Wired magazine talks to Bioware’s Greg Zeschuk about the PC version of Mass Effect. They touch on the DRM issue:
Zeschuk: BioWare is always committed to its fans and we always listen to them. There was certainly a lot of speculation and rumors about what was planned for Mass Effect in terms of DRM but we hadn’t officially given any word about the DRM plan until we made the one official statement in our community and overall the response was very positive. We really appreciate our loyal fans that buy our games and keep us in business, but frankly we’re appalled by piracy and its advocates — those people aren’t part of our community.
Was he following the same story we were?
In the continuity I was exposed to (which, being part of my personal experience, I consider to be canon) they offered a horrific new DRM system, fans puked on it, then they backed off to simply using vanilla SecuROM and online activation which fans grudgingly accepted.
But Greg seems to have experienced a different timeline, one where they made only one official announcement and the fans cheered its arrival.
He didn’t actually confirm that they aren’t going to be using SecuROM. He didn’t actually tell us anything about what sort of locks the thing will have on it for the legitimate customer to contend with. He just advanced this strange new rendering of events where their fans were never pissed off. He claims they “always listen to fans” without ever admitting that they changed their policy due to fan reaction.
This is classic ass-covering corporate-speak. This is exactly the sort of snake oil PR we’ve come to expect out of beasts like EA and 2kGames. Their constant need to pretend that bad things never happen (because the shareholders are watching and will brook no fallibility from the leadership) makes for a comical, almost Soviet-style attempt at propaganda.
I find his statement to be sort of depressing. It means further concessions are not in the cards for us. Online activation is the wave of the future, and we are going to have to abstain, tolerate or route around it in the coming years.
What I find to be truly insulting is the inept attempt to pretend this new policy is a response to “the fans”. There are many people who impacted this decision: Pirates, stockholders, developers, and managers. The one party who is not involved in bringing about this baleful new reality is the customers. They are, however, the ones to bear the brunt of it.
UPDATE: The whole “no SecuROM” thing is nonsense. Their FAQ makes it clear the system has SecuROM in it.
The FAQ also has the pie-crust promise:
Q: What happens in the future if I want to play MEPC and EA has shut off the servers?
A: If that should ever happen, BioWare would address this problem.
An amusing assertion, which I have already refuted the other day. You people do not own Mass Effect. EA does. You sold it to them, remember?
The Opportunity Crunch
No, brutal, soul-sucking, marriage-destroying crunch mode in game development isn't a privilege or an opportunity. It's idiocy.
The Best of 2013
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2013.
Marvel's Civil War
Team Cap or Team Iron Man? More importantly, what basis would you use for making that decision?
Blistering Stupidity of Fallout 3
Yeah, this game is a classic. But the story is idiotic, incoherent, thematically confused, and patronizing.
Best. Plot Twist. Ever.
Few people remember BioWare's Jade Empire, but it had a unique setting and a really well-executed plot twist.