Posts Tagged ‘DRM’

Explained: Dawn of War III’s always-online requirements

There’s been slow-burning confusion about whether Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War 3 [official site] (due out mere hours from now) is going to be one of those bothersome always-online sorts of games, even in singleplayer mode.

It’s reasonably apparent that multiplayer is the main focus of their RTS-meets-MOBA dakka dakka, but there are plenty of boring old bottom-burps like me who are only really interested in solo slaughter. I dropped Relic/Sega a line to establish whether or not you need to be online for singleplayer, exactly what happens if you go offline while playing, and why they’ve gone for the system they have.
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Tomb Raider Raided: Denuvo DRM Allegedly Cracked

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider [official site] might finally be cracked six months after its release. A step-by-step video showing a cracked copy of Rise of the Tomb Raider surfaced in Russia last week. It raises the question of whether or not pirates will finally be able to defeat Denuvo’s DRM security – protection so tough that some crackers said they were giving up. The crack has yet to be replicated, though, and it’s unlikely to happen any time soon.

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Oculus Removes DRM Blocking Rift Games On Vive

In April the cyberworld rejoiced when cybergoggle enthusiasts created a tool to let HTC Vive cybernauts play games made for Oculus Rift. In May, er, Oculus responded by adding a DRM headset check that stopped software working if it wasn’t on a Rift, despite Oculord Palmer Luckey previously saying sunny things like “our goal is not to profit by locking people to only our hardware.” Naturally, Revive quickly got around that. Well! Things seem to have come to a happy conclusion, as Oculus have quietly removed the checks. Vivers may once again play Riftzaps using Revive.

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Quantum Break Makes Light Of Piracy

I’m hearing mostly bad things about Rememdy’s Quantum Break [official site], not least of which is that the reliably unreliable Windows Store (in many ways the child of Games For Windows Live) is preventing our reviewer from getting into the damn thing. Remedy’s approach to pirated copies of the game makes me want to like it, though.

Re-using a technique seen in Alan Wake on PC, if Quantum Break decides you’re running a pirated copy, it sticks a skull’n’crossbones-adorned eyepatch onto lead character Jack Joyce. Rather than a punishment, this seems rather a comic touch, seems appealingly at odds with what is otherwise rather a dour affair.

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Frustrated Pirates Prophesise The Death Of Game Piracy

And on that bombshell

My eyebrow’s raised so high that it’s knocking plaster off the ceiling, but it’s worth sharing this oddity as a talking point if nothing else. It seems Just Cause 3 [official site]’s DRM is still presenting stiff competition to crackers over a month on from release, prompting one pirate collective to predict that we are in the game piracy end times. “According to current trends in the development of encryption technology, in two years time I’m afraid there will be no free games to play in the world.”

Obviously that’s garbage, both because people willingly make tons of free games and because many paid games choose not to include DRM at all, but maybe DRM really has become a new force to be reckoned with.
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Windows Vista/7/8 Update Disables Safedisc DRM

Last month we reported that Windows 10 wouldn’t run games that employ SafeDisc or certain versions of Securom DRM. This decision was made by Microsoft in response to security concerns, but as a side effect rendered hundreds of old games unplayable on the new operating system without players installing no-CD cracks or re-buying the games via modern digital distribution services which don’t use the now-abandoned DRM.

Now Microsoft have released a security patch that also removes support for the Safedisc DRM from Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. Check below for more detail and instructions on how to get those old games working again.

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Windows 10 Won’t Run Games Using SafeDisc Or Securom DRM

Windows 10 won’t run games that employ SafeDisc or certain versions of Securom DRM, rendering hundreds of old disc-based games potentially unplayable without complex workarounds. Games which used these forms of DRM range from Crimson Skies to Grand Theft Auto 3, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 to the original The Sims. Yet despite this change coming in Windows 10, blame can’t likely be placed at Microsoft’s feet. For one, SafeDisc is notoriously insecure and Microsoft’s decision to block it from their new operating system will likely protect more users than it hurts.

More details below.

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Microsoft Can Disable Pirated First-Party Games

Microsoft can disable “counterfeit games” and “unauthorized hardware peripheral devices” according to the recently updated Microsoft Services Agreement. The agreement, which pertains to the Windows store, suggests they can detect pirated first-party XBox and Windows games you have installed.

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Saints Row, Darksiders, Metro Arrive On GOG DRM-Free

The ghost of THQ is still with us today as some of the publisher’s greatest hits find new life on GOG. Deep Silver and Nordic Games, who bought the rights after THQ’s demise, have released Saints Row 2 + 3, Darksiders 1 + 2 and Metro: Last Light Redux on the digital store, all at a discounted price until May 18th.

This is the first time any of these games have been made available completely DRM free.

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ESA Oppose DRM Law Change Preserving Online Games

If a publisher shuts down a game’s online bits, current US copyright law says, you’re technically not allowed to modify the game to use different servers or work offline. It’s gone, that’s it, bye-bye. That’s a bummer for players, not to mention folks trying to preserve our short but already fading history. American digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation have been trying to change this, and are currently arguing for an exception for abandoned online games letting folks revive and save them.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, a trade association representing mostly publishers, this would be a bad thing. Oh dear.

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Walled City: SimCity Goes Offline Today

In a final [humiliating capitulation]/[act of goodwill and community empowerment] Maxis will today release SimCity’s offline mode, freeing city builders everywhere from the terrifying fear that a cleaner at the Origin data center will accidentally unplug the servers as he hoovers up the hopes and dreams of the developers. At the time of writing (lunchtime on Tuesday the 18th), the servers are down as the game prepares for the update that will mean the next time the servers are down, you’ll be able to play.

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Shadowrun Returns DRM Punched, Flung Into A Pit, Killed

When Shadowrun Returns was first conceived, it came with the sparkly promise of pristine freedom – not a speck of diabolical DRM to be found even in its grimiest cybergutters. But then, due to some behind-the-scenes shenanigans, Harebrained Schemes went back on their word, shackling all future updates to Steam, which – while not the end of the world – was absolutely a form of DRM. Now, however, PLOT TWIST: things have changed… again! Harebrained was recently seen beating its own DRM into a mangled, bloody pulp, lighting it on fire, and then reading it passages from this fan fiction. Meanwhile, onlookers watched in horror until they realized this was cause for celebration and started cheering. Some even joined in. Experts described the scene as “just a really great time” and “hahahaha wheeeeeee yeah!”

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So I Thought I’d Play Battlefield 4’s Single Player. About That.

Our coverage of Battlefield 4 got rather interrupted by the arrival of a baby. It happens. So in trying to catch up, I wanted to play through the single player campaign, see how it compared to COD: Ghosts’. Yeah. That would have been nice, wouldn’t it. But then EA happened.

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CDP Spells It Out: No DRM For The Witcher 3

Here’s some very good news: CD Projekt Red are keeping their promise, and The Witcher 3 is to feature no DRM whatsoever. It’s odd, because they feel like the sort of company that never would in the first place – what with their connections to GOG and all. But CDP have stuck their fingers in the icky pot of DRM in the past. And of course they were embroiled in the epically dick move of threatening alleged pirates with bullying lawsuits. It seems that this ill behaviour is behind them now, and they’re making efforts to reassure people that there’s to be not a drip of DRM in The Witcher 3. Hoorah!

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Today’s GOG Sale Is Quite The Thing


You have about 20 hours left to take advantage of GOG’s DRM Free sale, put togeether to celebrate today being the longest day of the year. The games are free of the lumpen, ugly additional code that bootstraps their code to your PC. If for some reason you own a million PCs, you would be allowed, nay encouraged, to install them on each and every one. I wouldn’t, because that would involve a lot of work, not least in acquiring an entire planet to source the resources for such a PC collection, but the hypothetical scenario still stands. You really should look over the whole list, but below I’ve gathered a few treats to entice you in.
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The Power Of Silence: Why The SimCity Story Went Away

Why has the SimCity story gone away? It’s a good question. And the answer for it reveals much about how both the games industry, and the games journalism industry, work.

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SimCity Boss’s “Straight Answers” Seem Pretty Wiggly

GET IT?

What Maxis are doing is frankly peculiar. Earlier this week we posted a story revealing that claims that SimCity required online servers to run non-regional computations were not the case. That night we were promised a statement from the studio, but heard nothing. Repeated emails to EA have resulted in no response since, and the whole situation has become more muddy with each day. It’s since been revealed that population numbers are nonsense, even down to leaked Javascript code featuring “simcity.GetFudgedPopulation” as a function. We’ve learned that city size limits are arbitrary, pathfinding is rudimentary at best, and Eurogamer’s absolutely superb review lists many more bugs, broken features, disappearing pretend-money and never-arriving resources.

So it’s all the more odd to see Maxis head Lucy Bradshaw acting as if none of this is happening, and instead just carefully rewording her mantra of how SimCity is only supposed to be played online, but this time leaving out the bit about server-side computations for local play.

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Schrödinger’s SimCity: EA On Hacks vs Mods, Fixing Traffic

Global meltdown
In this, our ELEVENTH DAY of the equivalent of PC gaming’s Leveson Inquiry, Senior Director of worldwide communications at EA Maxis Erik Reynolds has written a series of ‘transparent tweets’. These tweets indicate that a post on the Simcity forum about a hack for offline mode violated their Terms of Service, and the discussion would have to be moved elsewhere.
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Far Cry 3 Servers Down Already: Ubi, This Is A Mess

Update: Ubisoft have tweeted an apology, saying they’re working as fast as they can to get the servers back online.

So, like many others, I’m very excited to play Far Cry 3. After Jim’s review, and many similar elsewhere, I’ve been dying to play it and finally have the chance. Today is my day off, hooray! And so far I’ve been treated to a horrible, horrible time, and all at the hands of the technical mess that is Uplay and idiotic mechanical choices. And right now? Ubisoft’s servers are down. On launch day. You can still play in offline mode, but ho boy, this isn’t a good start.

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Why Might Ubisoft Have Changed Their Minds On DRM?

The staring eye of change.

So, Ubisoft, eh? It’s been quite the 24 hours for the publisher. Having spent a few years seeming to actively seek the loathing of PC gamers – despite releasing a stream of good games – there appears to be a concerted effort to turn their reputation around. And this is something we certainly welcome. With an official pledge to abandon their deeply silly DRM, and a promise to try to release PC versions as close as possible to the console versions, they’re meeting gamers’ demands like we’ve got their families held hostage. (We don’t, do we?)

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