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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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110 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 2.
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90. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 10, 2009, 11:24 StingingVelvet
 
OK, no quicksave, granted its a staple of PC games. But no direct weapon switch? CTFO.

Eh? The mouse wheel goes through weapons like normal, and there is a hotkey for choosing your weapons from a quick-menu radial dial, and there is also the ability to bind weapons to hotkeys. Someone didn't read the instructions. Also, the checkpoints are Assassin's Creed style and the game saves whenever you do anything at all that progresses you through the game, which I actually find better than Quicksave myself.

On-topic, this thread is really all a bunch of hooey. You all know how easy it is to crack the game and run it without activating it... you won't even need to for a looong time, and when you do I promise you the cracks will be everywhere, easily accessible for those who want to play the game 5 years after it came out. Finding ways to run old games on PC isn't even anything new, so I don't see why it's so horrible to do it for this title.

Here's the results of your actions:

1 - Pirate the game in protest - This just backs up their reasoning and makes you a thief. They continue to lament the piracy problem on PC and you look like a rationalizing thief to anyone with half a brain and any respect for morals in a capitalist system.

2 - Protest the game entirely - Probably your best bet if you're really upset about DRM. Make sure you send a letter explaining why you are not buying the game.

3 - Buy the game - I still choose to do this, as being a developer is much harder and thankless than any of you seem to grasp, and they NEED the success and money from game sales to survive. Instead of punishing them for something their publisher did, I support them with a sale and then crack the .exe when I need to... in essence, it is more important to me to support developers making great games I like than it is to complain about DRM I can easily bypass.

I don't like activation limits but I like seeing PC releases dwindle and great developers being shut down even less. Iron Lore is a great example... a great bunch of guys with a great game (Titan Quest) that sold like crap but was torrented to hell and back. They didn't do anything to bring that on themselves either, the game was not saddled with horrid DRM, but people pirated it anyway. The simple fact of the matter is that humans are bastards a lot of the time, and they steal when they can and don't think they will be punished.

I also find it funny that Steam is seen a better solution... give me TAGES or SecuROM anyday over Steam. With Steam you don't even have any semblance at all of owning the game, you simply subscribe to the game through their service, and they can literally take the game way from you anytime they want. It's also much harder to bypass than SecuROM, and I bet 20 years from now when Atari and Valve are both dead and gone, Riddick will be a lot easier to get working than Left 4 Dead.

That's me though.
 
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89. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 10, 2009, 11:00 necrosis
 
From Starbreeze's forums:

With the PC version, two obvious changes have been made from the EFBB Director's Cut - Quicksave and quick weapon keys. What kind of lazy porting is this? I mean, you already had all the code from EFBB for these functions!

OK, no quicksave, granted its a staple of PC games. But no direct weapon switch? CTFO.
 
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88. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 10, 2009, 07:43 KilrathiAce
 
We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy.

xbox360 copy was pirated and out on net week before release. I see.
 
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87. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 10, 2009, 05:33 Tumbler
 
After doing my best to compare screenshots of the PC version of the first game and this one I'm pretty sure they have no real interest in selling this on the PC. I assumed this would be a $30 game for some reason and just realized they want $49.99...

The screens from the older version look really good, this new version looks a little better I suppose but not $50 better. A used copy of the original is...about $20.

The console version is a huge improvement but on the PC side this price point combined with the DRM make this a ridiculous product.
 
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86. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 10, 2009, 05:26 Z9000
 
You all know I have migrated to console. But in protest to what Atari is doing to you guys on the PC version, I will skip buying any console version. I hope others do the same.  
PS3 resurgance by GOW3 - Check! Mass Effect for PS3 - Check! Diablo 3 for consoles? I say "For sure"!
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85. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 10, 2009, 05:08 InBlack
 
I have made up my mind not to buy this game until they remove the DRM scheme. This is purely out of protest, since I want to play Butchers Bay. This is the first time Ive skipped on a game I wanted to get because of DRM. Im going to try and do this in the future as well.

I think Codemasters is going to follow in Ubisofts footsteps, and even EA has taken some positive steps with one of their games (although I suspect an ulterior motive there)
 
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84. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 10, 2009, 02:00 Jerykk
 
Pirating it sends no message other than the fact that you are a pirate. Not buying it tells them to do something different.

It doesn't make a difference either way. If the game sells poorly, they'll blame it on piracy. It's not like they need to present any evidence to support their claims. If the game sells well, they'll praise DRM and continue to use it. Customers are screwed either way.

Amazingly enough, I think Ubisoft is the one publisher that may have learned a lesson. Both PoP, EndWar and Hawx were released with no copy-protection whatsoever. I wish more publishers would follow that trend.
 
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83. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 10, 2009, 01:05 KilrathiAce
 
I will mention a fact.

This game been pirated on xbox360 week before release and that release has no protection(which is normal for console games). PC version uses quite ridiculous form of protection, one that actually discourages owning the game.

Even though I do not buy many games I did plan to own first Riddick game by buying this game, however unless it comes out on steam(a form of drm that allows me to install game as many times as I want and download want) I will not be buying it. I noticed that if you buy the game online from Atari they even charge extra $4 for extended download service.... lol thats like if steam charged you extra for downloading games at later date.... sad. Atari really getting low here. Oh and of course the new game, Assault on Dark Athena is quite poorly rated and one can call it average at best. Maybe next time spend more time on the game itself than investing into protection for it(on PC since it seems you dont mind console being easily pirated).
 
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82. Re: Assault on Dark Athena DRM Backlash Apr 9, 2009, 22:36 GT
 
With the exception of a couple of stupid small European publishers, the game industry has never tried to sue their customers like the RIAA has.
While I don't approve of the RIAA lawsuits and I certainly don't support the outrageous "settlements" being extorted from defendents in them, the RIAA isn't targeting every or even most of its customers with these lawsuits, and some of those targeted aren't customers are all. In contrast essentially every customer of the PC game industry is targeted with DRM-infested products and has little or no recourse when he purchases a poor or unusable one. I'd rather have the game industry file civil suits against a sampling of egregious file-sharers like the RIAA has, than target every one of its customers with DRM-infested products with no guarantee behind them.
 
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81. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 9, 2009, 22:05 Kxmode
 
90% of this game's sales revenue will come from the console versions, so Atari probably isn't too concerned that they've pissed off some drama queens.

The gaming platform of choice is a computer.

"Out of all the gaming devices, computers are the most popular among the total adult gaming population, with 73% of adult gamers using computers to play games, compared with 53% console users, 35% who using cell phones, and 25% using portable gaming devices."
http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2008/Adults-and-Video-Games.aspx
 
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80. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 9, 2009, 21:07 jimnms
 
I had an idea to let publishers know how much DRM is costing them. Everyone take a picture of themselves with a $50 bill and a sign that says DRM = No Sale and fax/mail/email it to the publisher of a game you passed up because of DRM. Or maybe someone with the resources can put together a website where people can send in their pictures so all publishers can see.  
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79. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 9, 2009, 21:00 jimnms
 
Seriously, how many times are you going to upgrade major components in the life span of a game installed on your machine?

Lots. I have games on my machine that I bought 3 or 4 or more system builds ago. The oldest game I have re-installed and played recently on my current system was release in 1996 (Duke Nukem 3D).

By the time you get around to doing so, the game will have already been dated and you'd have moved on to the next game.

I keep games that I like, and I like replay them every now and then. Here's a list of old games that are currently installed on my system that I actively play, sorted by release date:

SWAT 3 (1999)
Deus EX (2000)
Call of Duty (2003)
Hidden & Dangerous 2 (2003)
IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles (2003)
Microsoft Flight Sim 2004 (2003)
Rainbow Six: 3 (2003)
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (2004)
FarCry (2004)
Pacific Fighters (2004)
Richard Burns Rally (2004)
Call of Duty 2 (2005)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2005)
SWAT 4 (2005)
Hitman: Blood Money (2006)

I have older games that aren't installed. The oldest game that I think I have would probably be Wolfenstein 3D, but since it's on floppy I can't install it. I do have Doom2 on CD, so that would be the oldest game that I bought that I can re-install and play if I want.
 
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78. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 9, 2009, 20:55 Elf Shot The Food
 
90% of this game's sales revenue will come from the console versions, so Atari probably isn't too concerned that they've pissed off some drama queens.  
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77. Re: Assault on Dark Athena DRM Backlash Apr 9, 2009, 20:41 Parallax Abstraction
 

For all the shit they get (most of it deserved), the RIAA is a fucking SAINT compared to the gaming industry.

With the exception of a couple of stupid small European publishers, the game industry has never tried to sue their customers like the RIAA has.
 
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76. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 9, 2009, 20:32 Overon
 
Okay I notice people don't read other people's posts. Assault on dark athena, according to the reviews, isn't that good anyway.  
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75. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 9, 2009, 20:28 wtf_man
 
When will they learn?

My policy is to avoid anything with DRM; including Steam... (waits for Steam zealots to begin foaming at mouth).

Totally agree.
 
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74. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 9, 2009, 20:01 theyarecomingforyou
 
Imagine if they'd instead opted for no DRM and released it on every digital distribution store (Steam, Impulse, GamersGate, etc) - there would have been tremendous goodwill towards the game and sales would have been higher. Instead they opted for this shit storm, with people actively boycotting the game... myself included. This is a game I would have bought immediately on Steam (if it didn't included DRM). Idiots.

Also, if they're going to use machine based activations then why don't they use the method that Microsoft does with Windows? You can install that as many times as you want on the same hardware and if you run into trouble when changing hardware they provide a free phonenumber. At least that way you'd be able to format your computer without worrying about deauthorising games - it would work straight away and on dual-boot systems without issue. The activation technology they use is worse than the 8yr old system used for WinXP.
 
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73. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 9, 2009, 19:30 space captain
 
* REMOVED *
This comment was deleted on Apr 11, 2009, 09:38.
 
Go forth, and kill!
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72. Re: Assault on Dark Athena DRM Backlash Apr 9, 2009, 19:14 Darks
 
The one thing I canít figure out is why they went to such extremes to protect a game that was already released on the pc? Just adding newer graphics and a new part of the game that from what Iím hearing is not even worth the hassle of dealing with makes no sense whatís so ever. Why piss of the community over this type of DRM and put in such a harsh DRM. EA learned very quickly about the backlash I guess other devs donít learn so well from others mistakes. I hope this game bombs out. Let the communityís voices be heard!

It may only be a pin prick, but even the slightest pinch can hurt the worst.
 
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71. Re: On Dark Athena DRM Apr 9, 2009, 19:10 SCG
 
"delay" the pirates for some time

I fixed it for you.
 
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110 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 2.
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