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DRM Trouble Brewing for Electronic Arts

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May 8, 2008 4:08:30 PM

Article by Rob Wright.

SecuROM is back! BioWare recently announced that the upcoming Mass Effect PC version will use the notorious DRM, as will another major EA title: Spore.

http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/05/08/drm_ea/
May 8, 2008 7:01:30 PM

Quote:
posted 5/7/08 by Oh Snap:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/99524-13-mass-effect-...
I think a lot of people would find this new security measure to be insulting and intrusive, almost as if you walked into a store, bought a monitor, checked out at the exit (to make sure it wasn't stolen), and then one of the employees from the store stops by your house every 10 days to make sure the monitor still isn't stolen.


Quote:
posted 5/8/08 by Rob Wright
http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/05/08/drm_ea/
It's a little like buying a can of paint at a Home Depot and having the guy in the orange apron check your receipt on your way out the door and then have the orange apron show up at your house every 10 days to check the receipt again and again.


Is that Rob Wright agreeing yet again with me? Not only that, but he agrees with one of my analogies? Oh Snap indeed.
May 8, 2008 7:04:29 PM

fixed
Related resources
May 8, 2008 7:26:58 PM

Fixed, thanks for the heads up.

Oh Snap said:
Is that Rob Wright agreeing yet again with me? Not only that, but he agrees with one of my analogies? Oh Snap indeed.


Yes, I think we agree actually agree on more than we think -- just not the definition of stealing ;) 

And I think we can all agree that this SecuROM stuff is going too far. But please, let's not embolden EA's argument for DRM by pirating Mass Effect.
May 8, 2008 10:37:38 PM

You know... when they said a mix of technology and post release DLC I thought they were pretty content with their current level of technological implementation and were adding the DLC.

I guess not. Thats a shame.
May 9, 2008 10:57:05 AM

And to think that I was looking forward to buying this game.... Now I'm really unsure wether I'll choose to buy it or not. I find these kind of protection scheme to be totally abusive, especially in regard with the fact that this is a solo game.

Basically, this makes a working internet connection a requirement for the game which I find to be very restrictive. Moreover, the opacity of the system, as well as the need for regular updates forces you to give all kind of informations to the people at EA / Bioware without having any real control on that imformation. They don't trust you at all, but you have to trust them all the way, the very idea is disturbing.... And that's not even mentioning all the problems that might occur because of it, like the game refusing to run if certain programms are running or such things.

Honestly, I don't see how piracy justifes that we should have to submit to such things. This reminds me of the problems concerning private liberties and the alleged war against terrorism. There's just a moment where the end doesn't justify the mean no more, no matter the fact that you agree with the objective....
May 9, 2008 11:37:16 AM

baba264 said:
Honestly, I don't see how piracy justifes that we should have to submit to such things. This reminds me of the problems concerning private liberties and the alleged war against terrorism. There's just a moment where the end doesn't justify the mean no more, no matter the fact that you agree with the objective....


When it comes to SecuROM, which has a bad history almost as much as StarForce for wrecking people's computers....... any usage of it goes past the 'ends justifying the means' argument.

It is simply time for computer game developers and game developers as a whole, along with the music and movie makers, to realize that for a long time now, they have been charging way too much for their products.
The only people who I personally know to have pirated games..... they only do it because the games are too expensive for them when they first come out. They will buy a legal edition 3-6 months later, once the price comes down to a more real 15-20 dollars.

The game manufacturers have to realize that they are pricing themselves out of most people's pockets, and when it comes between free but maybe with viruses and a $60 dollar real version of the game..... Free and maybe with viruses is going to win out EVERY SINGLE TIME. At the same comparison at a 20 dollar price point for the real game...... the real thing usually wins out.
May 11, 2008 2:17:54 PM

Because of this drm I will not buy either of these games. This will probably be a trend, a trend that will be blamed on pirates. If I do realy want this game I will download it make sure it works all the way to the end then buy it! There is not much chance of this happening so I guess I lose out again. Crapy sony malware!!

I hope the ps3 starts supporting the mouse and keyboard for shooters so I can continue to play them.

This has the potential to make alot of honest people pirates just to make a point. After all why should the paying customer be punished?
May 11, 2008 3:05:43 PM

crash27 said:
Because of this drm I will not buy either of these games. This will probably be a trend, a trend that will be blamed on pirates. If I do realy want this game I will download it make sure it works all the way to the end then buy it! There is not much chance of this happening so I guess I lose out again. Crapy sony malware!!

I hope the ps3 starts supporting the mouse and keyboard for shooters so I can continue to play them.

This has the potential to make alot of honest people pirates just to make a point. After all why should the paying customer be punished?


That is the question that a lot of people like myself have been asking: why should they put anti-piracy protection on these games that ONLY punishes their LEGITIMATE customers? There just is no legitimate reason, and I told Ascaron Entertainment that about the copy-protection on Sacred and Sacred Underworld.

Someone in our government needs to take a stand and say "No more DRM! It only penalizes legitimate customers!"
May 12, 2008 6:12:27 AM

Count me in for causing more complaints about piracy since I won't be buying (or pirating) Mass Effect and apparently not Spore either.

We all know that if sales are poor, it's only due to piracy.
Record labels have used that excuse for years now.
May 13, 2008 11:52:52 AM

Hmmm...I think I'll look before I buy.... On an other mans PC.. not risking my little baby :) 
September 17, 2008 4:56:44 AM

I just don't get why ANYONE would be even a little upset at DRM. What a bunch of crybabies. The Amazon thing is ridiculous -- why are you babies messing up my ability to get good reviews? That's just nasty.

I LOVE DRM -- it is a small step in the right direction by game manufacturers, one giant leap for all PC gamers! With this, we can finally be free from the "insert disk" copy protection crap that is such a pain with multiple computers in the same household or on a travelling laptop and at home.

You idiots are protesting freedom and justice. You are protesting YOURSELVES. This amazing, and beautiful DRM protection online is something I have been suggesting for a long time as a way of saving PC gaming and the need to buy a console (stripped-down computer) and another computer.

With this type of copy protection, game makers will not need to rely on their proprietary consoles which are basically forcing you to buy another inferior PC so that they can be sure their games are not being hacked... DRM is a breath of fresh air by comparison -- fresh air saving you $600.00!!! -- which you can then spend on hotrodding your PC into SUPERCOMPUTER which does it all.

This DRM is here to stay -- for very very GREAT reasons. Lets not forget to put on our thinking caps, folks.
September 17, 2008 4:43:18 PM

spiralsun1 said:
I just don't get why ANYONE would be even a little upset at DRM. What a bunch of crybabies. The Amazon thing is ridiculous -- why are you babies messing up my ability to get good reviews? That's just nasty.

I LOVE DRM -- it is a small step in the right direction by game manufacturers, one giant leap for all PC gamers! With this, we can finally be free from the "insert disk" copy protection crap that is such a pain with multiple computers in the same household or on a travelling laptop and at home.

You idiots are protesting freedom and justice. You are protesting YOURSELVES. This amazing, and beautiful DRM protection online is something I have been suggesting for a long time as a way of saving PC gaming and the need to buy a console (stripped-down computer) and another computer.

With this type of copy protection, game makers will not need to rely on their proprietary consoles which are basically forcing you to buy another inferior PC so that they can be sure their games are not being hacked... DRM is a breath of fresh air by comparison -- fresh air saving you $600.00!!! -- which you can then spend on hotrodding your PC into SUPERCOMPUTER which does it all.

This DRM is here to stay -- for very very GREAT reasons. Lets not forget to put on our thinking caps, folks.
That was some pretty impressive trolling.

DRM is a joke when I can find the FULL VERSION of Spore on thepiratebay WITHOUT SecuROM, when a legitimate customer PAYS for the game and has to deal with this ****. EA acts like they want to help PC gaming but like Microsoft, if PC gaming really does "die" they will be at fault.
September 17, 2008 5:00:47 PM

You fail to realise that limiting a user to 3 "installs" is too limiting. Remember, that changing components counts as an "install", so for most users, it will be fewer than that. After those installs are up, you have to hope that EA will find that you have a legitamite reason to get the game re-activated.

If it was 3 installs per 6 months or something, that I think we could live with. But 3 installs over the LIFE OF THE GAME? Seriously...

now stop being a troll and stop gravedigging old threads.
September 18, 2008 8:40:33 AM

I'm the only guy in a house with 5 women. I was going to get Spore for the girls, but with the ridiculous DRM on spore, there's no way I'll be getting it. I'm never putting something on my PC that I can't get rid of without a HDD format/OS reinstall.

If I did want this game for myself, 3 installs would be useless. I don't have a single game in the last 20 years that I haven't reinstalled at least 15+ times. X number of installs per year etc. would be a step in the right direction, but to be honest, I'm not likely to ever get a game that requires me to beg the company to continually activate/authenticate - what happens when the company dies/withdraws support.

Anyway, I'm certainly not going to be getting Spore, regardless of how good/crap it is. There's others out there.

September 25, 2008 12:07:33 AM

Let the free market decide what a game with DRM and a limit of 3 installs is worth.

If I had known before I bought Spore that it was limited to three installs, that it installed software which monitors your system and sends info to EA I would not have paid $49.99.

I would like it if there was a law which forced the seller to disclose on the package such severe limitations. The market needes full disclosure so the buyer could make an informed descision. As it is now you are buying a "pig in a poke".

On the Spore box (that I hold in my hands), the only limitations revealed that you can read before buying it says: "Internet connection, online authentication and end user license agreement required to play. To access online features, you must register online with the enclosed serial code. Only one registration available per game. EA terms & conditions and features updates can be found at WWW.EA.COM. You must be 13+ to register online. EA may retire online features after 30 days posted on www.EA.com."

This does not reveal the severe limitations of only three installs that the software contains; nor the reporting software it installs on your computer. You should not have to go to any other place to get the information at the time of purchase. You can not agree to something about which you know nothing. A contract is a mutual agreement.

With 20/20 hindsight I believe that Spore was worth $9.99.

In the future I will wait at least a week before buying any new games, and resist the pressure from my children to buy. And no I am not a babe in the woods, but a retired lawyer in the U.S.
September 25, 2008 10:26:30 AM

If there was full disclosure, the free market would decide, and I suspect it would decide rather quickly.

The outrage is largely for the purpose of getting the information into the hands of potential buyers and for doing our level best to make it clear to EA that they are alienating a huge percentage of the market with these tactics.
September 25, 2008 11:58:07 AM

Farrwalker said:
You can not agree to something about which you know nothing.

Exactly. In the UK, you would be protected by the "Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations". It's a very useful piece of legislation (have successfully used it against a former landlord).

The question is - was the installation limit in the EULA when you installed? (this wouldn't actually affect the UTiCCR, but it may be important in US contract law?)
September 25, 2008 12:06:49 PM

Some of the more..."progressive" states, like NY and California, already have laws that prevent this. Thats probably why EA is now getting sued...

The only thing that upsets me, was I was waiting for the week to end so I could file against EA. I guess the class-action path is still open though...
September 25, 2008 1:31:18 PM

Quote:
Some of the more..."progressive" states, like NY and California, already have laws that prevent this.

I may have mentioned this in another of the many similar threads, but NY (and I suppose CA but I don't live there) legislating gaming has already proven to be much worse than any DRM. I'm all for consumer advocacy but please do not dilute yourself into thinking government is going to make this better. I'm a friggin liberal but even this is a case were the free market has to work itself out. I neither want to see gaming companies targeting individuals who receive pirated software with legal action nor do I want to see any government sticking their nose into gaming. It's only going to end badly.
September 25, 2008 4:08:07 PM

Totally agree Purple.

However, the legislation I was referring to is general consumer legislation for all products. I don't see the need for government intervention specifically into software when there are already sufficient legal recourse for consumers through existing legislation.
September 25, 2008 4:21:43 PM

In NY, the law that we have protects against anything that is installed on a computer without user consent. Since no mention of the SecureRom rootkit is given, its installation is illegial in the state of NY.

If the current lawsuit fails, I plan to throw that law right back at them. :D 
September 25, 2008 4:33:04 PM

My point is gamerk316 that NYS is the exact opposite of being "Progressive" as far as video games go. So be careful who you make your bed with.
September 25, 2008 4:40:39 PM

Gamerk316 - isn't Securom mentioned in the EULA?

I've not got the game myself, but other people on other threads have stated that the EULA does state that the game also installs other software (other than the game), briefly describes the nature and purpose of the additional programs, and gives you the choice to cancel the install. It even mentions that there are a limited number of installs.

If this is true, your claim will fail if it is based upon lack of consent.
October 2, 2008 10:50:02 AM

but llama_man it doesnt tell you on the box.... so how you meant to know that the game you are buying has securom? then when you install and read the EULA it may tell you but then you can no longer refund the game because you opened the box.
October 2, 2008 10:55:19 AM

Flakes - you would be able to get a refund. If not from the retailer, then from the publisher.
October 2, 2008 11:21:42 AM

rules might be different where you are, but i promise in the uk you cannot get a refund on PC games.... they just treat you like a vilian thats bought the game, made a copy and then try to return it.
October 2, 2008 11:39:19 AM

Actually, in the UK I've successfully taken back I game that I installed but returned because it was too buggy. The shop (a major high-street store specialising in games, no less) gave me store credit against another purchase.

It's a smart move for retailers - if they can't undercut online stores on cost, they can provide a better service instead. But that's a different discussion...
October 2, 2008 11:45:13 AM

Have done some searching to see what the devs/publishers say about this. I can't speak for games publishers (alas, blocked from "games" websites at work), but for professional software most appear to have a publicised policy about how to obtain a refund if you reject the EULA.

Including Windows, I might add;
"By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the
software. Instead, return it to the retailer for a refund or credit. If you cannot obtain a refund
there, contact Microsoft or the Microsoft affiliate serving your country for information about Microsoft’s
refund policies. See www.microsoft.com/worldwide. In the United States and Canada, call (800)
MICROSOFT or see www.microsoft.com/info/nareturns.htm."
(Taken from http://download.microsoft.com/documents/useterms/Window...)
October 2, 2008 2:01:58 PM

very interesting, cheers llama. ill be checking at the game store next time i go, im sure they always say you cant get get refunds, but if you can do it through the publisher of the game, then it might just be worth it.
October 2, 2008 2:05:20 PM

No worries.

There's no guarantee they'll pay willingly and gladly, but in the UK we're protected by the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations which would prohibit holding you to a contract where the terms were not available until after purchase.
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