EA to use newest Securom in upcoming games

Martin Brinkmann
May 8, 2008
Updated • Nov 25, 2012

How would you feel about a game that needs an active Internet connection to verify the serial number ? How about a game that would have to do that every ten days after installation to make sure the serial number was genuine ? How about a game that would stop working after another ten days if the serial number was not verified online? The latest Securom protection will be used in several of the upcoming games by publisher Electronic Arts including the games Mass Effect and Spore.

Technical Producer Derek French replied to a user thread on the Mass Effect Forum about the copy protection and activation the game would be using. I have several objections to this kind of protection although I understand that game makers and publishers want to make sure that they earn money from their games while keeping piracy to a minimum.

Users who do not have a permanent Internet connection will not be able to enjoy the game. The game has to be activated after installation giving the user nine days after installation to do so. It will stop working if it is not activated by then. A game will stop working if it cannot perform a check every ten days. If that does not happen the game will not run until the check has been made.

Am I the only one thinking about DRM and services that have been taken from the net ? It happened before, just recently to customers of the MSN Music store. What happens if EA decides to turn off the servers that check the activation. Will they be able to provide the check ten years after the game has been released ? What if the EA server is down or the Internet connection of the user ? He won't be able to play the game until then if he is over the ten day period.

Let us take a look at the users who grab a copy of the game from P2P networks. Will they even realize the game has such a protection ? I bet they won't. They install the game, copy a crack over and are done and can play the game for as long as they want without fearing that the game will be unplayable because of activation issues.

This is the exact reason why DRM fails. It is punishing the wrong people. Honest buyers are punished by it, not the ones who copy the game without paying for it. It's like those stupid anti piracy trailers that can be skipped when loading a retail DVD. What's your take on this issue ?


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  1. bob buckley said on December 19, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    We all have the power to stop SECUROM. All we have to do is boycott any games with securom and when they dont sell any, we hit them were it hurts the pocket book. When the sells fall they will stop with securom and be happy with what sell they had before securom came along. BOYCOTT any games with SECUROM.

  2. Alan Blackburn said on August 4, 2008 at 3:27 am

    EA is being ridiculous. They can’t possibly think this will in any way be a positive or successful move. It’s clear in many ways why this going to be more of a failure and hurt the company more than help it.

    -Most crackers/hackers are between the ages of 16 and 20, which is a large majority of the gaming community. So they would obviously find or create a way around the annoyance of validating a game every 10 days or so.

    -Also with a move in this direction means that EA will successfully further piss off its slowly shrinking fan base.

    -And lastly they forget one big thing, a lot of crackers/hackers of games eventually come into game design and work for the companies they once cracked games of. So if EA pisses off the those people, and with the lack of new game designers or programmers, its more hard times for EA. Possibly even bye bye for good.

    ~Alan Blackburn

  3. Stefan said on May 9, 2008 at 10:19 am

    It’s the very same in all mentioned topics and more. The “illegal” type of user copies over a crack to get rid of rootkits, spyware and the copy protection itself, d/l’s a ripped version (usually without anti-piracy-trailers) of a movie and rips the DRM out of its valuable MP3-Case, if neccessary.
    And so, the ‘legal’ user gets it all. I’m trying not to put all the blame on the companies and some more of it on the ‘pirates’ that forced the companies to a step like this, but… somehow, it’s not working out.

    EA: Get a hold of yourself. You’ve got enough bad publicity as it already is. Don’t make another sony-esque desaster out of it.

  4. cris said on May 9, 2008 at 8:40 am

    maybe new techniques are being develop to prevent piracy but i think those people who are making pirated copies of this programs will also develop the technique to bypass anything that those anti-piracy organization have to prevent their products from being copied

  5. Starboykb said on May 9, 2008 at 5:33 am

    I read the forum yesterday and i see many of its customers are totally against these idea using securom. for me, i will not played ME if such complicated things installed in my desktop. i just want one activation is enough.

  6. Angelo R. said on May 8, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    This is ridiculous. I can’t imagine hassling paying customers like this. Unless it has an option like Steam does, where you can sign in, and then click “play offline” or something. That would then let you play in offline mode until you signed onto the net again. Instead of the expiry date useage.

  7. Finvana said on May 8, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    I was waiting for Spore. Now EA has lost a customer.

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