Simultaneous Installgate 07: 2K Ups BioShock Install Limit, Plans FOV Adjustment Patch

By Chris Remo, Aug 23, 2007 6:24pm PDT With a swathe of announcements sure to send shockwaves reverberating throughout the BioShock internet community, publisher 2K Games has replaced BioShock's initial limit of two simultaneous PC installations with what community manager Elizabeth Tobey calls a "5 by 5 plan."

Under the new terms, users will be able to install the game on up to five computers, with the ability to reinstall the game on each computer up to five times. 2K will release a "revoke app" that should address issues resulting from the original limitations.

In a stunning reversal, 2K also announced plans to release a patch allowing PC users to adjust the game's FOV despite claiming the existing widescreen implementation was by design, as documented in our coverage of Aspect Ratiogate 07. An Xbox 360 patch is under consideration as well.

Prior to today's announcement, resourceful gamer Racer_S took matters into his own hands, applying a digital brand of widescreen vigilante justice and creating an unofficial patch. Tobey tipped her hat to the fan's efforts.

Along with the patch and policy changes, 2K is strengthening its tech support team, and has posted a technical FAQ addressing numerous concerns regarding SecuROM DRM and other issues. The company pledged a more streamlined experience with 2K and SecuROM tech support.

Finally, 2K has fixed its momentarily inactive activation server, allowing those previously unable to finish their game installs to do so.

2K appears to be proactively plugging holes, but Shacknews remains vigilant as Bioshockgate 07 continues to unfold. Stay tuned.

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62 Threads* | 237 Comments*

  • Love that FAQ.

    SecuROM does not fingerprint the hardware. When an activation is performed, a unique ID is generated to identify the system being used for the activation process... The only data collected is the serial being used for activation, the IP address used for activation, an identifier for the software being activated, and the hash of the machine ID.

    See? It doesn't fingerprint the hardware! It... fingerprints the hardware! And sends it out over the intertubes! For a company to catalog, profile, and exploit!

    And it's not a rootkit, but it installs a Windows service to allow a non-administrative account to do things that would normally require administrative access, and it inserts Windows Registry keys with embedded nulls, making them undeletable without special tools! Just like a rootkit!

    *head explodes*

  • People should stop making concessions for a game you or others paid full price for. Timed or other limited installs is ridiculous. They're taking drm to the extreme and slowly pulling back and waiting for a pat on the back to set the standard. - "Oh, didn't you hear, 2k upped the install limit from 2 to 5.. Wow, that's awesome!"

    Then you have people questioning others as to why they need to install it X number of times in a day or over a period of time or why do you need to format X times a year. You should be questioning 2k as to why they're employing such draconian restrictions to a game that you paid $60 for.

    "So I called the Canadian number, which went through. After four minutes on hold, I was told that the only way they'd unlock it is if I take a photo of the disc and the manual and email it to them."

    "It's now been more than 24 hours since I sent 2K tech support a photo of my BioShock disc and manual, and I have yet to hear from them about my code being reactivated. Luckily I work in a magical computer game wonderland, and there happened to be an extra copy here.."

  • I can think of one more caveat that 2K could give us that would make this all easier to swallow - after some amount of time, the install limits reset.

    For example, after 180 days your Windows XP key's activation resets. Yes, this means if you were devious enough then you could use it on another PC in six months but in practice, it just makes it easier for those of us who reformat semifrequently.

    In the case of this game, it would alleviate the issues of "oh shit I forgot to uninstall before I wiped my hard drive" because you know it's been six months since the last time you installed, so one of your activations restored itself. And it would still alleviate the piracy issue because how many pirates do you know that could wait six months for something?

    Also if SecureROM/2K could make the something-happened-please-contact-us issue automated, like Microsoft did. If you change too much stuff and have to reactivate then you call a number, punch in a bunch of digits you see on screen, then you type in a bunch of numbers that they send back to you. SecureROM/2K can still use this method to track which keys are being overused (in case the whole "release tool" thing gets hacked)

  • Bioshock's release has actually recovered with some grace. The game was only released two days ago. Any server crunch for Steam purchasers is long gone, an FOV patch is in the works (for those that want it, simmer down), and a 5 current install cap instead of a ridiculous 2 has been achieved. That ain't so bad for 48 hours.

    As anathema as the idea of de-authorizing a game might be, 5 concurrent installs & the ability to gain them back as you de-authorize isn't that tough. If they only added iTunes like web administration, where you could de-authorize all installs to regain your tokens and start from scratch, I'd be pretty content.