Uproar Over Dark Athena DRM Limits

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Uproar Over Dark Athena DRM Limits

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Word is out that the PC version of The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is packing DRM with an irrevocable limit of three installations, leading to predictable outbursts of gamer rage and one-star review scores on Amazon.

Users on the Atari forums claim that DRM included with Atari's new Riddick title limits the game to three installations and that once those are used up, the game cannot be re-installed. The information apparently comes from the May 2009 issue of PC Gamer, which gave the game a respectable score of 80 but added that it includes an online authentication scheme with no way to revoke installations.

Gamers are reacting badly to the news, of course, threatening to forgo the game entirely in order to protest Atari's use of harsh copy protection schemes which even EA appears to have abandoned. The Amazon bombing has also begun; currently, Assault on Dark Athena has a one-star score at Amazon.com, with DRM-driven negative reviews coming in regularly.

There's only one potential problem: Nobody seems able to confirm whether or not the game actually has an non-revocable installation limit. In fact, German gaming sites like GameStar (Google translated) claim that while Assault on Dark Athena does feature "install tokens" to limit the game to installations on three different PCs, these tokens are automatically revoked when the game is uninstalled. And if a user does manage to burn up all three tokens and wants to reinstall the game again, the site says Atari will provide replacements via a toll-free help line.

The status of the DRM may be uncertain but one thing isn't: Assault on Dark Athena is being punished online and sales of the PC version will almost certainly suffer as a result. It's unfortunate that gamers are willing to excoriate new games at even the slightest hint of obtrusive DRM, but it's not terribly surprising.

We've contacted Atari to shed some light on the matter and will update accordingly. In the meantime, if anyone has purchased the PC version of The Chroniles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena and feels like forwarding a copy of the EULA, I'd love to give it a look.

UPDATE: Atari has issued the following statement in response to the DRM controversy:

"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 don't 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 it's 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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I sure hope this turns out to be wrong. I really wanted this game, but if it has any kind of install limits (and I'm including revocable tokens in that), I won't buy any version of it at all. Publishers have to learn that limiting the customers' rights isn't the way to go about protecting their property. Our rights should trump theirs. At least they should, if they want our money.

Edit: Dammit, another game I was looking forward to and now can't buy because of the paranoid jackasses in charge. Guess Atari is on the boycott list with EA.

Bloody EA, I wish they wouldn't try to squeeze money of us like that.

EDIT: oh wait, I did't read the whole before I posted. Deja Vu

Cargando:
Bloody EA, I wishthey wouldn't try to squeeze money of us like that.

It's Atari.
Even EA has abandoned that strategy.
It's all in the article, if you read it all.

Fuck it, I'm just not buying games anymore if this stupidity is gonna keep going on. Not even console games.

dekkarax:

Cargando:
Bloody EA, I wishthey wouldn't try to squeeze money of us like that.

It's Atari.
Even EA has abandoned that strategy.
It's all in the article, if you read it all.

Atari, EA, it's all the same to me.

Malygris:
"We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."

Might this mean that using such DRM is only to protect the (genuinely vital) first month of a games shelflife before they remove it? I doubt it but would be nice.

I'm not all that surprised Atari are behind his ruinous idea. Still, its not a game I'm all that interested in, so I'm safe, heh.

Cousin_IT:

Malygris:
"We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."

Might this mean that using such DRM is only to protect the (genuinely vital) first month of a games shelflife before they remove it? I doubt it but would be nice.

Doesnt change anything. It still gets cracked on the first day its out.

This DRM does nothing besides enraging costumers.

It's clear to me that the DRM protest is working. Eventually they will just be forced to abandon it, as evidenced by the rape this game gets on release.

Hey let's what we always do, download the game for free. It happened to Spore, why not for this game. They need to realize that DRM is a futile endeavor. If I buy the game, I should be able to put it on as many machines that I want. That's just my opinion.

Now such measures have been announced, this game will be cracked on day one, or pre-released without these install limits and it will quickly rise to the top of the torrents regardless of whether it's any good or not. Atari will then start crying about how their sales were ruined by piracy.

Atari please take a lesson from Spore, if you take a game that people want, slap restrictive DRM on it, hackers WILL take it as a challenge and subsequently crack and release your game sans the annoying bits on the torrents. I'm not saying it wouldn't happen anyway, just thanks to this it will happen a lot faster and with a lot more people downloading it.

A quick Google search found a torrent for this game with tens of thousands of seeders. Yeah, DRM really does help prevent that "early piracy".

I was actually looking forward to this game. I probably won't bother now.

I'm not sure companies like Atari will listen to anti-DRM rants for very long. If they do, they'll probably just devise another intrusive method of protecting their game from piracy. Something ambiguous like stating that consumers don't really buy the game, just the right to install it onto their machine (forgot exactly what was said and who said it, it is old though).

Solivagus:
A quick Google search found a torrent for this game with tens of thousands of seeders. Yeah, DRM really does help prevent that "early piracy".

/thread

I for one am stunned that Atari would be about 3 years behind the likes of Valve and Apple. Stunned, stunned, STUNNED.

And people wonder why a 30 year old company like Atari has been sold about three different times...

This is a shame cause this is a badass game and you should all play it, Srsly.

Also, read the statement. Is says there are unlimited installs. The issue is you can only activate it on 3 machines.

PS: I got it for xbox the day it came out, sucks to be you PC gamers

Give it a day and that would be cracked pointless DRM grrrr!

Cousin_IT:

Malygris:
"We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."

Might this mean that using such DRM is only to protect the (genuinely vital) first month of a games shelflife before they remove it? I doubt it but would be nice.

ALL DRM is essentially like that, an attempt to prevent the early piracy that claims so many sales. This one seems rather pointless though...

scotth266:

Cousin_IT:

Malygris:
"We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."

Might this mean that using such DRM is only to protect the (genuinely vital) first month of a games shelflife before they remove it? I doubt it but would be nice.

ALL DRM is essentially like that, an attempt to prevent the early piracy that claims so many sales. This one seems rather pointless though...

In theory, yes. But they rarely issue a 'remove DRM patch', so loyal customers have to put up with DRM for as long as the games are installed.

Doug:

scotth266:

Cousin_IT:

Malygris:
"We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."

Might this mean that using such DRM is only to protect the (genuinely vital) first month of a games shelflife before they remove it? I doubt it but would be nice.

ALL DRM is essentially like that, an attempt to prevent the early piracy that claims so many sales. This one seems rather pointless though...

In theory, yes. But they rarely issue a 'remove DRM patch', so loyal customers have to put up with DRM for as long as the games are installed.

That's just the thing: after that critical sales period, they don't care so much, as games sell the most that they ever will within the first week of release. After that there are still trickles, but the DRM is just there for the opening period. After that, they figure anyone purchasing is interested enough to buy it and not worry about the DRM.

TsunamiWombat:
This is a shame cause this is a badass game and you should all play it, Srsly.

Also, read the statement. Is says there are unlimited installs. The issue is you can only activate it on 3 machines.

PS: I got it for xbox the day it came out, sucks to be you PC gamers

I could buy it for one of my consoles also, I just refuse to give any money to a company that treats me like a criminal. I just don't see any sense in that. I'm tired of publishers using DRM that never works to do anything except annoy their customers. It's enough to encourage a person to turn pirate, just to spite them.

FUCK! I wanted to try this game, it looked good and unique, and they gotta go fuck it up with DRM... Guess I won't be buying this game after all, I MAY pirate it just to avoid DRM BS, but I honestly don't wanna go through the effort.

Royas:

TsunamiWombat:
This is a shame cause this is a badass game and you should all play it, Srsly.

Also, read the statement. Is says there are unlimited installs. The issue is you can only activate it on 3 machines.

PS: I got it for xbox the day it came out, sucks to be you PC gamers

I could buy it for one of my consoles also, I just refuse to give any money to a company that treats me like a criminal. I just don't see any sense in that. I'm tired of publishers using DRM that never works to do anything except annoy their customers. It's enough to encourage a person to turn pirate, just to spite them.

It's sad, cause... it's awesome D:

TsunamiWombat:

Royas:

TsunamiWombat:
This is a shame cause this is a badass game and you should all play it, Srsly.

Also, read the statement. Is says there are unlimited installs. The issue is you can only activate it on 3 machines.

PS: I got it for xbox the day it came out, sucks to be you PC gamers

I could buy it for one of my consoles also, I just refuse to give any money to a company that treats me like a criminal. I just don't see any sense in that. I'm tired of publishers using DRM that never works to do anything except annoy their customers. It's enough to encourage a person to turn pirate, just to spite them.

It's sad, cause... it's awesome D:

Precisely why I'm so depressed. The original is one of my all-time favorite games, I figured this for a must-buy. Now it's a won't-buy. Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit drinking.

Malygris:
"We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."

No problem. I'll just pirate the game.
Not working exactly like you planned, is it guys.
Now when if DRM goes away, I will never ever ever pirate anything ever again.

Actually, I probably won't bother with it at all.

There is no use trying to put DRMs with games.It'll eventually be cracked by someone.
I'd say they rather go without any such crap DRMs...atleast that way we'll be able to enjoy the game better & I think that will increase the sales more.

Haven't they learned anything from Valve? Release quality games and treat your customers with respect, and your games won't get pirated nearly as much. Seriously, I have a friend who pirates pretty much every game just to say he did, and even he won't pirate Valve games, he likes them that much.

orannis62:
Haven't they learned anything from Valve? Release quality games and treat your customers with respect, and your games won't get pirated nearly as much. Seriously, I have a friend who pirates pretty much every game just to say he did, and even he won't pirate Valve games, he likes them that much.

What?!?!?

Respect?!?!?!?

You mean like treating us like we're people!??!?!

x% of the people playing your game are playing from copies they illegally downloaded off the internet.

(100-x)% of the people playing your game are honest, upstanding citizens who paid good money for your game, in spite of the fact that they could trivially have obtained a copy without laying out a single penny.

-1000 customer appreciation points.

At first glance it seems that anti-DRM activity is due to pirates with a hidden agenda.

But once you think about it, that makes no sense at all. Because pirates have -no problem at all- with DRM, heck, I bet the crackers have FUN with it (maybe even a whole 'rep' system with who pirates it first).

So really, DRM hurts -no one- except legitimate buyers. Not even the crackers.

That's just sad (for innocents)

Assault on dark athena is already available on certain sites....... so much for protection... lol...

It's really sad to see it go this way. I've been looking forward to it for a few years now, but I honestly can't contribute to a DRM system as archaic as being able to install it on three systems. I've had 5 computers in the last 15 years. There's no reason I shouldn't be able to install the game on each new computer I get. I paid for it once, I shouldn't have to pay for it again as long as it doesn't get damaged due to my negligence. I really wanted to pay for it, because Escape From Buther's Bay was an amazing game, and I'd like to support the series. But really, allowing a game company to rape me doesn't sound like good business practice. And honestly, only allowing it to be installed on three computers? Piracy doesn't come from a friend letting a few friends borrow his game. Piracy comes from people hacking any DRM on a game and distributing it to hundreds of thousands of people on-line, and you can't stop that. All they're doing is wiggling their dicks on the faces of the fans who actually paid for the game. I'm not getting it for xbox, due to their fubar on the pc version, I'm not torrenting due to their fubar on the DRM, and I may buy it if they completely do away with this install limitation and just put a cd key in it. I'd rather have it for PC anyway.

Malygris:
Word is out that the PC version of The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is packing DRM with an irrevocable limit of three installations, leading to predictable outbursts of gamer rage and one-star review scores on Amazon.

You know, I resent that. People giving terrible (or good) reviews not for the game, but for either the people that made or published them.

I really think that if they didn't mention that DRM put a limit on their games, no one would have noticed (Well, except for the people that they designed it to combat against, anyway).

Not that DRM is a good thing at all. *sigh* EA, why do you never learn?

Malygris:

"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 don't 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 it's a legitimate request you can get a new activation code. We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."

I tend to format my PC about two times a year (for those amazed: once you get the hang of it, it's a not a big deal but rather a standard procedure). If I would install the game each time, I wouldn't be able to play the game a fourth time, except if I dial the hotline. Needless to say, this is a bit of a nuisance, having to keep track of how many times you can install your games, making sure you remember where you bought it, perhaps even keep the receipt for several years. And then you still need to be lucky that your case is legitimate.

To be honest, I wasn't planning on playing this game, but I am *ahum*, playing it even less now!

Malygris:
Uproar Over Dark Athena DRM Limits

"If you reach the maximum number of installations you can contact the Atari hotline and if it's a legitimate request you can get a new activation code. We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."

Permalink

Thats rich!!! There is NO Atari hotline on their website. All they have is their email address for tech support which is conveniently hard to find. And to make matters worse you recieve a message saying it will take them 7 days to send a reply!! Hotline my a**!!!

I just cancelled my pre order.

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