from the drm-muh-gurd dept
Show of hands: who remembers SecuROM? Alright, put your hands down, we can’t see each other anyway. So, SecuROM was a really bad DRM used by several publishers to “protect” video games, by which I mean it mostly just annoyed legitimate buyers, got some of those publishers sued, and ultimately made the game unplayable on modern operating systems. The track record is enough to make you wonder why anyone would use DRM at all after this whole debacle.
But… it’s still happening. Back in 2010, Disney released the game Tron: Evolution. The game was laced with SecuROM and suffered many of the same problems as previously described. As an example of how you don’t really own what you buy anymore, the game simply bricked when Disney decided not to renew its SaaS subscription for SecuROM software.
Players trying to launch Tron: Evolution are now met with a message telling them that the ‘serial key has expired’. This applies to the retail version as well as the Steam version which is delisted from the store. The cause of this problem appears to be Disney not renewing their ‘subscription’ to the SecuROM activation system for this game. This means that even existing owners of the delisted game cannot play it for the foreseeable future.
Fun! Notably, those that pirated the game aren’t having this issue. Also notable is that when at least one person opened up a support ticket with SecuROM itself to fix the issue, the SecuROM folks told that person:
“You are right with your assumption, we can’t run this service anymore for Disney titles, therefore all activations are denied.
Best would be to contact Disney to get a refund for your purchase or convince them to release an uprotected version of the game.”
So as not to lose sight of this, the DRM company told the legit purchaser of a game that they should try to get the publisher of the game to release a non-protected game so that it could once again be played. If that doesn’t highlight the absurdity of this particular story for you, nothing will.
It also would have been one thing if Disney had been the slightest bit proactive about all of this. After all, the company knew it wasn’t going to renew the SecuROM subscription and therefore knew that such a decision would brick a whole bunch of people’s purchased games. Why not proactively release the game without DRM? Or alert purchasers, or the media, of what was coming? Why is it okay for Disney to essentially take back a product bought by a customer with no recompense?
The only reported communication from Disney is something like, “Yeah, we know, we’ll do something about it someday.”
Originally posted by Disney Games & Apps Support:
Our team is aware that the activation site for this game is no longer live and has since been shut down. At this time, if the game was not already previously installed it will no longer be able to be launched. We are looking into this hiccup and hoping to patch this in the future. However, at this time we do not have any current estimated time on when this will be.
Thank you for your patience.
No, thank you, Disney, for demonstrating that you don’t really care all that much about your own customers.