DRM -- or no PC version at all?

Discussion in 'PC Gaming Discussion' started by Webslinger, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. Webslinger

    Webslinger Retired Moderator

  2. matthew

    matthew SlySoft Team Member

    The issue I have with the whole DRM debate is the publishes motive! I don't believe that using DRM (i.e. on-line activation and use management) over a CD/DVD key-based system makes any difference to the hack-ability of a game. After all Spore (as an example) was reported to have been hacked and release before the game hit the market. In addition, I think it would be fair to say that the ongoing costs for DRM are higher in the long run for the publishers (who is paying for the servers that activate your game in 5 years??)

    So given that
    1) It can be hacked just as easy (and there is no evidence to say otherwise) and therefore would not impacted piracy.
    2) There is going to be an ongoing infrastructure/support cost.

    You need to ask what is the point to using DRM, why would a publisher bother?

    Well... the only conclusion I can draw is that the publishers want finite control over the licenses that were paid for by legit users. So the whole DRM - or no PC version thing doesn't wash with me.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2008
  3. Webslinger

    Webslinger Retired Moderator

    Yes, I agree. It just pisses off people like me, who actually buy the game and try to support the PC Gaming industry. Who gets burned by DRM? Pirates don't.

    True Story . . . I bought Spore for my girlfriend because I knew she would love the game. Upon entering her activation code she got an error message that basically indicated that her registration code could not be activated. I called Electronic Arts. I was put on hold for a good 20 minutes--and then I was advised to return the game back to point of sale to exchange a defective item. I was told that someone else was using the activation code on the back of the game manual. The E.A. customer support representative speculated that the game was opened, resealed, and sold to me. :rolleyes: Umm, why not just ask me to fax/email my receipt and then issue me a new serial number instead of making me waste my time? I asked if this sort of thing happens often. I was told, "Well, you're definitely not the first." So E.A. is making other customers jump through hoops as well just to get their games running.

    I am considering cancelling my Dead Space pre-order. I am very upset and annoyed with the way Electronic Arts treats its PC customers. And the activation limit that E.A. is imposing is asinine.

    Anyway, the point of that article is that we're being given a choice of DRM--or no PC game. Well, as you rightly point out, DRM isn't doing anything to deter pirates anyway, so I can't see why DRM matters in terms of producing a PC game.

    The fact is PC games get pirated more often than console games, so some gaming developers use that as a reason to gravitate towards developing games for consoles.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2008
  4. Ravenger

    Ravenger Active Member

    I've been caught out 3 times with activation DRM on games being revealed after I've pre-ordered a game, and in the case of Crysis Warhead after the game had shipped!

    It's about time publishers and retailers were forced to put the DRM details in the game descriptions on their websites, and on the boxes in the shops. And I'm not talking about any woolly 'Requires internet access' labels. I want the exact details:

    Requires internet access for activation.
    Maximum of 3 activations per license.
    Hardware or software changes/upgrades may use up an activation.

    So I've decided not to pre-order any more PC games. No matter how much I'd like to play the game I'll wait at least a week to see what sort of DRM is on it, and if it's limited activation based I won't buy it.

    Let's face it, if the DRM was a benefit to customers they'd be going out of their way to draw attention to it. Instead they don't put it on the box, the manual, or in the description on-line. You have to go searching online to find out exactly what it is and how it works.

    I reckon the secret reason publishers want to use this sort of DRM is to remove second hand sales.
  5. Danger

    Danger Well-Known Member

    That right there is quite possibly their number one motive. Sure there are probably more PC games pirated than console games but hell anyone with a bit of knowledge... enough to pirate a PC game sure as hell can pirate a console game and in fact I see quite a bit of them floating around as well.

    Considering the costs of server upkeep & personal to manage phones etc. DRM probably wastes more money in the long and most likely the short run as well than people pirating the games.

    Personally if it's a game I like I buy it and where the game is questionable as to whether I will like it or not, I download it. If I like it I WILL go out and buy it, if I don't like it (why waste $40-$70), the game is uninstalled and deleted. Most of the time I don't just buy one game, I buy 2 or 3 copies because I have 2 stepsons who watch me play everytime I get a new game (by whichever means). Sometimes even if I don't like the game they may so I end up buying it anyway for them. I know I may be an anomoly but 1 downloaded game can end up it 1-3 sales of the game for the company... *shrug* but maybe that's just me.

    Now on the flipside if I find out the game... such as Spore requires online activation AND you are limited in the number of activations & 1 or more activations may be used up due to hardware change, there is NO WAY I will buy the game, again using the game Spore as an example, I will never buy it. Why? Becase I almost always seem to either upgrading my computer or my stepsons computers and could not be bothered with a game that required you to reactivate it each time, especially after I have forked out about $150 (3x49.99+tax). Not counting the fact if the company goes bottom up, or gets bought out and chooses not to continue support for the game, wth are you suppose to do then? Currently I own 21 game not counting expansions in gold editions, that's about $1000x3. Now I will put up with SecuROM, SafeDic, even Tages. But having spent that much money I will not put up with DRM games, I'll give my money to some other company first.

    If the company is faced with the choice of using DRM or not making a PC game at all, then screw them either way.
  6. Webslinger

    Webslinger Retired Moderator

    1) Spore will have the activiation limit increased to 5, and there will be an activation removal tool (so if you upgrade your computer; you can use the tool to remove the current activation--and increase your activations by one)

    2) If EA ever goes under or the servers stop being used, they have indicated they will released patches for their games to remove activation DRM. At least, this is the case with Mass Effect for the PC (developed by Bioware and published by E.A.)

    Anyway, the online activation nonsense is brutal. With Spore, you can play the game locally even if the activation code can't be registered online--but you don't get access to all the online features.

    The fact that I had to return Spore back to the point of purchase just to get an activation code that worked properly annoys me to no end. The DRM is horrible, and E.A. should get rid of the online activation code nonsense immediately.

    That said, I was right: my girlfriend loves Spore. She is playing it right now.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2008
  7. WThesing

    WThesing New Member

    A few years back, Sony was sued (class action) and lost due to NON DISCLOSURE of separately installed software on individuals PC's which are considered by the courts as personal and PRIVATE property. Their program was almost as hard to get rid of as the DRM. I don't remember whether it was an "anti piracy" or monitoring program. Just my $.02.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2008
  8. Webslinger

    Webslinger Retired Moderator

    I think I read that a class action lawsuit is being filed against E.A. (for Spore).
  9. DrinkLyeAndDie

    DrinkLyeAndDie Retired Moderator

    I find this one humorous. If a company goes under is it going to put the "going under" on hold just long enough to release a patch for the games so no server activation is required? Do they already have that patch sitting somewhere waiting to be released? Furthermore, if the company goes under where will the patch be hosted since they certainly won't be paying any hosting fees seeing that they have gone under.

    Saying they will release a patch if ever it happened is amazingly easy to say. The real question is if they do go under what will really happen? They certainly do not have my trust. I hear nothing but empty promises.
  10. Webslinger

    Webslinger Retired Moderator

    I'm not that cynical, actually. I don't think it takes much to remove server activation at all.

    I'm pretty sure internally, Bioware and Maxis' .exes don't contain DRM. I don't think it will require any effort. And other gaming devs have removed drm later on after games were released; I don't think it's that hard.

    Well, Black Isles went under. You can still find patches for their games. It wouldn't take much. IGN and all those other gaming sites will host them on their servers. People upload to Rapidshare.

    That's true, but I think a lot of sites will host game patch files.

    I can certainly understand that perspective, but I'm honestly not that cynical. I certainly don't think Bioware would behave in that manner even if E.A. did go under. I don't know about Maxis.
  11. DrinkLyeAndDie

    DrinkLyeAndDie Retired Moderator

    I tend to go to an extreme with cynicism. :p

    I agree that they must have the unprotected game. I can't see how they couldn't. Removing takes time [even if only a little] and that can't be done when a job/company no longer exists in terms of removing DRM if needed.

    Yes, it could be hosted on sites like GamersHell, IGN, etc, but that would require someone from the company that has gone under actually sending them the patch to host. When companies go under they, in many cases, aren't thinking at all about the consumers and are instead thinking about their wallets and themselves.

    Of course, but, as I said, they have to be given the file.

    I don't necessarily distrust BioWare although I do have some issues with them concerning their responses to customers. In the end they are at the mercy of E.A.. I also question what the agreements, contracts, etc, are between BioWare and E.A. were E.A. to go belly up. Would BioWare be allowed to release the unprotected/patched/fixed game or would they be bound in a manner in which they couldn't.

    I'm not saying they couldn't but it's just a "what if" situation. Having E.A. go under is far different than BioWare going under and E.A. releasing the patch. I don't see E.A. releasing a patch if BioWare went under, though.

    Anyway, I'm just voicing my cynicism and playing devil's advocate here. I tend to do a lot of "what if" thinking. ;)
  12. Ravenger

    Ravenger Active Member

    I was planning to buy Far Cry 2, but then found out it had activation AND a disc check so I decided not to buy.

    I'm glad I didn't too because it looks like the activation servers went down and many many customers in the UK were unable to activate their game after purchase. This is one of the reasons I now refuse to buy these games - you're at the mercy of their DRM servers.
  13. DrinkLyeAndDie

    DrinkLyeAndDie Retired Moderator

    Well, you may not be buying any games in the near future. Mass Effect, Spore, Dead Space, and Far Cry 2 all have a disc check and online activation. This newer SecuROM is going to be the wave of the future, IMHO.

    I hate it but my biggest gripe is the activation limits. I think it needs to be boosted to say 10. I also believe every game containing the SecuROM with this limited usage must allow revocation of activations so that I can revoke my activation, tear a system down, rebuild, reinstall with new hardware, and then activate again without wasting an activation. From what I've seen UbiSoft does allow you to revoke activations with Far Cry 2.
  14. Ravenger

    Ravenger Active Member

    If all the publishers go for this new activation system it'll be the death of PC gaming.

    They all use slightly different versions of the DRM with different limits. Some allow you to revoke some don't.

    Can you imagine what it'll be like in the future? You upgrade your computer and you have to work out exactly which ones you need to revoke, which ones need uninstalling, and then probably have to call a dozen different help lines all charging peak rate calls to reactivate the games you couldn't revoke or which ran out of activations. That's of course providing the activation servers are still running for all your games.

    I have around 25 games currently installed. I shudder to think what it'd be like if all those required re-activation.
  15. ivanX

    ivanX Translator (ru)

    I think it's time for me to chirp in with a few words on this matter.

    I personally think that DRM and copy-protection aren't the same thing and some people do not distinguish between the two. Copy-protection may one of the techniques that come under the definition of DRM but it's not the only thing.

    I would not mind games having a form of copy-protection so 1:1 copies cannot be made, but anything beyond that is a joke. It backfires and it's not effective.

    I'd rather not be able to play the game than play it with someone standing over my shoulder and dictating what and how I must do.