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Stardock's DRM Goo

Stardock unveils their promised plans for Game Object Obfuscation (Goo), a system they feel is a more elegant alternative to current Digital Rights Management, especially for downloaded games. Goo will be part of the launch of Impulse Reactor phase 3 on April 7, offering a way for publishers to protect their games from piracy with a one-time online activation:

PLYMOUTH, MI, March 25, 2009 – Stardock announced today that the forthcoming update to its digital distribution platform, Impulse, will include a new technology aimed to pave the way to solving some of the common complaints of digital distribution.

The new technology, known as Game Object Obfuscation (Goo), is a tool that allows developers to encapsulate their game executable into a container that includes the original executable plus Impulse Reactor, Stardock’s virtual platform, into a single encrypted file.

When a player runs the game for the first time, the Goo’d program lets the user enter in their email address and serial number which associates their game to that person as opposed to a piece of hardware like most activation systems do. Once validated, the game never needs to connect to the Internet again.

Goo has a number of unique advantages that developer Stardock believes both gamers and developers will appreciate:

1. There is no third-party client required. This means a developer can use this as a universal solution since it is not tied to any particular digital distributor.
2. It paves the way to letting users validate their game on any digital distribution service that supports that game. One common concern of gamers is if the company they purchased a game from exits the market, their game library may disappear too. Games that use Goo would be able to be validated anywhere.
3. It opens the door to gamers being able to resell their games because users can voluntarily disable their game access and transfer their license ownership to another user.

“One of our primary goals for Impulse Reactor is to create a solution that will appeal to game developers while adhering to the Gamers Bill of Rights,” said Brad Wardell, president & CEO of Stardock. “Publishers want to be able to sell their games in as many channels as possible but don’t want to have to implement a half-dozen ‘copy protection’ schemes. Game Object Obfuscation lets the developer have a single game build that can be distributed everywhere while letting gamers potentially be able to re-download their game later from any digital service. Plus, it finally makes possible a way for gamers and publishers to transfer game licenses to players in a secure and reliable fashion.”

Because Goo ties the game to a user’s account instead of the hardware, gamers can install their game to multiple computers without hassle.

Goo will be released on April 7 as part of the upcoming Impulse: Phase 3 release. Stardock also expects to be able to announce multiple major publishers making use of Goo in April as well as adding their libraries to Impulse.

Impulse is poised to exceed one million customers in the next week despite only being launched nine months ago.

To learn more about Impulse, visit www.impulsedriven.com.

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39 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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39. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 31, 2009, 18:09 Tumbler
 
Personally, I don't consider something activating online once to say "hey, I'm authentic", is really a big deal. It's pretty much invisible, it doesn't restrict usage, and as far as Goo goes, after that it's done.

There is no real difference between EA's limited activations and the one time online activations we've seen elsewhere. Both require permission each time you install the game in order for the software to run.

One system is more clear about what will cause permission to be denied. (The 5 install limit) The other gives the publisher/developer/whoever the freedom to basically say when it's ok and not ok to use that software.

You may install it at work after buying the game, then install it at home and the software slams the door shut. Different IP address, different location, must be in violation! Boom, game disabled.

The problem is that online activation gives the companies on the other side complete control. And with that control they will use it to exploit consumers. This is not a maybe, they will.

They already have! They started with 1 time activations and already got more aggressive and went to limited installs. Didn't spore ship with 2? (or 3?) then they moved it out to 5 because people were so upset?


The Publishers/Developers (and to anyone who thinks consumers don't hold you guys both responsible...wake the fuck up) have this absurd dream of selling a completely inferior product for the same price that they sold products in the past for. (Traditional boxed PC games vs Online Activated PC games) And all they can see right now is the dollar signs if they can somehow convince consumers that this new shitty product is just as good as the old one.
 
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38. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 26, 2009, 12:23 Wintermute
 
1. There is no third-party client required. This means a developer can use this as a universal solution since it is not tied to any particular digital distributor.

Considering Stardock at the very least requires impulse for patches this would only be an improvement if it came from a company that published stand alone patches of their own. (ie no improvement if you buy Stardocks own games.) So they have a "very good solution" that they don't use themselves...

2. It paves the way to letting users validate their game on any digital distribution service that supports that game.
Is this is a fancy way of saying that they will allow others to run authentication servers? This will work until the first third party server is hacked and all the keys are out.
 
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37. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 26, 2009, 11:23 nin
 

I wouldn't say totally completely different, but there are a number of improvement, updates, both under the hood and UI-wise as well.


Yeaaaaa! Thank you!

 
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36. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 26, 2009, 11:18  Island Dog 
 
(Since you're here) Are we getting a totally different, new version of Impulse (when "phrase 3" is mentioned)? I sure hope so...

I wouldn't say totally completely different, but there are a number of improvement, updates, both under the hood and UI-wise as well.
 
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35. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 26, 2009, 11:17  Island Dog 
 
Then there was that time - here on Blues - where I said that Internet DRM activation is going to be the norm before long. Here we are.

Personally, I don't consider something activating online once to say "hey, I'm authentic", is really a big deal. It's pretty much invisible, it doesn't restrict usage, and as far as Goo goes, after that it's done.
 
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34. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 26, 2009, 11:15 nin
 
I can assure you this is something that wasn't developed overnight in reaction to an announcement from Steam or anyone else. Stardock has been in the digital distribution business for quite a long time.

Yes, but you've been sounding the trumpet a bit louder lately.

Not that I'm not rooting for you, I certainly am.

(Since you're here) Are we getting a totally different, new version of Impulse (when "phrase 3" is mentioned)? I sure hope so...

 
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33. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 26, 2009, 11:07  Island Dog 
 
Is it just me, or is Stardock blatantly trying to compete directly with Steam, in a "quixotian" kind of way? For every Steam announcement, Stardock has to make one promising pretty much the same things.

I can assure you this is something that wasn't developed overnight in reaction to an announcement from Steam or anyone else. Stardock has been in the digital distribution business for quite a long time.
 
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32. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 26, 2009, 11:04  Island Dog 
 
That's an interesting way to put it.

Lets also remember developers do want IP protection methods, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. We are trying to simplify the process and find a medium that makes both customers and devs/publishers satisfied.
 
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31. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 26, 2009, 04:02 Optimaximal
 
As 'elegant' and 'alternative' as this is, how is it anything other than a cleverly marketed form of DRM, something Stardock supposedly was never going to implement in their games? They're still controlling access to games via an account-based system.

Smoke & Mirrors much?
 
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30. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 26, 2009, 00:37 Reactor
 
Yeah, I think that's about right, Prez.  
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29. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 25, 2009, 21:40 ViRGE
 
Then there was that time - here on Blues - where I said that Internet DRM activation is going to be the norm before long. Here we are.
Can I have next week's lottery numbers please?
 
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28. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 25, 2009, 21:20 theyarecomingforyou
 
I'm intrigued as to how Stardock plans to prevent games being transferred after an account has been compromised. I own thousands of dollars worth of games on Steam and I know I wouldn't like losing them because someone managed to hijack my account.  
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27. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 25, 2009, 20:59 KilrathiAce
 
dsmart thinks that something is going to teach the pirates...lolzZZ  
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26. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 25, 2009, 19:46 Prez
 
I think that maybe this is Stardock's way of saying, "Look. Developers; Publishers. YOU know DRM doesn't work. WE know DRM doesn't work. CONSUMERS know DRM doesn't work. But since you seem insistent on having it, and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere, at least use this one, since, although it will prevent absolutely nothing, it is at least a token gesture at prevention and thus should make you happy, while hopefully avoiding pissing off your customers."

 
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25. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 25, 2009, 18:18 Z9000
 
As the lesser of of evils amongst technology that doesn't really make an impact on the problem, this so far is the least intrusive. But still irrelevant. It also doesn't address the emerging balogney where you download most the game you need to play after purchase. It's not going to do anything but annoy people who buy it like most DRM. Especially guys under internet blackout in the military.

This frenzy of trying all these different things with paying customers is half baked and unethical at best. At worst it's killing PC gaming after already pretty much handing consoles the gaming lionshare of the market. Seriously, I don't even know why I bother responding to DRM issues anymore, as I have long moved on from PC gaming in general. All I reap in return is a response from people that belittle and act like schoolyard bullies when faced with issues. More misbehaving at best.

This PC industry is like a small child that never wants to grow up, wants to sell something and keep it too. It wants to be heard by the government (Daddy) while stepping on siblings and playmates. It wants it's way and damn anyone else that get's in it's way. Even if it hurts PC gaming. Out of control, temper tantrums, with little logic and motivated by greed and it WANTS WHAT IT WANTS, AND IT WANTS IT NOW! Misbehaving wildly in a world where many of the companies and it's citizens are wildly misbehaving as well. It's no wonder many gamers are taking shelter by choosing to console game instead. It may not be heaven, but it's not PC Hell.
 
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24. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 25, 2009, 17:48 theyarecomingforyou
 
How exactly does a single, one time activation dirty your soul? I mean...you do it once and then you don't have to ever again if you so choose.
Exactly. Why should you be IDed when entering a club or buying alcohol? Why should you have to provide references when you start a new job? Why should you have to undergo a criminal background check when working with children? The point is you sometimes have to do things that are unnecessary. Requiring an internet activation is completely irrelevant in modern society as computers are already connected and it only takes a few seconds after install. Limited activations I perfectly understand the hatred towards and I also appreciate that online activation for a singleplayer game is completely unnecessary but I don't understand see why people skip games because of it. It's much more irritating to have to enter a CD-key or keep a disc in the drive than clicking "Okay" on a prompt once after install.
 
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23. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 25, 2009, 17:18 Slashman
 
Wow, they still just don't get it.

Are you sure THEY are the ones who don't get it?

I don't mind having to enter a serial number to play a game online, but there's no way in hell I'm going to pay for a computer game that requires activation just to play single player mode.

How exactly does a single, one time activation dirty your soul? I mean...you do it once and then you don't have to ever again if you so choose.

I am a firm believer of paying for games you enjoy.

I'm having trouble believing this. You are protesting against games that are distributed digitally, having a single instance of online activation and no further restrictions on reinstallation. And they are also able to be resold...

Ok...I'm not sure how you could possibly ever be pleased.
 
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22. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 25, 2009, 17:12 Cutter
 
Given their inherent lesser value, digital downloads should be priced to compete with used retail games, not new retail games. If publishers want to solve the used games problem, the answer is not to bluster about it in public and hope things change. The answer is to bite the bullet and lower the cost of digital game downloads.

And Bingo was his name-o! That's it in a nutshell right there. Untill the publishers get the prices down everything else is academic BS.
 
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21. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 25, 2009, 16:51 Boston
 
I've enjoyed reading these comments. You guys have kept the arguements mature and on topic. Everyone is bringing up great perspectives and addressing the others' well. Kudos for a good discussion.

Yeah, apart from GT throwing incendiary comments and personal insults, it's great.
 
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20. Re: Stardock's DRM Goo Mar 25, 2009, 16:38 beigemore
 
Wow, they still just don't get it. I don't mind having to enter a serial number to play a game online, but there's no way in hell I'm going to pay for a computer game that requires activation just to play single player mode. I am a firm believer of paying for games you enjoy. I really want to purchase Mass Effect for PC even though I've finished it on 360 several times, and I really want to play Dead Space for PC, as well, but unfortunately I cannot due my absolute disagreement with the restrictions placed on their licenses.

Guess I'll be sticking with MMO's and QuakeLive for an indefinite amount of time now.
 
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39 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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