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Gamers upset over Mass Effect DRM

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 18 Jun 2008 13:31 User comments (34)

Gamers upset over Mass Effect DRM Last month, we reported that the blockbuster PC game Mass Effect was set to have rolling DRM, the form of DRM unflatteringly known as "phoning home" as every 10 days the game would connect to Bioware's servers and re-activate itself. After the report surfaced around the Internet though, the backlash was too much for the company and they decided to remove the DRM from the game.
As was said then, "BioWare has always listened very closely to its fans and we made this decision to ensure we are delivering the best possible experience to them," said BioWare community manager Jay Watamaniuk.

"To all the fans including our many friends in the armed services and internationally who expressed concerns that they would not be able re-authenticate as often as required, EA and BioWare want you to know that your feedback is important to us."


The game of course still has DRM though, and the DRM is upsetting gamers. Instead of "phoning home", the game only needs to be authenticated once but can only be installed 3 times, total.

This has obviously become a problem as it is appearing that many PC upgrades trigger the game to be re-authenticated again, burning through one of your possible three. There have been reports and forum posts from users who have upgraded their video card and been forced to re-authenticate. How did EA respond? The company said the users should buy another copy of the game if they run out of activations. This is what you will receive if you "waste" your activations: “The game can not start. For security reasons, only a limited number of machines can ever be licensed by a single purchase. This limit has been reached. Please purchase another registration code, reinstall, and then try again.”

If the distributors of Mass Effect are trying to push gamers towards piracy (where the games have infinite activations and never have to phone home) then they are certainly doing a good job.

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34 user comments

118.6.2008 13:51

LMFAO. teach them for trying to rape the consumer. their attempt to combat piracy only encourages it.

218.6.2008 14:16

Does the game with it's own lube? Or must we supply our own?

318.6.2008 14:24

Well from what I've heard, you can have your own lube present, but unfortunately they keep it just out of reach as they pound you.

Strangely enough, my copy of Mass Effect, which I acquired (cough) suffers none of these issues. No dialing home, unlimited installs, no calling up EA Tech Support in India and begging them for more lube, er..I mean, activations.

I saw the writing on the wall with the EA takeover. Maybe I'll send back my original Baldurs Gate II discs to Bioware covered in sheep's blood, along with a note as to why I will never buy from them again (keyword: buy).

The two founding doctors (Ray and Greg) of Bioware used to be in medicine. Maybe they should go back to probing the colons of their patients instead of their paying game customers.

418.6.2008 14:26

First Music. Haven't bought but 1 CD in last 4 years. Not even p2p. 1, most music sucks. 2, and not worth the money with all the garbage they now put on them. Then DVD's. Use to buy 1 a week. Then went to 1 a month. Over the last year only 1. Again, Mostly crappy movies, or filled with so much other crap, they won't work properly.

Now Games. Geez. Not a huge gamer, but this will be a game that I WILL NOT get. Every 3 months Im upgrading something in the system and doing a reformat. So I would have to buy a new copy every 9 months at min. NOT.

And they keep wondering WHY sales are down. (are they really?) Used to spend a good 3k a year in Music, Movies, Games. Last 12 months, spent exactly 12.99 on a movie, and 49.99 on a game. Thats it. Maybe I should thank them. LOL

518.6.2008 15:18

The trouble with install limits it effects the right of resale a item and this goes against the first sale doctrine....

618.6.2008 16:36

I don't even see why they bother with "protections" anymore.

The average Joe may not be able to get around it to copy it for the neighbor but the biggest fish, the warez groups, all know or very quickly learn how to get around the protections anyway.

As DVDBack23 stated, it seems as if they are wanting consumers to pirate their stuff. I would love to see a company release a PC game DRM-Free just to show that it would probably sell more (if its a decent game) then if they put tons of restrictions on it such as the ones in Mass DRM...err..Effect.

718.6.2008 16:46

Good i was one Of those people that threw them the bone. they should have never thought about.

To the re-registration problem its a Game Config issue, you can get rid of it through certain methods.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 18 Jun 2008 @ 16:51

818.6.2008 16:58

Originally posted by Pop_Smith:
I don't even see why they bother with "protections" anymore.

The average Joe may not be able to get around it to copy it for the neighbor but the biggest fish, the warez groups, all know or very quickly learn how to get around the protections anyway.

As DVDBack23 stated, it seems as if they are wanting consumers to pirate their stuff. I would love to see a company release a PC game DRM-Free just to show that it would probably sell more (if its a decent game) then if they put tons of restrictions on it such as the ones in Mass DRM...err..Effect.
gciv and sins of a solar empire has sold well and are drmless

918.6.2008 17:01

"If the distributors of Mass Effect are trying to push gamers towards piracy (where the games have infinite activations and never have to phone home) and they are certainly doing a good job."

So, is the patch out yet? lol ( I don't own nor will I ever own this game, I'm just joking, but curious nonetheless. )

1018.6.2008 17:14

Originally posted by cart0181:
"If the distributors of Mass Effect are trying to push gamers towards piracy (where the games have infinite activations and never have to phone home) and they are certainly doing a good job."

So, is the patch out yet? lol ( I don't own nor will I ever own this game, I'm just joking, but curious nonetheless. )
let just say its out in spades, because this version of securom has been cracked before it was near instant unlike bioshock that took a few weeks to hack right.

1118.6.2008 18:19

The main disvantage with pirated games in the past was losing online-gaming feature, but extra servers are popping up for most games so it doesn't really mather anymore.
but bothering the costumer with all this is just piracy-encouraging, not even MS does this... >.<

1218.6.2008 18:22

Originally posted by chaos_zzz:
The main disvantage with pirated games in the past was losing online-gaming feature, but extra servers are popping up for most games so it doesn't really mather anymore.
but bothering the costumer with all this is just piracy-encouraging, not even MS does this... >.<
just wait till they start using a free limtied version of live to "protect" games with ^^

1318.6.2008 18:28

I said it before with the first story:
I won't buy what I can't back up.

I buy it, it's mine.
I should be able to install it as many times as I want.

1418.6.2008 20:51
fgamer
Inactive

Silly crackheads at EA are being ran by lab rats.

1518.6.2008 20:59

3? Even crappy I-Tunes DRM will give you 7. I have 7 computers, and if I decide to change the machine I'm playing it on, I'm going to do it. If I pay for it, it's my legal right.

1618.6.2008 21:08

Quote:
If the distributors of Mass Effect are trying to push gamers towards piracy (where the games have infinite activations and never have to phone home) and they are certainly doing a good job.

I want all to say is that Bioware is the impetus and cause of game piracy.

1719.6.2008 0:12

basically what we are buying is a license not a game. the game is theirs we're just paying 60 bucks for permission to play the game up to 3 install, then they take it away from us.

interesting concept.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 19 Jun 2008 @ 0:14

1819.6.2008 1:29

Originally posted by navi1199:
basically what we are buying is a license not a game. the game is theirs we're just paying 60 bucks for permission to play the game up to 3 install, then they take it away from us.

interesting concept.

I can't wait till they put it on console games they have every steppingstone avabile to do with with 360 and PS3 games, this is something software makers have been trying to limit "under profits" for a awhile now look at the autodesk thing where the courts ruled that reselling is not illegal.

THe only trouble is there would be such a shit storm over it not only from consumers but the resale market corporate heads will roll, i am hoping such restrictions are found to agisnt the law.

1919.6.2008 3:34
nobrainer
Inactive

Thank you very much sony for screwUrom, another of your pro-consumer moves. we love your shiny outlook of, licence and DRM everything. (for ppl that don't know secuROM is sony made DRM)

@ Pop_Smith

there was and it did rather well, regardless of the big industry players, ala sony and co (who make, and most importantly SELL the DRM) stating that it would flop due to rampant piracy. Galactic Civilizations II

http://blogs.ign.com/Stardock_Games/2008/01/29/78711/

Originally posted by link:
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Copy Protection
AKA: Yes Virgnia, there’s no CD copy protection in Sins of a Solar Empire

I remember hearing at a conference that when an executive at a big publisher heard that Galactic Civilizations II shipped with no CD copy protection that they quipped “I hope bankruptcy treats them well.”

Millions of dollars in sales later as one of the top selling PC strategy games at retail (according to NPD) over the past couple of years let’s me say “Ha!” in response. And this is on a game that made most of its money on digital sales.

I don’t like piracy. I don’t like people using stuff my friends and I worked very hard on for years without compensating us. But I also can make the distinction between piracy and lost sales. That’s a distinction that most DRM and copy protection schemes ignore.

The bottom line on copy protection is that if you create a greater incentive for someone to buy your game than to steal it, those who might possibly buy your game will make the choice to buy it.
@ ZippyDSM

there are going to surely change to that type of anti-consumer model and sony's PSN release of warhawk shows just what it will be like in the near future. they will convert all the sheepes very slowly just as we are being conditioned into a surveillance society.

IF YOU ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING ILLEGAL DRM IS NOT AN ISSUE!
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 19 Jun 2008 @ 4:12

2019.6.2008 17:15

Smart i think not.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 21 Jun 2008 @ 20:53

2119.6.2008 21:45

You'd figure they would learn from Crysis, if the game is good it will sell despite piracy. It sold over a million-plus and still going. Like one of the posters said, this just promotes piracy. I mean keep the basic protection on, but putting it in a straight jacket to do a periodical internet check up which will then mess up the settings of the game or your puter. Forget it.

2219.6.2008 21:53

I don't know about the rest of you, but unless I purchase a game specifically for online play like WOW, then the game is immediately firewalled for connecting to the internet. If I later decide I want to use any of the online features of the game (rare case), then I will temporarily disable the firewall for that gaming session. I am probably just paranoid, but there is NO reason a game that I purchased to play for my personal enjoyment on my computer should need to phone home. What I purchase to put on my computer should be able to be used out of the box without any additional hoops to jump through.

2319.6.2008 22:39

Originally posted by skopas:
You'd figure they would learn from Crysis, if the game is good it will sell despite piracy. It sold over a million-plus and still going. Like one of the posters said, this just promotes piracy. I mean keep the basic protection on, but putting it in a straight jacket to do a periodical internet check up which will then mess up the settings of the game or your puter. Forget it.

and yet the publisher/dev blames piracy for poor sales.....

2419.6.2008 23:34

Why the limitations on everything? It's almost like buying a car, but only being able to drive it to 3 places. How bout a little more freedom here? 3 is incredibly low.
Just out of curiousity, does anyone know if AnyDvd corrects any of this? Or would this be a completely different beast?

2519.6.2008 23:36

Originally posted by sgriesch:
Why the limitations on everything? It's almost like buying a car, but only being able to drive it to 3 places. How bout a little more freedom here? 3 is incredibly low.
Just out of curiousity, does anyone know if AnyDvd corrects any of this? Or would this be a completely different beast?

they want to devastate the 2nd hand market.

2620.6.2008 0:10

So if your like me, as I tend to reformat my computer way too often, around every 3 months... I'd be screwed quite quickly...

Long live Valve's Steam!!!

2720.6.2008 0:15
susieqbbb
Inactive

funny i would rather not purchase the game if it is going to do this garbage.

2820.6.2008 2:36

Quote:
gciv and sins of a solar empire has sold well and are drmless
Quote:
they want to devastate the 2nd hand market
Actually, GalCiv2 and Sins aren't any better for the resale market than Mass Effect PC. Even though GalCiv2, etc, have no DRM on the disc, the game must be activated online and it will only activate through your Stardock account. This means you can make as many copies of the game as you like, and install it as often as you like, but you must still activate it through your specific Stardock account, so you cannot re-sell a Stardock game unless you don't mind giving away your account along with it (and then you will lose access to everything you have purchased under that account, not just the one game).

Of course, this is still far preferable to Mass Effect on the PC limiting you to 3 installs per purchase. That is unbelievably draconian. I tinker with my PCs a lot, upgrading components frequently, and I typically build a completely new one every year or so. I still enjoy playing many of my old games on whatever my current gaming rig is -- I mean some really old ones like Deus Ex, RtCW, BG2, GTA3, SoF2, as well as slightly more recent ones like Far Cry, KotOR, VtM:Bloodlines, Painkiller, FEAR, etc. I guess EA doesn't want me to be able to play Mass Effect for years like I do many other titles. I like new games, but that doesn't mean I stop liking all the older ones.

I bought Mass Effect for PC when it was released, and I didn't know about the DRM. I would not have purchased it had I known that I was only buying a license for 3 installations. Even if I never lend it to anyone else, and only install it for my own use on one PC at a time, I can see I will run out of installations in fairly short order. Then I guess I will have no other option but to obtain it in a more friendly form when I get to that point. And I won't feel the slightest bit guilty about it either, since I've already paid for the game.

This is bad. I'm one of those annoying people that has always paid for the games I play, and I especially go out of my way to support the best developers, of which Bioware is certainly one. I don't want to see PC gaming fade away because everyone is stealing instead of buying. But now EA has figured out something so customer-hostile that it will make me go searching for alternative methods of acquisition... Smooth move...

2920.6.2008 3:09

You don't need the net to install or play the retail dvd.

if online activation was required that would bunk their no DRM claim.
You can register the game to your account and get updates faster but tis not required.

Digi distro games are still stupid IMO high price+no resale or transfer ability, I am sorry offer me a game thats in data only for half price of retail and I might buy in..on wait I can get it cheaper used *rolls eyes* stupid companies trying to take advantage of the witless sheep and then sue them for grasing in other fields because they can't over charge them ><

3022.6.2008 0:44

Originally posted by ZippyDSM:
You don't need the net to install or play the retail dvd.

if online activation was required that would bunk their no DRM claim.
You can register the game to your account and get updates faster but tis not required.
See this link from Stardock:
http://forums.stardock.com/122873/page/4

You are right, you don't need to register the product, but then you are stuck with version 1.0 that came on the disc. It is not about getting updates faster, but getting them at all. (And GalCiv2 v1.0 is riddled with bugs, including broken quests and crashes, but these are nicely fixed IF you are registered and update the game.)

My point was about the resale market. Stardock EULA specifically forbids the resale of their games, period. Mass Effect for PC has no such restriction in the EULA, but it has a practical restriction against resale do to the 3-installs-per-purchase DRM. Personally, I prefer Stardock's no-DRM-but-no-resale method over any kind of installation restriction since a single buyer can reasonably expect to install a favorite game more than once over the course of time, even if he or she is the only one that will ever play the game. Mass Effect for PC DRM will punish law-abiding customers with a limit of 3 installs -- a limit that can be overcome only by acquiring the game illegally. That will certainly encourage piracy, not prevent it. It is bad enough when you can find warez so easily, but it's just stupid to make people feel justified in using them.

Stardock is on the right path to figuring out a customer-friendly way to sell PC games while striving to keep PC-centric gaming alive (which the widespread theft of PC titles compared to console titles is making increasingly difficult from the developer's and publisher's point of view.)

3122.6.2008 1:00

POEE
ack a wall'o'text *hides*
:P

Sorry for the coming zippy speak

1.only new spanking patches have to be registered for
as you can see below getting a patch is rather easy.
http://www.gamershell.com/download_26522.shtml
http://www.gamershell.com/pc/sins_of_a_solar_empire/

2.EULAs are nice but not "real" contracts until proven otherwise in court and frankly with the recent CD/DVD promotion and autodesk used good rulings they can not make software illicit after it gets into the 2nd hand market they can try and block but they can never prevent resale.


2.Heres hope EA sees the lgiht and turns off install limits 2K/Bioshock just turned off their tokens...

4.EULA aside stardock is going in the right direction.

329.7.2008 20:13
vudoo
Inactive

I'm a visually impaired user and use a program called Zoomtext 9.1 with speech. It too has DRM. You can only install it on 3 computers. However I had to raformat my Vista laptop twice and I installed it on my desk top as well. Now after that I can't install it anymore. Luckily I got a hold of a nice female at AI Squared and told her of my problem. She re activated my program for me. However what happens if AI Squared goes out of business or their license server goes down? I looked for a crack just to give me peace of mind and their is none to date. I'm hoping that at least the web ware Izoom stays active for the time when Zoomtext is no more.

DRM is not fair at all and only pisses off the customer.

339.7.2008 23:53

Originally posted by vudoo:
DRM is not fair at all and only pisses off the customer.
QFT

3422.7.2008 17:05

Well, at least with the "Finalize" crack, this version of DRM is effectively dead. Only a matter of time until they come up with another one, though.

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