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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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107. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 14, 2009, 00:56 Jerykk
They mostly profit from concerts and licensing now, which are not things you can pirate away from them.

You sure about that? You have anything to support that claim? I know that iTunes is very successful and it is essentially the same as pirating music, only legal.

Movies on the other hand most people pay for quality. The average bootleg sucks, quality wise, and has no special features.

I'm guessing you don't actually pirate movies. You can get HD quality Bluray/HD-DVD/HDTV rips with ease. You can also get DVD rips that look the same as retail. Thanks to torrents, piracy is easier than ever and requires minimal tech savvy. As for special features, you can get those too. However, I don't think most customers really care about that stuff. How many people actually listen to commentary tracks or watch behind-the-scenes footage? Film buffs, sure, but the average joe? Unlikely.

I have people on forums ask me on a daily basis how to submit a Steam support ticket, or how to search for a patch on google, or how to use fraps.

All of that is harder than going to piratebay and clicking on a torrent.

The average IQ in America is like 92 I think... people aren't smart on average... most of them probably buy DVDs and games because it's damn easy to do so, go to the store and buy it, put the disc in, play it, and voila!

I can't argue with you there. People are generally stupid and lazy so convenience is a very large factor in sales. However, with the mainstream penetration of torrents and P2P, piracy is really, really easy to do these days.

The simple fact is that if you had a guy stand outside Gamestop handing out free copies of some new game, no charge no questions, very few people would walk past him to buy the game.

Most likely. However, I'm not asking that publishers do that. They can still charge for their games. However, it doesn't make any sense for them to inconvenience paying customers with DRM. As you mentioned, convenience is a big part of sales and copy-protection definitely isn't convenient. CD-checks, CD-keys, activations, limited installs... people just want to install the game and play. The fewer barriers between a customer and the game, the better. History has shown that copy-protection really isn't effective unless your game is multiplayer. Even then, there's no proof that removing a CD-key from an online game would decrease sales. Ubisoft has taken a hint and released their past few games with no copy-protection whatsoever. Unfortunately, their last few games have been rather crappy. If they release a good game with no copy-protection, I will gladly pay full price for it.
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