EA Copies Ubisoft's Restrictive Internet DRM

It's no secret that Ubisoft's latest DRM scheme isn't one that's garnering any fans. The requirement for a constant and stable internet connection constantly for one to play Silent Hunter 5 or Assassin's Creed II or the upcoming Splinter Cell Conviction means that gameplay can be halted with any break in connection or fault on Ubisoft's end.

Despite the public backlash over this system, it seems that it is gaining some popularity over at EA. In a forum post by a C&C Community Manager Apoc, it was revealed that Command & Conquer 4 "has no DRM," but gamers must be connected to the internet. Check out the post below. (Emphasis added by Tom's Hardware.)

First thing to be clear about, Command & Conquer 4 has NO DRM. Zip, zero, zilch, none. We already made this clear. Second, you do not need the disc in the machine to play Command & Conquer 4, however the following is how it works: -AFTER you install Command & Conquer 4 with the disc on your machine, when you try to LOGIN at the Launcher for the first time, it will ask you for your serial key. You will enter in your serial key to activate your Master EA Account. The serial key, like in our past games, can only be activated for 1 master account. You cannot install multiple EA Master accounts on one serial key. You can create multiple Commander Personas however, so if you and your brothers each want your own Persona account with experience, etc, you can do that. Just has to be under the same Master EA account as in our past games. -You can install the game from the disc as many times as you want on any machine. Re-install, etc. -You do not need the disc in your machine to play. Your EA account just needs to have been activated by your serial key. After that, you can play Command & Conquer 4 on ANY MACHINE that has it installed. All you need to do is login. -To play Command & Conquer 4, the computer needs to be connected to the internet. We've always made that clear as well. So there ya go, no DRM, no disc in the drive necessary, just activate your account with your serial key and presto, you're ready to go. It's actually much easier than before.

It does appear that the internet connection is required to authenticate upon program launch, so it's possible that the game can continue being played even if the master server or your internet connection dies. We've contacted EA for clarification.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • brother shrike
    I don't know what their definition of DRM is, but that is definitely DRM in my book.
  • jhansonxi
    I suspect it won't be long before a third-party solution to the problem is developed. This authentication mechanism will only inconvenience the average non-technical legitimate gamers.
  • chrisjust98
    It's not as bad if you only have to authenticate only at launch and not the whole time you're playing, but it's still super lame.
  • False_Dmitry_II
    That's just like how company of heroes is. That's mostly ok. Though in company of heroes you only have to do that if you don't want to use the disc.
  • icepick314
    that's why after buying C&C Generals and Zero Hour, C&C 3 Tiberium Wars and Kane's Wrath, C&C Red Alert 3 and Uprising, I WON'T be buying C&C 4 eventhough I would LOVE to see what happens at the end of Kane's Wrath...

    I don't want to receive permission from EA when and where I can play games I purchased legitimately...

    is it THAT hard for EA executives to understand that people WILL buy if they want...

    only thing this authentication doing is inconvenience legit buyers....

    as they say, locks only keep honest people out....
  • nukem950
    So EA cant get past completely getting away from C&C style of play. They also have to go and make it so you have to have an internet connection too.

    Well at my university, they block game ports. Thanks EA, I guess you do not care about college students.
  • squarewheel
    Isn't that the definition of Digital Rights Management? How are they not managing your right to the digital content?
  • Brent_NC
    If a gaming company wants to copy something another company is doing for the good, then by all means. If company A does something so stupid that half the community is ready to boycott them, that is not the time to follow in their footsteps.

    It absolutely amazes me at how disconnected upper echelon folks at gaming companies can be when it comes to working with their community.
  • matt87_50
    oh my god, the companies don't get it.

    WE ARE NOT IDIOTS!!! the only people who might actually buy your crap about this not being DRM are the mainstream users who don't know/care about DRM in the first place!

    the people you are talking to, the people complaining about DRM ARE NOT MAINSTREAM KNOW NOTHINGS!! stop treating us like IDIOTS!!

    this sounds closer to the steam system than ubisoft. but you STILL need an off-line mode!
  • matt87_50
    "You can create multiple Commander Personas however, so if you and your brothers each want your own Persona account with experience, etc, you can do that. Just has to be under the same Master EA account as in our past games. "

    does this mean more than one person can play the game at a time? that would be an improvement on most steam games!