The truth of DRM

I just posted this on Steam, it’s a rant but I think it expressed my feelings on DRM quite well.

Content protection system

Post below in-case you’re scared of the Steam forums (don’t blame you).

[Response to post saying activation based DRM in games is fine because you can run it on 5 machines and de-activate it at any time]

And when they stop supporting the game in the future?
And how many maximum will they give you?
How many times can you activate / deactivate? Some let you have X activations, but you can only use them N times.
What about when Windows 8 comes out, or Window 9. Will the DRM work? I have a whole shelf full of securom / safedisc games that won’t play on Vista or upwards. Some won’t even install.

See that? That’s called “pissing your paying customers the fuck¬†off”.

Want to format your PC? Oh, can’t just slip the DVD in, got to de-activate all your games before you do that. Oops, I forgot to. Good bye activations!
Perhaps you’ve gotten a virus and you can’t boot windows anymore. Good bye activations.
Oh but I can get them back if I email EA? And how long will it take me to find that contact address, write an email, PROVE that I own the game and to get the activations added?
How many times will they do that?

When will they turn the activation servers off (and they will, look at multiplayer games on XBox live slowly disappear only 1 year after launch) will I be able to play my game? Will the developer (who hopefully hasn’t deleted the source code) really go to the trouble to patch the DRM out? Bloody unlikely.

The hoops you have to jump through to install / uninstall these damn games is rediculous. And there is no way to know if the uninstallation will de-activate it for you!! NONE!

So if you care about you’re game you jump through MANY MANY hoops trying to find manual tools to deactivate it. To ensure it worked.

Just to uninstall a fucking game you own which should take 2 mouse clicks.

I wanted to uninstall Blood Bowl 1 / 2. Took me 5 hours of trauling the internet to figure out how to do it.

Sorry, but this IS NOT a non-issue. DRM affects everyone who legally purchased the game.
To point to numbers and say “oh but look, 5 activations” is not a counter-point.


2 Responses to “The truth of DRM”

  1. theTrav Says:

    Agreed. It’s frustrating to see people give answers like the one your steam post responds to, it can mean one of two things.

    1 – They don’t understand the full ramifications of DRM that will put a hard finite limit on how long you can play the game
    2 – They don’t care, they don’t keep games longer than 1 year and they are happy to translate the use, discard, purchase new model from the physical world into the software world.

    • I’ve noticed that too. Tends to be the stereo-typical “casual gamer” that has no technical knowledge aside from running Windows and double-clicking icons. Perhaps even enough knowledge to download porn and the odd virus.
      I’ve got so many games that I can thankfully play with DOSBox, but I sincerely fear, like many others, that DRM will create a dark age of gaming where we can no longer play these games. Complex DRM, encryption, online verification. These will only work for so long.

      The irony is, its only the cracking teams like Razor 1911, etc, that can save us from this. The exact people the DRM is supposed to defeat.

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