EA Continues Draconian DRM Policies - General DRM Discussion (Thread Title Change)

duckilama wrote:
But I also re-image on a regular basis, which is going to play hell with limited activations. I suspect I'll probably pass until they remove the limit, like they did with Bioshock.

Couldn't you just make the Spore install part of the image?
Clean windows install, with anti-malware, add Spore, make image.
Then you could "reinstall" a million times without having to reactivate, couldn't you?

EDIT: Better yet, install Spore on a VirtualPC image. Doesn't that short-circuit the whole thing?

SecuRom, along with all other current DRM software, has specific design elements to defeat this tactic. Otherwise, you could install as many copies as you wanted inside VMs. Usually there is a time-based element to it, which is why early expiration programs could be defeated by changing the system clock. That doesn't work these days.

The problem there is that my image now includes a DRM system with backdoors in it, which can't be removed by the end user.

The whole point of an image is to give me a clean install quickly, on demand.

Malor wrote:

In this one case, the DRM is not as big of an issue as it would be with most games, because Spore is very reliant on user-generated content being delivered from EA servers. If the activation servers go down, so will the rest of the cloud, and the game's not likely to be nearly as much fun.

That's only partially true. You can trade content manually. All those nice .pngs that we keep seeing are actually creature definitions. If you 'install' them properly in your cache you can access the creatures they are depicting from the game. So, if EA servers go offline, I can envision a day when people will be downloading zip packs of creatures/creations as upgrades to their vanilla game.

MoonDragon wrote:
Malor wrote:

In this one case, the DRM is not as big of an issue as it would be with most games, because Spore is very reliant on user-generated content being delivered from EA servers. If the activation servers go down, so will the rest of the cloud, and the game's not likely to be nearly as much fun.

That's only partially true. You can trade content manually. All those nice .pngs that we keep seeing are actually creature definitions. If you 'install' them properly in your cache you can access the creatures they are depicting from the game. So, if EA servers go offline, I can envision a day when people will be downloading zip packs of creatures/creations as upgrades to their vanilla game.

I envision countless new versions of Spore as we see with the Sims. This game is not going to disappear.

Jayhawker wrote:

I envision countless new versions of Spore as we see with the Sims. This game is not going to disappear.

Case in point. It will be in EA's 'interest' to proclaim Spore 1 servers too much of a burden and switch them off, as they release Spore 2. Of course, all pleas to patch out draconian DRM will fall on deaf ears.

Quick note - according to RPS EA have upped the number of installs for spore from 3 to 5...
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/09/14/spore-five-activations/

...only...they never actually bothered to tell anyone about it .... 0_o

This after saying that their whizzo mathmatronic brain came up with 3 as the perfect number of installs for the average user :S Guess they caved a little (well...caved is probably the wrong word, got a little ding in the armour perhaps).

Still far from ideal, but a (small) step in the right direction at least.

stevenmack wrote:

Quick note - according to RPS EA have upped the number of installs for spore from 3 to 5...
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/09/14/spore-five-activations/

...only...they never actually bothered to tell anyone about it .... 0_o

This after saying that their whizzo mathmatronic brain came up with 3 as the perfect number of installs for the average user :S Guess they caved a little (well...caved is probably the wrong word, got a little ding in the armour perhaps).

Still far from ideal, but a (small) step in the right direction at least.

They're just mirroring the release of Bioshock via Take 2. They observed that releasing with a 3 install limit would probably stir up some controversy but when that limit is upped to 5 then they buy a little 'faith' from the dissenters who see it as a victory. Otherwise they would have released with a 5 limit install - however we know that they would have had to extend a 5 limit install to 7 or 8 if that was the starting point.

They win no points from me.

[/Skeptic][/cynic]

While I wouldn't expect folks that consider EA's DRM on Spore to be Draconian to be swayed by this minimal increase, it does go to the heart of why I am not worried about my investment in Spore.

EA plans on selling more games. Many more games. While the average Joe has no idea about how the DRM works, or the limitations of his installs, if a significant portion of them were to find themselves unable to play their games, it would cause an actual PR problem for EA.

I don't have have faith in EA's ethics, but in their desire to sell more games.

Jayhawker wrote:

While I wouldn't expect folks that consider EA's DRM on Spore to be Draconian to be swayed by this minimal increase, it does go to the heart of why I am not worried about my investment in Spore.

EA plans on selling more games. Many more games. While the average Joe has no idea about how the DRM works, or the limitations of his installs, if a significant portion of them were to find themselves unable to play their games, it would cause an actual PR problem for EA.

I don't have have faith in EA's ethics, but in their desire to sell more games.

I don't know, there was a fairly big drop in the number of people who had problems with Bioshock's DRM who were swayed by the increase to 5 install limit and then even more with the promise to patch it out later on (which they've partially done). If i were working for EA i would have done the same.

$5 says that they announce that they'll promise to patch out the DRM at some unspecified date and then do exactly the same as Take 2 and remove install limitations but still have the check. The postive press you get from this route (as proven from Bioshock) perhaps outweighs the negatives around release. I'm surprised i didn't think about this sooner. :/

...and here's an article about how useless the whole thing has been for EA.

http://www.forbes.com/technology/2008/09/12/spore-drm-piracy-tech-security-cx_ag_mji_0912spore.html?feed=rss_popstories

...but not usually so quickly. In just the 24-hour period between Wednesday and Thursday, illegal downloaders snagged more than 35,000 copies, and, as of Thursday evening, that rate of downloads was still accelerating. "The numbers are extraordinary," Garland says. "This is a very high level of torrent activity even for an immensely popular game title."
But not only have those constraints failed, says Garland, they may have inadvertently spurred the pirates on.

On several top file-sharing sites, "Spore"'s most downloaded BitTorrent "tracker"...also included step-by-step instructions for how to disassemble the copy protections, along with a set of numerical keys for breaking the software's encryption. For many users, that made the pirated version more appealing than the legitimate one.

I orderer the special edition of the Witcher from Stardock's Impulse yesterday. According to the site, it has absolutely no DRM. I am curious to see how that compares to versions you get in the box and the Steam version.

Regardless, I really hope they are able to get some numbers together on how well the non-DRM'ed Witcher does. I hope people flock to it like Sins and just buy the heck out of it.

The whole idea of saying that you can only install a game a certain number of times is bullsh*t, particularly when that game is dependent on a network login for full functionality.

If it's 3, or 5, or 50, it doesn't matter. It's bullsh*t. All it does is annoy customers for no real benefit.

When you have to log in ANYWAY, there's no reason for copy protection.

Arise!

C&C Red Alert 3 Patch Will Add In-Game Deauthorization of Installs

So now EA has listened and not only upped the install limit but they allow users to de-authorize their own installs. Which is great! If they'd list the number of installs on the box, most of my complaints have been addressed. So now I'm going to go buy it. Bravo EA.

PyromanFO wrote:

Arise!

C&C Red Alert 3 Patch Will Add In-Game Deauthorization of Installs

So now EA has listened and not only upped the install limit but they allow users to de-authorize their own installs. Which is great! If they'd list the number of installs on the box, most of my complaints have been addressed. So now I'm going to go buy it. Bravo EA.

Took 'em long enough.

They have promised and promised and promised those deauthorizers, and they NEVER ship them.

Don't buy it yet.

I really have no problem with DRM as long as you get your installs back after you uninstall the game. If you can't get the installs back, it eliminates the used games market. Also, you should be able to use the software on another computer after you uninstall it from the previous one, this doesn't break the EULA agreement. I think limit 5 PC's per game should is more enough. I bet that on average a regular PC gamer doesn't have more than 5 PC's.
Some kind of copy protection is needed; EA and other big publishers are publicly traded companies, they can't sell the software without any copy protection.

Just to throw it out there, I wonder how many people who are bitching about the software DRM bought music from iTunes and have it tied to their iPods. You bought the songs but you can't listen to them without the iPod or your computer, that's like.....wow.

qcalebq wrote:

I bet that on average a regular PC gamer doesn't have more than 5 PC's.

An install isn't necessarily used up by a whole different PC - changing a graphics card or CPU... and overclocking the available hardware has been shown to use up installs in some cases.

Just to throw it out there, I wonder how many people who are bitching about the software DRM bought music from iTunes and have it tied to their iPods. You bought the songs but you can't listen to them without the iPod or your computer, that's like.....wow.

Don't knowingly buy DRMed anything so i don't have any of those things the only DRM i willingly deal with is Steam... but then without Steam there would be no Left 4 Dead.

Plus, most people who buy music from itunes or whatever can easily unlock the DRM either through semi legit means (such as burning a CD and ripping them) or through 'illegal' programmes. It's much harder and less reliable to crack a game.... the fact of the matter is though that many people rely on these cracks as some form of insurance against the DRM being taken offline as has been seen in googlevideos, MS plays for sure, Walmart (or was it bestbuy?) music/video store.... etc.

Malor wrote:

They have promised and promised and promised those deauthorizers, and they NEVER ship them.

Don't buy it yet.

I should've mentioned it but the patch is already out and includes the deauthorizer.

Duoae wrote:

An install isn't necessarily used up by a whole different PC - changing a graphics card or CPU... and overclocking the available hardware has been shown to use up installs in some cases.

If you could get your installs back, uninstall the game before you install a new hardware. The limit 5 PC's or whatever is to have the game installed in 5 computers simultaneously.

qcalebq wrote:
Duoae wrote:

An install isn't necessarily used up by a whole different PC - changing a graphics card or CPU... and overclocking the available hardware has been shown to use up installs in some cases.

If you could get your installs back, uninstall the game before you install a new hardware. The limit 5 PC's or whatever is to have the game installed in 5 computers simultaneously.

So... if this starts being the norm for every game out there you're going to uninstall and reinstall potentially many games (because we have such large HDDs these days) every time you tinker with your system? Say you get a hardware problem and want to quickly switch out your graphics card to check if it's that? Say your HDD fails... how are you going to get those installs back? Say you get a really bad infection and have to nuke your installation.....

IMO, it's not thought out very well from the consumer perspective.

Duoae wrote:

So... if this starts being the norm for every game out there you're going to uninstall and reinstall potentially many games (because we have such large HDDs these days) every time you tinker with your system? Say you get a hardware problem and want to quickly switch out your graphics card to check if it's that? Say your HDD fails... how are you going to get those installs back? Say you get a really bad infection and have to nuke your installation.....

IMO, it's not thought out very well from the consumer perspective.

Not only that, but what if you have more than one game you have to "deauthorize"? So now you have to keep a laundry list of things to "uninstall" before you install a new HDD or install on a new PC? It's just ridiculous.

syndicatedragon wrote:
Duoae wrote:

So... if this starts being the norm for every game out there you're going to uninstall and reinstall potentially many games (because we have such large HDDs these days) every time you tinker with your system? Say you get a hardware problem and want to quickly switch out your graphics card to check if it's that? Say your HDD fails... how are you going to get those installs back? Say you get a really bad infection and have to nuke your installation.....

IMO, it's not thought out very well from the consumer perspective.

Not only that, but what if you have more than one game you have to "deauthorize"? So now you have to keep a laundry list of things to "uninstall" before you install a new HDD or install on a new PC? It's just ridiculous.

Yeah...I agree here, I haven't thought about that. I guess so far the best DRM is Steam, you can have it on as many computers as you want and if you install a new hardware, you just download the games again. The game is tied to a person, not the hardware. What I don't like about Steam is the impossibility of reselling your games, or buying used ones. I often buy used PC games from my local independent bookstore (Half-Price books anyone?) and digital distribution just doesn't allow that. Even if I bought a boxed version of L4D, it would be impossible to resell it because it's tied to my Steam account. I wish there was a way to deauthorize the game from Steam if you want to sell it.

syndicatedragon wrote:
Duoae wrote:

So... if this starts being the norm for every game out there you're going to uninstall and reinstall potentially many games (because we have such large HDDs these days) every time you tinker with your system? Say you get a hardware problem and want to quickly switch out your graphics card to check if it's that? Say your HDD fails... how are you going to get those installs back? Say you get a really bad infection and have to nuke your installation.....

IMO, it's not thought out very well from the consumer perspective.

Not only that, but what if you have more than one game you have to "deauthorize"? So now you have to keep a laundry list of things to "uninstall" before you install a new HDD or install on a new PC? It's just ridiculous.

Guys that's what the deauthorize tool is designed to handle, it gives you a list of your authorized installs and lets you deauthorize one. You don't have to uninstall an authorized copy to get it back, it's a standalone tool that lets you deauthorize with a couple of clicks. You don't have to uninstall all your games before you format. If you run into the install limit you can simply load up the tool and click on your old invalid installs and say "these installs aren't valid anymore" and get them back.

Guys that's what the deauthorize tool is designed to handle, it gives you a list of your authorized installs and lets you deauthorize one. You don't have to uninstall an authorized copy to get it back, it's a standalone tool that lets you deauthorize with a couple of clicks. You don't have to uninstall all your games before you format. If you run into the install limit you can simply load up the tool and click on your old invalid installs and say "these installs aren't valid anymore" and get them back.

This needs to be a universal tool for all EA titles that require authorized installs. I've lost 4 (total) installs on 2 different games due to this bullsh*t.

It must be the same tool that you can download for Sacred 2. That uses SecureRom as well, an uninstallation allows you to get an installation back and there is a de-authorising tool to clear the license totally.

I mentioned in the RA3 thread that my PC crashed on me this weekend so I had reason to find this out.

PyromanFO wrote:

Guys that's what the deauthorize tool is designed to handle, it gives you a list of your authorized installs and lets you deauthorize one. You don't have to uninstall an authorized copy to get it back, it's a standalone tool that lets you deauthorize with a couple of clicks. You don't have to uninstall all your games before you format. If you run into the install limit you can simply load up the tool and click on your old invalid installs and say "these installs aren't valid anymore" and get them back.

Ah, i didn't get that from the info. Thanks for clearing that up. So.... what's the catch? How often can you deauthorise? How many times can you deauthorise? Are they saying that you can just do it whenever you want or however many times you want? That basically means that it's pointless since it doesn't stop casual lending..... it doesn't stop reselling unless you have to create an account that locks your CD key to the account...... and it doesn't stop piracy because the pirates crack it so they don't have to authorise the game....

So what's the point of that?

Duoae wrote:
PyromanFO wrote:

Guys that's what the deauthorize tool is designed to handle, it gives you a list of your authorized installs and lets you deauthorize one. You don't have to uninstall an authorized copy to get it back, it's a standalone tool that lets you deauthorize with a couple of clicks. You don't have to uninstall all your games before you format. If you run into the install limit you can simply load up the tool and click on your old invalid installs and say "these installs aren't valid anymore" and get them back.

Ah, i didn't get that from the info. Thanks for clearing that up. So.... what's the catch? How often can you deauthorise? How many times can you deauthorise? Are they saying that you can just do it whenever you want or however many times you want? That basically means that it's pointless since it doesn't stop casual lending..... it doesn't stop reselling unless you have to create an account that locks your CD key to the account...... and it doesn't stop piracy because the pirates crack it so they don't have to authorise the game....

So what's the point of that?

It stops you from casually lending it to more than 5 people at a time. Which really they're trying to keep mass piracy from being easy enough that people who don't know anything about computers can do it. Swapping CDs is kind of a pain.

Honestly I think it's dumb, don't get me wrong, anybody can download an ISO from pirate bay. But, that's their logic.

PyromanFO wrote:

It stops you from casually lending it to more than 5 people at a time.

But any simple CD/DVD copy protection that's been around for 10 years (and is implemented in RA3) does this as well. You'd never be able to copy a CD/DVD just by straight image copying if you're not a savvy computer user and if you were you'd know enough to pirate the game instead.... much easier and has a higher chance of success.

Honestly I think it's dumb, don't get me wrong, anybody can download an ISO from pirate bay. But, that's their logic.

I agree.... it's like they're doubly covering one particular form of piracy unnecessarily.

But any simple CD/DVD copy protection that's been around for 10 years (and is implemented in RA3) does this as well. You'd never be able to copy a CD/DVD just by straight image copying if you're not a savvy computer user and if you were you'd know enough to pirate the game instead.... much easier and has a higher chance of success.

I don't think it requires the CD/DVD in the drive. So you don't have to copy the image, just DVD swap.

PyromanFO wrote:

I don't think it requires the CD/DVD in the drive. So you don't have to copy the image, just DVD swap.

Ah, okay then. I was mistaken in this - i thought the DVD had to be in the drive. To be honest, i'd rather have to put the DVD in the drive each time i wanted to play the game than have the whole authorisation crap.... which relies on a third party to monitor me and my game. I never understood people who dislike having to know where their DVD is and sticking it in a tray. Makes as much sense as hating the fact that you have to find your movie DVDs or VHS tapes.....

[edit] Actually, thinking about this.... it makes even less sense now that i know it doesn't require the DVD in the drive. With CD/DVD checking only one person could play at a time.... which meant that although many people could experience the game - they couldn't all do it at the same time. With this version of DRM 5 people can play the game at the same time and never have to buy it.

Of course, for the original CD/DVD check it was possible to download a crack to play without the disc... but anyone who knows enough to be able to do this can easily do the same for this version of DRM.... or they can pirate their own version to copy and spread amongst their friends....

I'm completely confused as to the logic behind these DRM decisions because from what publishers are saying, the majority of people won't ever install on more than 3 PCs.... which would lead me to the conclusion that a large portion of that majority would also not lend the game to more than 2 of their friends.