EA.com editor in chief rails against company’s DRM

Copy protection that requires PC gamers to remain online at all times has already garnered criticism from both users and the press. But now, an executive from one of the big publishers implementing such a digital rights management scheme has spoken out, and he doesn’t sound too thrilled, either.

EA.com editor in chief Jeff Green posted several Twitter updates to express his disappointment with the DRM in EA’s Command & Conquer 4. Just like recent Ubisoft titles, this EA game boots players off if their Internet connection happens to go down—something Green didn’t much care for after his DSL started acting up. Here are some of his Tweets in chronological order:

Booted twice–and progress lost–on my single-player C&C4 game because my DSL connection blinked. DRM fail. We need new solutions.

5:25 PM Mar 20th via web

Yeah, Steam’s ability to have off-line play is the clear, better model when talking about SP games.

5:33 PM Mar 20th via web

However, C&C4 experiments w/what a "single-player game" is–given it’s constantly uploading progress/stats for unlocks. It’s complicated.

5:37 PM Mar 20th via web

I think if we think of C&C4 as an "online-only" game–which it basically is–then maybe we’d adjust our expectations accordingly.

5:48 PM Mar 20th via web

Welp. I’ve tried to be open-minded. But my ‘net connection is finicky–and the constant disruption of my C&C4 SP game makes this unplayable.

2:03 AM Mar 21st via web

Green may have a point about Steam. Though Valve’s service does tie games to online accounts, it includes an offline mode and doesn’t pester users if their connection happens to drop mid-game. Some third-party games distributed through Steam, like Infinity Ward and Activision’s Modern Warfare 2, have adopted Steam’s built-in copy protection scheme. A good number of other titles distributed through Steam impose an extra layer of DRM usually intended for physical copies. (Thanks to CrunchGear for the tip.)

Comments closed
    • EndlessWaves
    • 10 years ago

    Steam is a bad example given that it pesters users mid-game with stuff from completely unrelated games and pops up adverts when you exit that you can’t disable without sacrificing other functionality and fails to shut itself down properly.

      • Dashak
      • 10 years ago

      I don’t get pop ups from Steam… unless you’re talking about the notifications that can be disabled in the Interface tab under Settings?

    • Freon
    • 10 years ago

    I fall firmly in the “vote with your money” camp here. Stop buying software with this kind of DRM.

    • Thanato
    • 10 years ago

    Has DRM been helpful for anything?

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      No.

        • Thanato
        • 10 years ago

        No is right.

        I like having a disk over using steam but if steam offered that it would be perfect.

      • Freon
      • 10 years ago

      The DRM purveyors getting paid. Management at publishers telling their owners that they’re “taking action” and “doing everything they can”. Papers shuffling around. Etc.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 10 years ago

      Valve has made big money with Steam

        • Meadows
        • 10 years ago

        How do you link that with DRM?

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 10 years ago

          Steam is DRM

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            …No.

            • sweatshopking
            • 10 years ago

            yes. dumby.

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            And that’s why she wants to divorce you.

            • Dashak
            • 10 years ago

            Little over the top…

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          It’s clear that he is saying the DRM known as Steam has been quite helpful in making money for Valve.

    • Mentawl
    • 10 years ago

    Heh, I’ve often wondered why game publishers don’t rally against used-games resellers to the same degree. I mean, the end result to the publisher is basically the same as piracy : someone is getting a game without the publisher being paid for it.

    Granted you have one “full price” sale at the start of it, but I’m still sure the publishers would rather sell 3 full copies of the game than sell one copy then have that resold twice. And hey, with piracy, it’s likely that someone’s bought one copy, then it was ripped and passed on. Sounds kinda similar to me.

    As to reselling games – remember, nowadays you’re purchasing a license for -you- to use the software. You’re not purchasing the software itself, so why should your personal license for the software be transferrable? Personally, I wish people would just stop reselling games entirely, as I see it doing serious damage to the game industry too.

    /blah, morning rant over
    +coffee

      • Kharnellius
      • 10 years ago

      Garage sales should be outlawed also. Furniture, movie, toy, clothing, (fill-in-the-blank) companies are all losing serious money because of them!

      It’s TERRIBLE for the economy! WE MUST CONSUMER MORE!!!

    • clone
    • 10 years ago

    while I did buy Bioshock 2 I have taken a break from buying video games…… now all the talk is about DRM and mandatory internet connections.

    I thought I was going to buy StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3 when they come out but all of this DRM B.S. is really killing my interest and that lack of interest is going to spillover to all PC gaming.

    had Blizzard gotten StarCraft 2 out in less than 10 years I would have bought it without thinking because I loved StarCraft but I hate all of the news regarding unit specialization… which on it’s own wouldn’t have killed it for me but it’s just everything now….. I just don’t care about PC gaming at all anymore…. so much totall garbage surrounding it.

    p.s. I don’t have a console since I gave away my Xbox to my nephew….. had Xbox 360 been reliable when Halo 3 came out I may have bought one but that ship has sailed and now nothing for Console is interesting.

    • Vhalidictes
    • 10 years ago

    This recent DRM idea was pretty good – copy the MMO system of “client is free, login needed to play”. I liked it a lot. Pirates feel pain, but not consumers (without a dial-up connection, at least).

    These companies can’t stop fucking up. Seriously, I’m only going to say this one time: ONLY CHECK AUTHENTICATION AT START-UP.

    Retards. Continous connections are completely stupid and make this whole idea bad.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 10 years ago

    Thank god the new CnC is a terrible wannabe rip off of Dawn of War 2.

    I am sad that the last chapter of the C&C saga is this total garbage that EA put out and had to spoil the C&C franchise. What other great franchises can EA totally ruin?

      • Waco
      • 10 years ago

      Agreed. Sadly it has gone downhill ever since Tiberian Sun / Red Alert 2. :/

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      “EA – We Destroy Worlds”

    • Pax-UX
    • 10 years ago

    DRM doesn’t help the PC gaming industry as it pushes people to piracy or more lightly Consoles! 80% of my game purchases are non-pc, I still get the really big titles if available on Steam, don’t buy from store anymore. Not concerned with physical media or manuals. Also patching games can be a pain. I don’t know if it’s still the case but some companies where using the large file share sites to host their patches which meant you had to register with them. Steam has me spoiled, I don’t want the hassle of all that, just give me the fix. Stream, iTune Store are how I like to do business.

    • Krogoth
    • 10 years ago

    Draconian DRM, epic failure in all areas. There are no real winners. You just have big (rights holders/pirates) and bigger losers (legit customers).

    Old media is trying to put the genie back in the lamp. They are stubbornly refusing to adapt to changing times. Let the new breed of entrepreneurs take over and utilize the new opportunities that new media formats offer. Sticking with 1920’s era business models is doomed to failure.

    Unfortunately, old media still has a ton of political ties and lobbyist to ensure that the status quo will remain no matter how broken it is.

    • Richie_G
    • 10 years ago

    Maybe EA are trying kill this game deliberately, since it’s been given dire reviews anway.

    • Hurst
    • 10 years ago

    Pirated and working version of C&C 4 Tiberian Twilight is out now.

    Sad when players with a pirated copy have a better playing experience than those with legal copies.

    • indeego
    • 10 years ago

    /[<2:03 AM Mar 21st via web<]/ My guess is he was fapping around this timeg{<.<}g

    • AMDisDEAD
    • 10 years ago

    LOL, in 2010 I can’t believe quality software advances lags so far behind hardware. What we need are better trained software developers and development standards.

      • Dashak
      • 10 years ago

      I thought the reason for these difficulties was concern over piracy, not whether game programmers have the ability to make it work cleanly.

      • Anomymous Gerbil
      • 10 years ago

      Huh? DRM is a design decision, not a coding problem.

    • Vrock
    • 10 years ago

    And consoles become more and more attractive.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 10 years ago

      With how prevalent piracy is on the 360, don’t expect them to be immune forever.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        There’s still not a valid mod solution for the PS3. Console makers are getting better at locking down. Hardware DRM > software DRM.

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 10 years ago

    I won’t ever buy a game that requires me to be online in order to play single-player. I think other gamers should follow suit and be loud about it.

    • rechicero
    • 10 years ago

    The tragedy is the corporations won the war. We stopped talking about DRM or not DRM. Now the argument is “Which DRM?”.

    It’s really sad. Because the answer is “none”.

    The only acceptable DRM I can think of is the one used at Stardock. No DRM in SP-offline. But if you want to update the game, that means you have Internet access and you must register the game to download the update.

    They protect their IP without punishing their paying costumers. Paying costumers should be the first priority for developers, not pirates.

      • DrCR
      • 10 years ago

      No. The sad part is the apathy of Americans. The customers are in total charge, just so many don’t care.

      This apathy of Americans is reflected in other areas, like concerning basically anything that has to do with liberty…. I wish we had a New New World to immigrate to. :\

    • tfp
    • 10 years ago

    That isn’t what I would call “rails” but I’m sure it got more people to read the article.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 10 years ago

    Most DRM doesn’t give the player anything but only takes away, the features that steam brings to the table far out weigh the cons. Stuff like what Ubi and EA are trying starts from the wrong direction focusing on what the gamers owe them rather on what they owe the gamers, their freaking customers.

    I love how companies are supposed to serve their customers to a point but allot of them don’t seem to care about their customers complaints unless it effects sales. wasn’t the spore backlash enough for EA.

    • Ardrid
    • 10 years ago

    Jeff Green is king. He still has the balls to tell it like it is. I’m glad he hasn’t changed since joining EA a year and a half ago. Keep doing what you do, Jeff. CGW/GFW/Brodeo 4 Life!

      • no51
      • 10 years ago

      YOU’RE NOT THE LORD OF THE RINGS!!!

    • human_error
    • 10 years ago

    We need more guys like this in the industry to speak out against crappy DRM.

    What suprises me more than an EA exec speaking negatively against their drm is the fact that someone at EA plays EA games!

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      No, we need games that aren’t a steaming pile of rehashed crap so that people will want to buy them.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 10 years ago

    I predict EA switching to steam sometime in the near future.
    This guy is mentioning steam, and Gabe was pitching his drm earlier too.

    Not that steam is a bad thing, it’s great compared to other drm, but I would prefer drm-free.

      • TurtlePerson2
      • 10 years ago

      I’d like that, but Steam does have some disadvantages too. Steam inflates the price of games by not allowing them to enter the used market. That’s a big deal for me because I generally pay less than $5 for the games I buy.

        • Anomymous Gerbil
        • 10 years ago

        To the extent that Steam reduces piracy, it will exert *downward* pressure on prices, or at least remove the upward pressure, since publishers will (presumably) sell more of each title.

        I’m not condoning DRM, just making an observation on your logic.

          • reactorfuel
          • 10 years ago

          Or they can just keep prices where they are, sell more copies of each game (because of reduced competition from the used market) and make more money. If you remove a competitor offering the same product at lower prices, why would prices go /[

        • BooTs
        • 10 years ago

        The used game market is not connected at all to game developers or publishers. That is something that irks me. Steam also has some great sales. I bought a ton of games for really, really, _[

      • KoolAidMan
      • 10 years ago

      Steam is the best DRM solution we have now. It is fair to developers and publishers in that it makes it more difficult (not impossible) to pirate games, while it is fair to consumers in terms of managing game libraries, adding the convenience of cloud storage of settings/save games/etc, making it very easy to buy games, integrated social features, all while being as unobtrusive as possible. I can play my games if I’m offline, I can have as many computers as I want with my games on it, I just need to log in to Steam to authorize it, etc etc.

      If you’re going to have DRM then at least make it useful and painless for paying customers. What EA and Ubisoft have been doing have been outright hostile to them. The only people who don’t have to deal with that BS are software pirates, and I don’t think any publishers want to push legit customers into piracy because its the only way to get a better product. 🙂

        • designerfx
        • 10 years ago

        #1 problem with steam: Ever tried to sell a game once you’re done playing with it?

        steam is “better than the previous”, but it’s still a steaming pile of fail.

          • Palek
          • 10 years ago

          It’s part of the deal. Don’t like it? Don’t use it. (I assume you aren’t, right?) Get a hard copy from Amazon or wherever. It’s great to have choices.

          If you’re a little patient you can wait until prices drop on Steam (they always do – eventually), and then the inability to resell won’t be that painful.

          • Mentawl
          • 10 years ago

          Where else in the world do expect to get most of your money back sometime after you get what you’ve paid for? I don’t understand how people can be so caught up on reselling games. The game developer isn’t going to want to produce more content if people just keep handing down the same copy of a game.

          Don’t you think perhaps the cost of a game might go down if people didn’t resell “used” copies? Because then the Publisher would be seeing more return on the investment. Or is the basic problem that you don’t feel any game is worth more than $5-$10 of your cash, despite the thousands or millions of man hours put into developing it?

          • Freon
          • 10 years ago

          It’s definitely worth figuring into the equation, but it isn’t a 100% deal breaker for me.

          I wouldn’t pay $60 for a game on Steam for the reason you give.

          However, I think on average I’ve paid 50% retail for everything I’ve gotten on Steam, and gotten boat loads of older games at fire-sale prices.

      • sigher
      • 10 years ago

      EA already has games on steam, bf:bc2 for instance.

    • Hattig
    • 10 years ago

    Great. He should tell everyone below him the product isn’t suitable for shipping as it is, and that it won’t get released (or further sales should be stopped) until it is made suitable for shipping. He has some power within the company surely?

      • blastdoor
      • 10 years ago

      It is remarkable the extent to which people one would think might have power in a company actually do not. Sometimes I think the only way to cut through the bureaucratic intransigence in corporations is by inspiring blind terror in people.

        • Voldenuit
        • 10 years ago

        Like Steve Jobs?

        Maybe if they clobbered some dumb exec to death for suggesting DRM, that would actually work.

          • BiffStroganoffsky
          • 10 years ago

          You don’t have to be so drastic. I think if you put the same DRM on their cars and have the engine shutdown every time the ECU is unable to contact their server via AT&T 3G service would be poetic.

            • DrCR
            • 10 years ago

            Dude yeah! DRM all of the game/RIAA/MIAA exec’s cars in Kalifornia and put it on the AT&T network. Everytime the network blips, the engine dies. Explain it as a way to cut down on carjacking… :verybigsmilejustthinkingofthis:

    • Mystic-G
    • 10 years ago

    Well at least you can play your single player mode knowing no pirates are playing it with you right?

    • Joerdgs
    • 10 years ago

    Good to see at least SOMEONE inside the company itself sees how shitty their DRM is. Now just hope the Ubisoft directors actually play the games they publish too.

    • jimmylao
    • 10 years ago

    Steam and MW2 frickin blows. It was down for an hour from 530-630pm yesterday for “maintenance”, so NO one could play MP mw2. DRM fail, cloud computing fail.

    Edit: Steam maintenance fail.

      • Voldenuit
      • 10 years ago

      Offline mode doesn’t work?

      I do agree that Steam makes LAN play more difficult than it needs to be if the venue doesn’t have Internet.

        • jimmylao
        • 10 years ago

        Offline mode doesn’t work. This is because everytime you play MP mw2 it syncs with steam’s or IW’s servers and you need steam’s friendlist to be up. I’ve put a lot of time into MW2 since it came out where I play about 3 hours everyday after work with my friends who also have finished work. It happens many times a week where steam’s friendlist would go down for maintenance and everyone playing MP mw2 would just drop.

        I have yet to play the SP mw2.

        • khands
        • 10 years ago

        He was talking about multiplayer, which you obviously can’t play offline.

          • Skrying
          • 10 years ago

          Really? You have a different idea of what “MP” meant in the context it was used?

            • sweatshopking
            • 10 years ago

            buddies right. steam blows. stop saying steam drm is good. it isnt it is garbage. i dont need to go into my past issues with steam shutting down my account because of somebody else’s issues, and blaming me for them, then taking 2 months to turn my account back on. steam sucks hard. ill never ever buy another game from those guys. stardock wins. and only stardock.

            • Hurst
            • 10 years ago

            In the good old days you didnt need net access for lan play. Oh wait,.. there is no lan mode available. Move along,.. nothing to see here.

      • d0g_p00p
      • 10 years ago

      The HORROR! you could not play your game online for a WHOLE HOUR!

      Valve usually posts when the Steam servers will be down for maintenance you know.

        • EndlessWaves
        • 10 years ago

        Sure, on a threaded hidden away in their forum rather than using their notification system they’re so keen to use for adverts.

        And with most authentication systems I don’t think I’ve ever seen the servers go down but steam refuses to log in, shuts down multiplayer servers or gives some non-helpful error message every couple of months at best.

    • TravelMug
    • 10 years ago

    “However, C&C4 experiments w/what a “single-player game” is–given it’s constantly uploading progress/stats for unlocks. It’s complicated.”

    No it’s not complicated and it does not experiment with anything. What basically happened is that they are selling a game with shitty DRM. They could have opted for a different way of updating stats and unlocks. If some plays a single player game, that person does not expect to have contact/data/anything else from other people them being in the same room or building or town or wherever in the world. Worked fine until now.

    • Jigar
    • 10 years ago

    You don’t feel the pain till the time you are at the receiving end…

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      Are you implying that DRM is gay?

        • Jigar
        • 10 years ago

        Does anybody like DRM ? Is Jeff Green enjoying DRM ?

          • Meadows
          • 10 years ago

          It’s safe to say that obviously nobody likes DRM, so the real question is how annoying can you make it? Valve found a very palatable formula, why can’t others follow? Everyone else seems to try and make it worse and worse.

            • Voldenuit
            • 10 years ago

            “We need to kill the Alien Wizard who cast Mass DRM so we can go back to being happy, healthy corporations that would never dream of having se- I mean, ripping off our customers.”

            • potatochobit
            • 10 years ago

            I like some form of DRM

            it protects me from chinese game hackers that ruin the in-game economy
            it means my character has more value

            it means I dont feel cheated by paying for something that everyone else got free downloading from the internet

            it means I get paid with the stock investment I made years ago

            it means I can feed my family

            I do not like DRM that tries to force you to a single platform.

            I do not like having to pay 800$ for adobe on PC and paying another 800$ for the same program on MAC

            I do not like having to buy a song on itunes and paying more money for the same song to be on a ringtone

            DRM is not bad, what is bad is when DRM is abused

            • Skrying
            • 10 years ago

            What? DRM hasn’t stopped a single game from being pirated. Even MMOs are pirated to a degree. There are numerous illegally operated servers out there. It doesn’t even make the process harder because each torrent roles the appropriate cracks into the files already.

            So much of what you’ve said is just out right ignorance and I can only assume part of why people are not refusing to buy these games.

            • potatochobit
            • 10 years ago

            you should buy a dictionary and look up the word ignorance before using big words.

            There are plenty of companies who have been fined for using stolen software. A cracked program is solid proof that DRM works. Cracked programs rarely run with full access and most cannot be updated.

            • Madman
            • 10 years ago

            You can’t be any further from truth. They are pretty much equal, but drops all the annoying stuff. There is a reason why a lot of people patch their legit games with no cds and no crapforces.

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            No, he’s right. You can’t update cracked software.

            • lethal
            • 10 years ago

            Huh?

            Let me just point to a single example: Windows 7. Just run “x” program and now windows is genuine and it takes updates like its a original version. I’ve seen it in action, and apparently just for hilarity’s sake the program looks for the latest updates (including the supposed crack detecting optional updates) and then it does its thing and voila! you have updates, and any WGA-asking program works like it should.

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            Windows validation is a slightly different animal, because you don’t have to replace any executables for it. Compare this with certain anti-malware solutions, which, upon being fed with a fake license, can be updated since the program files themselves are otherwise pristine. The files just believe they were purchased.

            This doesn’t mean that the installation can’t be hit down the line – pirated anti-malware licenses are aggressively being checked, and Microsoft is, albeit not aggressively, trying to discover and disable pirate licenses.

            However, any software where “cracking” is composed of using a *[

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 10 years ago

            In the technicality area you are right (usually, some patchers don’t do an exe check). However, you can just backup the original exe, restore it, patch, then crack the new patch.

            • Skrying
            • 10 years ago

            Would I rather say you’re delusional then?

    • tejas84
    • 10 years ago

    Pls Ignore

    • Neutronbeam
    • 10 years ago

    Meadows’ usual genial, kind, compassionate commentary FTW! LMAO!

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      No, seriously, for every breath he takes he types an ellipsis.

        • eitje
        • 10 years ago

        Seriously? Like, I don’t know, dude. But, like, totally.

    • wira020
    • 10 years ago

    Bold move mister.. i have a lot of respect for you… sadly, i dont think it’ll be appreciated by your company..

    We need more high profile people to voice their opinion on this… I’m seriously in the same situation as him.. i can just imagine myself playing laggy games and having constant disconnect… it serious is that bad considering i only have a capped 3g mobile broadband connection…

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      Ever finished a sentence in your life?

        • djgandy
        • 10 years ago

        Ever made a good reply in your life?

          • Meadows
          • 10 years ago

          Yes. For example, each one on this news post.

        • Palek
        • 10 years ago

        To be fair, wira020 does write fairly complete and coherent sentences. What annoys you is that he types ellipses in place of full stops.

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