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More on BioShock Activation

A post to the 2K Forums by 2K Elizabeth goes a little further into how the SecuROM online activation required to play BioShock (story) works when attempting multiple installs:

first, let me say this. you DO NOT NEED TO USE THE INTERNET EVERY TIME YOU PLAY THIS GAME. it is only the first time.

second, you can uninstall and reinstall this game, and if, by chance, you have 2 computers you want to simultaneously play this game on, you also can do that.

if by some chance you are reinstalling this game without uninstalling it first, a lot, there is a chance you may have to call securom and get a key, or deactivate some older installations.

but if you upgrade your hardware next week, you'll still be able to play the game. if you revamp your system and need to reinstall bioshock, just uninstall it before you go through the overhaul, and then do your reinstall.

calling it "hardware fingerprinting" is a bit alarmist. we do not transmit any of your data to any companies.

really, the only people who will be concerned about any of these security measures are those who are rapidly putting bioshock on many pcs... if you use the game as you normally do, you won't notice this at all.

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156 Replies. 8 pages. Viewing page 1.
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156. Re: ... Sep 5, 2007, 02:05 Jared Deraj
 
A working activation patch is now available by Dark Coder. It is 16.72mb.
Download it and tell 2K what they can do with their draconian B.S.

 
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155. Re: ... Sep 3, 2007, 02:19 Jared Deraj
 
Basically, DRM using Internet activation will eventually just become one of those minor irritations that everyone has to accept - like Vista...

Really? You were suckered into buying Vista, too? Man, I have a bridge I can sell you right now. Seriously, how are enjoying that DRM-filled piece of crap? Don't you just love the way Vista chews up more RAM and HD space - yet still manages to run your games slower than XP? I bet you're right into all the new things it does... like... okay so there's nothing new there, but I'm sure it cost a lot of money, so job well done, friend.


This comment was edited on Sep 3, 02:22.
 
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154. Re: Rules Aug 31, 2007, 09:47 nin
 
all i can say i have canceled my preorder, if i buy a game for my hard earned money I AND ONLY I decide on how many pcs i install it and also i will not buy an internet connection for my home only to activate a game, you guys from 2k must be really stupid.

i have inet at work and thats enough.

but hey , now i will download it from work and burn it on a dvd + crack when it comes out and you miss another 50 bucks

by the way , in the future games from 2k get all pirated from me , bye bye 2k , i hope you enjoy the millions of dollars you loose with this


Ow...my eyes...and my head...



-----------------------------------------------------
Bioshock: "You're soon beset by deranged flappers and dandies, like Jay Gatsby's party guests gone feral."
 
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153. Re: Rules Aug 31, 2007, 03:36 endofanothergreatpublisher
 
all i can say i have canceled my preorder, if i buy a game for my hard earned money I AND ONLY I decide on how many pcs i install it and also i will not buy an internet connection for my home only to activate a game, you guys from 2k must be really stupid.

i have inet at work and thats enough.

but hey , now i will download it from work and burn it on a dvd + crack when it comes out and you miss another 50 bucks

by the way , in the future games from 2k get all pirated from me , bye bye 2k , i hope you enjoy the millions of dollars you loose with this

 
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152. Re: ... Aug 29, 2007, 13:59 >U
 
And ultimately, it does work.
If the goal is to keep people from playing the game whether they paid for it or not, then yes it does work in that regard. If the goal is to increase sales, then no, I seriously doubt it does work because first, most if not all of the people who unlawfully download the game aren't going to spend the $50 on it, and second, the horror stories of this DRM are going to scare away potential customers.

DRM using Internet activation will eventually just become one of those minor irritations that everyone has to accept
Unless money is no object to you, I'd call not being able to play the damn game after spending $50 on it more than a "minor" irritation.


 
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151. Re: ... Aug 29, 2007, 13:54 >U
 
That is a terrific well-written article that really cuts through all of Take 2's lies on the SecuROM issue including those still in its official FAQ.

Of particular note are the following from the aricle:

The FAQ states that reactivation is required if you change "several pieces of hardware," but in our experiences that is false. Merely changing one item - the hard drive or the motherboard, let alone both - will require you to use another installation activation. In addition, we reinstalled Windows on the same PC without changing or touching any of the hardware, and that triggered an activation failure.

the "revoke application" will not work a customer has already uninstalled the game several times.

As previously stated, uninstalling BioShock doesn't restore the activation code and allow you to install the game on another machine.

2K Games has made no official announcement regarding the future of SecuROM's DRM for BioShock or other forthcoming titles.

 
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150. Re: ... Aug 29, 2007, 13:29 Overon
 
Here is a good article about this whole activation fiasco. It's a good timeline of events of what happened and when:
http://www.twitchguru.com/2007/08/27/bioshock_drm/

 
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149. Re: ... Aug 29, 2007, 09:39 Sam
 
There will be more and more of this internet activation as time goes on...
Yes it can be beaten and pirated, but it usually takes longer than beating cd copy protection and requires work-arounds that become infuriating as the copy protection itself.

And ultimately, it does work. There will be less people illegally playing the game for longer.

Steam has pretty much become one of Valve's success stories and that won't deter any other companies from attempting to use similar methods

Basically, DRM using Internet activation will eventually just become one of those minor irritations that everyone has to accept - like Vista...

 
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148. ... Aug 27, 2007, 13:50 theyarecomingforyou
 
Later, having calmed down, we ponder the plight of the aptly-named developer "Irrational Software". They had said they were counting on this game selling well to justify their design decisions over the years. We believed in the kinds of games they'd tried to create, so we did the right thing - and they burned us for it. If Irrational self-destructs over this, they only have themselves to blame.
So the developer should burn because the PUBLISHER added copy protection? I hardly think that's fair.

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147. Re: Bioshocked by DRM HELL! Aug 26, 2007, 02:50 Sepharo
 
They aren't Irrational anymore...

 
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146. Bioshocked by DRM HELL! Aug 26, 2007, 01:21 Jared Deraj
 


Bioshock was a game I was looking forward to playing. I do copy some games, but I was planning to buy this one as I feel that great games deserve my money. Luckily, it wasn't released in time for my birthday and a friend came over later with a genuine copy he'd just bought. [Little did he know that he was about to regret that decision.]

We endure the tedious 10 minute wait for Bioshock to install - then the game immediately wants to go online to download an update. We decide to skip the update for now and just check out the game. Bad move - because without any warning, the game automatically uninstalls itself when we say no to the update. A disappointing start, but we tell ourselves we're made of sterner stuff - and we reinstall - agreeing to the update this time... a message says "Please be patient" and proceeds to download the update - without giving any approximate file size - and I'm on a dial-up connection. So, half an hour later this update is complete - it asks if we want to play the game now - I say no - because I feel safer being offline in single player games - and I want to disconnect before I play. Once offline, I click the Bioshock desktop icon - only to find that it now wants to go online again for "activation".

At this point it's getting harder to remain upbeat about doing our bit to help the software industry by purchasing original software. Anyway, we go back online to find we need to type the serial number - which has been printed on the supplied manual in such a way that only the lower two-thirds of each character are visible. That's right, we need to play guessing games about the serial key... and what's worse - the '1' and '0' characters are indistinguishable from "I" and "O" in the font they used. Yes, it's real
grit-your-teeth-and-start-searching-the-forums time. Another half hour of web browsing passes as we begin to realise that customers the world over are undergoing the same torture - and if their experience is any yardstick - our situation is probably only going to get worse.

Having uncovered the magic formula to deciphering the serial key [Only one number is included in each 4 character group of letters] we go through the two or three variations on the guesswork to read the remainder of the 2/3rds-visible characters. The online activation attempts to do its thing - then reports back that it can't connect and we should manually get an unlock code from the store we bought the game from... but after this hellish two-hour-long-install-period, it's now 7 PM at night, so that's not an option. We try to activate half a dozen more times - with the same result. In desperation we return to the forums - only to learn that the activation servers are down and nobody can play the game. We look at each other and curse DRM hell for its role in the bastardisation of the PC gaming scene.

We decide that our only hope is to give up on Bioshock until we can download a pirate crack to make the damn thing work. Wisely, we don't uninstall it, because the word on the forums is that Bioshock only allows a certain number of installs before it bans you from your own computer. We then load up a cracked game and enjoy some happy hours of hassle free gaming - where you just click on the icon and the game loads up. We begin to recover from the stress of dealing with original software. We vow to stick with pirated software in future.

Later, having calmed down, we ponder the plight of the aptly-named developer "Irrational Software". They had said they were counting on this game selling well to justify their design decisions over the years. We believed in the kinds of games they'd tried to create, so we did the right thing - and they burned us for it. If Irrational self-destructs over this, they only have themselves to blame.

 
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145. Re: No subject Aug 24, 2007, 14:02 Flatline
 
Fair enough.

As I said, I'm using a version of the software that's over 4 years old, which really doesn't have any emulation at all on it beyond the image mounting capabilities. I downloaded a newer version a few years ago and didn't care for it, so I've stuck with the old version all this time.

I stand amended on that point. Originally it was an image mounting program, and I found it very useful to own and run.

 
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144. Re: No subject Aug 24, 2007, 11:22 Tigger
 
But I also work in the software industry and I think that some copy protection is valid and is required.
I disagree. Copy protection might be required if it were infallible. However, that's not the case. I expect Bioshock to be cracked within a week at most. Less excessive forms of copy protection get cracked within days, sometimes before the game is even officially released.

Unless you can create a copy protection scheme that is unbeatable, it's a waste of time and ends up annoying your customers more than anything else.

I agree with your point that less excessive forms get cracked even before games are released. But I think this is probably because similar schemes are in the market already and have known weaknesses.

A company that got it right was Valve. I've only ever had one or two problems with it. I have it installed on one computer and have successfully moved that installation from at least 3 other computers.

However, I disagree that copy protection is a 'waste of time' unless its unbeatable. The trick is to find the right balance between making it just a pain in the ass to try but also flexible enough so its not noticed.


--
Tigger
Edit: Made a minor correction to a sentence so it would make a little more sense.
Vic Fontaine for President
This comment was edited on Aug 24, 11:24.
 
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Tigger
Vic Fontaine for President
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143. Re: No subject Aug 24, 2007, 01:33 Jerykk
 
But I also work in the software industry and I think that some copy protection is valid and is required.

I disagree. Copy protection might be required if it were infallible. However, that's not the case. I expect Bioshock to be cracked within a week at most. Less excessive forms of copy protection get cracked within days, sometimes before the game is even officially released.

Unless you can create a copy protection scheme that is unbeatable, it's a waste of time and ends up annoying your customers more than anything else.

 
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142. Re: No subject Aug 23, 2007, 23:21 Tigger
 
It's primary design is to allow you to emulate a CDRom off of an ISO image.

Perhaps you should read the first few lines of introduction:

DAEMON Tools is an advanced application for multiprotection emulation. It is further development of Generic Safedisc emulator and incorporates all its features. This program allows running Backup Copies of SafeDisc (C-Dilla), Securom, Laserlock, CDCOPS, StarForce and Protect CD (and many others) protected games.

Its designed to defeat the copy protection.

It looks like DT also violates the DMCA:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WIPO_Copyright_and_Performances_and_Phonograms_Treaties_Implementation_Act

Now, before you get all crankified and think that I agree with the DMCA and the current state of copy protection, relax.

I think that only 2 installs sucks.

I think that some measures in the DMCA suck

But I also work in the software industry and I think that some copy protection is valid and is required.






--
Tigger
Vic Fontaine for President
This comment was edited on Aug 23, 23:23.
Edit: I don't feel like having a discussing trying to validate activation-based licensing
This comment was edited on Aug 23, 23:38.
Fixed some poor grammer
This comment was edited on Aug 24, 17:15.
 
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Tigger
Vic Fontaine for President
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141. Re: No subject Aug 23, 2007, 15:58 Flatline
 
It's primary design is to allow you to emulate a CDRom off of an ISO image.

In a court of law, there are more than enough legal uses for such a product that you could never get an accusation that it is primarily for pirating to stick.

Ironically, if I'm using Daemon Tools to negate copy protection on the disc, it's likely that I also have access to cracks that can bypass the copyright protection that is designed to prevent me from bypassing the copyright protection.

The solution to all the copy-protection crap like Starforce is to have knowledgeable, charismatic people skilled in both technology and the law fight against this and establish laws that prevent the equivalent of root kits from being installed on an individual's computer. Two or three laws passed, or two or three strategic court cases would make this crap a thing of the past.

 
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140. Re: No subject Aug 23, 2007, 15:10 Tigger
 
It tells me basically I'm a pirate because I have an image mounting program called Daemon Tools

This could be because DT is primary designed to negate the use of copy protection on the disc.




--
Tigger
Vic Fontaine for President
Edit: Changed my italics tags to quote tags
This comment was edited on Aug 23, 15:11.
 
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Vic Fontaine for President
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139. BioShock Aug 23, 2007, 14:42 Tigger
 
This game runs perfectly on my Xbox 360. No worries about drivers, supported cards or activation.

I think this is where they want us to go in the future, since its much easier to control the software if the hardware is locked down.


--
Tigger
Vic Fontaine for President
Edit: Fixed an issue where I failed to demonstrate even the most basic grammer skills
This comment was edited on Aug 23, 15:03.
 
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Vic Fontaine for President
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138. Re: No subject Aug 23, 2007, 13:51 Flatline
 
Oh, and another example of publishers treating loyal customers like criminals:

I love the Thief series of games. I mean I *love* them. I picked up Thief 3 to give it a try, and go to install it.

It tells me basically I'm a pirate because I have an image mounting program called Daemon Tools (old version too, the new one is crap). Now I work in IT, and it's a hell of a lot easier to mount an ISO of a CD than to go digging through the stack, especially since hard drive storage is so cheap these days. But the game apparently scans the registry for several legitimate programs that let you emulate a DVD drive and kicks you out if you have any of them.

It was annoying, but I uninstalled Daemon Tools. Go to play the game, and it STILL KICKS ME OUT, saying that since I *had* the program on my computer, it could still find traces of the program and wouldn't let me play.

At this point I downloaded the crack, reinstalled Daemon Tools, and gave the finger to Eidos. Wrote them an irate email, saying that it shouldn't be an expectation to dig through my registry by hand if I want to play the game, and that it was doubtful that everyone who had the same problem I did was capable of editing the registry safely.

Of course, I never got a response.

 
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137. Re: No subject Aug 23, 2007, 13:30 Flatline
 
That idiot will just keep downloading other games until he finds one with a crack that does work for him. There's no lost sale here because he's simply not going to buy your game.

And neither will he steal it. Perhaps no one wins, but no one loses, either. I'll take a stalemate over a loss any day.


Well, you do loose one thing technically. Word of mouth advertising. If your game is good, it will be talked about. Maybe the pirate wouldn't buy the game to begin with, but if he tells 50 people that your game is unbelievably cool, chances are that at least a few of them will actually dish out money to buy it. You may have lost 5 people who would have never bought the game, but if you get 5 customers to pay who wouldn't have ever picked your game up, you're ahead.

It's a similar idea to why some bands have no problem with MP3 trading. It gets the product out in the mainstream, and raises awareness, which is the most effective advertising, since it is the kind that most often works, and is the cheapest to boot.

Oh and Some Dude, SFC 2 is perhaps one of the most entertaining games I've ever played. Thank you for that. Shame that it always had more than it's share of bugs, but I still have multiple copies sitting around, and play it regularly. I never played online Dynaverse really (just network games), since that was a nightmare, but even though I probably could have easily pirated the game, I never did. I even bought multiple copies so I could play with my friends. The word of mouth I gave sold even more copies.

Good games sell themselves, even when taking piracy into account. At this point, it's hard for me to completely condone crackers and piracy, because games are getting pricey these days, and the demos are getting obscenely short. I mean really, a gig or more for about 15 minutes of rudementary gameplay pisses me off more than it makes me want to play a game.

I can't even remember the last demo I downloaded and tried, let alone the last demo that actually sold a game to me. They're usually such a horrid example of the overall game as is that it's almost more worth it to get the cracked version, play it for a few hours, and pick up the game proper if you really enjoy it.

 
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