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Game copy protection goes one better (worse?)

08/29/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright, Games

Link: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/08/24/draconian_bioshock_drm_eased/

I'd not heard of this one until going through the Register's RSS feed. 2K Games (they of Civ 4 fame amongst others) put some copy protection on one of their new games that went a little above and beyond the usual. These days games typically have one or more of the various types of copy protection:

  • CD cannot be copied
  • CD must be in the CD drive to play
  • Game must be activated over the internet (STEAM is a good example)
  • Game won't run without some keyword being used (manual, license key)

This time, they decided to pretty much merge them all. On top of that, the license server determines that you get three installs. That's it. To be fair, the article is about 2K Games relaxing the protection a touch but this is getting close to being utterly purchaser-unfriendly. I have little doubt that the pirates have already figured out a way around it too so as usual it's the legitimate purchasers who get the short end of the stick.

Remind me again who games are supposed to be for? I'm already avoiding any game I hear to have active copy protection, but there are other games like anything from EA or 2K which requires the CD to be in the drive. I could almost swallow this if the various expansion packs didn't require that their specific CD be the only one. For example, try running Civ 4 with the Warlords expansion CD in the drive; now try it the other way around. Neither works. But golly, CD-free patches aren't that hard to find. Thanks, software developers.

I'm probably not going to go much beyond this but it certainly makes me appreciate games like World of Warcraft where the CD isn't copy protected and there's no limit to the number of computers it can be installed on. Yes, I know it's designed so that a connection to their servers is required to play but I'm sure in the hands of another company that darn CD would have to be present...


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