PC Gamers Angered by EA’s New Copy Protection System

Hotly-anticipated PC titles Spore and Mass Effect will be among the first wave of PC games from EA to employ a controversial form of copy protection.

Techdirt reports that publisher Electronic Arts will use SecuROM protection, a scheme that has caused technical problems with some past titles. From the Techdirt story:

This new version is causing controversy due to an online verification system connected to its CD key. The system requires a connection to the internet during installation… After this the game will try to re-check the CD key every 5-10 days… If the game can’t verify the key… it will continue to try for a further 10 days, after which it will stop working… The protection will also only allow the game to be installed three times.

So what’s the beef? According to Techdirt:

A lot of gamers consider this intrusive and inconvenient, and that the publishers are effectively assuming their customers are pirates… Other concerns have been raised over users who don’t play with machines permanently connected to the internet… or how the system will work in regards to resale.

These potential problems combined with SecuROM’s past have made some call for a boycott of the titles and others to declare an intention to pirate the game out of spite.

Cnet’s Daniel Terdiman weighs in on the brewing controversy:

Systems like this are never going to be winners for companies like EA. For every copy of one of its games that it successfully keeps from being illegally copied, it’s going to lose a good customer who’s beyond annoyed at the way the system works and the way they feel they’re being treated.

To be sure, software companies feel they have to fight tooth and nail to avoid being robbed… [but] as the Sony rootkit scandal and other DRM PR nightmares have shown, users do not want to be controlled in this way. And they vote with their wallets.

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