While I do agree in some aspects, I must also say that all these software protectors that people have been complaining about I have had installed on my computer at one time or another, and I've never had any problems (this includes Securom, Starforce, and several others, including DRM).
Now that doesn't mean they're not going to cause trouble or problems of some sort in the future, but if they do, I can settle that by contacting my lawyer with the details. With that said, this whole software protection crap is ridiculous, a waste of time, ineffective, and causes a loss of revenue for the game manufacturers. These things can be cracked easier than they claim, and they really don't protect anything at all. They've just been causing trouble for quite a few customers (luckily enough, not me).
We can sort this issue out with a few petitions, emails, and piracy campaigns.
Yes, company of Heroes. That game is a perfect example of how wrong you are. I used to be in the 'I'll download it, and buy it if I like it crowd,' but I realize that nobody actually buys the stuff they download. So, I moved to the 'I'll download the crap games and buy the good ones,' group.
Company of Heroes had no DRM. It sold pretty well. First week or two it moved a million units, which isn't bad. Until they released a patch and it was downloaded over 5 million times. That means that four million pirated, patched, and played a game they enjoyed but still never purchased it.
I made sure to buy it when it came to Steam. Just like I made sure to pre-order Spore. Twice. Once for a digital download directly from EA, so I'll have the game on launch day, and once from Amazon, so I'll have some physical media for when I want to play in the future.
There will ALWAYS be people pirating content products. The mistake you are making is buying the industry's official line: most pirates NEVER actually intended buying the game in the first place, or could not afford to. Can a Third World worker using a computer from salvaged/recycled components (and making less than $3 a day) ever afford a $50game? Of course not. You forget: this is a big world. And most of it is OnLine. Sure, it is still illegal to download it but could he ever legally buy it? Not unless he wanted to feed his family. Can you see now why it is ridiculous to count his download as a missed sale? I agree with you: it is bad. But it does not have the impact you claim it does.
More importantly, did any DRM scheme ever deter piracy for more than a day? No. Not SecuROM; not STRAFORCE; not even STEAM. So why inconvenience all the paying customers? Especially since turning THEM away does have a direct impact on sales!
The answer can be found in the structuring of most gaming publishing companies: the important decisions are made by people who could not tell an cRPG from and RTS game. And when their blunders... hit the fun, they have the "blame it on piracy" line handy...
Possibly STARDOCK could be making some more money with SINS OF A SOLAR EMPIRE, as THQ with COMPANY OF HEROES but they wisely decided to make somewhat less now and built solid customer relations for the future instead. As long as they keep showing me respect, they can count me as their customer. Dare to ask me whether I shall buy another VALVE or EA game?
By the way, you claim in your Profile page to be "The Smartest Man Alive" - yet you announce to be paying ...twice for a game that you will not be unable to replay after a couple of PC upgrades?
Enough with the "3rd world worker" garbage. Don't you find it ironic that this POOR worker had enough funds to get the machine, phone line/DSL, electricity, etc. etc... ad-nauseum, and mucho amounts of free time, yet, boo---hoo---, can't scrape the yuan or won together to pay for the game, albeit usually far far cheaper in their POOR country? Hmmm?
Korea, rife with hackers and counterfeitors, like Hong Kong, is a FIRST world nation. Piracy is more of an attitude, a way of life or theft. It is in many regards a culturally endemic problem that spans continents. Likewise I have supported numerous PC's used by Chinese folk who for some mysterious and unfathomable reason, and it isn't because of money because they have plenty, can't seem to understand the concept of not putting bootleg copies of Windoze or other "discounted" warez on their system and wondering why in gods name things just don't work right. And lie to me with a straight face! Could it be the trojan keylogging program so artfully inserted into the compromised program that activates when said "game" is in full swing online while you're in the heat of battle and it dutifully passes along passwords and other personal info to a server in Mbwanaland thats happily hoovering these tasty treats? Yet, to shave off a few bucks, they would risk, and usually lose, countless hours of time and heavens knows what else.
Don't get me wrong..I'm not for DRM in any way. That's a load of garbage. You need to see theft for what it is, income level be damned, and not some noble cause to give "the man" the middle finger. If you don't respect someone, anyone, enough to pay for their labors then don't play their product. It's a two way street. I wonder how many of these poor souls, wherever they may be, would like it if someone had them work like dogs and said, "Ya' know... you didn't "really" try hard enough... so.. no... I'm not paying you... Take a hike you losers!" They'd rightfully be pissed.
I'm reminded of a quote by someone who said that people would love for you to give them something for nothing... just don't expect them to respect you for it.
So, in conclusion, nobody is putting a gun, digital or not, to anyone's first or third world head and forcing them to do anything.
-- We authenticate your game online when you install and launch it the first time. -- We'll re-authenticate when a player uses online features, downloads new content or a patch for their game. -- The new system means you don't have to play with the disc in your computer. And if you are like me, always losing discs, this will be a huge benefit. -- You'll still be able to install and play on multiple computers. -- You can play offline."
I've had this installed on my laptop and desktop for a week now and no problems. Times change and the way companies have to handle things change. Blame it on the people who pirate and steal not the game companies who have to protect their assets. Would you like it if a game you worked hard on for 5 years was stolen as soon as it was released and people bought the stolen copy instead of yours? No, you wouldn't because then it's personal and affects your pocket book. It's easy to sit back and gripe about someone else losing revenue when it doesn't affect you. You make your own choice, buy it or not.
1) EA/Maxis is not telling customers everything they need to know about this DRM scheme, such as longstanding known issues it causes for many people: erroneous error messages preventing startup (definitely a Securom problem - Sony'll fix it for you if you send them an encrypted report from your comp containing info you're not allowed to read). Disabling of optical drives or other programs (Securom conflicts with older versions of ITSELF, preventing older games from running). Phoning home without your permission (it's been proven countless times that Securom is constantly searching for an internet connection even tho authentication has already been done).
2) I'm glad you're not having problems, truly I am. But the many others throughout many other gaming communities that HAVE had problems cannot be dismissed. People are warning about Securom because there ARE problems with Securom, simple as that.
3) Piracy is not theft, it is copyright infringement. Still wrong, still illegal, but not theft. It is disingenuous to count something you'd never have as a loss and use it as justification to implement restrictions on paying customers. If Securom actually did anything to prevent large-scale piracy, there might be a point in calling it 'anti-piracy' software. But it doesn't. It never has. So when this DRM does nothing but inconvenience, worry, and create problems ONLY for people who have LEGIT games, there is certainly reason to gripe. And make no mistake - it does indeed affect paying customers pocket books: they've purchased a game that for many does not work as advertised, denies a purchaser the right to use the product as they wish, and conceals what the 3rd party software included can do or actually does when installed on someone's computer without their knowledge, consent, or control.
We don't buy these things for the DRM, we buy the game. If we're expected to shell out for the DRM too, full disclosure needs to be made so we know what we're actually buying.
Is what you quoted from Maxis on the game packaging? I'd bet not. Mass Effect PC uses the same DRM and all that was printed on the box was that an internet connection was required. None of the rest of it. It's not even listed on this Amazon page!
Of course it's up to the individual to choose whether or not to buy, but as things stand we aren't able to make an INFORMED choice. If publishers are going to insist on such measures, they need to come clean about ALL of it, not just picked and chosen parts.
D. Fix, impoverished doesn't 'necessarily' mean living in a shack and making shoes for a living. Korea does have a good deal of income disparity, and China obviously does. For that matter the U.S. does as well. Yet when someone is refering to the 'poor' in the U.S., they're not talking about the poor in a third world or developing nation. China (Hong Kong) is still a developing country, India is as well. That doesn't mean people don't have access to technology. There is another factor here also, involving the inability to purchase games legally because of varied release dates (if at all). I would assume this would be especially true in China. People could be driven to piracy simply by lack of availability. Especially with movies and music. I know I was excited when I found emulation and being able to play Japanese NES and SNES games that never came out in the U.S. Games can quickly cost more than even a high end computer does. So the fact someone has a computer, doesn't necessarily mean, they can afford games for it. You can get a whole computer for $500 or less, one of those emachines. Back to availability though, have you noticed that the download services often say: for US or Canada only? Or they list different countries? This is especially problematic given that most Action games come from the West these days. There is no need for it to be this way. When you add on DRM that behaves as region coding, matters only get worse. I haven't run into that personally (outside of a few F2P online games and needing proxy servers), but when games have to connect to servers, it could very well block certain countries from registering. The point remains that most piracy isn't just 'to be cheapskates'. Someone here or elsewhere cited that for all this increased DRM only 1 sale per 1,000 has gone up. Considering the cost of the DRM, and some lost customers (people are already telling EA they won't buy the Sims 3 with Securom), that doesn't sound worth it. Also piracy is annoying. Slow downloads. Possible infected or corrupted files. Inability to patch easily frequently enough. If you really wanted a game, could afford it, and it was available- would you want to go through that stress? The only reason I could see would be to avoid DRM. Piracy is blown out of proportion. As I said in another thread- counting each pirated copy as 'lost revenue' would be like Rolex claiming knock-offs as 'lost revenue'; which is clearly not the case. It's justification for companies like SONY to push their software onto other companies. I also bet, if we really got to the real stats on the matter, most piracy would be done by teenagers and college students. The average gamer age is well enough beyond that now that it wouldn't make much of a difference. And odds are they still purchase about the same level of games they would without piracy. I had read, a year or two back, that the average video gamer is now 37 years old. They make up more than their fair share of the market because they can actually afford games. When I was a kid I usually had to wait until the holidays to get the games I wanted. The market must clearly recognize this age shift when they're creating games for older players. Is more revenue lost by piracy than it is by DRM? The only saving grace that the game companies has is the ignorance of the consumer, which they try to perpetuate. If not for people not understanding how bad DRM can become (Sonys PerfectPlay or whatever it was called service going under, but hey they're going to keep supporting all those Mp3s people bought for 3 years after which you're outta luck), educated consumers would raise a fit about it. I do not believe piracy is the problem. The music industry wanted us to believe MP3s were the problem, that no one would ever pay for them online, and we see how accurate that was /sarcasm. People shouldn't pirate, but there are better ways to address the reasons people pirate. There are better and non-invasive mechanisms for making piracy more difficult. Treating your consumers like criminals is not one of them.
Dude. No one would even suggest buying two version of one game unless they're from the EA or Maxis corporate offices. LAME. That's like buying a pair of shoes, and paying the price of the entire pair, per shoe.
Actually, Valve shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as EA. Other than using Steam to prevent piracy and manage keys, Valve doesn't distribute DRM products that don't have the end-user in mind - as it's against their policies. Steam allows you to install your games as many times as you want, without limitations on where and when you play it. You can install it on every single computer you own... just don't have more than one person playing online using the same key - and if you do... you're an idiot anyway who's trying dupe your license.
Just for your information - Valve is the MOST SUCCESSFUL company when it comes to preventing piracy of the games they distribute via Steam. Over 350,000 accounts were locked upon the release of HL2.
I bought into the "evil Steam" threads a few years back, and avoided it like the plague when TFC converted over, but that was before they proved to me - with the changes and growth they were going through - that they were still a company with integrity.
I actually had my account stolen, and they helped to get me up and running again with fresh keys. Other companies would have done what EA and Activision do - provided a link to "Click here to purchase more licenses." I would say that if you support a single video game manufacturer/distributor, it should be Valve. They are very consumer-centric, and they constantly spend money to ensure that their fans don't get screwed by third-party partners... like when they refused to allow Sony and Microsoft to charge for Orange Box updates (console versions). They could have easily said, "$5 ain't too bad a price." But instead it was more like "Over our dead bodies... there's no advantage to nickel and diming our fan-base."
Now, if you want a real conspiracy to chew into... how about the signs that EA, Activision, and other companies who support DRM want the PC gaming industry to die a horrible death so they can focus on console gaming, and stuff like SecuRom is their way to make the public dislike the idea of PC gaming bad enough to affect the revenue that segment of the business can earn.
EA and Activision are malicious companies and, in the grand scheme of things, and the way they focus on consoles at the conventions - they would rather it simply didn't exist at all. Valve is really the last great hope for PC Gaming.
You realize there's still a 3 install limit. Notice how the PR rep carefully avoided mentioning how many times you can install the game. And for that matter, the fact that reinstalling your OS or adding a new video card makes your computer "new".
No, there is a 3 activation limit. You can install/reinstall it as many times as you want, AS LONG AS NOTHING CHANGED ON YOUR MACHINE. The problems occur when the game thinks your machine isn't the same. Or you activate the game on two [or more] accounts on the same machine. One account=one activation. Reformat and reinstall your os will take an activation too. And of course changing hardware. But EA won't tell you how much hardware you can change. Some people have used an activation changing out a graphics card, other people didn't. Some people added RAM, or a new drive and had problems, others didn't. Besides the first time you activate the game, reformat/reinstall your os, and activate the game on multiple accounts, there is no way of telling whether you used an activation or not. EA won't tell you how many you have/have used either.
This whole thing is so illogical it's almost funny. Perhaps EA should spend less time thinking about piracy and more time thinking about their customers. Can't they see that by placing a limited activation on a game they will only force more players to look for cracked versions?! The very thing they are trying to stop, they end up increasing. And to think someone gets paid for making these decisions.
Would rather? I planned to once the activation limit wasn't cut out. It makes no sense that I should have to ask permission to reinstall software that I had payed for, so why even bother? Even if I did buy the game, I would download a cracked version to use, but EA failed me enough when it came to never patching out a bug that kept me from being able to complete (or proceed past the very beginning of) Army of Two that I never intend to buy a single EA product again. That is far from meaning I won't play one, however. If Wright cares, he can tell me so. I have no problem sending a check to the random Maxis employee for the full price of the game, but EA isn't getting another penny of mine.
All DRM does is waste not only my bank account but the bank accounts of so many other PC Gamers around the world. and whoever said that Valve/Steam is the MOST SUCCESSFUL company when it comes to preventing piracy must have had way too much to drink. Valve/Steam is just another form of DRM that ABSOLUTELY NOONE AROUND THE WORLD WANTS ON THEIR COMPUTERS. i know because i have two games with STEAM on them and that really just wasted about $120+AUD of my money. lets face it, all Digital Rights Mockery does is waste the bank account of PC Gamers around the world.
I find the hypocrisy of people masking their true motivation for stealing games, greed, with "frustration" over DRM implementations to be humorous. Game developers and publishers don't' produce games for charity; it's a business where the development alone costs millions. In the past decade piracy on the PC has spread like the Bubonic Plague to the point where one can start stealing any software or entertainment medium in a couple seconds. Being a part of the digital generation I abused piracy too - until I matured, adopted morality into my perspective of piracy, and was unselfish enough to understand things from a game producer's viewpoint.
With so many people stealing software companies lose money which must be accounted for through other means - higher prices, layoffs, lack of further development of PC games, etc. Some form of anti-piracy security measure is mandatory, and the goal with any security measure is to stop the people who are doing the wrong thing while causing little inconvenience to those who are doing nothing wrong.
Some forms of DRM do this better than others, but it's not as if requiring your game to be updated and a login to verify integrity are that much of an inconvenience. You want your games updated to fix bugs, add new things, and balance the game. It takes what...five seconds to log in and authenticate your account before being able to play. These things aren't an inconvenience and provide security to the game companies without requiring the equivalent of a strip search to access the software. It's more like those scanners at the door of retail stores which I doubt cause anyone but a thief that much frustration.
If you are smart about your shopping (read: don't pay full retail for a brand new game you might not like) you can get quality PC games for $5 to $20. I grew up poor raised in mostly foster homes and was homeless for two years so I'm a "frugal" value shopper. I've been getting my games through Steam mostly and sometimes eBay new for very customer friendly prices. Here's some examples: Company of Heroes - $5, Left 4 Dead 2 - $10, Burnout Paradise - $7, Deus Ex 1 & 2 - $2.50, Mass Effect - $5, all Civilization IV games - $10, Dawn of War 2 - $10, Mirror's Edge - $5, Ghostbusters - $4, Elders Scrolls IV (all content) - $7, all original FEAR games - $10, etc.
Remember these are new prices not used key prices. Gaming is expensive, but if you can afford the cost of a computer capable of running these types of games well (not to mention Internet and electricity) and you spend your money intelligently, then you can afford to spend $5 - $10 for a good game. A form of entertainment which will keep you busy for dozens to hundreds of hours providing exponentially more value compared to a movie or HBO, for example.
If you're going to be honest about stealing games, at least be honest about your true motivation for pirating - "why pay for something when I can get it for free." Finally I don't think digital piracy will last much longer. Consider the disparity between piracy on PCs and consoles presently. Now just imagine in the near future when governments finally respond to the cries of industries losing billions to thieves. With an intelligent data monitoring system in place on a national scale piracy will be shepherded into an underground-like market - far less prevalent and easily accessible than today.
I think DRM killed Spore - it pretty much gave license to pirates, as no one wanted to buy a game that had DRM that may damage their machine, and no one wanted to pay for limited activations. The sad thing is, people are putting more trust in hackers and pirates than in the company that produced the product. I'd wager that if EA release SPORE with the title SPORE: Now DRM Free, they'd still sell milions of units. As it stands now, sales are a trainwreck. I pity the people who put blood, sweat and tears into the product only to have it destroyed by a poor management decision.
I think that EA should be able to protect it's intellectual capital, but not at the expense of the consumer. Obviously, the DRM and limited activations only serves to punish legitimate users. There has to be a better way. Don't you think?
Yeah I wanted to thank everyone who's posted here. I may still end up buying this game, but if I do, I'll make sure to download a freeware version and install that instead.
Or I could just spend my time on something more worthwhile. Like a decent game.
EDIT: K. Webb convinced me that this wasn't the game for me, through his callous displays towards people who didn't want to install malware on their computers. If it walks like a virus, talks like a virus, and destroys expensive hardware in parasitic fashion whilst mindlessly following its pre-programmed orders like a virus...