Mass Effect, Spore To Use Recurring Validation

Mass Effect, Spore To Use Recurring Validation

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Mass Effect and Spore, two of EA's most anticipated PC releases this year, will be using a "recurring validation" system to help protect against piracy.

A note posted by BioWare Technical Director Derek French on the official Mass Effect forums, reported by 1Up, said the game will use SecuROM copy protection requiring an online activation when the game is first installed. But following that, the copy protection will require a "re-check" with its server within ten days in case the CD key has been pirated or become public. The re-check begins with five days remaining in the ten-day window, and offers a second ten-day "grace period" if the server cannot be reached. After the expiration of the second ten-day period, the game will need to be fully re-activated before it will run.

The new system will apparently be used in all future PC releases from EA. In response to concerns that owners of the PC version of the game will not be able to play it once the validation servers are pulled down, French wrote, "It does not take any effort to keep the servers running, because it's not just for Mass Effect, it will be for Spore, and all the other PC titles coming up. In fact, it would take more effort to shut down one PC title than to keep them all going."

"Just like people claimed we would shut off the NWN1 Master Server, we said we wouldn't and we haven't and people are still playing," he added.

French said each activation key will be good for three installations, and that the game's requirement of a regular internet connection, despite being a single-player title, will be clearly marked on the game's packaging. Mass Effect for the PC is scheduled for release in North America on May 28.

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This sounds good in theory, but theories are indeed treacherous things. I mean, what about those people who cannot get an Internet connection for whatever reason? Or what if someone gets a blackout?

wow, I'm all for stopping piracy and all, but only 3 installs?!

I have installed all my games at least 5 times over the course of my PC's life.
whatever, nothing I can do about it

thebobmaster:
This sounds good in theory, but theories are indeed treacherous things. I mean, what about those people who cannot get an Internet connection for whatever reason? Or what if someone gets a blackout?

BioWare's answer is that then they can not play the game.

Great. Why don't you just rent us the game instead? Only good for three installs and I have to multi-validate, as though I'm not to be trusted? Yeah, fuck you, EA.

Bets on how long until it gets cracked?

My exact reaction? Fuck that shit.

I would not worry aboout it too much. By the time you use up three installs, some guy will have a "no Validation" patch or something.

As much as I agree that Piracy in the PC industry is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, I have games that have gone on and off my PC an upwards of 10 times over the course of my ownership of the game, mostly Bioware and Black Isle games come to think of it. Having my end user rights limited in that way kind of ticks me off. I think EA could have gotten away with just the server validation and been fine. The install limit is just bloody piss directed into the wind. They are literally making hacking the game a necessity for anyone who wants to own the game long term and protect their rights as an end user.

thebobmaster:
This sounds good in theory, but theories are indeed treacherous things. I mean, what about those people who cannot get an Internet connection for whatever reason? Or what if someone gets a blackout?

I think if someone has a blackout, they wouldn't be able to use their computer anyway.

The installation limit is going to be annoying, since I tend to repeatedly un- and reinstall my games. Guess I'll just have to deal though, as it doesn't seem like it's going to change.

Can you blame them? It's not like they are going to make that much money out of a PC release anyway, consoles are where the money is made these days (Giant apartment-fulls of it).

This is pointless, it will alienate anybody who actually plays the game, by forcing them to have a net connection, by forcing them to go through some rigmarole to register, and finally its forcing pc gamers to junk there game after 3 goe, which to be quite frank is nonsense. An avid pc gamer might reinstall every 6 months due to the build of junk from demos/games/porno and the odd upgrade.

Pc developers go on and on about how gaming is failing on the pc due to piracy and other factors, but then they go on and make the situation worse with this type of shite. Fair enough, you want to copy protect your games, but this aint the way to go. How about usb dongles ? If they became standard they would probably be easily produced, they might be crackable tho i dunno. This system will get cracked so bad, and the worst part is people who actually paid the money will have to resort to it when there 3 goes are up, gg to user friendliness.

Just to clarify something, even if I am strongly against this kinda of copy protection.

If you re-install the game on the same machine it will not count against your number of activations since the authentication server will still see that the authentication request comes from the same computer that the game once got registered at.

That said it will send information about your hardware and possibly OS and so forth, a consequence of this is that changing your hardware may count against your number of registrations. Minor hardware changes will not affect it, but they are unable to tell you what changes will.

An example (submitted by a BioWare developer, Derek French I believe) would be that changing your graphics card to one model might not trigger it while changing it to another model will.

So in other words, it's a system based on an algorithm that makes no sense.

...well I guess I wont be getting Spore then :-(

Multiactivate I can live with, limited installations off a disc is one step too far.

what a stupid, stupid idea.

and they choose to alienate those customers who don't have a internet connection. People already complain about Steam requiring a internet connection...

having trawled through some the mess that is the Mass Effect forum (they locked the origional thread linked in op & now discussion is all over the place), it seems:

1. The system allows for a maximum of 3 concurrent active installations, not 3 in total (which isnt new)
2. The CD checker thingy will automatically & quietly check if it can connect with the server when you start Mass Effect from 5 days after its last confirmation.
3. Someone has already worked out a potential way to get round the server authentication thing which I have yet to see dismissed by a Bioware official (I wont link it, but its in the OP linked thread)
4. Alot of Bioware forum customers seem pissed, though alot more people seem to have started new accounts just to troll.
5. Bioware seem confident in the system. Should the servers go down or something, theyll make a patch so that autoauthentication is no longer required.

I personally think the system is a pointless pain in the arse. But I guess if the only way for EA to see that it wont achieve their aim is for them to try it; I guess well just have to let them.

Or Maybe this is a big conspiracy by EA to kill off PC gaming & make us all play on Consoles; meaning they dont have to bother spending resources on PC ports. The cunning bastards.

Nice to see that EA can still kill anything it gets it's grimy hands on.

I think that all these companies need to realize that a lot of people who do "pirate" games do so for the fact that the games they churn out are god-awful. I honestly think that someone downloading an entire game; not some demo that shows you the best parts (sometimes) has a perfectly legitimate reason for it. Why pay $50 for a game that should be in the bargain bin at it's release ? I say these developers and publishers need to earn there place first and produce more than a few quality games before they start blaming "pirating" as to why they start loosing money. As for me I download games all the time and those that are actually GOOD I go out and buy and the rest gets pushed into the recycle bin.

It was because of the install limit that Bioshock didn't get into my PC collection.

I really wanted to play Spore, but there is no way I will buy a game who limits the install count.

These people need to become as creative as they are with making games, to stop piracy. Quit stomping on the legit players because you're turning them into pirates- and doing yourself in.

Blayze:
Bets on how long until it gets cracked?

I'll give it two weeks max.Say all you want but PC Gamers won't let EA screw us over.

Galaxy613:
and they choose to alienate those customers who don't have a internet connection. People already complain about Steam requiring a internet connection...

True, but Steam is a genuinely useful system for techno-tards like me. It keeps my games updated and organised without needing discs. It's also pretty robust and user friendly. I can't remember any EA system being any of these things (esp' punkbuster)
This system just seems to be another layer of EA related guff, it probably won't raise piracy levels in general, but almost certainly hurt the games sales.

dumb question: I go away for 3 weeks, during which time my pc is neither switched on or connected to the web.
When I come back, will MA attempt to re-validate itself, read the date and order full re-activation, or just tell me I'm screwed?

This is a great thing to point out to PS3 fanboys how say '360 HAS NO EXCLUSIVES, IT'S ON PC BLAH BLAH BLAH'. Who wants to put up with this garbage when you can just play it right away, any time you want, on a 360? Of course, they'd then correctly point out that the 360 is about as reliable as a kleptomaniac security guard.

ComradeJim270:
This is a great thing to point out to PS3 fanboys how say '360 HAS NO EXCLUSIVES, IT'S ON PC BLAH BLAH BLAH'. Who wants to put up with this garbage when you can just play it right away, any time you want, on a 360? Of course, they'd then correctly point out that the 360 is about as reliable as a kleptomaniac security guard.

...and PS3 is as expensive as the Guard's organs? lol j/k

So what's the problem with just buying the retail copy, and then going ahead and downloading and installing the cracked version?

Personally, I compare this version of copy protection to a man with a clipboard entering my house every 10 days to look at the contents and see if anything is stolen. If I cannot prove every object as authentic, I no longer have the right to my house and he takes the telly until proof is reinstated.
The problems are:

- Everytime something goes wrong - he forgets his glasses or his car crashes on the way - I no longer have ownership of my own house. With my experience buying around 50 or so computer games, I have had extraordinarily strange bugs in my validation software. Baldur's Gate refused to run at all - every single Australian-bought first-hand copy on my computer (after the store replaced it) said it can only run in the US and Aus - after 5 hours or so, I realised this was because I changed Windows' dialect from English(US) to English(Australian). Also, my ISP (the only one I can have in University Hall) blocks Steam access because it also services the University itself. Understandable, but Valve and a dozen other sellers on Steam lost a very willing customer nonetheless. Finally, Australian Internet is not always reliable - at parents' house, my old computer inexplicably refuses to connect at all, even when I try to reinstall.

- If you move the furniture in the house, it is misinterpreted as stealing it. If I have to reinstall the game 3 times for any reason - dodgy system, removal to make room, complete system upgrade - it's automatically gone. How fucking retarded is that?!

- It feels intrusive and it makes me feel like a criminal for buying a legal copy. I have never pirated a game in my life. Full stop. Even though Australians pay far more for their games than Americans. Yet I am being punished for other people's sins, when these people will crack the game and never worry about this issue. I understand that it feels less like an intrusion since it's electronic and I don't see it (unless the man loses his glasses and it makes me a criminal), but it's an intrusion nonetheless.

- The man takes note of all the furniture in my house (ie hardware setup)and sends it off to God-knows-who. Again, intrusion. If I can't see it happening, it must be OK.

Anyhow, I believe that EA's anti-piracy measures have thrown out the legitimate buying baby with the pirate bathwater. Mass Effect is the first Bioware PC game that I will not be buying.

Utterly, utterly pointless. Counter productive even. The PC is an open platform. That means pirate groups can decompile / reverse engineer the game executables and remove any copy protection. Unless they plan to stream game content from a server as you play (even then the pirates would probably just reverse engineer the server) this will do nothing but inconvenience and annoy those who legitimately buy the games, whilst at most delaying the pirates by a couple of days. If they can remove the one time activation that was present in Bioshock then they'll also remove the recurring activation proposed for these games. I am certain that people who never before considered pirating a game will end up looking for the hacked version just so they don't have to deal with the onerous drm.

Piracy on the PC won't be solved by technical measures - it can only be mitigated via community outreach and continued support for titles. Companies like Stardock have no DRM on their titles but still do well for themselves. Pushing out half arsed ports of console games and hoping for the best is not the way to go.

 

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