

In a nutshell..... (1)

mrjimorg (557309) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830493)

I can honestly say that the DRM is causing me to not buy this game. I was on the fence as to whether or not to get it, but this issue was enough to push me off the fence onto to the side of not purchasing it. If I had really wanted it, I would have bought it. But since I don't have a lot of extra time on my hands, and I don't want to waste money on a game I won't play much..... I'm just not going to put up with this - one less stress in my life. I don't get cracked software because I don't trust downloaded code running on my system. I don't feel like I can trust these people with access to my system with the software I purchase!

Forget EA (1)

cfkboyz (1129423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830515)

I understand that every company has the right to protect there products. What I hate is when they go as far to hurt paying customers. I have been burnt by EA before with Battlefield 2142 and Punkbuster. I will never by a EA game so long as there is any of this crapware on the disc. I donâ(TM)t condone piracy but I would be more than happy to just download a copy of a game that works. Since these games are released for windows© how many users are going to format there systems because of viruses? How many times are the paying customers going to upgrade there hardware to get better frame rates since it is a PC after all? My money is better spent buying blank cdâ(TM)s/dvdâ(TM)sâ¦. I guess I took to old saying âoeThe customer is always rightâ the wrong way⦠Just my opinion

So the cracked version is better? (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830621)

Just asking, since I wouldn't know about such things.

Shame, I was gonna buy spore (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23830627)

I have boxes full of PC games, but I won't be buying any more if this continues.

These idiots need to stop treating their paying customers like pirates, real pirates don't have the CD. Moreover it violates "first sale" rights so it will get their asses sued real soon now (I hope). The pirates download torrents and publishers are forcing their own customers to go there. When your experience with acracked version of the game is better and less buggy that with the store purchase then the publishers are not doing their job and are screwing themselves as much as the customer. This restrictive move is abject stupidity!

Just like my DVR (4, Interesting)

c0y (169660) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830691)

My Comcast (Motorola) DVR threw constant HDCP warnings when turned on, despite the fact that I had nothing but an HDMI cable between the DVR and my TV set.

After the third consecutive week of being screwed out of watching South Park live (and paying over $150/month just for the television services) I returned the damn thing, and I now use Torrent to get ALL my TV content. When I find a decent ISP I'll be canceling the Comcast Internet too.

I was more than happy to pay for the service. But when their copy protection continuously fucked me over (despite other markets getting firmware updates to fix this known problem more than a year prior) I decided to stop rewarding bad behavior.

FUCK DA JEWS AND ITS DRM SHIT (1)

twiiter (1307333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23830701)

Heil Hitler! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! End Jew World Domination! End DRM slavery! End M$ Imperialism!
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