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EA Backs Off From Heavy DRM; Goes Old School

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 48 comments

It’s been a week filled with PC gaming DRM with companies talking about fancy new systems that aim to make everyone happy.

None of this for the Sims 3None of this for the Sims 3Electronic Arts, while credited with creating one of the largest DRM debacles ever with Spore, is now looking at a DRM solution that’s just plain old school. Rather than try to re-engineer or employ some elaborate scheme, the Sims 3 team is going with the last form of DRM that didn’t hurt legitimate buyers -- the CD key.

“The game will have disc-based copy protection – there is a Serial Code just like The Sims 2,” wrote Rod Humble on the Sims 3 news page. “To play the game there will not be any online authentication needed.”
 
Humble explained why one of EA’s biggest franchises will be getting such a simple form of protection: “We feel like this is a good, time-proven solution that makes it easy for you to play the game without DRM methods that feel overly invasive or leave you concerned about authorization server access in the distant future.”

Earlier this week, Microsoft, Valve and Stardock recently detailed their own new anti-piracy methods. Microsoft’s aims to stop pre-release games from leaking onto the internet, and Valve’s ensures that only the original owner of the game but no one else can make use of the executable. Stardock’s system appeared to be the best with consideration for resale, but still required a one-time online activation.

[I can't believe EA is agreeing with what I wrote in my story about HDCP. I guess there is hope--Ed.]

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  • 18 Hide
    kelbo , March 27, 2009 7:13 PM
    It is very well known that DRM only makes it difficult for the authentic customer.
  • 15 Hide
    AdamB5000 , March 27, 2009 7:49 PM
    I was frustrated with EA's approach with a Battlefield 2 expansion pack. I had to register with EA and register the product on the internet simply to play offline. I quickly entered a never-ending loop of receiving a 'you're already registered' message and then a 'please register' message. After extreme frustration I emailed EA's support. I was pleased to see a quick response and after a couple of email exchanges the person claimed I was good to go. However, I found myself so frustrated with the whole experience that I totally lost interest and to this day have not fired up the game.

    So yeah - don't make it so hard to play a game I paid for.
  • 14 Hide
    rigaudio , March 27, 2009 6:33 PM
    The power of the internet saves the day.
Other Comments
  • 14 Hide
    rigaudio , March 27, 2009 6:33 PM
    The power of the internet saves the day.
  • 10 Hide
    LATTEH , March 27, 2009 7:04 PM
    YES!!!
  • 18 Hide
    kelbo , March 27, 2009 7:13 PM
    It is very well known that DRM only makes it difficult for the authentic customer.
  • 9 Hide
    megamanx00 , March 27, 2009 7:14 PM
    Guess they actually got alot of consumer complaints. Anyway the typical sims player isn't browsing the Pirate Bay as much as the FPS players, and they don't want to anger all the casual players who spend way to much on those games, so this move makes sense.
  • 15 Hide
    AdamB5000 , March 27, 2009 7:49 PM
    I was frustrated with EA's approach with a Battlefield 2 expansion pack. I had to register with EA and register the product on the internet simply to play offline. I quickly entered a never-ending loop of receiving a 'you're already registered' message and then a 'please register' message. After extreme frustration I emailed EA's support. I was pleased to see a quick response and after a couple of email exchanges the person claimed I was good to go. However, I found myself so frustrated with the whole experience that I totally lost interest and to this day have not fired up the game.

    So yeah - don't make it so hard to play a game I paid for.
  • -1 Hide
    grimmone , March 27, 2009 7:53 PM
    As someone on Kotaku said... PC gamers will show their appreciation by pirating the hell out of this :( 
  • 6 Hide
    curnel_D , March 27, 2009 8:08 PM
    So far, I think Bethesda's trumps them all. Make games that kick so much ass that even if they're pirated a ton, they're still #1 blockbuster sellers for years to come.
  • 2 Hide
    etrnl_frost , March 27, 2009 8:09 PM
    grimmoneAs someone on Kotaku said... PC gamers will show their appreciation by pirating the hell out of this

    So unfortunately true. It's a lose lose situation for the industry.
  • 1 Hide
    norbs , March 27, 2009 8:15 PM
    I dunno I remember on a few instances I switched to hacked version of game i own just to avoid the annoying DRM.
  • 2 Hide
    etrnl_frost , March 27, 2009 8:28 PM
    kami3kTo anyone who thinks Sims getting pirated will hurt them, slap yourself real hard in the face.Spore was one of the most pirated games last year, yet it still sold what? Over 2 million copies? Probably a good amount more by now. Also you fail to realize this, people who pirate wouldn't have bought the game to begin with. So they lose little to no sales and in fact heavy DRM just makes it more likely to be pirated.

    Please look up Koroush Ghazi's essay on piracy, courtesy of TweakGuides. Learn a little bit more about the economics of what Piracy really does, and the true point of DRM, and then think about it for a second. If we don't pay the people in the industry, the industry suffers. If the industry suffers, we suffer. Whether it be quantity, quality, or choice of medium, the user, ultimately, suffers - if the industry suffers.

    It's a long read, but it's an incredibly good article, and it really makes some interesting points.

    http://www.tweakguides.com/Piracy_1.html

  • -4 Hide
    Grims , March 27, 2009 8:34 PM
    Why even use a serial number? What's the point?
  • 2 Hide
    lejay , March 27, 2009 8:48 PM
    Sorry, Marcus Yam, I doubt EA is doing this because of your article.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , March 27, 2009 9:00 PM
    The last 2 games i bought, retail legit copies. I had to download a pirated copy to actually play the game. They both refuse to run without the cracked exe, but run fine(with the retail dvd in the drive) with the cracked exe.

    Its utterly retarded when you have to pirate a game you bought legally so you can use what you bought legally.

    DRM can kiss my arse. It doesnt stop pirates, but it pisses the hell off of legal users, like me.
  • 4 Hide
    seboj , March 27, 2009 9:17 PM
    kami3kAlso you fail to realize this, people who pirate wouldn't have bought the game to begin with. So they lose little to no sales and in fact heavy DRM just makes it more likely to be pirated.


    Finally, someone actually gets it. +1.
  • 2 Hide
    Greatwalrus , March 27, 2009 9:18 PM
    AdamB5000I was frustrated with EA's approach with a Battlefield 2 expansion pack. I had to register with EA and register the product on the internet simply to play offline. I quickly entered a never-ending loop of receiving a 'you're already registered' message and then a 'please register' message. After extreme frustration I emailed EA's support. I was pleased to see a quick response and after a couple of email exchanges the person claimed I was good to go. However, I found myself so frustrated with the whole experience that I totally lost interest and to this day have not fired up the game.So yeah - don't make it so hard to play a game I paid for.



    Interesting. I have the Battlefield 2 Expansion pack sitting on my shelf here, unopened. Now I'm not so sure that I want to open it :p 
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , March 27, 2009 10:01 PM
    why is toms hardware so arrogant that they think EA is exclusively agreeing with the article they wrote earlier at some point...

    total BS... my respect for tomshardware is going farther and farther down the drain

    one more stupid or arrogant thing like this and i'm just gonna plain stop coming here... toms is a joke now
  • 6 Hide
    NuclearShadow , March 27, 2009 10:13 PM
    The Sims 3 will not doubt be a major seller and with out any DRM this will only prove that DRM is not only useless but is a waste of money to the developers/publishers as well as a unnecessary pain in the butt to us gamers.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , March 27, 2009 10:41 PM
    How NICE of them
  • 0 Hide
    flyboy27 , March 28, 2009 12:13 AM
    I am a newcomer to gaming who just purchased Medal of Honor AirbornE.When my computer asked if I wanted to format the disk, I assumed the DVD was inadvertently shipped blank. Is there a possibility that this is related to what you refer to as DRM??
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