Experienced Points: I Have Seen The Future, And it is Annoying

By Shamus
on Jan 22, 2010
Filed under:
Column

I’ve touched on the problems with the “helper” programs that run with games, but GTA IV brought something new and horrible to the table.

As I mentioned in the article, I knew GTA IV was a mess going in, and I bought it more or less to see how bad it was. The number of things wrong with the PC version is shockingly, offensively bad. The stuff I talk about in the article is actually the least of its problems.

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  1. Duoae says:

    It is just sheer idiocy but many gamers are ignorant to these pitfalls…. I hope (in a slightly vindictive way) that it comes to bite them in their uncaring asses after having to endure all the “You hate DRM? You’re the reason why the industry isn’t doing so well! You just want to steal their games!” comments.

  2. Mari says:

    Nothing to add, just “Amen, brother!”

  3. Wow. This actually makes me glad I’ve pretty much stopped buying games.

  4. neolith says:

    So far Bioshock2 seems to be the epiphany of stupidity in this line of action. As far as I’m informed it comes with securom, diskcheck, limited installs, steam, steam activation and the need for microsoft’s unmeasurable failure that is games for windows live. It is absolutely beyond me how not everyone – including the dumbest of all suits – can see where this is driving the customers.

  5. Nelson says:

    Your PC is a battleground.

  6. Magnus says:

    All this continuing crap with various DRM or “new game DLC”, just pushes me into the arms of indie developers and places like Good Old Games.

    If I ever mention how I don’t like using Steam or other client software to run my games, I usually get told by people that I’m overreacting!

    I like Gamersgate, since they’re pretty good about letting you know what sort of DRM/activation things are required. GOG of course is the best, but we need something like that for new games.

    These sorts of tactics have prevented me from buying Empire:TW and DOW2, and no doubt there will be others I’ll be discouraged from buying. It costs me nothing, there’s always other games out there, perhaps if enough people took the attitude that they weren’t going to take this any longer the companies would take notice.

    Unfortunately all we get are terrible “boycotts” that fall on their faces.

  7. Simon says:

    Re: Bioshock 2, it seems the way all the DRM works together is so confusing that not even their own community manager can get it straight. There’s a 57+ page thread on the 2kforums that’s only about 24 hours old where poor 2k Elizabeth is trying to juggle a combination of PR and customer service with contradictory “facts”.

    I’ve been following it throughout the day and I still don’t know how it is going to work, what is checking what, or where all the activation limitations are coming from. I don’t think anyone knows. It’s got Steam, Securom and Games For Windows Live all required for something (not the game).

    I’m not critizing 2k Elizabeth here (nasty job she does well, but for a terrible company), but that thread is a fine example of how multiple unnecessary software is just a colossal mess designed to screw legitimate paying customers.

  8. eri says:

    The DRM in this game is basically horrible. At the very least, the game itself is pretty good. If it’s consolation, at least I’m pretty sure you can get a working cracked version nowadays.

  9. Sam C. says:

    @Magnus: I think that’s because Steam really isn’t all that bad when compared to other services like Windows Live. For one, Steam seems more transparent with things like updates, actually telling you why Steam is being updated. Steam’s store is much more functional, with a really broad catalog and great sales. And their community functions are actually helpful. I would still rather just install once and never have to worry about any service, but I don’t think developers/publishers are lining up to offer that for new games, and Steam seems to be one of the better alternatives.

    I have to agree that GTA IV for PC is a mess. I have to consider how much time I want to spend just hunting down the CD, starting three programs and watching loading screens before I can even play a game that requires a supercomputer to play at a reasonable framerate and resolution.

  10. MintSkittle says:

    Final Fantasy XI is like this if you buy it through Steam, because FFXI only runs through the Square-Enix Playonline platform. So you start Steam to run Playonline to run FFXI. That was probably the worst $11 I’ve spent in a long time.

  11. Simon says:

    I don’t believe in giving cash to companies who produce something that screws with the customer. Voting with my wallet is the only influence I’ve got against large corporate entities, even if it’s only a very small influence.

    Games worth playing are games worth buying. I want to support my hobby/interest. If they don’t make it worth buying, then I don’t pay and don’t play. Giving them money and then finding my own work-around (via a crack) only boosts their sales numbers and encourage them to screw us over some more and harder next time.

    Bioshock 2 looks either “tolerable disk-check DRM with complications” or “intolerable Games For Windows Live-limited activation mess”. Either way, it’s unnecessarily complicated, so much so that even their own dedicated front-line support person embarassed herself somewhat over trying to explain it and realising she isn’t actually sure she knows.

    If this is what the likes of 2kgames see as the future of PC gaming, then I can only wish for a miracle – such as every decision-maker twit involved spontaneously combusting.

  12. Sekundaari says:

    Maybe I was being stupid when I bought Empire:TW (disc) despite it saying it requires St**m to “activate”. Then during installation it informs me that it will be tied to an account. It wouldn’t start without a login, and I didn’t have the will to return it. Might still be a good game.

    Except it was Buggy and the AI went downhill, a lot. Five major patches later it’s stable and somewhat fun, but the AI general still does everything actively wrong. (The admiral seems a little better to me.)

    Still, I’d feel worse if the game came with Steam, SEGA System Master and Creative Assembly Community Assembler, all put together. Other games I have don’t have that kind of clutter. Fallout 3 has the Win stuff, but I’ve never used it and I’m willing to forgive everything for the sneaky nodisc option.

  13. Sheer_Falacy says:

    I find Steam to be incredibly convenient. You can play without an internet connection, and you can put games on a new computer without fumbling for disks.

    On the other hand, I’ve had one experience with Games for Windows Live. Batman: Arkham Asylum requires it. Oh, you can play without logging in… but the game won’t let you save. At all. It’s absurd. In addition, when I logged into the account, the game began stuttering horrifically – it became unplayable. Luckily, GFWL has an “offline account” option, which is, as far as I can tell, completely pointless. But it’s enough to let you save and it solved the stuttering problem.

    In theory, Bioshock 2 will offer “unlimited activations on up to 5 PCs”. Who knows what that translates to in reality. I don’t have the same hard line you have on DRM, so I’ll be buying it… but I imagine that soon enough some game will have it bad enough to change my mind.

  14. Sekundaari says:

    @Sam C. :

    One of my major annoyances with Steam is how they punch me in the eyes with an updated EULA when I just wanted to play the game, and make me hunt for the changes in it. I can’t have a lawyer go through it every time they want to change a wording!

    Being from Finland, Europe I can’t even tell how much of it could hold in court. The whole thing could violate the Convention on Human Rights, as far as I know. I’d make a sucky lawyer though.

  15. Heron says:

    I am of the opinion that Steam’s DRM (and even Steam itself) is as unintrusive as DRM can be. That is, I never notice it, and I never have to think about it. I just log in, and I’m done.

    There are two things I wish Steam would do:

    1) Force anyone who wants to sell a game on Steam to use Steam’s DRM and nothing else (or, nothing at all). Refuse to publish games containing other methods of DRM (even dead code).

    2) Allow multiple computers to log in to the same Steam account, as long as they don’t play the same game.

    I’d like to be able to let my wife play Boggle while I play Left 4 Dead 2 without having to play tricks juggling which computer is logged in to Steam and when.

    I would also accept as an alternative the ability to transfer game licenses from one Steam account to another – or perhaps better, the ability to lend licenses for a period of time.

  16. SoldierHawk says:

    Fantastic article Shamus. I too picked up GTA IV at the dirt cheap price, and instantly wanted to destroy anyone or anything having to do with the *&$&&$ Rockstar *&$*&# Social #&%$( CLub from (&*#($*($ HELL. GO DIE. GO DIE SLOW AND PAINFULLY.

    Also, I had a very nasty experience this week when a storm knocked out our telephone line and internet connection. No worries, I figured, Steam has an offline mode and will allow me to play. Lo and behold, it wouldn’t. I tried to make it boot in online mode, and all it did was tell me it couldn’t access the Steam network. Well no shit, Sherlock–THAT’S WHY I WANT TO PLAY IN BLOODY OFFLINE MODE!!!

    I still haven’t figured out what I was doing wrong, sigh. But since the storm’s still here I hope I do soon, so I don’t get LOCKED OUT OF MY OWN GAMES just because MY INTERNET DOESN’T BLOODY WORK.

    ARG!

  17. Zerai says:

    Looking in the other direction, that is, the best possible scenario (yeah, I know the chances) would be a foundation made (IGDA… if not a better alternative) system, which sold all games that used it taking a small, server maintenance fee.

    As good points would be, a DRM like that of Steam (if it’s as has been said) with the option for the developer to put whatever they want, and a unified gamerscore/achievements system.

    Such a system would compete with the Xbox/PS3 login system, and hopefully give a selling ground to indie games.

    As a complete pie-in-the-sky feature, it could also be linux-mac-win compatible.

  18. nerdpride says:

    Well, I hate it too. No Steam games for me, thanks.

    But to play devil’s advocate for a moment, anyone can say that PCs are just going to increase in processing power and decrease in cost. The main problem is the automatic updates.

  19. Andrew F. says:

    Man, I was really, really tempted by that GTAIV deal, but now I’m glad I skipped it. I’m a big fan of Steam in general, though.

  20. Pickly says:

    Impulse seems mostly O.k. for this sort of stuff. (At least from what I’ve seen). It’s just used for installation and patching, and otherwise can be turned off. (though I’m not sure if I’ve had a bunch of other stuff installed with it, though.)

    It does seem sloppy that the people selling the game haven’t coordinated this stuff, though.

  21. LK says:

    In theory, Bioshock 2 will offer “unlimited activations on up to 5 PCs”. Who knows what that translates to in reality.

    A lot of tech support calls. At least they don’t charge for the call like EA does. That was terrible, it’s like a prostitute who rapes you.

  22. Sam C. says:

    @Sekundaari: The only EULA I remember is when I originally downloaded Steam. Yours pops up every time you update it?
    And there’s a no disk option for Fallout 3 that doesn’t involve a crack? Do tell.

  23. Zanfib says:

    Where did you hear that Arkham Asylum has online activation, Shamus? My (Australian) copy only has GFWL which does not require an internet connection. (It tries to trick you into thinking it does, but there is an option to create an offline account.)

  24. AGrey says:

    I have a ‘friend’ (wink, wink) who pirates games.

    this ‘friend’ takes programs that anonymous strangers have placed online and runs them on his computer.

    And not once has he ever faced the kind of problems that paying customers have faced.

    It’s like taking a free cookie from a strange man on the subway with no problems, and then getting food poisioning at Applebees

    why would ‘my friend’ ever pay actual money for a worse product?

  25. Shinan says:

    I bought GTA4 on the Steam sale too even though I knew all about these things. They still annoyed me as hell though. Not to mention that the game didn’t run very smoothly.

    A couple of hours into the game I decided to give in and create a games for windows account (didn’t have one from before) but it turned out that I couldn’t load my old save files from that so that was a waste of time…

    The worst is of course that the game is really fun…

  26. Gndwyn says:

    It sucks so bad when the pirates get a better game for free than the one you paid $60 for.

    Also, nothing says, “Our game is definitely NOT a classic like Deus Ex or Diablo 2 that people will keep playing and revisiting for years to come” like crippling it so you can only install it 5 times.

    Oh well, there’s so many awesome PC games coming out this year, having a good reason to skip Bioshock 2 is almost a relief.

  27. Zanfib says:

    Google indicates that only the steam version has secuROM online activation while the retail version just has a CD check. How bizarre.

    I definitely did not need a internet connection for my retail version.

  28. Axle says:

    At least EA learned their lesson from the spore activation inciden and didnt put this BS in Dragon age and Mass effect2 (as far as I know there wil be only disc check for ME2).

    I didn’t buy GTA IV because of the activation process. It just gave paople another reason to pirate the game…

  29. Sekundaari says:

    For me anyways, every so often Steam (not the game) informs me that I can’t play my game if I won’t accept this (changed?) LA. I’m pretty sure it’s for Steam, not E:TW. Or maybe I’ve been hallucinating without ever using drugs or even alcohol. I’m not sure which one I’d prefer.

    About F3, at least my version let’s me play without the disc in the drive, as long as I don’t use the official launcher. To me it seems Bethesda wanted to show ZeniMax a disc check, but not drive away customers.

  30. Magnus says:

    @SamC: I do admit that steam is a good service. However, it’s a service I don’t want. I don’t play online very often (if at all) and I have no need for any of their other services.

    It just bugs me that it’s not optional, and it does seem uncompetitive to me since there are games you can buy from other sources which then lock you into Steam.

    I’d like to see a level playing field for digital distribution services.

  31. midget0nstilts says:

    This whole DRM/digital distribution platform mess is a third of the reason I’m not really into games anymore. (The second third is that fact that games *really* suck anymore. The last third is console-itis.)

    What happened to the good old days when our gaming complaints centered around having to load high in autoexec.bat and select the correct CD-ROM driver for config.sys?

    Oh! And buy indie. Or play open source. Or something. As long as it has nothing to do with the EA-Valve-Microsoft fascist complex.

  32. pkt-zer0 says:

    I don’t care about the DRM madness so much anymore, as long as it can be circumvented easily (it still decreases my willingness to support the folks behind such a product). When it can’t (say, going online with GfWL), it’s still as bloody annoying as ever.

  33. Western Infidels says:

    I too bought GTA IV during the Steam sale, because it was cheap and because I was thinking “How annoying could all that activation and login crap be?” The answer turned out to be “Far more annoying than I thought.” I’ve pretty much stopped playing it, and I’ll be paying more attention to the accessory/helper programs required for games in the future. I’m afraid that if the games business is capable of learning any lesson about this at all, it will take several product cycles.

    Your point about digital stores being different because they are really subscription services that come home with you is really astute and well said. I think the designers of Steam must have understood this before anyone else, and have worked hard to make Steam an agreeable experience. Others (I’m thinking of GFWL, but there are plenty of others) seem to confuse “calling attention to oneself” and “branding.”

  34. Spider Dave says:

    Looks like I’m not the only one who was tempted by the ridiculously cheap sale of GTA.
    Anyway, it was actually just yesterday that I sat down at my computer, fired up Steam, and thought, “I’m gonna play GTAIV. No wait, I don’t want to deal with all that Windows Live crap. You know what; I’m playing TF2 instead.”

  35. Matt K says:

    Man you guys are right, Bioshock 2 DRM is rediculous (not that I didn’t believe or had any intent on getting the game, but man)

    From steam (a service I only tolerate):

    DRM Information: SecuROM offers unlimited activations on up to 5 PCs.

    Other Requirements: Initial installation requires one-time internet connection; Ability to save game, earn achievements, receive title updates and online play requires log-in to Games for Windows LIVE; software installations required including Microsoft Visual C++2008 Runtime Libraries, Games for Windows LIVE client, Games for Windows LIVE Client Patch, Sony DADC SecuROM, Microsoft DirectX.

  36. Sheer_Falacy says:

    By the way, while GFWL does have an “offline” account option, that option doesn’t let you get achievements. I mean, sure, offline achievements don’t mean much and can easily be faked, but that’s no reason to take them away completely. It’s just jackassery.

    Also note that that Other Requirements list is not all DRM, since among other things it includes DirectX =P. And the internet connection isn’t exactly a big deal since you just downloaded the bloody thing from steam.

  37. Eruanno says:

    This is now the second thing I check when deciding between getting a game for PC or X360.

    First thing is, of course, system requirements to make sure it will run on my PC.
    Second is, does it have some pain-in-the-ass DRM that will make me scream bloody murder? If yes – Xbox 360 version. Instantly.

    Nothing could be more apparent in the two upcoming releases in the following weeks.
    Mass Effect 2 – Not a terrible DRM, just a disk check. I’m okay with that. <- PC
    Bioshock 2 – Horrific DRM that nobody gets, not even the GAME MAKERS THEMSELVES? <- Xbox 360

    And pretty much everything with the "Games for Windows" marker can go suck it. The only game makers who seem to get this is at all times are BioWare, Blizzard and Valve.

    Some games are however “console only” in my eyes. Examples of this are for example GTA, Assassins Creed and Devil May Cry. I’ve tried playing them on PC versions, but they are always terrible ports and the controls are completely retarded.

  38. LintMan says:

    Really disappointing. I thought Bioshock 2 was an EA game and so would follow DA:O and ME2 in not having activation limits. But if there are still activation limits even on the Steam version? No thanks, not at anywhere near full price. Maybe when it hits $5 or $10 in one of those Steam blowout sales.

  39. Mari says:

    I love that “just a disc check” is no biggie anymore. It wasn’t for me either until my kids started stealing my Zoo Tycoon (OK, I know. You can feel free to point and giggle, but GOOD strategy games are hard to come by) CD to play it on their own computers and then I wanted to pass an hour or two playing with animated animals. I freely admit that rather than ponying up the additional $40 to buy enough copies of the game for everyone to play at once I used a cracked .exe file.

    That’s become one of my overriding concerns when considering game purchases anymore. How many people in the household will want to play it? How much will that cost me? How can I avoid paying more than $50-ish total? I have this weird belief that if I shell out for a game, I should be able to pop it into multiple computers and play it and that other people who live UNDER THE SAME ROOF should be able to do so as well. I’m talking about the ability to “lend” it to two or three dozen of my closest friends, just the people I share germs with daily. Obviously this rules out disc check DRM as well as any form of “activation” DRM. SecuROM is already out because it’s a hazard to my (admittedly buggy) OS. I miss Zork.

  40. LintMan says:

    @Mari: I think you want a “not” in your “I’m talking about the ability to “lend” it to two or three dozen of my closest friends, just …” sentence? Also, I think that the one slight benefit of the activation limit DRM is that they allow you to have multiple simultaneous installations. At least back during the original Bioshock 1 DRM controersy, they were touting that as a benefit.

    In any case, you (Mari) have the same problem as me, regarding others in the family wanting to play. Beware of Steam, because Steam makes it hard for two computers to be simultaneously using ANY two Steam games at the same time. You can twiddle with offline mode, etc, but that’s a pain at best, and doesn’t always work.

  41. DKellis says:

    My dislike for GFWL comes not from the need to be online or anything, but because their support sucks. Horribly.

    Or perhaps I should be more specific: their support for my region, South-east Asia, sucks. Horribly.

    There was a period of time when I couldn’t play any GFWL games at all, because the GFWL client could not connect to their servers. Checking Google, it seemed to be widespread among other Singaporean users, due to an update on the client.

    At least they updated the client again after a couple of weeks, which seemed to fix the issues.

    Another complaint against GFWL: Fallout 3‘s DLCs were provided through there. (I couldn’t find retail versions in any shops here, at least looking through Challenger stores and Funan Centre.) They offered the DLCs, so I bought Microsoft points, tried to buy the DLCs, came up against an error message.

    Googling: apparently the DLCs are not available for my region, because Microsoft believes that we are a hotbed of piracy or something. This, to me, seems to defeat the purpose, since my friends kept telling me to just get the pirated versions anyway, specifically to avoid the hassle of GFWL.

    What irked me most about that episode was that GFWL didn’t even tell me that the content was region-locked. Instead, it just threw up a generic “an error has occured” message.

  42. Sleeping Dragon says:

    The real hell on Earth will break loose when some of those things inevitably start to collapse and suddenly people discover that they haven’t paid for a copy of data but for the use of a copy that they never had. Actually, no, it’ll start sooner, when the profit-to-cost ratio starts to favour the cost heavily. In fact, all the DLCs, sudden price cuts (what’s that you say, GTA IV was very, very cheap recently?) etc. seem to me more like desperate schemes to keep the game earning even a slight buck to keep it from being a moneydrain.

    Sure, games today aren’t really created with the idea of being played in 20 years but the success of all the “abandonware” sites and NES, SNES or even the original PS emulators seems to prove otherwise. I just hope that in 2050 there’ll be some sort of 200X emulator that will work around it.

    Putting the future problems aside what annoys me about this thing is that it actually scares many people away from PC gaming. In the good old days when the sun shone brightly and people were generally polite and didn’t have to lock their door and so on and so forth you bought a game, you installed it, you played it. Now you’ll sometimes find yourself perusing the net trying to learn why the game decided you’re not allowed to play it if you have other software installed (real fun when there’s a couple of people using a single PC, one of whom is not computer savvy) or there’s something that looks vaguely suspicious in your register (real fun when the user has no idea what the register is). On top of that this kind of protection naturally doesn’t want to tell you WHAT is wrong just that something is, I mean, it would be easier to work around it if it did and if you’re just up to your ears with luck you’ll get a paranoid and obnoxious tech-support who were instructed to, when encountering this specific problem, inform you that “your copy of the game was obtained illegally, we do not provide support in such cases” when “if you have program X, Y or Z try uninstalling it” would be a working answer (hello to EA, and you have/had to pay to call them, and you’re kept on hold listening to a brainraping tune). It’s no wonder that so many new gamers just go straight for consoles.

  43. SeekerOfThePath says:

    I did the same thing – bought GTA4 during Christmas when on sale. When I saw all the bulls*** “social” applications around I began cursing, but after 5-day long download I really wanted to play, so I continued with the installation. I didn’t know about securom though (I’m cursing again). I refused to create additional accounts and I am willing to sacrifice achievements, multiplayer and anything else it might get me.

    To join discussion about Steam: I like the platform. I occasionally use Steam-chat, I like tracking the time I have spent playing and which games I’ve played, I like automatic patching (as long as it is not a several GB patch which makes me cross my data transfer limit and as long as it doesn’t sc*** up the game (I’m looking at you, first E:TW patch)), I like regular sales, I like cloud game-saves some of the games now have, I like quite fast tech support. The only thing I don’t like about Steam is the inability to play 2 different games at one time (which I could if I had physical copies).

  44. Merle says:

    Argh. I am installing GTA RIGHT BLOODY NOW. Now I have to decide whether to finish and try it out, or write it off as a bad bargain.

  45. Jabor says:

    Steam would be worth it if the only games it had were Portal and TF2.

  46. Scourge says:

    “I mean, it would be easier to work around it if it did and if you’re just up to your ears with luck you’ll get a paranoid and obnoxious tech-support who were instructed to, when encountering this specific problem, inform you that “your copy of the game was obtained illegally, we do not provide support in such cases” when “if you have program X, Y or Z try uninstalling it” would be a working answer (hello to EA, and you have/had to pay to call them, and you’re kept on hold listening to a brainraping tune).”

    This sort of reminds me… I bought a game, Star wars: The force unleashed, after *ahem* downloading it and the copy not working. So I thought that was the Copy protection. Wrong!
    Even the original had the same problem.

    I then got the very very helpful suggestion of “uninstalling the game and reinstalling” it again. Figures. Did that already.
    So I reply that I did so.
    THEN they remember that Zomealarm and antivir might cause problems (Aha!), I shall Uninstall them and then install the game again to see if it works… Wait, what?
    That was the time when I thought Screw this, and just sent the game back and demanded my money back. Which I got.
    One further reason as to why I won’t use digital distribution anytime soon, the other one being that my connection will be a meek 75kbs soon. A connection so far out from the city that a storm can knock it off. Have fun playing online then.

  47. Robert says:

    Makes me glad I don’t play games on computer. I’m happy with my Wii: plug in a disk, and play the game.

  48. I can sort of see why the game flunked out in so many ways. They had to code in so many separate services that they didn’t really have time to actually finish the game. I’m sure the coders hated every one of these little addon apps.

    On a personal note, Steam has been the bane of my gaming life. I’ve had to get pirated versions of games I own purely to play them in any way (my net connection is not cheap/fast enough to unencrypt Portal, etc. – it costs me more than the game costs to download the unencrypted files and it can take up to a few days – this was on an adsl connection). I managed to keep my Portal install files, but I’ve since lost all HL2 files sadly.

  49. Macil says:

    I always love your articles Shamus — especially this one, since I also foresaw this “future”.

    I’ve been using Steam for awhile. I’ve only recently become a recent Steam “convert”, though. I love Steam since learning I can backup games on a local drive. Until then, I felt somewhat at the mercy of Steam, but now I feel that I at least have some security in having the game files, even if they have Steam encryption.

    If we’re going to have DRM, then Steam is the ticket. I never notice it. Steam downloads are fast, patches are automatic, the sales/deals are incredible, the program is lightweight and I love the in-game overlay that allows chatting/browsing.

    Any PC games that use DRM beyond Steam or a disc-check, I will not support. At least not knowingly. Bioshock 2 was going to be a day 1 purchase for me until I learned that #1. it requires extra bloat beyond the game to run, #2. its a rental, #3. you have to ask permission from Big Daddy to save your game, #4. I would require other accounts beyond Steam to run it.

  50. TObias says:

    Seems like this article got your blawg slashdotted by proxy.

  51. Zapata says:

    Congratulations on your slashdotting!

  52. froogger says:

    Yes, congrats! Bet this raised the pageview a bit at Escapist.
    Here’s a linky for non-readers: slashdot

  53. Simon says:

    I just want to remark on Sleeping Dragon’s comment on how customer unfriendly DRM (I hate the term “consumer”) scares people away from PC gaming. It’s scared me away, and I see myself as a pretty heavy gamer.

    I have a stack of shelves with games that rivals my DVD scary wall. There was a point I purchased PC games spontaneously (yeah, more money than sense) because it looked interesting. Full price on sale, doesn’t matter – if I have the cash spare then I buy it to try it. Some I play to death, others might get minimal, but rarely I consider it a “waste”.

    But over the last 5-6 years, my game purchase had steadily been declining. It’s not about “quality” but more that I increasingly don’t dare buy any games any more without going home first and doing extensive digging through support forums, blogs, etc, just to find out how it’s going to screw my out of time trying to beat the DRM into submission. All the best customer support means jack when it shouldn’t be darn necessary in the first place to waste even that 10 minutes phoning the company to beg permission to use something I bought.

    Last year I only purchased about 3 PC games, compared to a time I might buy 2-3 a month (yeah, money > sense). I don’t buy anything spontaneously any more. And being a stubborn git if I refuse to buy it on PC due to DRM, the console versions can go sod off too (unless it’s on some amazing £5 sale).

    By being customer-unfriendly, they’ve literally cut the money I give them but at least £300-500 a year. And I need not mention the vast amount of whining and b*tching I do with my social peers and friends about game DRM whenever one of them gets up my nose. It’s a stupid way of doing business that only benefits DRM companies and whoever puts together these “strategies”.

    3 comments in 1 post – I guess DRM is increasingly winding me up these days. I do know that 2kgames can go to hell and join Ubisoft on my “I’ll throw money down the drain rather than give you a single penny” list.

  54. Nelson says:

    I just got Mass Effect 2 for my Xbox. It’s taken me *45 minutes* to figure out how to get all the game content I purchased. I wrote up a step-by-step process of what it took, to document just what a terrible user experience this is. The saddest part is if Bioware just used Xbox Live, there would have been no effort at all.

    http://flyv.typepad.com/warcraft/2010/02/cerberus-network-bioware-social-network-ea-online.html

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