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Default Mass Effect - Copy Protection Details

May 8th, 2008, 21:02
Originally Posted by Stanza View Post
What other RPGs have done this? I don't know of any other game in my collection that has a legitimate no-cd patch.

In the absence of evidence, I can only assume that this copy protection will never be disabled.
Seeing as we're talking about Bioware.. .oh look! Bioware's last RPG disabled the CD check too - NWN. Cool
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May 8th, 2008, 21:08
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
None in my opinion. If a pirate recommends a game to a friend they're going to recommend the pirate copy, not the original. If it does have any promotional effect it's in reducing demand for a competitor's product, because they're now paying yours for free instead of paying a competitor.
Mm, maybe that's the difference between the music industry and computer games then: with music the artist or band is often more important in terms of popularity than their music, whereas developers are usually of secondary importance compared to their games.

In other words, while a band might get more popular due to piracy (read: more widespread coverage), developers don't get that benefit because they are mostly remembered by their games, not their faces.

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May 8th, 2008, 22:31
Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
I know of not one single respectable study which proves that piracy has such such a side-effect [increasing sales].
It's a given that high status is good for sales. That's the point of product PR and advertising, to try to create that. So there's no need to do a study.

It's a crazy thought for just about anything else other than software, but giving it away isn't such a bad idea. It's all good except for the potential of it getting into the hands of someone who might otherwise buy it.

EDIT: Of course, that wouldn't do much for its fair market value.

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Last edited by Squeek; May 8th, 2008 at 22:43.
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May 8th, 2008, 23:03
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
It seems to me an awful lot of games are only licensed for use on one computer as well. I think I first noticed it around about the time Morrowind came out, though it might have been the case before then and I just hadn't noticed.
I only encountered it once so far (online purchase of NWN2), but that's not my point anyway. My point is that everyone is saying that convenience is a big factor. And then everyone complains about the copy protection, but not about the fact that they can only install the game on three different computers. Just think about it… you install it on your desktop, your laptop, and maybe on a friend's computer to show him/her the game - and that's it… next year when you buy a new computer and are looking forward to play MEPC again you're in for a big suprise… how does that go together with convenience?

Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
In other words, while a band might get more popular due to piracy (read: more widespread coverage), developers don't get that benefit because they are mostly remembered by their games, not their faces.
There are other differences you have to keep in mind. For a publisher it's very hard to evaluate why exactely a game failed - was it piracy? Was it just a bad game design? At the end of the day the publisher probably doesn't even care… a failure simply has huge financial consequences and that's all they are interested in.
That's a bit different in the the music industry. Artists here have other possibilities to earn money - concerts and merchandising for example. Who really suffers from piracy on the music market are the record companies, but not the artists (at least not to such a degree). It becomes more and more clear that the key to sell music is indeed convenience and a low price (which means online distribution), a fact that most record companies neglected for a very long time. What we're seeing today are the natural consequences of this neglect - record sales (especially online sales) are rising again, but there is not nearly as much money in the market anymore than 10 or 15 years ago, simply because of the low price of oline music tracks. So record companies have slowly began to react and engage in new business models like music flatrates or 360 degree contracts with new artists (means - they also organize concerts and the merchandising, but laso get a bit of money for it).
But overall I'd say that artists might draw some kind of long term profit from piracy, but not the record companies (at least not in most cases - there are exceptions).

I don't see that for the pc gaming market. The production values here are immense and developers depend much more on publishers than music artists on the record companies. No doubt - convenience is a factor, I always said that publishers and developers have to begin to embrace digital distribution and provide an additional value (something that Bioware in fact does - the first expansion to ME is obviously free), but they also must have the possibility to protect their products. And after all everyone has the possibility to reject such a copy protection by just not buying the game. If ME should fail because of low sales due to this copy protection then it's probably the first and last try to introduce such a drm.

Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
It's a given that high status is good for sales. That's the point of product PR and advertising, to try to create that. So there's no need to do a study.
Unfortunately there is no proof that a high piracy rate equals a high status. Since you very often hear that argument that piracy has such a side-effect studies are necessary to evaluate if there is something to that theory. Such studies exist for the music industry for example - safe to say not all of them come to the same conclusion.

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May 8th, 2008, 23:06
Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
I only encountered it once so far (online purchase of NWN2), but that's not my point anyway. My point is that everyone is saying that convenience is a big factor. And then everyone complains about the copy protection, but not about the fact that they can only install the game on three different computers. Just think about it… you install it on your desktop, your laptop, and maybe on a friend's computer to show him/her the game - and that's it… next year when you buy a new computer and are looking forward to play MEPC again you're in for a big suprise… how does that go together with convenience?
Well I'm saying that's an awful lot more convenient that most other games that I've got which I'm only allowed to install on one computer. Three computers is not an inconvenience, its a convenience.

Of the top of my head, MEPC is better in that respect than Morrowind, Oblivion, Test Drive Unlimited, The Witcher, NWN2, Supreme Commander and who knows what else. As far as I know, all of the above have done OK, and there wasn't any great complaining about the inconvenience of only being licensed for a single computer.
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May 8th, 2008, 23:20
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
Well I'm saying that's an awful lot more convenient that most other games that I've got which I'm only allowed to install on one computer. Three computers is not an inconvenience, its a convenience.

Of the top of my head, MEPC is better in that respect than Morrowind, Oblivion, Test Drive Unlimited, The Witcher, NWN2, Supreme Commander and who knows what else.
It's 3 activations total not computers. As for no-cd cracks I'm pretty sure that altering DRM programs was made criminal in the act also.
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May 8th, 2008, 23:49
What other RPGs have done this? I don't know of any other game in my collection that has a legitimate no-cd patch.
Gothic 3 & Arx Fatalis.

Anyway, I tried being outraged by this but I just couldn't be bothered. I'll probably just wait a few weeks until there is a reliable no-cd available and get it then. There might be some problems getting hold of the "bringing down the sky"-extras, and I'm sure EA is already planning some bastard stuff for any patches, but seeing how this eliminates all piracy I'm sure it's worth it…

As I see it the ideal scenario would be if EA released a patch to remove this copy-protection in a few months time, when the net is overflowing with MEPC-torrents, to rope in the affronted internetless Bio-fanboys, and remove the fear of loosing the ability to play the game due to internett-colapse. I'm still waiting for a patch like this for BioShock, I might buy it if it should ever be released. Until then I can wait..

Personally I think that the publishers should try to hit the torrents more severely, either trough sabotage, or recording of IP-addresses, with following prosecution. It would probably only get a fraction of the pirates, but by creating a risk, I think you could weed out the less computer-savvy of the "casual pirates". Petty crimes (and piracy is a crime, whether it's as bad as stealing can be discussed, there is a reason why copyrights are a separate law) like shop-lifting and the like are relatively easy, but I doubt it is as generally widespread as "casual-piracy", simply because it isn't worth it compared to the risk of getting caught. The torrents should be fair game, I doubt that combating the would harm legitimate buyers more than draconian copyright systems on every single sold game.

By the way, does "3 separate installs" mean that you can install it and play it at three different computers simultaneously?
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May 9th, 2008, 00:03
Originally Posted by MaskedMan View Post
Personally I think that the publishers should try to hit the torrents more severely, either trough sabotage, or recording of IP-addresses, with following prosecution.
Actually there is some top-organisation that does that. They distribute/download copyrighted games in all kinds of p2p networks and record the ips of filesharers. Then they use the ip address to contact the service provider to persue them to close down the internet connection or somthing.

I have heard of only one person been caught so I guess its not very efficient. Internet connection providers are making money and they are not interested of banning their customers or taking any responsibility of this. Also there are ways to hide your ip or othervice avoid these pirate-hunters.
Last edited by zakhal; May 9th, 2008 at 02:31.
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May 9th, 2008, 00:05
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
Well I'm saying that's an awful lot more convenient that most other games that I've got which I'm only allowed to install on one computer. Three computers is not an inconvenience, its a convenience.

Of the top of my head, MEPC is better in that respect than Morrowind, Oblivion, Test Drive Unlimited, The Witcher, NWN2, Supreme Commander and who knows what else. As far as I know, all of the above have done OK, and there wasn't any great complaining about the inconvenience of only being licensed for a single computer.
I cannot speak for the rest of the games, but my DVD copy of NWN2 is not limited to 1 computer. I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing… I'm not talking about software being licensed for one person, I'm talking about a hardware dependent activation here. I seriously doubt that the majority of games out there has such a strict activation policy… I might be wrong, since I'm more the MMO type I haven't bought all too many offline games - maybe some of the others can shed some light on the topic?

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Last edited by Ionstormsucks; May 9th, 2008 at 00:19.
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May 9th, 2008, 00:22
Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
I cannot speak for the rest of the games, but my DVD copy of NWN2 is not limited to 1 computer.
Read your license for NWN2 again.
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May 9th, 2008, 00:41
Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
Unfortunately there is no proof that a high piracy rate equals a high status.
I suppose not, but who needs proof of that? Assuming a product is any good, why wouldn't it be an advantage to have more people aware of it? That's why products are advertised, to make more people aware of them.

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May 9th, 2008, 01:22
If anyone is interested in reading some more drama, take a gander at this sensationalist blog entry: Bioware and EA: The Dumbass Effect (includes web comic)

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May 9th, 2008, 02:21
If you guys want an interesting read on the effects of piracy on the developers please read this from The Rampant Coyote: http://www.rampantgames.com/blog/200…ate-story.html

Even he admits that the publishers go too far with their protection but no protection at all is just stupid. In all the talking a lot of people miss the point in that the devs are real people with real jobs just trying to make a a fun game for us to enjoy. I'm not so sure about the publishers, the majority of them just look like they want to make as much money as possible and go onto the "next gen" game, but that is a generalization, not all do that.

After reading a real life story of how piracy affects the industry, I'm willing to put up with these kinds of security measures. After all I wasn't the one that had to work extremely hard to make the game. I just had to buy it.

The only really effective means of countering piracy would be to take down these p2p sites. Stop making it so easy for The Average Joe Blow to steal these products. No amount of copyprotection will ever be as effective as that.

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May 9th, 2008, 10:04
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
Read your license for NWN2 again.
There is a huge difference between being able to install it and use it on a single machine and a limited hardware dependent activation. It's simply not the same. As long as I have NWN2 only installed on a single machine that I own I do not violate the Eula… I can uninstall it and reinstall it on another one of my computers without violating the Eula. Now, from a legal point of view even this practice is rather dubious - and if I may say so, impossible to reinforce… after all, of how many cases do you know where a gamer was sued because he had a game running on his desktop AND his laptop. I don't know of a single one, and I've read a lot about software piracy.

Activation is different… I'm pretty sure that ME will still be licensed for only one person, but this time you won't be able to uninstall and reinstall your game an unlimited amount of times on different computers. After you have done it three times, you won't be able to run the game anymore. So the "new freedom" that you now enjoy is no freedom at all. Practically you could ALWAYS install games on more than one computer, because although it's against most Eulas, no one would sue you for it.

Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Even he admits that the publishers go too far with their protection but no protection at all is just stupid. In all the talking a lot of people miss the point in that the devs are real people with real jobs just trying to make a a fun game for us to enjoy. I'm not so sure about the publishers, the majority of them just look like they want to make as much money as possible and go onto the "next gen" game, but that is a generalization, not all do that.
First of all - publishers too, are real people. There are people involved in this process who have not the slightest bit to do with gameplay or copyright decisions, but who are still involved in the "game-making" process - take for example secretaries, etc. Honestly, I absolutely dislike this kind of black/white dichotomy.

Now to the article. It's hard to say what the author really means with "harsh DRM measures" - what he mentions is measures "that effectively cripple a customer's machine or their ability to enjoy the media on other devices that THEY OWN or control", and here I totally agree with him - see the paragraph above (where I answer to Kalniel). But We don't know what the author thinks about an online authentication… because he does not mention it.

Moreover, and that's why I consider the article as rather questionable, is that what we get here is merely the author's opinion which is based on his own assumptions, but not on facts, since the author displays quite some ignorance when it comes to the topic of software piracy. He shows his whole naivety in the end when he tries to make the reader away of the negative consequences of software piracy. We know from studies (Alain D'Astous et al to name just one study, but there are many more that come to this conclusion), that anti-piracy arguments (and campaigns using these arguments) are widely ineffective.

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Last edited by Ionstormsucks; May 9th, 2008 at 18:50.
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May 9th, 2008, 12:11
I think it was Star Wars Battlefront, which says in its license, that the INSTALLED version of the game is the ONLY allowed backup of the *whole* game …

Now this is something I call stupid. When I de-install it, I'm not allowed to make a backup copy anymore ? Or what ?

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May 9th, 2008, 12:23
Originally Posted by MaskedMan View Post
I'm still waiting for a patch like this for BioShock, I might buy it if it should ever be released. Until then I can wait..
I still don't understand the importance of such a patch being an officially released patch. If you bought the game then why should you care whether it is an official or unofficial bit of software that takes care of your perceived problem?

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May 9th, 2008, 12:26
If it's official, then you can't be sued for using it.

It's as simple as that.

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May 9th, 2008, 12:53
Can i buy the game, then patched it no activation crack without getting my ass sued?
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May 9th, 2008, 12:55
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
If it's official, then you can't be sued for using it.

It's as simple as that.
And do you honestly believe you would get sued for using an unofficial patch for a game you purchased? It doesn't strike you as a wee bit paranoid? (I'm not trying to belittle you. I'm just curious as to why such a minor issue would even cause you to blink let alone steer clear of a game without an official patch)

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May 9th, 2008, 14:05
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I think it was Star Wars Battlefront, which says in its license, that the INSTALLED version of the game is the ONLY allowed backup of the *whole* game …

Now this is something I call stupid. When I de-install it, I'm not allowed to make a backup copy anymore ? Or what ?
Hard to say, but I wouldn't worry too much about Eulas anyway. Publishers tend to write a lot of stuff in there - not all of it has a legal basis. German law for example values the "backup" copy very high - even to a degree that you can use programs (to make a backup copy of your legally purchased software) that are otherwise forbidden.

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