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EA Denies DRM Problems With Sims 2

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the typical-mmo-company-response dept.

Security 188

Fizzlefist writes "For the past 2 weeks there has been an uproar on the Sims 2 forums concerning the inclusion of Sony's SecuROM DRM software in the latest expansion pack, Bon Voyage. It seems paid customers have been having problems since day one of release, but EA is only now, 5 weeks later, issuing an official statement on the matter. A lot of what's in the statement is outright fiction with proven reports of issues with disabling of disc burning software, optical disc drives, printers, cameras, system slowdown and even system crashes. Fan responses have been cold to say the least. Interestingly enough, the expansion pack was cracked and up on the internet less than 24 hours after its release."

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188 comments

It sounds to me that they want to help. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963375)

It also sound that there is a lot of bashing here:

"But of those 7,122 messages we can track, 2,976 have been authored by just 32 individuals (41.8 %). Each of these individuals has posted more than 40 times on the subject."

"Since that team was set up 2 weeks ago, we received only 12 calls to EA's North American Support Center from players looking for help with their PC's, suspecting a conflict with SecuROM. Sony DADC received just 29 calls about The Sims 2 Bon Voyage and SecuROM."

I didn't really notice an outright denial in the "offical statement". I read that 'problems happen' and if you want it fixed you need to call support.

Looking at the replies and the response, it 'sounds' like they want to help:

quote:
Guys-

If you really want to make a difference, you need to file a support ticket with Customer Support to explain what is going wrong with your PC and try to get help. Those numbers about the few number of calls to Support are not made up. I looked them up myself. There's just not enough people calling to cause change. We've received 4 times more calls with people with flashing red walls than any of the PC destruction calls about SecuROM. (and, btw, about those walls...don't forget to update your video card driver).

We want you to call. I want you to call. I work on the team that makes the game. The last thing we want to do is to make you unhappy.

To get support, follow the instructions in MaxoidVanquish's post above. The thread is here:

http://bbs.thesims2.ea.com/community/bbs/messages.php?threadID=c7bc28ba7df0b19335a3d8edb3ec9919&directoryID=211&startRow=1&openItemID=item.211,root.1,item.61,item.104,item.41,item.127,item.23 [ea.com]

If you create a support ticket and don't get the help you need, I want you to do this: send me a note in my SimPage guestbook. Click on "View My Sim Page" right above my post and you'll find my guestbook. Tell me what happened, and if you can, cite the Incident Number you were given so a supervisor can track what happened on your case (those numbers look something like 123456-789012. Write it down when the support person gives it to you). Also please give me your email or phone number and a good time when you can be reached, so a support supervisor can get back to you.

unquote

And to the thought of "interestingly enough, the expansion pack was cracked and up on the internet less than 24 hours after it's release."

I wonder just how many of the folks that 'cracked' the pack are having the problems and are bitching?

Of course I could be wrong and DRM could just be the cause of global warming.

Re:It sounds to me that they want to help. (5, Interesting)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963473)

I agree with pretty much everything you said (despite my dislike for EA as the life-sucking vampire of the game industry, You made battlefield '42! Where's the good games EA!?). The one part I draw question to is your final question, it's much more likely that the problems stem from the DRM rather than the DRM-free versions for the simple reason that extra code tends to add extra problems. Cracker's are very good at what they do* and it's unlikely that anyone grabbing one of the cracked games would have the types of problems they're having, and would report it to EA ('What's that? You're having problems? Well lets just check your CD Key...oh what's this? Cracked version, BANNINATION).

I mean, cracking is by no means perfect, and is illegal to boot, but tends to produce higher quality products than the un-cracked versions, one of the big DRM criticisms (and my personal favorite, people don't seem to understand that they could run their favorite programs without the CD if there was no DRM, they seem to think there's some kind of hardware issue that requires the CD, or that it's too much data to write to the hard drive (sometimes the case for the new DVD games).

*I've more than once considered grabbing cracked versions of games I own, mainly so I can run them without the CD...I'm considering getting a cracked BF 1942 as I lost 1 disk, have the other and the key, and can't do anything about it :(

Re:It sounds to me that they want to help. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963791)

Wow. That takes me back to the old days of EA software on the Commodore 64. Games like M.U.L.E., Archon, Pinball Construction Set, etc.

I used to buy all of EA's games, but they had the most annoyingly long load times from floppy. These were slow 5 1/4" drives, and we were used to the very long cassette load times from previous years, so taking more than 15 minutes to load a game was bad, but not unexpected. I can still see that color changing EA logo on the screen and hear the weird clicking of the drive.

But then I found cracked copies. Broken versions of the same games that loaded in a minute or two rather than 15 to 30. No copy protection. Those weird clicks? That was a non-standard kludge of a DOS thrashing around looking for the proper keys. EA punished their paying customers to such an extent even all those years ago.

I still bought their games, but then found the broken versions to actually use. The broken copies were better.

Re:It sounds to me that they want to help. (4, Insightful)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964175)

I used to buy all of EA's games, but they had the most annoyingly long load times from floppy.


Nothing's changed. Sims 1 and Sims 2 each looked about 5 years behind their times graphically when they came out (ESPECIALLY Sims 1) but on a modern machine either one will take about 3-5 minutes to load the game, and another 2-3 minutes any time you change areas. It's ridiculous. IMO, the things are damn-near unplayable.

Re:It sounds to me that they want to help. (5, Informative)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964115)

I highly recommend you check out Demon Tools: just download the image from your favorite torrent, or rip it with another program, and be done with CD requirements. I buy a game, rip it to my drive, and put the disk safely away on my shelf never to be seen again. Plus not having to worry about which versions of a game are 'cracked' and keeping up with hacks is worth the few extra bucks in hard drive space.

If you do any sort of laptop gaming in down time on the road, or the occasional LAN party or such, I can't imagine being without it anymore.

It does install some sort of crap ware if you get the free version, but since I don't use IE, it doesn't much bother me, and you can just buy it and avoid that trouble, anyway.

Re:It sounds to me that they want to help. (2, Informative)

Robotz (451860) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964403)

The IE search bar software that comes with the free version Demon Tools is optional. You do get the choice of selecting to not install it.

Re:It sounds to me that they want to help. (1)

Zemran (3101) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964311)

I would never buy a game or upgrade to a version that there is not a crack for. I do not begrudge game developers their income but I do begrudge them any rights to my machine or how I use their art. I do not want to have to suffer any DRM crap or even have to insert the disk each time I use a game. I 100% support the crackers and trust their work as much as I trust the game developers.

An EA Astroturf? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963515)

How can a call to EA fix a crashed PC? Their help desk does the following:

1) Is your PC plugged in and turned on?

2) What version are you on. Yes, that's the latest one.

3) Run Windows Update.

4) Do you still have problems?

Contact your PC manufacturer. It's not our game. All you guys are proving is that it's better to pirate games than pay money to EA.

Re:An EA Astroturf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963533)

"we received only 12 calls to EA's North American Support Center from players looking for help with their PC's, suspecting a conflict with SecuROM"

"There's just not enough people calling to cause change."

Read Critically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963977)

"we received only 12 calls to EA's North American Support Center from players looking for help with their PC's, suspecting a conflict with SecuROM"

So, only 12 of the calls suspected a conflict with SecuROM. How many callers even know what SecuROM is in the first place? Difficult to suspect something if you don't know it exists or what it does.

Re:An EA Astroturf? (1)

Xiph (723935) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963997)

Maybe it's because people aren't experiencing problems with the game over securom.
They're just having seemingly unrelated problems with lots of other things.

If my dvd-drive stopped working, i wouldn't call a game company, i'd call the guys i bought the dvd-drive from.

Re:An EA Astroturf? (1)

cyber-dragon.net (899244) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964003)

So 12 people who knew enough to FIND the DRM and understand this was the issue... the rest gave up due to EA tech support telling them it was their problem? What was THAT number?

It;s the pirates that always complain the most (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963609)

Because, it's their job !!

expansion pack was cracked: that's not the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963627)

The point is to prevent casual "sharing", not to keep the hardened thieves running around screaming. Joe Kidd, all of 15, is not going to go on to some pirate portal and download shit his dad would kill him for. He will use it if chum, Harry Peters II, gives him a "copy" of his. You don't get it? That's what it's about.

Re:expansion pack was cracked: that's not the poin (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963863)

Why does that need more and more complicated systems though? The anticopy stuff gets more and more elaborate and the false positive rate seems to go up with that. Even most of the oldest systems would have prevented unassisted copying.

As for the most common use of warez I see, it'd be fixable if devs just returned to the late 90s with their policies on multiplayer, i.e. you don't need one disc per player in a network game. If we could just throw spawn installs on the other PCs in a network during a LAN we wouldn't have to use cracks and warez to get that running. Multiplayer is the best advertisement for a game there is, I've bought games because I've seen them in multiplayer on a LAN first but for newer games without LAN installs we need to crack 'em anyway and noone has a need to buy the game when he as a fully working copy on his drive already.

Re:It sounds to me that they want to help. (4, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963703)

More than likely people who install sims2 do not get the connection with a malfunctioning pc and their game. Instead they might call AOL or Dell and yell at them for a hardware issue.

Meanwhile EA says only 12 callers were affected?? Great it works then! Lets put it on all games! .. meanwhile Mike from India who works for HP/DELL gets yelled at by the angry consumers.

This makes me happy I dont do help desk anymore.

Re:It sounds to me that they want to help. (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964909)

EA is using DRM? Well then, I won't be buying anything from EA any more.

Hey, this is getting easier!

And the most hilarious "willing to help" is... (2, Funny)

MikePlacid (512819) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963825)

"If someone was on hold for a long time and hung up, please send me a message with the Incident Number and I'll track down what happened. Thanks.

I am forwarding incident numbers directly to our senior level SecuROM support people, so there should not be any issues they cannot handle."

Re:It sounds to me that they want to help. (1)

Aereus (1042228) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964173)

I think most people just aren't going to bother taking the time to try calling customer support and sit on hold and go through CS purgatory scripts. When I bought Brothers in Arms when it came out, I spent 6 hours trying to legitimately play the game. Reading up all the info on the official forums and otherwise. Eventually I just downloaded the No-Disk crack to play my own game... I shouldn't HAVE to be subjected to hell just to play a game I legitimately purchased. The copy protection does nothing but drive customers away from your product and want to warez your future products in spite. As we all know, the stuff comes out cracked within days as it is, so what's the point? And it's trivially easy to obtain now compared to trying to track legitimate warez links in the past. Let alone virus-free.

Re:It sounds to me that they want to help. (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964617)

You've learned a valuable lesson then. DRM is nothing more than punishment for paying customers. I've worked in the industry, and among my colleagues we believe for the most part thats the truth. It's great buying a game, then downloading the torrented crack of it because you don't have a burning anal itch for the bullshit. The greatest part of it I was told that first by one of the guys where I used to work that helped apply the DRM to the games.

yep. (2, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963377)

For the past 2 weeks there has been an uproar on the Sims 2 forums concerning the inclusion of Sony's SecuROM DRM software

I think they just transposed the "e" and the "u" in the name of that software. It should read "Suc e ROM".

Re:yep. (4, Informative)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963391)

Why bother even coming up with a creative name for it. Just go get the crack from Gamecopyworld or something, problem solved.

I also deny having DRM problems with Sims 2... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963389)

...because I didn't buy it!

Slashdot: help requested (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963397)

How the fuck do I get rid of this javascript nightmare slashdot mode with the Abbreviated and Full and Fetch more??

Thanks in advance. This is unreadable as-is.

The captcha: aborted. How fucking appropriate.

Class action suit... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963401)

Treat it like a DoS denial of service attack. EA installed malware that denied their customers access to their computers. Could be criminal charges too and a massive class action suit.

Re:Class action suit... (3, Informative)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963843)

Whoever modded you down obviously has a motive. This has lawsuit written all over it. And you are correct, if EA is purposely trying to damage your computer, then criminal charges should be filed against them. Intent may not even be required. And for those thinking "yea but it's in the contract/EULA" . . the contract would be immediately voided if it allows illegal activity.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

"Subsection 1030(a)(5) prohibits transmitting "a program, information, code, or command" that causes damage to a computer system. Those with authority to access the computer are criminally liable only for intentional damage, while those without authority are liable for any damage that they cause.
. . .
Penalties under most of the provisions can be up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for a first offense, and up to ten years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine for a second offense. The Act also authorizes the victims of computer crime to maintain a civil action for damages and other equitable relief."
http://www.brownraysman.com/index.cfm?section=articles&function=ViewArticle&articleID=1393 [brownraysman.com]

A MOTIVE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20964037)

Mod Parent +1, Funny

EA's take in bizarro world... (1)

Anonycat (905015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963429)

"It's not a DRM problem because it isn't DRM! I mean, how could this game be afflicted by copy protection when it's avialable for download from third party the same day?

"Rather, it's a new technology we're trying out. Digital Crippling Environment, or DCE for short. Unlike DRM, DCE isn't for stopping piracy. but it's for getting you to be constantly thinking about our product as you try to put it into a usable form. Maybe we'll even make the news, giving even more exposure to our product and giving EA the recognition it deserves! That's...good, right?"

Vote... (1)

C. A. McClellan (1070014) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963447)

If people want problems (yes, I do consider them to be problems) like SecuROM to go away, they need to vote with their wallets and pocketbooks. If the general public really cared enough about the issue to stop buying games with these issues, the publishers might reconsider. The fact is, however, that users like us are a relative minority when compared with the total number of potential customers. They have no reason to care about what a very vocal but small community think.

In a perfect world that would work but... (3, Insightful)

rubenerd (998797) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963829)

I remember when people were infuriated at first with the idea of Windows XP Product Activation and said that as long as everyone "voted with their wallets" and didn't buy XP Microsoft would be forced to change. We all know what a load of good that did.

The problem with the logic that consumers in these circumstances can make a drastic impact on a supplier by "voting with their wallets" is that it's next to impossible to reach the critical mass needed to make such an impact. People on the whole are apathetic, don't know about the issues and don't research the products they purchase, especially for software like games.

I think it will be far more likely that growing and increasingly vocal consumer frustration will cause a change in these ridiculous copy protection schemes, not people "voting with their wallets". But even with this scenario I'm still skeptical because again it assumes that companies actually care enough about their customers to listen to their cries for sanity and to take their needs into consideration.

Re:In a perfect world that would work but... (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963917)

Eventually the word will get out "EA software will break your computer"... eventually. The Sony rootkit CDs issue eventually hit mainstream media and results were a little pleasing where various government entities prosecuted.

The Sims series is hugely popular and has very real potential to hit mainstream media if they let the problem get out of hand.

Re:In a perfect world that would work but... (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964255)

12 people calling tech support is trivial for a game like the sims 2 which shifts millions of copies. PC's are notoriously difficult to provide tech support for, and its highly likely that some of those 12 are people with dubious cracked copies trying to get tech support (happens a lot) and some others have b0rked their own PC in some way, or not updated any drivers for years (probably full of spyware too).
I strongly suspect the poster earlier is right, and that a very very small number of people are posting 40+ times each about how 'teh evil EA are teh satan'. People who cant get a game to work complain vastly out of proportion to the numbers actually affected. I have securom on my machine, thanks to bioshock. I'm a software dev and install and uninstall tons of software on my machine. Works fine, as it will for 99.9% (at least) of PC users. I wouldn't think twice about buying a securom game, or one that phones home (like company of heroes).

Re:In a perfect world that would work but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963971)

additionally i think the lost profits would just be blamed on piracy rather than users not purchasing the software because of the DRM and executives would just push for even more rediclous drm software.

Re:In a perfect world that would work but... (1)

Gorlash (957166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963995)

People on the whole are apathetic, don't know about the issues and don't research the products they purchase, especially for software like games.

It's probably more accurate to say that people are mostly unaffected by these products, than to say they're apathetic. I, for one, have never suffered any problems from SecuROM (or even from that ultimate evil, Starforce). If it's not hurting me, don't expect me to get all upset about it. I will vote with my wallet, by buying games that I enjoy. Should some copy protection scheme actually cause me grief, rest assured I'll not buy any more products that use it. Until then...well, I still won't buy the Sims, because I don't really enjoy it...but it won't be because some loudmouths claim there's a bad thing loaded on the DVD.

Re:Vote... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963891)

I purchased Galactic Civilizations II due to it not having any protection mechanisms in place. I decided to speak with my wallet and purchase their game. I have not purchased any other game in almost two years, and instead started finishing games I had purchased years ago (KOTOR).

The best thing about this is that GC II turned out to be an awesome game. I plan on buying the expansion packs, but that will wait until I have some time to dedicate to this excellent game.

Before purchasing GC II, I downloaded and played SW Empire at War. I believe it had SecureRom protection. I read about some people having issues with it, but the cracked version I had ran fine. It was an okay game, but I decided to delete it after a week.

no patience for this (4, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963461)

I was the biggest fan of all the sim stuff for the longest time. I had multiple versions of simcity, simfarm, the sims. That ended when they introduced the need to have the original CD available to run the game. I was used to having the game on my two computers, and play as I wanted to. I know this probably violated so license restrictions, but I don't care. I bought the game to enjoy, and that is the way I wanted to enjoy it. The fact that I paid for the game, and could not play it without keeping up with the CD, was intolerable. When the Sims came with the limitation, that was the last sims I bought. There are is much competition for my money, and if someone is more worried about the people who don't buy that the people who do, that is someone that I have no desire to deal with.

Re:no patience for this (1)

PlasticArmyMan (967433) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963671)

To be fair, name one popular game these days that doesn't need the CD that isn't an MMORPG of some sort.

That's why I'm playing MMORPG only :) (1)

MikePlacid (512819) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963743)

Actually yes, playing WoW is so much more comfortable because of no the need to constantly remember where a CD now is - that I stopped buying CDs altogether...

Re:no patience for this (1)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963747)

Company of Heroes doesn't require one, and is A-list. Neither does Galactic Civilizations 2. Any Steam game is playable on any number of computers; Steam just won't let you log in from more than one simultaneously.

For something that's essentially a casual game, requiring the CD is asinine.

Re:no patience for this (1)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964067)

My favorites are the $10 educational games I buy for my daughter. Their target audience is four or five years old and they want the CD in the drive. As if it is not enough of a challenge to get the POS installed and running and then explain to a four-year how to start and operate the game. You also have to make sure the four-year-old can identify the correct CD for the game she wants to play (which oh so conveniently look almost identical to each other) and make sure she does not destroy either CD or drive. /rant

Re:no patience for this (5, Interesting)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964233)

Company of Heroes doesn't require [the disc], and is A-list.
Unfortunately, that is not true anymore. With the recent release of an expansion (Opposing Fronts), Company of Heroes was retrofitted with DRM and now requires you to either login to Relic Online or use the DVD for authentication. The game also sends various statistics back to Relic, and you cannot opt out of that. It gets worse: if Relic's authentication servers are offline, you have to *disable* your network connection to have the game check your DVD. If it detects a network connection but cannot connect to the servers, sorry, you are not allowed to play.

CoH on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] also says this: "Patch 2.102, released on October 12, 2007, revealed that the preceding 2.101 patch introduced a requirement of having the game patched up-to-date if the user has an active internet connection - users are not allowed to play the game at all until they download and apply patch 2.102, as the game never even enters the activation phase."

Reading Relic's forums [relicnews.com] confirms the above.

Company of Heroes seems to be the first game ever to be retrofitted with DRM... I hope enough people get to read this.

Re:no patience for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963749)

UT2K4 on Linux.

Re:no patience for this (2, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963763)

Sure.
Cracked versions of EA games (madden NFL 08, fifa 08), or use an emulator like daemon. Not that I like EA one bit, they've dived far off the deep end the last few years and I hope they rot in hell ever since buying exclusive deals to shut out competition [gamespot.com] and also decided to treat programmers like slave labor [slashdot.org]. Non MMO hmm how about Steam gaming? At least they finally have begun to get things right, essentially. /pirating EA for life if its even worth playing, to play with friends in front of a bigscreen //not going to support a jagoff company thats also known to abuse their employees [slashdot.org]. Bad ethics all around.

Re:no patience for this (2, Informative)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963877)

EVERY game on Steam.

Re:no patience for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963967)

Third person to say that, and half an hour late. You snooze, you lose, douchebag.

Re:no patience for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20964211)

hahah

and that comment that was too late ends up being the one modded up.

Re:no patience for this (1)

number6 (38954) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964273)

To be fair, name one popular game these days that doesn't need the CD that isn't an MMORPG of some sort.
Let's see... Neverwinter Nights, UT2004, Doom 3, Defcon, Rune, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Darwinia, Thinkbots. Of course, I'm running Linux (which explains the list of games), and I've never seen a Linux game require a CD.

Re:no patience for this (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964905)

and I've never seen a Linux game require a CD.

Loki games "required" a CD. Of course, there was no copy protection and .isos probably work just fine in a pinch... =)

Re:no patience for this (1)

TT076659 (1167037) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963697)

Same here. It would be nice if they keep it the way it was before. You feel like the game that you've bought is completely yours without the limitation. What's with all those DRM issues anyway?

I was a fan of EA especially the sim games. Because of the same reason mentioned by fermion, there are better choices out there for me that keep everything simple. And recently EA also acquired BioWare and Pandemic Studios which can makes things even more interesting.

Re:no patience for this (1)

Private.Tucker (843252) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963943)

I, too, have given up on EA. Their games are lackluster and are often too similar to the one before it. After buying a Booster Pack for BF2, and waiting 2 days to play it as EA requires the purchaser to go to a non-existent website and get redirected into an endless loop of log-in and enter your key, I swore off buying another EA game again. Although we have different reasons, it seems common ground that EA just wants to make money any means possible while further shiatting on the purchasers.

Jack Thompson says.. (0, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963477)

back in 2005 Jack Thompson almost made a good argument regarding Sims 2 [gamespot.com]. He initially was demanding that EA show us "what's under the blur" over the rude bits on Sims, because he was of the belief that by using a cheat code you could see, *shock*, genitalia! So, EA responded and said no, Sims don't have genitalia.. they're more like Ken and Barbie dolls being perfectly smooth "down there".

So yeah, Jack is again revealed to be the overreacting retard that he is. 'cept, thing is, there *are* "expansion packs" out there that will provide your Sims with full nakedness, including genitalia. Both adults, and here's the creepy bit, kids. EA has taken a hands off approach to these expansion packs which are undoubtedly adored by pedophiles everywhere. They're not going to stop it, and why would they? Any third party add-on which expands their market share for the base game, especially in ways that they would never dare to do themselves, is good for business right?

Re:Jack Thompson says.. (0, Offtopic)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963585)

I'd rather have pedophiles pretending to rape kids than actually raping kids. It's not like Sims 2 turns you into a pedophile (Saving that expansion pack for Sims 3 maybe)... but that expansion pack might satisfy a couple of them enough so they don't have to hurt a real kid.

Re:Jack Thompson says.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963753)

any sentence starting with "I'd rather have pedophiles pretending to rape kids than...." sounds like a good stance to me.

Re:Jack Thompson says.. (1, Offtopic)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963655)

Um, children have genitalia which are visible when they're naked, and acknowledging the fact doesn't make one into a pedophile. Depicting naked persons (of any age) without genitalia would be calling attention to what's left out.

Someone being unable to see a naked child without having thoughts of sexuality, on the other hand, makes me question what kind of deviants they are.

Re:Jack Thompson says.. (1)

slimey_limey (655670) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964161)

Someone being unable to see a naked child without having thoughts of sexuality, on the other hand, makes me question what kind of deviants they are.

Or, for that matter, even just thinking about the concept of naked children without their first thoughts being about genitalia.

Re:Jack Thompson says.. (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963659)

EA isn't responsible for or an endorser of any of the THIRD PARTY FAN CREATED content. EA merely provided people with a sandbox to create their own content and share it with others who play the game. It's analogous to getting angry at paper companies because someone could draw obscene things on their product. See how much sense your ideology works in that situation and you'll see that what you're saying is patently absurd.

What the DRM providers don't want you to know... (4, Interesting)

Dmala (752610) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963525)

I work for a software company that prides itself on its lack of intrusive copy protection. Almost a month after the latest release of our flagship product, I am still unable to find it on any torrent or warez site. It almost seems like, without the technical challenge of cracking the protection, the warez d00ds don't even bother, or at least give it a very low priority. I've never heard of any software with intrusive protection that wasn't cracked within 24 hours of release.

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (3, Insightful)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963569)

Or maybe your company's product is not in high demand.

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (3, Interesting)

Dmala (752610) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963653)

We're a niche market, to be sure, but there's plenty of demand. All of our previous releases did eventually get posted.

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963577)

maybe your software is just shit?

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (5, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963583)

More likely your program is not popular enough to be worth pirating.

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963607)

"More likely your program is not popular enough to be worth pirating."

Possible, but if he's still there a month later, the odds are good that they are enjoying at least a modest success.

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963799)

there are a lot of things that are not worth pirating yet they are anyway. remove the crap that causes these technical problems and much of the pirating goes away.

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964263)

That's rubbish. Hundreds of applications are added to the list of cracked applications daily. Most of them crappy Image Resizing programs and the like.

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963647)

Or possibly your 'flagship' product is in so little demand or so little known it's not worth a crackers time to crack.

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963677)

Maybe that's the real reason for DRM. If the product will be on P2P, and makes it to Slashdot headlines, it's free marketing for it.

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963805)

The easiest answer for piracy has been the same from the start: You aren't stealing something that is free. However, not having intrusive copy protection is both easier on the programming and better for the company. Just pray that upper management doesn't give you a speech about how your product being stolen affects the companies bottom line and the "need for protection" to go along with that.

Most warez sites will actually remove things if you ask them politely especially if its not something bogged down. Legal threats and/or warnings and/or copyright/patent claims will never get such a result, welcome to the streisand effect.

Emails from xyz person saying "can you please remove xyz I'd prefer it not to be on piratebay" etc, gets quite reasonable responses, welcome to the reverse of the streisand effect.

A company I worked for had their files removed simply from emailing admin respectfully. And for a non-english torrent site they sure responded in polite and common english rather quickly (less than 1hr range). In fact I will personally bet $500 cash any day any time that anything on a major torrent tracker if the owner requested in a personal and polite fashion (no boilerplate/template emails) to be removed, would at least have the specific torrent they request removed with little to no publicity. Probably not even banning the original seeder, and I will even write the email for them if they want (Exception being riaa/mpaa/any company above 5mil in net profit per year, you have no reason to whine on slashydots).

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963875)

Splinter Cell chaos theory took months. Starforce was briefly successful on a couple of games. But didn't last in the long run.

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (0, Flamebait)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964187)

Well, no, it didn't last, but that was mostly a business/marketing issue. StarForce was, if anything, too successful. Too successful because their stuff did actually work, in that when integrated well, it could be months (as you observe) for a crack to be posted. Well, after 6 months of no crack, most people who want the game will have bought it. You might lose the long tail, but dems da breaks. It will be marketed by the DRM companies as a success.

This didn't go down well with a lot of people who were used to getting games for free, as you might imagine! I guess many of us will remember the anti-StarForce campaign that eventually resulted in Ubisoft withdrawing their usage of it in favour of a less tainted brand. The campaign mostly revolved around the allegation that StarForce could break CD drives or cause other nasty technical problems. It wouldn't entirely surprise me if that were true, because these programs do a lot of very bizarre and nasty tricks in order to find emulated CD drives.

Nonetheless, two facts stick in my mind. One is that the company making StarForce offered significant cash rewards to anybody who could send them a machine that was broken in the way being described. AFAIK nobody ever claimed the prize (instead the claims about what broke started shifting). The other is an interesting post from an UbiSoft employee [ubi.com] defending their copy protection on the forums. In it they gave a statistical breakdown of the problems reported to their tech support center. As UbiSoft make some very popular games, they had a sample size big enough to be meaningful here.

They found that something like 0.1% of the problems reported to them were tracable to StarForce, and of that 0.1%, about 20% were people who had in fact attempted to crack the game and then had the balls to ask for tech support when it didn't work. That sounds absurd, but when I worked for a commercial software company, we also saw people trying to get (free!) tech support using pirated copies of the program. The rest were mostly people who mistyped their CD Key, or actually did experience blue screens/crashes etc, but their numbers were low enough to be more or less what you'd expect from a population of Windows machines.

Now it's a complex story, and I don't doubt that some people saw very bad problems with StarForce. But I'll take hard statistics derived from 500,000 samples over anecdotes I read from anti-DRM bloggers any day.

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20964817)

I never had it break hardware, but Strategy First and Ubisoft both made my "do not buy" list in the Starforce days. I didn't bother speculating - I instead tried to get support and went through all their scripts, including being accused of piracy and being outright blown off by escalated support via email in the end.

I didn't make a lot of noise or beat my chest about it once it was clear I'd been ripped off, but I've never bought a game from either company since. But I'm sure if they even notice that sort of loss they discount it as due to piracy rather than learning that customers can hold a grudge for life.

Re:What the DRM providers don't want you to know.. (2, Interesting)

WNight (23683) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964831)

The thing is that it's the company who gets to say who's a pirate trying to crack the game and who's not. I got Diablo 2 when it was newish and had no end of trouble trying to use it as I only had a burner and had a ton of debugging software on the PC. It wouldn't run on systems with burners or cd emulation software, or debuggers that it mistook for either of those.

As always when a game is annoying I got a crack and it worked perfectly. But I wrote to Blizzard about it to see what they'd say. Their suggestion was that I reinstall windows entirely, then buy a new CDROM (not a burner) in that order. I emailed back and said I had tried a fresh install (not that rebooting to a stripped down OS just to play their game would have been reasonable anyways but the burner was still an issue), but that buying new hardware was unreasonable as mine met the specs on the box. I asked for a debug build (even with my name in it) without protection, as it was obviously their protection making it unworkable. They said no. I mentioned hearing that there was a crack which fixed this problem for others. They told me it was illegal, even if I owned the game, etc... They wouldn't even offer a refund, as the fact that the game worked on other computers was proof to them that it wasn't broken. (What error shows up 100% of the time?)

Long story short, I owned the game but they put me down as a pirate. The game didn't break anything but the copy protection was obviously the only reason it wouldn't work on my PC.

I'm sure that UbiSoft was technically right... 20% of people were trying to do something like crack the game just to get it to work. Who else emails tech support? People who've tried and given up. Of course many of these people, like myself, are going to try a crack to prove that the game works and that it's the copy protection breaking things. This is just them sweeping that under the rug by labeling all of those people as pirates. If you have Daemon tools installed for any reason you're immediately a pirate in these peoples' eyes.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Corporate Statistics.

What happens to DRM stuff when DRMA maker (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963571)

is gone?

DRM makers are there because there is demand for their services. DRM buyers think that it will improve their sales and they will shift cost of DRM software to the consumers. So yeah, me and you end up paying DRM makers.

Back to original question, it is just matter of time before DRM activation (usually internet) for old product starts costing software maker more than it is worth, and they will just drop it form their side and give you finger, and you won't be able to use your software... without warez crack.

Half-Life (2, Funny)

pandaman9000 (520981) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963663)

The original Half-Life can no longer authenticate to WON. This makes my $500 investment worth less than 10 coasters, as CDs have a hole in the middle. CD keys, and remote authentication, especially, are irritating. CD key, remote authentication via name and password, along with required E-mail address, PLUS various disk copy protections is just too damned much effort. I will just download the warez versions. 90% of the games out now are like ditzy blonde trophy wives: great to look at, and show off to your friends, but in the end, not much better than masturbating.

Re:Half-Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963833)

Great analogy. If you had just included a car in there somewhere, it would have been one of the all time best on this site.

On a more serious note, why do game makers think they gain something by not allowing us to play the games we buy? Battlefield 2142 worked only once for me before my daughter scratched the DVD. I can no longer play any of my Age of Empires games because I've worn-out the CD's from swapping them in and out of the CD drive so many times. It's frustrating to get involved in a game to only then not be allowed to play it. After that, I don't think I'll buy another AOE game after buying every single one of the previous ones including expansion packs. I know I will never buy an EA game after they refused to ship a replacement disk.

Re:Half-Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20964041)

Download Steam, enter CD Keys, enjoy Half-Life again.

That's funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963605)

The pirated version doesn't seem to have any problems with securom.

When will they figure it out... (1)

RazorKitten (948278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963767)


I can only wonder what it'll take, when will companies like EA actually get a clue, and realize that they are completely ruining many loyal customers experience. It's not even just the customers they will loose, or the increased support costs they face, but the simple fact that they don't care in the least bit about their customers actually having a positive experience with their programs.

Why is it okay for them to expect their customers to completely tweak their systems to run their one program? How is this even remotely an okay concept?

Why is it okay for them to install something that thrashes a customers computer and not be expected to pay the bill when it comes to them having to get it repaired?

What the hell has the software industry turned into? Worse than that, why are they still making enough money off this garbage such that they still think it's a good idea, or consider it more cost effective?

It's terribly sad when the people they are trying to protect these programs from, come out with versions that are way more consumer friendly.

Just a sad sad state of affairs anymore.

~RK

Re:When will they figure it out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20964561)

Its akin to the concept of Online games with stuff like GameGuard.

Maplestory (MMORPG) for example explicitly state on their website that they do not allow their game to be played in windowed mode because it would be easier to cheat, God forbid the people cheating would use their cheats to enable the windowed mode in the first place, or you know.... emulate the 'i am not cheating' behaviour for the monitoring application.

Penalizing your Customers with hypocrisy seems to be 'the in thing' with businesses lately.

Only had one problem with SecuROM (3, Insightful)

MaineCoon (12585) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963779)

and that was with Sid Meier's Railroads. I did the Analysis, sent it in to SecuROM, and the next day they sent me a modified binary that would supposedly ignore the specific authentication failure. However, I didnt encounter the issue once I had rebooted, so did not need the modded binary.

I installed BioShock Demo, which did install SecuROM... uninstalled the demo, and SecuROM was uninstalled with it.

While I dislike DRM, SecuROM is probably one of the more benign forms. Anyone remember Starforce?

Sounds like another Bioshock! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963861)

That game even requires you to activate over the internet, which you can do on 5 different hardware configurations. Activation servers down? Too bad! Whats even more retarded is that the Steam version ALSO has this check on top of Steam itself. Why consumers put up with this i have no clue. Judging from the problems a lot of people have with Bioshock it seems like they had better invested the time and money for SecuROM into some more QA work...

Not the first group to have issues with SecuROM... (4, Informative)

Darundal (891860) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963883)

...being in a game. And I am not just talking about Bioshock, either. A bunch of people had issues with SupCom having SecuROM, and when the SupCom community told GPG to get rid of it, they did. With WIC, there was a petition started on the forums that was eventually locked (look http://www.massgate.net/read.php?3,29121,page=1 [massgate.net]). Bunches of other games have had issues with SecuROM as well.

Insane Moderators too (4, Informative)

crossmr (957846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963889)

The summary failed to cover the moderator who declared martial law banning so many people and locking so many threads that for once EA actually stepped in and publicly turfed them. With diplomatic language but for anyone paying attention it was quite obvious. Essentially anyone who dared post information based on fact that contradicted their opinion of the glorious cosmic orgy that was securom was due for a banning.

Some might say "The system works". However this moderator had been displaying this behaviour for longer than most people can remember yet EA looked the other way even with user complaints until she finally went off the deep end and banned too many 12 year olds who could dial the customer service line.

Re:Insane Moderators too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20964529)

I don't have any experience with the EA forum/mods but the Bethesda (Oblivion/etc) mods are ridiculous. I thought I'd check out the forum once they'd started showing-off Fallout 3, only to find *incredibly* overbearing moderators stifling a large percentage of any discussion that wasn't 100% positive. Yes, a small section of the FO fans have been vocal in their discontent but maybe a quiet word, or even an outright ban, would have been better than the constant thread-locking and post-editing.
If it's Bethesda laying down these rules for the mods, perhaps the mods should grow a pair and just leave them moderate their own damn forum. And it this behaviour derives solely from the mods then Bethesda are turning a blind eye to their adolescent behaviour, which is worse; they should step in before the situation deteriorates.

Sony = king of spin (2, Insightful)

Spikeles (972972) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964093)

You really have to admire how they dance around some of the questions as well as an experienced politican.

So in perspective, while we'd like to have zero calls, we have received 41 calls on the more than 100,000 copies sold.
So.. because only a small number have reported the problem, it means there is no problem!

3) How does SecuROM interact with the Internet? A: Not at all, if you install a game using a CD or DVD. In that case SecuROM comes with the game on the disc. If you download a SecuROM-protected game from the Internet, then you have to use your Internet connection to request a license for the desired application. The communication is a simple request and response to a server used for this purpose. No personal information is collected or stored during this or any SecuROM process.
Well then. The answer would be "Yes it does connect to the internet"

8) Is SecuROM harming my computer? A: No. SecuROM does not damage a computer in any way.
So is that a guarantee that securom will never ever damage my computer ever, even if it had a bug?

19) How do I remove SecuROM from my machine?.... The registry keys described above in FAQ No. 5 above are not removed by the above uninstall process; otherwise, the copy protection function of SecuROM would be completely undermined. The registry keys, which contain license data, remain on your PC and do not affect any of your PC's functions. This is no different than other commercially available software programs that employ a similar use of registry keys.
Well then. It's not actually "removed" is it?

We don't disclose specifically which copy protection or digital rights management system we use --in this case, SecuROM -- because EA typically uses one license agreement for all of its downloadable games, and different EA downloadable games may use different copy protection and digital rights management.
"We don't tell you what DRM we use because different games use different DRM"?? Can someone please explain that in english?

"paid customers" ? (0, Troll)

ickeicke (927264) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964109)

"It seems paid customers have been having problems since day one of release"

Why did the customers get paid?

EA..... (2, Insightful)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964151)

EA has a horrible reputation for Customer Service. It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get a straight answer from anyone, mainly because the process needed to actually get to a human being has been made by EA to be as twisted and complicated as possible.

EA loves to sweep problems out of sight by telling customers to use their "Knowledge Base", which is pretty much useless as it is, or to "contact" them by filling out a Bug Report/Complaint form, where they say they will "get back to you."

It took me forever to get the internet gaming part of Battlefield 1942 to work, and it STILL won't work at all. I spent a day trying to find a Tech Support phone number, which was supposed to be included in the manual (the text actually referred to the number to call in case of continuing problems), but the U.S.A. number wasn't given, only the website ant the Canadian number. I ended up calling 411 and asking for the n umber to their Redwood City office, and called that to get the Tech Support number. After calling that number, I got stuck in a phone tree offering Cheat servies and other junk, and an option for Tech Support. After choosing the tech support option, I got a recording referring me to their "Knowledge Base", to which I had already been to and found useless. After calling the Redwood City office, and asking to be referred to a person, I finally got a number for live Tech Support. I spoke to 2 differnt "Techs", on 2 separate occaisions, and both of them kept telling me to go to the EA website and download patches and updates. I downloaded 2 or three of them and none worked, or did anything for that matter.

EA can rot in hell for all I care. All they do is sell games, and nothing more. No service, no help, no functionality, nothing. They make it as hard as possible to take up any of their "precious" time by asking them to make their products actually work. I know BF1942 has a funtioning internet multiplayer component.

I kept getting an error message "UDATE NEEDED!" How can you call yourself a gaming company if you don't even know what your own error messages mean?

But I digress.....

Easy solution.. (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964209)

.. return the product, get refund. DON'T BUY ANY MORE OF ThEIR PRODUCTS. Is it really that difficult?

Aren't they ever going to learn? (4, Insightful)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964485)

DRM does not stop "pirates"...it doesn't even slow them down. Quite frequently, cracked pirated verisons are available on the torrent sites before the actual products are released. The ONLY thing DRM does is inconvenience paying customers...you know the ones who actually went out and BOUGHT the product rather than just downloading it from a torrent site. Every time this happens, a fraction of those inconvenienced paying customers will get fed up and start downloading rather than buying. You'd think this is what the publishers wanted, from the way they act. Either that or they're just insane...the definition of insanity being repeating the same action time and time again expecting a different result.

Re:Aren't they ever going to learn? (4, Interesting)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964633)

According to the FA, DRM appears to be helping pirates.
Who wouldn't pay $5 for a working DRM free copy of their favourite game?

Re:Aren't they ever going to learn? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964841)

That's not -quite- true. Every once in a while there's a crack that doesn't quite work right and crashes a critical point in the game, or introduces a bug that didn't exist in the official version. Also, patches have to be cracked as well, and it can be annoying to have to wait for another crack to continue playing.

But for the most part, DRM causes more issues than the cracks do. NWN, for example, didn't work with some peoples' CD drives. It would crash a few minutes in with no warning because it thought you had pirated it. Ask me how pissed I was that I bought a game and was forced to download the crack just to play it. I'm sure someone is going to say 'but they patched it and it works not'... Sure... That was weeks after it came out. Weeks. I'm still pissed about, apparently.

Re:Aren't they ever going to learn? (1)

cychem1 (942136) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964881)

It just occurred to me the only motivation to include SecRom must be money. Pardon my ignorance but does anyone know how much the SR folks get paid by 2KGame, EA et all? I just wonder if there is some sort of kick back or mutual money changing going on? IMO this smells of management getting large bonuses.
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