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back to article Grand Theft Auto IV PC debut gets SecuROM sideshow

The upcoming PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV will install SecuROM 7 on customers' systems, although the game maker claims its properly de-fanged the detested DRM technology. Rockstar told the gaming site IGN that GTA IV's flavor of SecuROM won't limit the number of installs of the game, nor will it restrict the number of …

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Joke

Common attempt already defeated

SecuROM has already been defeated for all 'entertainment software' published before.

Seems odd that they would still use something that has already been defeated.

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Pirate

The pirates are on the horizon

Encouraging piracy is hardly a shrewd business move. I don't know anybody personally who will tolerate having SecuROM on their machine.

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Ed

What a load

I know they have the right to protect their work, but just how much time and money is wasted securing software that sure as shit will be hacked cracked and shared with in a week......

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Pirate

'Comical to game-progress-halting changes'

Sounds a bit like the FADE anti-piracy technology Codemasters have used (notably in Operation Flashpoint), which causes the game code to degrade over time, affecting AI, physics, weapon accuracy etc to the point the game is no longer playable.

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Not buying it

Just say no. Not that I like GTA, but I would have bought Spore. But I don't want a game screwing with my rig. I could have installed a VM to put the game in, but it's not worth the effort.

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So....

How many *s worth of wanted is it for running a nocd patch?

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Flame

"Comical changes"

Ahhaahahah... Very comical indeed.

I still remember buying Settlers 3. It turned out there was a compatiblity problem. Either with my SCSI CD-ROM player (a Plextor -- not a particular cheap drive at the time) or Windows NT4 (or Win2000?).

The game played. Except... Iron turned into "pig iron" rather than weaponry. I.e. the game was unplayable, and I could not figure out why.

Until someone at some forum revealed that I had triggered the game's copy protection.

Did I get a refund? No. I had bought the game abroad (a deadly sin it turns out, as the retailers insist customers to stay domestic). In the end, I had to get a crack.

I am sorry RockStar... But I am not going down that route again. I would love to take your game out for a spin, but risking "comical" game side-effects of such random nature... No, that is not fun at all. Mixed with the lack of support provided by the game distributor's? That spells disaster.

Count me out. :C

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Paris Hilton

So bloody frustrated

I would love to have bought GTA IV but i'm REALLY not willing to play russian roulette with my brand new system. How frustrating!

My only glimmer of hope is from the quote below... perhaps SecuROM will not be in the games downloaded on Steam after street date.

A Rockstar spokesperson told IGN:

GTA IV PC uses SecuROM for protecting our EXE until street date has passed,

Paris because she's NASTY too.

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Stop

not a good gift

I was going to buy a bunch of copies of this game for my nephews. I have now changed my mind. I don't want to give everyone the gift of a DRM-virus.

I'll just tell them to download the cracked version instead.

Stupid Rockstar...

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Anonymous Coward

title...ugh...this enough?

I have gone off buying games for the PC

1) they are buggy as hell

2) the gameplay sucks compared to the console versions

3) I DO NOT want any DRM crap messing with my system, slowing things down any further

I could put up with a game with in game adverts, heck I would even be willing to accept spam being sent to my email to support the thing (hell I get enough already, never know, might actually get an email about something I actually would buy....hint...I do not need, nor want viagra, cialis, debt relief, degrees from dubious universities etc, suggestion...buy a damned dictionary, learn to spell and remove the "remove this section before sending this email")

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'Comical to game-progress-halting changes'

Have they been taking lessons from Bethesda, d'you think? Not that Bethesda are so ungenerous as to keep such comedy for the pirates.

@ Mike JVX: I concur wholeheartedly; the last few games I've been excited enough to get have been unplayable, buggy nightmares. Some of them STILL won't work (you can guess which one, presumably).

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how to remove SecuROM

(1) remove harddrive from computer

(2) smash old harddrive flat

(3) install new harddrive

(4) install operating software

all done now, innit?

Wankers; I won't be buying this for my sprog to screw up their computers so I have to fix the bloody mess.

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Happy

I wonder if this will run under Wine

Then I don't need to worry about un-installing this DRM crap, or it infecting any other game. Just delete the wine directory for the game.

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Stop

guess not buying that game then ?

Not keen on securerom, if the program is only used until the game hits the shops, will securerom be removed prior to sale ?

not into the kiddy thumb controls of the consoles, prefer WASD and mouse look...

Guess it is a case of not listening to the customer and am not going to be a customer of theirs...

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Black Helicopters

DRM?

This is sad.... Best game of the year, the ONLY game I was considering purchasing this year, then RockStar had to go pull this shit.

I might well consider buying this game still - since I have hundreds of GB of spare space, a secondary Winstall would be fine, but to have to go to these lengths just for a game....

I find myself doubting that this will keep the Pirates at Bay (roflcopter!) for more than a few minutes.

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Dex
Coat

@Mike JVX

Erm no.

1. It's not so much they are buggy, you'll find even some console games can be buggy, why you think XBL and the PS3 varaint exist? to help then patch thier games....in secret!

2. Gameplay in PC version doesn't suck, you'll probably find a majority of the time most titles are made for PC first then ported to consoles...i think the phase is "dumbing it down for the console 'tards.

3. Ok finally a point i agree on, that said surely you could find a way (even with DRM enabled stuf) to block it running on your system without stopping the game itself? My knowledge of SecuROM is little so i'm not sure to what extent it works but if all it does it makes sure you have the disc in the drive surely it can't be THAT resoruce hungry?

--

To my knowledge STEAM titles (or games brought via steam - regardless of publisher) don't have any DRM related shite, i know you can burn off your STEAM folder to a DVD or Ex HDD and use it on any STEAM account, if you do it right :-)

Mines the one with the Valve logo on it

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Silver badge

Copy protection simply doesn't work

We all know the pirates will have ripped out any protection before the game even appears in retail. So the question is why bother with it at all? All Rockstar are doing is complicating their QA/QC processes, annoying legitimate customers and having some of their profits siphoned off as royalties for worthless security.

They might as well do away with it entirely. Better yet, pack a registration code in with the game which is used for the multiplayer portion and for patches and new content and incentivize people to purchase a legitimate copy.

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Flame

Spore was

The most pirated gam ever. Let's make sure GTA beat that. Until game maker understand that:

1. DRM is illegal period, not if or but. It is ILLEGAL PERIOD.

2. DRM have NEVER worked in any way to prevent piracy

3. DRM actual encourage piracy, no game is worth installing maleware on your computer.

4. If Rockstar want more money, sue the make Securom for making a totaly un-effective DRM that have been proven 100% useless every single time,

5 How much cheaper GTA wil be whitout all the illegal DRM infecting it?

Customes are your friend not your enemies

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Unhappy

For fucks sake

I've bought GTA since the first incarnation (top down 2D) but this is the first time I wont.

I don't buy many but apart from GTA series, Dungeon Keeper series, EVE & TF2 I grab a torrent and am glad I didn't shell out for it. This I was about to pre-order on Steam.

Now I'll just wait a week and grab from demonoid.

Rockstar used to be cool, but then so did Kajagoogoo.

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Stop

Idiots

I was going to buy this game. Now I won't.

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Pirate

Leaking buggy copies

Is very like the movie studios' old trick of releasing fake files, or versions with the end or other bits missing. These VERY quickly get tagged on sites like demonoid, and thanks to the mechanics of bittorrent the defective torrents die soon after. I can see this taking the form of:

1. Some people download the bugged version, supposedly a release by "XYZ Crew" and encounter a "comical" effect.

2. They post about the problem on the game forums, only to be told that the problem is they pirated the game and thus have their forum memberships banned.

3. They post about the buggy copy in the Demonoid forums, warning other users not to download "XYZ Crew"'s version of the game.

4. The "XYZ Crew"'s torrent dies.

5. A real crew uploads a properly cracked copy. Over time, this version, having survived testing, becomes the bittorrent default with the most seeders and downloads, making it an easy pick.

More likely, the real crew will have their copy on the torrents before the fake ones - giving them a "market lead" so to speak. Even if the bugged version takes a few days or weeks to degrade, the downloaders will at least be able to play the game before it starts misbehaving, and by the time it does, a real cracked version will have become available and flagged by the community as working. They simply then download this version and keep going from where they left off.

Finally, sites like Demonoid only have open registrations at rare times, otherwise entry is by invitation only. Accounts that upload fake files get banned fast, along with those who invite the fakers, and it could be months before the shills can get another one. The filesharing community adapts, just as life does!

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Linux

/sigh

no matter what copy protection they put on, it's not any harder to crack... Just change the operation that checks the protection so it always succeeds :-)

Does noone use Ghost anymore? clone your OS when ur happy with it.. and restore whenever u feel like it.

Yes, yes.. i know u know that I know you know

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Anonymous Coward

Slight issue with this

If the crack version is deliberatly bugged, all the people getting it early will review the game as bugged, so less people will get the game overall as its seen as buggy.

Also crackers ahve got good at getting rid of in game crack checks.

As much as i do think pc piracy needs to stop a bit, all that will happen here is that no matter what, rockstar will blame the pc versions poor sales on piracy, it won't have anything to do with the fact that a lot of people already have the game... on 360 or ps3, no it can't be!

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Thumb Up

How to shoot yourself in the foot

This DRM bollocks absolutely _guarantees_ that I will download a pirated version rather than purchasing the retail copy. I can wait a few weeks for the genuine cracks to filter through the torrent sites, no sweat.

1. Insert shotgun muzzle into trouser leg.

2. Pull trigger.

3. Hop around in agony while your erstwhile customers laugh.

Well done, Rockstar. Well done.

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Shooting themselves in the foot

I am not an avid gamer, but I do like the GTA series.

I pre-ordered the game off Amazon, but will now cancel my pre-order. This is ridiculous.

If some want this DRM crap on their computers - fine, but I don't. Might as well get it from "alternate sources" once the malware has been removed.

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Silly

I had been looking forward to this as well - Another sale gone, no piracy stopped whatsoever, good job guys, really smart.

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Pirate

my 2 cents

And it will take less than a day for a hacked "drm free" version to hit the torrent sites. Hooray!

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Go

Sony DRM

I still refuse to buy anything with a Sony badge on it after their DRM debacle. I recently bought a 42" plasma and Sony would have been on the list. So those who consider using potentially damaging protection systems, consider your long-term business health.

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Stop

Console ++

No thankyou Rockstar , Im not buying anything with DRM.

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Paris Hilton

Fair DRM?

> ...Although an internet connection will be required for activation, the game maker said it will

> provide for rustic customers to activate the game using someone else's machine with

> web access...

Since no-one has covered this angle yet.

So you buy a game, install it and then you are not able to play it because you don't have internet access.

So the publishers are relying on you having a friend with web access? WTF !!! how is that in any way reasonable?

Sigh - so eventually you give up and get a refund.

Some time later you get given a DVD in the post with the cracked version, no on-line requirement, no malware/ DRM related installation issues or anything else.

From then on what incentive would there be to buy anything new? the publishers business model (if they know what one of those would be) causes them to collapse.

Two options spring to mind:

1) buy the game, but download the cracked version and install that instead - all legal and above board (well sort of).

2) the publishers hand out the (DRM-free) game for essentially free, official torrents, cd's in the magazines or whatever.

They make their money using other means - monthly subs gives users codes to unlock aspects of the game; new gadgets, armours or whatever, or maybe ad-sales. Come to that by giving them money you can turn the adverts off, or use higher textures...

A question for the panel - if a game was free to buy, what would you be willing to pay for?

ttfn

PH since I might be willing to pay for her, though free would be better :-)

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Anonymous Coward

The only reason SecureROM is hated.

Is because warez kiddies can't play pirated versions of the game for free. Cheapskates, just buy the PS3 version, £17.99 on play.com... No SecureROM to worry about, and likely to be better anway.

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hmmm

@ 1. It's not so much they are buggy, you'll find even some console games can be buggy, why you think XBL and the PS3 varaint exist? to help then patch thier games....in secret!

- yeah - big secreat the 'please update to the latest version of this game' - yup! deffo stealth - worthy of the CIA that one

@ 2. Gameplay in PC version doesn't suck, you'll probably find a majority of the time most titles are made for PC first then ported to consoles...i think the phase is "dumbing it down for the console 'tards.

- dumbing down for us? arrogant prick. i think you will find it is us console people funding the gaming industry - not you torrent geeks. i spend 9 hours a day staring at a screen and keyboard - the last thing i wanna do when i get home is sit infront of a pc. i would rather boot up the old ps3 and play on my 42" tv and 7.1 surround system... sat on my couch with a dooby. plus apart from strategy (zzzz) and FPS (got bored of them) consoles are far better for gaming on. im mainly into footy and 3d games like tomb raider - games like this suck on pcs

you seriously think that securrom wont stop a lot of the illegal versions? of course many people will get cracked versions but many are too stupid to even do that. i think it will stop a fair bit of piracy. and if people hadnt been taking the piss on torrent sites for years we wouldnt be in this situation would we?

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Silver badge

@mectron

>>The most pirated gam ever. Let's make sure GTA beat that. Until game maker understand that:

>>1. DRM is illegal period, not if or but. It is ILLEGAL PERIOD.

Is it? Why? Seem to be a great lack of court cases given its alleged illegality.

>>2. DRM have NEVER worked in any way to prevent piracy

I disagree, DRM has worked, but not a great extent. It stops casual copying by those who do not (yet) download, not the hardcore freetards, who wouldn't have bought it anyway.

>>3. DRM actual encourage piracy, no game is worth installing maleware on your computer.

Possibly true.

>>4. If Rockstar want more money, sue the make Securom for making a totaly un-effective DRM that have been proven 100% useless every single time,

See point 2.

>>5 How much cheaper GTA wil be whitout all the illegal DRM infecting it?

Same price.

I don't like DRM either BTW, and rarely if ever buy games

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Flame

Legitimate use for cracks...

Yeah I said it. Legitimate use for cracks.

I have legally bought every game I own, but cracked most of them.

A few years back, I was bitching about having to put the disc in the machine each time I wanted to play a game, and a friend of mine suggested downloading a cracked version of the exe for the game, and using that.

I have cracked every legal copy of a game I've bought since. Not because I'm trying to run a ripped off version, but because I'm sick of putting the disc in all the time (No, I don't play online, so that's no issue for me.)

I think Steam was great like that, sure you have to be on the internet to play anything, but I didn't have to put the damn disc in all the time.

Besides, no matter what a company does, it'll get cracked/hacked/molested usually even before the street release date. I'm not saying it's pointless to have protection on the software, it still deters some people, but there isn't alot of point going all out on it.

If someone is determined to do something, they'll find a way.

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Flame

SecuROM love

Dex wrote: "My knowledge of SecuROM is little so i'm not sure to what extent it works but if all it does it makes sure you have the disc in the drive surely it can't be THAT resoruce hungry?"

Various DRMs have horrible track records on the PC.

The worst problem is that it is difficult to keep track of what exactly they do. One problem has been that DRMs often install filter drivers for the CD devices. In addition, many of them hinges on reading faulty blocks off the CD-ROM, which the OS then considers to be a possible problem, and your CD device might end up being shifted into PIO mode. Now, PIO mode causes its own set of problems with CD burners, and have been shown to cause hardware failure.

So no, you won't necessarily see a massive spike in CPU usage (although I have certainly seen systems 'freeze'), but you do face the joy of buying a new DVD-RW drive.

The conclusion is this: It is a gamble at best. The DRM developers do not want us to get access too many details of how their technology works, and we users do not want dodgy software running within our OS' kernels.

Add to this the total lack of benefits for the customers, and you should realise why DRM is not the way to go. DRM isn't the solution, it's the problem.

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RE: For fucks sake

@Skyraker: "Rockstar used to be cool, but then so did Kajagoogoo."

Kajagoogoo have never been cool.

Their DRM stood for "Don't Release Music" as that's what music lovers everywhere had been begging for...

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Pum
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I also will not buy this game now

Another lost customer here - Rockstar, are you taking notice? I was going to buy this game, which seems to be the only good one recently, but not now, because of the DRM crap. I'll wait for the DRM to be cracked (but will buy the game too, by which time it will be cheaper), or possibly wait for it to be released in bargain bin format, without the DRM. Either way, Rockstar are losing revenue, on top of whatever they waste paying for SecuROM.

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Stop

Total crap

"The company said it's presently "working" with SecuROM just to post information on its support pages on how to remove the DRM completely."

Well, good luck to 'em! I spent over a month trying to get any information out of SecuROM that wasn't a blatant lie or at best misleading to cover their crap implementations. Their uninstaller doesn't!

SecuROM causes drives on my machine to vanish periodically.

Was going to buy it but again, it looks llike the best way to get your hands on this game is to rip it off... I guess it's in the spirit of the title itself.

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Anonymous Coward

Available on Steam without it?

I'm just going to download this from Steam. There's no reason for DRM on the steam version of the game, and weren't previous games (Bioshock for example) DRM-free-ish through Valves' great game delivery system?

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Pirate

This title is DRM'd

>>>Better yet, pack a registration code in with the game which is used for the multiplayer portion and for patches and new content and incentivize people to purchase a legitimate copy.<<<

What, you mean use the carrot rather than the stick? a product with nice extras like hard to scan manuals (and let's face it, most people prefer a nice tactile manual they can read in the bog for tips and background to the game world), where, if your code has been stolen you simply post the back page of your manual to the games company and they oust out the privateer who's using it, where only legal owners of the game get a thriving community, fan made mods, patches, extra content etc etc etc?

Nah, too sensible mate, plus, with SecureROM, they (the games company), gets a stealth utility sending info from your computer back to them, giving them a growing picture of what you do on your computer and when, plus, as an added bonus, kills the second hand market dead.

...

[EA Profits reports for end of 2007: Gross profit for the last quarter was $378 million], not so good this year, Spore really hurt them, tho' whether it's because of DRM or the fact it was kind'a crap is unclear.

Windows, i 'heard' somewhere, it's the most pirated bit of software on the planet - [...based on the success of Windows Vista, Office 2007 and the Halo 3 game. First quarter revenues (2007) jumped by 27% to $13.76 billion]. So piracy didn't really hurt their bottom line.

Couldn't find Rockstars profits but this is quite interesting... [For one thing, its predecessor, 2004’s GTA: San Andreas, sold 21.5 million copies. With GTA IV sales already plummeting, the franchise’s latest installment from Take-Two Interactive will be lucky to move 12-14 million copies total. What’s more, it cost a record $100 million to develop. ] Which might explain their willingness to DRM the software and deter the 'casual' pirate for that all important first week of sales.

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Thumb Up

Quit moaning

Quit moaning about DRM. It very rarely actually fucks anything up, its just a way to protect the developers intellectual property. How would you like it if you've spent several years working on a game and then like 10 people buy it and the rest just pirate it. Its not as if it even bothers you! Its not like with Spore where it limited the installs, its a case of just limiting it for the pirates. Granted it'l be cracked within a few weeks, its just an attempt to protect their work.

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Pirate

A Turtle is Required

I will not have Securrom on my PC! its MY PC!

If I buy this game it will remain in the box, and I will install a clean version.

Call me a pirate if you want, but if you treat your customer like shit they will shit on you.

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Happy

GTA IV on Steam?

So will the Steam install of GTA IV also carry this software?

Given that recent Steam games (Bioshock/Fallout) have had max install limits placed on them, I would say that it's likely.

I'm glad I got GTA IV on the PS3 where it belongs.

Say it with me people - 3rd person games on console, 1st person games on PC. That's the way it would be in any decent society....

*moves mouse to defend freedom of expression*

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Go

Also, GTA IV...

....gets boring, fairly quickly. I lost interest after a week of play when I moved on to the second island.

The story just isn't gripping enough for long term play. Save your money. Buy Fallout 3 on Steam instead (or get a boxed copy)

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@ Tim Poppleton

True usually DRM works on your machine and doesn't create a problem. and sure I can understand why they put it on. However with the huge bad rep DRM and especially suckyrom has I only see this harming their business.

The problem I have with Securom is the way it infects your machine, it installs itself in ring0 and does everything to avoid detection. That is a program with full access to pretty much everything on the OS that I do not control. To make matters worse you can't get rid of it easily either. Even securoms own uninstaller leaves traces of the program in your registry.

In my opinion any DRM that does more than just check to see if you have a legit disk is just wrong.

Finally the cracking is usually a matter of days and sometimes hours instead of weeks.

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@Tommy Pock

Exactly what I was thinking. Johnny Redbeard or whatever "da kids" that pirate games are called these days, will be thinking "Well that sounds like a challenge to me!". Time and money wasted on security that will last less than 24 hours, of course the money will be recouped through the game price and the extra cost will be justified as an anti-piracy measure to safe guard you gaming experience.

I dropped out of the peeing contest that gaming had become many yonks ago. For the best gaming experience, all you need is a copy of M.E.S.S. and a stack of old 8bit game image files! All glory to Dizzy and Horace!

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Anonymous Coward

fzzzzzzzzzzzzt - pop

Could be worse - could be Starfarce...

Speaking of manuals used for authentication - I remember Elite on the Archie ooooooh gotta be more than 15 years ago now - before you could start the game it would ask you to find the manual, turn to page n, paragraph n, and type in the nth word... now _that_ was a ballache - especially when we misplaced the manual =\

Funny thing is - for all the verbal vitriol here - us techie, actually give a damn out our PC, know even the slightest thing about DRM types - are seriously in the minority - most people either don't know or don't care *shrugs* (Spore being possibly the only exception because they went a step too far in their draconian anti-piracy measures)

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On-line in-game advertising revenue?

Most pirated games don't let you play online multiplayer because you don't have a valid unique key. It's this multiplayer mode that's the most fun and keeps you returning to a game.

So why not sell the game so cheap and without DRM or CD checks that most people come to the conclusion it is actually worth giving that little bit of money for the multiplayer experience rather than getting a pirated version. Extra revenues can then be earnt by in game advertising (like billboards you walk/drive past when playing game). Selling download versions of the game would mean no costs in physical media, packaging and distribution hence keeping some margin for the manufacturer despite the cheap retail price.

If games were only £10, I'd buy lots of them and if they weren't all that great, pah, it was only a tenner. But if you're talking £20 or more each, especially if they're a hassle with DRM and stuff, you really do think twice and in my case I usually decide to not bother. Surely a sale with a small margin (and happy customers) is better than no sale with no margin?

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Go

JUST BUY IT ON STEAM!!

For crying out loud, just buy the Steam version!!

Unless you haven't got an internet connection, why the hell would you buy a boxed game if it was on Steam anyway? You'll only lose/scratch the disk, and have to fanny about putting the disk in every time you fire it up. Steam has been problem free (for me anyway) for over 4 years.

Everyone bitched about the DRM on BioShock, but the Steam version was clean - apart from the crappy framerate it ran perfectly.

The only disadvantage Steam has is that now the exchange rate has dropped to $1.50-£1.00 it's slighly more expensive than buying it from Play / Amazon - but steam won't run out of stock (as Play have)

You can even buy the steam version as a gift, so no excuses there.

My GTA IV will be unlocked and I'll be playing it at midnight tonight. Without DRM, and without a disk in the drive.

DRM is the spawn of the devil, no arguments, but don't bitch about it when there is another option.

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