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Assault on Dark Athena DRM Backlash

The Starbreeze Forums and Atari Forums for The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena each have threads complaining about the game's DRM, describing a non-revocable three-installation limit that does not allow further installations after it has been reached. This has inspired another protest centered on the reviews on the Amazon listing for the game, where an increasing number of reviews complain about the DRM. We contacted Atari about this and received the following response:

The protection on the PC version of The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is an activation system with online authentication required the first time you install the game on a machine. The activation code lets you install the game on up to 3 machines, with an unlimited number of installs on each assuming that you donít change any major hardware in your PC or re-install your operating system.

If you reach the maximum number of installations you can contact the Atari hotline and if itís a legitimate request you can get a new activation code.

We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy.

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91. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 10, 2009, 12:24 Jerykk
Finding ways to run old games on PC isn't even anything new, so I don't see why it's so horrible to do it for this title.

It's a matter of principle. Why should customers be forced to illegally crack the game they paid for? Why should customers be burdened with activations and install limits when pirates aren't? Imagine if your car required you to hotwire it whenever you wanted to drive anywhere. Imagine if the doors to your house wouldn't open unless you went out and got an illegally-produced key? Essentially requiring customers to go through hoops to play their games is stupid.

They continue to lament the piracy problem on PC and you look like a rationalizing thief to anyone with half a brain and any respect for morals in a capitalist system.

Wait, did you just put "morals" and "capitalist system" in the same sentence? They couldn't be greater opposites. Atari obviously has no morals if they're willing to burden their customers for a fruitless cause.

3 - Buy the game - I still choose to do this, as being a developer is much harder and thankless than any of you seem to grasp, and they NEED the success and money from game sales to survive. Instead of punishing them for something their publisher did, I support them with a sale and then crack the .exe when I need to... in essence, it is more important to me to support developers making great games I like than it is to complain about DRM I can easily bypass.

Except where do you draw the line? If you buy a game with DRM, you are endorsing DRM and convincing publishers to keep using it. While developers deserve to be rewarded for making good games, they also need to avoid dealing with crappy publishers. Buying games with DRM changes nothing. Customers should not have to bear the whole burden of a publisher's idiocy.

I don't like activation limits but I like seeing PC releases dwindle and great developers being shut down even less. Iron Lore is a great example... a great bunch of guys with a great game (Titan Quest) that sold like crap but was torrented to hell and back. They didn't do anything to bring that on themselves either, the game was not saddled with horrid DRM, but people pirated it anyway.

ALL games are pirated to hell and back. Iron Lore shut down because they created a Diablo-clone that most people simply weren't interested in buying. To blame their failure on piracy is all too convenient. It's like blaming the poor sales of Psychonauts, BG&E, Sacrifice, etc, on piracy. Those games didn't sell poorly because of piracy, they sold poorly because they didn't appeal to the masses, much like Titan Quest.

This comment was edited on Apr 10, 2009, 12:30.
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