EA's Own Employees Annoyed At Pointless DRM Solutions

from the not-so-good dept

We were among those who were disappointed that EA -- a company that has tried to suggest it had learned that DRM was bad -- decided to move forward with a required internet connection on Command & Conquer 4, even after many people had complained last summer, when such plans were leaked.

However, now it appears that it's even pissing off EA employees. Slashdot points out that the editor of EA.com got really frustrated over the game kicking him out because his DSL was flakey:
"Booted twice -- and progress lost -- on my single-player C&C4 game because my DSL connection blinked. DRM fail. We need new solutions."
He later warned people to beware if their connection wasn't solid:
"Well. I've tried to be open-minded. But my 'net connection is finicky -- and the constant disruption of my C&C4 SP game makes this unplayable. The story is fun, the gameplay is interesting and different at least -- but if you suffer from shaky/unreliable DSL -- you've been warned."
Perhaps next time EA just focuses on giving people a reason to buy, rather than treating them like they're criminals-to-be?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Jake, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 6:48pm

    I give it 'til Monday before he's fired. At most.

     

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      Pixelation, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:22pm

      Re:

      "I give it 'til Monday before he's fired. At most."

      First thing I thought too.

      Kill the messenger!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 8:19am

      Re:

      LOL, I was just thinking that! It's like I was picturing him walking into work Monday morning and everyone stops what their doing and stares at him... Dead man walking style.

      You know.. I don't usually point this stuff out, but in this case I have to. I've read in several security publications that DRM's "vital signs" have already been cracked?

      I don't see how offering a crippled version of a game that has virtually no fan base left after years of neglect and insistent in game FMV (post RedWood studios) to spruce up the joint. The last thing any sane business would do is say "please give us another chance, I know C&C has been a botched franchise to date, but this time it's different! Oh and BTW I'm going to need all that money up front and since you cant be trusted, I'm going to monitor you constantly as you play the game. It may hinder your experience a little bit, by not allowing you to play it on flights or when you have no connection. But Im sure you will understand. It's creating jobs"

       

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    Hanky, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:37pm

    EA is incapable of learning, as all higher function is concentrated upon its single giant nostril good only for hoovering money out of people's pockets one dime at a time.

    They absolutely have the capacity to do better yet always revert to worse.

     

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    Derek, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:43pm

    Perhaps next time EA just focuses on giving people a reason to buy, rather than treating them like they're criminals-to-be?
    Sorry EA, too late for a "next time."

     

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    Everett, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:56pm

    Quite honestly, I feel like I wasted $50 bucks. The game itself, in my opinion, isn't even worth it. It was a total disappointment.The characters and the vehicles are more like toys then they are actual war machines. They're less interesting than chess pieces.Losing a connection would be the least of my concerns if I worked for EA.

     

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    PRMan, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:15pm

    Hmmm

    Maybe he should try the cracked version. That one probably works.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:26pm

    EA sucks

    I stopped buying/playing EA games way back when they nixed Earth & Beyond. I am reminded very frequently why I made a good choice.

     

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    Pixelation, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:01pm

    Re: welcome to our online store, we have payment by paypal and free shipping

    Um, you forgot...All your shoes are belong to us.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 12:09am

    Anyone buying games these days with DRM deserve what they get.

    STOP PAYING $$$ for CRAPWARE!!!!!!!!!!!

    DRM - Digitally Ruined Media

     

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      CrushU, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 11:51am

      Re: @9

      Actually... Do you own a Nintendo DS?
      Do you own any games for it?

      Then you have bought DRM'd media.

      The thing is, Nintendo's DRM (they call it 'AP' for anti-piracy) is actually effective, and completely non-intrusive. You don't even realize it's there, which is what it SHOULD be.

      Personally, I do know that all DRM is pointless (You *have* to unlock the game at some point, and once it's unlocked, pirates can trace the sequence you used to unlock it, boom, DRM gone.) except with multiplayer games which require a login, where you can tie in a critical piece of game code with an online login.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 10:29pm

        Re: Re: @9

        If single player console games started requiring constant internet access the screaming would be audible from space.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2010 @ 2:15am

        Re: Re: @9

        I have a DS. It's cracked, and I can upload ROMs to it just fine. I can even write my own homebrew for it, which is pretty awesome.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 1:01am

    According to the Giant Bomb podcast, the DRM does have a secondary purpose. In the game you have a persistent account that levels up and unlocks new tiers of units as you play the game. The online connection is needed to prevent hackers from creating trainers that would allow anyone to be max level instantly. Lots of games do this with their multiplayer and no one makes a fuss about it since you are expecting to be online as you play a multiplayer game. I figure that someone got the idea of tying this account to the single player in hopes that it would stifle the community backlash that comes from this type of DRM.

    As for the EA Employee, Jeff Green has always been pretty outspoken so it's not surprising that he would make that post. Most gamers know him from his days of at the now defunct Computer Gaming World/Games For Windows magazine and it's podcast.

     

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      mrtraver (profile), Mar 27th, 2010 @ 6:46am

      Re:

      "...the DRM does have a secondary purpose. In the game you have a persistent account that levels up and unlocks new tiers of units as you play the game."

      Rather than requiring a persistent connection, why couldn't game data could be saved locally and then periodically uploaded?

      "The online connection is needed to prevent hackers from creating trainers that would allow anyone to be max level instantly. Lots of games do this with their multiplayer and no one makes a fuss about it since you are expecting to be online as you play a multiplayer game."

      Exactly; if you are playing a multiplayer game over the internet, you EXPECT to be online all the time. You DON'T expect that for a single player game, though. EA might have avoided some of this backlash if they had gone multiplayer only with this, like WoW, but then there are the people like me who don't do multiplayer at all. Yes, we exist! I don't have 8 hours a day to practice like these schoolkids do, and I've had my @$$ handed to me every time i have tried any multiplayer game. It was as much fun as a trip to the dentist.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 11:32am

      Re:

      There are already trainers for the single player game that do exactly that. Most trainers don't function in multiplayer by design.

       

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    MEmeme, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 1:28am

    Just buy the game then crack it. I would
    Even games that require CD's run way better when cracked.

     

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      mrtraver (profile), Mar 27th, 2010 @ 6:47am

      Re:

      Agreed; I usually don't buy a game until I verify that either it does not require the disk to be in the drive, or that there is a no-disk crack available.

       

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    Blatant Coward (profile), Mar 27th, 2010 @ 2:40am

    From the original NEOSEEKER article:

    "EA as a whole has been a very reasonable company with its DRM, so here's hoping the higher-ups get on it and provide a smoother play experience."

     

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    pissed pundit, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 3:18am

    This is one reason I don't play PC games anymore. I happened to move to an area that *gasp* has no high speed internet available. I figured that since Comcast cable was available then internet was too....nope. Strictly analog.

    Well, I gave up on multi player. But figured at least I could still play single player modes. And the along came Steam....You buy a CD in the store, bring it home and install it....and wtf, you cant even run single player until you can establish an internet connection and download 6GB's of updates and patches.

    Now, I would never complain of the lack of online gaming ability because I live in the sticks....but if I buy a CD/DVD and install it on my PC then I should at least expect to be able to play the single player modes of the game I purchased. Not to mention, once you crack the seal, you cannot return the game.

    OH, and EA is evil. I once loved Valve until they crossed to the dark side with STEAM. STEAM is really a great idea, but it should not require an internet connection (I know it does not for some things). You should be able to at least get the updates you need when you have access to a PC with an internet connection and transfer it via writable media without carrying your PC to another city with viable internet.

     

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      Phillip Vector (profile), Mar 27th, 2010 @ 6:45am

      Re:

      Umm... You do.

      Go to another PC. Download the game/update. "Backup Game". Copy the game data to a thumb drive. Go home and copy the data. Run in offline mode. Play the game.

       

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      valve is trying, May 25th, 2010 @ 4:48pm

      Re:

      "You should be able to at least get the updates you need when you have access to a PC with an internet connection and transfer it via writable media without carrying your PC to another city with viable internet."

      You can. Every game you purchase on Steam allows you to make a 'backup' copy that can be burned to either CD-R or DVD-R. And it does not require a connection to install and play with these.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 3:50am

    My wife picked up two EA games the other day. The grand total came to $154. Up until now I was willing to give EA the benefit of the doubt, but considering the major support issues I'm experiencing right now, along with all this talk of DRM, I'm seriously considering selling the one I've already opened and returning the unopened one for a refund. Video games are the only thing I haven't boycotted and I own mountains of them for both the PC and console, about 20 years worth. I don't want to use pirated copies, but the future we're seeing unfold is making this look more and more inevitable. If that wasn't bad enough, the reason I bought a console was to get away from hackers/cheaters in online play, but my experience with Modern Warfare 2 has shown me there is no where one can hide from them. Microsoft support is complete hell and EA support is proving to be as well. All the frustration I've experienced over the years at the hands of large corporations has my head feeling like it is about to explode. Is that what I've been paying for all this time? Do legitimate gamers, a game companies bread and butter, truly matter so little to them? The content industry is so afraid of it's own collapse, yet they keep going out of their way to engender righteous anger towards them instead of treating consumers as the valued customers they are. It is so illogical that it completely boggles the mind.

     

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    Txknight (profile), Mar 27th, 2010 @ 5:52am

    I agree, completely asinine that you "have" to connect to the net to be able to play, or "Authenticate" the game you bought and some will not play at all with out a valid internet connection detected

    it also shows we need to rewrite those shrink wrap EULAs, which we cant even read till the package is open and then non returnable to the store, cause we opened the package

     

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    mrtraver (profile), Mar 27th, 2010 @ 7:14am

    I'll pass on this one

    I was going to buy this on the release date, but didn't make it into the store that day. That night I read about this required persistent internet connection, and I was SO glad I had not wasted my $50. I play single-player exclusively, and I don't know how reliable my connection is. I am also concerned about what happens in a year or three when EA decides they are not squeezing enough money from people to justify running the game servers any more. Does your "purchased" copy suddenly turn into an expensive rental with a mandatory return?

    I am opposed to pirating a game with the intent of keeping it and never paying for it; I will support the publisher/developer if I like a game or I will uninstall it if I don't like it. (Note to publishers: if you do a demo, people like me will be less tempted to download a cracked version. For $50, I will always try before I buy!) In the past I have used no-disk cracks on games that I already owned, but not this time. EA will not get my money unless THEY see the error of their ways and patch this themselves. Until then, I will stick to my principles and I will not know if this game is fun or not.

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 7:40am

    haha suckers im in canada

    and my ISP rocks stable as the wind

     

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    bADiTCH (profile), Mar 27th, 2010 @ 8:50am

    C&C 4's DRM is overkill

    I was considering buying C&C 4, but with this kind of DRM I'll pass. To be honest I could live without the game. It's a same that the "big heads" at EA are pushing this on us end users.

     

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    Yakko Warner, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 10:49am

    But it's not DRM

    Check this out, though:

    EA makes the DRM go away by saying "It's not"

    I submitted this story earlier this week and am really surprised not to see it reported here, because it is so outrageous it makes you want to slap someone.

     

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    Jeff, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 2:22pm

    The solution.

    I pirated the game and it works flawlessly without an internet connection which is good, seeing as how I'm about to be deployed to a desert where there will be a lot of downtime and solid internet connections are kinda hard to come by.

    I had planned to just buy the game from the PX until I found out about the silly DRM.

     

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    Trerro, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 2:27pm

    I'd say they'd lose customers to this...

    ...but all of us who know anything about this company stopped buying their products years ago.

    They're a company that only got big because they bought others out. That in itself isn't a problem, but with every company they destroyed, they simply locked their game franchises away, never to see the light of day, and produced mediocre crap, knowing that with the competition dead, there was nothing else to buy. The result in the short term was massive profit, and in the long term, it was the entire industry shrinking. Ever wonder why the PC gaming section of most game stores is a single shelf... and it's often hard to find to find anything on that shelf that you actually want to play. EA is almost solely responsible for that.

    Thankfully, Japan and Korea were happy to provide us games that were actually good, and as a result, EA has done an insane amount of damage to the US gaming industry - but ONLY the US gaming industry, and now that Japanese and Korean companies both have good translators working for them, they're finding they simply can't compete in the global gaming market. They're finally losing money, as they now have competition that they simply can't destroy.

    I'm actually GLAD they're using terrible DRM. I can think of few things that would revive the US gaming industry faster than EA going bankrupt.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 3:38pm

    well another thing about drm is that if you connect to server and reg the game with them it can kill the second market (selling of used games). and they make more money because when its reg'd no one else can use it.

     

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      Trerro, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 5:11pm

      Re:

      "well another thing about drm is that if you connect to server and reg the game with them it can kill the second market (selling of used games). and they make more money because when its reg'd no one else can use it."

      ...and the primary market, when you have to reformat the machine or get a new one, and they now consider your copy pirated. It generally takes exactly one of those to make someone never buy from a company again.

       

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 5:32pm

    to those employees

    YOUR FIRED(TM)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2010 @ 7:38am

    Anyone that has browsed the Electronic Arts forums or has used any of their games knows how terrible their support is. For years now EA has been incredibly inept at just keeping the online multiplayer side of things running smoothly. When its not game server issues, it's login issues. If EA can't get this simple thing right, imagine what it will be like when an online connection is required just to play anything on the single player side of the equation. The nightmare for legitimate gamers is only going to grow worse with time. I can see this blowing up EA's face and I sincerely hope it does. Based on their anti-consumer business practices, I have to agree that EA going bankrupt would probably be a good thing for the industry.

     

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    Chad, Mar 28th, 2010 @ 4:29pm

    The fact that the EA.com can't afford (or chooses not to have) better internet is interesting...

    I know a few friends who live in remote little towns throughout USA and Canada, and sometimes they only have ONE choice for high-speed internet. The one choice they're given is often flakey at best. It's those kinds of people who will have the biggest issue with this.

    Personally I have a fairly good connection that's been stable for a very long time, so personally I don't care. I already play most of my games through Steam and similar internet-ready services, and I definitely have no problem actually purchasing games, so it's not an issue on my part.

    I do however get the point that this is a thing people will definitely hate, and EA's sales and reputation will ultimately fail on account of it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2010 @ 10:33pm

    DRM and piracy?

    So even if I brought the game, I'll still need to find a cracked version (if there is one, which eventially will come out) if I have poor internet connection, even if I only want to play single player game?

    Nice. One more reason given to those who play pirated copies.

    Note that similar things does happened before... so because some DRM doesn't like the Process Explorer in my computer, I have to play with the pirated version when I went home, installed and found I couldn't play it.

    It does seems that this kind of DRM is *pushing* people to use pirated copies instead of buying it. Decision makers in EA need to reconsider it. Choosing annoying DRM of such kind will drive away sales... people will be trained to just directly download pirated copies instead of buying it if they find the name of troublesome DRM is there...

     

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    vastrightwing, Mar 29th, 2010 @ 2:38pm

    DRM hits Walmart too

    I read that Walmart is being hit with bad DRM: they are selling old games, which they have left over for a discounted price. The problem is the game can't be played at all anymore, because the servers are offline. So now, DRM is hurting first sales of old games at big retailers. Interesting. So now big retailers have to deal with old games that are no longer sell able when the plug has been pulled on the DRM. Makes me laugh. LOL.

     

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    The Deez, Apr 4th, 2010 @ 5:14pm

    Meh

    I learned my lesson with spore, I didn't realize EA had put this retarded thing in there. I mean seriously, a cap on how many times you can install the flippin thing? Anyways, it was WAY easier to just steal it from a torrent site, I've stolen both games and both run flawlessly without problems. EA thought their DRM was goign to stop piracy, but still the games were out 2 weeks prior to release on torrent sites as usual. The only thing EA did was just make it easier and more worth while for people to steal the shit rather then buy it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2010 @ 11:17pm

    WTF

    I just read the license agreement on C&C 4 and it states CLEARLY that I DO NOT OWN THE GAME. Apparently I spent $50 for the rights to play it. WTF

     

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