Reclaim Your Game Clarifies Dragon Age 2 SecuROM Report

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Reclaim Your Game Clarifies Dragon Age 2 SecuROM Report

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The site behind last week's report on the unannounced presence of SecuROM in Dragon Age 2 stands behind its findings but says it hopes BioWare will help it clear up "miscommunications" about its findings as soon as possible.

There was quite an uproar over a March 10 report by Reclaim Your Game, a site dedicated to the analysis and discussion of DRM in videogames, stating that traces of the hated SecuROM were found in Dragon Age 2. After all, BioWare's Christ Priestly explicitly stated that the game would not use it and there is absolutely no mention of it on the package or in the EULA. Producer Fernando Melo also claimed that although the Dragon Age 2 release control software is made by Sony DADC, the company behind SecuROM, it's not SecuROM. "It is not the same product - for instance, it does not install anything etc just as we've stated before," he said in the Dragon Age 2 FAQ. "They have the same support site through which is the URL you're seeing."

But Reclaim Your Game determined that a form of SecuROM-based release date check DRM meant to prevent zero-day piracy was in fact being used in the game. It's a complex situation because it's not a full-blown SecuROM implementation and the primary complaint is not so much its presence as the failure to disclose it. RYC's Martin Pham further stirred the pot when he suggested in a follow-up comment that "the senior leadership team at BioWare" rather than the usual suspects at EA were responsible for its inclusion. But reports about "SecuROM in Dragon Age 2" led to a predictably fast and furious response that actually knocked the site offline over the weekend.

It came back online yesterday and in a new post Pham said RYC has been in touch with Melo and hopes to hear BioWare's side of the story from him and perhaps others later today. He clarified that the evaluation "does not assess the technical severity and impact of SecuROM" on PCs running the game but said that the site stands by its conclusions, adding that the results can be reproduced with any disc-based version of Dragon Age 2.

"The Dragon Age 2 reports were written to highlight a clear and systemic issue that is prevalent with many Publishers active within the Industry. That is: there is a clear lack of notification and consideration behind the DRMs implemented," he wrote. "In any case, we want to help, not just Bioware and EA, but also other publishers in correcting and remedying this rather simple process."

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Just when faith in gaming companies couldn't get any lower...

And the people at EA and its associate companies wonder why the phrase "Have you sold your soul to the EA devil?" has stuck so well...

GRAH! I must go bludgeon something small, cute and defenseless to death with a steel pipe to calm the rage that is in my head.

Honestly, I think legislaters need to do an about face here and simply ban DRM in general as the situation is getting ridiculous overall.

The bottom line here is that no publisher is going to be entirely accurate about their DRM, or how it works specifically in public statements, or even all their security, because the idea is for it to hold off pirates as long as possible. The more information out there about the security easier it is for pirates to come up with countermeasures.

This also seems to be a situation where EA/Bioware is playing semantics games. Basically we're looking at a system that is very similar to SecuROM (enough for traces to be found) and apparently made by the same people, but is probably using a differant name. So he didn't lie specifically as much as engage in deliberate misdirection. If SecuROM wants to release a new product called "happy bunny fluff enhancements" that does everything their nastiest SecuROM does, technically by buying it under that name a company can avoid actually lying based on being able to deny a well recognized term. I mean if Bioware develops the new "Barbie & My Little Pony go to Fairytopia" game and claims "this has no SecuROM, but it does have happy bunny fluff enhancements!" they can make it seem like they are just promoting the cutesy nature of the game. :P

It's pretty much time to just acknowlege that there is no real middle ground here and DRM is just going to hurt legitimate consumers and what they do with their property, and ban it's use entirely. This is only one minor incident in a long chain of them, and I'm just getting sick of the entire battle. In the end I think I should be able to play the games I purchuse without having game companies crawling around in my system via DRM, or spying on me via my internet connection.

I would just like to announce my undying love for RYG. This article is the first I've heard of the site, but it does what this massive shill of an enthusiast press industry doesn't: It gives consumers a good idea of what kind of DRM to expect in the games they buy. I'm never stumbling into a GFW:L game ever again.

On the topic of SecuROM, I don't know what the big deal is, it's never been the biggest problem in my life. Outside of Mass Effect 1, where 25% of the time my game refused to run until I'd rebooted. Thankfully pirates came through with an easy fix for that.

But yeah, the release date checker in DA2 was quite aplty named "SecuROM release date checker." Sony should have put a bit more effort into disguising that.

Didn't take a test to figure out it had a time lock out, I got it on midnight and couldn't play it...while other people who got it for console could. And they wonder why people pirate games on PC, probably because you don't deal with this nonsense.

Unlike how it was with DAO, I don't have to have the DAII game disc in my DVD drive while I play the game.

I'm happy.

JediMB:
Unlike how it was with DAO, I don't have to have the DAII game disc in my DVD drive while I play the game.

I'm happy.

As good a reason as any to buy games via Digital Distribution.

Can't have the DVD in the drive if there's no DVD.

Gennadios:

JediMB:
Unlike how it was with DAO, I don't have to have the DAII game disc in my DVD drive while I play the game.

I'm happy.

As good a reason as any to buy games via Digital Distribution.

Can't have the DVD in the drive if there's no DVD.

But that wouldn't get me the shiny Signature Edition case and various in-game freebies.

Am I crazy or did that sound more like "it looks like a duck, it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck so it's clearly a dog". Maybe I'm not getting it but it reads like a thing that's related to another thing is in fact the second thing with a hat on.

Proof that gamers are, by and large, a completely unpleasable bunch.

"Oooh, you mean its got a tiny bit of SecuROM on it that stops us playing it before we're supposed to? LYNCH THEM ALL FOR BEING EVIL AND LYING."

Man, this shit keeps popping up about Dragon Age 2. Did someone on the dev team push a gypsy lady on the mud or something?

Therumancer:
Honestly, I think legislaters need to do an about face here and simply ban DRM in general as the situation is getting ridiculous overall.

Sadly, legislators are on the side of the big companies. They're the ones stuffing their pockets come election day. The fact that they're not explicitly creating laws to defend bad DRM is pretty much all they will do. Plus legislation only affects one country; if they were banned in the US they'd keep using it everywhere.

So it has it but it doesn't do anything, or doesn't act like secuROM or what?
Thats more than a little confusing.

I swear to god, the game was cracked before it was even officially released, I call bullshit swapping on this site

seriously? they're frothing at the lips over traces of securom/drm on a game that was allready being played by pirats before the release date....

Sad piece of work these people are

Knight Templar:
So it has it but it doesn't do anything, or doesn't act like secuROM or what?
Thats more than a little confusing.

It wasn't, the part of SecuROM that was used was the release date checker. Basically, the game that people pre-downloaded came incrypted. SecuROM's job here was to keep in contact with home base and only decrypt the files (make the game playable) when it was officially released. Didn't do anything after that.

Maraveno:
I swear to god, the game was cracked before it was even officially released, I call bullshit swapping on this site

seriously? they're frothing at the lips over traces of securom/drm on a game that was allready being played by pirats before the release date....

Sad piece of work these people are

Nope, the encrypted pre-load files were readily available, but nobody managed to crack the encryption and make it playable. SecuROM did it's job admirably.

The Random One:
Sadly, legislators are on the side of the big companies. They're the ones stuffing their pockets come election day. The fact that they're not explicitly creating laws to defend bad DRM is pretty much all they will do. Plus legislation only affects one country; if they were banned in the US they'd keep using it everywhere.

Do you expect legislators to be on the side of game pirates who offer them nothing and have no legal moral or ethical leg to stand on?

Frankly I think these sites need to stop complaining about bad DRM until they can come out with an alternative that prevents piracy, like this did.

The Random One:
Man, this shit keeps popping up about Dragon Age 2. Did someone on the dev team push a gypsy lady on the mud or something?

Therumancer:
Honestly, I think legislaters need to do an about face here and simply ban DRM in general as the situation is getting ridiculous overall.

Sadly, legislators are on the side of the big companies. They're the ones stuffing their pockets come election day. The fact that they're not explicitly creating laws to defend bad DRM is pretty much all they will do. Plus legislation only affects one country; if they were banned in the US they'd keep using it everywhere.

Well, right now the US is the world's biggest marketplace for this kind of thing. That might change, but the bottom line is that without the goodwill of the US game companies aren't going to be making any money. The US sets laws, the gaming industry is going to follow them, or at least as far as US gamers are concerned (and really, while I think it should be universal, I don't think the UN is all that concerned about video game DRM).

When it comes to politicians, I think a big part of the issue is simply that gamers don't have any kind of serious advocacy or voice. In the end politicians want to get elected, money is nice, but secondary to the office itself, since once in office they can whore themselves shamelessly. Right now I think businesses like the gaming industry could head off this concern because they have something to offer (money) where there is no other side with a counter offer. If we were to see more in the way of gaming advocacy and get a bit organized, we could probably wind up with watchdog groups that can promise actual votes, which are more important than the money. Say we saw an industry watchdog group formed that could claim an audience of millions, whose vote is going to be swayed by what politicians say about DRM. In the overall scheme of things it's a tiny group, but come election day that little bit of a following can mean more than all the money thrown at them from a business that can't
actually bring in any votes directly.

As I've said on a number of occasions, video gaming is one of the biggest areas of media that doesn't have any kind of consumer advocacy going. TV, movies, and other things all have their watchdogs (with various interests). Right now I don't think we have a single signifigant organization that is specifically concerned about gaming despite the number of gamers out there.

At any rate, I'm rambling. In the end your correct, it's not practical to get DRM banned right here and now, but that doesn't mean that I don't think that it's what we should be seeing.

Honestly, I've been kind of hoping that some other general consumer groups would find that one worth going to bat for. While not their main purpose I believe the BBB (Better Business Bureau) has been involved in issues of consumer rights, or companies exploiting customers quite a bit throught the years for example.

Gennadios:

Knight Templar:
So it has it but it doesn't do anything, or doesn't act like secuROM or what?
Thats more than a little confusing.

It wasn't, the part of SecuROM that was used was the release date checker. Basically, the game that people pre-downloaded came incrypted. SecuROM's job here was to keep in contact with home base and only decrypt the files (make the game playable) when it was officially released. Didn't do anything after that.

That doesn't sound very SecuROM-y.
Now I think I might be confused over what SecuROM is. This is great.

That release date check did jack shit. Pirates had the game like what, 8 days before release? Yeah, fat lot of good that did.

Stop with this DRM bullshit. It does not protect against pirates, and just pisses off actual customers.

Why the fuck do the people who pay money have to be subjected to Securom while pirates don't have to deal with any of this shit?

ArmorArmadillo:

The Random One:
Sadly, legislators are on the side of the big companies. They're the ones stuffing their pockets come election day. The fact that they're not explicitly creating laws to defend bad DRM is pretty much all they will do. Plus legislation only affects one country; if they were banned in the US they'd keep using it everywhere.

Do you expect legislators to be on the side of game pirates who offer them nothing and have no legal moral or ethical leg to stand on?

Frankly I think these sites need to stop complaining about bad DRM until they can come out with an alternative that prevents piracy, like this did.

The game was out on the torrents about a week before release. This DRM hasn't done jack shit.

Therumancer:
Honestly, I think legislaters need to do an about face here and simply ban DRM in general as the situation is getting ridiculous overall.

The bottom line here is that no publisher is going to be entirely accurate about their DRM, or how it works specifically in public statements, or even all their security, because the idea is for it to hold off pirates as long as possible. The more information out there about the security easier it is for pirates to come up with countermeasures.

This also seems to be a situation where EA/Bioware is playing semantics games. Basically we're looking at a system that is very similar to SecuROM (enough for traces to be found) and apparently made by the same people, but is probably using a differant name. So he didn't lie specifically as much as engage in deliberate misdirection. If SecuROM wants to release a new product called "happy bunny fluff enhancements" that does everything their nastiest SecuROM does, technically by buying it under that name a company can avoid actually lying based on being able to deny a well recognized term. I mean if Bioware develops the new "Barbie & My Little Pony go to Fairytopia" game and claims "this has no SecuROM, but it does have happy bunny fluff enhancements!" they can make it seem like they are just promoting the cutesy nature of the game. :P

Not quite.

SecuROM was detected, not in the game install directory but rather as two .exes in the user temp folder. Removing it has absolutely no effect on the game itself, so it clearly doesn't act as DRM. I appreciate your will to *reach out to the truth*, but it's somewhat unwarranted unless we have some hard evidence of the rootkit border of insanity that is SecuROM being installed to computers with this game.

I can't explain why this program acts like this. It would make sense on pre-loaded digital copies, but on discs? Who knows.

Regardless, it isn't the same thing as SecuROM, and it doesn't do the same thing as SecuROM.

But yeah, they should get rid of DRM for good. I agree on this point.

CrazyCapnMorgan:
Just when faith in gaming companies couldn't get any lower...

EA and other companies have tried to control their property since the internet allowed sharing of product keys.

Therumancer:
Honestly, I think legislaters need to do an about face here and simply ban DRM in general as the situation is getting ridiculous overall.

I wish. Unfortunately, this is the same government that believes that parents are not the ones who should dictate and control what their kids watch, eat and play.

The electronic gaming industry has a good lobby crowd, so DRM, SecuROM and other controls will be in place for a long time. Add to that the copyright laws max out at 50 years.

This is exactly why I prefer console gaming over PC gaming.
A shit ton less hassle

Irridium:
snip

Actually, while the game itself was out a while before release, there was no crack for it until it came out, which means it couldn't be played until then. So, in this case, the DRM kinda did it's job.

EDIT- I do, however, agree that DRM should just dissapear. Would make the world such a nice place...

I don't care if it's stripped down or a piece of Securom. This industry is awful in the way they inform and treat customres. I am like a couple of posts mentioned above; it's time to legislate a rogue industry.

The Random One:
Man, this shit keeps popping up about Dragon Age 2. Did someone on the dev team push a gypsy lady on the mud or something?

That is what i want to know. So much baggage on dragon age 2 already and now this.

Although they should have let people know in someway before the game was launched.

Im growing more and more entertained by the day with all these reports on Dragon Age 2 and the results of the cognative dissonece that follows.

Also wouldnt said DRM as was implimented only effect a end user if they had a pirated copy of the game before its release date? As was stated at least. I dont follow the logic chain on this one.

FarleShadow:
Proof that gamers are, by and large, a completely unpleasable bunch.

"Oooh, you mean its got a tiny bit of SecuROM on it that stops us playing it before we're supposed to? LYNCH THEM ALL FOR BEING EVIL AND LYING."

It phones home every few days to make sure the game hasn't mysteriously become pirated. This is the worst form of Securom that actually created this ****storm in the first place.

Rack:

FarleShadow:
Proof that gamers are, by and large, a completely unpleasable bunch.

"Oooh, you mean its got a tiny bit of SecuROM on it that stops us playing it before we're supposed to? LYNCH THEM ALL FOR BEING EVIL AND LYING."

It phones home every few days to make sure the game hasn't mysteriously become pirated. This is the worst form of Securom that actually created this ****storm in the first place.

Did you even read the article? That's not what the "SecuROM" bit does at all. Basically this site got their panties all in a bunch because Bioware took a minor little feature out of SecuROM that just checks your computer's date and time to see if the game has even been released yet. All the really annoying DRM is completely unrelated to SecuROM. As such, this whole damn thing manages to completely miss the point.

Andy Chalk:
Christ Priestly

Christ Priestly holy shit that is the best name ever.

Maraveno:
I swear to god, the game was cracked before it was even officially released, I call bullshit swapping on this site

seriously? they're frothing at the lips over traces of securom/drm on a game that was allready being played by pirats before the release date....

Sad piece of work these people are

I love how people's response to DRM is just to pirate the game anyway. Yes, try and convince companies to stop intrusive anti-piracy measures by pirating. That makes perfect sense.

It'd be nice if companies specified in full detail there DRM. Of course with the antagonism that gamers display at the notion of companies displaying a basic want to protect their games it would be shooting themselves in the foot. So long as having DRM is a hanging offense for gamers companies aren't going to post what DRM they have and will do everything to hand-wave away the existence of DRM. Yes, that's right gamers, I'm calling you out on causing this problem in the first place!

Irridium:
That release date check did jack shit. Pirates had the game like what, 8 days before release? Yeah, fat lot of good that did.

Stop with this DRM bullshit. It does not protect against pirates, and just pisses off actual customers.

Why the fuck do the people who pay money have to be subjected to Securom while pirates don't have to deal with any of this shit?

]

I'm just going to stop you there
"pisses of actualy customers"
WHO? have you seen ONE thread mention this. If this hadn't been an article NOBODY WOULD HAVE KNOWN so how does it actually effect anyone. Get off your anti drm horse ffs.

this only affects disc-base version right? if so whew.

if not, burn in the flames of hell EA! D:<

DTWolfwood:
this only affects disc-base version right? if so whew.

if not, burn in the flames of hell EA! D:<

It affects all versions that wasn't provided via Steam, AFAIK.

Grey_Focks:

Irridium:
snip

Actually, while the game itself was out a while before release, there was no crack for it until it came out, which means it couldn't be played until then. So, in this case, the DRM kinda did it's job.

EDIT- I do, however, agree that DRM should just dissapear. Would make the world such a nice place...

But... pirates still got it, your saying all they had to do is wait? Thats it?

Please tell me I'm not the only one who see's how stupid that is.

bahumat42:

I'm just going to stop you there
"pisses of actualy customers"
WHO? have you seen ONE thread mention this. If this hadn't been an article NOBODY WOULD HAVE KNOWN so how does it actually effect anyone. Get off your anti drm horse ffs.

No. I will not get off my anti-drm high horse god dammit. DRM is a cancer upon this industry and is doing far more harm than good. Pirates never have to deal with it, and it only affects paying customers. And the paying consumers it affects the worst are people with less-than-great connections. Which are a small amount of people and those least likely to fucking pirate. Oh, but they're just a "small group" so that makes it ok to fuck them over I guess.

Nobody complains about it because it seems nobody seems to care that publishers are treating them like pirates. Which is really fucking sad.

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