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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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104. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 13, 2009, 11:35 Tumbler
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.

And when you add DRM to legit purchases the people that do walk past that guy and choose to buy the game in the store have even less reason to do so next time. Everyone gets that life can't function on the honor system. But this DRM stuff is just an exploitation of legit paying customers. It does nothing to pirates or preventing piracy. Why would there be any need for an activation limit at all? Is online activation not enough? You have to make sure that one copy isn't used "too much?". And publishers/devs get to decide when enough is enough?

This all started with Steam and HL2 (first HUGE game to use this type of thing). But steam made no attempts to stop you from installing it as many times as you wanted. Heck they kept the files ready to go on a server for you. By comparison the other companies only offer permission to play your game. And that permission is getting more strict as time goes by. (As is steam) 5 activations. Lets try 3. How about 2? How about 1? Why let them play the game offline at all? Why not have the game authenticate each time you boot it? And lets make sure no one gets to keep playing after 6 months. All licenses revoke after 6 months. Lets try 3 months, no no, lets try 1 month! And then we'll offer tons of free content right after that so people buy another license!

It's coming. This level of control will ruin PC gaming. I think it was about a year ago that the phrase "PC gaming is dead as we know it." was getting tossed around and I'm beginning to understand why so many people were saying that. The games will still be made but the days of offering a good product for a fair price are over. It's time to exploit our customers and offer products with ludicrous conditions and charge top dollar.

And the irony in all this is that the competition, consoles, stand ready to pounce. Instead of PC game companies making more money, consumers will flee in greater numbers each year to a platform that is not as restrictive. I think the general feeling is that PC games offer an experience that you can't get anywhere else so why not squeeze those guys for as much money as possible? There may be some truth to that but there is certainly enough choices out there to find the vast majority of PC gamers an alternative. And then there is piracy... Which no one seems to have an answer for. I'm trying to be a paying customer of games I like but each step companies take makes it harder to do so. I've already pushed most of my gaming dollar toward consoles, it's only recently with these steam sales and aggressive pricing have gotten more dollars for the PC gaming market. DRM sure hasn't. In the case of this game if I wanted to play it I'd only consider renting it on the consoles. And if by some miracle I wanted to buy it, that would also be only something I'd consider on consoles. (for a variety of reasons, it's probably made for consoles, it doesn't have the DRM activations, I can resell it easily, I can rent it first, no hardware issues to troubleshoot...)

This comment was edited on Apr 13, 2009, 12:45.
If this little box we typed into filled the scream the same way our comments do it would be much easier to format them for easy reading. I keep putting seperating spaces between my paragraphs but when I go review it they are just one big line. Is there no way to have this white box stretch out to the size of the screen? down in flames after discounting their currency!
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