GOG.com, the DRM-free digital distribution platform for classic PC games, announced its plans for 2012 and 2013 today. The company revealed that it will start offering new titles in 2012, that it will bring new improvements to its online portal, and that it is making a stronger effort to work with "ambitious developers and independent publishers" to bring their games to market.
Speaking at a press conference in a room full of investors and journalists, Managing Director Guillaume Rambourg said the following:
Bohemia Interactive issued an interesting release today revealing how it has handled piracy over the years. The company claims that it uses a unique brand of copy protection that manifest itself as a form of gameplay / quality degradation. Naturally when a game starts messing up - even a pirated one - people start to complain about bugs. From the release:
Zachary Knight (better known as EZK around GamePolitics) has written an interesting article at TechDirt about Good Old Games CEO Guillaume Rambourg's comments to Edge Magazine about how keeping games DRM-free has helped his company make money and has kept its customers happy.
Cracking and hacking group Razor1911 has found a way to allow owners of the PC version of Battlefield 3 to play online without using EA's Origin service. Battlefield 3 owners are required to have an Origin account to run even retail versions of the PC edition of the game. In the documentation to the crack (you can read the document here) the group laid out its reasoning for hacking EA's executables (besides doings it for the lulz):
Valve front man Gabe Newell says that there is a way to beat piracy, and it involves content creators and publishers providing better service. In other words, obtrusive DRM solutions are not the answer to the problem.
"One thing that we have learned is that piracy is not a pricing issue. It's a service issue," said Newell at a tech conference in Seattle. "The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting anti-piracy technology to work. It's by giving those people a service that's better than what they're receiving from the pirates."
Reclaim Your Game, a company that promotes and specializes in removing DRM schemes to make lives easier for both consumers and companies, offers a story about one of its members who has written a strong letter to Cyanide Studio about the DRM used in Blood Bowl. The fantasy sports title set in the Warhammer universe uses SecuROM as its weapon of choice against piracy. The letter, penned by Lachlan Kingsford, can be found below:
Reclaim Your Game has compiled a list of all the games protected by StarForce's DRM. Dmitry Guseff of StarForce even helped the group with its list, adding a few game names the group was unaware of.
"I don't know all the particulars of each game or if any of the versions have changed, but this should help some of you," notes Lisa Pham, CEO of Reclaim Your Game. At the end of her list she asks the community to contribute any game names they might have missed.
Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, stops by TorrentFreak to offers his opinions on digital rights management. As you can probably guess, he thinks DRM should go the way of the dodo. Falkvinge starts by saying that after the European Greens’ adoption of his party's position on DRM, he has been getting a lot of questions about why DRM should be banned. He lays out his first point with the following:
The government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has resubmitted a revision of the Canadian digital copyright law (C-11) to Parliament. The bill is being described by Canadian media as pretty much the same as the previous bill submitted by Harper's government the last time. This time the bill will probably pass.
Good Old Games, the DRM-free classic game digital distribution service, is nearing six million downloads today. When it does, the 6 millionth downloader will win every game available in the Good Old Games catalog. As of this writing, the site was at the 5,828,597 download mark. If you need further motivation to download something for a chance to win, you can pick up Baldur's Gate 2 Complete, Planescape, Icewind Dale, and other classic RPG's on the cheap.
You knew that inevitably in all the sweet talk going around about Diablo III's current beta, that someone would run into a problem with Blizzard's "Always-On" save system. The system requires that players always be connected to the Battle.net server - even in single-player. Also the game saves character data online.
While some within the Ubisoft studio structure may think that DRM is a grand idea, Ubisoft seems to have relented once again - this time patching out the protection on From Dust. The company apologized for the "always-on" DRM being in the game last month because when they announced the Pc version the company said it would have an "activate once" style of protection. Obviously that didn't happen and fans were ticked off about it. The company said when it apologized that the DRM being put in the game was simply a "misunderstanding."
Just when you thought Ubisoft couldn't possibly take any more heat from players angry about its DRM policies, Ubisoft Reflections founder Martin Edmonson opens up a new can of worms for the company to deal with. Speaking to Eurogamer, the head of the studio responsible for Driver: San Francisco says that his parent company has "every right" to use DRM to protect the PC games it publishes from "utterly unbelievable" levels of piracy.
While some publishers think that obtrusive DRM is the right way to go in protecting their PC game titles, Valve Software founder Gabe Newell sees the whole practice as wrong-headed and misguided. Speaking to Kotaku for its "Well Played" column, Newell said that Valve is a broken record on the topic:
While you'll be able to pick up Batman: Arkham City on Steam and other digital distribution platforms, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has confirmed that the game will use Games For Windows Live for the PC version. If you happen to hate GFWL then this is certainly disheartening news. A WBIE representative has told VG247 that “Arkham City is indeed a G4WL [sic] title.”
Valve Software announced today that Activision's next Call of Duty game will use Steamworks. On a related note, over the weekend at PAX in Seattle, Gearbox Software's Randy Pitchford revealed that the PC version of its role-playing game shooter, Borderlands, would add Steamworks support with a new update. The PC version of MW3 will be powered with Steamworks for both the digital and retail versions of the game. It will support offline play, auto-updating, achievements, and dedicated servers at launch. Naturally Steamworks adds a DRM layer as well.
Ubisoft, faced with a groundswell of opposition to the copy protection in the PC version of Driver: San Francisco, has announced that the game will not require a constant connection to a server in order to play. Players will no longer be required to have a constant internet connection in order to play the game, but they will still need to sign in online at the game’s launch.
While everyone else is ranting and raving about Diablo III and having to be "always connected" to Battle.net to play it - even in single player - our very own Andrew Eisen takes a different approach with the following heartfelt letter.
If Blizzard listens, this could be the best Christmas ever! Check out his heartwarming plea to Blizzard to your left or visit YouTube.
The latest edition of Gus Mastrapa's Joystick Division column, Pretension +1, tackles the recent player rage over Blizzard's decision to require a connection when playing Diablo III. Let's jump straight to the main thrust of the column entitled "How To Freak Out About A Video Game":
Speaking to PC Gamer in response to the recent news that the Windows PC version of Driver: San Francisco would feature an "always on" DRM scheme, Ubisoft said that its solution have proven to be very successful for the company.
An unnamed Ubisoft representative admitted to PC Gamer that it has seen "a clear reduction in piracy of our titles which required a persistent online connection, and from that point of view the requirement is a success."
Driver: San Francisco is out on August 30 in the US, and September 2 in Europe.
Ubisoft announced that it has decided to use an "always on" digital rights management (DRM) scheme for the Windows PC version of its upcoming action racing game, Driver: San Francisco. The publishers has gone back and forth on its DRM schemes - mostly because PC gamers hate the "always on" DRM scheme because it requires them to always be connected to a server in order to play a game.
Today Electronic Arts announced that its EA sports label released Tiger Woods PGA Toru 2012 for PC and Mac. What the release did not reveal is that it requires users to install the Origin client in order to play. Taking a page from Valve, EA's new game requires users to install and use its digital distribution platform Origin in order to play online.
We asked an EA representative for more details on the DRM, but they declined to give us any particular details on what (if any - they wouldn't say and we do not have access to either versions of the game) restrictions the Mac and PC versions of the game might have when it comes to DRM.
The EA representative also confirmed the Mac and PC versions of the game will not be available via Steam.
When we pressed for further information on DRM, we were told: "We don't have any further comments beyond what we've provided."
Namco Bandai is not happy with CD Projekt RED after learning that THQ has secured the European publishing rights to The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings for Xbox 360. Namco Bandai published the PC version of the game in Europe, so it apparently felt that it also held the rights to other versions of the game in that region. The story first appeared on Poland-based gaming site CD Action, but GiantBomb also offers comments from Optimus SA, the parent company of CD Projekt RED.
Namco Bandai also alleges that CD Projekt RED removed the DRM it put on the European version of The Witcher 2, and did so without permission. This latter claim is odd considering that Namco Bandai had to know the developer's strong stance on the issue. For the aforementioned reasons, Namco Bandai is withholding $1.75 million in payments that it owes CD Projekt RED.
Capcom Corporate Officer and Senior Vice-President Christian Svensson announced that Capcom will change the type of DRM it plans to use for the PC release of Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. The changes are in response to a blizzard of news stories and a strong public outcry lamenting the game's DRM.
Svensson says that Capcom has listened to the community, and as a result, it will make some changes:
As a way to send Nintendo a "message" about the 3DS' Terms of Service (TOS), anti-DRM group Free Software Foundation urged the community to order the company a cardboard brick. The group put out the call for action on May 9, asking the community to send Nintendo a brick for a brick - referring to the 3DS TOS which gives the company the power to "brick" (permanently disable) the system. The goal set was 200 and today the group announced that it has surpassed that goal.
"The Nintendo 3DS is Defective by Design and your Terms of Service are dubious, devious, and defective for the following reasons," the website's opening remarks to the community read.