Mess effect

BioWare technical producer Derek French describes the copy protection used in the Windows version of their game, Mass Effect:

Mass Effect uses SecuROM and requires an online activation for the first time that you play it. Each copy of Mass Effect comes with a CD Key which is used for this activation and for registration here at the BioWare Community. Mass Effect does not require the DVD to be in the drive in order to play, it is only for installation.

After the first activation, SecuROM requires that it re-check with the server within ten days (in case the CD Key has become public/warez’d and gets banned). Just so that the 10 day thing doesn’t become abrupt, SecuROM tries its first re-check with 5 days remaining in the 10 day window. If it can’t contact the server before the 10 days are up, nothing bad happens and the game still runs. After 10 days a re-check is required before the game can run.

You know what? No. A thousand times, no. Current activation schemes are bad enough in that I have to ask permission to use the product I purchased when I install it. Mass Effect would require I seek this permission every ten days. So what happens if I often use a laptop where there is no open WiFi connection available? In some circumstances, I’d be out of luck.

So, no. I don’t deny software makers are directly affected by people copying their software. But you know what? That doesn’t make it okay to inconvenience me despite my having paid the money for the software. People who download illegal copies will not have to put up with this inconvenience. I won’t pay for the ‘privilege.’

And what happens when BioWare decides the game has run its course and they’re going to shut down the activation servers? The game is dead even if I want to keep playing it. I’ve looked at games on the shelves and many clearly state that the publisher may shut down their online multi-player servers at some time in the future. This is a magnitude worse because the activation servers are required for single-player off-line play.

Like I said, no.

This entry was posted in games, piracy, software. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Comment