C&C4’s Net Connection Mandate Violates Gamer’s Bill of Rights

The video game industry continues to find new and creative ways to stick it to PC gamers.

In the latest example, EA has announced that the much-anticipated Command & Conquer 4 will require players to constantly be connected to the Internet, even for single-player campaigns.

That requirement, however, violates one of the basic tenets of the Gamer’s Bill of Rights, a document released at PAX 08 by Stardock CEO Brad Wardell and Gas Powered Games CEO Chris Taylor. EA, however, is not a signatory to the Bill of Rights. No surprise there.

Specifically, the C&C4 requirement violates this point:

Gamers shall have the right to demand that a single-player game not force them to be connected to the Internet every time they wish to play.

Ars Technica reports comments on the connection requirement made by EA Community Leader "APOC":

As of right now, you need to be online all the time to play C&C 4. This is primarily due to our ‘player progression’ feature so everything can be tracked. C&C 4 is not an MMO in the sense of World of Warcraft, but conceptually it has similar principles for being online all the time.

 

While some may be taken aback by this, we’ve been testing this feature internally with all of our world-wide markets. We wanted to make sure it wouldn’t take away any significant market or territory from playing the game. We have not found or seen any results that have made us think otherwise…

GP: This smells like backdoor DRM from here. Even if it’s not, what if you’re on a laptop? What if you’re on an airplane? What if your Internet connection is down?

As a longtime PC gamer who has owned every version of the C&C and Red Alert games, this just sucks.

There is perhaps a glimmer of hope in APOC’s comments. We note that he starts off with "As of right now…" Does that mean that this gamer-unfriendly policy is subject to change? 

It’s time for PC gamers to make some noise about this nonsense.

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67 comments

  1. insanejedi says:

    I can’t believe people are making such an outrage over this. You had this for a long time, it was called  Half Life 2, and everything else steam. EA is not the first to do this.

  2. Gaming Observer says:

    You people amaze me.  Someone needs to knock you off your high horse with a 10,000 lb shovel.

    They’re selling a product.  It reqruies an internet connection.  If you don’t like that – don’t buy it.  Pretty simple.

    Let’s assume (since you assume this anyway) that this is done for 100% anti-piracy reasons.  SO… WHAT… piracy is a huge problem and software companies attempting to protect their work product is fair, reasonable, and necessary.  They do need to earn money, after all, and at this point making PC games is equal to giving software away because most people with internet access seem to have no conscience.

    Get over yourself and cut them some slack.

    It would be better if you got angry at actual software pirates instead of DRM or DRM issues.  Pirates are the ones causing this problem, not software companies.  If you think anybody at EA wants to spend extra time and money worrying about security measures – think again.  It’s a reality they hate as much as you do, but they don’t quite have the same luxury of nerd rage and loathing – their reality is a bit more cold – fight pirates or stop making games.

    Enough with the hate.  Please grow up.  This is an economic reality, not an attempt to screw with your fine gaming traditions.

    We live in a world with a lot of thieving, lying, untrustworthy pricks.  This is why we lock our doors, our cars, and don’t leave our wallets laying around.  Everybody protects themselves when they need to – this is no different and no less normal.

    Oh yes, I know – "But I bought it!  It’s mine!  I own it!" No, friend, that was yesteryear.  As much as you want to complain about the physical removal of your total control of once purchased games, so do game creators over the litteral 100s of 1000000s of illegally downloaded games each year, that affect their ability to turn a profit, stay in business, and continue to make games people want to play.

    If you can’t understand that the inconvenience and "problem" is THEIRS TOO – and that the real culprit is your roomate who felt entitled to download SPORE because of similar anger at EA – than please pick up your keyboard and promptly bash YOURSELF in the head with it.

    EA is not the problem.

  3. Baruch_S says:

    If I remember correctly, Spore was cracked before the North American release even happened. EA’s huge DRM scheme didn’t work out so well on that one.

  4. SbEguy says:

    Yet another EA game i will not be buying, they keep coming up with new and "interesting" ways to keep me away from their games. It’s really quite impressive.

  5. Pinworm says:

    Of course I realize. Apparently you’re such an inept reader that you missed my point, which is that technology and innovation shouldn’t be held back because a select few are unable to adapt. The fact that I’m unfortunately one of them just makes my point stronger, as I’m one of the select few. Why should other people suffer? 

  6. Pinworm says:

     How come no one yells at blizzard for their "PURE DRM and control" of requiring the internet? No one has answered this.

    I guess blizzard should change their mmo to work for people with no internet just because a select few (very few) don’t have internet right? well since that’s not possible, they should just delete their game so no one can play because of a select few with archaic technology.

    No innovation! Burn books! Get off my lawn! don’t progress because a few of us don’t have the ability to support new technology or because we’re scared of it!

    Brilliant guys, brilliant.

  7. Pinworm says:

     Uh, what are you talking about? It IS a multiplayer game. Yes, there is a campain, but most of the focus on the new game is the multiplayer, and the single player is basically going to be a ‘quest line’ in another mmo. 

    And to the guy above, well, people murder anyway, so I guess we shouldn’t punish them or try to prevent it.

    Uh, no. There’s no reason to not have it this way, though I admit they could have seperate your account for single player and multiplayer so people could play single player offline, but even that would be stupid and annoying. No thanks.

  8. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Doc kefka

    They also droped lan support and are making Bnet connections mandatory, it will be hacked and cracked harder than ever, not to mention "the comunity" will find a way to play a lan party offline, its blizzards loss really.


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


    http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com

  9. Neo_DrKefka says:

    Blizzard Actvision announced they are going to do some funny copy right protections on the new Diablo and Starcraft.

  10. Neo_DrKefka says:

    Spore has been cracked. In fact, it was simple to crack it and anyone can figure it out. It wasn’t the most pirated game ever and then they all couldn’t play it.

    To Pirate and then crack spore is made simple. In fact the pirated version and crack made it load faster and was more stable.

    Gamecopyworld.com It’s not a site were you can download the torrent but it has the cracks. So if you have the legal version you can download the crack and play it worry free without using up your installs.

  11. Neo_DrKefka says:

    Don’t worry RELOADED will just make a crack and many other pirates out there will make this right and EA will lose money.

  12. jedidethfreak says:

    I’m seeing a lot of posts about cracking this game to avoid quasi-DRM.  My question is, has anyone cracked Spore?  Cuz if Spore hasn’t been cracked yet, how can we crack CC4?

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  13. Alex says:

    I must’ve missed something, when did Blizzard say they were going to be doing this?

    I’m not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I’m not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don’t know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

  14. Wimblesaurus says:

    It’s not a multiplayer game, so it doesn’t "hurt" anyone if people cheat.  What’s your arguement?

  15. Roh02 says:

    This kind of thing happens a little too often they must know its going to lose them sales right? their not that dumb?. The only thing I can think of is that they want it to be pirated so that piracy looks like an even worse crime so that they can then push for ridiculous laws and harsher punishments.

  16. DeusPayne says:

    Because encryption doesn’t exist… right? Everything MUST be dumped as plain text. It’s just required.

  17. chadachada321 says:

    … >.> Hello Mr. O’Brien, I see you are masterfully using doublethink and doublespeak. Carry on with yourself.

    Do you realize that the new DRM in this game will prevent you from playing this game while you’re at your country house?

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  18. chadachada321 says:

    Yeah, I had to read his post over a couple of times to see if he really is as stupid or blind as he looks.

    He supports a stupid feature, then goes on to talk about why the stupid (unnecessary and pointless) feature makes him unable to play said game SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT OF THE TIME. What a fucking EA tool. Either a tool or an idiot, probably both.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  19. chadachada321 says:

    Okay, they edit the file. Big deal. They lie about their stats. Oh well. It’s like any other leaderboard out there, there WILL be cheaters on the scoreboard. Don’t make any benefits for cheating like that and few people will actually do it.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  20. Baruch_S says:

    Well, there’s one more EA game I’m not buying since I often take my computer offline for weeks at a time… Good job EA, you just lost another sale.

  21. Shahab says:

    You sir, are an idiot. You yourself admit that you spend a lot of time at a country house with no interent. They’re gimping you, making it so you can’t play the game at the location, even though there is no technical reason you shouldn’t be able to, yet you roll over and let them slide it in, saying there is some kind of "innovation" here? 

    Listen, this is PURE DRM and control on the publisher’s part. No "innovative" features or technology. People like you always flabbergast me, I don’t get how people can give up control of their games and computers so easily.

  22. Shahab says:

    You notice, they only pull this shit on their most popular games, as they know most people won’t be able to resist, or won’t even know what they’re getting into, and still buy the game.

    I for one will NOT buy this game. I will no support an industry that continues to give pirates the best products. We all know this will be cracked, and the pirates will be able to play without an interenet connection to their hearts delights, but the regular schlubs who actually pay for the damn game will have a gimped product.

    Same thing as no LAN in Diablo 3 or Star Craft.

    Fuck them all and I hope they DIE IN A FIRE!

  23. Pinworm says:

     I think the MMO idea is fucking awesome. I don’t see you people bitching that you have to be on the internet to play WOW.

    If you’re gunna argue that you don’t like their new idea for the game, and that they should do it the same as all the others, well then you all bitch that EA just rehashes the same thing with nothing new.

    Is there any way for them to win?

    I will be purchasing this at release and I can’t wait, it sounds like an awesome idea.

    Ps: people complaining about games requiring the internet are the same as thoes who complain that Crysis won’t run on their archaic computers. Get with the times, or be left behind. If you choose to be left behind, you’re only going to look like an old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn when you refuse to adapt. For those who can’t get internet (I spend 75% of my time at a country house with not internet, by the way), I feel for you, because it does suck. To bad, you’re a minority and no one cares, and technology and innovation shouldn’t be denied because of us select few.

  24. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Nothing like making the argument for cracks valid, go EA and blizzard!

     


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


    http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com

  25. Daria_C says:

    I’ve been out of the CnC niche since the expansion for Tiberian Sun. I might have been tempted to pick up this most recent release, but not while this stupid connetion requirement exists. While I have a constant high speed connection, I still don’t like the idea of unnessasary, mandatory, and restricting features being piled onto what is supposed to be a source of entertainment, not headaches.

    Also, I agree with GP. This is EA we are talking about. If anyone has a record of horrible DRMs that try and molest your computer, its Electronic Arts.

  26. MKV62591 says:

    Well, they lost a sale with me. Ive owned every C&C made(including the less than stellar Renegade), and was looking forward to this one, but this loses my sale. I spend a lot of time on my laptop gaming, especially in planes. There is often no internet connection.

    This is DRM, no doubt about it. If you must include DRM with your game, there is one rule you must follow: Do not make the pirated game better than the real game. Spore did it, C&C will do it. Crap like this makes me want to pirate the game, so I can enjoy it without having to deal with DRM or always-on internet hookups. Don’t penalize your customers.

  27. vaminion says:

    If this is a bastardized form of digital distribution, I think I’m fine with it.  If it’s a matter of all the code is on the DVD and I can’t play the game without being online, well…I’ll either get the crack or pirate the DVD and rip the cutscenes off it.  C&C’s been my one exception to my no EA rule for a while, but this might change my mind.

     -P, fan of C&C since Colonel Morelli was dropping napalm.

  28. Wormdundee says:

    It doesn’t even need to be that complicated. It would be extremely simple to just check if there’s an internet connection available, and if so, to update the stats. If there is no connection it should just store the stats in a file somewhere and then update the stats when an internet connection is available again. 

  29. Arell says:

    Well, I can’t go that far.  While they’re usually douchebags, EA was actually pretty cool during the development of Warhammer Online.  They gave Mythic lots of extra capital, and let them push the deadline back twice.  Once just so Mythic could go back and completely revamp content they had already finished.

  30. Dexee says:

    I now advocate the utter and complete boycott of all EA products, past and present. Nobody buys them, nobody plays them and keep going on that way until they stop being completely retarded, ruining perfectly good games with extra bull**** like this.

     

    DOWN WITH EA FAILURES!

  31. ezbiker555 says:

    EA is the most greedy, and biggest failure in the gaming industry. They destroyed the C N C series once they stole it from Westwood and have now gone officailly too far. Bring back Westwood damit. They knew how to make a real game unlike these corporate bastards.

  32. sirjonk says:

    no bid deal, the crack that gets released a week before the game goes on sale will fix the issue.  Let them keep making games, we’ll keep playing, and when they stop being dumbasses maybe we’ll start paying.

  33. Arell says:

    Hey, come on now, guys.  Every player secretly wishes to know that they’re only the 26,942nd worst player.  Without leaderboards to tell you how much you suck compared to everyone else, there’s really no point to playing the game.

  34. Monte says:

    My situation… I don’t have an ethernet connection in my room, so my desktop connects to the internet via wireless router… unfortunately, due to the placement of the router in relationship to my room, i get a very week connection. And every once in a while the connection might cut out for a few seconds…

    Essentially, while playing single player on C&C4, i might be disconnected and kicked from the game completely while playing… it’s like playing for hours on end only to have your house hit by a momentary blackout, only a lot more frequently…

    ya i’m in that group that’s not considered "significant"… but ofcourse, there are gamers in much worse situations as myself.

  35. Spartan says:

    You guys should read the ARS thread on the topic. It is as hot as Hell fire against EA*. Some good posts there nonetheless. I cant wait for the Amazon based comments on the title…

     

    *But really, what else new when talking about EA and it approach to gamers.

    —————————————————————————

    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  36. SinisterInfant says:

    I thought that John Davison’s comment from the last 1up show hit the mark on this one.  This is the frist instance of some cloud computing.  The reason you have to be online isn’t because they are tracking everything, but because when you install the game….you aren’t installing the game.  Most of the code will get streamed to you as you play the game. 

    That doesn’t really effect the primary issue of whether its reasonable to expect people to be online when they play games.  Obviously we aren’t opposed when it comes to multiplayer (massive or otherwise), but then I guess there is the idea that such a connection is necessary for communication.  If I were to lower my intellegence to the level of an EA executive I don’t think it would be such a great leap to say, if some people are willing to be connected to play an MMO, why not every other game imaginable.

    Unfortunatly I think C&C4 will suffer through this as an experiment.  Unfortunatly I don’t know if I care about C&C enough anymore to think about participating.

  37. Krono says:

    There is perhaps a glimmer of hope in APOC’s comments. We note that he starts off with "As of right now…" Does that mean that this gamer-unfriendly policy is subject to change? 

    I’d imagine that if there’s sufficient outcry they’d change things.

    -Gray17

  38. Defenestrator says:

    The only way to send a message to EA is to simply NOT BUY THE GAME.  If you hit them in their wallets, they might actually learn that fucking over their customers is not a good move.

    If people buy the game like sheep then this will continue.

  39. sqlrob says:

    It’s not. I’ve written software that not only tells whether or not it’s on the network, it can tell where it is (corporate LAN or not?) and change it’s behavior accordingly.

     

  40. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Is it really that difficult for EA to code in a utility that asks you when you finish a scenario or campaign, "Hey there. You racked up some nice stats during that last campaign. Would you like to connect to the internet and publish those now? Remember, you can always publish your stats from the main menu as well."

    How flipping hard is that? It accomplishes exactly what they want and it does not force people to be connected at all times.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  41. Alex says:

    You’re right, if I’ve got a high level commander through playing a whole lot while connected it would be totally impossible to play offline, disabling my experience gains while I do so but keeping my commander.

    I’m not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I’m not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don’t know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

  42. Pinworm says:

     That wouldn’t be possible unless you expect to do the final missions using only basic marines and power plants..

  43. Alex says:

    It needs it because they’re trying a system where everything you do (Single & Multiplayer) earns XP that levels up your commander and gives you access to new units. the net connection’s to verify that you aren’t hacking your way to higher XP.

    The SMART way to do that would be to include an offline mode with the disclaimer "You are not connected to the C&C4 database. You will not be able to level up your Commander while offline. Proceed?"

    I guess it’s too much to expect EA to do the smart thing though. 

    I’m not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I’m not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don’t know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

  44. chadachada321 says:

    "needs" is a pretty bad word for this situation. "wanted by EA" is a better excuse. If people want to cheat in a SINGLE-PLAYER GAME, then I say let them. After all, they did BUY the disc. That’d be like buying a couch and having to phone the company i bought it from everytime i want to sit on it, and not being able to modify the cushions in any way.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  45. Erik says:

    Just because someone is using such software doesn’t mean that they stole anything.  With the rise of limited amounts of allowed installs and other such bullshit that makes it impossible for someone to play a game they purchased with their money this will become even more common.

    I myself have used cd cracking programs on programs to which I no longer have the serial number to.  But that doesn’t change the fact that I bought it.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  46. Ratros says:

    Just to be fair you should also add "Can’t afford", but I’m with you partially on the piracy crap.  Partially because DRM and User Agreements PISS ME OFF!

    I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

  47. jedidethfreak says:

    No, people use pirated software because they’re too cheap or too lazy to buy said software for themselves if they have the option to steal it.  This is why piracy has existed for THOUSANDS OF YEARS, and isn’t a development just from the internet.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  48. saregos says:

    I don’t even know what to say to this idiocy anymore.

    Congratulations, EA, you’ve finally reached the point where I can’t even summon up the indignity to fight against you.

    I’m going to go play Sins of a Solar Empire now, just to remind myself that not all publishers are royal assholes.

  49. Charax says:

    It needs it because they’re trying a system where everything you do (Single & Multiplayer) earns XP that levels up your commander and gives you access to new units. the net connection’s to verify that you aren’t hacking your way to higher XP.

    Frankly, it sucks that they’d expect a constant connection. and is it any surprise that EA haven’t signed up to something that promotes users’ rights?

  50. Zero Beat says:

    Leaderboard updates, I guess, but that should be at the discretion of the individual.

    And gotta love EA’s "We’re not shafting anyone important" (paraphrased) approach.

     

    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  51. sqlrob says:

    GP, you’re a hell of a lot more tolerant than me saying it only smells like DRM.

    What reason does a single player game need to EVER connect to the internet for?

     

  52. chadachada321 says:

    The problem, though, is that you have to be online for the SINGLE PLAYER GAME. This isn’t world of warcraft, this is like asking to be online to play Solitaire on the laptop that you payed full price for.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  53. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Learn to read. From the Ars article:

    As of right now, you need to be online all the time to play C&C 4. This is primarily due to our ‘player progression’ feature so everything can be tracked. C&C 4 is not an MMO in the sense of World of Warcraft, but conceptually it has similar principles for being online all the time.

    They are doing it under the guise of having persistant and current player stat tracking. This is something that can be accomplished by just asking the player if they want to connect and publish their stats.

    There is no logical reason to force the player to be connected at all times.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  54. Kevin says:

    I’m going to reserve judgement on this until I know why they want a persistant connection.  There are many more reasons that it just being DRM.  The "what if I want to play it on a plane/on the go" can be asked of a multitude of MMOs.

    That being said I haven’t played C&C since RA2, so I doubt I’ll be playing this one.

  55. Monte says:

     Ya two things… plenty of people don’t give a damn about leaderboards… and also, why can’t the data just be saved on your game file and update your online profile the next time you sign on?

    ofcourse, there is no reason why it can’t be done like accept it takes away the real reason EA is doing this… backdoor DRM scheme

  56. King of Fiji says:

    There is only one bill of rights.  Any others are just gimmicks made by corporations to look good. 

  57. MaskedPixelante says:

    Isn’t EA notorious for "We respect your opinion, but we will ban you if you disagree with us"?

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  58. Saxy says:

    Y’know, for a while there, EA was almost cool.

    But now I remember why I hate them.

    Glad to see the old EA is back in business.

Comments are closed.