Earlier this week, reports emerged that the Origin-based DRM used in Electronic Arts’ just-released Battlefield Hardline will monitor hardware changes in addition to keeping tabs on how many PCs can play host to the game. Battlefield Hardline apparently allows only five hardware changes per account before the game's activation becomes invalid. Once those are used up, the game won't load for 24 hours per activation.
"We're sorry, an error has occurred," Battlefield Hardline's warning said. "Too many computers have accessed this account's version of Battlefield Hardline recently. Please try again later."
Guru3D was the first to complain, stating that testing a "handful" of graphics cards with the game led to the error message. Based on the report, it appears that the warning can be triggered if users swap out components on their machines, such as graphics cards, CPUs or motherboards.
An error popping up after a new motherboard installed is perhaps understandable, but locking users out after installing new CPUs or graphics cards seems a bit heavy handed. Curious as to what's going on, we reached out to Electronic Arts for an answer.
"Origin authentication allows players to install a game on up to five different PCs every 24 hours," an EA representative told Tom's Hardware. "Players looking to benchmark more than five hardware configurations in one 24 hour period can contact our Customer Support team who can help."
Note the word "configuration." Origin seems to be keeping track of the hardware used on machines with Battlefield Hardline installed. Also note that the EA representative put the blame on the Origin platform, not an invasive software DRM.
What's curious here is that Origin will allow installations on five different configurations. Presumably, that should be plenty for all Battlefield Hardline players. Yet, this limit makes us wonder if EA is having a hard time with customers sharing their Origin account.
Customers having to update multiple components may hit the Origin wall. Then again, the lock-out is only 24 hours per activation, which gives you plenty of time to play something else during the wait. Those who rarely update their hardware shouldn't have any problems whatsoever.