DRM

I hate how pretty much all new software is full of DRM. On the low end of the spectrum, almost all games are on copy-protected optical media. Most games have some form of software lockout as well. On the extreme end, some games require an online activation, PLUS having one or more applications running in the background. Ironically, most Steam games actually have LESS DRM than retail games.

Case in point: I got a copy of Battlefield 2142 from a friend because it wouldn’t run on his computer. But it’s pretty much useless to me. Why? Because it only works with one account. I can understand having to verify a game as legit. I can understand needing to register an account to play online. But this is just ridiculous. You HAVE to register an account to play, and not just for multiplayer either.  And the game is tied to that account. That’s understandable for downloaded software, but for software that comes on a disc it’s insane. I’ll see if I can get my friend’s account information, but he’s probably lost it.

So what can game companies do? First, recognize that there’s really not that much piracy. Seriously, DVDs are far easier and more profitable to pirate than games. Secondly, stop the ridiculous DRM. Figure out a way to do it reasonably. I can’t tell you how, but I want some fair use. By fair use I mean I should be able to install it on at least my main PC and a laptop, and maybe a media center too (one computer using the software at a time is fine). If I want to give it away or sell it for whatever reason I should be able to do so. Finally, I don’t need rootkits or two different apps running in the background. Third, maybe people wouldn’t be so compelled to try to rip off games if they weren’t such a ripoff. I really want Call of Duty 4. But it’s been out for a year and it’s still $50.

Okay, maybe I’m asking for a little too much. But in the old days, you could buy a game, install it on as many computers as you wanted, copy it (maybe that’s a little too far), and you wouldn’t have to pay a ridiculous amount in the first place. That wasn’t long ago, either. Quake III was like that. A lot of Command and Conquer games came with TWO DISCs so you could play head-to-head with a friend.

And to think I thought that CD keys were a pain in the ass.

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