Got this from GamePolitics: in the ongoing battle between those who favor DRM and copy protection and those who don’t, we’ve received another truly excellent comment from Starforce executive Dmitry Guseff:
…basically AAA titles hold around a month, less important titles much longer. I have to add that if we hadn’t implemented some consumer friendly features those titles would have been held much longer.
By “holding,” señor Guseff means how long a game protected by Starforce stays that way until cracked. And admittedly Starforce is one of the strongest copy protection tools available. The truly excellent part comes from his remark about “consumer friendly” features they’ve added… meaning Starforce no longer contains a rootkit, no longer breaks your Windows installation or DVD-ROM drive, and no longer pummels you with spyware. At least, as far as we know. Starforce isn’t exactly famous for honesty.
I oppose software piracy and oppose DRM.
I oppose software piracy because it’s stealing.
I oppose DRM because it victimizes only the legitimate consumer, and as DRM options grow ever more draconian (Guseff’s comment was made in the context of Ubisoft’s recent announcement that all upcoming PC games will require an internet connection at all times, so the game can phone home to validate itself whenever it feels like it), consumers grow ever more victimized.
I’m totally wasting my time here because I have nothing to add to this debate that hasn’t already been said, but I feel somehow compelled to stress that DRM doesn’t work. There is no copy protection, none, ever, that will be impervious to the efforts of crackers. And the harder you try to make it impervious, the harder they’ll try to crack it.
Does Ubi have a right to require an always-on connection for its games? I guess. And they are couching some nice value-adds, like storing your saves in the cloud rather than on your local drive. It’s like Steam Cloud in this respect. But even though there’s no particular reason to believe that Ubi will use this phone-home feature for anything except legitimacy validation, it feels like an unwelcome invasion.
Look, there is no such thing as privacy these days. Your credit card numbers are saved at God knows how many online retailers, your medical files are freely shared among doctors, your Facebook embarrassments are but a Google away. There is no privacy. Someone famous said that, but I can’t remember who. What we crave is the illusion of privacy, because illusions allow us to remain comfortable in our small worlds. And with something like a hidden rootkit or a phone-home, that illusion is shattered, leaving a sense of violation – however small – in its wake.
The sad thing is that we do it to ourselves. I’d love to say that I’ll never buy another Ubi game on PC again, but I know it’s a lie. And that’s why they get away with it.
Apparently, that small violation is worth higher resolutions and keyboard/mouse controls. It’s ironic, though (I mean, not from Starforce, those dudes is crazy, but still), that including “consumer friendly” features is now not only undesirable, but actually an accused catalyst for theft.
Next they’ll only ship broken games, because games that work are more likely to be pirated.