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SecuROM Lawsuits Status

Edge Online has a status reports on the lawsuits in the works against Electronic Arts over the DRM in Spore, which are still moving forward. They have a response from one of the lawyers involved to accusations these suits are frivolous, as attorney Scott Kamber says: "I appreciate that there's all different kinds sentiment out there. ... It's very important to us that the people and clients that come to us to be their lawyers understand that we support them and their position, that everyone has a right to decide what's installed on their computers." He also sums up the issue many take with some forms of DRM: "Ultimately, just because you buy a game doesn't mean that a company can do whatever it wants to your computer. I find it somewhat ironic that game companies or any company would seek to protect its own intellectual property rights by infringing on the intellectual property rights of the computer owner."

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32. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 20:24 Bone43
 
However, the top 3 things that keeps me from buying games anymore (for the most part... I still buy ones that stand out on occasion) is:

1. Crap that's all graphics and no gameplay depth (A majority of titles) is way short (compared to the late-90's games) and way buggy.
2. Console ported crap. (Another huge chunk of No Sale)
3. The malware that gets installed with these titles.

That pretty much kills 98% of potential purchases for me. There is a rare gem that comes out every once in a while... but otherwise PC gaming is pretty dead to me. Sometimes I wonder why I bother upgrading my hardware anymore. I'm almost at a point of buying a new video card for every 2 games I buy. It sucks.

Anyway... my point is... refusal to buy console ports and malware infected products may make Publishers point "the low sales" finger at pirates... but at least I'm not paying to get fucked in the ass.

Good post and exactly where I stand. I'm not upgrading my PC this year
for the first time in at least 15 because there's shit out there worth doing so for.

fuck consoles my kid has all of them but I refuse to touch a controller that's not a steering wheel or joy stick that's used for a PC game.

Yes I'm a dinosaur that longs for the good old days of PC gaming sadly I think there gone forever.
 
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31. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 17:00 wtf_man
 
This is the biggest issue facing PC gamers today. We're screwed no matter what we do. If we refuse to buy half-assed ports, publishers will just think "Oh, look how much more the 360 version sold. The PC market sucks!" If we do buy ports, publishers think "Hey, those PC chumps love ports! Let's keep porting console games over instead of designing games for the PC!" If we refuse to buy DRM-infected games, they'll just blame pirates and say the PC market sucks. If we do buy DRM-infected games, they'll just keep using DRM. Publishers will always see what they want to see.

Unfortunately, you are absolutely correct.

However, the top 3 things that keeps me from buying games anymore (for the most part... I still buy ones that stand out on occasion) is:

1. Crap that's all graphics and no gameplay depth (A majority of titles) is way short (compared to the late-90's games) and way buggy.
2. Console ported crap. (Another huge chunk of No Sale)
3. The malware that gets installed with these titles.

That pretty much kills 98% of potential purchases for me. There is a rare gem that comes out every once in a while... but otherwise PC gaming is pretty dead to me. Sometimes I wonder why I bother upgrading my hardware anymore. I'm almost at a point of buying a new video card for every 2 games I buy. It sucks.

Anyway... my point is... refusal to buy console ports and malware infected products may make Publishers point "the low sales" finger at pirates... but at least I'm not paying to get fucked in the ass.

/shrug

Agreed, and Wikidd's correction does read more sensibly upon comparison. The point is still made though, and it's a good one.

Right. The point is, in order to protect their IP, they violate the rights of the computer owner, and sometimes the IP of the OS (hidden drivers, rootkits, etc.) - meaning a normal security program (from any vendor) would flag this stuff as malware, if it wasn't under the "copy protection" shield.

This comment was edited on Dec 3, 2008, 17:52.
 
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30. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 15:54 nutshell42
 
I wouldn't quite say that activation doesn't do anything about piracy... if it didn't, then I doubt Microsoft or Adobe would have been using it all these years.

It was MS' and Adobe's version of the CD check because that system obviously would never work with an OS or something like Photoshop. Steam allows you to do something similar with your games.

In fact, the activation system for Windows XP (which is now almost seven and a half years old!) or Photoshop CS3 is far more draconian than even Mass Effect or Spore, the usual whipping boys of gaming DRM.

And there's been a huge outcry and lots and lots of hate for both. The difference is that if you don't like it you're gonna use Win or Photoshop anyway. They're monopolies.

(of course, it tends to move PC gamers over to console titles that have higher profit margins for the developer, so maybe there's a backhanded economic argument to be made there as well).

It also tends to move PC gamers over to torrent sites. For popular releases you can see more than 100000 peers per game at any time. We're talking about millions of stolen copies and even if most of them wouldn't have bought the game without DRM either, it certainly doesn't help, because the pirated copies are more likely to work flawlessly and less likely to contain malware than store-bought ones.

I won't buy Mass Effect or Red Alert until the activation is removed. If it isn't then I won't buy it at all. I have d/led neither but if we were talking about games I really, really wanted...

(btw. I did download RTW because the discs of the first pressing were broken and I didn't wanna wait 4 weeks until Activision got their asses in gear and sent me replacements. It's funny that the QA of some random guys on the internet cracking games is a lot better than that of huge corporations with billions of dollars in revenues)
 
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29. Re: How can I be heard? Dec 3, 2008, 15:50 Jerykk
 
The problem I have is, you always hear "vote with your wallet". Fair enough. But how can the publishers distinguish my "Nay" vote from an "Abstained" or no vote at all? If I choose not to buy it, they don't even know I exist. They'll probably say "Gee, sales are down again. Damn pirates!"

This is the biggest issue facing PC gamers today. We're screwed no matter what we do. If we refuse to buy half-assed ports, publishers will just think "Oh, look how much more the 360 version sold. The PC market sucks!" If we do buy ports, publishers think "Hey, those PC chumps love ports! Let's keep porting console games over instead of designing games for the PC!" If we refuse to buy DRM-infected games, they'll just blame pirates and say the PC market sucks. If we do buy DRM-infected games, they'll just keep using DRM. Publishers will always see what they want to see.
 
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28. Re: How can I be heard? Dec 3, 2008, 15:08 Kxmode
 
They have a response from one of the lawyers involved to accusations these suits are frivolous

There's nothing frivolous about draconian DRM running on a computer without the user's permission, and it's even worse when the DRM program cannot be removed because so many other games use it. As a gamer who actually buys his games I'd prefer NO DRM, or at the most low-level DRM like Fallout 3's basic disc check.

This comment was edited on Dec 3, 2008, 15:10.
 
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27. How can I be heard? Dec 3, 2008, 15:02 The Fox
 
I have had several problems over the years due to DRM. It has gotten so ridiculous lately. Was waiting for Red Alert 3 and GTA IV, but it looks like I won't be purchasing either of them.

The problem I have is, you always hear "vote with your wallet". Fair enough. But how can the publishers distinguish my "Nay" vote from an "Abstained" or no vote at all? If I choose not to buy it, they don't even know I exist. They'll probably say "Gee, sales are down again. Damn pirates!"

I want them to know that they lost my money, and my customer loyalty, over DRM that doesn't stop piracy anyway.
 
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26. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 14:39 Jerykk
 
I wouldn't quite say that activation doesn't do anything about piracy... if it didn't, then I doubt Microsoft or Adobe would have been using it all these years. In fact, the activation system for Windows XP

You realize that all versions of Windows and Adobe products have been pirated extensively, right? Probably more than any game.

Perhaps the pirates can release a version that they've managed to separate from the mess to make things easier?

I'm sure that's why it's taking so long for GTA4 to be cracked. SecuRom was probably cracked yesterday but they still have to figure out how to separate the game from G4WL and possibly The Rockstar Social Community.

This comment was edited on Dec 3, 2008, 14:42.
 
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25. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 13:11 kimbambaman
 
Even some game magazines claim they have huge problems with the DRM and technical stuff (Radeon Cards not working properly, saves dont work, etc etc etc.)

Boy you werent kidding. Reading through the forums now, I hope I dont get smacked with the texture bug Nvidia users are reporting.
 
"Everybody out of the universe!" - Nibbler, Futurama
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24. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 12:04 Bluesfanboi
 
"I fail to see the IP aspect of illegally modifying someone's computer."

Good thing you aren't an IP attorney, you would starve to death.

Read the DCMA and its related intellectual vomit to see how they intertwine with copyright protections...and how it similarly protects the individual, unintentionally of course.
 
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23. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 11:59 killer_roach
 
I wouldn't quite say that activation doesn't do anything about piracy... if it didn't, then I doubt Microsoft or Adobe would have been using it all these years. In fact, the activation system for Windows XP (which is now almost seven and a half years old!) or Photoshop CS3 is far more draconian than even Mass Effect or Spore, the usual whipping boys of gaming DRM.

Of course, just because it might work for a $200 copy of Windows or a $700 copy of Photoshop doesn't necessarily mean that it works okay for a $50 game. After all, the market base for even the biggest PC games pales before Adobe's flagship products (to say nothing of Windows), and the fixed costs of running activation servers is typically the same either way.

I believe that some form of DRM could be beneficial to a game developer's bottom line, but it doesn't take into account the fact that current systems like SecuROM or proprietary activation servers more than likely cost more than they help in the long run, to say nothing of causing some PC gamers to look elsewhere (of course, it tends to move PC gamers over to console titles that have higher profit margins for the developer, so maybe there's a backhanded economic argument to be made there as well).
 
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22. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 11:46 nutshell42
 
killer_roach,

the problem with PC DRM is that it's not about piracy.

I see how you need a system to prevent casual piracy, but that would mean either a DVD check or a steam-like system (the obvious best solution would be to give consumers a choice between the two).

All that activation crap, mostly without the possibility to deactivate copies offers no additional benefits (torrent sites are full with cracked copies, superior to a store-bought one), it doesn't stop hardcore pirates, and that's not its goal.

The companies use pirates as an excuse to kill used copy sales; they can't do it on consoles because the platform owner would refuse to accept their games but they can do it on PCs. Therefore for true equality the price for e.g. Red Alert would have to be

360 game price
- what you can get if you sell it later on
+ PC bonus for being the better version
- PC penalty for DRM+Driver+Windows troubles
- PC penalty for subsidized console hardware

For some games (RTS being an example) the PC bonus still is big enough, but for a lot of games the PC version is late, buggy and plays like crap because it's a console port, so even this bonus isn't there.

Add to that American stupidity (PCs outside the US, even in some "developing" countries are more likely to have a graphics card) and you get the current sorry state of your average PC retail release.

Some companies prove that by releasing quality games that scale well you can make boatloads of money (Valve, Blizzard), or they cater to European or Asian tastes (the X series, Anno, all the micro-payment games in Korea) but the economics aren't there for the idiocy most of the large publishers exhibit.
 
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21. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 11:15 Zzet
 
Agreed, and Wikidd's correction does read more sensibly upon comparison. The point is still made though, and it's a good one.

I'm also loving the uproar about GTA 4 for the PC, the sadistic part of me enjoys watching developers and publishers royally bone a release by stuffing it with DRM, bloatware and the community garbage that no-one wants.

Perhaps the pirates can release a version that they've managed to separate from the mess to make things easier? Maybe they could even submit it to Rockstar for approval.
 
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20. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 10:53 Wikidd
 
intellectual property rights of the computer owner.
So "intellectual property" has been extended to computer misuse now? I fail to see the IP aspect of illegally modifying someone's computer.

This is just a little annoyance I have from reading too much RMS but still, IP is such a meaningless phrase. Copyright, Trademark and Patents are three very different beasts and grouping them together as IP just confuses things. Maybe the quote should be:
I find it somewhat ironic that game companies or any company would seek to protect its own copyrights by infringing on the rights of the computer owner.
 
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19. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 10:44 wtf_man
 
He also sums up the issue many take with some forms of DRM: "Ultimately, just because you buy a game doesn't mean that a company can do whatever it wants to your computer. I find it somewhat ironic that game companies or any company would seek to protect its own intellectual property rights by infringing on the intellectual property rights of the computer owner."

A-F**KIN'-MEN!
 
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18. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 10:30 Muscular Beaver
 
Could you please be more specific? What problems exactly are you experiencing? I bought my copy on Steam last night (downloaded it, haven't played it yet), and I usually have 0 DRM related troubles. I thought the Social Club thing was only if you wanted to upload videos to their web site?

I already gave you an example, but there are so many problems out there, just look into the forums. Even some game magazines claim they have huge problems with the DRM and technical stuff (Radeon Cards not working properly, saves dont work, etc etc etc.).
I just read 2 german forums with a thread about that. Both were 200+ posts long and were started only 4 hours ago.

And no, as far as I understand either Social Club or Games for Windows Live must be active. Some say only Social Club works, some say that there is a workaround to use GFWL instead. But both are required and not optional at installation.

This comment was edited on Dec 3, 2008, 11:04.
 
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Oh that is so lame... You will PAY for your use of inappropriate dialogue!
- Mojo Jojo
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17. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 09:32 InBlack
 
Ok I heard all about the horrible state that GTAIV PC is in.

My Bad.
 
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I have a nifty blue line!
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16. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 09:16 kimbambaman
 
There are huge problems with it, also there are several extra programs that have to be installed and run while you play GTA4 (incl. service). For example you have to have Social Club running and have an account for it.

Could you please be more specific? What problems exactly are you experiencing? I bought my copy on Steam last night (downloaded it, haven't played it yet), and I usually have 0 DRM related troubles. I thought the Social Club thing was only if you wanted to upload videos to their web site?
 
"Everybody out of the universe!" - Nibbler, Futurama
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15. Re: SecuROM Lawsuits Status Dec 3, 2008, 09:10 killer_roach
 
Even with all that you said the only thing it will do is make my decision to NOT buy the game easier.

Understandable, although not sure how point 3 would make it easier. I'm sure that, unless you are an absolutist about DRM, you'd strongly consider a new PC game with an activation system if it cost, say, half of what the same title would on a console. After all, everybody has their own price as to what the loss of certain usage rights between console and PC titles would be. For some people it's zero, for others it's near-infinite. The question would be at what point it would be the most advantageous to all parties.

Of course, they could just do away with DRM, although I think you'd also see a flattening of the price curve with respect to time, at least in the intermediate run. (Reworded, one could argue that a game with DRM ends up dropping in price faster because they, through the use of DRM, are trying to front-load their revenue stream.) This comes quite possibly from publisher expectations about the revenue-generating elements of DRM rather than actual market realities, but it's difficult to convince a publisher to throw a high-budget PC title out there without their self-perceived safety net.
 
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14. Re: PIRATED COPIES ARE NOT LOST SALES! Dec 3, 2008, 08:59 Muscular Beaver
 
Well, maybe their ultimate goal is indeed to bleed the PC out and make PC gamers change to consoles (because they have no other choice).
If thats the case this would all make perfect sense.
 
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Oh that is so lame... You will PAY for your use of inappropriate dialogue!
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13. PIRATED COPIES ARE NOT LOST SALES! Dec 3, 2008, 08:53 Dmitri_M
 
Publishers see all those millions of pirated copies and view them as lost sales. Pirates won't buy the games regardless. They need to focus on those that ARE buying games. Excessive DRM will not prevent piracy. It's only hurting those who actually purchase games.

This comment was edited on Dec 3, 2008, 08:54.
 
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