Games for Windows Ups Ante in Anti-Piracy Fight

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icefox111

This release-date check crap isn't anything new. Devs tried it with games such as Crysis: Warhead and Assassin's Creed. Know what? Both times, those games were cracked before their release date by groups such as Razor1911 and RELOADED.

They don't seem to get that no matter how much money they pour into copyright protection and DRM, there will always be a group of guys who know assembly and are ready and willing to put all of that to waste. It's ironic, because the only people who are at a loss are those who buy the games legitimately.

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Nastyman

Look at what happened to World of Goo, there was no DRM of any sort and the game was stolen 90% of the time and it only sold for 20 bucks. Of what I read, the game was fun to play and ran well and as a result they won't be producing another game. They have bills to pay and want to live good just like you and when they don't get paid for their efforts they stop writing games. We both loose in that scenario.

 So, how do they protect themselves and give you total control over your game...after all you bought the game and want to play it when and where ever you want...just like you can with your older games. I have no idea and I don't think the Steam system is the way to go....businesses go out of business for any amount of reasons, now what happens to all the money you sunk into games on their system? Plus you don't have the games on DVDs, how do you use the game if you don't have the media and no way to unlock it?

There has to be a way to make both the gamer and developer happy, we just haven't found it yet....and we better if PC gaming is to continue.

Nasty

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HeartBurnKid

Stardock doesn't use any DRM in their games (GalCiv, Sins), and they do just fine and dandy.

Isn't it possible World of Goo's failure is a marketing failure, not "killed by pirates"?   Pirates will download anything for free, but if you want paying customers, you really have to show them what you've got.

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MeTo

THE BIGGEST GAMING COMPANY in the world, Electronic
Arts, has hammered what could be the final nail into the coffin of
overbearing Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Announcing that the next installment of best-selling entertainment franchise, The Sims 3,
will use a simple CD key for copy protection, the game's executive
producer, Rod Humble, may have set up a sea of change in the way
software developers fight piracy.

"To play the game there will not be any online authentication needed," Humble wrote on the Sims 3
website. "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 authorisation server access in
the distant future," he said.

EA recently came under fire over Draconian DRM systems built into its much-hyped evolve-'em-up game, Spore,
which restricted the number of installs allowed per user and hobbled
large portions of the game's content if no persistent Internet
connection was available.

EA main man, John Riccitiello, has openly admitted he's no fan of
DRM, yet it still comes as a surprise the company would choose to make
such an announcement on such an important release. µ

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MeTo

I played a demo of World of Goo. It does not sell beacuse it was total crap. IMHO

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shellpc

Supposedly Valve has said that if they ever do go out of business they'll patch all their games so you don't need to authenticate them anymore. You'd still need to back them up before the servers went down. Mostly its a rumor though as I've never seen anyone, even on the Steam forums, able to point to an official statement on this.

 

As for an alternative, Stardock's "GOO" shows promise - http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/stardock%E2%80%99s_%E2%80%9Cgoo%E2%80%9D_drm_makes_steamworks_obsolete

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P41nM4k3r

I'm not too sure what the average age of MaximumPC readers are, (Great magazine BTW, long time fan, at least I don't have to have it updated or verified before I read it ;) or gamers for that matter, but I'm 39 years old and I've been laid off or between jobs more times than I care to remember. And I have had to go without the internet more times than I have fingers in the last ten years. It sucks. I absolutely refuse to even try "online only" games. I avoid them like the plague. I still have yet to try World of Warcraft and regretably, I never will. I've even refused their free 10 day demo.

I'm so fed up with software these days being so internet dependant.

I don't have to update my bread before I eat it. I don't have to update my shirt before I wear it. Why in the heck should I have to update, or have verified, my software before I use it. What... My money wasn't verification enough!!!

If a horse can't run straight out of the gate, THEN IT'S A LOOSER! Period. And if the owner of that said horse had any wits about him, he'd put it down, or at the very least, stop feeding and wasting money on it.
If the software companies can't produce a product that runs properly straight out of the box, THEN WE SHOULD DETERMINE THAT IT IS A LOOSER. Period. And if we collect our wits about us, we should stop feeding the software companies our money. It's that simple.

Imagine going to your favorite clothing store to by a pair of pants and, after taking them home and opening up their package, you find a nice little note inside saying that you'll have to take them back sometime in the near future to have pockets or a zipper sewn in. And if you don't like it, too bad because it's a new way to combat shoplifting. Yeah right. What a load of horse sh1t. I don't know about you, but I'd be mad as hell.

In my eyes, their restrictive and diminutive "Agreement and Terms of Usage" crap is simply unlawful. Restriction is a form of harm and it is unlawful to harm another in any capacity or way.

The way I see it, after I trade my money for their product, It's a done deal. It's now my property and that's that. To hell with their "Agreements and Terms of Usage".

I look over at my bookshelf of current, store bought games and I now see four "Games for Windows" logos. Guess what. I won't see a fifth. I'll cut my hands off before I "purchase" a fifth one. Better yet, it's a yo ho ho, off to the virusbay I go. And if the software companies think that they'll have me reined into court for piracy, or anything else relevant to that effect, I have only two things to say to them. Number one: You can't squeeze blood from a stone. I'm pretty much broke. Number two: I'll do my time and like it. Do you really think that there is enough room in the jails to fit millions of pirated software downloaders and users. NO! They can hardly contain the number of crack heads and home invaders currently incarcerated. Idle threats. Learn to recognize them people. If the government has enough money to punish millions of pirated software downloaders while the lines at the food banks get longer and longer, then I think it's safe to say that we have the wrong government and I hereby revoke my consent to be governed by such said government. It is unlawful to govern another without their consent.

And, oh ya, Hey Microsoft, thanks for making your fancy little (and highly recognizable) "Games for Windows" logo and plastering it all over every box of games that you suckered other companies into bundling your crapware with because now, when I walk into EBGames or whatever store to spend the money that I earned by the sweat of my brow and I see that little logo, it's like getting a good stiff finger poke in the  eye and I know EXACTLY which games NOT to buy.

At least a trillion dollar company can get SOMETHING right. Thanks for the clear and highly identifyable warning label.

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Balgaroo

The only question that I have is will it always require the internet?  I live in TX and when I go to my parents house in FL to visit how will I activate the current game that I am playing.  Such as whith Oblivion, I took the game and save files with me when I went to FL, installed it on their PC, played for a week and came back with my game and save file.  They have a mondern computer, able to play any game that is out or will be out in the next few years but they do not have internet, they say they do not use it or need it.  My dad loves stratagy games and my mom is a SIMs game fanatic but neither use the internet.  

Does this mean that if a PC is not hooked up to the internet, that I will be unable to play the game that I bought on that PC. 

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Dwood15

Do your own reporting guys... As much as I love maxpc this is like on a previous post, a blogpost about a blogpost about something mediocre.

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BaggerX

Actually, it's a blog post about something that a lot of us do care about.  Maybe they'll decide to do a real article on these issues as well.  Everything that gets posted here isn't stuff that is written by Max PC people, but they aren't wasting any paper for it.  If you don't have an interest in it, then skip the post.

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mclovin

Pirates will ALWAYS find a way around these things. Thus, all the company is doing is punishing their paying customers. It's like those FBI Warnings that your player doesn't let you skip through at the beginning of a DVD. It doesn't stop anybody from copying the disc. All it does it make the people who legitimately bought your product wish they pirated it instead. At least then they wouldn't have to watch your retarded warning notice.

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I Jedi

This is no way or how affects the gaming community portion that actually buys their games legit. As they shouldn't have the game anyways before launch date.

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zeringue

Game titles cost too much, which feeds the need to pirate the game.  Drop the initial price by more than half, which in turn will increase the value and reduce the need to crack the game.  Start selling in volume, quit trying to make all of the development costs in the first 3 months.  There is no value in cracking a 20 dollar game that used to cost 60 bucks.  More people will part with 20 dollars and your sales volume will go up and piracy goes down.

 

Reduce the packaging costs as well.  Why do I need this huge box for a dvd?  Its just added costs, xbox games dont require it neither should pc games. 

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ericzombie

Good point.

 

One thing that nobody mentions now is how when Left 4 Dead was 50% off on Steam, they sold more copies in that weekend than they did from before that date from thier launch. That says something. A quality game, at 50% off. I would have bought it had I not been completely stark broke at the time, and now I really regret not being able to get it then, as I don't value it at $50, but for $25, sign me up....

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TheEricZombie

well, seems you're ericzombie too.  want to switch names?

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Keith E. Whisman

This bothers me. What if the Game Studios decide that they need to remove a game because of say a copyright violoation in the game or something like that. They have to turn the games off. With a setup like this Studios can decide or be court ordered to disable their games at any time. Like lets you are like me and you freaking love Crisis Wars online play and all of a sudden while your hunting down a low ping server the game kicks you out to the desktop and does this everytime you click on it's icon. That is too much power. They control too much. We as the consumers need more rights when it comes to games and software. We are after all paying a premium in a lot of cases to use our software and games. 

I say "I bought it I own it, It's mine. Go screw off". The Studios say that it's there software and games and that you purchase a licence to use the software within the terms of the license. Basically since there are terms you really never do own anything here.  

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Taz0

Well then I guess you didn't understand how the 0day protection works. Part of the game is encrypted - imagine a password protected zip file, only with encryption that will take years to crack. Say the main EXE of the game is encrypted. There's no way to play the game without the main EXE, and release groups ("them wretched pirates" for those more inclined) can never get their hands on it from a leaked game, because they don't have the password either. Again, the strong encryption means it will take years to find the password by brute-force, which makes the attempt irrelevant. 

At the game's official release date, the password (or "decryption key") is released to the public, and the game's installer can get it via the internet, decrypt the encrypted part of the game, and allow you to play. It's a onetime process, and one way only. They cannot "deactivate" your game since you already know the decryption key. Once the key is out, there's no taking it back. The only thing this protects is release groups getting their hands on, and releasing, games before their official launch dates. 

This is an exact copy of what Steam does when it allows you to pre-load unreleased games. It allows you to download the whole game, but in an encrypted format, and only releases the decryption key on the game's official launch date.

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shellpc

First you're assuming the encryption will be strong enough to take years to crack. There's no guarantee on that. Sometime last year some Russians cracked WPA2 using a bunch of nVidia gpus. Building a poor man's suprer computer is not that hard these days.

 You're also slightly incorrect on how Steam does its 0-day protection. They do allow you to preload a game and its encrypted, but they also hold back a few critical files to run the game that don't get released for download until release day. So its more secure than this method that gives you everything but the key.

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Taz0

Wrong. You could use a 1024 bit symmetric encryption and it would take the top supercomputer of today thousands of years to crack. With that kind of security you don't need to leave out any files (but Steam might).

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shellpc

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/russian_firm_breaches_wifi_security_bulwark_using_nvidia_graphics_cards

 Is the article I was referring to. It certainly sounds like its possible to build quite a powerful supercomputer using gpus these days. Maybe not enough to break 1024 bit encryption in a timely fashion, but I would assume much faster than linking a bunch of cheap desktop cpus together. You don't need to build a highly specialized supercomputer (like the old Crays in order to have one these days. You can easily use everyday pcs, just linked together in large quantities

 

And I'd say Steam does hold back files till release day. Its been discussed on the Steam forums in the past. I've also noticed when pre ordering and pre loading software not only is there a decryption process, but extra files that do get downloaded on release day.

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BaggerX

And what happens if you want to install it again 6 months later and they've decided not to allow any more activations.  That's the scenario the previous poster was referring to.  Whether it be due to a lawsuit or some other legal liability issue, if they don't allow activations, you can't install it anymore.

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Taz0

That's why it not an "activation". It's a decryption, and it doesn't have to be online only. A possible implementation is that you could have the decryption program included with the game, and it can either download the decryption key from the internet or you could supply it a text file with the key. It doesn't need to call home.

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BaggerX

You're not getting it.  The scenario he was talking about was them shutting down the decryption key retrieval system so that no more copies could be decrypted.  Whether due to a lawsuit or some other reason, there would be no way to decrypt a copy anymore after that.  They wouldn't give you a way to do it.

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bingojubes

...an into the blind purchase age. least Gamespot will get TONS more hits for reviews and such.but sometimesonline reviews just don't cut it for some...

whoa. zero-day constrictions. interesting concept. now i got to be EVEN MORE picky about which games i buy.

so, since there hasn't been much in the way of pre-release DEMOS recently, i think piracy helps those players who are either on a budget and/or skeptical about the overall product, or just being cheapskates like myself. so much for try-before-you-buy for PC games now. guess i'll just have to look harder for torrents. bad enough that PC gaming is looking the way it is. in my case, i can't afford to use 20$ in gas to drive to Gamestop and spend another 50$ on a game, only to not like it for whatever reason, and be denied a decent return because i opened it when i got home, which automatically gives me the maximum of 3$ back in store credit, or however much it is now if anything. screw that. i may as well download it for free, try it, and if i like it enough, MAYBE i will go pick up a copy and support the franchise farther and get the full experience. 

sure, downloaded games usually do not incorporate the latest game fixes and patches, but provide a nice buffer in the case where i do not like the game. at the Gamestop i go to, the clerk told me that they would stop carrying future PC titles, unless i were to reserve a copy, then they would carry it. screw that as well, a far as pre-orders go, my last experience with Mirror's Edge was the last straw. i'd rather pay my high Comcast bill and get all the downloadable games i want. saves gas, money, and saves myself from making regrettable purchases of a dying selection of PC games. not everyone can afford World of Warcraft, and i am perfectly happy with Guild Wars.

then again, i COULD shell out 500$ for a console, but PC games are so much cheaper than their console counterparts. it's a win-win for PC users. mod a console for 100$? just get FREE imaging software for PC. saves even more money. i do wish PC gaming gave more offline options than all the multiplayer. surprised - maybe thats another way of keeping track of piracy - through your online accounts while you are fragging it up with friends over the internet.

if not, scrap the entire DRM/Piracy Protection system, and not even hint and promote a game until it's release day. if not, companies need to start making cliche'd games over and over again. simple as that. maybe a new game concept would sell better than a rehashed WW2 game. for a company that is famous for the BF series, i took a chance and BOUGHT a copy of Mirror's Edge - loved it ever since. it had been awhile since i had bought a video game, and it wasn't that bad.

Hi, i'm a PC, and i am a cheapskate when it comes to re-hashed videogames.

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Pureoverclocking

that nice but Pirates Games Alway Find Other Way Do it.

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nhskier4life

I'm pretty sure they have already started doing this. I remember GTA IV checking for the correct date when I first ran it.

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Geeksquadmyss

Adding DRM and anti piracy measures only pisses people off! Go pirate a game and look how easy it is to install and run, its so simple anyone can do, and thats why people do do it!  

Valve knows this, Steam is awesome and i love using it i buy a game and i always have on my PC!  Games for windows is becoming so maddening i might buy a PS3 and only play that to spit MS, They constantly try to f**k over people who buy there games trying to prevent piracy, and its unrealistic, anything can be hacked!  

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PhelanPKell

I'm starting to think that Microsoft is incapable of learning. Like the idiot who starts a fight, gets whipped, but keeps coming back for more punishment time after time.

I'm sure Microsoft thought that the authentication built into their Windows Update setup was ingenius, but it took very little time for crackers to take care of that on XP, and even less time to deal with it in Vista.

When will Microsoft realize, that they just can't win through these brute gestapo methods. Release HIGH-quality games, at a reasonable price, WITHOUT DRM, and maybe you'll start to get somewhere...

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Vegan

I can't think of any way that this could possibly go wrong!

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chronium

they will just respond like they do with every other authentication, make a crack that says the game is already authenticated .

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BaggerX

To do that, they'd have to have a way to decrypt the encrypted bits without the activation code.  Unless there's a fundamental flaw in the encryption algorithm, or a way to obtain activation codes early, then I don't see that happening.  Still, at most this buys them a few days before a cracked version hits the net.  I don't see it having much of an impact on piracy, except possibly to increase it because people don't want to have to have an internet connection active every time they install the game from now til forever.

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bradleyward

Its better then the other DRM schemes. I see no problem in this, but if my internet gets cut off...the preorder game is a dud till I find a hot spot...a con I guess.

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mlee19

Games for windows client BS is already enough to put me over the edge, but this will kill pc gaming's future in my opinion and keep me from buying any game that emploments this slum of the earth garbage. Seriously, we all know that game release dates are not equal on the PC front, limited support and over priced. If they would realize that and fix that., I believe most people will purchase rather than obtain the game through other means.

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stige

this can't and won't kill "pc gaming's future".

it'll just cripple MS Games for Windows future and any chance they may have had at being attractive, popular, fun to own or minimize piracy.

games thru steam and other vendors will still be just fine.  i don't seem steam/valvue buying into this BS or trying to adopt it.  it stinks of MS incompitence and inability to actually listen to or understand it's customers.  bleh.

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I Jedi

Very badly.

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nekollx

did Drew ever consider the fact Publishers, notably MMO publishers offer beta and pre order access, often with a "head start" to play the game BEFORE the street date?

 

Hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm? 

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