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DRM Rant

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I posted this in response to a news item, but felt it was too good to just leave there. I really don't how some of these companies even keep developers on board, I'd be pissed if my employer started to publish all releases with ineffective, painfully annoying DRM.

begin post...


I think I officially bought my last pc game last week. Content protection has become so harsh that the first thing i need to do after I buy a game is find a crack site so I can actually play it...

Most recent annoyances:

1. Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath. Wouldn't even install, spent hours trying. (Yes I bought the game, straight from best buy, took it back and got another just to be sure). Kept complaining about invalid media. Finally found a way "around" that, and no, it was NOT worth it (not a very good expansion, for the most mediocre game in the C&C series, I think the copy protection was more advanced than the game was)

2. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: Shivering Isles. Same, DVD refused to install, from what I gather online newer disks of oblivion itself do this too, but luckily I have an older version, so copying the data files from the disk into my install then activating them in the game worked :)

3. ANYTHING from steam. My internet is not very fast, so I have to keep steam offline. Even with games set to not update, they choose to do so anyways from time to time. I love when I try to launch portal and it decides I need 500 megs of patches before I can play. Whoever had the idea to require being logged into what is basically a online service to play single player games needs to be pummeled. (note: I know steam can be put in offline mode, but I play TFC sometimes, even still, the first time you launch steam after installing it REQUIRES full updates. Initial install to play portal took over a week for me, that one was worth it though.)

On the topic of the "super secureRom" it just sounds like an awful idea. With no guarantee that the remote server will stay around, what happens if, say, next year, since sales are low, they get rid of the activation server. Now suddenly everyone who paid for the game can no longer play it! 3 activations of the game? Oh good, now on top of that, even if the activation servers stay up, my game stops working after I re-install it a few times anyways.

Oh well, with the loads if indie talent around here and other sites I hang around, there's no shortage on refreshing, fun, NEW games with NEW ideas to play, that don't require the entering of a 50 digit set of key codes to play (I'm Looking at YOU EA!)

Seriously, what are these people thinking

Edit: oh, and all these games I just complained about, who's DRM schemes caused me hell and make me think twice about buying from these companies ever again...these games are cracked and downloadable in bittorrent anyways, sans annoying DRM. A lot of good all that protection did, painful installs, lost customer base, pissed off users, and still a pirated version available anyways.
[/end pissed off ex-EA customer rant]

PS. EA can blow me if they think I'm buying C&C, red alert 3 after seeing kane's wrath, I think the DRM took up more room than the data in this expansion....

In short. If you are in the games business, or trying to get in the games business, for the love of god, PLEASE fight back against this trend. Invasive DRM, phoning home, long CD keys, none of this stops piracy, there will always be workarounds, no matter what you do. DRM and copy protection only hurts one group, your paying customers.
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I read about this on another site today. I'm more than a little bit peeved that Spore's getting the same over the top protection scheme. Given that Spore should attract a different sort of audience than Bioshock and Mass Effect I wonder if this will bite them back with the casual audience.

I haven't been buying games this year due to finishing off my studies, but I was planning on catching up later in the year. From this info I think I'll be giving Mass Effect a miss, which is a pity because I'm a big fan of Bioware RPGs. I really like replaying them many years after they're out, but I can't guarantee I can do that with a server based copy protection.

I'm now up in the air with Spore. Given I've been looking forward to buying it for years now and I'd really like to see what they've done, there's still a fair chance I'll buy it. But I might hold back a bit and rethink which platform to buy it on.

Honestly, all those levels of protection in the Super SecuRom send completely the wrong message to customer like myself - it basically says "We don't trust you". Given that message it's hard to reciprocate and trust the company back that they'll keep their server running or release a no check patch in the future.

Edit: I've made a post more about this over in my journal here.

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Im not sure why im replying because i dont really have anything useful to say besides the only way to really stop majority of people from pirating your game is to make it so good that people HAVE to have it. For example, GTA IV, people just buy that game, even if they see a pirated version, most people feel its worth their money....but of course some cheapo morons dont go pay for it, but meh, they wouldnt be able to afford it anyway....

but yea...nvm hahah

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Original post by Raptor85
In short. If you are in the games business, or trying to get in the games business, for the love of god, PLEASE fight back against this trend. Invasive DRM, phoning home, long CD keys, none of this stops piracy, there will always be workarounds, no matter what you do. DRM and copy protection only hurts one group, your paying customers.

You don't seriously think that the developers WANT to put things like SecuROM in their games, do you?

Copy protection isn't meant to stop piracy, it is meant to delay it. A large amount of money is lost if the first few days of a release (or even before the release) due to piracy. The idea is that if the game can be protected for the opening week, more people are likely to buy the game than pirate it and less money will be lost through piracy. You can argue with that logic, but publishers need to show due diligence to their shareholders, whether it actually helps or not.

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