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EA Releases DRM License Deactivation Tool

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the baby-steps dept.

PC Games (Games) 226

Dr_Barnowl writes "Electronic Arts has posted a SecuROM de-authorization management tool. Once downloaded, the tool will search your drives for EA games infested with the draconian online DRM system, and help you download their respective individual de-activation tools. This isn't a perfect solution, since it's still possible to run out of activations in the event of hardware failure or other source of data loss, but since the announcement that this particular DRM system will be dropped for The Sims 3 , it would seem that EA has had a minor epiphany about DRM." I'm sure EA's hand was forced in part by the FTC's recent warning against deceptive DRM practices. Hal Halpin of the Entertainment Consumers Association commented further on the issue, suggesting to developers that such measures need to be displayed on game boxes, and that standardization of EULAs could be next on the list.

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Standardized EULA (5, Insightful)

haystor (102186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406521)

Having a standardized EULA would be a bad thing if it were standardized by the government. They'd be unilaterally agreeing to the terms of the EULA, while right now it is unclear if a EULA is even binding at all.

Re:Standardized EULA (3, Insightful)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406661)

At least you would have an idea what your rights are, and the rights of the publisher. As it stands now, you have no rights, and really, so idea of the publishers rights either, becuase, really, who reads the EULA?

Re:Standardized EULA (1, Interesting)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406735)

They'd be unilaterally agreeing to the terms of the EULA, while right now it is unclear if a EULA is even binding at all.

All right, well, I love the concept, but it doesn't make it clear to the user what they can and can't do with the work. If the statement doesn't grant a license, then any copying, distributing or modifying the work would violate copyright. If the statement is intended to imply that certain uses of the material are permitted without violating copyright, it is hard to determine where the line is. Out of curiosity, I would love to see people reply in the comments with what they think would and wouldn't be permitted under the EULA. Which of the following do you think would be permitted under the proposed license:

1. Use of the software;

2. Copying the software;

3. Distributing copies to other people;

4. Making modifications and derivative works of the software for your own use;

5. Making modifications and derivative works to sell to other people?

I realize the example was intended to make a point, but I think it would be useful to build on the idea and create a short EULA that is respectful to users and includes a little more detail about what the author expects the user to be able to do with the material.

=Smidge=

Re:Standardized EULA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408393)

LOL you don't have to try very hard to land in the negative territory, do you, smidge. Is it because you're such a hardcore faggot? Yes. Yes it is.

Cool... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27406885)

We can have congress pass legislation that they didn't read to fix the problem of EULAs that nobody reads.

Re:Cool... (5, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407067)

This isn't funny.

It's sad.

Re:Standardized EULA (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407179)

As it stands now, you have no rights...

Only if the EULA is upheld, that is. The typical EULA should be declared null and void by any reasonable court, for several reasons (contract of adhesion, doctrine of first sale, etc.).

Re:Standardized EULA (4, Funny)

geobeck (924637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407557)

The typical EULA should be declared null and void by any reasonable court...

You have to go through a pretty big haystack to find that needle.

Re:Standardized EULA (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407759)

We already have a binding standardized EULA. It's called Copyright (and since around 1997 it has started to get a little unbalanced).

Most publishers don't really need their EULAs to go beyond that. Those that want to, should never be granted any legitimizing status as "standard."

Re:Standardized EULA (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408087)

i scroll down check for the part where it says

[this] License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software

and figure it cant be too bad so accept.

Re:Standardized EULA (2, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408281)

The best solution would be a standard COTS license, regulated by the FTC, that explicitly permits archival, resale, returns etc.. Any software which wants to use some other license would need a proper paper signature to be enforcable. End the "by breathing you agree to..." EULA forever. The software industry and software consumers both need this.

To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (5, Interesting)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406531)

*sigh* Here we go again. Seriously, a code is the most simplistic and effective means of copy protection. One key = one install. Simple as that.

If you implement measures, that online / LAN multiplay is restricted to valid and unique CD-keys and executables cannot be cracked easily is one of the most reasonable methods to balance between players and publishers available.

It serves the following purposes:
- prevent non-paying customers from using unpaid-for online servers
- (inofficially) let people (via keygens) rather freely test-drive the full software, offline on their own machine with the option to buy a key and make your installation legit and online-enabled in seconds.
- ban detected cheaters from online play and introduce a financial risk to cheating (you have to buy a new key when you're caught) which deters non-hardcore cheaters from trying
- prevent mass copying of your software: if the same key is encountered online in the thousands, disable the key
- all this encourages defined and responsible ownership of the software: if you give out your key, you possibly cannot play online anymore

- and inofficially: limit the resale-value of a used key: as a buyer, you cannot be sure if the key is not banned for cheating or shared with the entire school/workplace of the reseller.

I don't know of people who been hindered from doing legit things with their paid-for software because of a cd-key. But I know several people who "test-drove" dozens of pirated games with a keygen who found out the game was so crappy that even downloading it was a waste of money and time.

=Smidge=

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407019)

I'm working on a title that has no multiplayer component because it makes no sense for the game. How do you propose to address this issue for single-player games? I'm open to reasonable solutions--I do not expect piracy to stop because of any methods I can do, I'm just attempting to dissuade the casual copying; the "test-drive" argument doesn't hold much water because the first twenty percent of the game, about ten hours or so, will be freely available as a demo.

Suggestions?

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (4, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407213)

Simple question:
Do you want the version people pay money for to be as good as the version without DRM that they can get from The Pirate Bay?

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (4, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407447)

That's not a simple question at all.

Of course I want it to be that easy. But making that easy vastly increases the likelihood of small-scale copies (letting a friend borrow the disc, etc.), which for an independent game is considerably more problematic than TPB.

Your approach is "give it to us or we'll steal it." You know what my reply to that is? "Fuck you, I won't release it at all."

Creators deserve to make money, too. I want a solution where everyone benefits.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (4, Funny)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407773)

Obviously you can make money providing support or documentation for your game: that's the FOSS way.

In terms of a game, just release a version without any sensible controls or UI, and have them call you while they play it so you can dig around the logs and tell them they are low on life and should probably go find a health pack. Alternately, you can provide customization support such that they can add scripts to get the info without having to dig through the logs. That HUD script in turn will be rewritten in a "better" language and released as a fork with a slightly different license, at which time your userbase will splinter into two camps - both whom are completely right and the spawn of Satan at the same time.

See now, that wasn't so hard was it?

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407785)

This topic always pisses me off, and I needed a laugh. Thanks. :-)

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (2, Interesting)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407849)

The question is simple, the answer could be very complex.

You could package the game with some tangible thing that has value, like a figurine, or something that isn't digital.

Offer support, some kind of online services, etc.

DRM is adding code to the game that is designed to be defective, to fail unless certain conditions are met. That is making your game less likely to work, and indeed making a cracked version of the game more valuable to some people.

DRM will not affect the people who aren't going to pay anyways, since they will use the cracked version. DRM will not affect the people who satisfy the requirements for the DRM to work. The people who have a complex situation will be hurt by DRM, and could be less likely to buy your game, since it might fail for them. Then there are the people who want to casually borrow the game, is your DRM going to stop them without too much collateral damage; will it make them want to pay instead of getting a cracked version?

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (3, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408009)

Package a game with some tangible thing -- that increases both my costs and the cost of the game, and in theory drives more people to piracy. Plus, there's pretty few ways, if any, for an independent developer to actually provide anything in that tangible form that anybody would actually want.

Support -- dunno about you, man, but I'd hope that a game doesn't need support. If it does, I didn't do my job as a developer and a designer.

Online services -- this is possible/plausible, especially if I do add the possibility of a multiplayer component (the problem being that everything's balanced for single-player, and multiplayer involves ongoing costs).

Steam is looking more and more tempting, really. Or try to get a WiiWare kit (the game has HTPC and standard-TV resolution modes already, wouldn't be too hard!) and go that route.

I have zero interest in making life more difficult for those who purchase the game. But, at the same time, I just expect a modicum of fairness afforded to me as the creator ('specially as I've got a couple artists and a fellow musician to pay...).

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (3, Insightful)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407951)

You know what my reply to that is? "Fuck you

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. Due to all the information that we have at our finger tips if you ever even look like you are thinking this you will get your ass handed to you. People HATE giving money to people they feel are assholes. If they have to then they have to. But if they can avoid it they will.

The other side of this is that if they hear good things about you they will come to you. The next pair of shoes I buy I will buy though Zappos. Why? Look at these stories. http://consumerist.com/tag/zappos/ [consumerist.com]

As for you making money I would recommend
1)Accept donations. Some people might like your stuff so much they will over pay for it.
2)Ask people who did pirate the game to donate if they liked it. This sounds dumb but it's a way of saying "Look I know some of you are gonna steal this game and there is nothing I can do about it. But Please if you actually like it and would like to see more post-pay for it. I'm not gonna be a jerk about it. I'm just trying to make a living." Most people have trouble ripping off people that are honest and human.
3)Try to make it easier to buy then steal. Steam is great network for that. At this point I buy games on steam so that I never have to go CD fishing ever again if I want to play an old game

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408293)

Steam is probably the way I'll go, if not something a little more out-there and experimental.

But, frankly, if somebody thinks I'm an asshole for not wanting other people to avail themselves of utility from something I create without compensating me for my time and effort? I'm really OK with that.

I'm not looking to make millions, or even more than a couple nice dinners. But I'm big on ethics and moral fairness. If people want to call me an asshole for that, that's their call.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408431)

damn i jsut ran out of mod points

People HATE giving money to people they feel are assholes. If they have to then they have to. But if they can avoid it they will.

SO true, while i could most likely pirate pennyarcade's drm less game, i have not and will not, why? because i like the guys. on the otherhand OFC i have a pirated copy of spore despite its DRM because i have no intention of paying for something produced by EA.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408049)

Of course I want it to be that easy. But making that easy vastly increases the likelihood of small-scale copies (letting a friend borrow the disc, etc.), which for an independent game is considerably more problematic than TPB.

Not to be an ass, but letting a friend borrow the disc to play the game is a perfectly valid exercise of consumer rights, just like selling a secondhand copy to someone else is. Now, letting a friend borrow the disc to copy, or letting them "borrow" a copy you've made yourself, agreed.

Your goal, then, is to make a game that has some sort of lasting interest. That way, even if I let someone borrow my copy of the game, I'll want it back. That way, the friend will want to keep playing it enough to pony up for a copy as well.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408269)

Except that in a real situation, you'll just burn your copy of the game for that friend, removing the need for getting-it-back. Hence the quandary.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408133)

Do two things. First, just use a simple key system (don't require online authentication, that's just a pain, just validate that it's a potentially valid key), and don't worry about people installing their friends copy, they'd do it anyway if they're so inclined and nothing you can do that wouldn't also cost you paying customers is going to change that. Second require them to register on your website with the provided key in order to receive support by way of updates, patches, forums, and maybe some sort of incentive they can download that's fun to have but not strictly necessary (like say maybe a new interface skin or something). This maintains balance by not requiring anything of the paying customers, but also provides incentive in the way of eliminating hassles and providing minor bonuses for those that do actually pay.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

taucross (1330311) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408247)

Your approach is "give it to us or we'll steal it." You know what my reply to that is? "Fuck you, I won't release it at all."

Well the sad thing is, nobody will mourn the death of an indie game. Ever. I suggest you take a leap of faith. The alternative is, nobody will ever care.

It's very difficult to own an idea, the tighter you squeeze, the more it slips through your fingers.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408335)

That's OK by me. I make stuff for me. This is not at odds with the idea of not releasing it: if I'm going to release it, I expect to be treated fairly by the consumer. If the consumer isn't going to treat me fairly and compensate me for my time and effort, I'm not against flinging it in a safe-deposit box once it's complete. My mind's at ease. :-)

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408331)

I'd say just publish the game. If everyone copies it and you make no money, oh well. Maybe they'll buy your next work after you get a brand going. Or try a new business model as some have already suggested, or make one up yourself. Or, if you don't want to do any of that, "[d]on't release it at all." We won't be any worse off, and neither will you.

The reality is that copyright was intended as an incentive to get works of creativity into our culture, but many people don't need that incentive, others don't respect the bargain (from both consumer and producer ends), and still others don't find it enough of an incentive. If you don't want to release your game, then don't. No one will ever say, "I sure wish FishWithAHammer released his game" because they'll never have heard of you. If on the other hand you release it with current business models, you might make money, you might not, and that may or may not have anything to do with piracy or quality. If you release it with a new business model, you may or may not succeed and that may or may not have anything to do with the business model or quality. It's up to you to decide, but this much I can guarantee, paying customers don't like it when the free version is better than the paid-for version, and despite what many people might think, it is possible to compete with free, free can be a part of your business model, and most people still pay for value.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408381)

I agree with pretty much all of your post. And it's all OK by me. I'm OK with not releasing it, and nobody caring. I make stuff, be it music, prose, or games, for me, and nobody else.

However, I'm big on the concept of a fair deal. I'm not going to put something out there to get screwed over. It's not part of my set of ethics. I'm OK with putting it into a safe-deposit box. I've already done the creative work, it's fine by me.

I do, however, contest the assertion that most gamers will pay for value. The games industry in particular is where piracy reigns. Perhaps gamers interested in indie gaming are different, but I kind of question it.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408391)

Of course I want it to be that easy. But making that easy vastly increases the likelihood of small-scale copies (letting a friend borrow the disc, etc.), which for an independent game is considerably more problematic than TPB.

I wouldn't worry about small-scale stuff. It is, by definition, small scale. Which means it's not worth bothering your legitimate customers to eke a few more dollars out of people who share it with a friend.

If I wanted to make a for-pay game like this, the first thing I would do is make sure that the demo doesn't contain any of the extra levels the purchased copy has. Make the demo a completely separate build and make it impossible to convert the demo into the full version. That will greatly reduce the effectiveness of distributing cracked keys or keygen programs.

Are you planning on physical distribution media, or download-only? If it's download-only you can embed some personal information ("This copy registered to ${NAME}") in the binary. This will be unique to each purchaser, and will discourage people from anything more than casual sharing.

For physical media (or even for downloads, if you don't want to watermark each binary individually) you can embed the personal information in the license key. This has pretty much the same effect as above. People will be more reluctant to share their keys around.

Sure, real pirates will immediately remove the personalization -- but there's nothing you can do to thwart the real pirates anyway. You're just trying to keep the honest people honest.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27407517)

It doesn't matter if you have a demo or not. Some people, myself included, have simply gotten used to a full-version "free trial" being a click away, and the fact is, it's a better demo. So why should I download a limited demo when the full version is equally simple to get? I at least find it more convenient to get a "demo" from my favorite torrent site where I know it will be waiting, instead of having to hitchhike across half the web looking for the official site with a demo that may or may not exist. For the record, yes, I do still buy many of the games I previously downloaded. It's all a matter of quality and price.

My advice to you is to not worry about who is stealing your game and instead keep your focus on improving the experience for the people who buy it. Otherwise, you end up like EA here, with legions of people just waiting for an excuse to bash you or to use your negligence as justification for not buying your game. As you have realized, you can't stop piracy, so your best course of action is to give people as few reasons as possible to pirate. That means making sure that the legitimate copies of your program never interferes, annoys, or -devalues itself- to the customer.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27407603)

You're a thief. Be honest about it.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407765)

I appreciate your candor, but at the same time it's still entirely unacceptable. Why should I--why should anyone, for that matter--release something that you'll pay for "if you feel like it"? Frankly, I question whether you buy "many" of those games at all. If you do, you're in the vast majority.

I have no interest in having my work valued at zero unless you "feel like it." I can just as easily not release it. I create for me, but if you're going to receive utility from it, I expect to be compensated. I mean, I'm not making this game to make millions, but I expect to be treated fairly by those who consume what I create. I've already done the interesting stuff. I can just as easily throw the code and assets in a safe-deposit box for all I care (and I mean that quite seriously). And while some people find it odd that I'd expect payment for something I could put away without blinking, I think it's consistent: compensate the creator for the utility you derive from the creation.

I'd rather see people enjoy it, of course. But I expect to be treated fairly, as a matter of principle. If not--oh well. Maybe I'll show it to people I like, who I think will like it. Or maybe I'll just take the J.D. Salinger approach. Doesn't really bother me either way.

So back to the original question: how do we ensure fairness for both parties? Steam is a possibility, with the average-user difficulty of breaking Steam's authentication (it's doable, but a hassle, and it's much, much easier to play by Steam's rules). Possibly the only really viable one right now.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

hplus (1310833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408025)

It is an unfortunate fact that any effort you make to deny access to those who have not paid has the potential to affect those who have paid as well. It's not quite a zero-sum game, since some options are better than others, but there is nothing that you can do that will satisfy A) you B) paying customers C) potential customers. As you've mentioned, Steam is a pretty good compromise, plus it's convenient and might make people more likely to stumble on your game. Aside from that, a simple product key system that doesn't "phone home" to a central server is probably your best bet. That will deter casual pirates, and not lock out people without internet access. You get bonus points if you have some sort of key recovery system where customers can request another copy of their key if it is lost.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (4, Interesting)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408213)

I actually thought of something interesting.

A key system that does phone home--but does the validation on the user side. If the key's not legitimate, i.e. a keygen result, it won't be in the server database, though the game still unlocks. It doesn't change the game at all, but instead displays a message that more or less says only "I know this key isn't legitimate, but I'm going to let you play the game anyway." Let the versions unlocked with this, just keep the "Register This Copy" button on the homepage. (I plan to do registration through PayPal, built straight into the game, in the first place, if somebody wants to bypass the need to go input the key themselves the first time--so they can still go get a legitimate copy if they want.)

Could be workable. I doubt a pirate is likely to spend any time cracking it when all they have to do is sit through a "do you really want to just steal this game?" message before being allowed in.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408159)

The problem is you're asking an impossible question. It is no different than asking, "How do we stop all theft?" You can't. There's your answer. No one has been able to do it, ever.

If your game is good, you will be paid something. Will every person who plays it pay for it? No. Will everyone who plays it even like it? No. That is true for every game ever made, though. I'd suggest including a simple way in the game for people to pay for it (paypal or something maybe) and once someone has paid they get a "Paid - Thank you" notice in the corner of the start up screen or something.

And if you are too caught up on each and every player paying for the game, don't release it. You won't be happy when it shows up on TPB (assuming you ever looked for it), and it will. In fact, the longer it takes, the worse the game problem is (to the average player).

The only way to make sure the creator is paid for every single copy is only ever going to happen when every single install requires individual effort from the creator. If there is no cost to the creator, some people will not see a problem with installing it without paying for it. Welcome to digital copies. Hell, even if there was a direct cost for every installation, some people still wouldn't have a problem with it.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (5, Interesting)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408513)

I have no interest in having my work valued at zero unless you "feel like it." I can just as easily not release it.

Having never seen or played your game (to my knowledge) I currently value it at zero. Even if I had seen it (and even played it), I'd probably still value it at or around zero, sorry, but that's just the way things go with a free market. No one is guaranteed success, and just because you wrote a game does not intrinsically mean it has value to everyone nor more importantly that it has the same value to anyone. Now, I can sympathize with you, I'm a programmer and I do like to think that what I make has value and that people are willing to pay for it, however the onus is on me to convince the public that my software is worth paying for, and no amount of DRM is going to do that for even half of the public.

Your potential market for any piece of software can be broken down into a number of categories and various things you do will effect exactly how that breakdown occurs. The categories are as follows:

  • Doesn't even know about your software
  • Is aware of your software but not interested in it
  • Is aware of your software but values it at less than what you're asking for it
  • Is aware of your software and values it at more than what you're asking for it

Now, on the topic of that third category (Is aware of your software but values it at less than what you're asking for it) this is where your pirates come from. It's important to note that some people will value your software at or very close to zero and will therefore never pay for it no matter what you do, so some of these people might as well be considered lost sales no matter what. Your job is to try to maximize sales to all categories and this is accomplished in a number of ways. In the case of categories 1 and 2 (don't know and not interested respectively) advertising and demos (either full or partial) go a long way towards shifting these two into groups 3 and 4. Group 4 is essentially sold already, all you need to do with them is keep shipping a quality product that works well and doesn't hassle the paying customer. Group 3 is the problem group. Your options to win them over are to lower your prices, or convince them that your product has more value in it (demos, and various incentives are a great way to do this as the demo gets them actually interacting with your product and able to more fully evaluate it, and the incentives are effectively added to the value of the base product).

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

ndunnuck (833465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407917)

I suggest you build a very good and thoughtful game, sold at a reasonable price (say, $20) that will garner you a cult-classic status. Use a simple copy-protect scheme that sends the message, "Hey, I'd prefer it if you actually bought this game..." Many people will pirate your game, use keygens, etc. But some will do the right thing and pay for it. If it's popular enough, someone down the line will toss you a few pence for the right to add your game to a collection and sell it for $5.

Either your game will be popular, or it won't. If it's not popular, then no one will buy it, but neither will they pirate it. The only pirated copies out there will be people who would never have paid for it. And at least your name is on it. If it IS popular, then lots of people will pirate it, but even those pirated copies will come from somehwere - original, paid versions. You have to be prepared for the fact that your title will probably fail. That's the inherent risk you are taking in exchange for the possibility of making money doing something you love. It's the essence of capitalism. And the fact that such a thing is even possible is a minor miracle.

Finally, find some way to add cool tangibles or addons to your package. For example, expansion packs that can only be purchased with a valid key, or large, professionally printed maps of the terrain, or a mini-book that compliments the game. All of these things will make some people want to own an original edition.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408107)

Eh. To an extent, you're right. Although I'm actually probably the exception in that it's really not about the money. I said upthread that I'd be A-OK with throwing it in a safe-deposit box--the money is less important than an ethical transaction where both parties tangibly benefit (the purchaser in the entertainment value and utility of the product, me in being able to take my girlfriend out to lunch).

Tangible stuff is an issue when my budget is essentially $0. A book has been tempting, as I've essentially written one as part of the design process (and not to toot my own horn too much, but I'm a pretty good writer)--but having no budget for printing, etc. is suck-worthy.

I'm still thinking Steam to be the happy medium. Only the dedicated few bother to crack Steam games. And besides, I'm aiming for a price point of $15...that seems about where Steam games tend to move copies.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

ndunnuck (833465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408221)

Perhaps publishing on-demand, then. "Buy my game online and receive XXX cool packaging stuffs (within a few weeks)." Distribution-wise, Steam is a good way to get started - or Impulse, to which I'm partial because of their affiliation with Stardock.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408235)

Never seen Impulse. I'll take a look at them.

Publishing on demand could be nifty. I don't know if I've ever seen that done.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408339)

The easiest way is to add physical content. Way way back in the days of 8 bit computing, there was the Ultima series of games. Now, they could easily be cracked, of course, but the real reason everyone bought the real game was because the thing HAD NO TUTORIAL. You absolutely required the map and instruction manual to understand how to play the game. It also was far too large to easily copy.

Other games required a complex manual to be able to identify enemy units and understand specifics and tactics as well. Submarine and aircraft simulations come to mind here - few people pirated them because you needed the manual to play it properly.

Other games have such a huge set of rules that you need it - the NeverWinter Nights series is a good example. You're always flipping the manual back and forth to look up something.

Where game companies go wrong is that they ship the games in a tiny DVD box, have a idiot-proof tutorial, no manual(but a PDF file!), and a lot of hand-holding, as well as an easy way to look up and reassign keys. As a result, there's no reason to do anything other than obtain the program and go. I don't expect this approach to work, though. Most of the younger players are seriously dumb as a rock and would whine about having to read and use their brains for a change.

But a 100 page printed manual that's required to really play and get the most out of a game, or other items... That's worth something. So the compromise solution would be quite easy:

- stop releasing the help guides for the games and include one in the box. My son wants that new Pokemon game and the $19.95 help book for it is 300+ pages long and almost 2 inches thick(!). If the only way to get that was to buy the actual game... Problem solved.

Re:To the extent that they lightened the DRM load: (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408121)

hows about doing some sort of key that "brands" the copy with the email address of the registered user

just be honest with your users you want money to be able to

1 get rent cherrios jack yaddah
2 make the next version

how much does DRM cost (4, Insightful)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406553)

I wonder how much these companies spend licensing and supporting DRM. Even leaving out sales lost because of DRM, I have a hard time imagining them making up those costs.

Too late EA, you already taught me to pirate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27406949)

Too late EA.
Thanks to your Draconian DRM, I learned how and where to get pirated versions of the games I'd like to play.
I found out that these pirated copies are easier to get (download), work better (no DRM F'ing up my PC), and cost less.
I know pirating games is morally wrong, but so is your DRM. So, I am behaving in a morally equivalent manner to you.

Thanks EA for teaching me these things.

Now that you have nice new anti-DRM tools, I can safely not care as you have shown me a better way to do things.

Disclaimer:
I really don't have time to play games anymore.
It was a game in 2002 that taught me the above lessons, back when I had time. The crack played better than the DRM'd original. Especially at release.
But the concept holds true. EA slits their own throat by either (a) causing people to not buy their games, or (b) irritating people enough to become acquainted with the pirating culture.

Re:how much does DRM cost (4, Informative)

goltzc (1284524) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407007)

I wonder how many companies that have spent a lot of money on DRM schemes are publicly traded. Investing in DRM sure seems like a proactive (yet pointless) way of making sure your investors believe that you are protecting your sales.

Perception of money saved > Actual money saved

Re:how much does DRM cost (4, Interesting)

Shihar (153932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407345)

I am a pretty avid game buyer. I got out of college, got a job, and suddenly found tossing out a couple hundred on video games occasionally wasn't a large expense. If I see a game that I want, I generally just buy it.

I skipped over Red Alert 3 and Spore.

Those are two games that I normally would have not thought twice about buying. I like video games, and they are not such a big expense for me where I have to spend much time thinking about if I want to buy it or not, but in the case of those two games I took a pass because of DRM. I can merrily ignore DRM if it doesn't affect me. Limited licenses, crippling applications installed onto my computer, nice big loop holes for security breaches? Thanks. I'll pass. Video games are nice, but not worth crippling my computer or supporting that kind of anti-consumer behavior.

EA needed to be taught a lesson and hopefully they learned it. Spore had the most crippling DRM of all times and was the most pirated game of all times. Pssst... EA... DRM doesn't stop pirates. It sure does piss off people who on a normal day would hand you a sweat wad of cash without thinking twice.

Re:how much does DRM cost (1)

kill -9 $$ (131324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408027)

Same boat over here. I have no problem paying for games (though I rarely buy them when they first come out). I believe whole heartedly in supporting creative software developers who put out useful/interesting/fun/etc software.

I do have a problem with the state of DRM. Consequently, I haven't even bothered to look at GTA IV or Red Alert 3 for me. In fact since that seems to the de facto standard on most PC games (or so it seems) I've just stopped buying PC games outright. It doesn't help that a lot of the games suck now either (FPS bore the hell out of me and that seems to be another trend).

It's not April 1st yet!! (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406565)

Well, maybe in some part of the world.

All aspects of securerom? (4, Interesting)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406583)

Does this also remove the other aspects of SecureROM, other than just 'number of installs?' Like the whole 'Hey, you have Nero installed! Therefore, you can't run this game! How dare you have standard computer equipment like a CD burner installed in your computer!'

Re:All aspects of securerom? (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406637)

Does this also remove the other aspects of SecureROM, other than just 'number of installs?' Like the whole 'Hey, you have Nero installed! Therefore, you can't run this game! How dare you have standard computer equipment like a CD burner installed in your computer!'

This happens sometimes when I try to play Heroes of Might and Magic V! It's like playing russian roulette. "Will I get to play the game I paid for, today?" Made me decide to never pay for another DRM-touched piece of s[oftware] ever again. Ever.

Re:All aspects of securerom? (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406739)

This happens sometimes when I try to play Heroes of Might and Magic V! It's like playing russian roulette.

Yeah, because not getting to play 'Heroes of Might and Magic V' is totally equivalent to a 16.667% chance of blowing your brains out ;)

Re:All aspects of securerom? (1)

ravenlock (693538) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406841)

Actually, GP is correct in the sense that with HOMM, getting to play pretty much is equivalent to a bullet to the brain.

Re:All aspects of securerom? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27406923)

Yeah, because not getting to play 'Heroes of Might and Magic V' is totally equivalent to a 16.667% chance of blowing your brains out ;)

My revolver has five shots, you insensitive clod!

Re:All aspects of securerom? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406999)

Or, if you're an idiot, a 100% chance of blowing your brains out [darwinawards.com] .

Re:All aspects of securerom? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407439)

LOL I thought it'd be some tard who forgot to empty N-1 chambers of the revolver... I never even imagined the kind of stupid where you'd play Russian Roulette with a semi-auto -- it's like the guy knew literally nothing about the game except that you shoot yourself in the head. The universe continues to amaze me!

Re:All aspects of securerom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27407839)

I've become convinced that many of the Darwin rewards stories are fiction. In some years I've seen multiple top ten lists for the same year. Without a name, it's pretty hard to verify this story. Even if it's not fiction, we don't know the intent of the dead person, only what the witnesses claimed.

Re:All aspects of securerom? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408105)

I'm certain that at least some of them are false, and thus I figure by extension many or even most are. The original one about the guy who crashed his car into a cliff after putting a JATO unit in the back of his car is definitely false -- though I've read at least one semi-plausible story that could be the source of the urban legend but didn't involve any death.

Still gives me a chuckle thinking that they might be true though.

Re:All aspects of securerom? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407445)

Well, obviously, you haven't played the expansion which includes a "special controller."

Re:All aspects of securerom? (5, Interesting)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406849)

Heroes of Might and Magic 3 was my first experience with SecuROM. It disabled my CD burner...permanently. EA owes me $55 for that one.

In total, SecuROM has been the demise of three of my drives. There was no way to determine whether or not a game had it back then, so it was hit and miss. SecuROM, or EA, owe me approx. $150 for disabled drives over the last 12 years or so.

Since I NEVER expect to receive a buck from them in compensation, I protect my drives instead. I stopped BUYING THEIR GAMES. And every one that I bought in the past, I have since downloaded cracked versions and use them instead.

Is that what you wanted, EA?

Drop SecuROM, entirely, or you've still lost a customer.

Re:All aspects of securerom? (1)

PoderOmega (677170) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407165)

Do you use Process Explorer? Running Process Explorer and even after closing it triggered something in SecuROM that would prevent Heroes V from running. Newer versions of Process Explorer do not cause the issue though.

Re:All aspects of securerom? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407189)

>>>Does this also remove the other aspects of SecureROM, other than just 'number of installs?' Like the whole 'Hey, you have Nero installed! Therefore, you can't run this game! How dare you have standard computer equipment like a CD burner installed in your computer!'
>>>

If I bought software from EA that refused to run, I'd follow this procedure:

1 - Ask for a refund.
2 a - If they refuse to refund, I'd return an empty envelope with tracking.
2 b - File a credit card chargeback to screw them, like they screwed me out of 50 bucks.
3 - Take worthless POS game that refuses to run, and sell it on ebay for 30 bucks.
4 - ???
5 - Profit!

I use this same procedure with Ebay sellers who believe "as is" means they can sell you a non-working item and get away with it. I teach them that are mistaken.

Re:All aspects of securerom? (1)

hplus (1310833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408129)

Committing fraud is a great solution to your problems! Plus, you get the added benefit of screwing the merchant over, instead of the company responsible for the DRM. Also, if you buy an item "as is" and the seller hasn't specifically noted that it works, you have no room to complain when you receive a non-working item. That's what "as is" means. If the item is advertised as working but sold "as is," then you can legally/morally return the item to the seller and collect your refund from paypal/whoever. Taking your money back and keeping the item makes you at fault.

Had to return Battlefield expansion packs (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406689)

I have had to return two of the Battlefield expansion packs because I could not activate them even after spending several hours on the problem. No matter what I did the online part of the process did not work and I was denied access. These expansion packs were online only so I effectively couldn't use the software at all. Fortunately I bought from a gaming shop that does take returns on games that do not work. I wrote to EA, asked for help. Then again to revoke whatever I'd registered. No reply of course. One day these greedy fools will realize that they're shooting themselves in the foot with DRM. Sure some piracy will be curtailed in some circumstances. So will some legitimate use. In the long run they lose out because the game becomes hard to use and not worth the effort.

Re:Had to return Battlefield expansion packs (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406833)

EA probably realized that a significant percentage of customer service calls and returns were for problems with securROM. By dropping it all together they are saving money on development costs, and call center calls

One day.... (4, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406901)

One day these greedy fools will realize that they're shooting themselves in the foot with DRM.

They removed the DRM from Sims 3 and just released a tool to retroactively remove DRM from older games. One could make a reasonably cogent argument that that day is today.

(Good thing that day wasn't tomorrow, or no one would have believed them.)

Re:One day.... (5, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407055)

and just released a tool to retroactively remove DRM from older games.

No they didn't. In essence, they released a tool to reset your "activated" flag from TRUE to FALSE.

So when you try to install and activate on a second machine, you can -- as long as you have unactivated on the first machine. This is nice, since it allows for continuance of the doctrine of first sale. This is not nice, as it still leaves the DRM.

All this does is make their DRM adhere to certain consumer protection laws.

Also note that they have not committed to release Sims 3 DRM-free; instead, they have vowed not to use the broken DRM tool they have been using up til now.

Re:One day.... (1)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407087)

No, they didn't remove the DRM. They just eased ridiculous restrictions saying that if you install on a system, then get a new machine, and repeat that three times, you can't install on a new machine any more. Now you can reverse that countdown a little bit, if you actively uninstall the game. You're still hosed if your drive dies, because then you can't get credit back.

Re:One day.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27407195)

This tool does not rectroactively remove DRM from any games. All it does is tell their DRM servers that you want to release the activation from "this" PC so you can use it on another. It's basically the same as calling their tech support and doing it over the phone.

Re:One day.... (1)

7 digits (986730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407221)

> They removed the DRM from Sims 3 and just released a tool to retroactively remove DRM from older games.

Uh ? Did you actually _read_ the article ? They offer you a tool to deactivate *computers*, so you can install the game again. They didn't removed DRM.

PS: I bought one game with SecuROM. I will never ever buy any game with DRM.

Re:One day.... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407627)

>>>just released a tool to retroactively remove DRM from older games

Reading comprehension is not your forte' is it? EA did no such thing. They released a *assistant* to deactivate existing installs, but the DRM is still there causing problems, either now or in the future.

Re:Had to return Battlefield expansion packs (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407635)

Its not so much that they are greedy (well they are, but that is beside the point), it is that they are misinformed and unrealistic.

1st hardly any of these folks develop their own DRM, there is a whole industry out there preying on the fears of developers. They (and their consultants) will tell them whatever they want to hear to sell their own garbage.

2nd they really just went a bit too far. DRM has been around since the beginning of video games, and so has trying to get around it and pirating software and games. This is NOT new. What they forgot is that DRM only has to be strong enough to keep the honest people honest. The idea that you can "stop" piracy, or copying games and software is ludicrous. The sooner they realize this the better. Make it transparent and easy, and your mainstream customers can't be bothered. You will always have those on the fringe that will do it no matter what. Also they must take into their fiscal consideration the fact (like the music industry is having a hard time understanding), that just because some one pirated your stuff doesn't mean that is a lost sale as they may not have bought it no matter what anyway....

Anyway some DRM is fine so long as you don't go overboard is the bottom line. You just have to make it somewhat a pain in the ass to copy without effecting your normal users.

Re:Had to return Battlefield expansion packs (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407717)

A good simple example of this was the old code wheels you got is some games. Basically a code word based on the manual from two cardboard disks.

Sure you could photocopy the stupid manual, and make a cardboard wheel, and I am sure some did. However it was just damn easier to buy the damn game.

Also I think a basic truth is that the lower the cost of the item the less it will be worthwhile to pirate. It has already been pointed out that games are way over priced and that a correction needs to occur. They would likely do a lot for selling more and market penetration as well as growing the industry as well if they were not so short sighted for short term profits.

Hm... (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406839)


Once downloaded, the tool will search your drives for EA games infested with the draconian online DRM system

I bet that's not a quote from EA's documentation.

Re:Hm... (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406929)

Once downloaded, the tool will search your drives for EA games infested with the draconian online DRM system

I bet that's not a quote from EA's documentation.

When you're an evil overload, you need to gloat and laugh maniacally about something.

Re:Hm... (1)

nightstar007 (1220350) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407167)

Do I really want EA freely searching my hard drive.. haven't they done enough.

Re:Hm... (1)

Kadagan AU (638260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407303)

You should see the DRM that the tool uses! Makes me miss SecuROM!

This is just a deauth tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27407001)

OK, so this lets me say I don't want it on a computer I still have access to right now. I lost a win xp box a couple weeks ago to a continuous reboot cycle I couldn't escape. I switched to linux and VMWare at that point. I won't be able to deactivate anything I had installed. I had to "deauthorize all computers" in iTunes for the whole year. When they released the spore tool, I took to deathorizing after the few times I made the mistake of playing, so at least I didn't have to worry about that one. When will they just give up on DRM of this kind all together? This tool just isn't all that helpful.

Hulk mad. (3, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407033)

>>>it's still possible to run out of activations in the event of hardware failure or other source of data loss

Hulk crush EA's company cars. Grrrr.

This does NOT remove the DRM, just moves the game! (5, Informative)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407039)

Many of EA's games can only be installed three times on different computers (based on hardware ID codes)--and then, even if you never gave away your CD key or anything else, you don't get to install them ANYWHERE. Serious problem if you get three new computers! This tool lets you de-authorize a computer, saying "I don't want to play the game on THIS computer any more. Credit me with the ability to install it on a new place again." Of course that doesn't help if your hard drive dies; that one ability to install it dies with your drive, and you can't take it back. The DRM is still very present.

Re:This does NOT remove the DRM, just moves the ga (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27407115)

Heh...that just means they'll lube ya before the they have the robots anal probe ya [penny-arcade.com] ...

Re:This does NOT remove the DRM, just moves the ga (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408563)

So couldn't you install, clone the hard drive, deauthorize the clone and go on you way?

DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27407157)

Not a fan of copyrights or patents. Trade secrets and trademarks should be king. If they want to DRM it up, no prob, but it should be my legal right to try to circumvent it. Just like if someone figures out the secret recipe to coca cola, it's game over.

'mod up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27407247)

Does it need activation? (1)

Nahor (41537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407351)

I didn't RTFA but do I need to activate the tool before I can use it? If so, can it deactivate itself once I'm done with it?

I don't understand (3, Funny)

lancert (1082449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407495)

I've never understood people's belief that they have the right to someone else's work be it music, videos, games, software or whatever. Calling EA an evil overlord for trying to profit from their work and protect it from being stolen is totally goofy. If you don't want to pay for it, you shouldn't have it. I'm sure people are going to trash this statement but if you don't like the DRM they install with it, don't buy it. But stealing a copy of something because you don't like the DRM is theft. Plain and simple.

Obviously (5, Insightful)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407583)

What you don't understand is that EA's DRM was screwing up computers of people who DID pay!

Re:I don't understand (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407665)

DRM that limits the number of times you can install a game you own is theft.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27407755)

It's obviously NOT theft. That's plain and simple enough. It's copyright infringement.

I doubt you'd like it if your local newspaper ran a story "lancert Murders Six!" every time you j-walked.

Also, there is a justifiable point to the pirates side: whether he pirates or not, there is no effect on the creator if he wasn't going to buy the product in the first place.

It seems like you'd get all up in arms if poor kids living in grass huts in Africa got to listen to music for free. What does it matter if they get to listen to it? They physically and economically could not have purchased the music no matter what.

You are wrong (4, Informative)

Brain-Fu (1274756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407763)

But stealing a copy of something because you don't like the DRM is theft. Plain and simple.

Legally speaking, it is not theft. Copyright infringement is an entirely different legal concept than theft. So you are wrong.

Morally speaking, you are wrong too. Theft deprives the owner of use, whereas copyright infringement does not. So it is not morally similar to theft (it might still be wrong of course, just as murder is wrong even though it is not theft, but this does not make it the same thing as theft).

I know you think I am splitting semantic hairs. Of course, I disagree. I think your sloppy use of language obscures the truth and frustrates our efforts at thinking clearly about this issue. It is not "plain and simple," and your misguided attempts at making it so are not helpful.

The issue is not one of entitlement, production, or theft...but one of boundaries. One person's interest in securing the profitability of a work is directly conflicting with someone else's interest in being able to make full use of the (hardware AND software) resources available to them. Perhaps my natural desire to play a game for free should not supersede your "right" (sic) to ensure that every copy of your work is paid for. But, conversely, neither does your desire to get paid justify forcefully taking control of my computer (and the computers of every person in the world) away.

So, we need to work out these boundaries. In order to work them out fairly, we need to understand them in exacting detail. Thus, we must avoid oversimplifications like yours.

Re:I don't understand (2, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407999)

I've never understood people's belief that they have the right to someone else's work be it music, videos, games, software or whatever. Calling EA an evil overlord for trying to profit from their work and protect it from being stolen is totally goofy. If you don't want to pay for it, you shouldn't have it. I'm sure people are going to trash this statement but if you don't like the DRM they install with it, don't buy it. But stealing a copy of something because you don't like the DRM is theft. Plain and simple.

Upon careful reflection you'll find the answer was within the whole time!

Re:I don't understand (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408091)

If EA doesn't want me to resell my copy of $GAME, they can open up a video arcade so that I can't sell $GAME after I've played it. I bought it, it's mine, and I should be able to sell it.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408471)

No one is arguing that downloading a copy of a DRM game is not stealing. We all know that it is wrong. We will not buy the game because it is over priced and has drm that does not let me give it to some one else when I am finished. However this is more of an entitlement situation as if we chained ourselves to our house because we can no longer pay for it. I am insisting on still using the house even though I have not paid for it.

Whence other DRM-free EA games? (2, Insightful)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407617)

So when can I buy a copy of Spore with the assurance it does NOT have SecuROM onboard?

Tool doesn't actually work (for me) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27407669)

Well, this is wishful thinking on someone's part, that this would actually function without issues. First, it tells me that I have 3 activations (2 remaining) for Crysis Warhead. Well, this isn't actually possible, as I have only 2 PCs and I bought the game brand-new, off the shelf. So even if I were able to deactivate my computers, there is still one phantom authorization somewhere. Some keygen or lucky guess is out there, perhaps.

Secondly, the game-specific tool errors out with an ambiguous message indicating the game needs to be reinstalled. The tool apparently requires a full installation of the game before deactivation; if you've already uninstalled it, you have to reinstall to deactivate it. Huh?

Not to mention that you *may* not have access to (or room upon) the old system any longer.

What fun! This is what DRM is *all* about!

Spore deauth tool stinks (4, Informative)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407721)

I uninstalled Spore a few weeks ago and just tried to reclaim the activation with EA's new tool. All I get is this message:

Important Message!

There is a problem with verifying ownership of your game. Please verify your game registration code and reinstall your game."

What the hell does that mean? I have to install the game again? So do I run the deauth tool while it's still installed? And then uninstall it again?

Screw this. If my game ceases to work I'll just pirate it.

Old School DRM is the Best School (2, Interesting)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407729)

I recently installed some industrial software who's installation/licensing scheme struck me as incredibly brilliant.

They don't care how many machines you have, or even how many machines you install the software on. What they care about is that you are only ever using one instance of the software at a time, because that is the license you payed for.

To accomplish this, they use a 2-part licensing scheme that is based on an original license authorization, and a randomly generated key created upon installation. To transfer the authorization, you have to have the key generated by the software on the computer you want to transfer to first, then you can use it to generate a NEW authorization on the old machine. Generating a new authorization re-creates the original machine's key, breaking the authorization there, so a new transfer is required in order to use it again.

You can move it around all you want, you can even operate off of two machines if you want, you just have to re-authorize it each time. Also, because it's just a standard licensing scheme and not some crazy copy protection, it doesn't break any functionality.

Most people would find this reasonable, I think, and sure it's breakable, but the market for such a crack should be reduced, and if done well that's a hard system to circumvent. I think so anyway, I could be wrong.

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<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>