EA Backs Down On Controversial DRM

from the power-to-the-people dept

It amuses me sometimes when people get angry at a position we take, and say to us something along the lines of “well, if you’re so upset about it, stop talking about it and do something,” as if talking about it doesn’t help to bring about change by getting many others interested as well. Thus, it’s always nice to see when a story does help generate change. Last week, one of the stories we had that got the most traffic was about EA’s use of controversial DRM on some hyped up new games. The DRM would require a regular internet connection and would regularly check in on users. The comments on that post were harsh, with many swearing never to buy those games — and many wrote EA about those concerns as well. A bunch of other sites picked up on the uproar as well, and late Friday, EA agreed to cut back on the DRM plans. It’s not a total capitulation, as there will still be some DRM used — it just won’t be quite as onerous as originally planned.

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Comments on “EA Backs Down On Controversial DRM”

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SteveD says:

The solution?

It’s great to see public opinion making itself felt, but piracy on the PC remains a serious problem. With games like Call of Duty 4 that traditionally do well on the PC now being out-sold by console versions by (supposedly) 10-1, the future of high-budget titles on the PC is under serious doubt.

Epic Games (makers of the Unreal Tournament series) have announced their permanent departure from the platform after disappointing sales, and games like Grand Theft Auto 4 may never receive a PC version.

While complex DRM clearly isn’t the solution, the alterative may be that big developers abandon the platform entirely rather then try and deal with the issue.

PopeRatzo says:

Re: The solution?

It’s great to see public opinion making itself felt, but piracy on the PC remains a serious problem. With games like Call of Duty 4 that traditionally do well on the PC now being out-sold by console versions by (supposedly) 10-1, the future of high-budget titles on the PC is under serious doubt.

Baloney. Complete baloney.

Tack Furlo (user link) says:

Re: The solution?

While I see your point, I believe you are forgetting something. Consoles work well for some games, yet for others you simply MUST have a keyboard. RTS games are a key example. Recently, EA released Command & Conquer 3 for the XBOX360 and I played both the PC and the XBOX version in the store. I walked out of the store an hour later with a Wii, SSB, and the PC version, solely because the circle control interface was totally unplayable. The lack of a keyboard and mouse literally made the difference between winning a match after 4 hours of total futuristic mayhem and losing it after 4 minutes of basic infantry fire. It sucked. Completely.

So my point is that, yes, the associated costs and profits of the platform for any given game DO, and both always have and always will, effect the studio’s willingness to develop for that platform. However, some games, such as RPGs and RTS games are simply too…well, complicated, for lack of a better word, to be played on anything with less than the full 104 keys of a keyboard. Can you imagine trying to go through a 4 level thick menu just to cast a spell in World of Warcraft instead of hitting a single hotkey? Yikes!

So yeah, in the case of FPS games, it may be an important factor, but some games will always be PC territory.

At least until they make a bluetooth keyboard for the Wii…

a thought says:

Re: The solution?

Your comment makes it sounds as if piracy is the main reason that games are not selling on PC instead of the possibility that console games do better because.

A The consoles themselves are more readily accessible in power, cost and amount of related knowledge required when compared to PC. The average person is more easily able to set up a PS3/360 than to build a gaming class PC ( assuming that your rebuttal is that a game-class PC can be affordable if you build it yourself )

B The quality of games being produced for console is much closer to the quality expected for PC than ever before ( atari the 360/ps3 is not)

C You can get the same exact games on console that you do on PC and more and more you can ONLY get them on console. ( I don’t expect Halo 3,GTA4 MGS4, RE5, Silent Hill 5, Alone in the Dark 5 Final Fantasy 12-100 etc to have PC versions anytime soon after their console releases if ever)

As far as epic goes I’m sorry that UT3 bombed but epic totally overestimated fan loyalty to the Unreal series. A series that hasn’t gotten out of the mid-late 90’s as far a play style IMO. Epic ditching the PC is probably the best thing they have done for themselves since Gears of War.

DRM does nothing except to enlarge the gap between PC and console.

Consoles have the quality , price , and extreme reduction of headache ( constantly shifting specs ,OS upgrades and updates, searching for patches etc) that PCs would really need to address to stay truly relevant in the increasingly console-centric market.

I say that with a bit of sadness as I love PC gaming but realize that the Console guys are really starting to do it better than PCs are.

Douglas Gresham (profile) says:

Why Steam works and this wouldn't have . . .

Apart from the fact that your games wouldn’t be disabled if you weren’t online for 10 days, Steam is pretty similar in it’s approach to piracy. The key difference is that Steam actually improves the user experience (for me, at least): I can get games as soon as they’re out by having them preinstalled, there are community features and good online gaming support, automatic patching, etc etc. Where most DRM goes wrong for me is making the experience worse for the paying customer – if you make this nice user experience available to them but not pirates, people will pay for that. If you make it so that the pirated product is actually the superior one, that’s what people will go for.

SteveD says:

Re: Why Steam works and this wouldn't have . . .

You’re not wrong, but the success of Steam has cornered the download market almost in the same way as itunes commands much of the mp3 market.

EA has tried to produce a download service of its own and not made much in the way of progress. Formerly ‘EA Downloader’, then ‘EA Link’, and now ‘EA Store/EA Downloader’ again it only lets you download a game you’ve purchased for 6 months.

The difference between the two is that as a hugely successful developer and savvy investor in online communities, Valve had a large customer community that they could use to build Steam around to turn it into a successful service (something it initially failed to be). As a publisher with a dubious reputation, EA lacks that ability.

Steam is now widely used by other publishers with a good collection of high-profile games to choose from (Bioshock, Stalker, Company of Heroes etc…). But these games are not usually found on Steam until some time after their high-street release as publishers worry that the Steam release might eat into the all-important first week sales (through traditional channels).

And then when the game gets leaked several days before release people like Michael Fitch end up blaming it all on those evil pirates.

Nobody says:

Problem With Sales Figures

I always hate seeing things that show a “problem” by quoting sales figures on different platforms.

The one thing most people never consider with these sales figures is the actual release dates for the different platforms.

If a well reviewed, highly anticipated title is released on one platform several months prior to the PC release then you should expect the sales figures to have dramatic differences.

Many people have both computers and consoles. If the game they have been waiting for comes out on the console first, and is not expected on the PC for many months, if ever, then they are going to buy the console version.

Once they have the console version it is very unlikely that they will turn around and purchase the PC version as well.

Not saying it doesn’t happen, but the odds are against it.

So it makes me sick when figures come out saying that some game had 10 times as many sales on console X as it did on the PC so therefore most of the PC players must be pirating it.

Let’s look at the latest big game, GTA IV. The game has made more money in a week than most other games (or movies for that matter) ever make total. If they do decide to port this out to the PC at some point, how many people are going to buy it?

If you want to see more people buying the PC version than on the consoles, then ship it for the PC first. If you want to see how many people would rather have it on Platform X, Y or Z, then ship it for all of them simultaneously.

About the only reason to buy the PC version is if you don’t own the console platform, and don’t intend to buy the console either.

Some will say that they would buy it again on the PC because the graphics will be better, and they will usually add more content, missions, weapons, etc. With today’s consoles that point is moot, as they have the ability to do updates, patches and add-ons too.

So when (if) GTA IV hits the PC market, and doesn’t sell nearly as well as the consoles, is it really because of piracy, or just because of poor marketing decisions?

ScytheNoire (profile) says:

Still using SecuROM

The major issue is that they are still using SecuROM. Therefore, people should still avoid buying it, as SecuROM has a history of not working properly and damaging computers.

Fact is that no DRM works, no DRM stops piracy, and it only hurts the legit paying customer.

Also, SteveD needs to do a little more truth searching and stop believing what companies say, as they have another agenda. Everything he mentions is not true, and mostly made up of partial truths.

Look at World of Warcraft, the most popular PC game, that still sells, and on top of everything else, gets people to pay $15 a month for it.

The issue here is that the PC game market has evolved, yet, PC game companies have no evolved as quickly. They are clinging onto old business models that don’t work. They need to adapt and change to the changing market. They need to make games that take advantage of what the PC has over the consoles, which is ease of online.

Also keep in mind the type of system you need to play most PC games. Crysis didn’t sell has well because of the system requirements and that it’s gameplay wasn’t anything great. Call of Duty 4 didn’t sell as well because it was seen as a console port. GTA4 won’t sell as well on the PC either when it comes out in six months, because it too is just a console port, unless they change to make it better. And Epic’s latest Unreal Tournament didn’t sell as well because of both requirements and because they removed a lot of the modes players previously loved, not to mention it added nothing new over older versions.

So all those that SteveD mentions had other major flaws and piracy is used as an excuse for those companies own incompetence and failures.

How to sell PC games:
1) Online play that is massive
2) Low system requirements but still looks good and scales well
3) Isn’t a console port
4) Doesn’t have DRM
5) Isn’t buggy and broken at release
6) Adds something new to existing genres

PC gaming isn’t dead, it isn’t trouble for those companies who know how to use it. Sins of a Solar Empire sells great, and it uses no DRM. World of Warcraft sells phenomenally, and it uses no DRM and has a monthly fee. Warhammer Online pre-orders are insane, and it isn’t even out for at least six months.

So learn about PC gaming before talking about it, because knowing the truth from corporate lies is very important, and never believe the crap you read from corporations with an agenda.

SteveD says:

Re: Still using SecuROM

I can assure you I’m not naive enough to believe every corporate PR line I hear, but if we’re going to move forward with this it’s important to look at both sides of the argument (note; Mike only published half of what I originally submitted).

It’s true that every corporation has its agenda, but that doesn’t make it evil. You also have an agenda, and so do I. What’s dangerous is that people use things like DRM and the mistakes that these companies make as an excuse for Piracy. DRM may be the poorest response to Piracy ever devised, but it still didn’t cause Piracy in the first place.

You can excuse Piracy in any form you want (and it’s all too easy to throw all the blame on the companies involved), but the primary cause for piracy is simply because ‘we can’.

Now I don’t care for the morality involved. I’m not saying piracy is anyone’s fault or anyone is right or wrong. What I’m saying is it happens, it can’t be stopped, so if we want PC Gaming to survive in the manner it currently exists lets find a solution too it.

On that note its well worth reading Brad Wardell’s article on the subject:

bobbknight says:

10 to 1

I am not at all surprised that a game sells more units for a console machine than for a PC. Look at how many consoles they’re are compared to the number of gaming PC’s. Plus the newer consoles are cheaper and multi-use, allowing you to watch DVD’s and play games, at a quarter the cost of a good game computer.

Also as been said before the online games have gotten very good and are fun.

I think the next ID software game company is out there just looking for the right formula.

Butt you also have to look at what big companies have done to the gaming industry, here my thought hearken back to what Sony did to Park Place Productions years back.

BT says:

Re: 10 to 1

Great point, bobbknight. As I said last week when I posted on this story originally, I’ve abandoned PC gaming all together with no plans to go back. As you stated, consoles allow you to make your TV a multimedia entertainment center. For example, I use software called “Connect 360” and streame movies on my iMac hard drive directly to my TV through my Xbox 360 at full resolution. And, the multi-player capacity of the console is so much more appealing. And, consoles make it so easy to get online and enjoy gaming with your friends. No extra software required, no hassles. Great gaming, easy interaction, and hours of fun!!

JustMe says:

Could this have been their plan all along?

Announce something terrible, wait for uproar, then ‘capitulate’ and go with your original idea.

I’m still not happy about the DRM used and shall not buy Spore until someone has a crack that removes the requirement to keep the DVD in the computer (which is lame anyway) as well as any rootkit BS.

Anonymous Coward says:

Pulling a fasst one on us....

I don’t know why everyone is claiming “victory” here, all they did was “supposedly” remove the 10 day “re-activation”. I will not trust EA.

We still have to install 3rd party “malware” on our system that does limit what software a user can install on their computer. Let me repeat that for those that are slow: Securom will dictate to the owner of the PC, what software they may or may not install on the owner’s PC. Victory indeed!

Second, we still have the three activations. Bioshock at least had a revoke took, but thankfully this is a crack for bioshock so I didn’t need to see if it worked. Are we really going to trust EA’s customer service to fix activation issues over the phone for us? Have you guys ever delt with EA customer/technical support before? Let me rephrase that, have you ever bought a EA game and ventured into the PC forums and witnessed the chaos? I’ve seen 5 years old with more technical skill that the idiots EA has posting for them in their forums. Vote no confidence there.

So what de we accomplish? Nothing, we are back to a stricter version of the Bioshock DRM, and you idiots are rejoicing.

The problem with games is that they require DRM in the first place. Developers need to sit down with the record companies and think/realize that the method of distribution presently is not working. I’m curious to see the way the free games are going to work out that will be supported with micro-transactions. If you are competing with free, you are going to lose, so make it free to distribute. But find a way to charge to play. Whether it be a yearly license for a flat rate, pay per month/week…. whatever, something needs to change. And I have no intention of buying a PS3/360 anytime soon.

And for the above post talking about Epic and the UT3 not selling on the pc… it is because the game flat out sucks! Epic has been rehashing the same genre over and over and over again for the PC, just changing the year (ahem madden 19/20** anyone?), they removed the fun modes, the graphics in my honest opinion took a dump… The game looks like ass compared to other Unreal 3.0 engine games. And the lighting… oye! the lights: they spammed the bloom lighting more than in oblivion…. Horrible horrible game/

Zaide says:

Re: Pulling a fasst one on us....

I guess you’re going by anonymous coward for a good reason. Because you are stupid, simple enough. I will agree that DRM is a problem, and I’ll say I agree that piracy isn’t the cause. I mostly wanted to make note that your p3 was never meant to play UT3, so why don’t you go back to your Quake3 engine, and let those of us with half way decent machines enjoy UT3 in all it’s glory. Yes, game modes that were “OK” were removed, but it’s the better modes that were improved upon. Bet if I was sellin’ modded consoles at same price you’d by one. That what I’ll do if this DRM bs keeps up: Buy, mod, and resell each console type, then teach people how to pirate console games. Frankly, it’s a little cleaner after the grunt work, and if you’re just buying the console modded, there isn’t work at all (unless burning a disc constitutes work, you lazy schlub).

And fuck charge to play on anything beyond an MMO (and even that). If that’s your only answer, you’re a fucking idiot; go back to school.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Pulling a fasst one on us....

LOL. UT3 sucks ass. What are you, like one of the 12 people still playing it? Yeah, of the >500,000 of people who paid/downloaded it ( PC and console combines) and are NOT playing it, we are all wrong. How are them online numbers… thought so idiot: go back to school, your mommy and I got some business to attend to: she needs some lovin in her pooper. The game fucking sucks.

The rest of the babble you posted….LOL. Thanks for the chuckles. Moding chips….lol go back to your xbox original fucktard. Online console games with a modded chip…what a stain!

Hurray for Public Embarassment says:


I’m so pleased to see that at least SOMEONE at EA got the message that they were making the wrong move.

DRM is not the answer. It only gives people a MOTIVATION to pirate games for the ‘greater good’. Look at Sins of a Solar Empire… that game is doing very well and has absolutely no anti-piracy software. I think gamers respect this.

In fact, the best way to stop piracy is to earn the gamers’ trust. I respect Will Wright and his revolutionary ideas, so even though I can effectively pirate this game; I wont. In fact, if the game wasn’t mandated by the umbrella corp known as EA, I would even pay double the price.

I suppose events like this are a good thing, however. The uproar it causes helps to send a clear message. Hopefully they’ll learn from their mistakes.

judson (profile) says:

PC Gaming

I do agree that there needs to be some kind of “check” for game validity. I personally use Steam for most of my games. Theh immediate delivery of titles and the relative ease of use makes the system very convienient. It protects the industry (somewhat) from piracy, releases me from having to worry about updates and patches, and frees me from having to insert a disk each time I change games. There is also the benefit of not having to store the disks, discard the packaging, and keep up with the media. Also, changing computers means simply logging into steam, downloading the titles back to my machine, and clicking “launch”. The only issue i can seem with an online “check” is while gaming either on a laptop or in a Lan party situation. I’m sure that with a minimal amount of “tweaking” the online arena will be the best model for the gaming industry. Disk checking (Safedisk, etc) is easily cracked, and we all know that once a “patch” is available on the internet the title sales are sharply reduced. Of course this negates the abilty to play online (on company hosted servers) but many more titles are avalable as single player models that provide the “pirate” with a very playable experience. This is not acceptable for the industry. Most companies provide playable demos to entice people to purchase the games. Try it, like it, buy it.

As long as Nvidia and AMD are in the gaming card business there will be PC games. It’s rediculous to think that PC gaming is dead.

Joel Coehoorn says:


I see one of two scenarios here:
1) EA still really wants to do 10 re-activation, and only retreated because they were forced to. In this case, expect to see it again in a few years, maybe after a few smaller steps in that direction.
2) EA never intended to deploy the originally proposed scheme. Instead, they announced it as a way to get games to accept this new scheme.

Like everyone else, I’m inclined to believe the former. But I wanted to throw the latter out there as a possibility. Also, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

MLS (profile) says:


As an attorney who practices the gamut of so-called IP law, I have been reading the articles posted on this site to try and understand the perspective of those who at times see copy protection as an “evil”.

The comments to this article are quite interesting in that they suggest a greater willingness to accept some form of protection by a company in the gaming industry, whereas just the opposite seems to be true concerning the music and movie industries. I am curious…why the difference?

wasnt me (user link) says:

Re: Observation

the way i see it and others might disagree.

the issue with DRMed music is that it will stop the buyer from dng what he pleases with the product he purchased.

when i buy music whether buy downloading it or by getting the cd, i want to be able to play it one what ever “hardware” I want (my stereo my pc my Ipod and so on) till now everything single.

wasnt me (user link) says:

Re: Observation

the way i see it and others might disagree.

the issue with DRMed music is that it will stop the buyer from dng what he pleases with the product he purchased.

when i buy music whether buy downloading it or by getting the cd, i want to be able to play it one what ever “hardware” I want (my stereo my pc my Ipod and so on) till now everything single.

John says:

Re: Observation

MLS – Just speculation here, but part of it is probably portability. If I buy a game for the PS3, I don’t expect it to be able to play on my computer or the X-Box. I -do- expect to be able to take it to my friend’s house, and thus far there haven’t been any blocks on that. If I buy a PC game, I want it to work on all my PCs. Likewise, thus far that’s been the standard.

With movies and music, I expect to be able to access them whenever I want. If I buy a movie, it can play on my DVD player in the living room, yes, but it can also play on my PS3, laptop and PSP. If I buy music, it better play on all those, plus in my car changer (preferably in mp3 format so I can add more music to the same disc), iPod, and maybe on my phone.

The gaming community has a model where their product is expected to function over only a couple different players, and thus far they haven’t hindered that. Music and movies are expected to play over a wide variety of players, and according to the DMCA even ripping the CD or movie is illegal if it has copy protection. It feels more restricted.

Kevin says:

Re: Observation

The comments to this article are quite interesting in that they suggest a greater willingness to accept some form of protection by a company in the gaming industry, whereas just the opposite seems to be true concerning the music and movie industries. I am curious…why the difference?

It’s simple. If I buy a copy protected PC game on CD/DVD I can play the game on any PC that I own (barring some peculiar bug in the copy protection that may affect a specific CD/DVD drive). I can uninstall it from one and install it on another, or install it on multiple PCs simultaneously (though usually you can only play it on one at a time).

If I buy a DRM’d CD, I can’t play it on any music player that I own, I can only play it on CD players. I can’t rip it to MP3s and listen to it on my iPod. If I download a purchased “album”/collection of music files from an online music store, I can only play that music on music players that support that format (songs from iTunes don’t play on a Creative Zen, etc). If I want to listen to them in my car, in many cases I can’t burn them to an audio CD format or convert them to MP3s so that I can play it on another media player or CD/MP3 player.

So basically it comes down to utility. If I buy something I have the expectation of being able to use it in whatever way makes sense/works best for me. But more to the point, until the past 3-5 years any audio CD that you bought COULD be ripped to MP3 and then players wherever you wanted to play it. I’ve been ripping my audio CDs to MP3 format so I could play them on my PC since the mid-late 1990’s. Only recently have the record companies started taking that ability away, while the price is still going up on music. So the record companies are imposing restrictions that we didn’t have a few years ago and I’m paying more for a restricted product that I did for an unrestricted one. With PC games I’m paying more for essentially the same product with a similar utility to what I’ve been getting since I started playing games back in the 1980’s.

So yeah, it makes sense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Observation

As a few have commented, people expect their music to be portable, while not so much so with games. People are more likely to own several playback music devices than several PCs.

Another issue may be the scale. It may be easier (morally as well as resource-wise) to download a 4mb song worth maybe 99 cents on iTunes vs. a movie or game that is 25 to 100 times larger, and would cost up to 50 times more.

My biggest issue with DRM on games is the negative impact on my PC and the inconvenience impose upon me. Ever since I first installed Command and Conquer 3, an EA game using SecuROM, I have never been able to install anything with SecuROM directly from the DVD. It doesn’t matter whether I try using my old NEC PATA DVD burner or my new Asus SATA DVD-ROM. EA tech support was not able to help me, but I figured out a solution on my own. Ironically, I have to copy the entire DVD contents to a new folder on the hard drive, and run the installation from there.

Of course I still need to insert the DVD to play, but Autorun does not work on my PC with anything with SecuROM. I’ve resorted to using no-CD cracks just to save my DVDs from wear and tear, and to make it more convenient to play games. Now i don’t have to worry about my 12 year old accidentally scratching C&C so bad that the DVD won’t read correctly any more (my heavily used 9 year old copy of Freespace 2 still has no scratches or marks but he never played it).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Observation

So long as I can install it whenever I upgrade computers (About once every 6 or so years) and it won’t de-activate, and I can play the damn game (screw you too NWN for always failing to detect the disk)… So long as the damn thing works, go ahead and DRM it…

Though I find CD-keys anoying they’re pretty easy to not lose if they are on the case

the difference says:

Re: Observation

“The comments to this article are quite interesting in that they suggest a greater willingness to accept some form of protection by a company in the gaming industry, whereas just the opposite seems to be true concerning the music and movie industries. I am curious…why the difference?”

Games are seen to be actually worth the cost people pay for them while music is increasingly viewed as being overpriced and basically not worth paying for.When you can pay up to $20 US for a cd with 2 noteworthy tracks or up to $15US (NYC) to see a 1h15m movie without popcorn and a soda as opposed to a $40-70US game that offers at least 5-10 hours on the low end with up to 100+ hours on the high end of play, where would you rather put your money?

Insofar as DRM you reason people hate it. ( and assuming you don’t already know I’ll tell you)

DRM does nothing to allow people to use the music/movies how they want to(ie Ripping a CD/dvd to play the songs/movies on your IPOD/MP3 player) The **AA’s don’t want to allow the people they depend on to survive to use the media they purchase in the way they actually want and thanks to technology actually can. If I want to play a cd track / movie on my IPOD i should be able to because

A I bought it. both the ipod and the cd/dvd
B The Ipod is designed to do it.
C Thanks to DRM and the DMCA (circumvention clauses that say braking DRM to get content you paid for is illegal) There is no other way to legally get the DVD/CD to my ipod from my CD/DVD EXCEPT to DL from the net.

Games on the other hand are (for the most part ) designed to be enjoyed either in front of a computer, or on the TV with the console plugged in. And EVEN WITH THE DRM I can always do that. Games are made for the platform music/movies are by their very nature more portable.

If my computer/console-tv is portable and meets spec I can travel with my game( in the original method of locking down Mass Effect/spore you HAD to be net-connected in order to play the game)

Also when you look at Lars Ulrich saying the BS he said about filesharing I just DL the only Metalica songs I care about ( the 3 tracks worth a shit from the first 3 albums ) and say piss off asshole my money has better things to do than inflate your net worth.

claire rand says:


are these games playable without the internet? ignore the drm is the game written for the net or not?

also what happens if your ISP blocks whatever protocol the drm uses? or a firewall blocks it somewhere without the user knowing?

or failing that what if yuo don’t have a net link? ok if the box states you must have one, and it must allow communications on port ‘x’ this is a non issue.

also if you’re not into net gaming, just playing the game alone.. what happens if your net link drops?

I also seriosuly object to the idea of remote deactivation if they think you leaked the key. since I dare say if yuo have any trouble at all with this, it won’t be EA you have to talk to, ala starfarce they will point you somewhere else

i could see a small claims court claim in the uk over the game not functioning as advertised in this case. especially when somone gets home with a new inopend box and it won’t validate.

personally i have successfully got refunds on software that just didn’t work (make a fuss when the shop is busy) so someone somewhere knows they are on iffy ground refusing

Overcast says:

Ever since the last major hassles I had with the Sims 2. And yes – I bought everything I use to play the game – I’m not sure I’ll bother anymore with EA games.

I have still never used to last expansion I bought, because doing so will require me to re-install the entire application, along with all the expansions because it seems to have an issue with not everything being just perfect, I guess.

Wouldn’t be so bad, if I didn’t have to pretty much re-install the whole damn thing almost every time I buy an expansion from them. So, I just put it on a shelf, and it will probably stay there.

Joe says:

UT didn't sell well because it sucked.

Bought it for the PC on launch day. Played on the few Midway servers available. Was OK, but wanted to run our own server to control map rotation and be able to boot. Guess what, couldn’t have had more debilitating bugs. Little support from Midway. Months later a patch was finally released. By that time everyone knew it was broken and no one was going to pay for it.

Also, it continually asked me to re-enter the CD key. Then I hacked it. Should have done it in the first place and saved $60!

Rekrul says:

I will buy a game that requires some form of activation when the company puts it in writing, in a legally binding contract, that they will [i]always[/i] provide activation for their products and that in the the event that they go out of business or get bought by another company, they will release patches to remove the activation and bring the game up to the latest version.

When EA/Valve are willing to put this is writing, I’ll consider buying their DRM-crippled games. Until then, they can take online activation and shove it.

Has everyone forgotten this bit of news?


Buck Forland says:

Back when UT2004 came out, we purchased the deluxe DVD edition for the office. Unfortunately, my boss’ computer didn’t have a DVD drive yet, so I mapped the DVD drive of one of the other computers to it for the install. The disc showed up just fine, but refused to install. I called Epic’s support, and they said it was because of copy protection that Sony insisted on putting on the DVD. Their suggestion? Wait until a patch or two came out, as the DRM was usually removed at that time. Epic themselves telling end users how to get around DRM. It’s not the developers who want it, it’s the publishers.

Jeff says:


As long as SecuROM is going to be included in the game, I will explore 2 options when it comes to Spore.

1) Piracy.
2) Not buying the game.

I would rather have a severely-limited, fully offline and content-limited pirated copy without SecuROM instead of a fully-working copy that includes SecuROM which will, in all likelihood, create problems for me when it comes to other games. No thanks, EA.

Well, actually…thanks, EA. I like my parrot. You’re keeping it very well-fed.

Clueby4 says:

Still has DRM and so does Steam

It still has unreasonable DRM. A CD check is the most I’ll endure and even that I’m not too happy about.

Dial home/online registration are ridiculous.

One thing no one seems to mention about software “piracy” is that software lacks and even disclaims merchantability. So, I find it quite amusing when people get indigent about “piracy” yet don’t seem to have a problem with the lack of merchantability. Also the lack of price break when DRM is implemented is quite telling, since it illustrates that whole “piracy”/”loss sales” lament is fiction.

Rekrul says:

I say that with a bit of sadness as I love PC gaming but realize that the Console guys are really starting to do it better than PCs are.

I will never agree with that statement as long as the console systems continue to include control “pads” that force even right-handed people to play the games left-handed.

In an FPS game, aiming is the action you need the most co-ordination and precision for. This is why FPS games on the computer use the mouse, which is used by whichever hand the user favors. Every single console game I’ve ever tried to play, since the original NES, has forced players to use the controls on the left side of the controller for the most complex aspect of the game. Need to aim in a shooter? You use the left pad/stick. Need to steer a car? You use the left pad/stick. Need to make pixel-perfect jumps in a platform game? You use the left pad/stick. What does the right hand do? It mostly just presses buttons.

I hate playing console (and now, arcade) games for this very reason.

CD says:


I’m one of the many who cancelled their pre-order for mass effect after hearing of the DRM that is to be imposed.

At the Bioware/EA forums, over 450 unique posters have (mostly) been discussing calmly and rationally WHY this is such a big problem for paying customers and in no way does it hurt the pirates that the DRM is purported to thwart. Now that the gold disc has been released, the mutliple-part thread on the topic has been shifted into a off-topic forum backwater to limit the visibility of the issue to anyone visiting the official forum for the game. Ah yes, EA-style censorship has arrived at Bioware.

Inclusion of this kind of DRM is a bad business decision since it only antagonizes paying customers like myself, and eliminates customers who either choose not to have an internet connection, or are unable to get one.

So what are the downsides?
*Online-only activation (no intenet, no play for you)
*Three activation limit (so don’t upgrade your hardware like motherboard, cpu, and maybe even gpu unless you are willing to burn through them)
*SecuROM (Sony’s newest rootkit software that actively stops certain other programs from running on your machine, employs hidden files, and cannot be removed without using non-free third party software….often referred to as a rootkit)

Paying Customers get…
*No need to keep the dvd in the drive
*lots of time to spend on phone calls to beg more activations from EA/Bioware if you have a hardware failure/upgrade.
*no guarantee that the activation servers will be there when you want to play it again in a few years time

Pirates get…
*more potential ‘customers’

EA/Bioware gets…
*Fewer potential paying customers (internet connected only)
*A fable to tell shareholders that they’re doing something to ‘stop’ piracy

Tech-Sites get…
*…sucked into writing positive headlines by removal of the recurring activation ‘Feature’

It’s a darned shame. I haven’t pirated a game in the last 20 years, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on buying games, and yet Bioware/EA have now forced me to bypass their (other than DRM) awesome product that I’ve been eagerly looking forward to for over a year. I will not spend a dollar at companies that support such draconian DRM. I won’t pirate it either. I’ll go pick up a good book instead, or support game publishers that actually want me to buy their products and respect my right to use that product for myself wherever and however I choose.

Ironclad says:

The future of SecuRom

Thankfully EA and Bioware removed NEXT YEAR’s plan for SecuRom implementation:

It would require you to perform a SecuRom’s Hackproof Implementation Task upon installation.

Then, it would require you, each month, to go to a Monthly Operational Transfer Hub’s Electronic Relay at your local gaming store. There, you’d fill out your Fingerprint Upload Control Key End-user Registration. Only then can you play the game!

I like to call this the SH*T MOTHER F*CKER process. 🙂

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