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What Modern Games Are DRM-Free?

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the don't-be-annoying dept.

PC Games (Games) 630

IceDiver writes "I used to be an avid PC gamer. However, I have only bought 1 game in the last 18 months because I am sick and tired of the problems caused by the various intrusive, and sometimes damaging DRM schemes game publishers insist on forcing upon their customers. Once burned, twice shy! The EA announcement that upcoming releases will include SecuROM, along with verification requirements and major restrictions on installations left me wondering which recently released or upcoming games (particularly major titles) are being released without DRM? Are there any? How has DRM affected your game purchasing? Will EA be negatively affected by their DRM decision?" The ongoing DRM controversy was stirred by the recent launch of Spore. We discussed the public outcry from Amazon's reviews (which were subsequently taken down and then re-posted). EA's response to the outcry was to say that only one percent of accounts tried to activate the game more than three times, which is the limit without help from their customer service. Meanwhile, their efforts to find a "balance" between preventing piracy and not hampering legal users may not have been as successful as they hoped. According to Forbes, a P2P research firm found that illegal copies of Spore had been downloaded over 170,000 times already. So, is it time to create a whitelist for game publishers and developers?

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What Modern Games Are Irish Free? (-1, Troll)

Keith Curtis (923118) | about 6 years ago | (#24987007)

GNAA announces switch to Windows Vista
GNAA announces switch to Windows Vista

fellacious (GNAP) Intercourse, PA - Windows Vista appears to finally be taking off, at least within one Fortune 100 company. The GNAA had for the past 13 years been using Red Hat Linux and it's successor, Fedora Core, but growing discontent with the free software operating system forced CTO Jmax to declare on Wednesday that the company was to be switching its entire infrastructure to the new version of Windows, effective immediately. "I'm not going to theatrically claim that I wasn't expecting to have to do this," Jmax said. "This has been coming for quite some time." The GNAA's troubles with Red Hat's Linux system included chronic governance problems, a persistent failure to maintain key repositories, a complex and undocumented submission process which has kept the GNAA's free trolling utilities off the Red Hat-based desktops of thousands of would-be trolls, inability to keep RPM up to date, and a failure to address the problem of Firefox not crashing a entire computer when the user loads Last Measure. "The deal-breaker, though, was when a key Last Measure server remained down for four hours while our entire Intercourse development team tried desperately to bring it up despite not having statically-linked package manager binaries." What had happened was Dikky, visiting from Norway, wanted to play the child pornography mod of Doom 3 on that server- which had to drag several libraries with it. "In addition," said Jmax, "several key software applications used in the GNAA's corporate workflow are proprietary software- which means that they had to be run in an Ubuntu compatibility environment anyway." However, being as those unnamed applications were written in C#.NET, "We expect that our transition to Windows Vista will come off without a hitch."

About Jmax:

The CTO of the GNAA, Jmax also has a seat on Microsoft's board of directors. His resume can be accessed at [] .

About Windows Vista:

The fastest-growing desktop operating system on the market, Windows Vista combines the legendary security of Windows 98 with the legendary ease of use of those computer interfaces you see in the movies into one ultra-fast, ultra-stable computing platform.

About Red Hat:

A failure of a computer company, Red Hat burns through investor money while giving its products away for free. It is currently under investigation from the SEC for misuse of invested funds, and being sued by the GNAA for breach of contract for sucking more than specified in the GNAA's contract with Red Hat.

About the Linux community:


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GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the first organization which gathers GAY NIGGERS from all over America and abroad for one common goal - being GAY NIGGERS.

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| ______________________________________._a,____ | Press contact:
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ | Gary Niger
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ | [mailto]
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ | GNAA Corporate Headquarters
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ | 143 Rolloffle Avenue
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ | Tarzana, California 91356
| _________#1__________?________________________ |
| _________j1___________________________________ | All other inquiries:
| ____a,___jk_GAY_NIGGER_ASSOCIATION_OF_AMERICA_ | Enid Al-Punjabi
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ | [mailto]
| ______-"!^____________________________________ | GNAA World Headquarters
` _______________________________________________' 160-0023 Japan Tokyo-to Shinjuku-ku Nishi-Shinjuku 3-20-2

Copyright (c) 2003-2007 Gay Nigger Association of America []

Windows XP Activation made me a Linux user (4, Insightful)

Lord Byron II (671689) | about 6 years ago | (#24987025)

I wasn't about to ask permission from Microsoft to use something that I bought and paid for. Since then, I've personally converted three non-techies from Windows to Linux. These companies never stop to think of the sales they lose by trying to stop each and every last instance of piracy.

Re:Windows XP Activation made me a Linux user (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987141)

And DRM makes me a pirate.

I'm a single childless guy on an average wage and therefore have some spare money about. I generally buy games. Or at least, used to. However the DRM in Bioshock and Portal (more time playing the DRM than playing Portal...) amongst others have seriously affected me. Pirating the game instead of purchasing it means that once I have it, I install and play it, instead of 'fight the DRM'. I don't think I've downloaded a single big-name game title that didn't work first go. I certainly have purchased such a thing.

So, while my hourly rate isn't much, for both Bioshock and Portal I spent more hours than my equivalent wage would cost to buy the game, in Portal's case that's after tax :)

Funny thing is that despite both games having convoluted and misdirecting self-help support sources, the problem in both cases was that I had software installed that can mount .isos. Yes, that's right. Other operating systems have native support for this function because it's so damn useful. Game companies on the other hand treated me like a pirate for having such software installed.

So now I'm a pirate, due to the pain that game companies have caused me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be moral here - after all, I am stealing my entertainment - but the actions of the game companies have turned a paying customer into a pirate. Now there's an own goal for you...

Re:Windows XP Activation made me a Linux user (5, Insightful)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 6 years ago | (#24987187)

What DRM in Portal? Steam is the only thing with a DRM scheme I don't hate. It's a part of the industry where I know indie devs have a chance, and my money is going to the artists, and there's always good deals, and most importantly it always works, period. If you had a problem with Steam, I'd put money on it being because you did something wrong. But even if you did, Valve tech support is great so... I don't know this whole complaint is just alien to me.

...The DRM on Portal. *scratches head*

Re:Windows XP Activation made me a Linux user (4, Interesting)

PIBM (588930) | about 6 years ago | (#24987315)

Someone randomly found the CD Key of my old half life game before I finally got to install steam. When I did, wanted to play back half life along with the updates, I was denied access to online play because I could not register the game.

I contacted them and the reply was to send them the cd & box, along with a proof of purchase (I had bought the games over 8 years before!) and 20 bucks to cover the replacement.

That would have been the only solution, short of buying again. I'm not using anything in steam or that I might think might end up in steam again.

As for his question, World of Warcraft is DRM free, and the upcoming WOTLK is also supposed to be free of it too!

I guess that count as a particularly major title :)

Re:Windows XP Activation made me a Linux user (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987375)

re: Half-Life 1 and my original key being stolen.

Same thing happened to me. I sent in the CD case liner (which includes the barcode proof of purchase -- according to the instructions you were *not* to send in the original box or jewel case and for games older than a certain date, the receipt was also not necessary) and a check for $10 (the processing fee at the time, October 2007).

I received my CD liner intact back from Valve soon after having all of the HL1 games activated on my account. It went through pretty quick.

They also never bothered to cash the check.

Re:Windows XP Activation made me a Linux user (4, Interesting)

MetaPhyzx (212830) | about 6 years ago | (#24987433)

well, blizzard isn't perfect.

I suffered a bout of ID fraud in which there were several online purchases of The Burning Crusade on a card of mine. All of the purchases were in to European arms of Blizzard.

I tried to resolve this with Blizzard as at the time I'd had an account, and my son as well (no CC attached, using Game time cards only and none of these purchases were to my legit accounts). They responded with the typical "maybe someone charged your card...a family member" email they usually send.

I called Blizzard as well and asked to speak to someone in account security. Couldn't get past the snaky rep who basically said they won't talk to you.

I called the bank and had them issue charge backs.

Prior to this experience, I was a solid Blizzard fan. Bought all their games, had a good time. They sent me an email after the bank did their business, I suspect it said they were freezing my account because of all this biz, but at this point I didn't care, and still don't (and probably won't unless they directly apologize, but that's unlikely to happen).

Blizzard could do no wrong with me, and now they can't really do right. They make wonderful products, but horrid customer care. Hence, I won't be buying anything from them.

Ironically I've had good luck with Valve. I had a copy of Half-Life 2 with which the CD Key had been used; I took a snapshot of the discs, with the manual key in view (and reciept) and emailed it to Valve. It was fixed in an hour. Same thing with EA and my copy of BF2.

When I bought the Orange Box, I wasn't aware that it came with HL2, and Steam asked did I wish to gift it to someone, which I did. The thought that Steam isn't guaranteed bugs me, but as I've said.. I've had good experiences.

Re:Windows XP Activation made me a Linux user (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | about 6 years ago | (#24987435)

I'd have threatened to take them to small claims court for selling me a defective product. It's not your problem that someone stole your key... why the fuck should you pay ANYTHING else for the product you legitimately owned?

Re:Windows XP Activation made me a Linux user (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 6 years ago | (#24987389)

most importantly it always works, period. If you had a problem with Steam, I'd put money on it being because you did something wrong.


Steam is annoying as hell and frequently stops me using [] games I own.

I paid money for that game so I own it. When I double-click on the icon, it is not a "request" for it to run. The game is fully installed, and doesn not need to be connected to Steam to run. Cracked versions work without the DRM-enforced waits.

If the game does not start immediately, every time, it is broken.

Re:Windows XP Activation made me a Linux user (5, Funny)

PapaBoojum (232247) | about 6 years ago | (#24987289)

I'm a single childless guy...

This is Slashdot. Mod parent Redundant.

Re:Windows XP Activation made me a Linux user (4, Insightful)

tukang (1209392) | about 6 years ago | (#24987327)

They treated you like an animal and that's what you became

Re:Windows XP Activation made me a Linux user (4, Interesting)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#24987409)

Personally I appreciate how Blizzard had the sense to remove the look-for-CD-protection in Warcraft III, of course a cd key is still required to play on battle net.

Their stupid requirement of having to use the CD and the risk of getting banned from bnet by patching the game or whatever made me use the original one ending up with big enough scratches on the CDs for being unable to install the game, for one of the discs to validate as a genuine one and finally this: []

Re:Windows XP Activation made me a Linux user (4, Insightful)

FoolsGold (1139759) | about 6 years ago | (#24987261)

Why? It's easier to get a pirated copy and continue using the same knowledge set of skills, techniques and software than it is to totally convert to another operating system.

There's a reason XP is still pretty popular on the torrent sites.

Introversion Software (4, Informative)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | about 6 years ago | (#24987033)

Multiwinia doesn't have DRM as far as I know :) That's a pretty cool-looking game, I gotta say. Introversion does an AWESOME job with their games, in all reality.

Plus, they run on Linux natively! :D

Re:Introversion Software (5, Informative)

bmgoau (801508) | about 6 years ago | (#24987243)

Sins of a Solar Empire is also completely free of DRM.

It scored pretty much 9/10 in every review.

Sins of a Solar Empire is a science fiction real-time strategy computer game developed by Ironclad Games for Windows XP and Vista and published by Stardock Entertainment in February 2008.[1] Sins is a real-time strategy (RTS) game that incorporates some elements from 4X strategy games; promotional materials describe it as "RT4X."[2] []

Stardock Entertainment are also responsibile for the proposed "Gamers Bill of rights"

The Gamer's Bill of Rights:

Gamers shall have the right to return games that don't work with their computers for a full refund.
Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game's release.
Gamers shall have the right to demand that download managers and updaters not force themselves to run or be forced to load in order to play a game.
Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will play adequately on that computer.
Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won't install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their consent.
Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.
Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.
Gamers shall have the right to demand that a single-player game not force them to be connected to the Internet every time they wish to play.
Gamers shall have the right that games which are installed to the hard drive shall not require a CD/DVD to remain in the drive to play. []

Re:Introversion Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987403)

I bought Sins, and I'm thankful there was no DRM in the box.

Unfortunately it looks like they are now launching their own Steam-like service called Impulse which will be a requirement for all future updates to the game.

At least I have the option not to update but it's still a kick in the nuts to those of us who bought the game to support companies that don't use DRM.

Re:Introversion Software (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 6 years ago | (#24987413)

"Sins of a Solar Empire is also completely free of DRM."

Ugh... it's NOT COMPLETELY free of DRM. I'd like to see you copy the game to another PC and run it without having to phone home or patch it to fix all the bugs that version 1.0 has without Impulse.

The answer... (-1, Troll)

JebusIsLord (566856) | about 6 years ago | (#24987039)

I think what we have to do, as a community, is stop bitching at the game developers, and start bitching out the dirty bastards who steal games and ruin it for the rest of us! Seriously, hardly any breath is spent on criticising these leaches. In fact, I bet I see it justified several times over the course of this thread. If it becomes socially unacceptable, people will stop doing it so much. Right now, stories like this just work as justification for more theft.


Re:The answer... (-1, Offtopic)

JebusIsLord (566856) | about 6 years ago | (#24987065)

how the hell did I get redundant? I'm the first person to voice this (unpopular) view. Fuck I hate this site sometimes.

Re:The answer... (5, Insightful)

ustolemyname (1301665) | about 6 years ago | (#24987091)

Let's see... DRM doesn't work, and discourages legitimate customers... while those who pirate the game don't even notice (as it's been removed). Pirates obviously don't care about DRM, as it doesn't affect them. Asking them to care is pointless.

Re:The answer... (0, Troll)

JebusIsLord (566856) | about 6 years ago | (#24987155)

I'm not asking pirates to care, I'm asking slashdot readers to stop defacto encouraging them by criticising the alternative (paying for the copy protected discs). When is the last time copy protection actually HURT you? I know its sort-of annoying, but I've never personally been bitten, and I'm sure it isn't that difficult to call and have your key reset anyway. Not worth getting all huffy and boycotting the developer, IMO.

Re:The answer... (2, Interesting)

ustolemyname (1301665) | about 6 years ago | (#24987341)

First of all, lumping all slashdot readers and posters into the same group is a logical fallacy, so I'll ignore that.

Personally bitten me? My purchased copy of LightWave 9.0 (and that is way more expensive than a video game, believe me). Comes with a hardware dongle, which is small, tiny, necessary, and easy to lose. For a while I was "in between computers" and had my hardware dongle on a keychain, and the software on my external harddrive. Lost the keychain, and am now quite tied to my new box (mmm... dual quade-core opterons...). Seems that thanks to "copy protection" I am unable to get a new dongle without re-purchasing (expensive!) software. All I have to say is, yay pirates[1].

I agree, don't BOYCOTT developers, as this further puts them under the illusion that piracy is killing their business model (like boycotting the RIAA), but certainly make them aware of your opinion on how annoying DRM truly is (similar to how we complain about lack of linux support). 1. (On a side note, cracking lightwave made my decision to make this box linux only much easier this time, as it was the one thing I needed windows for, and lightwave runs quite will in WINE, IMO)

Re:The answer... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987345)

Yes it is.

If I pay for something, I expect to have full access to it any time and any place. Depending on where I am, I may not have internet access or the ability to place a phone call or I may not want to do those things simply because they are inconvenient. If a company's DRM prevents me from using my legally purchased software in any way, then I will not buy from them and I will encourage others to do the same.

Re:The answer... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987355)

you've never lived in a tent in africa, have you? You've never had your DRM lockup because it got pissed at a power surge. Go back to your mommy's basement.

Re:The answer... (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | about 6 years ago | (#24987401)

Holy shit! Do you mean to tell me it's possible I can't play computer games in a tent in Africa? The oppression is unconscionable.

Re:The answer... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987395)

Halo was the last time SecuRom hurt me. It doesn't work with the CD/DVD drives that I own. After submitting my info to the developers of SecuRom (as they ask) they said that they might develop a patch for it some day.

Can't return the software, as it's been open and works fine on the store machine. So I'm out $$ because of DRM. I will not buy another DRM protected software again.

Re:The answer... (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 6 years ago | (#24987115)

You should calm down. Although I do share your sentiments, this is only a website. If the worst of your day is to rant about moderators on Slashdot then you must have a pretty cush life.

Re:The answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987119)

its not an unpopular view - its a STUPID view. theres a difference.
1. there are always going to be people copying games
2. even if there arent any, teh games companies can always claim there are
3. teh games companies can always argue for DRM just in case there might be people copying games in the future
4. therefore, DRM will always exist. QED
in other words, yours is a stupid argument. and hence, redundant.

Re:The answer... (3, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | about 6 years ago | (#24987183)

I'm the first person to voice this (unpopular) view.

No you're not. It pops up like an annoying ad everytime the subject of DRM or copyright comes up. And it's lame. GNAA is a better read.

Fuck I hate this site sometimes.

Click here [] .

Re:The answer... (1)

bersl2 (689221) | about 6 years ago | (#24987191)

how the hell did I get redundant? I'm the first person to voice this (unpopular) view.

You were modded "Redundant" for lack of a better descriptor, and because others have expressed this view before (not that 90% of everything said is unoriginal to begin with), and because this view kinda sorta goes against the groupthink, but mostly because it doesn't work like that: you don't change the behavior of other people as a group simply by asking.

Just because something is illegal doesn't mean that people won't do it. The economics has to work out---and by "economics", I'm not merely referring to money, but also to time, effort, opportunity cost, and so on. And the economics of DRM just don't work. It might even be that the economics of computer gaming don't scale as the companies want them to, such that DRM is an attempt to overcome this by trying to make a general-purpose computer more like a console (something which is doomed to failure).

Re:The answer... (1)

daninspokane (1198749) | about 6 years ago | (#24987067)

I think what we have to do, as a community, is stop bitching at the game developers, and start bitching out the dirty bastards who steal games and ruin it for the rest of us! Seriously, hardly any breath is spent on criticising these leaches. In fact, I bet I see it justified several times over the course of this thread. If it becomes socially unacceptable, people will stop doing it so much. Right now, stories like this just work as justification for more theft. STOP GODDAMN STEALING!

Not a breath... like.. the lawsuits...? The... countless articles and blogs...? Hmmmm... I am pretty sure there's plenty of bitching going on about software / movie / music pirates.

Re:The answer... (2, Funny)

JebusIsLord (566856) | about 6 years ago | (#24987081)

The gaming community has been suing thieves? I demand linkage.

Re:The answer... (1)

daninspokane (1198749) | about 6 years ago | (#24987137)

Touche good sir. They still complain. My brain didn't put too much emphasis on the "community" aspect.

Re:The answer... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987117)

Hai you're doing it wrong. YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND.

The vast majority of people are not stealing fucktard. All those people complaining about DRM own it... they paid for it and the real issue is that they are treated like criminals.

DRM is like showing a commercial about how movie piracy is bad while you're sitting at the theater. It only annoys the honest and does nothing to those who are not.

Basically, DRM discourages people from buying legit software since cracked software has that shit removed.... I'm glad I could teach you something today.

Re:The answer... (2, Interesting)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 6 years ago | (#24987129)

So, which part of the industry do you work for? There's no way I'll ever believe somebody who isn't paid to be on that team will ever bat for it.

Some of us "dirty bastards" have a damn good reason to do what we do. The way art and culture is commodified in this society is dangerous and wrong, and is responsible for many of the corporate abuses we see today. I don't feel that I'm stealing anything when I download a game, because the company that made it doesn't own it and can't sell it to me. Art and entertainment are, in a sane society, services which each person pays for in proportion to the piece's personal value to them. The companies I like will get my money after I have played their game and determined whether it deserves to be in my personal collection or not. Until then, it is part of the library of collective consciousness which must be free to access in any free society.

Re:The answer... (2, Insightful)

JebusIsLord (566856) | about 6 years ago | (#24987181)

Thats some great justification, buddy. Glad you can sleep okay. Their art isn't YOURS to give away - if you believe as you do, then just play the open source games and stop being a self-centered prick.

Re:The answer... (0)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 6 years ago | (#24987269)

The art isn't theirs to sell is my whole point. In a vacuum, you can sell whatever you want, but in the real world, some things belong to everybody. The air, the water supply, food to a certain extent, parks, all of these things belong to society because they are important to society's health. Given the importance of culture to the educational process, and the detrimental effect modern corporate culture has had on the citizens' ability to produce new work, I sincerely and firmly believe that culture should be on this list.

Others clearly agree with me. We have libraries and museums, public endowments for the production and performance of things in all media, public television, even free access to movies, in many cases. There are absolutely no provisions for games however, and music has become so commercialized that the extent to which access to it is legally free is meaningless. Both of these industries must be taken to task for their excess and opened to the people. The power over the transaction needs to be back where it belongs: in the hands of the patron of arts.

I'm not self-centered. This is about what's good for society.

Re:The answer... (2, Insightful)

smolloy (1250188) | about 6 years ago | (#24987373)

So a company spends a ton of cash to develop a cutting edge game, and you think you have the right to access it for free just because you label it as "art" and declare that their "art" doesn't belong to them?!?

I'm no fan of DRM, but I just can't take this argument seriously. They developed it, they paid people to code it, shouldn't it be possible for them to reclaim their expenses (and then make a profit)?

If you want high quality, cutting edge games to continue to be produced, then there has to be a method for the producers to get paid for it. Why else would they do it?

If you remove the financial motivation to produce games, then games will not be produced. Is that what you mean by "good for society"?

Man, my karma's gonna suffer for this, I just know it...

Re:The answer... (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 6 years ago | (#24987427)

None of what I said implies that artists won't get paid. What it does imply is that the economic model of art will be a more ethical one. In the music industry already, artists have had stunning success with "name-your-price" sales, basically busking over the Internet. That is how all art should work, private commissions and public endowments aside.

I am all for a financial incentive to produce art, I just don't think the producer should get to decide on the price.

Re:The answer... (0, Offtopic)

JebusIsLord (566856) | about 6 years ago | (#24987201)

And why the hell wouldn't I bat for them?? They make video games, one of my favorite things to do! These guys slave away rediculous hours making things that blow me away, and I'm willing to give them money for it. That makes me a shill?? You're fucked, buddy.

Re:The answer... (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 6 years ago | (#24987325)

Yes, it makes you a shill. I've never heard anyone not in the industry as rabid as you. I respect artists and their work as much as you, I just think that there are more important things at stake than their paycheck. Sane life depends on free culture.

Re:The answer... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987217)

Dude, as much as I hate DRM, I hate people like you too. Steal it if you want to, I don't care but call it like it is.

Don't tell me you really need Spore so bad that you have to dl it without paying for it. You know the deal, they made a game and to play it you have to pay for it. If you don't want to, don't, but also, don't make up shit about art and culture. It cost the same as a meal at a nice restaurant or a couple of cases of beer. How about you skip a few bags of weed and pay for your art and culture.
Or steal it and stfu... just as long as you stop feeding people bullshit.

Re:The answer... (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 6 years ago | (#24987377)

It's funny, honestly, that you would pick Spore in particular. Your argument would make more sense if you were talking about Quake or some other mindless dross, but Spore, in point of fact, is a prime example of an artful game that needs to be part of the collective property. Look at what's in it. It is, itself, an outlet for creativity. It is groundbreaking in so many ways. It has, to put it simply, advanced the state of the art. There are people out there who really need to see it, because they will learn from it, and it will provoke profound thought and feeling. Competently-produced art such as Spore is a resource that should be available to everyone because it generates humanity. It shows us things about the world and ourselves that make us more than walking piles of juicy clockwork. That's why the humanities are called that.

Putting a price tag on humanity is fundamentally unethical. The poor have just as much right to culture as anyone else, and every patron of the arts has the right to be discerning and pay for things after they've determined that the work is to their taste.

Re:The answer... (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 6 years ago | (#24987381)

Good idea. Let's extend it a little. Why should you have any claim on the stuff in your house? Just because it happens to be there?? In any sane society, I should be able to walk into your house and liberate the stuff I need, leaving any payment that I feel is appropriate.

Re:The answer... (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 6 years ago | (#24987443)

In both this and the restaurant example in the next post down, there are actual materials used that need to be paid for. Intellectual property is the type that shouldn't exist.

Re:The answer... (1)

ZeroFactorial (1025676) | about 6 years ago | (#24987397)

Try explaining to a restaurant that after having eaten their food, it simply wasn't up to your standards so you won't be paying.

Have fun in jail.

Re:The answer... (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 6 years ago | (#24987167)

I think what we have to do, as a community, is stop bitching at the game developers, and start bitching out the dirty bastards who steal games and ruin it for the rest of us!

Why? People stealing games (are you talking about shoplifting?) don't harm me. Companies that add DRM do, because they are making my purchases harder or in some cases impossible to use. As for people who make illegal copies of games (copyright infringement), well they're mostly not affected by DRM, so my opinion is that DRM's purpose is probably not to stop them from doing so, or if it is it is completely ineffective so there is no point to it anyway.

Seriously, hardly any breath is spent on criticising these leaches[sic].

Likewise few people spend time on Slashdot criticizing people who embezzle millions from large corporations, because very few of us suffer because of such behavior.

If it becomes socially unacceptable, people will stop doing it so much.

Yeah, sure. It is publishers and their lobbyists that are harming me these days. Just recently they passed a law to use my tax dollars to prosecute their dubious and unconstitutional civil lawsuits. That's much, much worse than anything a copyright infringer has done to me.

Right now, stories like this just work as justification for more theft.

What does this story have to do with theft? Do you even know what theft is?

You wouldn't copy a car. You wouldn't copy a handbag. You wouldn't copy a television. You wouldn't copy a dvd. Downloading pirated games is copying. Copying is against the law.

Re:The answer... (5, Insightful)

ZeroFactorial (1025676) | about 6 years ago | (#24987383)

So when we have an oppressive Orwellian government, we should blame the criminals for forcing the government into taking away EVERYONE's freedoms?

as above, as below (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#24987393)

you reap what you saw.

if companies like EA didnt sow that much SHIT, they wouldnt get any piracy on their hands.

respected companies who treat their gamers like customers should be enjoy lowest piracy rates. whereas companies who are run by marketing people and lawyers instead of gaming industry people, like EA, get their butt pirated off.

you should think about why.

NOone can heavy-hand a free market. If you are not selling your product from the value it should be, market pirates it.

for historic case studies, check out the subject of 'mercantilism' and how even penalty of death didnt prevent everyone from smuggling against their nations' wishes.

once mercantilism ended around the world, smuggling stopped in a flash.

The better question.... (1)

vistahator (1330955) | about 6 years ago | (#24987045)

is which games work well in WINE??

Re:The better question.... (3, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | about 6 years ago | (#24987139)

Losing DRM is a good first step to achieving WINE compatibility. I've seen a good many games where they will work perfectly on WINE, except the stupid DRM system some moron decided was necessary.

Re:The better question.... (1)

jannone (1145713) | about 6 years ago | (#24987419)

except the stupid DRM system some moron shareholders decided was necessary.

I think that's more like it.

As I've said before (1)

SplinterOfChaos (1330441) | about 6 years ago | (#24987049)

The game publishers here are cowards and scared. Even if the "public outcry" makes them finally rid us of DRM, they will find even more scary things to throw on our harddrives. The only solution I see is for the big companies to realize these two rules: Rule one, games will be pirated; rule two, publishers can't change rule one.

On the other hand, rainbows exist, why not miracles?

Re:As I've said before (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987107)

The game publishers here are cowards and scared. Even if the "public outcry" makes them finally rid us of DRM, they will find even more scary things to throw on our harddrives. The only solution I see is for the big companies to realize these two rules: Rule one, games will be pirated; rule two, publishers can't change rule one.

On the other hand, rainbows exist, why not miracles?

Actually, publishers can change rule one.

All they have to do is make their game rely heavilly on Internet content for much of their game logic, requiring a monthly subscription to have an account activated.

Take World of Warcraft, for instance. The game itself is essentially free -- at least here in Europe the cost of the game itself is the same as the montly subscription cost -- and the game comes bundled with a 30-day subscription.

As far as I know there are no DRM measures in World of Warcraft. There is an anti-cheating module, designed to detect and stop third-party software, but whether that can be called DRM is debatable. And even if it is DRM, it's for a good cause.

I for one applaud publishers like Blizzard and the many other publishers out there who, instead of trying to prevent the physically impossible act of copying bits, actually find new viable business models to base their software around.

Sins of a Solar Empire (4, Informative)

WARM3CH (662028) | about 6 years ago | (#24987051)

Try Sins of a Solar Empire [] , one of the best games of the year that has no copy protection. So far they have sold 500,000 copies of it which is huge considering the modest budget.

Re:Sins of a Solar Empire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987275)

Yes, it was DRM free, until they started releasing patches exclusively on Impulse [] .

Re:Sins of a Solar Empire (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 6 years ago | (#24987337)

Except for the fact that anything bought through Stardock IS DRM because you need the Stardock software (impulse) to generate a key before you can run the game. (My experience with Gal Civ ... and I doubt it's changed) If you can take Sins and copy it to another computer and run it without requiring Impulse... I'd be VERY surprised.

Re:Sins of a Solar Empire (1)

WARM3CH (662028) | about 6 years ago | (#24987353)

You can copy the game and play it. However, to get updates you need to have a valid cd-key.

Re:Sins of a Solar Empire (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 6 years ago | (#24987407)

And the last time I had Gal Civ installed, you had to electronically "phone home" to validate your copy before you could use if it was copied to another PC or if it was patched. I still stick to the basis that it's NOT DRM free, but it's a very lenient DRM.

Supreme Commander (1)

Cheetor5923 (1363037) | about 6 years ago | (#24987071)

I ecentky purchased Supreme commander, as soon as the 3220 patch was relesed (which removed the DRM from the game), It now only needs a valid CD key if you want to game online. I just like not having to rummage through my CD collection to make the game run :)

Re:Supreme Commander (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 6 years ago | (#24987365)

Now if only they'd fix the damn crash bugs. Every patch I've installed has made things worse, and my near-state-of-the-art, otherwise-100%-reliable gaming PC literally crashes every ten minutes with the 3280 patch on a large map. I've gone back to playing the original version, but of course it doesn't have all the small but nice improvements and the few extra units that the later revisions come with. The CD thing was a pain, but I would rather live with that than have an unplayable game...

A bit off-topic, but a friendly warning that anyone interested in this particular title might want to wait for feedback on the next patch.

Sins of a Solar Empire (5, Informative)

Nathanbp (599369) | about 6 years ago | (#24987077)

Sins of a Solar Empire [] made by Stardock is a recently released DRM free game (their other games are DRM free as well).

We've discussed Stardock's [] anti-DRM [] policy before.

No affiliation with Stardock, just a happy customer.

Re:Sins of a Solar Empire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987149)

And it's an awesome game. 2 for 1!

Re:Sins of a Solar Empire (1)

pdboddy (620164) | about 6 years ago | (#24987153)

I second Stardock's games, and would recommend them to anyone. Introversion's Darwinia, Uplink and so forth are excellent as well. Steam has quite a few games for download, most of them without DRM.

Re:Sins of a Solar Empire (5, Informative)

the unbeliever (201915) | about 6 years ago | (#24987211)

Referring to Steam games as "not having DRM" is sort of funny.

Steam *is* the DRM, although it is an acceptable version thereof in my (and many slashdotters) opinion.

Re:Sins of a Solar Empire (2, Interesting)

ZeroFactorial (1025676) | about 6 years ago | (#24987263)

I can see how many people would consider it acceptable... however... what happens in the future if the steam servers go the way of all the earth, and you want to play a game that you paid for, but you had to wipe your drive to reinstall your OS - so you haven't got a hard copy, and you can't download the soft copy you paid for...

You might say "i won't want to play it by then", but trends in retro gaming would beg to differ on the point.

Re:Sins of a Solar Empire (2, Informative)

Psychotria (953670) | about 6 years ago | (#24987299)

Well, they have said that if that scenario ever occurred that they'd release patches (for the activation stuff). I guess we just have to trust them at this point.

As for the hardcopy/softcopy, this is what backups are for (and steam makes it easy to burn to DVD for games you've downloaded).

Re:Sins of a Solar Empire (1)

servognome (738846) | about 6 years ago | (#24987303)

What happens when CD/Floppy Disc/Cartridge wears out, or the hardware/software required is no longer easily found.
Any purchase has risk, understand it and evaluate the value accordingly.

Re:Sins of a Solar Empire (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987311)

Sins of a Solar Empire is *not* DRM-free. If you get it via digital download or if you want to get the updates, you have to install Impulse. Impulse is similar in purpose and function to Steam.

You may feel that such a system is acceptable, but it is still DRM. You cannot install the game whenver you want, wherever you want. If the Impulse servers go down, people cannot activate their games.

I was recently put in the uncomfortable spot of having bought and paid for the game, but then finding out I needed to use Impulse to get it. I didn't agree with Impulse's EULA, so I could not get the game. Stardock is refusing to give me a refund.

Re:Sins of a Solar Empire (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 6 years ago | (#24987379)

I hate that Stardock calls it DRM free. They should clarify and call it DRM lite. You still need to generate a key for your installation. Just because it doesn't phone home every time you play doesn't mean it's not DRM. If you re-install your OS and don't re-install your game, copy the game to another computer (laptop, etc.) you will NEED to connect to Stardock to re-enable the game. DRM in any form is STILL DRM. Digital means to enable a product before it can be used.

Checkers (5, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#24987079)

Now listen here Sonny, just yesterday I took my scooter down to the game store and bought me a brand new box of checkers for my grandson.

Now sure, it doesn't have any of that D-R-whachamacalit that today's young'uns want but it's brand new and that's what counts!

Re:Checkers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987207)

Don't like Ike? Donate [].

Don't like organizations that discriminate against gays? Don't donate.

(The Red Cross doesn't accept blood donations from homosexuals.)

Re:Checkers (2, Funny)

jfmiller (119037) | about 6 years ago | (#24987411)

You grandparents are all alike. You buy a stripped down game that kinda copies the real thing but without all the violent elements. It ends up being boring. You should have bought Chess. So what if it is simulated warfare, its what all the kids want these days. Even better Check out Goban now theres a game that has some great replay value.

Old folks just don`t do their research.

it should matter. (3, Insightful)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 6 years ago | (#24987143)

I'm not exactly using DRM as a selling point when I buy a game. It affects me, but I have security software which can prevent the DRM from doing harmful things to my computer.

I buy a lot of games, and I honestly don't think the DRM is effective.

Scenario #1: you bought the game and enjoy it. your friend wants to play the game without buying it. You can't copy the CD and have him play thanks to the DRM. or can you?

Scenario #2: you don't want to buy a game, but you still want to play it. You can't download it from the Internet thanks to DRM. or can you?

in both scenarios, DRM is useless. in #1, you can download a NOCD crack from the Internet and make as many copies of the disc as you want. In #2, the game has already been released by some cracking group without DRM before the game even hits the stores. Is harrassing paying customers really helping to gain more paying customers?

DRM doesn't even deter casual gamers who would copy their own disc. Since the game has been cracked before it's even released, that DRM scheme is a waste of customer money.

As I see it, this harmful middleware just eats into profit margins. Companies who make products like securom and starforce rely on the fear and ignorance of publishers to sell their harmful software. Who is to say these companies don't have their own agenda in installing their harmful and mysterious software on unsuspecting machines?

Since we don't fully know what the software does, nor do they allow us to know, isn't it safe to assume it's malicious?

The greatest game of all time is DRM-free... (4, Funny)

afabbro (33948) | about 6 years ago | (#24987147)'s even open source [] .

Re:The greatest game of all time is DRM-free... (5, Insightful)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about 6 years ago | (#24987177)

What about Angband [] ?

Comments not necessarily taken down (1)

afidel (530433) | about 6 years ago | (#24987169)

It's just as likely that the explanation that Amazon gave was legit and that a technical error caused them to be removed (it wasn't just negative reviews, but ALL reviews on Spore retail which went away). Remember never attribute to malice that which can be more easily explained by a simple fuckup. They probably have never had that many comments on any single object before and some limit was simply exceeded. They fairly quickly reposted all comments and never removed the volumes of negative feedback on the other versions of the game. My favorite DRM free games are freeciv [] and Scorched 3D [] .

Re: What Modern Games Are DRM-Free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987175)

Those you download from torrent sites.

If you fear the legal consequences get another hobby since DRM is made to fight paying customers.

ETQW (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 6 years ago | (#24987185)

ETQW all the way. Aside from it being an excellent game and being DRM free, you can get a full copy of it for $15 on Amazon [] .

P.S. it runs on Linux.

Re:ETQW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987319)

Yes! Quake Wars is a great game in the lineage of Return to Castle Wolfenstein (and RTCW: ET).

Couple weeks ago we were shooting the cast of Tropic Thunder.

1% Failure Rate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987189)

Well, if it was downloaded 170,000 times, that would be 1,700 failures. But those were the pirates, who don't suffer from DRM gone bad.

So how many actual customers did they have? Because 1% of them mean that thousands of people had to put up with ineffective DRM for no reason.

EA Spindoctoring (5, Insightful)

Sibko (1036168) | about 6 years ago | (#24987209)

EA's response to the outcry was to say that only one percent of accounts tried to activate the game more than three times, which is the limit without help from their customer service.

Spore has been out for 8 days, and that's if you count the early release in Australia. In 8 days they've had 1% of their customers install Spore enough times as to be unable to play the game.

Bullet, meet foot.

Re:EA Spindoctoring (1)

ZeroFactorial (1025676) | about 6 years ago | (#24987343)

This is the best point I've seen made yet on EA's BS PR (yes, that's a lot of acronyms).

If they've hit 1% in 8 days, then, assuming the rate of usage continues at its present rate, in just under 3 months (11 weeks, or 80 days) 10% of all their customers won't be able to play the game they paid good money for.

That's 10% of all your legitimate buyers who can't play their game after 3 months. That's a lot of pissed off customers.

EA is destined to become extinct if they don't start listening to their customers' demands. How difficult is it to understand that pirates get the games anyway, and that by adding copy protection they're only making the honest people feel untrusted and alienated?

Valve's single-player stuff ... sort of. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987213)

As long as you keep local backups of your downloaded content and the Steam client intstaller you're good to go. If for some reason Valve and/or Steam should ever disappear you can still launch in Offline Mode and play your games.

Epic games, to a degree (4, Interesting)

WDot (1286728) | about 6 years ago | (#24987233)

The Unreal/Unreal Tournament series of games, including UT3, don't have DRM. However, Gears of War DOES, so avoid that one.

As far as I know, Call of Duty 4 does not have any DRM. Searching "Call of Duty 4 $DRM" where $DRM equalled DRM, SecuROM, and Starforce, turned up nothing relevant.

Be warned, both of those games are basically only good for the multiplayer, so keep that in mind.

The Civilization series has strong single player, if you're into turn-based strategy, has no DRM, and really only requires a quick No-CD crack to be completely convenient. This includes every Civ I know of (2 to 4 + expansions).

Telltale games from what I've experienced has no DRM. Their Sam and Max series of adventure games, when purchased directly from Telltale's site, can be redownloaded over and over. This is no large technical feat, however, as their episodes are ~80MB a pop. (5, Informative)

JoeFaust (25587) | about 6 years ago | (#24987237)

Good Old Games [] has just entered beta. They are offering older games for $5.99 - $9.99, completely DRM free. They've got some great games in their catalog, including Fallout [] & Freespace [] .

Being DRM Free [] is one of their major selling points.

Galactic Civilizations 2 (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | about 6 years ago | (#24987257) []

Greatest 4X game ever. Period. Also DRM free.

Re:Galactic Civilizations 2 (2, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | about 6 years ago | (#24987437)

DRM Lite. You need Impulse to patch it, and validate it after patches.

Title is wrong (0, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#24987259)

It should say what modern games are shit free. Instead, i see a word 'DRM', that i dont know.

y'arrr (2, Informative)

azadam (250783) | about 6 years ago | (#24987297)

I'll admit I snagged a copy of Spore in advance of the USA release. Played it for a day or two, and gladly coughed up dough for a legit copy once it was available.

Illegally downloaded copies != lost sales, I'm sure I'm not the only person who did it.

The Witcher Enhanced Edition (1)

AgentUSA (251620) | about 6 years ago | (#24987305)

The Witcher Enchanced Edition on Stardock Impulse will be DRM free. I believe the release date is this coming Tuesday.

Re:The Witcher Enhanced Edition (2, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | about 6 years ago | (#24987447)

Impulse is DRM. DRM as it is defined is any electronic form of verification of ownership. If you don't have Impulse, you cannot run the game.

Bottom Line: DRM-Free Games != Good Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24987309)

I am all for stopping DRM in every possible media.

But DRM-free isn't and shouldn't be a factor of AWESOMENESS. It's like putting China-free on your food product: doesn't make your food taste any better, period.

This is so going to be marked as troll, isn't it ?

most indie studios are DRM-free (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 6 years ago | (#24987339)

As an added bonus, you'll be supporting independent developers who come up with innovative gameplay ideas. I'm liking some stuff from Chronic Logic [] lately, most of which even comes for Linux (in addition to Windows and OS X).

Alteil (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | about 6 years ago | (#24987359)

Alteil ( [] ) is a free online CCG that started up recently and is truly a fascinating and fun tactical card game. Great art too. Its all browser based, so no downloads/no DRM.

If it needs adminstrator privileges, it's no good (1, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 6 years ago | (#24987363)

It's no longer acceptable for games to need administrator privileges to install. That's a holdover from the Windows 95/98/ME era, and should have disappeared with Windows XP. With Vista, there's no excuse for it.

One percent of accounts ... (5, Insightful)

mxs (42717) | about 6 years ago | (#24987387)

... and they claim this as a POSITIVE attribute ? One percent of accounts ALREADY hit the 3 installation limit ? This game has been out for ~a week. One week, and already one percent of the customers are plagued by this DRM-scheme (some percentage of which will already have gotten customer service responses akin to "buy a new one" by the helpful customer representatives, as has happened with "Mass Effect").

After just one week, legitimately bought copies of the game stopped working for these people.

What will the stats be in 10 weeks ? 6 months ? Five years ? Can YOU offer up proof-of-purchase for all your games after 5 years ? Good on you. Should you have to ?

I find it pretty telling though that EA considers 1% for this timeframe to be a good number.

Most games also come in a DRM free version. (1)

Oscar_Wilde (170568) | about 6 years ago | (#24987421)

Just about all popular games also come in a DRM free version. These versions are usually called "cracked", "patched" or "warzed".

Serriously though, pirated versions of music, DVDs and games are often superior for these kinds of reasons. Buy the boxed copy and leave it in its shrink wrap then pirate it.

You're out of luck if you want to play online.

DRM is modern prohibition... (1)

ZackBran (1363013) | about 6 years ago | (#24987429)

it's a dead end, I'd really like to see the numbers of how much they make vs how many they believe prevented piracy.

Solution is simple (1, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#24987439)

stop trying to sell games from the max price you think market can handle.

these prices are determined by BA graduates, and many of them are incapable of incorporating the fact that digital goods are not like physical goods, which are what current economics understanding has been built on in the last 300 years.

a game costs a few millions to create, but it takes no more than 0.0001 cents to reproduce, even if you use a cd. if you go for internet distribution, reproducing costs are much lower.

if companies started to sell their games from everyday prices like $10, $15, they would find that games has a much higher marginal returns allowance, and there are many people who would shell out $10 bucks for a download from internet to take a peek at a game they wont play for long, JUST to have it on their hard drives in case they may wanna play it later.

instead, they are trying to push the MAX that anyone can justify, $60-70. and voila - its NOT working.

if they went the proposed route, neither they would have to worry about piracy, nor they would have to deal with the costs of customer support.

we need a radiohead for gaming sector, thats certain now.

and for this, we have to do as much as possible to evade bad practice companies like EA.
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