2K: FOV and DRM fixes on their way for Bioshock

They're looking at patching in a widescreen FOV tweak for PC and possibly 360, and maybe more significantly, a revision to the DRM. They'll allow 5 activations instead of 2, and include a "revoke" tool to manage licenses without performing a full uninstall. I'm not one of the people who has had issues with the PC version of Bioshock, but it's nice to see 2K stepping up for its customers here.

Hopefully this silences all the crybabies.

Starting immediately, we will be upping the activation count to a 5 by 5 plan. We will be raising the maximum amount of computers a user can have BioShock installed on simultaneously from 2 to 5, and allowing a user to reinstall BioShock on each of those computers from 3 times to 5 times. Also, we have in the works a revoke tool which you will be able to run on your machine if you want to free up that key and move it to to another computer (this works very much like Steam or iTunes system). We are also working with SecuROM and 2K customer service, so that when you do need to call in support problems, you get answers to your questions faster, without much waiting or being bounced around. SecuROM has been given much more autonomy to help fix your problems quickly and effectively. I am personally sorry for anyone who got bounced around in the past couple days (I even think I contributed to this problem) and we're going to make sure that does not happen in the future.

And as for widescreen, we also want to say we completely understand a user's desire to augment their FOV. BioShock is a harrowing experience, but we don't want anyone to feel limited (or motion sick!). So we are in the process of working on an official PC patch to give widescreen PC users a choice to expand their horizontal FOV, and are investigating creating a similar update for the 360.

Is it just me, or does it seem like the general level of customer service has been getting steadily better in the gaming world? First we get Microsoft taking a huge hit to salve the 360 hardware problems, now we have a guy from 2K basically saying they went overboard with DRM and are taking steps to fix that, not to mention a 1 week fix to a player preference issue. I hope this is a trend that continues.

It's not a big deal but I sure could use a slightly larger FOV. I hope it makes it to the 360 before I'm done with it.

But still no co-op

*sigh*

The biggest issue for me wasn't the number of activations but the fact that they were never transparent about the whole DRM thing*. The one thing i want in the future is for developers and publishers to say precisely what i am paying my money for. As a PC customer (both online and off) there is no recourse for me to get my money back if i'm unsatisfied and as such i don't feel that i'm getting the level of service that a paying customer should.

If they want to restrict the limited installs to 2, that's fine by me. I wouldn't pay full price for a game like that if i knew about it. IMO doing so is akin to renting a movie over Live! or another limiting service. Personally i don't think limiting the number of times you can install the game (even on the same PC) should classify as being a full price purchase.

Now i'm annoyed with Steam as well (see sig). If i'd bought the game in the shops i could be playing it by now...

*They've contradicted and changed the activation issue a few times - all from official sources:
First it was 2 installs.... then 2 transferable installs.... now (in a post on kotaku) it was 2 transferable installs but 3 allowable reinstalls on each of those PCs.... and now it's 5 transferable installs and 5 reinstalls...

[edit]Also having world-wide customer support in the US really sucks as well. If i have a problem i can't just call up due to time zone differences and also cost. Instead i have to go through the whole circular email crap...

buzzvang wrote:

But still no co-op

*sigh* ;)

Yes, a coop Bioshock would be pretty damn cool.

Duoae wrote:

*They've contradicted and changed the activation issue a few times - all from official sources:
First it was 2 installs.... then 2 transferable installs.... now (in a post on kotaku) it was 2 transferable installs but 3 allowable reinstalls on each of those PCs.... and now it's 5 transferable installs and 5 reinstalls...

Kotaku's not an official source, man.

Look, they admitted they screwed up and they're taking steps to rectify it. What more do you want?

And as far as being annoyed with Steam for holding back activation until the EU release date...it seems like a waste of energy when the guys at Steam aren't the ones who dictate when a release is available.

buzzvang wrote:

But still no co-op

*sigh* ;)

They did it with Shock 2, they will do it with BioShock. I will love it!

I was taking the quotes that Kotaku posted from the official responses from Ken and other people in 2k...

Er, no. I'm fine with them holding it back until the EU release date.... but they're working on US timescale which means that i should have been able to unlock it this morning not tonight at 9pm.... which i then have to download another gig of stuff and unpack it all and then activate it (assuming the EU activation servers don't go down - of course being at night no one will be there to sort it out if they do)...

Also the steam version comes with the securom problems... which kind of makes steam redundant. I would have bought a cheaper physical copy from retailers if i'd known all this before... as i said - transparency.

Podunk wrote:

What more do you want?

I said i wanted transparency. It's no good them doing things in retrospect if they don't learn from this release. If we just shut up about it then they'll never learn what is acceptable and what is not. I know it's completely crap to make this comparison but do you think that women who were trying to get the vote should have just shut up because "things were getting looked into" by the government?

History has shown that you get nothing accomplished if you're not vocal.

Atras wrote:

... guy from 2K basically saying they went overboard with DRM and are taking steps to fix that...

You know, that would be cool, if it wasn't basic common sense that this would've been a problem from the get go. Just looking back at the comments everybody was making when we found out about this shows it. The way I'm interpreting this is: "Oh, I guess what we knew all along will be a problem, but tried to shove down people's throats hoping it will go away, really is a very big problem and people aren't willing to bend over and overlook it. Sorry about that. We'll put on a bit of lube to make it hurt a little less."

Duoae wrote:

History has shown that you get nothing accomplished if you're not vocal.

Well, okay, but do you have to continue being vocal once you get your concessions?

I mean, the intarwebs lit up with outrage, they made some welcome changes in response. The complaining at this point just seems to me like people bitching for the sake of hearing themselves bitch.

That said, I agree 100% with your comments regarding transparency. Limited installs enforced through required activation are of course common in other types of software, but you'll always find some blurb at the publisher's website: "how many times can I install my software?" People complain, but at least they are aware of the terms of the deal when they purchase the software.

Podunk wrote:
Duoae wrote:

History has shown that you get nothing accomplished if you're not vocal.

Well, okay, but do you have to continue being vocal once you get your concessions?

Well, i didn't complain on this forum up until this point because i know that no one here agrees with me and in fact many people seem to be of the opposite opinion. I feel like i can't state my opinions without being shouted down and censored... it's not like i'm some raving fanboy.

Plus, i don't see from 2 to 5 activations as much of a concession. I'm still lumbered with a doubly secured game (Steam and securom) that has limited activations - something that i thought steam was supposed to not have...

They did it with Shock 2, they will do it with BioShock. I will love it!

If nothing else, I hope the mod community will be able to pull it off.

(On Topic) Oh yeah. Transparency good.

Duoae wrote:

Plus, i don't see from 2 to 5 activations as much of a concession. I'm still lumbered with a doubly secured game (Steam and securom) that has limited activations - something that i thought steam was supposed to not have...

Do you have more than 5 machines you want to simultaneously install it on?

edit: and again, I agree with you on the transparency thing. I'm most definitely not trying to shout you down.

Well, okay, but do you have to continue being vocal once you get your concessions?

I didn't get what I wanted. Do what THQ/Relic does, no DRM, and no disc required to play. Stop treating the customer like a god damned criminal.

I could've sworn that Dawn of War and Dark Crusade both required that I have a disc in the drive. Hm. Maybe not.

buzzvang wrote:

I could've sworn that Dawn of War and Dark Crusade both required that I have a disc in the drive. Hm. Maybe not.

I think that they patched it out after a while with Dawn of War.

Yea the 1.5 patch removed SecureROM (older version of what is in Bioshock) from the Dawn of War. Dark Crusade and Company of Heroes never came with ANY DRM other than a cd key.

What's the downside of needing the disk to play? The switching of disks?

Funkenpants wrote:

What's the downside of needing the disk to play? The switching of disks?

Yeah, that and if your disk gets lost or damaged you are hosed.

Duoae wrote:

... which i then have to download another gig of stuff and unpack it all and then activate it...

How does the PC retail install work? Do you have to download a bit of the game and then activate it, or just activate it? If you have to download something, does anyone have a rough idea of how much it is? I'm only on dial-up here and I'm guessing the installer won't have a resume function...

Lord_Xan wrote:
Duoae wrote:

... which i then have to download another gig of stuff and unpack it all and then activate it...

How does the PC retail install work? Do you have to download a bit of the game and then activate it, or just activate it? If you have to download something, does anyone have a rough idea of how much it is? I'm only on dial-up here and I'm guessing the installer won't have a resume function... :|

It's just a small download with the retail version. Right at the end of the install it did a quick download of something that went fast enough it had to have been less than 1 MB. Then the first time you try to run the game it asks for the CD-Key and checks against the activation server.

I still don't agree with their basic DRM implementation but this concession for customers is a good thing. It's hilarious to read Blue's News today. Everyone there whined and complained about the FOV (even though most weren't affected by it) and the DRM saying that as usual, this was just a crappy 360 port even though it wasn't. Then 2K announced they heard everyone's concerns and were fixing both of these issues and they got even more pissed off. I know it's Blue's News and that they tend to whine endlessly about everything anyway but between this and the angest about how the 360 got the demo first, it's just a riot.

Podunk wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:

What's the downside of needing the disk to play? The switching of disks?

Yeah, that and if your disk gets lost or damaged you are hosed.

What about my console games, music CDs and books? What happens if I lose those? They replace them for free right?

Sorry, couldn't resist being a smartass.

Mr.Green wrote:
Podunk wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:

What's the downside of needing the disk to play? The switching of disks?

Yeah, that and if your disk gets lost or damaged you are hosed.

What about my console games, music CDs and books? What happens if I lose those? They replace them for free right?

Sorry, couldn't resist being a smartass. :lol:

The problem is that for many years now it hasn't been a technical requirement to even need the disc. They make a artificial requirement while with a book (ebooks are another thing all together) you sort of need it. Besides that, most books are not $40, $50, or $60. You can also rent books for free from your public library. The same applies to music cd's as they can be re downloaded. The physical media hasn't been a requirement for years.

As for console games, most systems were not designed to be media less although the PS3 could do that if they wanted to.

Azure Chicken wrote:
buzzvang wrote:

But still no co-op

*sigh* ;)

They did it with Shock 2, they will do it with BioShock. I will love it!

I remember reading (maybe it was a Gamasutra SS2 post-mortem interview) that in hindsight they didnt think the co-op patch was really worth it after seeing the small number of downloads it resulted in, compared to all the effort they invested in developing it. I doubt we'd see a co-op patch for bioshock.. but on the other hand, maybe the audience is large enough they might consider giving it a go.

Edwin wrote:

The problem is that for many years now it hasn't been a technical requirement to even need the disc.

That's not true. At all. Games have required the CD to launch forever.

Edwin wrote:

Besides that, most books are not $40, $50, or $60. You can also rent books for free from your public library.

Yeah most novels are probably cheaper than games and I guess you can indeed borrow them from your local library if you're not in a hurry but what does it have to do with what I said?

Edwin wrote:

The same applies to music cd's as they can be re downloaded. The physical media hasn't been a requirement for years.

Saywha? I'm talking about CDs, not iTunes. Besides, I'm not very familiar with downloadable music but isn't it crippled with DRM issues as well?

Edwin wrote:

As for console games, most systems were not designed to be media less although the PS3 could do that if they wanted to.

With the plague that is software piracy, I wouldn't expect them to go media less anytime soon either.

Duoae wrote:

Well, i didn't complain on this forum up until this point because i know that no one here agrees with me and in fact many people seem to be of the opposite opinion. I feel like i can't state my opinions without being shouted down and censored... it's not like i'm some raving fanboy.

Plus, i don't see from 2 to 5 activations as much of a concession. I'm still lumbered with a doubly secured game (Steam and securom) that has limited activations - something that i thought steam was supposed to not have...

You are not alone in your feelings.

I didn't buy this game because it used steam, and the last time I got burned on a steam purchase . . . ahem . . . Half Life 2. I am refusing to buy games with this type of DRM just to spite the developers, I do sit back and look at how nice these games are but I feel if I give the developers money, they will never learn. It seems this decision actually saved me some frustration for once, and for that I am happy. I just feel bad for all those folks that got rootkits installed on their machines.

Personally i don't think limiting the number of times you can install the game (even on the same PC) should classify as being a full price purchase.

Please take this as an innocent question (as it is intended): How is the value of the game you purchased diminished if you can only install it on 5 (or 2) computers?

I absolutely agree on transparency. This fact should have been made clear on the box. However, I can't see how it would impact you in the least unless
a) You reinstall your OS frequently or
b) you pass the install disk among all your friends

What am I missing?

some humor my buddy just emailed me on the whole DRM issue:

IMAGE(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v147/Rebelphoenix/00311b.jpg)

Mr.Green wrote:
Edwin wrote:

The problem is that for many years now it hasn't been a technical requirement to even need the disc.

That's not true. At all. Games have required the CD to launch forever.

I think his point is that PC games generally tend to install everything on the hard drive, and that the games could be run without a CD. The "disc in tray" CD requirement often exists only as a copy protection measure (although this is changing as Vista adds "drop and play" functionality)