In addition to squashing a number of bugs and shining up the game’s UI, a recent patch stripped Battlefield Bad Company 2’s Steam version of its – most would say – unneeded SecuROM DRM. After all, Steam’s a big PC gaming platform now. It can take care of piracy protection itself.
Sadly, if you didn’t acquire your copy of the game from Valve’s storefront, consider yourself stuck in the bad company of SecuROM for the time being. But hey, here’s this nice list of changes and upgrades to take your mind off that depressing reality. Better than nothing, we suppose.
Yesterday, we reported that, along with losing Activision Blizzard, the PC Gaming Alliance accepted a shifty-eyed new figure into its ranks: Sony DADC. Fortunately, however, the SecuROM parent company doesn’t plan on working any shady deals behind the curtain, according to PCGA president Randy Stude. In fact, like Arnold in Terminator 2, Sony DADC is switching sides to help PC gamers topple a much bigger baddy -- in this case, piracy.
Speaking with BigDownload, Stude explained that Sony DADC decided to join the PCGA in order to assist the organization’s piracy-perforating subcommittee. According to Stude, keeping its alleged enemy roughly as close as its friends will provide the PCGA with ideas for its PC game piracy report, which is coming sometime before the year’s out.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the revolving door, Stude confirmed that PC manufacturer Acer left the building along with Activision Blizzard, for essentially the same monetarily minded reasons. Apparently, when it comes down to saving a few bucks or performing a philanthropic act – contrary to what Fable II and BioShock had us believing – the yellow brick road is the path of least resistance.
But hey, at least GameStop… exists. It recently joined the PCGA as a penny-pinching “Contributor,” which means that the notoriously PC-unfriendly game store is a member, but for less cash. Better than nothing, we guess.
Expect more PCGA-related announcements before this June’s E3 gaming expo.
Good news for Digital Rights Management fans, and particularly for those who take masochistic pleasure in filling their machines with SecuROM-protected titles. Electronic Arts, the company who caused an internet uproar over its custom SecuROM implementation on Spore, has released a SecuROM de-authorization tool.
"Certain EA PC games with SecuROM digital rights management technology allow users to concurrently 'authorize' up to five computers at the same time to play the games, EA states. "Users can then play the game on any authorized computer they choose. If your EA PC game was released after May 2008 and has a machine authorization limit, you can now manage your computer authorizations using EA De-Authorization Tools!"
The De-Authorization Management Tool scans your PC to automatically detect games released after May 2008 with machine authorization limits. You can then download the game-specific de-authorization tool(s) to de-authorize your PC and free up a slot. Alternately, you can skip the scanning and jump straight to the appropriate tool if you already know which games are eligible (see list here).
Thoughts on EA's new tool? Hit the jump and sound off.
“Let’s see… I’ll take one copy of Spore – hold the SecuROM DRM, please.”
“Oh, er, sorry. Your order’s already slathered in DRM and, well, we can’t remove it. If you come back in a couple weeks, though, we might be able to scrape off a bit of it. Sound good?”
Has something like this ever happened to you? A pleasant Sunday afternoon installation spoiled by SecuROM’s goon squad? Well, no more. At least, if you ride under Steam’s banner.
“EA is one of the industry’s largest publishers,” said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. “The EA titles coming to Steam this holiday include some this year’s top PC titles.”
He’s not kidding, either. Titles like Spore, Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, Mass Effect, Need for Speed Undercover, and FIFA Manager 2009 are already available, with Mirror’s Edge, Red Alert 3, and Dead Space moving in with the Freeman family in the “coming weeks.” And, of course, these games will conform to Steam’s standards; in other words, no SecuROM whatsoever.
So, does this mean we can all finally kiss and make up with EA, and notice that it’s released some damn good games over the past year? C’mon now; it’s Christmas.
Electronic Arts couldn't have predicted the unprecedented backlash from outraged gamers following Spore's release, or at least not the extent that they would take the anti-DRM crusade. Protests ran the gamut from blasting the title with thousands of negative user reviews on Amazon to not just making the game available on warez sites, but actively encouraging consumers to pirate the title. If you thought it might be awhile before SecuROM saddled another high profile release, think again.
Despite all the recent raucous, Rockstar has decided to implement the DRM scheme on GTA IV for the PC. But before you cry foul and grab the pitchforks and torches, Rockstar says its version will be much more user friendly than the one found on EA's Spore.
Hit the jump to see what makes GTA IV's DRM different than Spore's.
Much has been made in the media over Spore's DRM scheme, which now limits gamers to five activations (recently pushed up from three activations amid an intense internet backlash). By and large, Electronic Arts has caught most of the criticism for saddling Spore with a modified version of SecuROM, arguably the most hated form of DRM in the gaming community. But should some of the ire be directed at Will Wright as well?
"It was something I probably should have tuned into more," Wright told Jim Reilly from Kotaku.com. "It was a corporate decision to go with DRM on Spore. They had a plan and the parameters, but now we're allowing more authentications and working with players to de-authenticate, which makes it more in line with iTunes. I think one of the most valid concerns about it was you could only install it so many times. For most players it's not an issue, it's a pretty small percentage, but some people do like wiping their hard disk and installing it 20 times or they want to play it 10 years later."
Take from that what you will. While it sounds like Wright has been drinking some of John Riccitiello's Kool-Aid, who recently downplayed DRM with claims that it's only an issue for 0.2 percent of gamers, at least Wright acknowledges the other side of the coin, which is that gamers tend to be enthusiasts who frequently change around their system.
Does EA deserve all the blame on this one? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
Game publisher Electronic Arts has been catching a great deal of flak over its decision to saddle Spore with SecuROM inspired DRM. What was to be a hotly anticipated creature creator game now stands as a product to be made an example of by angry PC gamers who have the nerve to want to be treated like a consumer rather than a potential thief. Well over 2,000 Amazon 'customer reviews' have Spore pegged with a 1.5 star rating, most of which feature angry rhetoric over Spore's DRM, which limits users to three activations As one reviewer put it, "this basically means that you are actually RENTING the game, instead of owning it."
But is EA being unreasonable? The publisher claims the three PC limit essentially represents a balance of meeting the needs of the largest portion of its user base while still limiting piracy. EA notes that, according to its own stats, less than 25 percent of its customers ever activate a game on more than one machine, and those that wish to activate on more than three accounts fall into the under one percentile.
Hit the jump to see what else EA had to say on the matter.