The issue with DRM

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Zanza, Jun 14, 2010.

Remove all ads!
Support Terra-Arcanum:

GOG.com

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!
  1. Zanza

    Zanza Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,280
    Likes Received:
    60
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    When I was a child I saw a game and I thought that looks cool I want it. Now that I am 24 and no longer a child (will always be at heart) I don't just look at a game and think cool I want it. I have to be more mature with my investments, does the game look like it has much re-playability? Does the game look like I will complete it in less that 24 hours of game time? These are just some of the common things I have to look for but none of those things matter as much to me anymore as the type of DRM used.

    While we can all agree that game piracy is bad for those games that we really love as well as being fairly low and unfair to the developers who have poured thousands of hours into the titles, when it comes to the question of reselling games it becomes a little harder to feel sympathy for the publishers. The way companies such as EA are throwing DLCs your way that only work once and cost money to make sure you own your copy thus dissuading people from borrowing, trading and buying 2nd hand.

    In an effort to protect first day sales and guard against early leaks, PC game publishers are continually updating new forms of copy protection. It has become so bad lately that I have stopped myself from buying games that look great and apparently are great except the DRM makes the game a chore to begin.

    UBISOFT, publisher of games such as Assassin's Creed 2 as well as the Settlers series implemented a DRM that set me right off. Back in 2007 the original Assassin's Creed was leaked to torrent sites six weeks before retail release. Lawsuits were filed however the issue was never completely resolved, and how could it? Over 700,000 copies of the game were illegally downloaded. In order to battle this UBISOFT developed a new DRM service called the Online Services Platform. This system requires the player to connect to the internet and the platform before they can play their game, this sounds a lot like any regular steam game however there is a twist, a very annoying one at that. In order to play the game you must remained connected to the internet and logged into the site. The moment that connection is severed or interrupted in any way the game pauses and will not continue till the connection is re-established usually not allowing any form of save option either. As the games are designed to be offline and not have multiplayer it becomes increasingly annoying having to be connected to the net to play an offline game.

    BIOWARE, I am sure we are all familiar with the games they provide for us as well as their DRM method of DLC. Usually when it comes to DLC the material is not released until a month or two after the retail release of the game. BIOWARE do this differently by having several smaller packages available from day one, and for free as long as you register your game and key to an account. Does this work though? When the packages are no longer free and begin to cost more while providing the same service that they had been for months for free, does it keep people playing and paying?

    There are several other DRMs out there but these two I am familiar with and I must admit the UBISOFT one downright annoys the hell out of me. I have had to stop buying the Settlers series simply because I do not think spending $50+ dollars on a game and then another $40+ a month on an internet connection is worth a game I play by myself. If it were an mmo I would feel differently as there is updates for free as well as interaction with a community.

    What are your experiences with DRM as well as what do you look out for in a game these days?
     
  2. floyd

    floyd New Member

    Messages:
    314
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2004
    Unfortunately, most of the games that come out nowadays do not seem as if the developers poured thousands of hours of work into it.

    I avoid DRM at all costs. Quite honestly, I only replay old games. I basically stopped purchasing games once 3D hit the market and turned everything into a graphic whore contest. That and motion sickness.
     
  3. magikot

    magikot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,687
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2003
    DRM is the reason I don't play Dawn of War 2 anymore. Not only did it require you to log into steam to play, but you had to log into Windows Live as well. Even for single player. That and my shitty computer couldn't really handle it.

    DLC is easy enough to get around. DragonAge, to use 1 example, had people torrenting warden's keep from day 1. UBISOFT's DRM is evil incarnate though. That and whatever was used for Spore limiting the number of installs to 3.
     
  4. Jungle Japes

    Jungle Japes Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,371
    Likes Received:
    67
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Let's face the sad truth of the issue: it's all about money. I mean, do you really think Ubisoft or BioWare really care if you enjoy their games? Yes, they do, but not because they care about you. They care about your money. They aren't marketing games so that you'll have something entertaining to fill your time, they market them for money. DLC isn't there to prolong your enjoyment. It's there to squeeze a little more money out of you. DRM is there to make sure you play by their rules, rules which require you to pay. It's hardly a new concept; I remember having to enter a key code after installing Return to Castle Wolfenstein from 7 floppy disks. Of course, DRM has changed over time with the changing face of piracy. Digital piracy has become more common and pirates more cunning, so DRM becomes more ubiquitous and restrictive.
     
  5. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,685
    Media:
    34
    Likes Received:
    157
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Blizzard requires you to have a valid Battle.net account to play Starcraft II. My guess is that most other companies will follow suit. Gamers not having Internet access is pretty much a non-issue these days and the future I foresee is that you'll be required to be logged on to some kind of server validating your copy even if you decide to play a single player campaign.
     
  6. DarkFool

    DarkFool Nemesis of the Ancients

    Messages:
    4,003
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    I'm simply gone back to playing old school games, and refuse to play any games that require me to connect and authenticate online. I will not be inconvenienced for the sake of your shitty efforts to prevent piracy.
     
  7. Grakelin

    Grakelin New Member

    Messages:
    2,128
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    People assume that the internet is a given for gamers, but they forget about people serving overseas who don't have regular internet access.
     
  8. Charonte

    Charonte Member

    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Neither Dragon Age nor it's DLC's used DRM to protect from piracy; Dragon Age was just a simple CD Check and the DLC's are just zip files with extra metadata. Bioware actually listented to it's playerbase after the ME1 debacle and decided to remove it for ME2 (Although that still had a less strict counterpart) and Dragon Age.

    Not buying games because of the DRM's is a naive strategy anyway; in the near future every game will be protected by DRM and you'll only hurt yourself by doing so. What about games such as Dragon Age 2? The Witcher 2? Mass Effect 3? TES V? (debatable) You'll end up playing nothing as you're too stubborn to move with the times.

    Yes, DRM's and DLC's suck, but there really is very little to be done about it. Besides, if your concern is that you do not wish to send any private data to an overseas server (you're doing that now, btw) then there are always DRM cracks avaliable. Wait a month after release and I can guarentee someone, somewhere has it working without contacting the server.

    Mind you, I wouldn't pay for 95% of the shit on the market either. Seems to me that big name developers have forgotten how important brand and franchise loyalty is (it's the only reason Oblivion sold, let's face it) particularly if they're churning out 6 shitastic games a year.
     
  9. Zanza

    Zanza Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,280
    Likes Received:
    60
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    STARDOCK seem to have the right idea though, where other companies will sacrifice game sales by throwing in big brother and a hefty price tag, stardock have gone the opposite direction. Their creed is to make a game good and make it accessible. You choose if you want to register the copy of the game allowing you to install the game on as many systems as you like even if you have registered the game. Throw in the fact that you do not need the disk to play the games either they believe if they make the game well worth your time and you enjoy it, you will be willing to spend some money on it. Take Galactic Civilizations 2 for instance.
     
  10. Muro

    Muro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,175
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Fallout 3 is the only game I recall which I needed to register and play on-line in order to have access to some of the content, and the content was not something really vital. Without it I simply wouldn't see the achievements. Then again, I'm not sure if the DLCs would work if I would the game without registering and if not, well, that would suck. Also, if I understand it correctly, I won't be able to run the game with it being registered and all on any other computer, and that's just stupid. Not being able to sell the full game is one thing, but what's important to me, I'm not even playing F3 on my own hardware but on a laptop I borrow from time to time because my own computer is too weak to run the game. Not being able to play my legally purchased game on my own computer when it would become good enough to run the game would be just wrong.

    Oh, and I recall one thing. it happened only once, but it really pissed me off. When I entered the play disc in the drive, the game refused to run and I received a message saying "In order to play the game, please insert the original play disc in your drive, good day and fuck you", more or less anyway. I didn't like it, not one bit, but fortunately reinserting the disc did the trick. Still, if the original disc can be recognised as a pirated one, there is something wrong with the system.

    Playing nothing? I'm afraid I disagree. I myself, apart from Fallout 3, haven't played any of the newest games. I even had to look up what DRM means before responding. Other than F3, I believe the newest game I played was GTA: San Andreas, and it's not like I feel an extreme urge to play the newer ones. Sure, there are a few that I'd like to try some time in the future, but then again, there are so many good old games I didn't yet play and so many games I finished several times and return to them every now and then that, who knows, it can all very well last for a lifetime.
     
  11. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,685
    Media:
    34
    Likes Received:
    157
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    DOSbox is heavensent; there are quality old games aplenty if one merely bothers to look.
     
  12. Zanza

    Zanza Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,280
    Likes Received:
    60
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
  13. DarkFool

    DarkFool Nemesis of the Ancients

    Messages:
    4,003
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    I've trouble with Dosbox, but I've been spending a fair amount of time on Abandonia. My latest game I've been playing is Imperialism.

    Charonte: It is naive, I suppose, but technically, you're assuming that DRM is the solution of the future. I think the problem is their business model. The entire industry needs to evolve with the times, and change how they conduct business. What they're doing isn't working. You either release games with DRM, or you change your business model to fit the market. I vote the latter. My main problem is the games that require you to check in with a server in order to play a game. What happens when those authentication servers go down? What happens when you want to play the game when it's an "older" game, and the servers aren't available? You can't. What if you don't have an internet connection?
     
  14. Muro

    Muro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,175
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    What's your trouble with DOSbox, DF? If it's operating the program, I would suggest running it via D-Fend: Reloaded.
     
  15. Charonte

    Charonte Member

    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Oh, I didn't mean that DRM is the way of the future. My point was that we, as consumers, have very little control over how the publishers protect their property. Games should be bought on the merrits of the game and not the copy protection scheme used. If you don't like the DRM or whatnot, buy the game and crack it. There will always be workarounds - even MMO's can be reverse engineered given time.

    That being said, some developers (using bioware as an example) are moving away from DRM seeing that it hurts sales somewhat and does nothing against piracy.

    Another point - how many new IPs do you see in the RPG market today? How many are simply rehashes of older titles? Seems to me that any new IP is labeled as a 'spiritual successor' to an older, more popular, title. Dragon Age didn't even feel remotely like BG2 to me as an example.
    The industry is just playing on franchise loyalty, the vast majority of larger devs are after a quick money grab, nothing more.

    Muro, the problem with the FO3 disc was probably due to a blacklisted application. Some copy protection schemes blacklist certain software such as Daemon Tools/Alcohol 120% off the bat as they are commonly used to pirate games. It's stupid, I know, 95% of the time it's wrong anyway. But again, what can you do.
     
  16. TheDavisChanger

    TheDavisChanger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,838
    Likes Received:
    10
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    I feel that gaming peaked in the era of the Super NES. Two-dimensional sprites are and forever will be sufficient for representing my character and his foes and making 3D the new standard has just muddled gaming. I feel the same way about animated features these days, as well.

    The only DRM I recall encountering recently was when playing my old copy of Master of Orion. Every so often, the game would pause and splash a sprite of some particular spaceship on the screen. That sprite was tied to a particular string of characters located in the back of the Master of Orion manual. It might have interrupted the action if Master of Orion weren't a turn-based game and it may have even broken the immersion if Master of Orion wasn't abysmally murky in the way of graphics in the first place. I understand the necessity in protecting one's investment, so I wasn't particularly bothered by the interruption. Even now the DRM seems a reasonable price to pay for enjoying such a game.

    A practical concern! Let's hope whoever maintains the game considers this. I optimistically expect that the developers will make available their own crack for this particular DRM once the game has ceased to be relevant. In my experience with the DRM incorporated in Master of Orion, I picked the game up in a boxed set and the original manual was not even included with the package, however Microprose saw fit to include the section of sprites-to-strings in what amounts to the "ReadMe" of the boxed set.
     
  17. Jungle Japes

    Jungle Japes Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,371
    Likes Received:
    67
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    I'm a huge fan of small crisp sprites and isometric view, features found in games like Baldurs Gate, Fallout or Arcanum. I don't need to be able to see a female NPC's camel toe or be able to count the whiskers on my PC's face to enjoy a game.
     
  18. Grakelin

    Grakelin New Member

    Messages:
    2,128
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    If we gave Zanza his own special section of the site and called his OPs 'articles', we would probably actually get some traffic just out of that.
     
  19. elsydeon

    elsydeon New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    Private servers for MMO's suck, mostly because they are small, it makes the world feel and be empty.

    Although games should be bought on their merits, not the DRM; the DRM can be a big reason to avoid a game. This is true especially if the DRM is highly invasive (uses rootkits like Sony's, requires one to submit personal information unrelated to purchase, etc.) or interferes with the game (Ubisoft's DRM servers were down for extended periods) or your computer (Starforce breaking CD burners).

    The best scheme I have seen is Steam. You do not need to purchase the media (you can DL it), be online after activation (it has an offline mode if your connection is down), or worry about it breaking your computer or losing the disc.

    Legitimizing the abandonware concept into our copyright laws would go a long way towards fixing DRM problems since many older games are unplayable due to DRM systems that were based on abusing security holes in Windows or required the lost manual.
     
  20. luppolo

    luppolo New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    morrowind and much others want to have a word with you

    i find internet activation much less troublesome than a fucking 40 digits case-sensitive alphanumeric code
     
Our Host!