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Stardock, Microsoft Unveil Their Own New Anti-Piracy Methods

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the rebranding-was-more-effective-before-the-internet dept.

PC Games (Games) 232

Island Dog sends news that shortly after Valve showed off their new anti-piracy methods in Steamworks, Microsoft and Stardock were quick to demonstrate their new, similar technologies as well. All three companies are bending over backwards to say that this is not traditional DRM. Stardock (the company behind the Gamer's Bill of Rights) calls their system Game Object Obfuscation (Goo), "a tool that allows developers to encapsulate their game executable into a container that includes the original executable plus Impulse Reactor, Stardock's virtual platform, into a single encrypted file. When a player runs the game for the first time, the Goo'd program lets the user enter in their email address and serial number which associates their game to that person as opposed to a piece of hardware like most activation systems do. Once validated, the game never needs to connect to the Internet again." Microsoft's update to Games for Windows Live has similar protections. "You can sign in and play your game on as many systems as possible, but you have to have a license attached to your account. Of course, this only works for online games."

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first DRMed post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27343053)

first!

Fuck you Linus and the horse you rode in on (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27343123)

Linux just isn't ready for the enterprise yet. It may be ready for the web servers that you nerds use to distribute your TRON fanzines and personal Dungeons and Dragons web-sights across the world wide web, but the average enterprise user isn't going to spend months learning how to use a CLI and then hours compiling packages so that they can get a workable graphic interface to run their e-mail server with, especially not when they already have a Windows server that does its job perfectly well and is backed by a major corporation, as opposed to Linux which is only supported by a few unemployed nerds living in their mother's basement somewhere. The last thing I want is a level 5 dwarf (haha) providing me my OS.

Meh... (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343077)

Steam still kicks their trash up and down the field. Just wish they would allow more association of retail keys to accounts.

Re:Meh... (4, Interesting)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343149)

I'm still a huge Steam fan, but I must admit I've developed a soft spot for Stardock and their little Impulse. Windows Live, however? No thank you!

Re:Meh... (3, Informative)

tarius8105 (683929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343163)

The only flaw I have with Steam is that they dont allow you to tie activation keys to your account. I have a few games that I have valid CD keys, and are games sold on steam, but it wont let me input them into the system and have it added to their content download system. So if I want to use one of the best features of steam, I'd have to purchase it again in the steam system.

Re:Meh... (5, Informative)

ADT7 (1458965) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343213)

The only flaw I have with Steam is that they dont allow you to tie activation keys to your account.

They do for some games, such as Unreal Tournament 3.

Others such as Crysis, Fallout 3 they do not however.

See here for a list of games you can do it with: https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=7480-WUSF-3601 [steampowered.com]

Re:Meh... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27343415)

Um, that is exactly what he said. Your comment added no value at all.

Re:Meh... (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343449)

Except, you know, the GGP said you can't do it with any games and the GP said you can do it with some...which is useful information.

Re:Meh... (2, Insightful)

tarius8105 (683929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343487)

In the end I'm going to buy the games on steam, unless its not offered there, even if I dont get a discount like publishers offer (ie: EA). I love steam for the pure fact that I can download my games onto another computer, or if I reformat my computer its not a pain to find CDs and install things.

Re:Meh... (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343287)

Thats what I meant. They have a list of like two dozen games that will register, but its not very long.

Another thing I would like to see is allowing to predownload something before buying it, or offer more of the one day free trials like they do for tf2.

Re:Meh... (1)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343505)

Another thing I would like to see is allowing to predownload something before buying it

It's relatively easy to crack Steam so I doubt they'll ever let you do that. My understanding is that when you preload games before their release critical files are left out because Valve and the publishers know it's easy enough to crack Steam.

Re:Meh... (2, Informative)

UnrefinedLayman (185512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343935)

Steam often has "free weekends" where you can download and play the game for free for a set period of time. If you like it you can buy it and keep playing. If not, it just deactivates and you have the option to delete it.

Re:Meh... (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343299)

I have this problem too, with a lot of games. However, as far as I can tell its actually the choice of the game developers. Some games (including all the Valve games) do support this ability (namely, these [steampowered.com] ) but a lot of them don't. I really wish Spore supported it.

Like Jim Carrey said... (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343103)

It's GOOd... *ducks*

Re:Like Jim Carrey said... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343273)

Since it uses a graphical user interface, it's GUI GOO.

As to the implimentation, sorry guys but I refuse to have anything to do with anything that contains Dumb Restriction on Media. When the car companies start telling me what I can or can't do with or to my car, I'll fucking walk, or buy a horse.

Goo? (5, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343113)

"Goo" for Game Object Obfuscation?!? Why not simply Controled Update Management?

Re:Goo? (2, Funny)

tarius8105 (683929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343207)

They didnt want Jack Thompson blaming games for pre-martial sex as well.

Re:Goo? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27343295)

I heard that some boxers abstain from sex before a match. Is that what you're talking about?

Re:Goo? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27343425)

I see they finally are allowing twelve-year-olds on Slashdot.

Re:Goo? (1)

inject_hotmail.com (843637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344331)

"Goo" for Game Object Obfuscation?!? Why not simply Controled Update Management?

I like Synchronized Protective Object Obfuscated Game Environment, but for some reason, I don't think some people will.

Re:Goo? (1)

bigngamer92 (1418559) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344605)

GOO and CUM. DUke NuKUM Forever is being released! Hooray!

Sorry I didn't know whether anyone else had made the syllable connection...

Not traditional DRM? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27343125)

if it doesn't allow me to steal software, then as far as I'm concerned, it's the same old song and dance.

Re:Not traditional DRM? (5, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343267)

That's rather telling. "DRM is bad. DRM is what stops me from stealing software." Nice to see you address the issue directly, at that.

Re:Not traditional DRM? (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343351)

The ability to "steal" content unfortunately is a necessary part of it being accessable and usable.

Re:Not traditional DRM? (5, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343667)

The ability to "steal" content unfortunately is a necessary part of it being accessable and usable.

Just when I'm out of mod points...

But yes, that's exactly it: if it's not usable after theft, it's probably also not usable after something else went wrong.

As far as I understand, GOO does require online activation, which means that after Stardock goed bankrupt, you probably won't be able to install it on a new machine anymore. And if you are able to install it on new machines without requiring Stardock's permission, that pretty much means you can "steal" it.

Re:Not traditional DRM? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27343887)

That's where every DRM system fails: If you can't steal it, then you also probably can't buy it and use it. Broken is broken, regardless of intent.

The capacity to copy DVDs, is what gave me the capacity to play them. When DeCSS came out, I started buying DVDs.

My lack of capacity to access Bluray discs is what keeps me from copying them, but it's also what keeps me from being able to play them. When I get a HD TV, if I can't access (play) Blurays, then I'm not going to buy any. I'll just pirate them.

Re:Not traditional DRM? (4, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344305)

The ability to "steal" content unfortunately is a necessary part of it being accessable and usable.

How true that is. When you look at the effort involved in keeping all your little registration codes straight for buying games online or keeping all CD's paired with their authentication keys versus pirating a game, piracy is the least hassle hands down. They're teaching everyone the wrong lesson here.

Re:Not traditional DRM? (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343359)

Oh, you can steal the software, just walk into Gamest... (no, not Gamestop, my daughter manages one)... er, Best Buy and shoplift a copy. That's the only way to steal software.

You might have a hard time infringing its copyright. You would also have a hard time excersizing your right to resell what you bought and paid for, should you decide to buy it rather than shoplift.

It was smart of you to post AC, so nobody would know who the dumbass that doesn't understand the difference between stealing and infringing copyright is.

Re:Not traditional DRM? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27343599)

Which Gamestop? I want to see if they have Battletoads.

Re:Not traditional DRM? (2, Insightful)

alexhs (877055) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343959)

Oh, you can steal the software, just walk into [...] Best Buy and shoplift a copy. That's the only way to steal software.

Well I prefer the other way, go to the developer HQ, and take all copies of source code and art there. That's what I call software theft, why stop at a copy ?

Re:Not traditional DRM? (2, Funny)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344007)

Your real name wouldn't happen to be Axel Gembe [wikipedia.org] , would it? ;)

Huh? (1)

F-3582 (996772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343141)

An online game that never needs to connect to the internet again?!? My brains just asploded...

Re:Huh? (0, Redundant)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343369)

Your brains just assploded? wow. nice.

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343499)

On the other side, it's always annoying the need of connecting to internet to register an offline game.

I have friends that don't have internet access. Few years ago even I didn't. Also, an ISP subscription is an extra cost, which not everyone is willing to pay.

They should provide an alternative(which I doubt they will now).

Re:Huh? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27343899)

HEADSHOT!

WoW model seems to work (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343147)

Basically this is what WoW has been able to do for all these years making mad money. You tie the license to an account. But it's true that online games are the only winners of this strategy. This is not intrusive either and does not prevent you from installing the game everywhere you want. I approve.

Re:WoW model seems to work (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27343191)

Um, sweetie, online-only games don't require copyright protection of any sort. It's kinda inherent in the concept. And it also doesn't work with games you can play offline. And WoW sure as hell wasn't the first paid online game. I enjoyed INN [wikipedia.org] in the early 1990s, and there were others before that.

Re:WoW model seems to work (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343329)

Well, for mmo games you have to be online. Its kind of in the definition. So there isnt much of a problem with connecting to a remote server for some authentication. In fact, that authentication is tied to not only an account, but a paid account!

Re:WoW model seems to work (1, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343539)

When a player runs the game for the first time, the Goo'd program lets the user enter in their email address and serial number which associates their game to that person as opposed to a piece of hardware like most activation systems do. Once validated, the game never needs to connect to the Internet again.

You need an internet connection to "associate" your email and serial to the game.

This is not intrusive either and does not prevent you from installing the game everywhere you want.

I approve.

Unless you don't have an internet connection available.

It's still DRM.

DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27343217)

It still sounds like a legal copy of the game will be more trouble to use than an illegal copy. It still has restrictions, so it's still DRM.

Genius (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343223)

Whoever first injected DRM (and all the related schemes) into the product development process was absolutely brilliant. It's like making a car that will fall apart a year after the warranty runs out, thereby encouraging the buyer to come back and buy a new car except, in this case, the car falls apart days after being released into the wild meaning the company needs to continue employing their DRM team so they can come up with yet a new scheme that will again crumble in a matter of days. It's planned obsolescence at warp speed. Pure brilliance. Whoever got the DRM ball rolling has guaranteed that they'll have work for as long as companies think that DRM will actually work, which appears to be a very long time, despite evidence to the contrary...

Let me get this straight... (2, Interesting)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343245)

It associates your account with the game the first time you run it? How does this combat piracy? Almost all software that is available for piracy is the pre-installation package.

What problem is this bulky, resource eater solving?

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343709)

I believe it associates an specific accoun with an specific copy of the game, so only the first account to associate with the code of this game copy will be enabled

Probably the keep a database of registered games+accounts so they deny the registration of several accounts with a single game code.

Re:Let me get this straight... (2, Interesting)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343867)

I believe this has nothing to do with combating pirated, cracked, games. Its there to inconvenience the retail user that paid for the game only.

(incidentally, Impulse is a POS. I bought Sins of a Solar Empire, tried to install impulse (needed to actually get the game downloaded) but it barfed, then barfed everytime as it tried to uninstall the previous version, which wasn't installed, so it meant I'd paid for nothing. My support call to Stardock is still waiting for a response. I fixed it in the end by going through the registry deleteing every reference to 'Stardock', took me a f*** hour, there are so many entries in there)

I think a pirate version would have been easier to install, somehow.

Now, if they really want to combat piracy, the answer is regular updates, mods, etc. If I got a pirate version it may be easy to install, but the bits that get added can be difficult if not too much bother to get. A downloaded/updater for purchased users makes the purchase worthwhile just for the convenience.

Keep your crap! (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343259)

Stuff like this makes me feel less bad about Linux not being the same sort of PC
gaming platform that Windows is. If these sorts of shenanigans are a part of the
bargain then I would rather just stick to a Wii or a PS3 plugged into my 60" TV
in the living room.

Re:Keep your crap! (1)

Dracil (732975) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343315)

I'd rather not deal with the region-locking inherent in most consoles.

Re:Keep your crap! (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343435)

That sucks too.

Still.

I don't have to run an installer, install gigabytes of crap on my machine, possibly
brick my machine and then still need the original installation media to play the game.

Way to take one of the key advantages of a general purpose computer and just flush it.

Region locking on consoles is an obscure minor nuissance by comparison.

Re:Keep your crap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27344731)

Kind of ironic that you post ANTI-DRM comments in this slashdot article. Yet you condone the DRM inherent in console HARDWARE.

Hypocrite.

Re:Keep your crap! (5, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343641)

The PS3 has region free gaming. In fact, I just imported an Asia/Chinese game Demon's Souls and it runs perfect on my US PS3.

Re:Keep your crap! (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344267)

Me too.

The PS3 has (so far) been pretty good about this, but I do have to check before my purchases as there are one or two locked games. The Wii has been hacked (though I'm not sure how well it holds up to the most recent firmware) to be able to do this too.

but yes, it's a pain.

DRM by any other name still smells of stale eggs (3, Informative)

Hasney (980180) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343297)

Seriously, these protections that are "not DRM" still manage my rights to things that are digital. However unintrusive these things are to my system, they are still doing the same thing and therefore this re-branding of it is just stupid.

Hopefully people are bright enough to see through this little marketing exercise.

Re:DRM by any other name still smells of stale egg (2, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343477)

I've been saying that for years now. Stardock/Impulse/etc. are DRM. They limit the ability to distribute digital media.

You still need an internet connection to enable it from the wording in the summary. What happens when that server is no longer alive? How am I to play the game? What if I don't have internet when I install it on my laptop on a plane to play when I'm bored?

Re:DRM by any other name still smells of stale egg (4, Informative)

Alistar (900738) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343693)

I've used Stardock's Impulse a little bit and while I can't comment on all games on it, the 3 I have it works quite well. You can tie a license key to an account, however I have installed and played 2 of the 3 offline never connecting to the internet to play or install, simply by entering the license key in the normal installation. Then I can then tie it to Stardock Impulse which will automatically tell me about updates and help me install them. To register it with Impulse I simply entered the license key again with the online component. In fact Impulse recognized that I had the game installed and asked me if I wanted to add it into the system.

Also, I can then log into stardock impulse on any other computer and it will allows me to re-download and install the game on that one as well. Well I've only done it for one so far, Sins of a Solar Empire, so again I can't comment for all games.

In fact, I play offline all the time and only fire up Impulse (I haven't needed to run it to play the games) when I check for updates.

Re:DRM by any other name still smells of stale egg (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344441)

Stardock is pretty good about that. But this new system they have in the summary forces you to get checked online first. I guess I'm not buying any of their games anymore.

Re:DRM by any other name still smells of stale egg (4, Insightful)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344681)

You didn't actually address GP's concerns though. The fact that you initially have to activate the game online at all is restrictive. Maybe not so much now, but what about ten years down the road when you install the game for nostalgia's sake and the lisence server has been long since taken down?

If you don't think this will be a problem, and that these games will be able to be activated online until the end of time, then you need to wake up and pay attention to the history of DRM. There are already plenty of examples of servers being shut off, leaving people without access to the media they paid for.

Or maybe you just only play modern games. That's OK, as long as you realize that a good percentage of gamers out do pick up the older stuff every once in a while.

Re:DRM by any other name still smells of stale egg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27343747)

What happens when that server is no longer alive?

Well, with the Stardock implementation you only need to access the server once (usually at the time of installation). After that as long as program is on the same HD, you should be able to use it. I believe that is a significant improvement over "calling home" regularly. Of course, it will prevent a new installation 20 years from now if Stardock is out of business or no longer supports that software. That could become an issue to some people, I for one still use DOSBox to occasionally play favorite games of yore from the late 80s and 90s.

Re:DRM by any other name still smells of stale egg (3, Interesting)

Bovarchist (782773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344143)

According to TFA, the authentication mechanism is supposed to be open so that any non-Stardock server can support it. I'm assuming that setting up a new server would require some type of permission from the publisher, but there weren't many details about how that would work.

Re:DRM by any other name still smells of stale egg (0, Troll)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344663)

If you're playing a 10-15 year old game, DRM is about the most minor problem you'll possibly deal with.

Even if you were to install the OS that'd support the games, and somehow managed to hack drivers to work for it, you'll still be lucky not to get hit with some dippy Glide game that won't work without a 3dfx card. 10-15 years from now, we'll be onto yet another windows platform (as we moved from 9x to NT), and the chance of getting that unsupported game to work is almost nada.

Re:DRM by any other name still smells of stale egg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27343547)

To clarify on the steamworks thing, because the previous /. thread makes no sense. Valve provides a bunch of steam platform tools called steamworks with things like match-finding and now the ability for you to use Valve's flavor of DRM (basically you can play offline as much as you want online one at a time please). Previously non valve developers were putting their own DRM on it and now people have the option of using the steamworks DRM.

Re:DRM by any other name still smells of stale egg (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344425)

Thank you. If the game has to connect to the internet before the game is started, and it is not optional, it is DRM and I will not buy it. End of story.

A weak point? (3, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343301)

To defeat this system, all I need to do is to "share" my email account with other folks, or just setup an account just for game purposes. What about that?

Re:A weak point? (2, Informative)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343513)

I'm not sure how it works with Impulse or Windows Live, but as far as Steam goes, if multiple users attempt to log in and play simultaneously with one Steam account, the user who logged in first will eventually receive an "Invalid Steam UserID Ticket" error message and be forced to log back in to continue playing (if the first user logs back in, the second user will receive this error message).

Re:A weak point? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343631)

To defeat this system, all I need to do is to "share" my email account with other folks, or just setup an account just for game purposes. What about that?

      If it's anything like Steam, you need to get online to authenticate. Once they receive a statistically unreasonable amount of authentications for email "x", it's very simple to refuse further authentications citing that email address. If someone "stole" your email address this puts you in the position of losing access to ALL your games that use this system, especially if those games phone home to validate every time you launch them.

      Now I am not saying this is a good system, and it does trample all over the right of first sale as well as provides a neat/subtle way of spying on which IP's I use and tying them to an email. But it could be effective IF it can't be hacked. But since we know EVERYTHING can be hacked, it's yet another waste of time and money. I wonder when the publishers will realize that they aren't actually losing trillions of dollars per product, and in fact the money thrown at DRM and other scams is probably the same or more than what they REALLY "lose" through piracy.

Re:A weak point? (1)

awshidahak (1282256) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344339)

But the Impulse engine connects once and never again until moved to another pc. Therefore, you could log in on one computer, and that computer remembers that it's logged in. Then, you can log in on another and your friend stays logged in and so do you because your computer never checks to see if it's inactive. (I'm not suggesting that you do this, I'm just saying it's possible.)

Re:A weak point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27344669)

Number of pirates stopped: 0
Number of legit customers driven off: 354017628

Why not just do the same as they do with Xbox Live (1)

ADT7 (1458965) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343309)

On Xbox Live your content is tied to both an account an to some extent the hardware. You can run anything you've downloaded on your original hardware both and on and offline. If you want to run it on another Xbox however you need to be online.

Why not use this same system for PC games?

Obviously you have problems with upgrades, but they currently allow you to transfer your DRM between Xbox console once a year (if my memory serves me correctly.

Maybe tied it to a combination of processor, motherboard and GPU and if 2 of the three change you need to transfer?

Although at the end of the day what I'm propossing is still DRM so I can't see Slashdot getting on board with it.

GOO? (4, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343313)

Such an unfortunate choice of acronym. Pity they did not choose on that is truly reflective of the gaming platform they are pushing. Platform Object Obfustcation. Even Peer Encrypted Encapsulation would have been better.

Re:GOO? (0, Redundant)

k_187 (61692) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343675)

At least its not Managed Application Namespace for Game Object Obfuscation, or the ever popular MANGOO.

Re:GOO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27344321)

Why, what's wrong with mangos?

Why tie to an email address. (1)

DaysSinceTheDoor (805570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343459)

I hate things that tie to an email address. I have used at least three different email providers over the years that have gone out of business. When they do I have to go through pain and suffering to get services that are tied to these accounts switched to a new email address. Especially ones that send an email to your old email address for verification of the switch.

Re:Why tie to an email address. (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343839)

It appears that GOO ties it to an email address because it's intended to be a platform independent implementation. Althought they plan to use it with their impulse Digital Distribution platform, it is intended that developers can use GOO to sell their games across multiple channels without having to implement several different 'copy protection' schemes. Since those different channels are likely not to share accounts (some may not even have accounts,) the system needs something that ties them all together as a recognizable person. Really, email's about the only workable solution here.

Re:Why tie to an email address. (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343953)

3 providers that have gone out of business?! Really? Here's what I do, maybe it can help you:

Get free universal / generic address from a slightly more permanent company, like Hotmail or Gmail, and have it forward to whatever you're using now. Easier to switch the "forward to" address in the settings than do what you're doing if you throw in your lot with... whatever sort of oddball providers you keep using. If you don't want to use it much, you can at least use it for your email verification address and not hand it out to friends. "firstname.lastname@hotgmail.bum" is usually good since you won't forget it if you don't use it much.

That way, when the DRM fairy comes pounding at your e-door, you can answer!

Re:Why tie to an email address. (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344463)

Get free universal / generic address from a slightly more permanent company, like Hotmail or Gmail,

Or better still, register a cheap domain name. And then its as permanent as you want it to be. You can get a domain with mail forwarding for like $5 bucks a year.

Second hand market? (5, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343541)

What if I decide that I played the game enough and I want to give or sell it to somebody else? Must I give them my email account as well? Or what if I decide to give it to by kid/brother/wife/dog so he can start using it on his/her/its PC?

And what if I buy a new PC after I changed providers, so I don't have my old email address anymore?

It manages my rights digitally, so it is just a different kind of Digital Rights Management. Perhaps they have forgotten what DRM stand for?

Re:Second hand market? (2, Informative)

Narishma (822073) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343779)

In the case of Stardock's DRM, you can disassociate the game from the email address you registered it with if you decide to resell it.

Actually GOO enables a second hand market (5, Informative)

RootWind (993172) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343791)

With GOO, you are able to decouple your e-mail from the game and transfer ownership.

Re:Second hand market? (2, Insightful)

ethana2 (1389887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344107)

Of course they haven't forgotten-- Digital Restrictions Mongering. They're on it.

Re:Second hand market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27344121)

Haven't you heard? Whenever you exercise your right of first sale, some developer's kid has to go without eating. You're taking money out of some EA Developer's pocket whenever you lend a game to a friend. The dev's who use Stardock obviously have enough money that they'll allow decoupling and transfer of licenses, but not every developer (like activision or microsoft) is rolling in money. Do the right thing and buy copies of the game for everyone that you'll ever consider giving your copy of the game to.

Re:Second hand market? (1)

Esteanil (710082) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344619)

It restricts your rights digitally/manages digital restrictions on your software, so it's just a different kind of Digital Restrictions Management.
Calling it "Rights management" lends them half the victory. They're taking away rights (fair use, etc), not "managing" them.

Solution - Subscription Service (2, Interesting)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343671)

Probably the third time I've written this, but the solution to the rampant piracy on the PC gaming platform is simply to offer the games as subscription downloads via a service such as Steam.

Effectively you would rent the game - Depending on how much you pay per month, you get a set amount of refundable credits to spend on the games. Newer games would cost more, whilst older titles would cost less. You could play as many games as your tokens permit, and revoke your rent on a game once you're done with it; or, more importantly, when you discover it is not for you or doesn't work well on your system. I'm lucky to own a console. I've bought PC games in the past, played them for a couple of weeks, gone off them but am effectively stuck with them. With my PS3 games, I just sell them back to the shop.

Additionally, the service could offer things like trophies and achievements (yes, I know Windows Lives already does this). Throw in a few classics that are free to play (such as Doom and Quake) and you've got a system with a lot of appeal.

The nice thing about this service is that, because it's a subscription, you can play the games on any machine by just logging into your account. There's probably a major, major flaw with this idea... but it looks good on paper.

Re:Solution - Subscription Service (2, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343783)

That is great and all, but people like to own what they buy. No one wants a rental service as has been shown over and over in the marketplace (like the bastardized napster, *cough* *cough*)

Re:Solution - Subscription Service (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343923)

but people like to own what they buy

Would you mind telling that to the government? They keep thinking they own what I buy.

Re:Solution - Subscription Service (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344677)

Depending on how much you pay per month, you get a set amount of refundable credits to spend on the games.

Credits? Tokens? Just as long as no one lines up to put quarters on my desk.

Sure, why not. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343691)

Make it too difficult for the average guy to deal with the projects and the public will demand its removal. Or they will just buy from other companies.

Until DRM is mandated by the government ( which may happen here soon ) there is still a choice.

GOO allows you to sell the game again (1)

wildzer0 (889523) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343767)

Thats the major point here that those other systems don't have:

"It opens the door to gamers being able to resell their games because users can voluntarily disable their game access and transfer their license ownership to another user."

Of course, this could also mean that publisher are less interested in using it as the other systems actively prevent a second hand market (which in their eyes means more copies sold).

Making more secure forms of DRM... (1)

Tikkun (992269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343787)

... is unlikely to increase sales significantly. Making good games on the other hand most definitely will.

Spend your time making games I want to play and I'll buy them. The people pirating your games usually either can't afford them, will never buy them anyway, or simply want a demo that isn't too short or extremely buggy.

Grey Goo (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343873)

Did anyone else think of Grey Goo when he read the bit about Stardock's "Goo"?

Ironically, their method sounds a bit like safedisc. You know...encrypt the executable file? But how does it work? When someone changes their email address, does that change follow with this? I'm guessing potentially not.

Another thing: Is it just me, or is it coincidence that MS, Valve, and Stardock (I've never heard of these guys) all happen to have DRMv2 far enough along that they can try to get their "Me Too"'s in?

Re:Grey Goo (1)

wildzer0 (889523) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344103)

Ironically, their method sounds a bit like safedisc. You know...encrypt the executable file? But how does it work? When someone changes their email address, does that change follow with this? I'm guessing potentially not.

It's quite simple, you deauthenticate the file and then authenticate it again with your new email address.

Not a traditional DRM (3, Insightful)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27343985)

Not a traditional DRM

Um...sure guys. Whatever you say.

How do you define "traditional". From my end, I don't get to see the implementation details, just whether or not I can run the game/program without any hassles and maintain my anonymity. If you're forcing me to identify myself or otherwise check in with you, it's still traditional DRM.

Get a clue. If the game phones home at any point, I don't buy it.

Solution - FOSS (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344025)

Take all that gamer angst and use the energy to find legally free alternatives for games you like. In the many cases where alternative don't exist or just suck, help the developers make them suck less. It's the only long-term solution.

I think this is a step in the right direction. (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344051)

That being said, what happens if someone steals your account and cheats or something like that?

I've mentioned it before and here again, I'd like to see token authentication with an RSA key fob or similar like paypal currently has.

They only cost $5 and you have a secured connection where only you can log in. Yes it's a hassle for some, but you don't have to make everyone use it. Just those of us who want to use it should.

After all, my account has a considerable investment with at least $1000 worth of games at the moment. I want to protect that investment.

Full Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27344113)

a lot of information is left out of this brief article. i hopped on over to the impulse site and read the full press release and they explain a lot more about this GOO stuff.

http://impulsedriven.com/news/1214_Stardock_throws_GOO_on_DRM

So, after validation, can I copy the files? (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344155)

Since the validation happens only once, does that mean that I can take the game and run it on any computer I want? how does that help combat piracy?

I give it 2 weeks (1)

koan (80826) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344169)

ummm yeah... "Once validated, the game never needs to connect to the Internet again." more fun for crackers.

This is Great! (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344255)

I could care less about DRM, but I hate three things:
(1) I hate programs that require me to have the DVD in the computer when playing.
(2) I hate programs that don't shut down all processes when not in use.
(3) I hate programs that don't completely uninstall when I attempt to uninstall them.
Since this kind of DRM addresses my concerns---I LIKE IT!

a better and simpler idea (1)

oftenwrongsoong (1496777) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344293)

But I have such a better idea than this. Simply, you create a special tool that make runs before executing the compiler or linker. This special tool reads in your source file and basically places each and every function in a separate translation unit. These are compiled into object files. Any given game will have thousands of different functions in it, so you'll get thousands of object files. Now you set up your linker to link these objects together a few hundred thousands of times (this will require a grid if you're in a hurry), each time giving you a unique executable that is a unique permutation of the order of the object files. Each permutation will have to be associated with a number in a database. The game is ONLY sold online. You have to download it. When you do, you receive a unique executable image that NOBODY ELSE HAS. Your name, billing address, and credit card information are then associated with the ID number of that executable in the database. The game producer monitors all the warez sites for images of their games. When they find them, they know exactly from which of their customers each copy originated. Knowledge that this is the case will prevent MOST people from copying the game. Only hard-core pirates will try. As an added benefit, the fact that each executable is unique will prevent (or make it extremely difficult) to distribute patches that modify the behavior of the game. Once purchased and downloaded, you NEVER have to activate, you NEVER have to be online, you NEVER have to do anything. Pay, download, back it up to a CD or something, and enjoy.

Won't this just kill the aftermarket? (1)

brasscount (805811) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344491)

So, I guess this means no more secondhand PC games.

The normal state of a game is unsupported. (3, Interesting)

dweller_below (136040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344511)

This is Bad News for me.

I like computer games. I have been buying games for years. I spent over $1000 for my Atari800 games. I spent over $1500 for my Amiga games. I spent that much for just MSDOS games. I have spent at least $2000 for Windows games. I have purchased many of the commercial games available for Linux.

I want to play my computer games. I still go back to games that I purchased years ago. Most of the time, I can use emulation/virtualization to enjoy a good game as long as I like.

At this point I have hundreds of data-points that show that the normal state of a game is unsupported. The normal state of a game developer is shutdown.

As far as I can tell, any game that requires on-line activation might as well be a rental. Just as soon as I start to like it, it will become unsupported. I would like to play Spore, but there appears to be no point. As soon as I start to enjoy it, it will be gone. The same thing goes for most of the current crop of 'activation required' games.

Fortunately, I already own a LOT of really good games that I can play however I want, anytime I want. The last week, I have been playing Starships Unlimited 3. Plays great in Wine! if you like turn-based strategy, you should pick up a copy from:
http://apezone.com/starshipsunlimited.php [apezone.com]
before they go out of business.

Miles

Am I reading it right ? (1)

nsebban (513339) | more than 5 years ago | (#27344565)

"Once validated, the game never needs to connect to the Internet again."

"Of course, this only works for online games."

Yeah, lots of sense here.
Basically it's just a different way to implement DRM.

Access prevention and MUDs in college (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27344603)

Posting AC for obvious reasons.

When I was in college, I liked to play MUDs. Multi User Dungeons, for the kids. Basically a text only version of World of Warcraft. Online gamings great great grandfather.

Surprisingly, the university staff had a problem with this. "You're taking valuable computer time away from the grad students!" I disagreed. I had paid for that time with my general course fees. The online time was mine, I had already paid for it, I'd use it how I wished.

They threw me off the system.

Well I thought - screw you sysadmins. I'm getting back on and logging into my MUD, dammit. I started hacking to get back on. I read 2600 magazine, did scans of /dev/tty devices trying to snoop passwords, even wrote a faux telnet that snagged passwords and installed it on public terminals. Did constant ps -aux to see what the sysadmins were up. Did password attacks against their passwd file.

Ethics. I only used temporary lab accounts. These were created for students to complete some comp-sci class. They were lax about deleting them after the class was over. Those I'd use - nobody would get hurt.

And you know what? After a while the MUDs lost their fun. I had found a new game. A bigger and better game. Beating the sysadmins! It was *much* more fun. An actual human opponent striving against you, being clever, forcing you to be more clever. And so on. Hacking was way more fun than mere online gaming.

What Stardock and Microsoft don't realize is that they are feeding the same urge. "We have done something clever, and there's no way nosiree you can beat us on this one!" Hackers love the gauntlet being thrown down. It's an invitation to play another round of "who is more clever". I loved having my half dozen of worthy adversaries in college. I can only imagine how much kids today love these large software houses for giving them hundreds of truly worthy opponents.

Just remember - for these people the real fun, the real game isn't in playing the game. It's in doing the hack and beating the human opponent trying to block them from doing so.

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