bit-gamer.net

EA: Nobody cares about DRM

EA: Nobody cares about DRM

John Riccitiello may not like SecuROM personally, but reckons that the vast majority of gamers don't care.

EA Boss John Riccitiello has voiced his own personal thoughts on the SecuROM DRM solution used in several EA games on the PC, but claims that the majority of gamers don't care.

Speaking to Yahoo! (via Kotaku), Riccitiello said that the SecuROM DRM system that is used in games like Spore and Mass Effect PC is inconsequential for most gamers.

"We implemented a form of DRM and it's something that 99.8 percent of users wouldn't notice. But for the other .2 percent, it became an issue and a number of them launched a cabal online to protest against it," said John.

Cabal is right - Spore especially has suffered a huge backlash and been bombarded with poor Amazon ratings as a result of gamers reactions to the DRM system. SecuROM has been an on-going problem for EA too and not only have they been pressured into loosening the DRM restrictions, they've also been hit with a class-action lawsuit.

Interestingly, Riccitiello says that he personally isn't a fan of the system, but that it is needed as a way to combat PC piracy. Doesn't seem they are too bothered with the rising threat of console piracy then.

"I personally don't like DRM. It interrupts the user experience. We would like to get around that. But there is this problem called piracy out there," he added.

What do you reckon to the SecuROM DRM? Had any problems with it? Let us know in the forums.

56 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Hamish 15th October 2008, 11:23 Quote
the 'majority of gamers' buy every rehashed release of <insert generic EA sports game here> so tbh, he's probably right...
Grasshopper 15th October 2008, 11:34 Quote
Quote:
"I personally don't like DRM. It interrupts the user experience. We would like to get around that. But there is this problem called piracy out there,"

There is that problem called stupidity out there too.
impar 15th October 2008, 11:34 Quote
Greetings!

Informed gamers care.
Just cancelled my pre-order of FarCry2.
It comes with limited installations courtesy of Securom.

Unbelievable the amont of money I have saved not renting these games.
airchie 15th October 2008, 11:41 Quote
Interesting to hear he realises that DRM interrupts the user experience and doesn't like it yet he seems to think its a solution?
Since when did any DRM solve piracy?
I'd love to hear some high-level exec answer the question of "Why use DRM if it doesn't stop piracy?".
Flibblebot 15th October 2008, 11:52 Quote
The problem is that pirates don't care about copy protection. It's ripped from games quicker than you can type SecuROM, so the whole piracy excuse is a fallacious argument.
ChaosDefinesOrder 15th October 2008, 11:55 Quote
DRM doesn't do a damned bit of difference to piracy - the pirated versons have been cracked to remove the DRM sometimes weeks before the main release - the ONLY people affected by DRM are the legitimate buyersrenters of the games!

Unfortunately, companies like EA still hide behind their rocks claiming that it makes a difference. Those The Witcher guys have the right idea - try and create a game worth buying in the first place and just ignore the inevitable piracy as it's going to happen whatever you do!
shigllgetcha 15th October 2008, 11:55 Quote
0.2% sounds very small but in real terms but with over 1 million sales it amounts to 20,000 "having an issue"

DRM is really just painting everyone with the same brush and treating everyone as a criminal/pirater.

i dont know but at the end of the day your either gonna be interested enough in buying the game or your gonna pirate it and you were never gonna buy it anyway.
Jordan Wise 15th October 2008, 12:08 Quote
what a stupid thing to say, why doesn't EA take note of what Cliff Harris is doing. It's just like music piracy all over again
N19h7m4r3 15th October 2008, 12:14 Quote
I recently felt like buying a new game for the lady and I but after reading about alot of them I won't be buying most of them, if any at all.

I was going to get Spore for both of us, but the lady friend is always on the move so likes her games on her Main PC, laptop and pc at folks place to game when she visits. So even though we both wanted quite a few EA titles they are not getting our money.

Instead we both bought Team Fortress 2 on steam and are enjoying it alot :)
steveo_mcg 15th October 2008, 12:14 Quote
Only music is a much larger industry with less technical customers, it can afford to piss them off.
liratheal 15th October 2008, 12:20 Quote
Personally, now I lack internet at home until BT pull their thumbs out of their rear ends, I'm finding it a shade annoying.

I wanted to play a few games, only, I can't play half of them because I have no internet.

If only I had the forethought to get a patched exe..
AlexB 15th October 2008, 12:29 Quote
Sigh. DRM doesn't stop piracy.
Kúsař 15th October 2008, 12:38 Quote
He's right! People who cares about DRM usually avoid buying it :) . That's why he said 99.8 *users*.
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
If only I had the forethought to get a patched exe..

Patched exe :D .

Actually, I bought ArmA Gold a week ago just to find myself surprisingly backstabbed by starforce(cz/pl... version). At last I resorted to downloading official patch 1.14 and...they patched starforce out. Good for me & them because I would have it returned(and there was not even single word it contains starforce. Double checked EULA, manual, CD...). Some publishers care about what customers are saying, some don't...
bigniall 15th October 2008, 12:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigllgetcha
0.2% sounds very small but in real terms but with over 1 million sales it amounts to 20,000 "having an issue"

That would be 2000 actually........ :)
Dreaming 15th October 2008, 12:48 Quote
I've actually corresponded with my MEP on the issue of DRM who has acknowledged that the issue of lack of information being passed to customers prior to purchase about DRM restrictions on intellectual property goods is an important issue, and as such has referred the issue to the European Commissioner responsible for the Internal Market to get his thoughts.
xaser04 15th October 2008, 12:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigllgetcha
0.2% sounds very small but in real terms but with over 1 million sales it amounts to 20,000 "having an issue"

DRM is really just painting everyone with the same brush and treating everyone as a criminal/pirater.

i dont know but at the end of the day your either gonna be interested enough in buying the game or your gonna pirate it and you were never gonna buy it anyway.

0.2% of 1 million is 2,000 not 20,000. :)
Tyrmot 15th October 2008, 13:02 Quote
Personally, I think his figures are pretty wide of the mark, just like the other 87.8% of statistics that are made up on the spot.

In any case, I'll be sticking to my guns of never buying any SecuROM off of EA, so far they have lost over £100 of my money and counting... If you multiply that by the 1000s of people doing the same, that is adding up to a fairly large loss of revenue for EA. Maybe they think that's less than piracy is costing them, but it seems they're just kidding themselves.

I get the feeling personally it's probably more to do with the psychological feeling that they are 'doing something' about piracy of their games rather than a cold economic assessment of what it's actually costing them vs what they are gaining (which is of course a figure it's probably impossible to accurately work out).
trickster 15th October 2008, 13:20 Quote
I'm not sure I entirely understand all the problems people have with DRM etc.
i've recently bought and played Mass Effect (wanted PC version not X360), Spore, Crysis: Warhead and others (Farcry 2 on pre-order) and never had a single issue. I don;t find the need to constantly re-install software and I change bits of hardware maybe twice a year so the limited installs thing never becomes a problem.
i certianly won't cut my own nose off to spite my face by not buying something just because it has SecuROM.

I get that all this DRM stuff does nothing to stop piracy but then again, EA may put poor sales of a good game down to piracy when actually its just people not buying (or playing) the games in protest.

Not buying a game only hurts the industry and the individual who doesn't.get to play the game.
steveo_mcg 15th October 2008, 13:28 Quote
Gamers are not here to support the industry, the industry is here to provide a service to gamers. I'm not going to buy a game just to avoid "hurting the industry" if i don't want it or disagree with its policies then tough, i'm not going to continue to support and industry who is not listening. Much the same way as i no longer buy cd's and very rarely go to see movies. I really don't care if the industry folds if this is the way it wishes to treat its customers, if EA fails tomorrow 5 other companies will take its place no loss.
Tyrmot 15th October 2008, 13:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by trickster
I get that all this DRM stuff does nothing to stop piracy but then again, EA may put poor sales of a good game down to piracy when actually its just people not buying (or playing) the games in protest.

Not buying a game only hurts the industry and the individual who doesn't.get to play the game.

But that misses the point - if a game with DRM sells well, EA will just say 'See? Look how great our sales are thanks to DRM!'. And it doesn't hurt the industry, there are plenty of games publishers out there who agree and also refuse to put DRM on their games, Stardock is a good example of this, particularly for me as they are a company who has got more of my money than they perhaps might have if it hadn't been for secuROM (and all the EA games I didn't buy as a result) - in fact, EA losing dominance of the market as a result of this could only really be considered healthy for the games industry surely?

It's understandable that it may seem stupid to you to not buy a game you'd quite like to play, but then how else do you suggest letting EA know how you feel about DRM? If it's not hitting them in the pocket they won't do a single thing to change (except possibly find bigger ways to screw up your game with DRM).

Come back in 3-5 years, when the activation servers are down, and you can't play your games any more, or when you want to sell your game on second-hand and can't, and then see how you feel about DRM...
ChriX 15th October 2008, 13:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrmot
Come back in 3-5 years, when the activation servers are down, and you can't play your games any more, or when you want to sell your game on second-hand and can't, and then see how you feel about DRM...

Exactly my problem, I still play many old games. I installed Kingpin off it's original disc the other day for example, I really doubt that if this required online activation in 1999, that it would still be possible to activate it today.

I have cancelled preorders upon finding out about the restrictions too - I hate the way nobody tells you this is the case when you are buying. At the end of the day it's only a game and I can live without it so I'd rather not buy.
Denis_iii 15th October 2008, 13:45 Quote
he is correct, I don't care about DRM, except when I can't find a crack
ssj12 15th October 2008, 13:52 Quote
they are talking about the 0.2% of owners who have issues... what about the consumers that didnt purchase the games at all due to it. I'm sure there are more then 0.2%.
trickster 15th October 2008, 13:54 Quote
Thats fair enough. I understand all the above viewpoints. Mine is a little different in that I buy a game, play it through and (usually) never play it again so i don't have same difficulties. I imagine there's probably quite a few people who do the same so DRM will not really affect those people. I doubt this acounts for the 98.8% of users as mentioned in the article but it must be quite a few.

In MY case, what the EA boss says is true and as long as their DRM doesn't cause any problems for me then I'm pretty happy.
UrbanMarine 15th October 2008, 13:57 Quote
I wish I was blind to what's going on in the industry and had a crap research team that misinformed me. Then maybe I'd make as much money as Riccitiello.
Firehed 15th October 2008, 14:02 Quote
EA Boss John Riccitiello can go stick his thumb up his butt. Or, better yet, a copy of Spore. Sideways. His piece of crap company has been dead to me for years, and the one time I end up taking a chance with it I get burned again.

Maybe they should look into publishing games that are worth buying, since obviously realizing that their business model is dead and just giving up isn't a great option for them.
UrbanMarine 15th October 2008, 14:16 Quote
Come on apocalypse....the gaming industry needs a reboot.
Xir 15th October 2008, 14:36 Quote
...which reminds me I need to find a "fixed exe" before patching my "Mass Effect"
pizan 15th October 2008, 15:10 Quote
Heres to hoping that FarCry2 gets a steam release
TreeDude 15th October 2008, 15:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pizan
Heres to hoping that FarCry2 gets a steam release

Even with Steam, the DRM is still there. Bioshock still used it in Steam. Unless I get offered a great deal, I will never buy a game with DRM. I change out PC parts and reformat every 6 months to a year.

Spore was one of the most pirated games yet and it has the strongest DRM to date. You would think EA would see the correlation and stop.
impar 15th October 2008, 15:40 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by pizan
Heres to hoping that FarCry2 gets a steam release
Sadly, that is not a guarantee of no Securom present.

Riccitiello managed to lose all the good credit he gained after his first interviews as EA CEO. And then lost even more credit.

PS:
Just took a peek at his Wikipedia entry, his former job was Managing Director of Elevation Partners, a private equity firm that invests in intellectual property and media and entertainment companies.
Cadillac Ferd 15th October 2008, 15:45 Quote
You know what? From what I hear the average large gaming company executive, something like 99.8% of them, will make up statistics to make his company (and by extension himself) seem less like *******s.
UrbanMarine 15th October 2008, 15:57 Quote
Anything to make them look good.
MrMonroe 15th October 2008, 15:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pizan
Heres to hoping that FarCry2 gets a steam release

I still don't understand why Steam is better. Yes, you can run in "offline" mode. What if you want to play TF2? Or, you know, any other multiplayer game? You're essentially down to playing online all the time, and then you're connecting to the Steam servers every damn time you want to play and asking them if it's ok.

I have no problem with Steam, (and I'm one of the users who didn't really have a problem with SecuRom because I have one computer and no intention of selling the games) especially since it gives me this great extra means of communication with people I play with. But I cannot for the life of me understand why it is better than SecuRom except for the number of installations. It's not like I can sell a game I purchased over Steam at all while you can purchase a secondhand copy of Mass Effect and just so long as the record of the old installs are deleted from their servers, you're buying it like it's new. SecuRom makes you get online to check your games once every two weeks. Steam does it every time you play.
ZERO <ibis> 15th October 2008, 16:31 Quote
I think some one should make a vid with a ton of people from youtube saying I am a gamer and I care about DRM. Sort of like the new windows add with people saying that they are pc (yea I get it if your not "politically correct" in todays world you will be executed, got to love freedom of speech. But still MS why make an add about it!? :))
aggies11 15th October 2008, 16:38 Quote
Yeah, and I'm sure a large majority of gamers don't notice metacritic scores either, but we don't see game publishers "paying no attention" to that..

It is often the cause of the vocal minority, to stand up for the rights of the largely complacent majority. Just because everyone isn't complaining doesn't mean it's not an issue that doesn't affect us all
Project_Nightmare 15th October 2008, 16:45 Quote
I personally don't like DRM, because I hate looking for the original CD and if I scratch the disk, I might not be able to play the game anymore legally.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis_iii
I don't care about DRM, except when I can't find a crack
Amen to that
Cobalt 15th October 2008, 17:28 Quote
The last time securom style DRM would have been effective is back when piracy meant copying CDs and giving them to your mates.

EDIT
@MrMonroe: Oh dear that old argument again. The issue with securom isn't the calling home as such, but the invasive way it integrates itself into the system. Actually uninstalling it is a bitch and the last (and only) time I bought a game with securom protection there was no mention that it was being installed at all. That part may have changed, but the rest of it is still a problem.

Limited activations are a real problem if you think in the long term. I still have my original copy of SM's:Alpha Centauri installed. I bought that game when it was released in 1999. I've had 6 changes of computer in that time and several reinstalls on each. Give me 3, give me 5 it still wouldn't cover it. Of course lots of games aren't worth playing 9 years later but for the few which are worth it, do you really want that to have securom on it?

Steam is good because it gives valve a largely effective (nothings perfect) way of combating piracy and gives the users better functionality than a disk could. I can bring my games with me without lugging disks around, I can buy new games, even preload them so I can play within a minute of release. Valve is also reasonably open about the data they collect from users unlike nearly any other company that I could care to mention.

The big risk I can see is that valve and steam will not last forever. However, businesses like that rarely disappear overnight so hopefully a solution could be found before they do shut down.
Dreaming 15th October 2008, 17:30 Quote
In a survey done by me ;), 93% of gamers believe there should be a legal requirement to display on retail packaging what DRM restrictions are in place, 6% believed that wasn't necessary but it should be a legal requirement to put the information somewhere (i.e. on their website or something) and only 0% (lol) believed the industry is fine as it is, hiding the DRM until it installs.

As much as *we* know about it, the average joe doesn't. This means the average joe will buy DRMd products. This amounts to 'voting with your wallet'. Which means even if we *really really* hate DRM, because it's not advertised the 99.8% of gamers who don't read journalists finding out what DRM is implemented will buy the products without realising. That's what he means.

When they are instlaling 5 years down the line they will be as equally effected as the consumers who are being affected today.
Tyrmot 15th October 2008, 17:46 Quote
http://xkcd.com/488/ - says it all really
Cthippo 15th October 2008, 19:12 Quote
That comic is getting a LOT of posting :D
johnmustrule 15th October 2008, 21:43 Quote
Punk Buster ruined battlefield 2142 for me, EA refused to help me... where does that logically lead?
Darkefire 15th October 2008, 22:19 Quote
The reason everyone loves Steam is because it runs when you tell it to run, doesn't give a rat's arse about anything else that might be running on your system, and most importantly stops when you tell it to stop. EA and Sony's version of DRM is using a slightly modified rootkit that pitches an unholy fit if the system configuration changes or it even gets a whiff of Daemon Tools or Alcohol 120%. Oh, and it runs itself on startup without even telling you, burns system resources, never uninstalls properly, and messes with other aspects of your system. Also, you can't redownload your games using SecuROM, or transfer installations onto another system with such ease. Steam acts like a nice little portal to your games; SecuROM is a friggin' black hole.
ZERO <ibis> 15th October 2008, 23:02 Quote
Yes, as much as steam has it's problems. It is far far better than any other anti piracy system I have seen.
DXR_13KE 16th October 2008, 01:31 Quote
i have only one thing to say about EA at this moment:

FAIL!!!
benjamyn 16th October 2008, 01:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
i have only one thing to say about EA at this moment:

FAIL!!!

Not really they're making a heap of dosh and selling millions of their titles as usual and have quite a few decent looking games coming up that there's quite a lot of anticipation for among gamers. yes DRM Sucks but that doesn't mean EA = Fail.
zero0ne 16th October 2008, 03:40 Quote
You are all missing one very very important aspect of STEAM vs DRM.

Steam is not JUST about making sure your game copy is legit, and honestly, I doubt they even worry about it as much on Steam anymore.

Steam is ALL about content distribution.

Thier application was lightyears ahead of ANYTHING out there in the market when it was in beta (and had a **** ton of problems too, I remember the beta "years"). It still is even today.


Steam is also about the Community, connecting friends and players that have common links that may want to socialize. Of course they are worried about piracy, but lets face it, their system basically doesn't allow piracy. Anybody who is looking for a illegal game would never try and get it from steam then hack it, they would just download the DVD image, and patch the EXE. why waste time trying to crack steam? (that's the beauty of their system, its a deterrant just being itself!)

Really, the only bad thing people can say about steam as of right now, is that they don't have all the games they want on there, or that you need to have an internet connection to use it / have it work properly (remember the days when offline mode didnt work for like months with HL2?).

The internet argument is null IMO, because by the time the consumer marketplace matures (steam is mature, the marketplace is not) everyone will have a adaquate connection to use Steam without any problems. (at least anybody who would want to use steam.) Now Im not saying that in 5 years if you don't have internet access at your location it's your fault. But honestly, in 5 years do you think you will still be able to manage a good standard of living without any access to the internet? In my opinion, Internet access is KEY in todays world. It connects you to millions of people, their viewpoints, news around the world, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc.

Hopefully the US's new President will help push the idea that the Internet is something everyone should have access to as well. Used correctly, the Internet is by far one of the best inventions / systems that we have ever had in the world since the Industrial Revolution.

ending tangent!
Amon 16th October 2008, 04:11 Quote
I like DRM. I don't like the method and incarnation in which DRM has pervaded, today. That's all.
Xir 16th October 2008, 10:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by zero0ne
But honestly, in 5 years do you think you will still be able to manage a good standard of living without any access to the internet!

True...but that doesn't mean everyone who wants a good internet connection is able to get one now.
While we use things like Steam now. :D


I came across a store selling Bioshock for 10€ (14$) this weekend...and didn't buy it due to the DRM issues...:(

Xir
kylew 16th October 2008, 18:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
True...but that doesn't mean everyone who wants a good internet connection is able to get one now.
While we use things like Steam now. :D


I came across a store selling Bioshock for 10€ (14$) this weekend...and didn't buy it due to the DRM issues...:(

Xir

Which is a shame, because they've patched out the DRM on it now. Well as far as I can remember they have anyway.
steveo_mcg 16th October 2008, 19:02 Quote
The rootkit esque program is still installed but i don't think it needs activation now.
impar 16th October 2008, 19:07 Quote
Greetings!

Bioshock still has the DRM and still needs online authorization.
impar 17th October 2008, 13:22 Quote
Greetings!

Great article about DRM in gaming and EAs CEO comments here:
Quote:
John Riccitiello hates DRM. That's the rather surprising pronouncement from the Electronic Arts CEO this week - surprising not because there's anything particularly likeable about DRM, but because of his own firm's immense attachment to the widely disliked (and utterly useless) technology.

Admittedly, Riccitiello's comments go a lot deeper than that convenient headline. Despite the fact that he "hates" DRM, he goes on to attempt to justify it - comparing it with locks on your door or other necessary evils which we all require for security.

The comparison is utterly flawed. Locks and keys are indeed a trade-off which we make between convenience and security, but they are designed to protect our own security - not that of the company that sold us the door. There is a real, tangible advantage to the person being inconvenienced. That doesn't exist with DRM.
...
impar 18th October 2008, 01:32 Quote
Greetings!

What a nightmare:
Quote:
A story about EA's technical support regarding SecuROM's 3 computer license.
...
He stated the following about the following issues:

#1. If they believe your account has been used over 10 times, you must provide proof of purchase on the back of your manual, as well as a proof of purchase by way of a receipt.

#2. The total installation attempts on the first batch of games released in the month of September have a total of 3 installations. Any other versions of the game released have a total of 5 installations, leaving those of us suckers who bought the game early, SOL.

#3. He stated that a de-activation tool has nothing to do with Electronic Arts, and that he did not have a release date available for such a tool.

#4. He refused to acknowledge the multiple days I spent on this particular subject.

#5. He flagged my account due to the over-use of my account registration key; despite the fact that I've only given the Registration Key to The last Customer Service Representative I spoke to.

#6. He stated that changing out any hardware will directly use up an installation.

#7. He stated that changing firmware, or drivers will not use up an installation.

#8. He stated that reinstalling the game on the same computer will not use up an installation, unless you reformat.

#9. He stated that resetting your CMOS or BIOS will use up an installation.
Hamish 18th October 2008, 01:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by zero0ne

Really, the only bad thing people can say about steam as of right now, is that they don't have all the games they want on there, or that you need to have an internet connection to use it / have it work properly (remember the days when offline mode didnt work for like months with HL2?).

i only have 2 complaints about steam and one of them doesnt even affect me
i hear a lot of people complaining they cant buy stuff off steam with whatever debit/credit/whatever card they have, so maybe the payment options need expanding, doesnt bother me though as i have a credit card

regional releases, this still pisses me off so much, when stuff gets released on steam in NA days/weeks/months before EU, its kinda understandable if they're doing translations or something
but in the UK we can figure out what you're talking about when you say 'color' so just give me the bloody game already omg :(
i just find it maddening when digital distribution has regional release dates, i understand that this is usually down to developer/publisher/valve politics but its still annoying :(
Fused 18th October 2008, 02:58 Quote
Some one mentioned that the gaming industry needed a revolution and I think its true. Too many un thought out, rushed and in some cases pointless games are come. Support is very shakey for most games. Anti-piracy devices are also largely ineffective and more of an inconvenience to the paying user than the non paying ones.

Maybe if a giant like EA fell we might see some benefits. Why oh why did they have to buy up so many of my favourite game franchises.

Im against SecuROM and canceled my Spore order when I found out about it. Simple facts are I own 3 desktops two laptops, often on the move living between my parents house and my flat in London. Even with minimal hardware changes my five installations would go just like that. So its just not worth my money. Are the re activation support phone line even freephone? And Im not going to effort to start sending in a reciet when I get to 10 re activations which Ive probably thrown away the day after I bought it.

Ive still yet to see an argument about how SecuROM combats piracy?
Its like giving the employees of a bank a 5 use swipe card into the vault which would quickly become a problem. Your organized thief comes along and isn't too worried about a limited access card when hes drilling the locks.
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums