GSC Respond On Stalker 2 DRM Issue

By Jim Rossignol on October 9th, 2011 at 3:17 pm.


Following yesterday’s DRM-alarm going off, GSC have now said that using an always-on solution is for them “a possibility, not a choice.” We also received this statement:

“The idea of implementing DRM came in as a possible anti-piracy solution. You know the severe level of commercial piracy we have here in ex-USSR region. This said however, there is no firm decision to go for DRM with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 as of now. Be assured, we do realize how uncomfortable this solution is for the players, so we’ll continue looking for most effective, yet acceptable for all, way of protecting the game by the time of its release.”

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138 Comments »

  1. nrvsNRG says:

    Pheew

  2. SquareWheel says:

    They can do whatever they’d like, but my purchase depends entirely on if I can play when my internet is out or not.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      Seconded. I won’t be purchasing a game that requires a connection to play singleplayer, or one with limited activations or installations…

      If I buy a game I like to think I’ll be able to play it again in ten years time!

    • BreadBitten says:

      You speak for most of us brethren…

    • Nameless1 says:

      The same for me.

    • rocketman71 says:

      Hear hear!

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Same for me. They can say all they want, but if they have that stupid system, then I won’t go near their game.

    • kraken says:

      So none of you are gonna buy Diablo 3?
      I know I won’t, but most people complaining about always-on drm will still throw their money at blizzard.

    • Nameless1 says:

      @kraken: no, I won’t.

    • Gvaz says:

      I’ve bought all their games, but this makes it a no-buy if it’s true.

      @ kraken: Nope. Not with that retarded scheme.

    • rocketman71 says:

      @kraken: nope. No way. I didn’t buy SC2 (no LAN), anything from Ubi (I’d love to buy any of the new Assassin’s Creeds) and won’t buy Diablo 3, to name a few.

      My inet connection is shit, and the place where my friends and I do LAN parties once a month has no net connection, so any game that doesn’t work offline is an automatic “no buy” for all of us.

    • lurkalisk says:

      Oh, quit whining. I really like the idea. There’s a certain Je ne sais que about not being able to use something you bought because of circumstances beyond your control…

    • Askeladd says:

      Activates on Steam……

    • soldant says:

      I can remember buying one of the STALKER games on Steam (I think it was the second one, Clear Sky?) which also used TAGES protection. So not only did I have to use Steam as DRM, they also bundled another DRM activation method. Which I wouldn’t have complained about, but my ISP had some sort of weird routing issue and couldn’t contact the activation servers. So I ended up having to save an offline key file, send it to a friend, and get them to send me back the activation key. CSG aren’t getting my money this time, partly because I don’t particularly like the STALKER games, but also because I’m not risking that again.

    • Boothie says:

      @kraken i nope, the news off always on drm pushed me towards getting torchlight instead, a choice im sure will turn out pretty well

  3. EOT says:

    Well that’s all well and good, but why should I be punished because Eastern Europe and Russia don’t want to pay for things?

    • Dragon Master says:

      I think it’s more of an issue of being ABLE to pay at all.

    • Navagon says:

      @ Dragon Master

      Exactly. A lot of what this DRM bollocks boils down to is publishers chasing phantom sales to the exclusion of all else – including the sales they can so much more easily make. CDP have the right idea and they’re faced with the same market and thriving in it.

    • Stevostin says:

      Hem, they’re not THAT poor in Russia, you know…

    • Dragon Master says:

      @Stevostin

      Maybe, but Eastern Europe is.

    • Diziet Sma says:

      Seconded… seriously Russians can afford to buy games just like anyone else. Piracy IS however rife there. It’s not a case of not being able to afford it, it’s just endemic in russia. Not limited to games either, bootleg DVDs are also very common. Though given the price of DVDs (about £20, taking Moscow Zero and either of the two Nightwatch movies both of which I have from Russia) there I find that a bit more understandable. Games on the other hand didn’t seem hugely expensive to me.

      P.S. Don’t get Moscow Zero…. do get Nightwatch.

    • lijenstina says:

      Here is an interesting part of an another interview by Sergey Grygorovich.
      http://stalker-gsc.ru/news/master_klass_ot_gsc/2011-08-20-1499

      GSC-Fan.Com: Because in Russia a licensed copy costs an average of six hundred rubles. A novelty in the same Steam – sixty dollars.

      Grigorovich, Sergei: Yes, in principle. Steam joined. Of these fifty dollars, which were previously the norm for the American magazine, the publisher came to about thirty. And then – after a deduction for the distributor, was left somewhere around 25 dollars. Of these, the developer received five, in best case – from seven to ten. In short, from the American buyer, we could get as much as with the Russian. And while in America, our circulation in the area of ​​one hundred thousand, here he reaches a million – a difference of ten times.

    • Gassalasca says:

      The crucial thing is, even if they ship the game with always online DRM, the Russian pirates will provide the cracked version almost immediately, and everybody who’s intent on pirating the game will do so nonetheless. The only difference will be all the disgruntled paying customers.

    • Derppy says:

      @ Dragon Master

      So you believe a person who keeps his gaming rig up-to-date to play the recent games can’t afford one game?

      Stupid reason to pirate something. If you can’t afford it, you most likely have a rig that can run older titles and you can get them for very cheap in amazing Steam sales.

      I couldn’t afford to keep my rig up-to-date and to buy new games when I studied and when I was unemployed, so I played older titles. Living a few years in the past regarding PC hardware and games is extremely cheap and that’s the way to go when you can’t afford the latest and greatest.

    • Dragon Master says:

      @Derppy

      I’d argue with that. My rig is 5+ years old and with only a cheap upgrade on the RAM and Video(and that’s because the old card got fried), I still am managing to play the latest although not in it’s greatest.

      The point is, that such purchase is rare and lasts thus it is manageable. Then, there is that hefty chunk of the family budged that would go into games, most likely, on a monthly basis. Even a single game is quite the bite to swallow down. For the current standards, it’s much easier for a person to justify to himself piracy instead of using the already small budged at his disposal.

      More topic related: I share the general opinion that such measures are useless. Trying to make the game good enough, for even a pirate to want to support it, is far better way to spend developing time than trying to come up with annoying “defenses”.

    • The_Player says:

      I beg you pardon, but please, do not generalize every people in Russia as a scum that don’t want to pay for their games. It depends on the product, not people. If they’re releasing game which buggy as hell, it is pretty obvious, that gamers won’t buy it.

    • lamzor says:

      average salary here is about 500-600euro/month for full time job (160hours/month). prices here are almost the same as they are in Vienna. for very standart living i pay 500eur/month – just for apartment, car, internet and cable. food is not included.
      im fortunate enough and i can buy games that i like. even when they cost 50-60eur(70-80$).
      but i cant imagine buying single game if my salary would be just an average(or below, minimum wage for full time job is 300euro).
      and Slovakia is one of the richer Eastern Europe countries.

    • enobayram says:

      @Gassalasca
      Well, that’s one thing I’m really curious about. Will they be able to pirate it even when a chunk of the game is running on the server, and it isn’t ever published. I don’t think any pirate is willing to re-write a half of an entire game. What would actually be a scandal is if the server side code is somehow leaked. Then they would wrap it in a virtual server. I would enjoy such a scandal.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      @enobayram

      Don’t necessarily need leaked server code, as far as I can tell with assassin’s creed 2 they pieced together an emulated server from data sent/recieved by legit clients and a little trial and error. It’s time consuming though and pretty much involves playing the whole grame through (multiple times even), so probably wouldn’t be “almost immediately” cracked unless something more elegant is used.

  4. pupsikaso says:

    Which means they’ll just slap on a DRM at the end anyway saying “well we did say we had this choice!”.
    And if I know anything about games published from that region, the DRM will be secureROM or something equally worse.

  5. TillEulenspiegel says:

    yet acceptable for all

    DRM-free it is!

    • LionsPhil says:

      I bet someone out there insists on only buying games that use DRM. Possibly the same kind of person who uses “liberal” as a slur, because DRM-free is one of those hippy things, like Linux.

    • MichaelPalin says:

      There are many and they are called Steam fans. Although the solution would be as simple as releasing it in and outside of Steam (something many indies don’t understand for some reason).

    • SLeigher says:

      there’s a big difference between online-only drm and steam

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Online-only DRM is not the only form of DRM, either. MichaelPalin’s answer is correct.

    • ASBO says:

      At last! RPS DRM thread disintegrates into an argument over Steam. Who would have thought it?

  6. Phoshi says:

    How about a compromise: Keep a lot of the data on the server, load it at loadtime. The advantage there is that they can make additions, bugfixes, so on, transparently, but the game can also carry on if your internet drops. They could also cache that data for subsequent offline runs, requiring verification every week or so. Compromise!

    • Kdansky says:

      How about no, because that still doesn’t catch any pirates?

    • Phoshi says:

      And their initially proposed method will? No, it’ll make it more complex, but while you’re still just retrieving static data, it’s not an effective DRM at all. Unless they’re actually doing important processing up there, it’s not going to prevent piracy at all. Neither method works.

      @EOT; It doesn’t preclude overriding that data at all, though. The only difference is that you’re retriving it from a server somewhere at load time, not your hard drive.

    • EOT says:

      No thanks. The community fixed their last games, not GSC. Bug fixes or no, the game is still likely to remain borked and going with your idea would preclude modding and, by extension, community patching.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      Alternative solution: Include a killer app online multiplayer/coop mode that makes the pirated versions of the game inferior to the legal versions.

    • malkav11 says:

      That doesn’t eliminate one of the primary issues with online-based DRM, which is that a game that relies on external servers to be playable can and will become unplayable at an arbitrary point in the future, across every single copy on every single system.

    • Donjo says:

      Dreamhacker- Stalker online co-op would be FRICKEN AWESOME

    • Nemrod says:

      STALKER co-op == N33D! NOW!

    • Juan Carlo says:

      In terms of possible DRM solutions that everyone could live with, I like the idea of including an actual physical “key” with the product that you would have to have plugged into your computer to get the game to work. It would basically be a unique device that would need to be connected to the computer to get the game to work–preventing people from just downloading the game from a torrent sight. One end of the key would plug into a USB port, while the other end would consist of two 7 inch long and 3 inch diameter cylindrical shafts which are inserted into the mouth and anus of the player while he/she plays the game. If they are removed at any time during the game the player will be logged out and have to restart at his/her last checkpoint.

      Sure this might be slightly uncomfortable, but it would definitely be better than the pain in the ass that is always online DRM!

      http://instantrimshot.com/

    • Eukatheude says:

      @ Juan Carlo: I’m pretty sure USB dildos already exist.
      The more you know!

    • JiminyJickers says:

      I’m on the no boat as well.

      If they want my money, then get rid of this nonsense. If they feel that their profits are falling, how about making the game that doesn’t need the modders to fix all the bugs.

    • Muzman says:

      USB dongles have been around for yonks (ages if you count all the old LPT port dongles of yore). The problem is local security like that is relatively easy to crack out (in the sense that someone can sit there and reverse engineer the thing at their leisure. And they do shortly after its release). The same is true of anything local like that which is why DRM has been getting ever deeper into your system and eventually separate from it altogether.
      That’s generally the problem. How successful a piece of security is, relatively speaking, doesn’t matter. All a security firm has to do is point out that it has been broken and their sales pitch has virtually been done for them.

      (nb: for the benefit of anyone thinking of real ones)

    • MichaelPalin says:

      @ Donjo Oh, crap!, I have just realized that co-op would cancel DRM as a reason to not buy the game. In fact, I would probably by it twice so I can play with a friend. Oh, crap!

    • RobF says:

      “In terms of possible DRM solutions that everyone could live with, I like the idea of including an actual physical “key” with the product that you would have to have plugged into your computer to get the game to work.”

      Yes! That’s a brilliant idea!

      1) Because it works so well for music software (it doesn’t)
      2) Because I really want a load of dongles lying around, one for each game I own (I don’t)
      3) Because it’ll be really useful for when I download a game from Steam (Oh)

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      @RobF

      You should probably read the entire comment to understand the real subject of his comment.

      -Hint- It’s to do with anal violation at the hands of DRM, not how awesome USB dongles are.

  7. skinlo says:

    I’d personally have no problem if it was internet only initially for the first few weeks, then they dropped it later, a bit like Witcher 2 did I think.

    • Unaco says:

      TW2 had any DRM removed shortly after release (with patch 1.1? Or maybe patch 1.2), although not all versions had DRM… I think it was retail only, and somewhat forced on those versions by the Publisher. But, the DRM was NOT an Always On-Line Requirement. It was SecuRom, iirc.

    • Trousers says:

      Aren’t they now being sued by said publisher because of taking down the DRM?

    • Unaco says:

      Yes. Namco/Bandai are suing CDProjekt Red (or were, last I heard), for two reasons though… not just the removal of DRM without permission. They’re also suing them for European distribution rights for The Witcher 2 on XBox 360.

      Namco where under the assumption that the distribution rights they had with CDPrR extended to any other versions that might be released… but they didn’t. CDPrR have said that their contract was ONLY for the PC Version. THQ have offered/given them a better deal than Namco were offering, and so CDPrR went with them for publishing the XBox version. And so Namco are suing them.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      I would support any kind of DRM in the first few weeks actually, as long as we have the assurance that they’ll patch it out at a fixed date. Maybe some kiddies (/immature adults) who really can’t wait for the game will then pay for it, when they see they can’t get it for free right away.

      Encrypting the game files on retail CDs would also be a good idea IMO (give out the password on release day), to avoid leaks and zero-day cracks.

    • Tams80 says:

      Day zero/week one/two DRM is O.K. It can help prevent piracy when hype for the game is greatest and people are most likely to buy it. DRM after the that is a pain and useless. It annoys people who have bought the game and by then a scene group will probably have cracked it anyway.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I would hate that. I bought TW2 on the day of release retail, but couldn’t play it as I couldn’t log in to the servers to verify. Its pretty harsh to deny access to a game because you are having technical issues with your servers.

  8. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Hah! USSR strikes at capitalist enterprises yet again!

  9. hb2008 says:

    This is why gamers should complain about unfair and intrusive practices: Sometimes game companies do change their mind for the better :)

  10. diebroken says:

    Any chance of just making it required to be steam-activated?

    • dragonhunter21 says:

      Garry’s Mod did something like this awhile back. Garry added a check at start to see if the SteamID used with the game actually matched the master list of accounts that owned Gmod. If it didn’t, it threw out a weird error that looked technical but didn’t actually mean anything. People went on the forums to complain, and got instantly banned. It worked very nicely- only two or three false positives, I think.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      If they were “instantly banned”, how can you possibly know the number of false positives?

  11. mr.ioes says:

    DRM free and active mod support -> I buy 2 copies ;)

  12. nayon says:

    Isn’t CD Projekt in the Czech republic? Witcher 2 was DRM free, and they seemed to be doing well. The USSR argument is kinda lame in 2011 where the internet makes borders a bit meaningless…

    • mr.ioes says:

      It wasn’t when it first came out and their official statement was that they did put DRM on it to prevent pre-release leaks. After a week or so, they removed it.

      However, this statement was made following the reveal of DRM costing a lot of FPS.

      Anyway, using DRM and providing a day-0 patch to remove it should be the best solution for everyone. I don’t see any other option (except relying solely on steam).

    • subedii says:

      I’d be happy with the most obtrusive DRM if devs / publishers would guarantee even a month 1 patch to remove it. Or heck, even a 3 month patch.

      Say “OK, our game’s lived through it’s critical sales period, and it’s been cracked for ages anyway, let’s give the people who PAID US for the game what they want, and a better experience than the pirates currently have.”

      That’s all Ubisoft would need to do for me to buy their games again.

    • Dr I am a Doctor says:

      CDProjekt is in Poland. The Czechoslovakia, however, while heavily influence by CCCP, was never officially a part of it. Just like Poland!

    • coldvvvave says:

      While piracy is an issue here, I never ever saw pirated STALKER games sold in pirate stores( you know, like GameStop, only everything is pirated and costs 5-10$). And GSC somehow managed to ‘persuade’ biggest torrent trackers to take STALKER torrents down. Actually, Grigorovich openly says in an interview that “we don’t fight piracy because pirates can buy the game later or spread the word”.

    • MadMinstrel says:

      Borders may not be an issue anymore, but there is still the language barrier. Most European countries speak their own language.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      That’s all Ubisoft would need to do for me to buy their games again.

      Yep. DRM-free after three months. Or six months, since it’s unlikely to be on sale for a significant discount before then. I wouldn’t love them for it, but I would start giving them some money, rather than none.

      The current Ubi solution where always-online gets patched to activate-on-every-launch is not good enough. Not even close. It saves them some money but does almost nothing to improve the customer’s experience.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      @mr.ioes Wrong. The version sold through Gog.com was DRM-free from the start, and was always advertised as such. I should know, I pre-ordered it for that exact reason.

      Other versions had DRM and it was basically patched out later on so that everybody had the same version as the GOG one.

    • malkav11 says:

      That’s not even a system, as such. Ubisoft have done that with…three games? Maybe four? There is no system for their DRM, hence why every time they release a game we get to wonder what sort of nonsense we’re going to have foisted on us.

  13. malkav11 says:

    Hmm. Well, that’s something, although it’s not a firm “we will not do this to you” statement so my purchase is still up in the air.

  14. feda says:

    Who wants to bet 50 euros that they’ll have an always-on DRM?

  15. Laephis says:

    I’m always in the mood for a good Sunday morning back-pedal. At least there’s a tiny bit of hope they are listening to their customers.

  16. bwion says:

    Well, it sounds like they’re considering options at the moment, which is fair enough.

    If I ever develop a game (this is, to say the least, unlikely), my preferred DRM solution will be a splash screen with a cute-but-sad puppy and a caption that reads “PLEASE DO NOT STEAL THIS GAME”. I believe that this has two advantages over traditional DRM. (1) It costs next to nothing to implement, unlike most DRM. (2) It has a very slight chance of actually making some pirates reconsider, unlike most DRM.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      It’ll only work if it’s a Corgi. No other breed of dog is cute enough to melt the hearts of video game pirates.

      Maybe you could even dress the corgi up in a little police uniform and include the caption “Officer Corgi McCorgenstein says: ‘Pirating Video games is Wrong!’”

      I’m just throwing ideas out there.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      That’s basically what Sierra used to do, sans the puppy.

      http://i.imgur.com/EyYYS.png

  17. Navagon says:

    They might as well put the game out DRM-free. Not only would that encourage more sales, but it’s not like pirates are going to have a hard time cracking whatever DRM is thrown at them. It’s like Marlon Brando – “what have you got?”. All this DRM crap does is give crackers a challenge and deter legitimate customers. Pirates just download for free once the crack’s done.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      To be fair, there’s probably a small margin of people who are afraid of torrent sites and the like because of viruses and/or legal reasons, but who would share copies of the game to their family and friends if they could. I suspect there are not many of those left playing on PC (especially since we’re dealing with a pretty hardcore game here), but preventing this kind of so-called “casual piracy” and killing the second-hand market are usually goals of those who include DRM in their games.

      Edit: just to make it clear, I do support releasing the game DRM-free, and I think the good will generated will largely offset those supposed losses.

  18. Essobie says:

    I jokingly stated yesterday that as a clever PR scheme in this PC gaming climate, one could threaten a horrible DRM scheme, get a hit in the press and cause public uproar, and then publicly change their mind and get a second PR hit in a much better light.

    And then they went and did almost exactly that… except without actually saying “Sorry guys, we’ll make it much better than we threatened,” but instead saying, “It isn’t set in stone, but we’ll probably do exactly what we threatened anyway… just don’t hate us RIGHT NOW, OKAY?”

  19. BrendanJB says:

    Yeah, except no matter WHAT kind of DRM they choose, it will be cracked and pirated. There has never been a successful anti-piracy measure in the form of DRM. It is hacked and patched within DAYS, if not on the release day; hell, sometimes even prior to the games launch.

    The BEST way of combating piracy is to:
    -Don’t treat your customers like criminals.
    -Have enjoyable and creative marketing.
    -Charge a fair price.
    -Make your game easily available through digital distribution.
    -Give your customers the best possible version of your product.
    -Interact with your community.
    -Make a DECENT game!

    A pirated game is not a lost sale. Anybody who plans on pirating the game is going to damn well pirate it, but those who plan to buy it will be repeat customers, they will spread word of your game, how you treat them well, how your services and products are worth the price you are asking, and you will be respected; people will WANT to support you.

    • ZIGS says:

      Ok, now go tell that to publishers :)

    • asshibbitty says:

      As far as I know Rise of Flight used a similar scheme and was never cracked. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Rise of Flight originally had a constant-connect requirement, which was partially justified by the way the game tracked user stats, and allowed access to MP flying (which is a big part of the game, for some folks). But they added an offline mode earlier this year, so you can fly all the single-player modes without a connection. You only have to log in to get new patches, or new planes.

      The game auto-installs any new planes they develop, and they show up as AI-controlled in all the game modes. So that’s sort of like free DLC. Then you can choose to pay for any new planes that you want to fly yourself. It’s a good business model, I think. I don’t know if the original or current version of the game has been cracked, but you’d lose out on things like multiplayer or new planes if you had a static cracked copy.

    • Freud says:

      I’m not sure, but I think one of the Splinter Cells (Chaos Theory perhaps) went uncracked for a long time.

      Which may be one of the reasons why Ubisoft has the faith in DRM they do.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Chaos Theory was indeed uncracked for a long time. It was also unplayed by me for the same amount of time as the copy I bought on release came with the wrong key for StarForce. When the crack showed up I could play the game, finally.

      So fuck DRM.

  20. Seafort says:

    This DRM better be on all formats if implemented or they’ll be no parity between consoles and pc :P

    After all the publishers are after this equality in graphics, functionality and content. Its only fair the consoles get a share of the DRM too :)

  21. Teddy Leach says:

    Instead of using DRM methods which do nothing but encourage piracy, why don’t they focus on consumer goodwill?

    • Derpentine says:

      Because you need them to be consumers in the first place. Young male gamers in school in the 3rd world/Eurasia and such are extremely unlikely to pay for games which are not easily accessible. Piracy is always going to be easier for them, but when people force things like Steam (which does little to deter post-release/leak piracy). The pricing is also near universal, and especially payment systems are usually pretty problematic for that same demographic. CC’s are not schoolboy friendly, PayPal and other systems are the same if not worse. Pretending that “M” rated games wont be played by them is living in denial anyway.

      The devs and business guys over there grew up with this, they are trying to think outside the box to provide a way to capture some of those sales without poisoning the water – as they intended, some content would be online-drm-only, but that still allows for piracy at the cost of a lesser experience.

    • malkav11 says:

      That’s a demographic (in the West, too) that’s not likely to have much money to buy games to start with. At best, you get their parents buying them stuff.

      When I was 13, 14, 15… I wasn’t actually a pirate because we had a 14.4 modem and a Mac and this meant neither the friend network nor the internet could be relied on for illegitimate gaming. But I think over the course of that period of my youth my entire commercial gaming access was: Myst. The Marathon Trilogy (as a boxed set). A CD of some of the SSI Gold Box games that I had trouble with because of the stupid codewheels and some bugs. Umm……that was about it, really. I survived largely on the first bits of shareware games, freeware, MUDs, and BBS door games. You had better believe I would have pirated if I’d had access. And no, it would not have lost any sales. I had no money. That was just how it was.

      Once I got a job and some income, sparse as it might have been, (and once I was bequeathed my grandmother’s old Pentium 100), then I started to branch out some. But even then, my gaming appetite was far bigger than my budget.

  22. Shortwave says:

    I would like for one of these company’s to actually answer the question at hand.
    Not re-illiterate what we already know and have heard before.

    Why do you think this will help prevent pirating?
    Why do you think this will help prevent pirating?
    Why do you think this will help prevent pirating?

    MORE PEOPLE WILL PIRATE YOUR GAME FOR DOING THIS.

    I for one will never buy a game with such harsh limitations.
    The pirate will STILL pirate your game and the custumer get’s punished.
    Or in many situation, the would be customer is now going to pirate it.
    TO AVOID PUNISHMENT.. WTF WTF IS THIS MADNESS!?
    Break the law to avoid being punished. HAHA.

    PLEASE ANSWER TO THOSE ALLEGATIONS MISTER SPEAKER.

  23. Dana says:

    When they will learn that DRM is more of a symbolic thing these days, without any long term protection.

  24. Rawrian says:

    Do they really look at the ex-USSR market as primary? That’s weird.

    • Derpentine says:

      Why would it not be? Your native market and understanding should always be taken into consideration – it’s also part of the world where PC gaming is very big (and no doubt piracy helps that).

      The best solution would be to target them with localized versions at a low price (20-50% of US) or ensure either very strong brick and mortar sales for young people (CC’s are always a problem, paypal in the 3rd world is a joke too.). I sort of with that there would be systems in place to just buy keys for cash at a local supermarket or whatever, similar to airtime and lottery.

    • Rawrian says:

      It should be taken into consideration, but not in deciding whether the game should have DRM. The piracy is too high in Russia.

    • malkav11 says:

      Not in deciding what DRM to use worldwide, but it might have some bearing on a Russian language release.

    • lijenstina says:

      Yes.
      I’ve posted a link on the previous page.
      It’s about 10 to 1 ratio in favor of Russia compared to the US. Also GSC itself publish their games in former USSR so no money goes to a different publisher. The amount the money they do get as a developer from the Russian prices ( which are about 20 $) is the same as the one they’ve got from America per sold game.

  25. Forceflow says:

    “looking for most effective, yet acceptable for all, way of protecting the game by the time of its release.”

    Steam, anyone?

  26. Shooop says:

    It seems common sense could yet prevail.

    Maybe.

  27. magnus says:

    Isn’t it interesting, some more or less ‘positive’ news and there’s 80% less postings compared to yesterdays 300+ . Remember this all started with a rumour on 4chan, which isn’t the most reliable source of information as it is, but I suppose we all love a jolly good moan don’t we, even when we’re oblivious to what’s really going on?

    • Zenicetus says:

      Well, they’re still considering always-connected DRM as an option, according to the quote in the OP. So, not much has changed. Imagine how many congratulatory and “thank you!” posts would show up here instead, if they had announced a decision to drop all DRM, or have it active for just the first week?

      They deserve the negative reaction they’re getting right now for even thinking about an always-on connection, and then talking about it publicly. Especially for a system that drip-feeds primary game content from their servers, which is likely to make the game more unstable, and will likely prevent the kind of modding that made the first series so successful.

    • MrEvilGuy says:

      Exceptional insight, magnus.

      @Zenicetus
      “Imagine how many congratulatory and “thank you!” posts would show up here instead, if they had announced a decision to drop all DRM, or have it active for just the first week?”

      Even less.
      Take a look at the number of comments on the varying From Dust articles – the negative articles always have far more comments than the positive ones:
      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/tag/from-dust/

  28. Frosty840 says:

    I really dislike the idea of always-connected DRM, because my connection is simply too flaky for it. The idea of CoD-style “We own all of your savegames and data, because we store it all on our servers” is a thousand times worse than that, though.

  29. Nick says:

    Maybe they should just introduce it in their russian release which will be several months before the rest of the world anyway.

  30. herschel says:

    As I stated yesterday… they will step back from it.

  31. televizor says:

    I don’t wanna take their side on this, but they do have a point.
    The level of piracy in the ex communist countries is through the roof.

    • Zenicetus says:

      They may be influenced by the high rates of piracy in their local market, but that’s not the only market they’re trying to reach.

      The idea is to sell enough product to make a profit, period. So, why not focus on the markets that do have higher rates of paid purchase? Does Bioware spend a lot of time thinking about how bad piracy of their games will be in the ex-communist countries? Or do they focus mainly on the profitable markets and let the unavoidable piracy slide, so they don’t piss off their regular paying customers with too-invasive DRM?

  32. Noodlefighter says:

    Why do they need DRM? All the STALKER games with the exception of Clear Sky have sold well and have been profitable for them. This would only hurt themselves and the legit customers if this always online DRM is permanent. Also if this prevents modding abilities and the game is a horrible mess they’re just digging their grave.

  33. Lone Gunman says:

    There is still hope! :)

  34. sabrage says:

    Zero-day executable prease

  35. eightiesmullet says:

    I love the Stalker series of games (even the second one..) but it’s well known that crazy modders are the ones who made them much more playable (and possibly even fixed the first one).

    Would DRM prevent this kind of thing? I don’t know enough about the programming side of things to know.

  36. coldvvvave says:

    I like how among the DRM dirtstorm people missed some other interesting parts of an interview( no surprise, it’s in Russian, but there are at least four Russian members here if not more). Like, for example, pretty bizzare statement – “Stalker 2 is not going to look like Stalker”. So, they are changing engine AND design of everything?

  37. coldvvvave says:

    I wonder where did my post go.

    I like how among the DRM dirtstorm people missed some other interesting parts of an interview( no surprise, it’s in Russian, but there are at least four Russian members here if not more). Like, for example, pretty bizzare statement – “Stalker 2 is not going to look like Stalker”. So, they are changing engine AND design of everything?

  38. hypercrisis says:

    Publishers should be fucking grateful anyone is willing to pay $60 for a videogame in the first place. The prices need to drop, its bullshit charging so much. Here’s hoping rental systems become bolder and make game rentals more viable

  39. MichaelPalin says:

    The irony of this all is that probably most of GSC staff have pirated games a plenty in their youth and that is the origin of their love for games. They are from Eastern Europe, you know. Why not just leave all DRM aside, take advantage of the legions of fans that your games have and fight piracy by making the best S.T.A.L.K.E.R. ever?

  40. DickSocrates says:

    Steps to reduce piracy:

    Provide a bloody demo! Most pirated copies are from people testing either whether they like the game, or how well it runs (if it runs at all). That will slash pirated copies. Make a big deal about the demo, let people know it exists and easy to get; don’t rely on those stupid demo sties which have 100 links that don’t work buried 4 pages deep.

    *IF* you must use always on DRM, make it time limited, say for one month then deactivate it. People may be willing accept this and still be willing to buy new to get their hands on legit copies of the game. Once it drops in price and the release hype dies down, the piracy danger period is over. People will still pirate it, but the demo will do wonders for reducing this.

    DEMO! I know I said it already, but it’s VERY important. VERY.

    Make a compelling online portion to the game. Not multiplayer, but either some kind of free DLC (doesn’t have to be massive stuff, just trinkets or weapons or whatever, or skins). If people can only access this stuff by going online with an official copy, they’ll want to buy to.

    That’s my lot for the moment.

    • povu says:

      It sounds pretty difficult to make a representative demo of an open world’ish game.

      Imagine a Skyrim demo. How would that work?

    • Dana says:

      I see no problem in confining a small location within invisible walls. Limit the skills, the quests etc. as well.

      Just Cause 2 has world at least 10 times bigger then Oblivion, and it does have a demo.

    • bill says:

      Not convinced about the demo thing. (though it probably costs about the same as DRM and can’t be any worse).

      The problem is that it’s just as easy to download and install the pirated version as it is to download and install the demo. Often easier, as the pirated version will show up on the torrent site they check every day (or in the pirate software shop in Russia), but they’d have to go and find the demo. (demos on steam being a possible exception).

      As the Proun thing shown, many people are creatures of habit, and if they are in the habit of visiting Pirate Bay (or local pirate shope) and getting all their stuff there, even giving away a free version of the full (almost) game won’t change their habits.

      IMHO, they should assume that the game will be pirated and torrented, and instead work on getting some money out of those pirates. There are various ways you can do this (put some “please donate to support us” links in the game, dlc, dedicated servers, leaderboards, etc.. ).
      That way they can gain the advantages of the huge distribution network and exposure.

    • lijenstina says:

      SoC didn’t have a demo just alpha\Beta leaks. LIke the 2215 build mp beta.

  41. HothMonster says:

    fuck, westerners heard us. Those first worlders will cry about this all day, lets cut the drm and make it for xbox instead.

  42. Mocker67 says:

    I remember when the first STALKER didn’t require a key to play, or the Cd. People where passing those discs around like they where candy. And now, this. The times they are a-changing.

  43. Consumatopia says:

    “a possibility, not a choice”

    Those aren’t the same thing? Maybe their twitter feed uses linear logic?

  44. Mobius says:

    If Ubisoft has taught us anything, it’s that 1) Renaissance Wolverine is cool and 2) always-on DRM doesn’t stop pirates.

  45. bill says:

    While it would be fun to be indignant and rant about how i’ll never buy all their games, i mostly feel sympathy for them when they’re trying to sell games in that region with that level of piracy.

    But I do think that a CD-Projekt style approach might be more effective.

    Why don’t they sell direct from their website at a highly reduced price in that region? And include a “donate if you enjoyed this game” button at the end of the game.

  46. Big Daddy Dugger says:

    DRM doesn’t stop pirating whatsoever. Every single time a major game is released the crack for it follows within 24 hours, I know this from experience. DRM only serves to waste the company’s money and to cause people who actually buy it grief.

  47. hello_mr.Trout says:

    yay!
    i sent gsc an email with a link to the first story from rps about this –
    maybe they read everyone’s comments & changed their mind!

  48. captain nemo says:

    I will not buy any game with always-on DRM. Period.

  49. buzzmong says:

    I miss the days of straight forward CD keys and CD checks.

    I’m sure that it’s entirely possible to create CD keys with a cypher that is only valid for a limited run of disks (25k per cypher?) to at least make sure there’s no global cd key list. Possibly tie it into a one time online server activation check at install.

    As much as I dislike DRM, and utterly loathe “always-on-drm”, cd checks and quick once off online activation checks are acceptable if a dev/publisher must include DRM.

  50. yoruai says:

    “Often, decisions are made more with a view to their public importance rather than their utility in generating a profit, and that public importance creates its own dividends.”
    -Sergiy Grygorovych, 2010 interview after receiving the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2010 award.

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