BioShock 2 to Feature SecuROM DRM

2K Games announced this week that BioShock 2 will be available for pre-order on Steam, and that the game would be protected by SecuROM DRM software, much to the dismay of gamers who had negative SecuROM experiences with the first BioShock (which launched with an activation limit). 

In response to the uproar, 2K Community Manager Elizabeth Tobey responded on the 2K Forums with the following clarification:

BioShock 2 is using a standard Games for Windows Live activation system, much like other games you have played in the past. That doesn’t mean you always have to be online to play or save the game – you can create an offline profile for the Single Player portion of the game (you just won’t earn achievements and you can’t play Multiplayer, of course.)

We are using SecuROM only as a disc check method for the retail copy of BioShock 2. That is it’s only use.

Tobey later confirmed that SecuROM will only be used as a disc check but that activation will be done through Games for Windows Live—a revelation that may have PC gamers groaning given GFWL’s less than stellar reputation.  Furthermore, GFWL will place restrictions on your ability to save without creating a profile, and will require online activation even for single-player mode.

While the BioShock 2 DRM scheme appears to be less restrictive than the DRM included with the launch version of the original BioShock, players will still have to contend with Games for Windows Live which has had a checkered history in games like Dawn of War 2, Fallout 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV.

In September 2008, EA was slapped with a class-action lawsuit over their use of SecuROM in Spore, but such a lawsuit is unlikely for 2K Games given the limited role they claim that SecuROM will have.

Dan Rosenthal is a legal analyst for the games industry.

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  1. Neo_DrKefka says:

    It’s more the publishers. For example Atari which published Neverwinter Nights but did not make it, insisted on intrusive game breaking DRM and caused the game to be rushed to be released with game breaking bugs.

    Another studio working on an expansion Ossian Studios finished up Mysteries of Westgate in 2007 and eventually an Atari Rep got on the NWN2 Forums which Bioware hosted and told us all that the expansion wouldn’t be released till they could find the most effective and intrusive DRM out there. The expansion was finished in the summer of 07 an and wasn’t released till spring of 09.

  2. Lagwolf says:

    Games companies seem to be trying to force players to go console, probably to cut down on development costs. I refuse to do so as the console gaming experience is never as good as on the PC. Like many above I have not plans to buy Bio2 after finding out about all of this meddling. Game companies are seemingly ignoring the lessons of the music business in their attempts to limit choice and collectively punish all their customers. Lets hope that Bioshock 2 bombs mercilessly.

  3. Neo_DrKefka says:

    Investing in SecuROM for you’re PC game is like telling you’re publisher telling the developer that your PC Game won’t sell as well and the publisher will put in a system to make it harder for the buyer but the pirates will be able to strip it out and pirate and destroy sales.

    SecuROM can take over and cripple your computer but its not as bad as StarFORCE DRM which would destroy your computer and insure no one would buy or pirate the game because it was that bad.

    Why do these gaming companies keep investing in PC Gaming when they invest in protection that ensures for mass piracy in a consumer revolt and lost sales?

  4. DarkSaber says:

    So? SUPERMAN can get his ass kicked in games.

    Looks like Big Daddy is the new Pyramid Head.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  5. C. Aaron Browbowski Jr. says:

    oh boy, this is what you would call a chinese cluster fuck! have we learned nothing from securom at all?


    Jesus Jack Jones Thompson loves you, so kill for his amusement so we can get money for the new "People’s Temple of Jesus Jack Jones Thompson"

  6. DarkSaber says:

    All the same to me. I’ve been turned off about Bioshock 2 since I found you play as a friggin Big Daddy. And I thought the first one was dumbed down.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  7. Neo_DrKefka says:

    It sounds like this is the same DRM used in the Sims 3 and Fallout 3.


    Well not intrusive as per online activation. I found on my fallout right after I linked the Live Account all my files went hidden right then and there unless I logged off my Live Accounts. However, I could still play and use my DLC offline as long as I was signed onto live offline.

    But yeah to get the DLC you need to use GFWL and it does suck. Honestly, this is why PC Gaming is dying, crappy DRM and companies that used to purposely edit in to their games for systems that do not have the latest graphics hardware (Empire Earth II for example) it will run slow and sluggish. However pirates and modders made work around for It when they could.

    I don’t trust nor like Microsoft I have had four 360s in my life time and there of those have since died.

    GFWL only promise to me is the games are SUPPOSED to allow you to use your 360 wireless controller provided you bought the Adaptor. Sadly some companies whose 360 versions have the chase view some refuse to adapt that camera angle and just have the WASD and point and click controls which means it’s a no buy for me. (Bioware, and the Polish Makers of The Witcher are all guilty of this and advertising GFWL and the controller is supported when it is not)

    Also why Steam would have any DRM in it aside from the Steam DRM, I have no idea why these people do this. There is a reason why I choose to buy from Steam. They strip the original DRM out and put in it’s own version that’s far superior to anything out there and they do it the way other companies should follow.

  8. Torven says:

    According to at least one of Elizabeth Tobey’s posts in the linked thread, the Steam version does have SecuROM.

  9. Anto103 says:

    Was there ever a outcome over th EA DRM lawsuit?



    _ _ Pops… If you dance with the devil, the devil don’t change. The devil changes you.

  10. Alex says:

    WHY would they make the Steam version have SecuROM too?


    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.

  11. black manta says:

    Well, hopefully they’re telling the truth.  I plan on getting Bioshock 2 for the PC.  If all it is is just a disk check, I’ve got no problem with it.  Here’s hoping. ::crosses fingers::

    As for GFLW, personally I don’t really have any issues with it beyond the very slight inconvenience of having to log in every time I want to play a game.  I have several games with GFWL: Universe at War: Earth Assault, the PC version of Gears of War, Fallout 3 and Dawn of War II.  None of them have I ever had a problem with, although mysteriously whenever I want to play DOW2 I have to log onto Steam as well as GFWL if I want to play it.  The only game on GFWL I had an issue with was the PC version of GTA IV, as it required you to log onto both GFWL and Rockstar’s social network, which was a pain in the ass, not to mention of course that the game itself was a poorly optimized port. (And GTAs III thru San Andreas were better games anyway).

    The other thing I like about GFWL is that as an XboxLive player, my achievments for both Xbox 360 and PC games can be displayed.  I kind of like that synergy, so all in all I don’t have any real complaints with it.

  12. Thomas McKenna says:

    Won’t be getting either the PC version or for the console.  Real easy to boycott a game when the first one sucked.  Even easier when they force SecuROM and GFWL on the consumer.

  13. vellocet says:

    Pretty simple.  I refuse to support SecureROM.  Not a cent of my money will EVER go towards them.

    If 2K paid for SecureROM to be in their product… I will not be BUYING it…

  14. PumaFau says:




    Never underestimate the power of idiots in large amounts.

  15. Thomas McKenna says:

    "Fortunately, it’s all worth it, because no game with a disc check and GFWL authentication has ever been successfully pirated."

    LAWLS.  Nice use of sarcasm.

  16. Thad says:

    Disc check SecuROM is annoying (imagine if Adobe made you put a disc in the drive every time you wanted to use Photoshop), but shouldn’t be confused with installs-services-on-your-system-without-telling-you SecuROM.

    The GFWL thing is quite a bit more bothersome and intrusive.

    Fortunately, it’s all worth it, because no game with a disc check and GFWL authentication has ever been successfully pirated.

  17. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Its not they want to make as shtty as possible its just mainstreaming on the consoles streamlines development to the point it sucks….

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! CP/IP laws should not effect the daily life of common people!

  18. Adrian Lopez says:

    Game publishers seem eager to make the PC gaming experience as shitty as possible. Is it any wonder people say the PC game market is dying when the experience is so much worse than the simplicity of "buy a disc -> pop it in -> play -> beat the game -> trade it in"?

  19. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Suit logic the losses taken for paying for the DRM will earn them more sales of the huge download numbers that is if they do not believe in the 1:1 ratio myth…..

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! CP/IP laws should not effect the daily life of common people!

  20. SeanB says:

    Like it matters. Bioshock 2 will be available on the internet, with a working crack bypassing both activation, AND disk checks, within 48 hours of the launch, possibly much earlier. Console versions will no doubt be ripped and on torrent networks the same night it launches, again possibly much earlier.

    DRM like this NEVER STOPS PIRATES. If it inconveniences a single paying customer, then it’s already working from a negative standpoint.



  21. Adrian Lopez says:

    SecuROM wouldn’t let me delete zero-length executable files from my computer.

    If it weren’t for the removal tool they released under consumer pressure I wouldn’t be able to delete failed downloads to this day. I hate SecuROM and think it’s a shame it’s not illegal to cripple people’s computers in such a manner. As far as I’m concerned, there’s very little difference between SecuROM and malware.

  22. ZippyDSMlee says:

    This is the disc check not the install and online verification one I believe.. instead they are using lives system to verify it and limit installs.

    Stemas version however dose not have secrom on it so its something….still a seqaule to a rather empty and medico game dose not really inspire me to buy it…. give me a sdk and tis worth the retail price no sdk its worthless…..

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! CP/IP laws should not effect the daily life of common people!

  23. hellfire7885 says:

    If it does anything other than a disc check I gope they get sued.

    This already helped me decide to NOT ever try it on PC. I just plunked down 500 for this rig and it still needs an independant video card, so I won’t risk it.

  24. SimonBob says:

    Yeah, how dare they repeat the same mistakes which punished them with incredibly favourable ratings and multiple Game Of The Year awards!

    But seriously, I don’t remember any complaints about securom (and I can’t tell if you were being sarcastic.)  More people were upset with the widescreen presentation on the still-common 4:3 monitors of the time, which also turned out to be a deliberate design choice.


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