EA Backs Down From 10-Day Authentication

Now let's make them dance like a monkey.

Good news, loud, complaining denizens of the internet! Bioware have backed down on their draconian copy protection for Mass Effect.

Edit: And EA say the same goes for Spore.

Community Manager, Jay Watamaniuk, has posted to the Mass Effect forums saying,

“There has been a lot of discussion in the past few days on how the security requirements for Mass Effect for PC will work. BioWare, a division of EA, wants to let fans know that Mass Effect will not require 10- day periodic re-authentication.”

The reasons jumpward.

Watamaniuk explains that the change of heart comes as a result of listening to quite so many people pointing out how an every 10 day authentication would make the game impossible for them to play.

“BioWare has always listened very closely to its fans and we made this decision to ensure we are delivering the best possible experience to them. To all the fans including our many friends in the armed services and internationally who expressed concerns that they would not be able re-authenticate as often as required, EA and BioWare want you to know that your feedback is important to us.”

So what instead? A one-time online authentication (and additional checks whenever you add new downloadable content), and no need to have the disc in the drive after that. Blimey – it’s like being treated with dignity as a customer!

Things do get a bit BioShock with the news that this alternative method means it can be installed on up to three computers, and further authorisation will require a call to EA. However, it does appear that you’ll be able to install it on three separate machines without the disc, which, er, no one point it out.

Many more details in the forum post here


  1. terry says:

    Good news: EA promise to not use shitty use-based protection.

    Bad news: EAlink still exists.

    FWIW I haven’t had a problem with the Bioshock 5-installs-and-you-suck thing, so definitely the lesser of two evils in this case.

  2. caesarbear says:

    I still don’t understand why an internet check is such a horrible thing. Who are these billions that have PCs able to run Mass Effect, yet lack any internet connectivity at all. Who are all these people that can complain about it online, yet can’t handle an online check? I find the 3 install limit far more troublesome. I have two system that I game on, some of my LAN mates also have two systems. Why should I be forced to haul a third computer to a LAN/co-op? What if I want to loan my copy of Mass Effect around?

    Internet checks ala Steam and Bioware’s current online checking mean there’s no need for disk checks, and that’s a hell of a lot more convenient. I find it hard to believe that in this day, there are those that can’t possibly have an internet connection. Some dial-ups are as low as $5/month. If you can’t afford that, how did you afford a gaming PC?

  3. Mungrul says:

    One thing I’ve not seen mentioned: You can bet your arse that EA will charge you for the privilege of ringing them to activate your game once you’ve used your 3 strikes.
    The only way the 3-strikes option could be even remotely acceptable would be if the number you had to ring was a freephone number.

  4. Bitkari says:

    Out of the fire, back into the frying pan then.

    *golf clap*

  5. sigma83 says:

    might have been said before, but I think the announcement of the 10-day thing was just a stunt to get us to forget about SECUrom as a whole. Kind of like announcing that shit will no longer be flung in the coffee room to make us forget that shit is being served in the first place.

  6. zerotwo says:

    Yay! I can buy spore again! No more boycott!

  7. Cooper says:

    I’m gonna have to add my voice to the cynics.

    If this plan had been run by PR, I doubt it would have got very far. It’s not to much to think that, maybe, EA would want to look like the ‘good guy listening to customers’ by ‘reducing’ their DRM – to what is currently pretty much the highest level on PC games.

  8. theleif says:

    Who cares why they did it? PR stunt or not, they changed it, and that’s what counts.
    As long as the 3 computer limit will be removed after some time I’m fine with it. I’d hate to discover I’m out of installs and try to find a phone number somewhere on the internet in five years when i decide i want another run of Mass Effect.

  9. cHeal says:

    So these games /still/ have copy protection which is more restricted than Bioshocks? Why are people so happy?

    There is still no evidence to suggest that the install restriction will be removed, a restriction, which if it was aimed at combatting piracy could probably be removed within the space of 1 month if we’re being honest. No the install restriction is a clear attack on the second hand market, and will need to be left operational for a couple of years atleast to have any impact.

    And Mass Effect still requires online authentication upon installation. Oh yay.

  10. Evan says:


    Then I will probably buy it once it hits that $40 sweet spot.

  11. Mario says:

    oh the silly fools that are most of you… (this isn’t really a personal attack because: a) i am generalizing and b) i don’t know any of you.)

    business model 101 says that you go in to negotiate asking for more then you really want and are happy when the negotiations go like:

    seller: 15million
    buyer: 10million
    seller: deal (smirks, knowing that was what he wanted anyway)
    internet fanboys: fooled by ea using normal business tactic. grow up. why would you care about a ten day reactivation check if you don’t care about the initial one ? that doesn’t make any sense.

    and to the morons giving microsoft as an example for phone activation. yeah, a global company that has toll free numbers for every fucking country it officially sells in. (or at least call collect, also free or at worst local call) show me the current free global telephone numbers for bioshock.

    as for removing the protection later on ?? like fuck. we now do have some history with bioshock. it’s been october ’07 since release – 8 months and still nothing has changed. and it won’t for quite a while. why would it ? that would make it much easier for the crackers to see the difference between an official clean bioshock executable with no online authentication to the original one. so in my opinion, it will not be removed for years, or maybe until it becomes re-released under a budget label. (97% of budget re-releases to date remove the protection to keep the price down by not paying royalty to the protection maker.)

    ps: don’t hate me because i speak the truth and it hurts your ego to be proven wrong. (advertising or not, i would love any serious pro/anti drm advocate amongst you to continue this over at my place. i say this because: a) this place does not bump the story so as it is, this current story is forgotten, and b) i do not censor anything… you will be able to say anything. ….ANYTHING!!)


  12. Jonathan says:

    Reply to Mario

    And yet they did.

    ps: don’t hate me because i speak the truth and it hurts your ego to be proven wrong.

  13. Sam says:

    No, no they did not. The DRM measures are still there. They listened to you without actually listening to you. You silly bugger. Or did you not read the bit about basic negotiation 101?

    ps: don’t hate me because i speak the truth, it hurts your ego to be proven wrong, and you’re too lazy to read all of someone’s post

  14. Ben says:

    This sucks for old school gamers. I know I’ll want to play this in 15 years or so for nostala, but i doubt the activation server will be around, and what this means i’ll have no choice but to play as torrent.

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