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EA Editor Criticizes Command & Conquer 4 DRM

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the preach-it-brother dept.

PC Games (Games) 266

Command & Conquer 4's DRM hasn't garnered Electronic Arts as much bad press and fan outrage as Ubisoft's scheme, despite being very similar. Nevertheless, it's been causing problems and frustrations for some users, including EA.com's own editor-in-chief, Jeff Green. An anonymous reader points this out: "Green wrote on his Twitter account late last week: 'Booted twice — and progress lost — on my single-player C&C4 game because my DSL connection blinked. DRM fail. We need new solutions.' He continued later, 'Well. I've tried to be open-minded. But my 'net connection is finicky — and the constant disruption of my C&C4 SP game makes this unplayable. The story is fun, the gameplay is interesting and different at least — but if you suffer from shaky/unreliable DSL — you've been warned.'"

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266 comments

Give that man a new job (5, Insightful)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#31623740)

Because A) he is surprisingly honest and B) he will be needing one.

Re:Give that man a new job (5, Funny)

montyzooooma (853414) | about 4 years ago | (#31623762)

"@probib1 great. :) thatll do wonders for my employment! . McDonalds--here I come!"

His reply on twitter when someone pointed out his original comment made the D*gg front page. He's @greenspeak

Re:Give that man a new job (-1, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31624038)

Even if they don't fire him (I really doubt they will), I also don't think it will make neither Ubisoft or EA change their way. For example you still cant download Assassins Creed II and it has been out for almost an month already. Since that has been so large success for Ubisoft, it'll probably just make them continue using it (and fix their server problems) and make EA harden their DRM even more.

Re:Give that man a new job (2, Interesting)

khraz (979373) | about 4 years ago | (#31624064)

For example you still cant download Assassins Creed II and it has been out for almost an month already.

On the other hand, C&C4 is already cracked and readily available.

Re:Give that man a new job (2, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 4 years ago | (#31624268)

you still cant download Assassins Creed II

I may download a couple of copies tonight just to prove you wrong. Don't worry, they're going straight to /dev/null.

Re:Give that man a new job (5, Informative)

Swifti (801896) | about 4 years ago | (#31623986)

Jeff Green used to be part of 1UP's editorial team as a former video games journalist. Very frank guy, very funny guy. Even if he gets fired from EA because of this, which I doubt, there are tons of games publications needing an accomplished and insightful editor or game publishers wanting Jeff's charisma for their public/community relations.

Re:Give that man a new job (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | about 4 years ago | (#31624194)

Ya know, I remember a post where Bill Gates honestly complained about how convoluted and messed up Microsoft's website is, and how annoying and misleading many of the files used on the site are. It's one thing to be honest in a casual setting like twitter, another thing to do it on the job.

Re:Give that man a new job (1)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#31624272)

Well he did the same about windows 95 or 98 I believe. I have once read a email from him and he was real harsh, frustrated even. Made me giggle cause a lot of things that were irritating him, were the same things I was running into. But I don't think his job was in any danger when Gates did it :P I think it was more the other way around, that the senior management knew at that point it was their jobs, that were in danger :P

Re:Give that man a new job (2, Interesting)

jo_ham (604554) | about 4 years ago | (#31624300)

Gates is well known for stuff like that. He is (or was, since he's semi retired now) passionate about a good product. He is driven in almost the same way as Steve Jobs - they just went about it in different ways. The fact that so many people had just cause to call Windows "annoying and convoluted" would have been very troubling to him - especially since he faced the same issues when using it himself.

Re:Give that man a new job (2, Informative)

Borealis (84417) | about 4 years ago | (#31624438)

Jeff Green is the former excellent editor of Computer Gaming World magazine. He's always been on the level.

No problems here (0, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#31623754)

The PC as a gaming platform is done. While the CPU power and abundance of input devices make it an attractive target platform, there are simply too many problems related to software piracy to sustain the PC as a viable platform for much longer.

Consoles and physical media will be the way forward from now. With X-Box supporting all the latest DX technology, PS3 offering unparalleled processing power, and Wii providing an innovative user interface, the time has never been better for game developers to migrate away from the too-open platform of PCs.

DRM? It won't be an issue when the game is keylocked to your personal console and media. You won't even notice the DRM.

Re:No problems here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31623774)

-1000000 Troll. They should simply "Learn to adapt to the new situation" which is a great demobilizing answer for anyone from government health care opponents to ghetto inhabitants.

Re:No problems here (1)

PhongUK (1301747) | about 4 years ago | (#31623788)

Isn't pirating for consoles still doable? If we stop making PC games will the pirates do the same for the consoles as they have done for the PC, if they're not already doing it?

Re:No problems here (0)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31623912)

Isn't pirating for consoles still doable? If we stop making PC games will the pirates do the same for the consoles as they have done for the PC, if they're not already doing it?

That still hasn't worked out for PS3 after over 3 years (yeah there was some progress lately, but you still cant pirate). It's also a lot more technical and creates problems with firmware updates and so on with 360 and Wii. Casual users won't go for the trouble, but on PC it's a lot easier.

Re:No problems here (3, Informative)

Tukz (664339) | about 4 years ago | (#31623806)

Xbox360 is heavily pirated you know.
So is the Wii.

The only console that haven't been hacked yet, is the PS3.

Re:No problems here (1)

elvesrus (71218) | about 4 years ago | (#31623832)

I wouldn't be so sure about that. http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=10/01/25/0654253 [slashdot.org]

Re:No problems here (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31623920)

And you still can't pirate with PS3, which is the point. It also took 3 years for that hack to come up too and probably more until you can actually get the games running.

Re:No problems here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31624206)

Right, so tell us idiot how one would go about playing a copied game.

Re:No problems here (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#31624292)

It's not heavily pirated and publicized. I have a friend with a PS3 and a hard drive full of games for it. There are mod chips out there, you need to know where to look.

Re:No problems here (1)

Peter Bortas (130) | about 4 years ago | (#31624354)

Possibly, but he isn't playing them, and no there isn't. There are however people that will sell you a solution for pirating PS3 games. They usually stand next to the guy that sells you bridges.

Re:No problems here (4, Interesting)

Tukz (664339) | about 4 years ago | (#31624380)

I highly doubt he got a "modchip" for a PS3, unless he got ties in the underground.

There is nothing publicity available about being able to load PS3 Games from images yet.

It's been years since they enabled the PS3 to make backups from your games, but there still isn't a way to run those images.

Not public anyway.

I've heard rumours some of the underground groups have successfully ran certain images, but nothing ready to the public.

Re:No problems here (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31623824)

Yeah...because console games never get pirated, right shill?

The game industry(the suit and tie part of it) would love nothing more than to lock everyone into shitty consoles for games, where they can be nickle and dime'd to death without choice.

I say FUCK THAT. I'd rather quit playing all together and watch your house of cards fall in epic fashion.

Re:No problems here (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | about 4 years ago | (#31623826)

Not to mention the added value to GNP by having us all purchase a console or two for gaming and a PC for work (not to mention a few televisions) instead of just one PC. The Crisis of Capitalism will be over! The only ones who can be against must be banker-commie-hippie-traitor-pirate-terrorist-cultist-atheist scum of the Earth.

Re:No problems here (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#31624050)

banker-commie-hippie-traitor-pirate-terrorist-cultist-atheist scum of the Earth

I resemble that remark.

Re:No problems here (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31624120)

Not to mention the added value to GNP by having us all purchase a console or two for gaming and a PC for work (not to mention a few televisions) instead of just one PC.

Just one PC? Ordinarily, if you want more than one player, you have to buy a separate PC and a separate copy of each game for each person in the house.

Re:No problems here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31624146)

>> a console or two for gaming and a PC for work ... The Crysis of Capitalism will be over!

Fixed that for you. :)

Re:No problems here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31623834)

I hope your post gets buried so deep it will never see the light again.

Re:No problems here (1)

selven (1556643) | about 4 years ago | (#31623838)

Interesting. I, however, will be continuing to play open source games which do not require me to buy an entire new computer just to play them.

Open source DRM (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31624190)

I, however, will be continuing to play open source games

Even a game that uses an open-source engine can still have DRM. The game doesn't run without the assets (meshes, textures, maps, audio, etc.), and the assets don't get decrypted without the separate executable that enforces the DRM and sends the decrypted assets over a local socket to the game.

which do not require me to buy an entire new computer just to play them.

They might not require you to buy a new computer, but a lot of PC games require other people in your household to buy separate PCs in order to play multiplayer.

Re:Open source DRM (1)

selven (1556643) | about 4 years ago | (#31624404)

I don't think you understand. I have NO interest in mainstream $60 DRM-locked blockbusters. There are lots of games out there [wikipedia.org] which run on my PC just fine, of which many have no DRM and no proprietary licensing restrictions (and are free of charge too). With all that content out there, who needs the small percentage of it that has DRM on it?

Do Free games cover all genres? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31624490)

Say I have a friend who likes Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero. He'd be well served by StepMania and Frets On Fire. But say I have another friend who likes Smash Bros., Mario Kart, and Animal Crossing. What open-source Linux games would you recommend?

Re:No problems here (1)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | about 4 years ago | (#31623860)

"too-open platform of PCs."

Damn you're horribly misinformed. Security through obscurity never works and DRM is the gaming industry shooting themselves in the foot; they are bitting the hand that feeds. If the gaming industry wants money, all they have to do is make games that aren't shit. And lately, that has been an epic fail on there part. Just yet another reason why the industry is screwing up. There's nothing like spending millions on a piece of crap that no-one will want. Not to mention releasing so early, not only is the game itself crap, it's a buggy as all hell as well. So, a constantly freezing/weird shit going on, piece of crap.

But, hey. Why bother with facts. Let's just do what the gaming industry is doing and blame piracy.

Re:No problems here (3, Insightful)

loutr (626763) | about 4 years ago | (#31623930)

The PC as a gaming platform is done.[...]PS3 offering unparalleled processing power[...]

Can I play every PS3 game in 1080p, 8xAA ? Didn't think so. On my gaming PC, I can. With an Xbox Controller and HDMI output, I can play Batman, GTA, etc. on my HDTV, sitting on my couch, with (far) better graphics than on any so-called Next-gen console. And with the same machine, I can play FPS, CRPGs, and strategy games with proper controllers (mouse/keyboard). Oh, and thanks to Steam's constant stream of special deals, I don't have to pay 50-70€ for each game.

Each time a console's price drops, I've had the temptation to buy one. But each time I quickly remember that I would hardly use it, except for playing the odd exclusive title.

Re:No problems here (4, Informative)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 4 years ago | (#31624020)

>>Oh, and thanks to Steam's constant stream of special deals, I don't have to pay 50-70 for each game.

The only trouble with Steam is that it requires... an internet connection.

People will say that Steam can run in offline mode, and that's true... as long as there's no patch pending for Steam.

If there is, then when you run Steam offline, it tells you it is trying to patch, and canceling or trying anything else results in it quitting. There's literally no solution until you get internet access again, which really sucks if you're on a laptop without access, or if rain gets into a conduit and your internet goes down for a week, like it did for me last Thanksgiving. I'd just bought Dragon Age, and being unable to play it for an entire week because of Steam's butt fucking retardnessness really turned me off to the platform.

It's been a "known issue" for, oh, since Steam began.

Re:No problems here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31624152)

More like no standard solution. If it knows a new patch is out when offline, then figure out a way to change this.

Of course, you do have a point, and Valve should fix that (if true - I don't use Steam). But I think you also need to understand that the amount of Steam users with an irregular (down for hours) internet connection is probably something like 2%.

Re:No problems here (2, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 4 years ago | (#31624282)

The annoying part is that it knows a patch is available, but doesn't download it or do anything with it, it just notes the fact, and then refuses to run if the internet goes down before it gets patched. This is a Really Bad Design for a service that supplies single player games. Not quite as bad as the DRM fiascos people are reporting, but it's been an extant issue with Steam (with people complaining about it) for years.

Steam (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31624468)

I work on an offshore oil rig. Internet access is available, but not in my cabin. I had HL2 backed up to DVD but couldn't install it without dragging my laptop to where I could get a net connection. Got it all installed from DVD, patched from the net.

Went back to my cabin, and it wouldn't start. Not authorized! I had to get it back to an internet connection, start the games to authorize them, then go back to my cabin. Why the hell didn't it authorize when I installed and updated!!! Was too late to play.

After that, offline mode was fine. But I paid for this shit. It's frustrating. Newer games will be impossible for me, with a connection required all the time.

Re:No problems here (5, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 4 years ago | (#31624610)

You say that Steam requires and internet connection. But then your example is a rare edge-case involving a half-way downloaded patch. It sounds like a bug, and it sounds annoying, but it isn't the same as saying that steam requires an internet connection.

Smash Bros., Mario Kart, and Animal Crossing (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31624142)

With an Xbox Controller and HDMI output, I can play Batman, GTA, etc. on my HDTV, sitting on my couch, with (far) better graphics than on any so-called Next-gen console.

Does your "etc." include proper counterparts to Super Smash Bros. series, Mario Kart series, and Animal Crossing series? I'd like to know what PC games you recommend for fans of these Nintendo-exclusive franchises.

Re:Smash Bros., Mario Kart, and Animal Crossing (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 4 years ago | (#31624478)

The comparison was with the PS3, so how is the PC any different than is if you want to play Nintendo exclusives?

And what about those Wii owners who want to play PC "exclusives", what do they do???

I was talking about genres (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31624596)

The comparison was with the PS3, so how is the PC any different than is if you want to play Nintendo exclusives?

I apologize for being unclear; I didn't necessarily mean Nintendo exclusives. For example, "a game like Street Fighter" would include King of Fighters and Mortal Kombat, even though each Street Fighter game started out as a CPS exclusive. Likewise, "a game like Super Mario 64" would include the Spyro series, "a game like Halo" would be other first-person shooters with a vaguely similar play style, and "a game like Smash Bros." would be other platform-fighting games. My point is that I don't know of a lot of open-source platform-fighting games, comic racing games (TuxKart looks stuck in the N64 era), social simulators, or even 3D platformers for Linux.

Re:No problems here (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#31624042)

The PC as a gaming platform is done.

This has been a great year for PC gaming. There's still a lot of money to be made in making and releasing games for PC. I doubt very much that game manufacturers are going to leave that money on the table just because some people are copying those games illegally.

Re:No problems here (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#31624074)

It won't be an issue when the game is keylocked to your personal console and media. You won't even notice the DRM.

The pirates won't notice the DRM either.

I just went to look at a popular private tracker (for informational purposes only) and saw that more than half the list of top 50 games for download are for consoles.

Re:No problems here (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 years ago | (#31624086)

The PC as a gaming platform is done.

Not done, but perhaps we're starting to see the sunset. I gave up on PC gaming when Microsoft moved past Windows XP. I couldn't even get my motorola phone to work on 64 bit Windows Vista or 7 even while following various sets of directions because Microsoft boned the whole driver signing thing, and I hate to dual-boot, so now I just run the handful of games which are both good and fun on Linux.

While the CPU power and abundance of input devices make it an attractive target platform, there are simply too many problems related to software piracy to sustain the PC as a viable platform for much longer.

All the piracy-related problems are actually developer-related problems.

With X-Box supporting all the latest DX technology,

It doesn't. DirectX has moved on from what the Xbox 360 has.

PS3 offering unparalleled processing power,

It doesn't. Not only is the Xbox 360 about as powerful as the PS3, but home PCs are available with vastly more power in all areas today.

and Wii providing an innovative user interface,

Having a remote-shaped replacement for a spaceball is evolutionary, not revolutionary.

DRM? It won't be an issue when the game is keylocked to your personal console and media. You won't even notice the DRM.

Won't be? Microsoft and Sony both have direct-download marketplaces which use this scheme. It's here already.

Indie games (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31624160)

Consoles and physical media will be the way forward from now. With X-Box supporting all the latest DX technology, PS3 offering unparalleled processing power, and Wii providing an innovative user interface, the time has never been better for game developers to migrate away from the too-open platform of PCs.

Except for students, hobbyists, and studios that are that too small to qualify for a devkit. See also Bob's Game [wikipedia.org].

Re:No problems here (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#31624266)

They are doing the same crap to the consoles too. Testing the waters with DLC that is only available via the code in the new game box. Right now it's fluff crap that nobody really cares about (ME2: none of the DLC is useful at all, it's all worthless) but it will change, like 1/2 the game being a DLC that is locked to a user.

It's crap like this that makes me think the pirates have the right idea and are justified. I'm a legit customer, and I get reamed in the butt without lube by the company I bought from. That makes me want to say "screw you" and pirate the stuff next time.

Re:No problems here (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | about 4 years ago | (#31624336)

Democracy as a form of government is done. While the lack of corruption and abundance of liberty make it an attractive target platform, there are simply too many problems related to iron-fisted political control to sustain democracy as a viable platform for much longer.

Oppression? It won't be an issue when you are keylocked to your personal console and media. You won't even notice the oppression.

Funny how easily that translates... Also, whoever thought "strong" was a good replacement for the "b" tag obviously never wrote HTML by hand, the jerk.

Re:No problems here (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#31624526)

<strong> isn't a replacement for <b>. <span style="font-weight:bold"> is a replacement for <b>. <strong> is a semantic markup tag indicating that the text should be represented in a stronger manner than normal text, typically by using a bold font. Fortunately, you can just use <b> on Slashdot when you want bold text.

Re:No problems here (1)

MogNuts (97512) | about 4 years ago | (#31624424)

Are you paid to say this? You sound like an advertisement.

"With X-Box supporting all the latest DX technology, PS3 offering unparalleled processing power, and Wii providing an innovative user interface, the time has never been better for game developers"

And c'mon, while all the above are pretty good, it still can't match the potential of the PC:

Latest DX: PC is on DX11
PS3 processing power: Seriously? Core i7/ATI 5870. Nuff said.
Wii: The gimmick gets old. Back to what actually works: buttons on a controller. But I'm sure of PC's millions of peripherals they have an alternative.

Re:No problems here (5, Interesting)

forsey (1136633) | about 4 years ago | (#31624470)

You damn well can notice DRM on the Xbox 360. I recently had mine die and I sent it back to MS for repair. They sent back a referb unit as per their usual policy. Along with the Xbox was a note telling me to redownload all my DLC so that the licenses on my hard drive would be updated to work with the new console. Well that only works if the jack asses at MS remember to actually transfer the licenses to the new Xbox on their servers, which they failed to do in my case.

It took a lot of poking around but I eventually found xbox.com/drm which gave me proof that they indeed forgot to transfer the licenses and also gave me a way to transfer the licenses to the new Xbox, though you can only do this once per year.

While I was having these DRM issues I could only play DLC games when I was on the account they were purchased on and logged on to Xbox live. As soon as I lost my internet connection (which happened to be having issues around this time) all my DLC games would get the word trial added beside their name. I did a test and brought up the list of all my DLC games, pulled the network cable out of the Xbox and saw the word "Trial" added to the name of every one of my games, top to bottom, one at a time. Event my damn wallpaper disappeared because that was DRMed too.

That said at least they have a tool like xbox.com/drm and at least they do allow you to link your games to a console so they can be played offline once that is achieved. Still, I'm sure this isn't the last I'll see of these issues.

Fun? (-1, Flamebait)

adpe (805723) | about 4 years ago | (#31623758)

>The story is fun, the gameplay is interesting

Wat? Even without that fucking DRM abomination, I couldn't take more than 30 minutes of that boring piece of shit.

I've got the solution (5, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | about 4 years ago | (#31623814)

Hey Mr. Green, the solution is quite simple and at your fingertips [thepiratebay.org]

That patch will fix your broken version of C&C4 ;-)

Bonus.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31624344)

Hey Mr. Green, the solution is quite simple and at your fingertips [thepiratebay.org]

That patch will fix your broken version of C&C4 ;-)

As a bonus the patch will also install extra software that ensures that you and your PC enjoys all the benefits of being a part of the infrastructure of some of the biggest cloud providers on hearth [slashdot.org]. :-)

Re:Bonus.... (1)

MistrBlank (1183469) | about 4 years ago | (#31624532)

Or.... you know you could disconnect your computer from the Internet.

My game machine only plays the games that I'm currently interested in. I can wipe it at the drop of a hat. Hacks really don't bother me, I do my browsing and real work on my Macbook.

Another I'll have to avoid... (4, Insightful)

Raynor (925006) | about 4 years ago | (#31623842)

Some people can just pay for a better connection; living in the middle of the desert in a Marine Corps barracks leaves me with fewer options.

While I'm more than willing to shell out the cash for a game like C&C4, my internet is horrible (one of the main reasons I like playing SP games so much now) and to make SP games reliant on a constant internet connection means one less sale for them. Ubisoft has already lost my sale on AC2 and now it looks like EA is going to follow in their footsteps.

A shame too because I loved AC and the C&C series.

Re:Another I'll have to avoid... (4, Insightful)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | about 4 years ago | (#31624358)

I quit buying EA Games when C&C 3 Kane's refused to play after I purchased Alcohol 120% .

Apparently they felt they had the right to tell me what programs I am allowed to run on my PC. Unfortunately, they forgot who had the right to open up my wallet to purchase things.

Re:Another I'll have to avoid... (2, Insightful)

Vectormatic (1759674) | about 4 years ago | (#31624562)

A shame too because I loved AC and the C&C series.

dont worry, they screwed up the gameplay too, no more basebuilding, apperently a single building produces all units, and you are supplied with all needed building at the start.. so you arent missing much.

As i commented in an other thread (i think about the ubisoft shitstorm days after release), EA lost me, and my girlfriend as a customer, even before i read about how they butchered the entire C&C core gameplay, with this ridiculous DRM. Part of the fun of CnC for me always has been toying around with different tanks, taking over an entire map and then steamrolling the computer adversary, and i will not be restricted in doing that only where i have internet (case in point, hotelrooms when travelling, on holiday)

As nice as this is on paper... (5, Insightful)

Tepshen (851674) | about 4 years ago | (#31623866)

..its likely a planned statement. The guy is supposed to be a "mouthpeice" for the company. I highly doubt he would just up and "go rogue" on EA since its a really good way to lose his job in the long run. More than likely the intent is a bit more subtle. Perhaps to throw the (slow selling) game under the bus for awhile only to result in either a patch after the story is run awhile to ramp up news reaction to the break. Giving them quite a bit of press for having to "listened to the fans" or just allow them to retain cred by trashing a game thats not going anywhere anyway cutting thier losses and putting a good spin on a bad move "hey, it sucks, but we admitted it sucks. So, we're cool and can keep the money you paid us right?" or something along those lines.

Re:As nice as this is on paper... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31623970)

I understand your cynicism, but you must not know about Jeff Green. EA gives him a surprising amount of leeway. Even so, he's put his foot in his mouth before.

http://gamevideos.1up.com/video/id/25660

Re:As nice as this is on paper... (3, Insightful)

jadin (65295) | about 4 years ago | (#31624298)

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." - I really doubt they planned on designing crappy DRM so that they can remove it and gain the good will of the fans.

I think it's much more likely a bunch of execs thinking they can do whatever they want and "those desperate suckers will buy it anyway".

Re:As nice as this is on paper... (3, Informative)

tapo (855172) | about 4 years ago | (#31624434)

Jeff Green earned my trust after years of being editor-in-chief for Computer Gaming World/GFW Magazine, and his great personality and style on the GFW Radio podcast. As nice as your conspiracy theory sounds, the man is being honest and trying to change things.

Re:As nice as this is on paper... (2, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 4 years ago | (#31624608)

Ok, let's take your idea to its logical conclusion:

1) Game company releases popular game with draconian DRM.
2) DRM irritates gamers. Game doesn't sell well.
3) Game company sends briefed spokesperson to the world to say "Hey, I feel your pain!" and gamers gobble it up.
4) Game flops in sales. EA pretend to be upset with blogger.
5) EA releases patch to remove DRM. Game sales explode.
6) Gamers enjoy game DRM free.
7. - REDACTED -

The last item was supposed to be "Games companies realise that DRM is hurting sales, ease off with restrictive copy protection" but my sense of reality kicked back in. Sorry.

I was about to buy this... (3, Interesting)

TyFoN (12980) | about 4 years ago | (#31623876)

I was in my local games shop the other day and I brought this title to the counter. In the queue I noticed it said "requires online connection". So I asked the clerk if it was an online game but he said no. I subsequently put it back in the shelf and walked out of the store.
That's one lost sale EA. I'll buy it when you loose the funky DRM. (I have bought almost every other C&C title)

Re:I was about to buy this... (2, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#31623946)

Ironically, the first time I played C&C (Tib Sun) was on a friend's LAN, he had one official copy but also had it pirated specifically to have LAN games. I enjoyed it so much I went out and bought myself a copy to play online. I've also bought pretty much every one since then, all on the back of that first play, and now the thing that will likely stop me buying any more is their anti-piracy DRM, despite the fact that if piracy didn't exist I'd have likely never bought/played any of these games in the first place.

Re:I was about to buy this... (4, Informative)

Lucky_Norseman (682487) | about 4 years ago | (#31624244)

Not pirated, but fully legal.

From the start of C&C you got 2 cd's. One with GDI and one with NOD. And you were explicitely permitted to lend one to a friend while you were using the other yourself.
Thats how I got hooked too.
If I remember correctly the first where this was not included/allowed was C&C Generals.

Re:I was about to buy this... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#31624556)

I always thought that was a great bit of marketing. A lot of people I knew borrowed one CD from a friend and then bought the game when they wanted to play the other campaign.

Digital Restrictions Management works! (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | about 4 years ago | (#31623894)

Assuming, that is, your goal was to destroy the PC as a gaming platform.

Re:Digital Restrictions Management works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31624262)

Isn't that exactly what they are trying to do? It certainly looks like it.

But overall, it's probably a good thing if the "majors" of the video game industry leave the PC. It will leave room for the current indies to grow and make awesome games (until they too become huge greedy corporations and the cycle continues).

One of the reasons... (5, Insightful)

Amarantine (1100187) | about 4 years ago | (#31623906)

...why i am losing interest in games rapidly.

While i can still play games i bought 15 years ago, there is no guarantee whatsoever that i can play today's games in 15 years. In the past, i got the feeling of really 'owning' a game (well, a non-revokable license to play it, you know what i mean), but now, i can only play it if the publisher is still in business *and* allows me to activate the game, so essentially holding hostage a game i paid good bucks for.

Another reason is that intolerable dlc business, which i still suspect is a mechanism for publishers to hinder the secondhand market, and/or generate 50% more revenue of a game by selling content that (in most cases) might as well have been included in the release.

Then again, maybe it is just me getting older, having kids, etc.

Re:One of the reasons... (0, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | about 4 years ago | (#31624058)

15 years ago would be 1995. I've got a few games from that era which still work in Dosbox.. now, games from 1995 to about 2000 were all Win9x abominations that won't work.. unless you've still got an old machine lying around with win98 installed on it.. in which case I pity you.

Re:One of the reasons... (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 4 years ago | (#31624204)

I don't know how it's in Windows 7, but, for me these 1995-2000 games work pretty well in Wine. Well, my favorites, StarCraft, Unreal and Unreal Tournament, at least.

Have you tried old games in Wine? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31624216)

now, [PC] games from 1995 to about 2000 were all Win9x abominations that won't work.. unless you've still got an old machine lying around with win98

But do they work in Wine? Or have you tried the PlayStation versions in an emulator?

Re:One of the reasons... (1, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 4 years ago | (#31624248)

And in the 21st century, we invented virtual machines, so keeping a Win98 install "lying around" means a couple of mouse clicks. You should join us here in the Future - we'll be getting flying cars any day now.

Re:One of the reasons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31624430)

I remember the original MYST for PC did not work in windows 9x - only in 3.1(1). That was funny. Luckily they released a remastered version eventually which works in modern OSes.

realMYST is also glitchy in modern computers, though I have yet to try it in windows 7.

Re:One of the reasons... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#31624586)

I've got a Mac, and most of the games I bought in and around 1995 work perfectly in either DOSBox or under WINE. Amusingly, a couple of them don't work under new versions of Windows (and, by 'new' I mean '2000 or later') but do work very nicely on OS X. The other advantage of WINE is that I can use the virtual desktop mode to run full-screen games in a window.

Re:One of the reasons... (1)

TheFakeMcCoy (1485631) | about 4 years ago | (#31624154)

I have to agree. I actually just ordered left for dead 2 because a few friends were playing. Even though it requires steam, and I could have bought it from steam for the same price. I still ordered it off of Amazon because I wanted a case and a cd.

Re:One of the reasons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31624564)

which i still suspect is a mechanism for publishers to hinder the secondhand market

In Mass Effect II, the ability to dl DLC is tied to a $15 download that has a code free with the game. You also have to sign up for an account with the publisher. Stop wondering.

market tools vs. EULA (1)

muckracer (1204794) | about 4 years ago | (#31624032)

> the constant disruption of my C&C4 SP game makes this unplayable

So how is the producer of the game get the message via free market tools, when EULA's as well as store policies prohibit the return of 'opened' games? From what I can tell for at least this user above the product is clearly defective. It relies on the non-defectiveness of things outside the package, such as his ISP etc.. Yet I am sure they will not give him a return/refund because they'll disagree about the defectiveness of the game. But is this even enforcible? I'd say, something like this needs to go to court eventually!

Re:market tools vs. EULA (1)

yezu (1409877) | about 4 years ago | (#31624122)

I tried to return the game... No way... "The game is fine. It's your hardware that is defective."

Where an extended service plan comes in handy (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31624226)

"The game is fine. It's your hardware that is defective."

I bought the hardware from your store. It obviously has a defect because it won't run this game. Will you take the hardware back too? Here are my extended service plan papers.

Re:market tools vs. EULA (1)

Lucky_Norseman (682487) | about 4 years ago | (#31624260)

Next time, bring a lawyer along and let the salesman talk to him. Thir reply might change quite a bit.

Re:market tools vs. EULA (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 4 years ago | (#31624304)

Not that I don't like your solution, but don't you think it'd be much more expensive to pay the lawyer to go to the store with you?

If you could get the store to pay your lawyer fees because they gave you a hard time on a defective or misleading product that'd be a different story, but if you could do that the store wouldn't give you a hard time in the first place.

Re:market tools vs. EULA (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#31624614)

Not sure about your jurisdiction, but in the UK they can not legally refuse the return, as long as all of the original packaging is there. Ask to talk to the manager, keep repeating your complaint loudly enough for other people to hear it, and refuse to leave. Suggest that if they want you to leave that they should call the police, who will be able to explain the relevant law to them.

It's worse than that... (4, Insightful)

VMaN (164134) | about 4 years ago | (#31624044)

these DRM failures have scared me away from buying games, life is too short.

Much like Sony demonstrated that CDs are fair game for malware deployment, I'm never buying another CD or game again.

My gaming is pretty retro by now, so I can live with it, and the occasional pirated/cracked game.

It's kinda funny that I have more faith in crackers to give me a "clean" product, than i do in the publishers.

I have the money for the odd game i want, but I have exactly zero patience with DRM. Oh and my original Quake and Diablo install discs don't require any kind of activation from a remote server, and should work just fine in another 20 years.

I feel robbed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31624098)

The DRM is bad but the game is crap anyway... I've bought he game for SP, and it's a freaking joke. I feel robbed.
I big fail on the part of EA. I'm not buying another game from them until they drop that DRM scheme, I'm not buying any Ubisoft games either.

I mean seriously... Are these guys so dumb? People will pirate the games no matter what. And the more idiotic the DRM the less people will buy the game...

Not fit for purpose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31624136)

mod points...anoning

In Aus, if this style of DRM really is this flaky, it has got to be getting pretty close to "not fit for purpose" under trade practice laws. The ACCC [wikipedia.org] has used this against DVD manufacturers, re: regional coding.

Any Aussies who have bought this game, and had this problem, make a complaint to the ACCC. All of you. For every title with DRM like this. Only when they can see a pattern of complaints that drifts above the general background hum of whinging will someone look closely enough to say, "hey, wtf?", and bring it to a higher-up. The squeaky wheel etc and so on.

Here an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31624150)

Just buy the retail game and then download the DRM-free version. The company gets paid and you get an unbroken game.

I haven't had ANY problems with it (0, Offtopic)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 years ago | (#31624270)

I have somehow managed to have no problems with their DRM scheme at all. It hasn't caused me any frustrations nor any annoyances. How can this be you might ask? Simple. I didn't buy it and I don't play it. I'm pretty much done with PC games. PCs are for other things. Consoles are for games -- no one has a faster processor or video card that gives them an advantage or an edge in some way and even though the playing field for console games still isn't perfectly level, it's far more level there than on PCs.

I'm not a happy bunny either (5, Informative)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 4 years ago | (#31624276)

I've been stung by this one. There was little (or in fact no) warning in advance of release that the copy protection would take this form and, as this was an EA rather than an Ubisoft game, I didn't assume that it would. So, like a fool, I went and placed a pre-order with an electronic-only retailer.

Of course, the release day comes and various forums explode with news of the DRM. I had already made a decision not to buy any games with Ubisoft-style DRM... and now find myself accidentally in breach of that. I try to get a refund... and fail.

After a few days of unsuccessfully trying for a refund, I give up. I say "ok, I'll see for myself just how bad this is". So I pass up any lingering hopes of a refund and download and install the game. Just getting the launcher to start up is a hassle, as there are assorted known issues with it. Eventually, I figure out that I have to manually update the EA Download Manager (an entirely separate piece of software) before the game will run. Having done all of this, and created an account, I click the button to try to play the game. And get told that the DRM client "cannot connect to the internet". I check my net connection; no problems - I've had an IRC client running the whole time with no interruptions. Ok, maybe it's a router problem... nope, everything's fine there. I check a few forums and find that the solution is "keep trying, it works eventually."

Ok, so I do this. On the 7th or 8th try, it succeeds in logging in (so yes, it's just an inappropriate error message). The game starts, and I marvel at how retro and primative everything feels. Yes, it's defaulted my graphics to 800x600, despite the fact that pretty much every other game around these days will default to my desktop resolution and take a stab at estimating my graphics settings. Ok, no big deal, it only takes a few minutes to change things.

So, time to start the game. I'm only interested in the singleplayer campaign. I don't tend to play non-subscription games online these days; I've long since gotten sick of tolerating the 14 year old pottymouths who infest pretty much any other kind of online play. So you can imagine how delighted I am to find myself in a chatroom full of said lowlifes... on the singleplayer campaign menu. Yes, while I try to read the mission briefing, I have a window open below it full of idiot children amusing themselves in the usual way. Clicking past that, I get into the mission.

I knew from the pre-release reviews (none of which mentioned the DRM) that the C&C gameplay had been radically altered; that base building had gone. I hadn't been massively enthused by this, but I'd decided to give it a go. After all, I got plenty of enjoyment out of Dawn of War 2 and its expansion, even though I would have preferred they stuck to the traditional RTS approach. Anyway, the first couple of C&C4 missions are tutorial type things, which is fine. I'm already starting to worry that we've lost some gameplay depth, but now I've committed my money, I'm determined to give it a go. The first two tutorials are over very quickly. I get into the third, and notice that while it's still a tutorial, it's a good bit longer. 15 minutes into it... disconnected from the server... progress lost.

Fantastic.

It takes me 10 minutes to manage to log into EA's servers again (and this isn't launch day, but several days later). When I get back in, I manage to complete that mission. I then get into the game proper, and choose my faction. Starting the first proper mission (for the Nod faction) my worries about the gameplay really start to grow. There's no robustness to the micro-level combat. You're just dragging a force around from one waypoint to the next. Mid-mission, my objective changes abruptly, from conquest to escort. Before I've really cottoned on to this, the vehicles I'm supposed to escort have wandered off and been destroyed. So I revert to a mid-mission save, and go again. This time, I'm ready for the objective switch. I escort the units across the map. Just as they're about to reach the objective... connection to server lost.

Fantastic.

So I log back in (only 7 minutes this time), and go back to my mid-mission save. Except it's vanished. I alt-tab out to see if there's a problem with my connection. Nope; everything's fine (my connection is normally pretty stable anyway); IRC has been chuntering along happily in the background. So I quit the game in disgust. A couple of days later, I did manage to get a little bit further, playing for about 3 hours with only one disconnect.

What I can say is this; the DRM is truly vile and is a genuine punishment to legitimate players. The only consolation is that the game behind it is so poor that it is not worth bothering with. If you want a classic RTS game, get Supreme Commander 2. If you want a squad-micromanagement game, get Dawn of War 2 (which does require Games for Windows Live, but you can play offline under that system, which puts it just, by the skin of its teeth, on the right side of the acceptability threshold for me). If you want to know how the C&C Tiberium-series plot ends... scour youtube to see if anybody's uploaded the cutscenes yet.

Re:I'm not a happy bunny either (1)

thijsh (910751) | about 4 years ago | (#31624456)

What an excellent review. I won't be buying C&C 4 (while I own practically every game in the series).
Seems to me they'll be losing quite a few fans if the continue like this... It's not even hard for me not to buy the game, I stopped caring just now.

EA... (1)

disi (1465053) | about 4 years ago | (#31624312)

I was cured by Red Altert 3, where they did or did not remove the drm afterwards. After 6 month being installed on my machine and fully patched it refuses to start anymore (drm error). There isn't even an offcial customer support for that game, you have to go throught your retailer or rely on the community. Reinstall, few GB patch and try again is the common solution.

I am not buying from EA anymore...
It is sad about the game :(

Good for him.... (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | about 4 years ago | (#31624340)

I don't have this problem, I haven't been buying new games at all. They just aren't worth the price to me and yet I can't get enough of old games I can fire up under Wine or Dosbox.
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