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Stardock's DRM Plans

Edge Online has word on plans to create a new Digital Rights Management solution from Stardock, a developer/publisher vocally opposed to DRM in the past. While Stardock prez Brad Wardell maintains they do not plan on adding DRM to their own games, other publishers have challenged them to help make DRM more acceptable to consumers: "So the publishers are telling us, 'Put your money where your mouth is. Why don't you guys develop something that you think is suitable that would protect our IP, but would be more acceptable to users?' We're investigating what would make users happy to protect their needs, but also provide some security for the publishers. ... We're actually developing a technology that would do that." They are exploring ways to make it possible to reinstall a game after losing the physical media, and are soliciting ideas from users about what will and won't be acceptable from their points of view.

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58 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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58. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 27, 2008, 15:15 Dades
 
I think it's more amusing to observe the backpedaling of those around here who thought their mighty Stardock with it's two successful titles would be their DRM salvation. How does that taste? Ooh, smells nasty!  
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57. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 26, 2008, 15:31 CJ_Parker
 
Infantile? Whaddya mean INFANTILE? Sir, that post was like my magnum opus of intellectuality!

 
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56. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 26, 2008, 01:58 Bluesfanboi
 
Your infantile reply only gives more credence to the original argument.

Some of us adults don't like to maneuver around manufactured obstacles, when you grow up mentally, you might not either.
 
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55. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 22:27 CJ_Parker
 
Had to put a CD into the computer to play a game that already installed all its data to the hard drive?

Yeah, I mean that's just plain outrageous, maaan!!! How the hell are you supposed to find a frickin' CD under all those pr0n mags and shit?!? And then once you have finally found it you actually have to push a button, maybe even remove another CD from the drive (I'm starting to fucking SWEAT just thinking about all this, duuude!) and then you have to actually, you know, aiiiiim for the center of the tray to place the goddamn CD into the drive. Wow! That's pure madness, man! But it gets better. At the end you actually have to PUSH the SAME button from earlier AGAIN or like if you're like reeeeaaaaaallllllyyy DARING you can also just give the tray a gay little pushy-push! OMFG!!! How crazy is all that?!? CRAAAAZZZEEE!

Had to 'authenticate' a game online?

Wow! YEAH@! I've totally done this before, dude!! No really. I have! It was sooo exhausting and sooo much work, you know! And it was really DRACONIAN, too!!! I felt right like a SLAVE whoze RIGHTZ were taken AWAY! Seriously! I mean there was this pop-up window at the end of the setup program and you know what the fucker wanted from miii?!? It wanted me to actually CLICK on ***ACTIVATE NOW***!! OUTFUCKINGRAGEOUS, DUDE! First I was LIKE FUCK U but then I CLICKED the button anyway and you know wot happened?!? The game fucking ACTIVATED itself!! Can you believe that shit?!? I clicked a button consuming like 0.00000017kJ in the process and teh game ACTIVATED! ONLINE! And then it let me PLAY! CRAAAAAZZZZEEEE!!

Had to connect to the internet to play a single-player game?

OMFGOMGFOMGOFMG!!! I sooooooooo had to do this that one time, dude!! It's still givin me teh fucking CREEPS just thinking about it! I mean I have this router and mii PC is connected to teh intarwebz 24/7 so I never really like REALLY noticed how the fucker went ONLINE but I swear it was so maaad when he finally DID!! CRAAAAAAZZZEEEEEE!!

 
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54. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 20:18 Shadowcat
 
I still don't understand who this is affecting. I've been playing games on the PC since there were games on the PC, and 've never experienced the kind of issues DRM supposedly creates.
You've been playing games all this time, and have never:
* Had to put a CD into the computer to play a game that already installed all its data to the hard drive?
* Had to 'authenticate' a game online?
* Had to connect to the internet to play a single-player game?

You don't need to believe that Starforce killed your DVD drive to have issues with DRM, and most of the issues can be extrapolated from the above points, even if you don't consider them to be problems.
 
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53. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 17:17 DG
 
How would you feel about automatic key check only if you have an internet connection.
So assuming you are offline it doesn't authenticate, if you are online it checks to make sure no one else using your key is on at the exact same time. This would allow you unlimited installs with no worry, but you simply wouldn't share your cd key with your world or else you'd have to deal with the aggravation of your copy not working until you can authenticated. Automatic no need to call anybody reauthentication by simply running the game again online. If the servers get shut down it just assumes you are using an offline copy and you continue like normal. Essentially just a disincentive for copying keys.
That's pretty much Quake3 engine copy protection. It's not used for for singleplayer games, that'd be pointless since you can simply firewall the game. So they require CD in the tray for SP.

However it worked well for multiplayer. You get the occasional "invalid cdkey" but restarting the game or re-entering the key fixed it, fairly mild occasional hassle. A few times the RTCW master went down which killed cdkey authenticaton, but id apparently set the system up to default back to authorise all.

Ofc the games were pirated, using a cracked .exe, but crucially this limits the pirate to cracked servers. In many cases this acted like shareware to an extent, quite a lot of people enjoying the cracked game paid to "upgrade" for a proper version to access normal servers.

For multiplayer the company can count on internet connection and control the game server: DRM is inherently easy and can be done both very effectively and very unobtrusively. Single player is the problem.

(speaking from experience of RTCW, a Quake3-engine game. YMMV for the other ones.)
 
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52. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 16:17 danebramage
 
Stardock already has DRM, they just don't have the guts to call it that. Impulse/Steam are a form of DRM, they're just rather mild forms.

I love you guys and your high-school grade conspiracy theories. Oh, how insightful and clever you are not to be taken in by the man...

As I mentioned in another thread, I recently purchased a game from Stardock and asked for an alternate download site, as I can't run the Impulse downloader/patcher under Linux and I don't dual boot Windows. Their customer support supplied me, on the very first try, no questions asked, with a link that allowed me to download the game directly, bypassing Impulse completely. If Impulse was supposed to be some kind of DRM measure, why in the holy name of Fuckall would they do that? Hmm?
 
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51. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 15:45  dsmart 
 
I only have a one line response to this news: LMAO!!

Puhleeze. Companies like Sony et all spent years perfecting something that actually does work. No, the restrictions that various publishers use with SecuROM is *not* mandated by Sony. They are ALL up to the publisher HOW they want their DRM to work. SecuROM - the best and least intrusive - gives you a wealth of activation options.

In fact, below are my bookmarks for gaming friendly DRM company in existence. To date, newcomer ByteShield is the best and least intrusive. Even Steamworks is better than nuthin.

So this news by Stardock is just pissing in the wind and the usual noise. It won't get anywhere. Period. You know how many years of research, real-world testing etc it takes to implement - let alone perfect - a DRM solution?

And given Stardock's previous DRM statements, my guess is they're having trouble getting publishers to stick their games on Impulse without a DRM scheme in place. So, like their previous gaming portal, totalgaming.net, Impulse too is having trouble getting devs/pubs (at least those that care) to put their games there. That would be my guess; especially with this about face.

Same reason why most publishers using Steam, also use their own (e.g. SecuROM) preferred DRM scheme even though Steamworks is free and comes with the service. Nobody gives a rat's ass about unproven DRM tech when you can just as well *not* use any.

Since EVERY SINGLE DRM can be cracked, Stardock *not* working on yet another DRM solution is just the same as *not* having DRM.

IMO as a game developer with 20+ yr industry experience and a gamer, the best DRM solution from both the perspective of the dev/publisher and consumer, is NO DRM. Anything short of that is just a waste of time because it can be cracked. So in most cases, the pirates are are playing while wanking as your paying customers are twiddling their thumbs wondering why their game doesn't load. So, how do you think they [Stardock] are going to field test this new DRM without a bunch of dev/publishers actually adopting it, fielding it and learning from it? Ain't gonna happen. Ever.

Anyone who knows anything about kernel development knows that you need a petri dish of about 10^1000 machines in order to even come close to all the crashing scenarios. This is why every single DRM in existence, has patch updates. Even SecuROM, Sony - with their excellent support - will actually rebind game executables for gamers having problems with the original DRM which works for everyone except them. I should know because just two weeks ago, Sony had to roll out a patched DRM executable for one of my games for someone who had some obscure incompatiblities on their machine. The first time that has ever happened since the game [UCCE] was released last year and in the two years (and two titles) since we dropped Starforce for SecuROM.

=========
Alcatraz Copy Protection.url
Armadillo (tm) Software Protection System.url
ByteShield - Software Copy Protection.url
CD-Cops Copy Protection.url
Crypkey.url
EXECryptor - Bulletproof software protection.url
Macrovision SafeDisc.url
nProtect GameGuard.url
Open License.url
Software Activation Service.url
SoftWorkz DNA.url
Softwrap.url
Sony SecuROM.url
StarForce Copy Protection System.url
STEAMWORKS.url
TAGES, the AAA Copy Protection System.url
Trymedia Systems - ActiveMark.url
WinLicense.url

This comment was edited on Oct 25, 2008, 15:56.
 
Avatar 9141
 
Game developers are just human beings who happen to make games for a living. If you want to hold us up to higher standards of conduct, then go ahead
...but don't be surprised if we don't uphold them
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50. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 15:38 Warskull
 
All DRM is not bad. CD-Keys are an excellent form of DRM. CD-Checks for a new game are acceptable DRM. Both methods are simple and unintrusive.

Publishers aren't ready to give up the DRM security blanket, so Stardock is doing something that makes sense. If they demand DRM, create a better, less intrusive, solution. Ween them off the draconian DRM schemes they are trying to implement.

DRM to some degree needs to exist. They don't want you buying the game and passing the disk around to 20 friends who all install it. Casual piracy like that is something that hurts them. However, putting massive barriers into your game because you think it will stop some guy from torrenting your game is just retarded. That just angers the customer.

Best DRM is the console DRM. It is there, but completely transparent to the user. They never have to stop and think "how will this DRM limit how I can use the product I purchased?"
 
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49. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 15:26 nin
 
You have a maximum of three activations at any one time, but you get one more added at the end of every week (therefore you have two extras). So if you use one of your extras, it will be replaced on Friday morning.

As much as I'm not a fan of online activation, that seems pretty reasonable.
 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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48. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 14:53 Aero
 
If publishers are going to insist on online activation, I would prefer to see a system similar to that in Live For Speed.

--It doesn't install any drivers.

--You have a maximum of three activations at any one time, but you get one more added at the end of every week (therefore you have two extras). So if you use one of your extras, it will be replaced on Friday morning. You are however limited to having it installed on two computers at any one time, with one activation to spare.

--Your installation is tied to an account on their server, you can download the game anytime you want (it's a demo version until you unlock it).

IMO, this is an okay system. LFS is pretty much an online game though, so for a single player game they would probably have to limit you to downloading the software using your login on their server. There are cracks out there for it, of course, so they probably wouldn't want to pay for bandwidth to allow pirates to download it.

Of course I'd prefer no DRM. All DRM should do is try to prevent you from lending your disk to all your friends for them to install it. This seems like a reasonable use to me, it would keep the non-technically adept from pirating it, and that's about the best you can do. Online activation is good for that, better than a CD key. I'm not opposed to online activation in general, just the way SecurRom does it. Do it the way LFS does, and I don't mind so much.

addendum:

Oh also, I don't really mind Steam at all. That's a decent system enough system.

This comment was edited on Oct 25, 2008, 15:15.
 
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47. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 14:36 MindStalkerReturned
 
Bluesfanboi
1) Give me a disc and a manual and a box.
2) Give me a key #.
3) Don't require the disc to be in the drive
4) Don't install any programs, drivers, services, files or secret bits unless I say ok, and I probably wont. So don't bother.
5) Don't require any other program or driver or service to be running when the game is ready to be launched.

No online auhentication every time the game loads, no limited installs, no phoning home (unless it is to auto-update), no blacklisted programs or services, NO ADVERTISING.

How would you feel about automatic key check only if you have an internet connection.
So assuming you are offline it doesn't authenticate, if you are online it checks to make sure no one else using your key is on at the exact same time. This would allow you unlimited installs with no worry, but you simply wouldn't share your cd key with your world or else you'd have to deal with the aggravation of your copy not working until you can authenticated. Automatic no need to call anybody reauthentication by simply running the game again online. If the servers get shut down it just assumes you are using an offline copy and you continue like normal. Essentially just a disincentive for copying keys.
 
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46. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 13:39 theyarecomingforyou
 
i am only concerned with DRM that has a limited number of installs. if a critical component dies before the user can uninstall a game there has to be a way to verify a previous install on the same computer instead of loosing its activation forever.
Exactly. It should make a record of all the components and keep them online - if you lose your Windows install it can simply check that the computer is the same and be flexible enough to deal with upgrades (if most of the other components are the same it makes sense that it's the same computer). In the rare case that you lose an install and completely upgrade your computer then you should still be able to reclaim activations by contacting tech support. On top of that the limited activations should be removed completely after 9-12 months. Then that would be heading much closer to acceptable, as that's what I already have to deal with for Vista's activation.

Obviously I'd rather limited activations didn't exist but if they're going to be used I at least don't want to get screwed or constantly worry about it like I do currently.
 
Avatar 22891
 
SteamID: theyarecomingforyou
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45. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 13:38 LemonJoose
 
These guys are awesome. What I would like to see is a way for people to resell a digitally-downloaded copy of a game by going to an account authentication website and relinquishing their license/keycode and thus deactivating their own copy of the game. Then they could resell their ownership license for the game via an E-bay type of website, where the developer/publisher would get a cut of the resale price. It would be like Steam, except with the additional ability for users to resell used software licenses at a price the user sets for himself, with developers/publishers getting a cut of the resale.  
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44. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 12:45 Ozmodan
 
When you have install malware on your computer to play a game I draw the line. Having to call a publisher to get another install and be on hold for hours and have your integrity questioned, when all the cheaters get off scott free with a clean install of the stolen game, that is the absurdity of the entire industry.

EA is the laughing stock of the industry right now, and they can pooh pooh the reaction, but it is costing them a lot of customers as people become aware of their ridiculous DRM.
 
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43. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 12:24 PHJF
 
Protection should be serial key based without the need for an internet connection or DVD after it is installed.

What the fuck good is a serial key if it doesn't cross-reference with a master server?
 
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Steam + PSN: PHJF
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42. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 12:02 zirik
 
i am only concerned with DRM that has a limited number of installs. if a critical component dies before the user can uninstall a game there has to be a way to verify a previous install on the same computer instead of loosing its activation forever. the DRM has to be smart enough to take a broader picture of the hardware setup (like collecting hardware ID/serial number) and comparing all the activated installations. when it detects 80-90% similarity it should combine these setups as one installation regardless of the date of activation.  
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41. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 11:53 Dades
 
Yes, I see lots there about how you get limited installs without the ability to revoke them. Oh, wait, no, it's completely lacking in that regard. Nice try.

It says to see the manual, I haven't looked in the manual, have you? Either way, it says DRM right on the box. Nice try.

Nice, you managed to make a faulty assumption about where I live, and a faulty assumption about me being a pirate. You're batting 0 for 3.

I know this is the internet and all, but you really don't have to advertise your stupidity quite so blatantly.

That was a joke about the topic material, not directed at you. Learn to take a joke there champ or at least don't advertise your lack of humor quite so blatantly. See what I did there?

This comment was edited on Oct 25, 2008, 11:54.
 
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40. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 11:40 tuddies
 
Protection should be serial key based without the need for an internet connection or DVD after it is installed. You should be able to reinstall when needed and should be able to retrieve the serial from the DVD if the manual is lost.

Anything more is invasive, abrasive and an affront to the consumer.
 
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39. Re: Stardock's DRM Plans Oct 25, 2008, 11:40 bluehair
 
No matter what they come out with, no one in the industry will use it. They will just say it wont work, and tell stardock to use it to prove them otherwise. Which most likely wont happen, as then stardock would be hypocrites. So all in all they are wasting their time and money for the nay-sayers!

Death to DRM, and the man! lolz
 
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58 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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