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Battlefield: Bad Company 2 DRM explained

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 DRM explained

EA and Dice

DICE's lead programmer, Mikael Kalms, has explained the DRM system that will be put in place for the final and beta versions of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on PC, revealing that the game will make use of the controversial SecuROM DRM.

"The version which we use is a wrapper around the main game executable," Kalms wrote on the official Battlefield blog. He then promised that the entire DRM package will therefore be uninstalled when the game is and that it only runs when the game does.

For the actual mechanics of verification DICE has provided players with two options; one online, one offline.

The offline authentication is intended for those who don't have an internet connection or who aren't comfortable with the idea of an install limit and is a basic disc check system that requires the CD to be in the drive whenever the game is run.

The online option means you only need the disc to install the game, but limits you to only ten concurrent installs. Install credits are automatically refunded, so to speak, whenever the game is uninstalled - though you'll need to be online for both the installation and uninstallation. The online authentication only needs to run once though, then you can run the game for 10,000 days (27 years) before being forced to authenticate again.

A version of the SecuROM DRM will also be applied to the closed beta, which is only available to those who have pre-ordered the game. The beta is set to start on January 28th, while the full game ships on March 2nd.

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

44 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
SNIPERMikeUK 28th January 2010, 14:18 Quote
Oh look, DRM rears it's ugly head again, they should rename it to: Being Penalised For Buying And Not Pirating....Thanks
thEcat 28th January 2010, 14:25 Quote
27 years?

Are they targeting the next XBox refresh?
<couldn't resist>

Their drm sounds quite civil to me.
DragunovHUN 28th January 2010, 14:33 Quote
That's fine by me.

But what if your HDD dies and you can't uninstall the game? Although, if that happens 10 times in a row then losing a game would probably be the least of your concerns.
Artanix 28th January 2010, 14:42 Quote
thing is, as unlikely as it will be in 27 years, what if somebody wanted to play the game in the future? you know, i'd be mighty peeved if my copy of Elite wouldn't work, because they invented some online authentication system that isn't supported 27 years from now. Bit of a stupid timelimit to put on it. Other than that though, it sounds fairly ok. DRM sucks, but its going to stay for at least a while.
UrbanMarine 28th January 2010, 14:47 Quote
Cracked in 27 days :)
ChaosDefinesOrder 28th January 2010, 14:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN
if that happens 10 times in a row then losing a game would probably be the least of your concerns.

exactly!
labr@t 28th January 2010, 14:50 Quote
no biggie really
Jack_Pepsi 28th January 2010, 14:52 Quote
It's a hard lesson to learn but always uninstall your game before reinstalling Windows. I learnt that with Dead Space and Far Cry 2.
clx 28th January 2010, 14:52 Quote
Wonder if they are using Securecrap on Steam installs...
steveo_mcg 28th January 2010, 14:54 Quote
Seems quite civilized, i'm pleasantly surprised.

A point to clarify, It may only recheck with the authentication servers ever 27 years but will the servers still be there in 5/10 years if one were to try a fresh install?
Krikkit 28th January 2010, 14:57 Quote
They'll no doubt release a patch to de-DRM it in a couple of years.
Gunsmith 28th January 2010, 14:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
They'll no doubt release a patch to de-DRM it in a couple of years.

Crysis Warhead was de-DRM'd after about 5 months.
veato 28th January 2010, 15:48 Quote
I just dont see the point in DRM. As the game will be cracked anyway then the only people it affects are the buying public.
Loot3r 28th January 2010, 16:13 Quote
i see a fine point, it just makes it that much more difficult for a pirate to use the software! There is almost no effort for the buying public and the negative created by the DRM is small! Its nice to know i can play when i want online with minimal hassle....
ZERO <ibis> 28th January 2010, 16:33 Quote
How about I just boycott this game too and guess what NO stupid DRM!
uz1_l0v3r 28th January 2010, 16:44 Quote
These whiny DRM comments are getting as tired and hackneyed as the DRM itself. The comment about DRM only penalising paying customers is complete facile bunk. That's like saying electronic tags and security gates penalises people buying from Debenhams, or immobilisers and trackers penalise car drivers. What do you suggest publishers do? Release their games protection-free, so that anybody and everybody can copy, hack and share the game to their heart's content? If you want to get mad, get mad at the people who STILL cannot be bothered to pay for games.
cyrilthefish 28th January 2010, 17:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by uz1_l0v3r
These whiny DRM comments are getting as tired and hackneyed as the DRM itself. The comment about DRM only penalising paying customers is complete facile bunk. That's like saying electronic tags and security gates penalises people buying from Debenhams, or immobilisers and trackers penalise car drivers. What do you suggest publishers do?
No it isn't, it's a FACT
pirated versions don't have DRM, legal copies do.

Going with your Debenhams example, it'd be similar if they added the security tag when you brought it and the only way to get the version without the security tag was to steal it...
Quote:
Originally Posted by uz1_l0v3r
Release their games protection-free, so that anybody and everybody can copy, hack and share the game to their heart's content? If you want to get mad, get mad at the people who STILL cannot be bothered to pay for games.
It's going to be pirated with or without DRM. It's not a nice situation, but adding DRM does not help. Also the DRM is getting to the level where it's actually driving away customers now.

Give people incentives to buy the game (support, online extras and so on), don't give people incentives to pirate it instead (DRM)
Comet 28th January 2010, 17:11 Quote
I see nothing wrong with DRM if it remains civil. Besides they allow up to 10 instalations with the online option. And better than consoles with that you don't need a CD. You can just install the game on your laptop or whatever and you're free to go. Much better than the old days. Seams good to me.
AS for people being able to crack it. Probably. Nothing is hack free. But DICE is beign smart on this.
The fun on this games has a lot to do with online playing. Bad Company 2 dedicated servers software won't be freely available. Those interested will have to rent the server from DICE partners worldwide (same system as used in Americas Army). What this means is that you'll have more official branded(ranked) servers. And the private servers are servers bought by legit owners of the game but as people won't have access to server files it will be alot harder if not impossible to find hacked servers that don't do any server side authentication. Remember most online games do both a client and server side authentication. So yes you'll probably find the authentication hacked on the client side, but not on the server side. Thus no online gameplay in Bad Company 2. One of the main reasons to get this game afterall.
This is in my opinion the way to go. We'll have to wait and see but I think they may have solved a big chunk of the piracy problem.
If the game is actually as good as it seams it may show alot of potential on the PC with people actually buying the game. And hopefully will give developers the confidence to keep supporting PC gaming.
runadumb 28th January 2010, 17:36 Quote
i normally bitch about this stuff but honestly that seems fair enough. online authication to play without cd or local disk check. i have no problems with this. oh and when was warhead D-Drm'ed? last time i checked it still had install limit. shame, i want it
Cerberus90 28th January 2010, 17:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN
That's fine by me.

But what if your HDD dies and you can't uninstall the game? Although, if that happens 10 times in a row then losing a game would probably be the least of your concerns.

Exactly. Whenever I reinstall windows, I don't go through uninstalling all my programs. I just wipe my C drive, (after backing up whatever), reinstall windows, then start reinstalling stuff.

Why can't we just have simple disk checks, and even, online serial number checking. I don't see how SecuROM has any benefit over these methods. Both of them can be cracked, as will be proven on release of the game, so why not just use a simple system thats been used for ages. If it aint broke, don't fix it!!!

I think EA just like being obtuse, maybe they want to see how much crap they can load their games with before people stop buying it.
13eightyfour 28th January 2010, 18:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by uz1_l0v3r
The comment about DRM only penalising paying customers is complete facile bunk. That's like saying electronic tags and security gates penalises people buying from Debenhams,

How is that the same thing? If i buy something from a shop the tags get taken off, and the item is mine, i dont have to get the tags removed every time i want to use what i bought!!

Trackers and immobilisers are for my benefit not the car manufactures, They are to prevent people stealing my car!!

Yes the DRM issue does my head in aswell, and yes hearing comments on it does drag. But the fact is IT DOESNT WORK! BC2 will be all over torrent sites within a week of release.

The best solution imo would be to reward those that actually buy the games
[ZiiP] NaloaC 28th January 2010, 19:06 Quote
I have absolutely no problems with DRM in general and this DRM that is for BC2 is more than acceptable.

Does it hinder your playing the game in any way, shape or form? No. Simple as that.
I ask then, how does it penalise you?

Impulse and it's games are DRM free, only need to register your game if you so wish. Demigod being a great little example. Fantastic game, but it was pirated something like three times more than it sold.

The DRM, whilst people gripe about it, it does not stop you from playing the game, at all. Even games that have stupid DRM, such as FarCry 2 (10 installs) were acceptable. If you uninstall a game 10 times, you either are undecided if you like it, or you love reformatting your machine. It even had the uninstall codes to send that you could balance out your installations.

Complaining about DRM is silly in my own personal opinion. Pointless bloatware such as Games For Windows Live, there is a topic to complain about, or IW.net, not DRM.
DriftCarl 28th January 2010, 20:02 Quote
I dont mind DRM, if they wanna waste their resources on tying then they can, as long as it doesnt impact my gaming experience.

Steam has done a fantastic job with their distribution system.
I will admit that I have pirated games in the past, its easy to get onto a torrent site and sit there waiting for a download.
But since steam has grown(i had it back when it first started) I have purchased multiple games on the platform, it is easy, downloads everything, automatically updates, is effecticly a cloud backup and has a network community.
I only really play MP games so it does me fine.
I bought HL2/ Episode 1 and 2/ GTA4, UT2004, MW2, pre-ordered star trek online( got a refund thou didnt like the beta much) and have pre-ordered bad company 2.
If it wasnt for the efficiency of steam, I probably would have pirated all those games(except the MMO)
I just hope that bad company 2 doesnt annoy me too much with the extra EA registration
mrbens 28th January 2010, 20:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanMarine
Cracked in 27 days :)

27 minutes!
bogie170 28th January 2010, 21:24 Quote
I just played the beta for an hour. Shitty console port anyway. I just cancelled my pre-order.
DXR_13KE 28th January 2010, 22:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbens
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanMarine
Cracked in 27 days :)

27 minutes!

before it gets out.
Farfalho 28th January 2010, 23:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZERO <ibis>
How about I just boycott this game too and guess what NO stupid DRM!

You just want to do that so you will be invited to the EA HQ to see how the game is developing, admit it! Just like L4D 2
Vigilante 29th January 2010, 00:53 Quote
I think one primary problem is that publishers STILL think that a pirate download = lost sale.

Utter crap, that is. Many people (Everyone I know who chooses to pirate games, at least) download pirate copies as a no-frills no-limits demo version of a game - We all know how frustrating it is to find a game we like, download the demo, play it for maybe half an hour until the demo ends and think its great. We buy the game, just to find that 10 minutes after the paid content kicks in, the game is a repetetive grindfest for 30 hours, and probably with a bad ending to boot.

I'm not in the least bit ashamed to say that I pirated Borderlands not long after it came out. I played it for around 11 hours (ingame time) before deciding it was WORTH the £30 it cost, and as I enjoyed it so much I paid the additional £14 for the two DLC's as well over steam.

When publishers get it into their heads that games that are actually good will sell well regardless of pirate download figures, and that DRM is just a mechanism for punishing those that DO decide to pay for the game, we will finally have a successful PC gaming ecosystem once again.
Krayzie_B.o.n.e. 29th January 2010, 01:02 Quote
Come on people this is JOKErom. It's not that mutated, H1N1, evil empire feces of a program STARFORCE. (I would induce bodily harm if someone put that crap on my PC)

I don't like Securom or anything on my PC that I don't want but they have to try to protect their hard work from Seeds and Peers. This version seems pretty tame and if my resource manager says other wise well then...ARRRRRg Matey.

I think BBC2 will be a good enough game that people will want to buy and play online. DICE has done a honorable thing by making a PC build version that's dedicated to PC owners instead of porting some crap over from the gimp360.

Dice is not those Neanderthals at Infinity Ward. Dice has shown us respect so lets respect them. But if you want to complain about something lets all BOYCOTT and complain about Games For Windows Live I hate that Micro$uck crap.

Can't wait to play Battlefield Bad Company 2
thewelshbrummie 29th January 2010, 01:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by thEcat
27 years?

Are they targeting the next XBox refresh?
<couldn't resist>

Their drm sounds quite civil to me.

It's still excessive and a dealbreaker - I'll happily point you to possibly my favourite game ever released, Carrier Command - released back in 1987.

I still play it occassionally even though it has been 23 years since is was released. Thanks to Dosbox it's still perfectly playable but I seriously doubt any game released now will be as playable in 23 years time if it's laced with DRM, even with a fully working app that accurately emulates Win XP/Vista/7 - who's to say DICE wil still have operational serves for this in 2033? I just don't see that happening - just look at Microsoft deciding to drop the Play For Sure servers in 2008, just 4 years after launching the service and serves needed to licence purchased music (I appreciate that was a music DRM service, but there's nothing stopping game developers doing the same thing without warning - it's certainly been written into plenty of EA EULAs I've seen recently (i.e. every recent C&C release)).
Psytek 29th January 2010, 05:18 Quote
What's the point? People who pirate it will remove the secureROM, and it wont' do a thing to solve piracy. It's bullshit.

It serves no purpose whatsoever.
woodss 29th January 2010, 09:17 Quote
Virtualised gaming will kill the need for drm, drm is the industry's last clutch at a disk system that works against pirates
gavomatic57 29th January 2010, 09:44 Quote
Sounds quite civil to me too. Regardless, it isn't a lazy console port like MW2 and differs from the console version, and that is something worth supporting.
phuzz 29th January 2010, 09:57 Quote
Well, at least they're not insisting on GfWL :)
shanky887614 29th January 2010, 10:49 Quote
securom dosnt work within a few weeks to months a patch will be realised to bypass this
MaverickWill 29th January 2010, 11:36 Quote
I LOVE the comments slating DRM by people who probably haven't read the article.

There's the option of a CD check, or an "activate once, reactivate by the time you're 50" online check. How cool is that? More to the point, how relaxed is that for DRM? This beats Steam's DRM by some margin, IMO. Especially since I don't have an internet connection at home.

CD checks have been a staple of PC games for 10+ years now. It's actually a very simple way of doing DRM, too. Official CD in? - Game on!
Xir 29th January 2010, 11:38 Quote
Quote:
the entire DRM package will therefore be uninstalled when the game is and that it only runs when the game does.
Fair enough
Quote:
one online, one offline
Well what a great idea!
Finally no No-CD "patches" needed, and for the paranoid, no internet connection needed.

A lot better than this constant-connection-if-you-want-to-play that seems to be the rage right now.
IF it works the way he says this is how DRM could have been all this time
shanky887614 29th January 2010, 11:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Quote:
the entire DRM package will therefore be uninstalled when the game is and that it only runs when the game does.
Fair enough
Quote:
one online, one offline
Well what a great idea!
Finally no No-CD "patches" needed, and for the paranoid, no internet connection needed.

A lot better than this constant-connection-if-you-want-to-play that seems to be the rage right now.
IF it works the way he says this is how DRM could have been all this time

i second this with the cd patches they are a pain to get working (i have a very bad dvd drive i need a new one)
i dont mind so much about the no-cd thing becasue if i need to ill just convert game to iso on pc then mout it with ultraiso (i can't stand the disk spinning in my dvd drive it makes a sought of clicking noise constantly)
Zurechial 30th January 2010, 03:14 Quote
This seems like a tolerable DRM implementation to me.
Ten concurrent installs? Online & offline activation? Disc-check option?

It's certainly better than I'd expect these days and a step in the right direction.
If it slows pirates down (at all) without annoying customers then it's doing its job and leaves little reason to complain, in fairness.
gurboura 30th January 2010, 20:56 Quote
I pirate games to try them out before I fork over 60 bucks (sometimes higher) of my money to find that it's complete crap. If I download it and it's complete crap, I won't buy it, and no money is loss.

Has anyone noticed that demos are becoming no more and game plots, stories are getting crappier? It's because its what publishers want. They want to publish a game as soon as possible, and with no demo, they don't have to worry about people finding out it's a crappy game, so they fork over the 60 bucks for it, find it's a crappy game and have no way of getting their money back.

It's becoming a con artists dreams. I shall continue to pirate until publishers understand they can't keep doing this and DRMs are a joke.
ZERO <ibis> 30th January 2010, 23:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farfalho
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZERO <ibis>
How about I just boycott this game too and guess what NO stupid DRM!

You just want to do that so you will be invited to the EA HQ to see how the game is developing, admit it! Just like L4D 2

If I was to go there it would only be to spit in their face and yell about how many great games they have ruined. A dam monkey could probably run that company better lol.
brave758 31st January 2010, 20:33 Quote
Yep sounds like a good system to me, sounds well thought out and fair.
Mister_X 1st February 2010, 13:50 Quote
As DRM goes its not the most evil i've seen...
Richh999 3rd February 2010, 03:06 Quote
Well I'm usually really anti DRM as I have multiple windows installs and play my games on which ever one is loaded and this system to me sounds prefectly good, I do not see any problems as you can just use the disc all the time and not have to worry about online or do it online and then reactive in 27 years time or whenever you install it on your second pc, or third or fourth or fifth or even sixth and seventh and eighth and nineth and tenth and if you have more than that many computers then you can afford to but more than one copy... I really don't see what the issue is with this, Its not like you have to install gfwl like gta which was a pita....
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