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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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93. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 10, 2009, 14:18 StingingVelvet
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.

I agree, games should just work out of the box with no hassles... that's why consoles are in the majority, because they just work. In a perfect world PC games would be like this in all aspects, not just in regards to DRM. My only point is that a PC gamer is used to fiddling with games to get them to work right... messing with drivers, messing with Dosbox, messing with admin modes, messing with no-cd cracks, whatever. For them, bypassing Riddick's DRM is a pretty simple process, especially since you won't even have to do it for years. Again, I agree with what you're saying, I just have higher priorities because I can still play these games no matter what, in essence.

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.

For all the bitching I see about capitalism on the Internet from pirates and college girls, I have yet to see someone offer a better alternative. History has shown time and time again the alternatives don't work, so this is what we have. A fundemental aspect of capitalism is you support those who make a good product or service you want to see continue... I want to see Starbreeze Studios continue, even if they screwed me over by not releasing The Darkness on PC.

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'll draw the line when an anti-piracy measure is so bad the protest of it outweighs supporting good games in my scale of importance. Steam almost does that, but not quite. Add one more restriction to Steam and it would probably tip me over the line.

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.

So are all FPS games released since Wolfenstein clones that deserve no money? There are actually remarkably few Diablo-style games on the market, considering that game's popularity. It wasn't even released anywhere near Diablo 2 as far as time, but years afterward. I don't think you're out of line suggesting it wasn't a game that would set the world on fire, but I do think it deserved more success than it got considering there are obviously millions who like the genre and it had been years since a quality release in that genre.

That said, my point was more that these devs have to face that their game didn't sell well and they will be closing their doors, and then they can boot up a torrent site and see an endless list of people downloading their game. I'm sure it breaks the heart... if even 1/10th of those people bought the game it could have made a difference, and whether you believe that or not you can't deny the emotional power of having a failure game ruin your company and seeing tons of people stealing the game online. I'm sure if you created something and had that happen you would feel equally burned.

This comment was edited on Apr 10, 2009, 14:21.
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