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BioShock activation will be removed in the future

BioShock activation will be removed in the future

Ken Levine, BioShock's Lead Designer, has said that the game's online activation will be removed in the future.

Ken Levine, Lead Designer for BioShock, has revealed that the game’s copy protection will be removed at some point in the future.

“We will unset the online activation at some point in the future – we’re not talking about when,” said Levine, in an interview with Joystiq. “This activation is for the early period of the game when it’s really hot and there are people really trying to find ways to play the game without buying it.”

Later in the interview, he admitted that 2K had made a mistake with the number of installations allowed and that the number of installs will be increased. “Basically the copy protection, everything about how it works is exactly what you'll see in other titles like Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Command & Conquer 3, and Harry Potter.

“The only thing we have is online activation now. But that just does a check with a server and validates the installation. Right now we have a set number of installs and, frankly, it’s too low. We screwed up. We analysed where we were and we’ll up the number of installs.”

He understands gamers’ frustrations when they were unable to activate their legitimate copies of the game. “People can't activate their key, I dig that people are pissed off, and I understand it. Here we are day one of the European launch and day four of the American and we're working every single day working on these issues. I believe people deserve to play the game.”

Levine also acknowledged that there were concerns about the anti-piracy measures 2K Games had taken, but reassured gamers that “there’s nothing wacky going on there, at some point we’ll move back from online activation. If people want to play BioShock ten years from now, they’ll be able to play it. We have a commitment from 2K that that is going to happen and we'll hold them to that commitment and they're serious about it, we'll make that happen.”

Could this finally put the latest Internet uproar to rest? Discuss it in the forums.

40 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Ramble 26th August 2007, 19:19 Quote
Meh, while it's a good thing I don't think they should be caving in as easily as this.
Think back to the release of HL2. That was plauged with bugs, I remember reports some like 10+ hours just to get the game authenticated by Steam. Every major release goes through this stuff.
wafflesomd 26th August 2007, 19:29 Quote
Well, it is crackable.

I had to crack it, since my key wouldn't work. Is it illegal to crack the game, even though you bought it?

Not advocating it of course, just something I had to do in order to play the game.
Tulatin 26th August 2007, 19:40 Quote
Oh waffles, and how did you crack it? There are NO activation cracks available which are functional.

The problem is - YES theh copy protection works, so painfully well. Perhaps too well. It's actually enroaching on the customer. and while Bioshock is STILL waiting for a comprehensive crack, this brings my mind back to DarkStar One - the generic space game from Ascarton who's protection got so bad, that designers eventually just told people to download a crack!
Solidus 26th August 2007, 20:15 Quote
I know the cracking groups are having a tough time with this game. The image for it is up on the net but the guys are struggling to scratch it. Apparently the whole "pirate community" is watching out on this game being released cracked as there seems to be quite difficulty in cracking it.

Iv heard Razor 1911 have cracked it but are testing it further but who knows if thats true, lets just see what happens.

Id like to test it before i buy, i dont want find it doesnt work right because then i cant return the goddam game. With pcs you can get almost any stupid error stopping you from playing a game, its not like a console.
cyrilthefish 26th August 2007, 20:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
Is it illegal to crack the game, even though you bought it?
Probably, but i do it anyway for all games i own. It's a damn nusance having to search for CDs everytime you want to play a game, so i just NO-CD crack everything*

*exceptions being steam games and WoW, because you don't need to.
wafflesomd 26th August 2007, 20:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulatin
Oh waffles, and how did you crack it? There are NO activation cracks available which are functional.

The problem is - YES theh copy protection works, so painfully well. Perhaps too well. It's actually enroaching on the customer. and while Bioshock is STILL waiting for a comprehensive crack, this brings my mind back to DarkStar One - the generic space game from Ascarton who's protection got so bad, that designers eventually just told people to download a crack!

Activating the game wasn't the problem. When the game checks for the disc upon the update and downloads the patch, that's the problem. The key's are weird as well. Me and my friend have been up all night trying to get my copy to work. The serial key's seem to be specific to the Bioshock.exe file for your game, so even if you get a keygen, it won't work for you.

Mind you, I have no intentions of distributing a crack and I am not at liberty to discuss in detail how I was able to get the game to work.

I did purchase my own copy of the game, it's just that Securom and 2k could not help me.
steveo_mcg 26th August 2007, 20:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrilthefish
Probably, but i do it anyway for all games i own. It's a damn nusance having to search for CDs everytime you want to play a game, so i just NO-CD crack everything*

*exceptions being steam games and WoW, because you don't need to.

I'm not sure how/if cracks fall under uk laws fair use etc, but its deffo illegal in the states under the DMCA. But then what isn't illegal under the DMCA.

At least i will get to play it, when ever the official patch comes out to disable the online activation.
chrisb2e9 26th August 2007, 20:55 Quote
this is why I dont bother buying games when they first come out. I always wait for the first patch to fix the issues that other people have. not to mention if you wait to buy it the price will go down too.
iwog 26th August 2007, 21:37 Quote
Question, how do you remove the copy protection/online activation from the vanilla game without reprinting the discs with different code? Am i the only one that see that unless they reprint recoded bioshock you game still wont activate 10 years down the line when the securom server is disabled?
cyrilthefish 26th August 2007, 22:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by iwog
Question, how do you remove the copy protection/online activation from the vanilla game without reprinting the discs with different code? Am i the only one that see that unless they reprint recoded bioshock you game still wont activate 10 years down the line when the securom server is disabled?
Well i'm guessing they'll just give you a new installer program to download, it's the only way i can think of without reprinting disks
iwog 26th August 2007, 22:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrilthefish
Well i'm guessing they'll just give you a new installer program to download, it's the only way i can think of without reprinting disks

But that would require either:
  • you keeping the installer somewhere on your PC
  • Keeping on a dvd with the game (most sensible)
  • the site being up until the end of time/end of the internet, which ever comes first but my money is on time

And if there was an installer you downloaded then why not just go for a purely digital delivery as i'm guessing the only physical thing you'd need from you original purchase is the manual with the key, which could be sent electronically.

BUT, if all the installer did was remove the online check and required the original DVD then how long until someone finds out where this programme hooks in and emulates it themselves.
Jodiuh 26th August 2007, 23:00 Quote
No CD cracks are blessings. I don't have a console and switching discs every time to play another game... :(!!
aggies11 26th August 2007, 23:43 Quote
Re: Iwoq

I'm guessing it'll be released as a patch. Obviously, just like current old games, you are still required to somehow (through the wonders of the internet) find the patch if you want to play the old game.

I'd imagine a patch that also doubles as an installer. You use it to install the game off the dvd, and then when that's done, it patches the game to remove the copy protection.

Aggies
ironjohn 27th August 2007, 00:35 Quote
I was a dumb "full price" paying PC gamer for many years, but the anti-piracy that has made so many legitimate games unplayable now has me now downloading "playable" pirated games online.

I really think someone is trying to kill PC gaming with this over-the-top anti-piracy that makes paying customers turn to pirated games even though they would be willing to pay full price for a playable product.

ironjohn
Hamish 27th August 2007, 00:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by iwog
Question, how do you remove the copy protection/online activation from the vanilla game without reprinting the discs with different code? Am i the only one that see that unless they reprint recoded bioshock you game still wont activate 10 years down the line when the securom server is disabled?

theres no protection in the installer
you dont even give it your cdkey

you install, you click the bioshock icon it starts up the activation system that asks for your cdkey
so in the future you would install, patch, start bioshock and give it your cdkey
iwog 27th August 2007, 03:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamish
theres no protection in the installer
you dont even give it your cdkey

you install, you click the bioshock icon it starts up the activation system that asks for your cdkey
so in the future you would install, patch, start bioshock and give it your cdkey

Ok, i can see that working, and thats about my only problem with the patch gone. Seeing as you can find even really old patches for ancient games on dedicated patch sites.
Havok154 27th August 2007, 03:34 Quote
Unfortunately for them, I know a lot of people that heard of all the DRM and crap they stuffed in the game and decided it wasn't worth it. Those are all lost sales they won't get back because by the time they feel it's ok to remove the Securom, all of those people will have picked up the next big game that came out and forgotten about Bioshock.
Phil Rhodes 27th August 2007, 03:40 Quote
> “This activation is for the early period of the game when it’s really hot and there are people really trying to find ways to play the game without buying it.”

To be completely fair, that is a pretty reasonable point of view to take. Of course, they do actually have to make good on that statement - but if that's what they're seriously talking about doing, that's not particularly out of order.

Phil
wafflesomd 27th August 2007, 03:50 Quote
Activation shouldn't turn you away from the game.

It sounds to me like everyone just wants something to complain about. Just post some PS3 bashing articles, that will solve the problem.
Veles 27th August 2007, 03:56 Quote
For us geeks it's like say, Bush saying the constitution is just a bit of paper with meaningless words scrawled on it.

Anyway waffles, I'd take your copy back to the shop if having a go at 2K isn't getting anywhere, make them give you a new copy, they've sold you a product that isn't working by no fault of your own, from what you're saying, the product is faulty. Depends what consumer rights are like where you live though, that's one good thing about the EU at least.
Kipman725 27th August 2007, 03:58 Quote
"Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Command & Conquer 3, and Harry Potter." thanks for the list. As for a the crack I'm pretty sure all versions of securerom have been broken, so there would only be the online activation part to work on. That could be aproched in several ways; convincing the game it has already online activated, emulating an false activation server localy or removing the online activation compoents so that it has no refrance to any online activation.
Tulatin 27th August 2007, 05:05 Quote
There IS copy protection in the installer. When it goes to download the patch / the rest of the content, it checks the DVD. Not original? No dice. The only way around activation is a patched paul.dll, but without a correct bioshock EXE, there's no starting the game
wafflesomd 27th August 2007, 06:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulatin
There IS copy protection in the installer. When it goes to download the patch / the rest of the content, it checks the DVD. Not original? No dice. The only way around activation is a patched paul.dll, but without a correct bioshock EXE, there's no starting the game

I'm pretty sure I already said that.

I'm not taking the game back, I've been playing it, and that's all I wanted to do.
Rebourne 27th August 2007, 07:51 Quote
Whew, good news, I was starting to regret my purchase.
Fod 27th August 2007, 09:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
It sounds to me like everyone just wants something to complain about.

queue eff mofoin' tee.

wake up morons, half the games on the market use this style of copy protection.
Havok154 27th August 2007, 11:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
Activation shouldn't turn you away from the game.

That may be true, but the reality is that it does. On top of that, over-zealous DRM is also what makes PC gaming less attractive to many because of incompatibility, verification problems, and just other issues that arise. Every time someone who isn't a hardcore tech head installs a game and doesn't have a trouble free time, it pushes them away from PC's and towards consoles. It can also make them weary of buying from that company again, in general. The thing I don't understand is why they needed to include the DRM in the Steam version since Steam does basically the same exact thing anyway.
Xir 27th August 2007, 14:30 Quote
So I have an old computer on the internet (catching who know what) and my gaming rig NOT on the internet.
Can't play my Steam-games anymore, even when connected to the internet, as my connection is slow, small band and unreliable. (but for free) ;)
Last time I started HL2 it took 1/2 hour to start (without getting updates). I thought waiting died out with the datasette? (remember that one anyone?) :)

So am I ganna buy some new ones that require online connection? Take a guess. Guess who has to use cracks and No-CD patches even though he owns the games? (and no, this is not legal where I live)


Xir
Who Carer 27th August 2007, 18:16 Quote
I wonder if they will be shipping new DVDs to all the people that have bought the game early seeing that that is the only way to remove the inane copy protection they put on the original.
Tim S 27th August 2007, 18:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Who Carer
I wonder if they will be shipping new DVDs to all the people that have bought the game early seeing that that is the only way to remove the inane copy protection they put on the original.

Hi and welcome to the forums.

Activation doesn't happen until after the installation - it doesn't happen until you start up the game for the first time. Before then, the installer checks that the latest patch has been applied to the game. Therefore, I doubt they'll send out new DVDs; instead, you'll just need the latest patch (whatever it is at that point) to disable activation.
completemadness 28th August 2007, 02:48 Quote
for not using CD's without cracks

Daemon tools is your friend, virtual disks
I personally see nothing wrong with that, i like to keep my discs in good condition, so why shouldn't i be able to use a backup (virtual or not)

Plus there are a couple of programs that will mount the disc and automatically load the game for you, seamless, great :D
Skaal-tel 28th August 2007, 04:02 Quote
"Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Command & Conquer 3, and Harry Potter."

I've played splinter cell, R6, and C+C3... and they are a PAIN to get to run. Not exactly a shining list of celebrities there.

Double agent quite frankly did not work until about 6 months after it was released- and was generally a poor port of a console game. R6 vegas is buggy but not THAT difficult to deal with. Though not that great a game. C+C 3 was such a PITA I had to un install all of my virtual CD programs and work backwards until it would run... and I bought the cursed thing! Can't comment on Tomb raider or harry potter.

I think copy protection is pretty lame. THQ has the right idea - who needs a CD?? and yet, I have purchased dawn of war, supreme commander, and a few others I can't recall right now.

Make a good game. THEN people will pay for it. Not because of byzantine copy protection schemes.
I don't pay for copies of windows anymore since the very first time I had to call to reset my windows key for simply adding a new video card.

I'll probably get bioshock over steam. Works pretty well, and being able to download it onto any computer with internet access and no disk or key (if anything like HL2) is pretty swank.
Jaypeezy 28th August 2007, 04:58 Quote
Its funny that game makers get so crazy over their pc games protection when most of their console games get cracked and copied pretty easily. Whenever I visit my family in the Philippines, I see hundreds of copied Xbox360, Wii, and PS2 games being sold in the malls, alot of them popular titles. Its like pc gamers get the burden of copy protection problems while consoles don't really have that problem.
Gravemind123 28th August 2007, 08:31 Quote
The one thing I hate about PC gaming is having to keep track of my disks and keep them unscratched. I'm really a messy person and I have trouble remembering where I put things, so I have lost a bunch of CDs and activation keys. This leads me to downloading pirated copies of games I already own, which can potentially get me sued, doesn't seem like the best scheme for the consumer here. I'm considering getting the Steam version of Bioshock because I like how with Steam I don't need to keep track of CDs and activation keys to play my game, I just have to go download it overnight and play the next morning.
wafflesomd 28th August 2007, 09:37 Quote
You guys do realize that there is no problem at all if you buy the game.
Harvey Birdman 28th August 2007, 10:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fod
queue eff mofoin' tee.

wake up morons, half the games on the market use this style of copy protection.

Half the games on the market use SecuRom? They install software without your knowledge or consent that is not removed with the game and has hidden registry keys and files on your pc that bypass the windows security model? A lot of people have totally over looked the real issue. Most people are a bit upset about the limited installs yes... but there are much bigger things to be upset about.

No where on the box/media/eula does it specify it is installing SecuROM or that there is any kind of install limit. Beyond that it's not that people think 2k is putting malware on their computers that's just silly, but this same kind of thing has been done in the past causing holes in system security that allow other viruses to make use of them to have total system access. 2k has never apologized for any of the things they did even though they admit it was a mistake... I guess saying we made a mistake is as close to "I'm sorry" as suits get. They haven't even apologized for 2k Elizabeth posting lies in their own forums about how the registration worked just to try and calm the fire and increase launch sales.

It's not like anyone is saying they don't have a right to protect their software... unique cd keys, online registration, even locking the game to the hardware to prevent direct pc to pc copy are all legitimate practices. The problem is the shady way they went behind peoples backs putting in SecuROM and lying about their own registration process to encourage sales. I just don't see how people can so openly trust a company that has just lied to them in the last week when they say they will open the game in the future... start by removing SecuROM and apologizing to your fans and then I'll consider buying from 2k Games again.

I'm glad that those who have the game are enjoying it as it truly does look like a great piece of software, I just wanted to make sure you all understood that by supporting it you are also encouraging other companies to use these kind of underhanded practices

http://forums.2kgames.com/forums/showthread.php?p=159782
steveo_mcg 28th August 2007, 10:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
You guys do realize that there is no problem at all if you buy the game.

Unless one of the many instances which have been detailed or exampled above occur in which case your pretty much left to pirate it. Which brings us back round on this rediculous circle to why not just pirate it in the first place and save your £20. Personally and i'm not alone here, i'll abstain and save my £20 there are other games out there some of them are not even trying to stick you.

Besides that you your self have had problems installing the game and i presume you bought it given the EULA preaching you've been doing recently.
completemadness 28th August 2007, 18:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvey Birdman
Half the games on the market use SecuRom? They install software without your knowledge or consent that is not removed with the game and has hidden registry keys and files on your pc that bypass the windows security model? A lot of people have totally over looked the real issue. Most people are a bit upset about the limited installs yes... but there are much bigger things to be upset about.
Its not really hidden

its "hidden" in the sense you have to check a box to see it, if you think that's hidden, go get infected by a real rootkit and then you will find out what hell really is like
C&C3 is pointless, i bought it, every time i load it it has to scan the disc, i got fed up and used a virtual drive, and it works even faster, and for all they know it could easily be a cracked disc - whats the point EA

The only difference with bioshock then anything else, bioshock has this activation crap, which has caused them no end of grief

And it probably does say somewhere in the licence securom is installed, but i think "this program can only be installed X times" should be printed on the box so you know, at least BF2142 had that leaflet that says it
Harvey Birdman 28th August 2007, 21:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
Its not really hidden

its "hidden" in the sense you have to check a box to see it, if you think that's hidden, go get infected by a real rootkit and then you will find out what hell really is like
C&C3 is pointless, i bought it, every time i load it it has to scan the disc, i got fed up and used a virtual drive, and it works even faster, and for all they know it could easily be a cracked disc - whats the point EA

The only difference with bioshock then anything else, bioshock has this activation crap, which has caused them no end of grief

And it probably does say somewhere in the licence securom is installed, but i think "this program can only be installed X times" should be printed on the box so you know, at least BF2142 had that leaflet that says it

I didn't mean hidden like it was super impossible to find as much as I meant it's hidden from the normal end user, not published to inform you of it's existance, not informed that it doesn't uninstall with game. Yes there are much much worse rootkit's out there. (Which is why I avoided just saying Root Kit since that seems to be a big buzz word right now) I also have dealt with real rootkit's in the past the problem really isn't the root kit it's what can be done because of it's pressence on the machine. People seem to think this is a fine and dandy process now that they have instructions to remove the root kit, but that isn't the point. The point is if you want to play this game you will have to install a security risk into your system.

Analogy: You buy a new HDTV but when you install it the tv alter's your house so the doors won't lock, it doesn't tell you and you have no way of knowing it did this because it wasn't printed on the box or manual. The tv hasn't done any direct damage to your house, but if someone decided they wanted to come rob you the process would be a whole lot easier because of having the tv. Alternately you could "unplug" the tv and your door would lock again but then you can't watch tv, and you also run the risk of not being able to turn the tv on again because you are only allowed to unplug it 2 times.

I realize they have added the revoke tool to give back licenses and increased the install limit to five now. Point still is if you want to play you have to pay... by leaving your door unlocked, and none of this is made known to you prior to buying the product. (Unless you happen to read the gaming forums often).

Like I was saying I know a lot of people are upset about the activation, but the real problem is being overlooked here which is the install of this kind of software without the buyer's knowledge. The EULA does not mention "SecuROM" or "Root Kit", though it might have some other lawyer double talk I over looked... but that still doesn't justify what they have done here. This all could have been done without SecuROM, I'm not against activations and limiting the installs I completely understand the need and reason for it. I am however against these shady practices (including lying to their consumers directly) which is becoming alarmingly more common. :( I just think it's time we let the companies who make the games we love know this just is not an acceptable practice we are going to sit back and accept so they can claim security from piracy. If you want security from piracy stop publishing games for PC & Consoles, that's the only real way you are going to stop it.

I'm just really sick of seeing people make exucses for 2k Games behavior at this point, saying things like "Half the games on the market use this kind of protection" is either ignorant or a far fetched attempt at justifying something that is not right. That's like justifying stealing from a store because "everyone else" was doing it. Maybe I'll end up missing out on some great new games the next year or two, but there will still be other great games I can play, I won't be installing SecuROM or any other excessive measures that are only going to hinder the legitimate buyers because in the end the people its designed to stop will be playing the game without any of the annoyances of someone who paid $49.99. *Goes off to enjoy Metroid Prime 3* ;)
D3s3rt_F0x 28th August 2007, 21:50 Quote
Not really a thing that bothers me tbh, installs over 2 PC's was always more than enough for me but always good to have less DRM but shouldnt turn you away from such a great game.
Monkey Sandwich... 20th February 2008, 23:41 Quote
I finally got tired of all the cd in the drive crap, so I alcohol 120%ed it and emulated the cd through daemontools. It works flawlessly on all my computers. Im sad that I only have 1 install left...
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