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EA vs EA's DRM

I forget what we have and haven’t said about the DRM in Command & Conquer 4, but if you’ve somehow not heard, the long-story-short is that it’s very similar to Ubisoft’s always-online horror-thing. Lose your connection and you get kicked to the menu-based curb. The difference is that there’s a persistent experience rank/unlock system, a la Modern Warfare, so it’s at least trying to use its internetiness for something other than mere restriction. My personal take is that this kind of thinking is the only hope of ever justifing an online requirement, but in this case the unlock system rips half the fun out of the game by keeping the coolest units so distant, so it’s scant justification this time around. Boo. Anyway, there’s been a spot of semi-comedy to this techno-tragedy.

Sometime games journo Jeff Green has been having a good old moan about the DRM on Twitter: “Booted twice–and progress lost–on my single-player C&C4 game because my DSL connection blinked. DRM fail. We need new solutions,” followed by “Welp. I’ve tried to be open-minded. But my ‘net connection is finicky–and the constant disruption of my C&C4 SP game makes this unplayable.”

Jeff Green’s current job is editor-in-chief of EA.com. Whee!

(And an occasional designer – here he is discussing his curious role). Well, good on him for being forthright. Let’s hope high-level protest from within manages to make a dent in the EA managerial omni-mind somewhere. It’s the single most important part of this debate: net connections are not reliable. Even when you’re a rich guy.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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