Why DRM stinks

How we justify all that high-dollar hardware.

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Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:24 pm

I'm just chiming in to remind that you should't be overhyped about DRM rotten titles.

The problem I faced today is not related to DRM, but it reminds us what we can, and cannot expect from publishers.

I brought a NWN:Diamond from GOG today. And since I run Linux as a primary OS now (thanks to Win8RP), I wanted to download a Linux native binary from Bioware/Atari, which was hyped back in the day.

Guess what? All links are dead. Main page is an advertisment field, and support questions is a usual dead end spam.

I can only imagine what will happen with DRM plagued games 10 years from now if even the simple patches are no longer available. :roll:

If you don't believe me, try - http://nwn.bioware.com/downloads/linuxclient.html
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:07 pm

NWN: Diamond had quite a few issues with the cd keys. Definately in a rough spot.

BTW, that game ages pretty well as far as plot goes.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:11 pm

TheEmrys wrote:NWN: Diamond had quite a few issues with the cd keys. Definately in a rough spot.

BTW, that game ages pretty well as far as plot goes.

Game installed cleanly under Wine, but it crashes constanly when launched. Best what I got was intro video without sound.

Hopefully Atari support will answer about native Linux binary... :-?
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:21 pm

Given the large and ever-changing universe of Linux distros it is probably unreasonable to expect continued support for such an old game. You can't really expect them to have a team of developers working to make sure a years-old game continues to work properly on current Linux distros, especially if they are no longer advertising Linux compatibility.

And while I agree that DRM stinks, IMO it's rather disingenuous of you to turn a gripe about lack of Linux compatibility into a DRM rant...
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:33 am

just brew it! wrote:Given the large and ever-changing universe of Linux distros it is probably unreasonable to expect continued support for such an old game. You can't really expect them to have a team of developers working to make sure a years-old game continues to work properly on current Linux distros, especially if they are no longer advertising Linux compatibility.

And while I agree that DRM stinks, IMO it's rather disingenuous of you to turn a gripe about lack of Linux compatibility into a DRM rant...

I don't expect team of developers writing new code for 10 year old titles. What I expect is to keep the support that was available in the same level as it was. If there were patches on the product site, they should keep the patches avilable. If there was an online server and users cannot create their own, they have to keep the server running.

Since we can see that access to support files can disappear because it's infeasible from business perspective, I don't think anyone will bother to keep something like servers online.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:47 am

Madman wrote:I don't expect team of developers writing new code for 10 year old titles. What I expect is to keep the support that was available in the same level as it was. If there were patches on the product site, they should keep the patches avilable. If there was an online server and users cannot create their own, they have to keep the server running.

Since we can see that access to support files can disappear because it's infeasible from business perspective, I don't think anyone will bother to keep something like servers online.

That's quite the expectation. When would it be acceptable for a developer/publisher to stop providing support for a piece of software? Do you still expect Microsoft have patches available for MS-DOS or Windows 3.1?

Like JBI said, linking maintaining support for a piece of software to DRM is disingenuous. They're two separate issues and generally don't follow the same decision model at the company level (unless you consider evaluating cost vs. benefit a bad thing, in which case I'm not sure how you live with yourself after purchasing all those DRM-laden pieces of hardware that hardware manufacturers will force obsolescence on and end support for far before the hardware dies).
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:57 am

http://icculus.org/~ravage/nwn/ Try that. Old games rarely get support.

I don't get how DRM comes into this. I'm vehemently anti-drm (buy more from DotEmu, Gog and Gamersgate than anywhere else) but lack of support != a drm issue.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:09 am

destroy.all.monsters wrote:http://icculus.org/~ravage/nwn/ Try that. Old games rarely get support.

I don't get how DRM comes into this. I'm vehemently anti-drm (buy more from DotEmu, Gog and Gamersgate than anywhere else) but lack of support != a drm issue.


I have to agree- I suspect the OP has more of an issue with download only titles - and for that I DO agree.
Many of my PS3 games, many of my PC games and ALL of our games will one day be download only.


Right now, nerds around the world can still plug a NES in and play Mario - or write an emulator, grab a disc of Resident Evil for PS1 and play it and so on.
In 15 years time, when I'm feeling nostalgic - do we really think I'll be able to play that mission I really liked in the Gay Tony addon for GTA4? When I have the disc, the console but the addon I had only as a download? etc.

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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:36 am

Madman wrote:I don't expect team of developers writing new code for 10 year old titles. What I expect is to keep the support that was available in the same level as it was. If there were patches on the product site, they should keep the patches avilable. If there was an online server and users cannot create their own, they have to keep the server running.

Since we can see that access to support files can disappear because it's infeasible from business perspective, I don't think anyone will bother to keep something like servers online.

Do you really expect a 10 year old game to run on current Linux distros? Not gonna happen. The audio and video ABIs on Linux have evolved way too much over the past decade for this to be possible. At the very least, a recompile of the game from source would be needed; and there's a fair chance that actual code modifications would be necessary.

As much as I like Linux, I have to say backward compatibility of ABIs and APIs is one area where Windows has historically done a lot better. Yes, I know this is mostly because they had no choice, since most Windows apps were distributed in binary-only form. But you can also turn that around and say that Linux has played a bit too fast-and-loose with ABIs because of the "everything should be available as source code" philosophy.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:15 am

I do believe what he is saying is that bioware isn't hosting files for that game anymore because they don't care about people who purchased that game.

In ten years time, games which have phone home DRM will also find that their required servers don't exist, rendering those games unplayable.

I see the connection very clearly.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:57 am

odizzido wrote:I do believe what he is saying is that bioware isn't hosting files for that game anymore because they don't care about people who purchased that game.

Well, yes... that's more or less what he said. But those files would be useless to him today unless he was also willing to run a 10 year old Linux distro.

odizzido wrote:In ten years time, games which have phone home DRM will also find that their required servers don't exist, rendering those games unplayable.

I see the connection very clearly.

Turning off DRM support for everyone is not the same as taking away the ability to run on a years-old version of Linux (which was probably far less than 1% of their market in the first place).

I see the difference very clearly.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:24 am

Well, we could debate this all day and not convince eachother. The simple fact is that nobody knows what will happen to phone home DRM games in 10 years, not even the publishers.

I choose to avoid them until they drop into rental price territory. That way when they inevitably stop working, well, I only rented it anyways so that's okay.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:16 pm

Yeah, I really can't see a huge issue here.

I would speculate that in 10 years time, when publishers stop supporting games, they'll pull the DRM plug and allow the games to run without phoning home. But who knows.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:50 pm

This problem doesn't have anything to do with DRM, I'm very confused.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:37 am

BobbinThreadbare wrote:This problem doesn't have anything to do with DRM, I'm very confused.
The OP is very passionate about DRM and sees it wherever he looks.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:54 am

Vrock wrote:Yeah, I really can't see a huge issue here.

I would speculate that in 10 years time, when publishers stop supporting games, they'll pull the DRM plug and allow the games to run without phoning home. But who knows.


I would nearly bet money the opposite is true, when a publisher stops supporting a specific game, they likely just want to pull the plug on it's activation servers and pretend it never existed, not spend time and resources developing a patch to remove the DRM checker.

The only reasonable example of an exception I can think of is Blizzard, who after ~12 years of StarCraft being on the market, patched out the disk checking code and published an update describing how to run the game diskless.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:11 pm

SuperSpy wrote:I would nearly bet money the opposite is true, when a publisher stops supporting a specific game, they likely just want to pull the plug on it's activation servers and pretend it never existed, not spend time and resources developing a patch to remove the DRM checker.


Except that sometimes they patch the DRM to make it less intrusive or even outright remove it altogether, while the game is still supported. It obviously doesn't happen all the time, but it has happened. Bioshock is the prime example, as everyone remembers how it helped pioneer the call-home install activation but not how a year after launched it was patched to remove all of its DRM!

SuperSpy wrote:The only reasonable example of an exception I can think of is Blizzard, who after ~12 years of StarCraft being on the market, patched out the disk checking code and published an update describing how to run the game diskless.


But they've also stepped up the game by making certain portions of the Diablo 3 single-player server-side.

That's worse than just checking activation, as necessary components of the game don't even exist on the client side! Removing activation is one thing, but in order to play Diablo 3 entirely offline you'd have to reverse engineer the actual game!

Regular DRM like call-home or always on activation is additional "functionality" that is layered ontop of the full game: A hacker/pirate/drm-remover has the entire code set. The question is how to surgical remove that unwanted "functionality" while maintaining the health of the real functionality.

What Blizzard has done is include real and necessary functionality that just isn't available to a hacker. Since it has to do with dungeon creation and so forth, the best you can is statistically approximate it, a task that's rendered even more difficult by how Blizzard is most likely tweaking it behind the scenes according to a schedule you don't know. That functionality would have to be re-programmed and while you'd a get a game which is mostly the same, it would likely never actually BE the same.

I honestly think that kind of thing is worse than just the usual activation DRM. Blizzard might have an amazing track record, but they've just pioneered an approach that any publisher could use. :(
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:10 pm

Glorious wrote:
SuperSpy wrote:I would nearly bet money the opposite is true, when a publisher stops supporting a specific game, they likely just want to pull the plug on it's activation servers and pretend it never existed, not spend time and resources developing a patch to remove the DRM checker.


Except that sometimes they patch the DRM to make it less intrusive or even outright remove it altogether, while the game is still supported. It obviously doesn't happen all the time, but it has happened. Bioshock is the prime example, as everyone remembers how it helped pioneer the call-home install activation but not how a year after launched it was patched to remove all of its DRM!


Bioshock? ROFLMAO, it's the game that made me hostile against DRM. I brought the game, popped it into a drive, install... "Sorry server unavailable" and automatic uninstall, no options, nothing. Took a couple of days for servers to go back online to be able to extract the damn thing to disk.

And what good does the patch do when you can't install it from the DVD in the first place? As far as I know, we still don't have a technology to patch DVDs.

Vrock wrote:
BobbinThreadbare wrote:This problem doesn't have anything to do with DRM, I'm very confused.
The OP is very passionate about DRM and sees it wherever he looks.

Don't you?

SuperSpy wrote:
Vrock wrote:Yeah, I really can't see a huge issue here.

I would speculate that in 10 years time, when publishers stop supporting games, they'll pull the DRM plug and allow the games to run without phoning home. But who knows.


I would nearly bet money the opposite is true, when a publisher stops supporting a specific game, they likely just want to pull the plug on it's activation servers and pretend it never existed, not spend time and resources developing a patch to remove the DRM checker.

Nailed it!
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:28 pm

Madman wrote:Bioshock? ROFLMAO, it's the game that made me hostile against DRM. I brought the game, popped it into a drive, install... "Sorry server unavailable" and automatic uninstall, no options, nothing. Took a couple of days for servers to go back online to be able to extract the damn thing to disk.


That wasn't my experience with the game at all, and I played it at launch. <shrug>

My point still stands. Some publishers have deliberately removed DRM while the product was actually still selling. This seriously draws SuperSpy's supposition into question. Many other publishers and developers have made credible promises to do exactly what SuperSpy will "bet money" they won't do. Because, I don't know, they just hate us or something.

Madman wrote:And what good does the patch do when you can't install it from the DVD in the first place? As far as I know we still don't have a technology to patch DVDs.


Uh? OK... Well, they just release a patched installer (which is probably just the installer they had before they handed it over to the outside DRM company) onto the internet, so even if they can't be found to download it surely someone will have it somewhere.

You know, EXACTLY LIKE HOW destroy.all.monsters pointed out a link where you could download the linux binaries and installers for NWN?

Of course, as JBI pointed out, this still doesn't exactly help you unless you plan on running a really old linux distro just to play the game.

But you were just here to advance your stupid and meaningless advocacy again, weren't you?
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:36 pm

Glorious wrote:You know, EXACTLY LIKE HOW destroy.all.monsters pointed out a link where you could download the linux binaries and installers for NWN?

Of course, as JBI pointed out, this still doesn't exactly help you unless you plan on running a really old linux distro just to play the game.

But you were just here to advance your stupid and meaningless advocacy again, weren't you?


Well, I managed to find a binaries somewhere on the Bioware servers from googling around random 3rd party forums and finding an old post with a direct link, pure luck. And the game runs without issues on Mint 13 which is very fresh actually. Still, it took a lot of googling to find that, and 3rd party forum was a savior just by a chance.

But concerning advocacy. It's just pointing out the obvious that DRM cannot be trusted at all.

If Bioshock servers are offline, I can't even istall the game to patch it. Moreover, the patches can disappear at any time. Or in case of Steam like services, the whole image of the disk can disappear at any time.

Of course you can say that the internet will have a copy. But the problem is that anything you download from internet that's not from signed, trusted 3rd party is a security risk.

See for example - viewtopic.php?f=6&t=83319 - 3rd party tool, and BAM, your PC is a toast.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:17 pm

You're damn right that DRM can't be trusted. Companies like EA only care about profits. There is no profit for them to keep DRM servers running forever. There is no profit in them running them for even 10 years, assuming that they keep in business that long. And there is certainly no profit in removing their DRM from all their games if they go under. Even if they stay in business I'd say it's unlikely.

In short, submitting to their DRM is the same as trusting them to do what's right.They've already shown they won't do what's right, so do you seriously trust EA? Really? Even blizzard has gone to hell. I don't trust blizzard to do ****, let alone EA, and I certainly won't be giving them more than $5 for their piece of **** ass new diablo.

As far as I am concerned, all the DRM laden old school publishers can burn and indi-games can save us. PC gaming started as indi gaming and I will continue to support awesome games like trine as long as they keep selling me DRM free games. The sooner EA leaves the PC market the better. Blizzard can burn too.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:24 pm

I have games on Steam that I bought nearly 10 years ago and have zero issues. You're assuming that publishers should be just as willing to host a linux-compatible file that is probably useless on today's distros and probably has weekly demand numbers that can be counted on one finger, as they are to keep DRM servers up (or patch the DRM out), which affects pretty much all of their customers.

I think that's a weak analogy at best. If you don't think DRM servers will be around in 10 years, ok, say that, but don't try to draw some tenuous connection to an obscure file that's no longer hosted. It weakens, not strengthens your argument. I have software (Kali) from 1997 whose authentication servers are still up, and the software still accepts the key I bought 15 years ago, even though the company that made it is basically defunct and the software is not really in wide use anymore.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:32 pm

Madman why don't you post those links? Undoubtedly a google search will end up coming to this page and you could really help some people.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:35 pm

Ok, just to really derail a lot of hate that I hear simmering:

Ran up a fresh install of lastest Gentoo, newest everything. I installed and ran NWN without issues (aside from cutscenes not working, which is a very, very, very old can of worms).

Witness the POWAH of static linking, newbs! lollercopter.

Edit for bonus epic cow-dropped-on-troll-kill:

Oh hey look! Google search result NUMBER FRIGGIN ONE for "nwn linux patch" includes detailed instructions, links to the installers/patch, and more!

http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic ... ex/4643217

I do feel sorry for all the poor SOBs I saw having trouble with NWN and Win7 when I googled "Linux NWN problem". Didn't find any Linux people having trouble, though. At least not this decade.

<counter-troll.has.defused.the.bomb>

So yeh, DRM sucks. Please find a new central point, though, because NWN not working on Linux anymore has been falsified.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:01 am

SuperSpy wrote: would nearly bet money the opposite is true, when a publisher stops supporting a specific game, they likely just want to pull the plug on it's activation servers and pretend it never existed, not spend time and resources developing a patch to remove the DRM checker.
It could go either way, but I disagree that it would take alot of time and money to develop a patch to remove the DRM checker.

I'm not sure, but I think MS stopped *truly* checking Windows XP installs sometime ago. The last several times I've installed Windows XP due to new hardware, or even on a new laptop, the activation went right through. At some point it just makes good business sense to do things like this. Some of you guys are so jaded and anti-corporate that you always assume the worst.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:35 pm

Vrock wrote:It could go either way, but I disagree that it would take alot of time and money to develop a patch to remove the DRM checker.

It seems that soon we will see what happens in one instance - http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Parago ... 17315.html

Of course, it seems to be a MMORPG game, with subscriptions or something, but the retail media or starter was not free as I understand.

One search comes up with ~70USD for the DVD - http://www.amazon.com/City-Heroes-Colle ... B00032IYIA

I very much doubt that offline servers will be released, or that code will be converted to opensource. But we will see.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:59 am

Madman wrote:It seems that soon we will see what happens in one instance - http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Parago ... 17315.html

Of course, it seems to be a MMORPG game, with subscriptions or something, but the retail media or starter was not free as I understand.

One search comes up with ~70USD for the DVD - http://www.amazon.com/City-Heroes-Colle ... B00032IYIA

I very much doubt that offline servers will be released, or that code will be converted to opensource. But we will see.

I'm not sure you could have picked a better strawman. It's fine that you don't like DRM and hey, I'm right there with you, but you seem to be seeing DRM in everything. I think you equate non-free (as in free software) to being DRM-laden, and that's simply not the case. People here have tried to raise that point, but you've clearly set your mind of a particular opinion so this is the last I'll chime in.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:41 am

OK, as someone directly affected by NCSoft's decision I have to jump in here. There's nothing regarding DRM. MMOs and the companies that make them do not owe their customers the source or server code (which would be a nicety and highly appreciated but somehow I think legal would have someone's hide).

The closure of City of Heroes is devastating for those of us that play and love the game but it still isn't about DRM. If you want to give the closure more press and help spread the news that the player base is more than willing to do anything to keep the game from closing - great. Complaining about DRM that isn't there - not so much.
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:26 am

destroy.all.monsters wrote:There's nothing regarding DRM.

I never said there is. But it's adding 1+1 together.

1) Companies don't care for unprofitable products (COH case - check)
2) Companies don't care for old products (missing NWN homepage and support links - check)
3) Companies don't care what customers think (COH case - check)
4) Games that are DRM based, fully depend on company decisions
5) There is nothing a cusomer can do when servers go dark
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Re: Why DRM stinks

Postposted on Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:57 am

Whereas old games just *work* when we install them in a legacy environment, games with DRM require a whole lot more input on behalf of the original developer and publisher in order to work -- input that is not necessarily going to exist beyond the period of the game's initial popularity. This seems to be what the OP is trying to say. Seems like a reasonable fear to me. The OP and all the responses are just speculation, of course, since we don't really know what will happen when the bulk of today's DRM-laden games age.
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