2K Say: “Oops”

2K are scrabbling around, trying to make up for the bit of a whoopsie that represented BioShock’s PC launch. While a 360 player can indulge in such crazed madness as lending the game to their friends – gasp in horror and disgust – PC players were limited to two activations of their code, and three re-installs (meaning anyone with a typical crappy PC would be screwed in moments), as well as being scuppered by scrappy driver issues. To run the game with any success, you need beta drivers, and the game failed to come with the latest version of Direct X. Not pretty.

So in an effort to apologise, it seems that 2K are listening and responding to the moans. As of now, the activations have been raised to five, and the number of re-installs on the same machine is up to five. (Although why this should be limited at all is bewildering). They continue,

“As for other technical issues, we are bringing on a team of tech support that will be on the 2K forums 24/7 to help people resolve their technical issues. Our QA guys are in the offices and on the forums, too, reproducing issues and looking for workarounds and compiling information that they can put towards making you a patch and updating the knowledge base.”

There’s an updated FAQ, along with a fix to prevent yesterday’s collapse of the activation server, and they’re even addressing the widescreen woes.

“And as for widescreen, we also want to say we completely understand a user’s desire to augment their FOV. BioShock is a harrowing experience, but we don’t want anyone to feel limited (or motion sick!). So we are in the process of working on an official PC patch to give widescreen PC users a choice to expand their horizontal FOV, and are investigating creating a similar update for the 360.”

And finally, for those disappointed by the pathetic and irrelevant 3-track Moby single stuck in the collector’s edition purporting to be a “soundtrack”, they’ve even addressed this. You can download the 12-track score (composed by none other than the guy who wrote the A-Team theme) album everyone was likely expecting directly from The Cult Of Rapture here.

EDIT: Ken Levine is interviewed by Joystiq about Bioshock’s success and the issues. Relevant quote…

There have been some concerns that the copy protection was something nobody had ever seen before, except for the online procedure, there’s nothing different. There’s nothing wacky going on there, at some point we’ll move back from online activation. If people want to play BioShock ten years from now, they’ll be able to play it. We have a commitment from 2K that that is going to happen and we’ll hold them to that commitment and they’re serious about it, we’ll make that happen.

In other words, the online activation will be turned off eventually.


  1. Alec Meer says:

    The score’s awesome, incidentally. Though I’m slightly annoyed a) that I have to have it in an icky compressed format rather than on CD and b) those mooks who paid less for the standard version get it gratis. Peasants don’t deserve it, only the elite like me, who scrabbled together an extra tenner. We’re special.

  2. Charles says:

    Hey, cool, I’m glad they actually mentioned motion sickness as a reason for the FOV. I’ve been happy — Bioshock is the first wide aspect ratio FPS I can play without becoming motion sick. I’ve had to shelve a couple of games due to it. FOV is one of the major factors in my motion sickness.

    IMO, more places need to pay attention to this.

  3. John P says:

    I just hope they patch it soon. I finally got the demo working by reinstalling various drivers and direct x, but the game itself is still hideously unstable for me, crashing every half an hour or so at random. Very irritating, esp. as i’d finally got the demo working smoothly.

  4. Dylan says:

    Wait, limited installs to the same machine? WTF? Argh. I almost feel bad about buying it and supporting this kind of treatment.

  5. mno says:

    So in 2 years when you dig up this game in your stack of old games you wont be able to install it because 2K will already have closed down their activation servers. Very nice thank you, I hope they crack it.

  6. tom says:

    How to alienate and decimate your customer base….

    So Apparently my X800 card wont run it (no shader 3) support. Nether will my other intelgm card. Ok so I should have read the required specs.. But then they arent super clear and i forgot to bring my favourite detailed wall chart of ati/nvidia/other card specs with me when I popped into GAME with my 2yr old under my arm spilling houmous all over the floor. Maybe they should have some sort of free PC world style interview before you buy the game, to check you have the right system. I can run oblivion at near full whack and never had any trouble with much else so stupidly I assumed it would be ok. I dont imagine that the general GAME customer subscribes to gfx card chipset monthly to keep on top of the latest movers and shakers in the vertex pipeline :P I predict many returns … No really…. one reason WoW is a juggernaut is because it actually runs on most machines and you dont need to do 2 weeks technical fieldwork to get it activated.

    Oh and bright idea with the activations too, because guess what.. since it doesnt work properly the first 4 times I will be un/re-intalling like an idiot to try out different machines/fixes.. or not, since I cant install it more than once or some such nonsense.

    bah, gief cave story

  7. James says:

    They don’t seem to realise that this fiasco isn’t just hurting their title, but the brand and their reputation. They’ll make a few more quid from budding pirates giving up – but at what cost?

  8. Tentaculat says:

    I’ve experienced several glaring problems with the PC version of Bioshock, no doubt soon to be addressed in a patch. Once the developers get back from their holiday, that is.

    1) It’s console-ified. I know that’s not a proper word, but it has that exact same feel as Oblivion did. The mouse input is inprecise (which is fine for most other genres, but not FPS – come on!), I can’t rebind most of the keys and it tells me not to turn off my machine while it’s saving(!). I’ve never seen that before on anything other than a console. That last one was a bit picky, but still…

    After being assured in the PC Gamer review that this game would not suffer the fate of other Windows/360 games, I’m afraid to say that’s rather inaccurate. I turned off that ridiculously patronizing compass as well.

    2) It crashes often. I maintain a clean system, it’s up to date, with the latest drivers and quality components. Looking at 2Ks tech support forums it seems these issues are widespread.

    3) Anti-aliasing doesn’t want to work at all.

    4) The sound stops working completely between levels. I have to reload the game every transition. This is excruciating and the final nail in the coffin. I’ve given up on playing this until a patch is out.

    The game is awesome. It’s just not finished yet.

  9. Alex Hopkinson says:

    What keys are there that you cannot re-map? I’ve not noticed any, they all seem to be present in the options menus.

    I’ve got many problems with the Bioshock purchasing experience but they all relate to Steam, 2K and Securom. I’ve yet to find any fault with the game itself.

  10. Solario says:

    It crashed once for me after about 8 hours of play. I have nothing to complain about except that if I update my driver completely I can’t play any games at all. But that’s an Nvidia and Vista problem.

  11. Krupo says:

    First, RPS, THANK YOU for the tip-off to the soundtrack. Yay! :)

    Yeah, at first I thought the “machine” ref while saving was some kind of 60’s gag. Then I realized it was a consolitis symptom which was just lame. :(

    I was amazed I was able to alt+tab out of the game to play with a screenshot, and alt+tab back in without killing the game. Sweetness.

    I must have one of those rare machines where I’m lucky enough to enjoy stable performance. That’s all I can say before it turns into gloating – phew.

  12. Donna says:

    I hummed and hawed between the 360 and PC versions. I eventually decided on the PC version out of RPS preferances. I cannot understand the limits though. It doesn’t make a single bit of sense to limit how many times you can install the game. Not even Valve was stupid enough to ut that kind of limit on HL2.

    I seriously hope they turn the limits off asap. There’s no reason for them.

  13. XsV says:

    I managed to get the PC version working on release day but I daren’t install it on another machine just yet.

    I have a strange problem though – just after the level has loaded and the hud appears, all the textures are missing like a beige legoland and they start appearing slowly after a few seconds. There’s been a lot of gibbing as well especially with NPC’s and the object-physics go nuts in places. Once or twice there’s also been an extra little sister in the level as though it’s a scripted event in certain areas.

    Other than these minor quibbles it’s a great game. Rapture’s just like a current Evil Empire we know…

  14. XsV says:

    Tentaculat – try this:

    For Nvidia: use Coolbits then go to the Nvidia control panel and change ‘Max Frames to Render Ahead’ from 3 to 1 or 0.

    For ATI, install ATI Tray Tool and set ‘Flip Queue Size’ to 1 or 0.

    This eliminates the mouse lag effect and can give a huge performance boost.

  15. Segerev says:

    i really wanted to play this game from day one. Because of this DRM nonsense, I’ve been turned off to anything Securom. That means I’ve decided to pass on Bioshock, World in Conflict, and Mass Effect…all games that look awesome but cross the line in regards to disrespecting us legitimate users. Too bad too since Bioshock is now on sale at Best Buy for $20 but that’s still not going to convice me to buy…too bad 2K!

  16. Breaking The Chain: Bioshock Now DRM-Free | Rock, Paper, Shotgun says:

    […] Gosh, all that hoo-hah about Bioshock’s limited number of installations and activation process seems like a long time ago. People were angry – “Ken Levine personally kicked my girlfriend to death” angry. Will they be any less angry now 2K’s removed its harsh DRM (as promised many moons ago)? […]

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