A New, Unpopular Philosophy

Stop me when you’ve heard this before: Gamers are up in arms over the copy protection scheme of a major publisher.

The tumult from the latest skirmish between warring gamers and publishers involves Spore, which limits the number of installs permitted to 3 before the user must contact EA to extend their license. Immediately gamers lined up their rhetorical catapults and fired salvo after salvo of familiar, flaming linguistic ballistics, rolling out all the hits: treating customers like criminals, it doesn’t do anything against piracy, boycott EA and so on.

Call it apathy. Call it selling out. Call it whatever you want, but try as I might, I simply can not find any enthusiasm for bubbling up my once white-hot animus. It’s not just that I don’t necessarily see anything extraordinarily troubling about EA’s security measures; it’s also that I just can’t muster the same gamer-rage that once seemed to come so easily. Feeling victimized by every perceived slight just isn't as appealing to me as it used to be.

Let me stress that I don’t fault those who experience trouble with restrictive DRM for speaking up. I just wonder how many of the people expressing outrage saw fire on the horizon and went running toward it with lighter fluid?

I appreciate the basic sentiment of gamers, misguided as I think it may be. But, when I think about my personal experience with recent anti-piracy efforts, I find it hard to recall it actually causing me any trouble. Oh, it’s not hard to imagine circumstances under which I could be inconvenienced, but when I measure that against the instances in which it actually happened, I come up blank.

I can count on one hand the number of games I’ve actually installed more than three times. So, if I look at how the Spore issue relates to me practically, then I am forced to concede that the likelihood of my having to ever extend my installations is extraordinarily small. And, should I ever have to make that call, I wonder how difficult a process that really is? I once had to do something similar for Windows. The process was painless and lasted a few minutes. So, I ask myself: is this a price I’m willing to pay if EA’s investors feel like the company is making meaningful anti-piracy efforts and by extension is willing to greenlight even more high-budget PC titles?

The more I release myself from the chains of hysterical hypotheticals, the more I find myself not really having a problem with it.

And, I think about the options that EA and other major publishers have. Piracy is a problem that companies can’t choose not to address. Arguments over the number of lost sales any degree of piracy represent or the effectiveness of anti-piracy efforts aren’t really the point. The real issue is that the company would be criminally negligent if it didn't make measurable efforts to protect the multi-million dollar investment they have in Spore.

You’re absolutely right; those who stand the largest likelihood of being inconvenienced are the legitimate consumers — saying nothing of how often that will actually happen or how difficult a problem that is to fix. Just once, though, I wouldn’t mind seeing the hivemind of gamer rage aimed at the people who actually put us in this position, the pirates. How likely that is to happen, I don't know. I suspect that most publishers have lost a good deal of faith on that question, which is perhaps why the PC has become such a diminished platform. Again, I think I’ll choose to not get worked up about things that are beyond my control.

It's not that I’m not trying to flip the blame on the self-labeled victims. I don’t believe that approach is any more productive than bombing EA with negative Amazon.com reviews. Those who want to get in a schoolyard brawl with the publishing giant are welcome to their dirty fights. Maybe they’ll even get the company to back down on Spore, winning a minor skirmish in the losing war against the inevitable. The problem is that gamers don't have much of a track record on the 'being practical about the realities of business' front. Beside the fact that our ability to participate in the industry debate has been completely dilluted as a result of our tacit approval of piracy, there are very few demonstrable instances where concessions to gamers haven't just resulted in further outrage. We aren't known for meeting in the middle.

So, I’m going to reserve what dry fumes of gamer rage I have left for problems that, for me, are actual rather than hypothetical. I’ll save my victimization for when Spore of Mass Effect actually leave me with no access to the content I paid for rather than suffering the many imagined ways such a thing might happen. I suspect that by the time the installation limitation is likely to be an issue, I will have no shortage of options on the table for either extending my license or circumventing EA’s anti-piracy measures.

These days I’m willing to spend hours re-installing my favorite old games. I’ll waste time scouring the internet for updated texture packs, old patches and homemade mods. If my time and $60 is so precious that I can’t accept that corporations have legal obligations to shareholders and a necessary interest in making efforts to limit the theft of their property, then I am comfortable with my choices of supporting different companies or finding a new past time.

That's the whole point. I have a choice. I can either wash myself in the venomous bath of voluntary outrage for a problem I will likely never have, or I can accept that the circumstances of the industry simply do not permit a major publisher the luxury of being lackadaisical with their investment. I can make the industry the villain for trying to protect its property, or I can make the thieves the villain for massive excesses and creating the combative climate. I can be furious about the vague problems of some unknown number of people, or I can realize that for me I will likely buy Spore, install it and play it without incident.

For me, the choice isn’t particularly complicated. It may make me a patsy, a sellout or an apologist. Fair enough, I can’t control those labels, but I can control the fact that while thousands of outraged gamers have signed petitions, fired off angry emails, posted furiously on message boards and drowned Spore with negative reviews, I was having a fun and hassle free experience playing the actual game.

In the immortal words of Miracle Max, “have fun stormin’ da castle.”

Comments

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Nice work Sir, I do not envy your inbox in the coming days.

You sir, are looking for trouble with a piece like this.

Seriously though, I'm also far from outraged with this recent turn of events. I do understand why EA is following this path, but I do wish that they went the way 2k did with Bioshock and allow you to reclaim an installation when uninstalling the game. Luckily it doesn't really effect any games that I'm anticipating, but I am hesitant to buy Spore because of this.

The allure of creating a creature to eat all those created by the other Goodjers though is going to be hard to resist.

I do find myself in support of the gamers who have given the 1 star reviews at Amazon. It is easy for us 'core' gamers who frequent the boards to know that there is a restrictive system in place, and vote with our wallets, but the more casual gamer that is the biggest market for games of this type is not so equipped.

The 'review attack' at Amazon raises awareness in the wider market place, that market with the true buying power.

I do find myself in support of the gamers who have given the 1 star reviews at Amazon. It is easy for us 'core' gamers who frequent the boards to know that there is a restrictive system in place, but the more casual gamer that is the biggest market for games of this type is not so equipped.

I realize this, and it's an inventive strategy that will probably result in lobbying from companies like EA with Amazon for tighter restrictions on who can post what in review sections. But, my question stands. Shouldn't it be the consumers who have actual problems who are enraged? How many of these actual broader market consumers will ever run into trouble, and if they do how many of them will be inconvenienced with more than a swift phone call?

Nice work Sir, I do not envy your inbox in the coming days.

If the articles I've posted elsewhere on the topic are any indication, you aren't wrong.

Ahem, hello there.

I agree that the first stone was thrown by the first pirate, and since then, every copy protection scheme only resulted in an open challenge to a few brilliant, resolute hackers. Indeed, we (as pirates) are the ones to blame for getting the game going.

And I also agree that in practical terms this DRM doesn't cause much of a fuss if everything goes as expected. Indeed, EA is trying to protect it's shareholders' interests without provoking too many inconveniences.

However, I disagree that we (as consumers) should just enjoy the game and accept EA's terms to play it (or is it renting it?) or just shut up. I think that a message must come out, and for that we need noise, rage. But also the right words. The righteous hatred!

Change must happen. The model, as it is, is broken. Piracy is a problem. And DRM like this doesn't contribute to the solution. We (as consumers, retailers, publishers, developers, artists) need a radically new system.

And you sir, are lazy

Enjoy your Spore. Someone has to preach the good word!

I feel kinda bad about this one, because I know there's a fundamental difference in having that choise, but...

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

While tempting, I don't actually mean to compare EA to nazis, but this IS about apathy. It's about ignoring a problem because it hasn't inconvenienced you yet.
I understand what you're saying about few of 'us' gamers crying out against the pirates, but that's partly because of the same effect - it hasn't really inconvenienced most of us yet - not directly - and this is only reinforced by the idea that the big publishers, record labels, Hollywood studios and organisation like the RIAA are only benefiting from all the sales, while indie game studios and small time artists have had a rough time making it partly because the studios and record labels are that powerful.
It makes it easy to dismiss the problem as being 'their problem' rather than 'our problem'.

I don't think you're wrong in saying 'we' as gamers should voice against it too sometime... But I don't think being apathetic about this kind of virtual atrocity is any better than being apathetic about the piracy problem.

The issue is not "EA uses copy protection" but "EA is using copy protection that degrades the user experience".

Consider the user experience in Spore:

(1) Insert disk.
(2) Install. Hope you haven't reinstalled more than a few times.
(3) Type in 16 digit code.
(4) Get asked to create EA/Spore account.
(5) "Link" your installation with the account.
(6) Maybe it worked. Maybe it didn't. If it didn't, you're screwed. (And I know. Believe me, I know: I bought Spore on Sunday, and still haven't been able to play online.)

Compare to the Xbox 360 experience of every game they sell:

(1) Insert disk.
(2) Play the goddamn game.

There are DRM schemes on the PC that work great: nearly everyone I know who uses Steam, for example, appreciates it, because it's customer-friendly and leverages the advantages of the platform.

So the real question here is not "Why is EA using copy protection OMGWTFBBQ!!!!!11!!1!!!one?" but "What kind of crack is EA smoking that they chose a copy protection scheme that is so poorly designed and that interferes with the consumer experience"?

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

I was kinda waiting for this, and I understand the sentiment ... but give me a break. I think the biggest problem is the total lack of perspective in the debate. That EA has implemented a 3 installation scheme is about as far from real "atrocity" as we can get.

I know this seems a bit like I'm beating up on your reply, but I hear this thing expressed too often and usually with a lot more hysteria. So, I'm kind of responding to that. The extreme and victimized rhetoric doesn't float with me, and reinforces my position that at best both sides have become so entrenched in their sense of entitlement that I doubt seriously that there is a middle ground left. So, while I do involve myself in the atrocities of relevance, I don't feel bad about scratching reasonable DRM decisions off the list.

I hear the gas tanks on Pintos explode like the 4th of July when rear ended, but mine hasn't exploded yet, so let's all just hush up and let Ford do what it needs to do. It'd be irresponsible of them to spend all that money to do a recall, after all.

So, fatalities as a result of clearly illegal malfeasance is the same as transparent DRM for an entertainment platform?

How many of these actual broader market consumers will ever run into trouble, and if they do how many of them will be inconvenienced with more than a swift phone call?

The reason to make a stink now is that when those problems do occur it will be years from now when no one is going to pay attention to the problem. If, 7 years from now, i have an issue with the DRM on software, what are the chances of getting it resolved? After the first couple years software companies have no real incentive to support a product. I think MSN Music closing down its registration servers is a perfect example: music files people have lawfully purchased can no longer be transferred to other computers, and as people replace their computers are replaced over time "the"owners" of those music files are S.O.L.

I hear the gas tanks on Pintos explode like the 4th of July when rear ended, but mine hasn't exploded yet, so let's all just hush up and let Ford do what it needs to do. It'd be irresponsible of them to spend all that money to do a recall, after all.

Also, as I've said repeatedly, most of the apathy is coming from the stance of "a certain amount of DRM is necessary, so just go with it". However that fails to address the main concerns. Namely that you're not in charge of, or even told about the authorizations. I fail to see how wanting companies implementing the DRM to be responsible for how they use it is some kind of Rage Against the Machine Windmill tilting here. I want EA to be responsible with their DRM to the consumer, and give the consumer control over the keys they paid for. The only way that is going to happen is complaining loudly.

From this perspective, bringing up pirates is an even bigger strawman. I'm not advocating the removal of the DRM, just the honest and responsible use of it. EA should be more forthcoming with their paying customers about the restrictions on the game, and give them control of the authorizations. That in no way weakens the protections against the casual piracy that this is aimed for.

*edit* Also your title is a bit inaccurate, apathy isn't really a new philosophy

I know this seems a bit like I'm beating up on your reply, but I hear this thing expressed too often and usually with a lot more hysteria. So, I'm kind of responding to that. The extreme and victimized rhetoric doesn't float with me, and reinforces my position that at best both sides have become so entrenched in their sense of entitlement that I doubt seriously that there is a middle ground left. So, while I do involve myself in the atrocities of relevance, I don't feel bad about scratching reasonable DRM decisions off the list.
I disagree completely. The debate and discussion about the Spore DRM issue on GWJ is light years above previous DRM discussions in moderation. The rest of the internet as a whole? I don't know since I don't go there But here at least, almost everyone on either side have moved to much more moderate positions since the heady anti-DRM days of Steam bashing and Starforce. I don't think everyone here is as anti-EA as you're portraying, nor are they being unreasonable in their expectations for solutions.

If, 7 years from now, i have an issue with the DRM on software, what are the chances of getting it resolved?

That ship has sailed. Anti-piracy efforts are 2 decades old.

And, even if we take it for granted that now is the time for action, that action is negative reviews on Amazon? Continuing to not recognize that publicly traded companies have a legal obligation to combat piracy? Here's a question: what have gamers done to curb or even appear to curb piracy? Do you really think that there will be less DRM as long as gamers tacitly approve of piracy?

I really do hate this form of DRM, because I actually do install and uninstall my games constantly and I will most likely run into it within a month or two and will have to place many, many calls to the support line for additional licenses. That said, I bought it on launch day and have been playing it since then without a single issue, and I really can't justify rating the actual game itself down because of the annoying package it came in.

While I agree with the people who are angry over the restrictive DRM in principle, I think that they weaken their position greatly through all the rage and breathless hyperbole. EA is marketing this game at the mainstream crowd, and if you want to send them a message than you need to show them that this affects even their general customers, the type of person who does not obsess over digital rights management. By balling up your fists and screaming angrily, you are separating yourself from the people whose opinion matters. You should be working to get the message out that this really will annoy the average person, they already know that it will anger the type of person who is driven irrational by any DRM at all.

I disagree completely. The debate and discussion about the Spore DRM issue on GWJ is light years above previous DRM discussions in moderation.

I agree. I think that was the point I was trying to make, that his response is far more reasonable than most, but I was responding to a broader issue.

I don't think everyone here is as anti-EA as you're portraying

I'm not portraying us. I'm talking about what's happening outside these walls.

Elysium wrote:

I realize this, and it's an inventive strategy that will probably result in lobbying from companies like EA with Amazon for tighter restrictions on who can post what in review sections.

One would hope that a company the size of Amazon can resist that lobbying, and the DRM issue does potentially impact on the user experience.

Elysium wrote:
But, my question stands. Shouldn't it be the consumers who have actual problems who are enraged? How many of these actual broader market consumers will ever run into trouble, and if they do how many of them will be inconvenienced with more than a swift phone call?

Yes, those people are the ones who should be upset. The Gamer Hysteriatm is excessive, but I feel understandable. PC gaming is going through something of an inferiority complex at the moment, and PC gamers are most likely concerned about future implications.

Elysium wrote:

I hear the gas tanks on Pintos explode like the 4th of July when rear ended, but mine hasn't exploded yet, so let's all just hush up and let Ford do what it needs to do. It'd be irresponsible of them to spend all that money to do a recall, after all.

So, fatalities as a result of clearly illegal malfeasance is the same as transparent DRM for an entertainment platform?

Not entirely sure what you mean by "transparent" since they have been much less than forthcoming on the issue and most people didn't find out about it until after they purchased it. If you mean instead that "it didn't bother you", you've already admitted you're having a hard time getting worked up about any of this. Some people it bothers them that the terms of what it means to buy a game have changed without being notified and I don't think that's unreasonable.

And as for the analogy, it was an exaggeration to make a point. It's not like there's going to be an analogy in any other industry that doesn't make our problem look trivial in comparison. Entertainment is always trivial when compared to anything substantial. Doesn't mean my $50 is irrelevant.

Okay how about this analogy. Remember old school Divx? The one before the codec. The DVDs that phoned home in order to play. It's like saying that they're a good purchase because they're cheaper than normal DVDs, and yours still plays so you don't see the problem and anybody who complains is simply being too paranoid. Should you have waited until they shut the Divx servers down a year or so later rendering your library and equipment obsolete before trying to point out the problems with it and asking the company fix it?

One big difference between what's going on now and what Divx did, Divx clearly explained the details of the terms to people. Then they promptly went out of business. But I'm sure EA is not being forthcoming with their customers simply to frustrate those tricky pirates.

That a problem hasn't affected you yet doesn't make it any less wrong and people waiting until they can't activate Spore in a couple of years when EA takes down the servers because Spore 2 is coming out (theoretical situation but not without precedent) is what will allow them to cement an anti-consumer system like this in place rather than having it stopped before it gets too wide spread.

But there are already workarounds? Is it really unreasonable not to be worried about having easy access to some kind of work around in the future?

I also don't buy the "legally responsible to investors" argument because no other major publisher is doing this

Every major publisher is exploring its own anti-piracy options. That they aren't doing the exact same thing isn't really the point, is it?

that the SecuROM activation method has proven ineffective if anything makes EA less responsible to their investors because they spent a fortune on a system that doesn't work.

Well, that's actually every bit as difficult to quantify as the traditional debate over how much piracy affects lost sales. Is it really so unreasonable to think that piracy of Spore would be higher if it were easier to engage in?

treating your customers like criminals is not the way to solve the problem.

I argue that feeling like you're being treated like a criminal is a choice. DRM, for me, is a little like having to go through the metal detector at the airport. It's a hassle, annoying, and clearly the result of the illegal actions of others, but I recognize why it's necessary.

But, like I said, I don't expect this to be popular.

Elysium wrote:
If, 7 years from now, i have an issue with the DRM on software, what are the chances of getting it resolved?

That ship has sailed. Anti-piracy efforts are 2 decades old.

And, even if we take it for granted that now is the time for action, that action is negative reviews on Amazon? Continuing to not recognize that publicly traded companies have a legal obligation to combat piracy? Here's a question: what have gamers done to curb or even appear to curb piracy? Do you really think that there will be less DRM as long as gamers tacitly approve of piracy?

I would argue it's not our job to deter piracy. They're the ones trying to make money here. I agree approval of piracy doesn't really do anyone any good. I'm just saying it's not really our job to be anti-piracy either. They have to make the case to us that not pirating is the best option. DRM is a part of that, as is not being dicks towards your legitimate customers.

Elysium wrote:
I disagree completely. The debate and discussion about the Spore DRM issue on GWJ is light years above previous DRM discussions in moderation.
I agree. I think that was the point I was trying to make, that his response is far more reasonable than most, but I was responding to a broader issue.

Fair enough, but the fact that the rest of the internet is full of knee-jerking melodramatic people who like to argue isn't exactly news to me

One big difference between what's going on now and what Divx did, Divx clearly explained the details of the terms to people. Then they promptly went out of business. But I'm sure EA is not being forthcoming with their customers simply to frustrate those tricky pirates.

I think this is the strongest argument about EA. So it begs a question: if EA was entirely straightforward about DRM, maybe a sticker right there on the box (license includes 3 installations, internet connection required) would you feel differently?

That ship has sailed. Anti-piracy efforts are 2 decades old.

I'm fine with anti-piracy efforts in the abstract, I take issue with particular forms of DRM. I think limiting the number of installs, or requiring registration servers, essentially makes my "purchase" a long term rental as I'm dependent on the ongoing support of a company that has no interest in supporting the product after a couple years.

Here's a question: what have gamers done to curb or even appear to curb piracy?

This point seems like a non-sequitur to me. What have K-Mart shoppers done to prevent shoplifting? I suppose we've elected politicians who enact laws protecting the rights of copy right owners.

I agree approval of piracy doesn't really do anyone any good. I'm just saying it's not really our job to be anti-piracy either. They have to make the case to us that not pirating is the best option. DRM is a part of that, as is not being dicks towards your legitimate customers.

But really, isn't that the flip side of the previous points about apathy? Can you choose to be apathetic on the causation front and active on the consequence front and maintain a strong position. Doesn't any solution for DRM require an active effort to find alternative curbs to piracy?

(I suppose I should stress here that I'm engaging in debate here and I'm not trying to be argumentative. I just think there are a lot of questions and responsibilities that gamers are avoiding in their offense to corporate action)

This point seems like a non-sequitur to me. What have K-Mart shoppers done to prevent shoplifting?

Exactly, which means it was left entirely to the companies to create solutions to deter shoplifting. Everytime you walk through a scanner at the front of a store, you're walking through the retail equivalent of DRM. Aren't you being treated like a criminal when you're being scanned at the Wal-Mart doorway?

I know consumers with actual problems that occured as a result of the DRM on Spore. Well, I know a consumer. And he was enraged.

As I said previously on this topic, this is all a question of value per unit inconvenience.

There's not much I can add to what people have already said here. That a problem hasn't affected you yet doesn't make it any less wrong and people waiting until they can't activate Spore in a couple of years when EA takes down the servers because Spore 2 is coming out (theoretical situation but not without precedent) is what will allow them to cement an anti-consumer system like this in place rather than having it stopped before it gets too wide spread. Also, while this issue isn't even in the same universe as the Nazis or exploding gas tanks, that makes it overblown and not worth protesting? I very much disagree.

I also don't buy the "legally responsible to investors" argument because no other major publisher is doing this (though I'm sure they will start if EA gets away with it) and that the SecuROM activation method has proven ineffective if anything makes EA less responsible to their investors because they spent a fortune on a system (and the associated support reps) that doesn't work. And to be blunt about it: I'm the customer. What EA's shareholders think of these anti-piracy measures isn't my problem. I'm the one paying them.

The pirates are scum but they cannot be stopped. Ever. Period.

Piracy is a cost of being a game developer (on any platform, not just PC), it always has, it always will. It sucks but there's nothing that can be done to stop it (or in the case of this, even curtail it slightly) and treating your customers like criminals is not the way to solve the problem. This is simply a variant of what the RIAA is doing to music consumers and I would be amazed if anyone on this site would defend them. Given how much the video game industry is continuing to grow and how well some of these "highly pirated" titles have still sold, I would say things are going pretty well considering. The industry needs to start taking some responsibility for itself and start accepting that when a title doesn't sell, maybe it isn't the pirates that are the reason why.

Hey! Hey! You're stealing folks from my thread! >:(

Coming soon: my manifesto against forum creator rage.

I've said my piece(s). I should do some work now.

Hey! Hey! You're stealing folks from my thread! >:(

As tired as you are of hearing about the DRM outrage, I am just as tired as hearing the "keep shareholders happy" argument in response. There's nothing more deserving of a "give me a break" than that one, because it doesn't do that by any measure. Spore was cracked and shared a week before street date. That's not the first game that has happened to, either. And it won't be the last. And as a gamer against such DRM measures, I freely and happily use, and even endorse, Steam, because you know what? It protects the developers' interests without screwing the consumer. If Steam did it, why can't EA?

Elysium wrote:
This point seems like a non-sequitur to me. What have K-Mart shoppers done to prevent shoplifting?

Exactly, which means it was left entirely to the companies to create solutions to deter shoplifting. Everytime you walk through a scanner at the front of a store, you're walking through the retail equivalent of DRM. Aren't you being treated like a criminal when you're being scanned at the Wal-Mart doorway?

Shoplifting prevention is a tough analogy to fit into the piracy box, because in addition to piracy not technically being theft, legally purchasing product at a store also has no strings attached afterward, asking, "Are you sure you didn't steal that?"

Elysium wrote:
One big difference between what's going on now and what Divx did, Divx clearly explained the details of the terms to people. Then they promptly went out of business. But I'm sure EA is not being forthcoming with their customers simply to frustrate those tricky pirates.

I think this is the strongest argument about EA. So it begs a question: if EA was entirely straightforward about DRM, maybe a sticker right there on the box (license includes 3 installations, internet connection required) would you feel differently?

Yes, the argument would be much less heated about it. However I'd still argue that they also need a program to invalidate dead activations, ala Steam, iTMS, etc.

But yes I think it would be an entirely different discussion if they had done that.

PyromanFO wrote:
Elysium wrote:
One big difference between what's going on now and what Divx did, Divx clearly explained the details of the terms to people. Then they promptly went out of business. But I'm sure EA is not being forthcoming with their customers simply to frustrate those tricky pirates.

I think this is the strongest argument about EA. So it begs a question: if EA was entirely straightforward about DRM, maybe a sticker right there on the box (license includes 3 installations, internet connection required) would you feel differently?

Yes, the argument would be much less heated about it. However I'd still argue that they also need a program to invalidate dead activations, ala Steam, iTMS, etc.

But yes I think it would be an entirely different discussion if they had done that.

I agree, I think the underhandedness is a big factor in the nerd rage.

Everytime you walk through a scanner at the front of a store, you're walking through the retail equivalent of DRM. Aren't you being treated like a criminal when you're being scanned at the Wal-Mart doorway?

Well, your original question was what have gamers done to prevent piracy? If "submitting to reasonable and unobtrusive attempts to protect the companies property" then we agree, the question is really what is considered reasonable and unobtrusive. I think limiting the numbers of activations, or requiring registration servers is unreasonable because it means I'm dependent on the ongoing support of the company to use the product I've purchased.

I'm fine with walking through the scanners at Walmart, but if the security guards start frisking me on the way out the door I'll probably make a stink.

Elysium wrote:
One big difference between what's going on now and what Divx did, Divx clearly explained the details of the terms to people. Then they promptly went out of business. But I'm sure EA is not being forthcoming with their customers simply to frustrate those tricky pirates.

I think this is the strongest argument about EA. So it begs a question: if EA was entirely straightforward about DRM, maybe a sticker right there on the box (license includes 3 installations, internet connection required) would you feel differently?


Yes. Yes, I would. The fact that the average Joe Public consumer walking into a store a picking up this game off the shelf is not aware of the restrictions placed on said game is a big part of the issue for me. I still wouldn't approve of the system personally, but getting the companies to be completely transparent about how it works is a good step. I can't say I approve the Amazon review bombing as a tactic to combat DRM, but for raising awareness about the issue, I give it thumbs up.

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