Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I've never liked DRM

This time nothing about programming, but about my other great hobby: video games.

I recently bought Mass Effect for the PC. And it truly is an awesome game, but even though I bought it and I have the 2 DVDs lying right here on my desk, I never installed it. Instead, I downloaded the illegal, cracked, version and installed that. I figured it's not illegal since I did in fact buy the game. I also registered the CD key on the Mass Effect web site, so they know the game I bought was bought by me.

Why did I install the cracked version and not retail version? DRM.

The retail version comes with the SecuROM copy protection. But I don't consider it protection of any kind. It's system crippling software, that creates security problems on your system, makes it slow and unstable and only because the big video game publishers consider you a pirate no matter what. Mass Effect takes it even further. It requires you to activate the game and you can activate it only 3 times. After that you must purchase (yes, you must buy a new copy of the software) a new CD key. They planned it even worse. They wanted the game to require re-activation every 10 days. But after public outcry they changed that to unlimited time, but only 3 activations.

So when do you need to reactivate? When you get a new system. And a new system in this case is when you reinstall Windows, or replace some hardware. From an article linked above it seems to consider a new video card to be equivalent to a new system. That's as brain dead as Windows Vista needing reactivation because replacing my WiFi card must mean I have a new system.

Normally people would "vote with their money". Not buying the game would send a clear signal, but I think that in this case it would only play on the paranoid minds of the publishers. If people didn't buy the game because of the DRM, they'd just figure people where pirating it and they'd need more DRM the next time around. Never even considering that the DRM is what made people not want to buy it in the first place!

When will these people get it into their fracking heads that DRM is a big burden for honest consumers who bought the product, while it's no problem at all for the pirates. The game is cracked, the DRM removed, as soon as the game is available. It's just pestering the people who pay your salary. And it should stop!

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