Spore, Mass Effect PC to Require Online Validation Every Ten Days to Function

By Nick Breckon, May 06, 2008 1:28pm PDT Update: Electronic Arts has relented to the pressure.

Original story: BioWare technical producer Derek French has said that the PC versions of both Mass Effect and Spore will make use of copy protection that will require online validation every ten days in order for the games to continue working.

"After the first activation, SecuROM requires that [Mass Effect PC] re-check with the server within ten days (in case the CD Key has become public/warez'd and gets banned)," said French in a post on the BioWare forums.

If customers do not come online after ten days, the game will cease to function.

"After 10 days a re-check is required before the game can run," added French. "..An internet connection is not required to install, just to activate the first time, and every 10 days after."

The check is run when users activate the game's executable file, with the first re-check coming within "5 days remaining in the 10 day window."

According to French, Maxis' Spore will also make use of the same scheme: "[Electronic Arts] is ready for us and getting ready for Spore, which will use the same system."

French also noted that the online requirement will be clearly labeled on the games' packaging.

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149 Threads | 592 Comments

  • Compare to the music industri...

    The also fight piracy in many different way and then we got artist for example Nine Inch Nails with trent Reznor.

    Instead of putting alot of drm sheit on they released the music for free download and then sold copies with nice stuff added.

    I would gladly buy a game if it had something around that made it worth it, like including nice box, map, poster or some other treat. Not just a crappy plastic box a cd/dvd and a pdf manual.

    I want more than that for my money, or lower prices. just a disc and a plastic box isn´t worth 50$ for me
    Especially not when the put this drm crap on.

    Piracy has always existed and will always exist, so instead of putting alot of amny in anti-piracy sollution give something back so the legal buyers instead like nice exclusive editions with extras.

  • You know, this isn't as big of a deal as people are making it. If you don't like it don't buy the product. Being in the video game industry for 25 years now and seeing piracy steal millions of dollars from the pockets of hard working men and women who produce something they have a strong personal connection to... not unlike an ARTIST.. it's hard to see.

    Entire companies have been shut down for good due to piracy alone.

    If you don't have an internet connection that is always on, sure this is a bummer. Don't blame the company though blame the pirates.

    No one is treating you like a criminal. It sucks that criminals DO make it harder for legitimate people to do the things they want to do but this is a truth in almost all industries.. not just gaming.

    Besides I doubt 99% of the people complaining are truly "innocent" of piracy. They own every single mp3 or movie you have on your computer.. right? Sure they do...

    Finally, when speaking of computer software.. you have never owned the game itself. You own a license to use the software, and the company reserves the right to stop supporting it, to remove features or to add features you don't like. Same with DVDs.. you don't own the movie. You own the disc it comes on and a license to view it. Ownership would entitle you to a host of benefits that you will never recieve from buying a DVD or game software.

    Lighten up about it. Mass Effect is great and I am sure Spore will be incredible.. and for the .0001% of the population of the market they are sold to that don't have Internet connections it will be a sad day when they realize they can't play their games.

    The alternative? Charing 75$ or more for a game to protect their (publisher's) investment. I think I would rather they do something like this.

  • I'm also worried about another aspect of the problem...

    Lets just say that I'll buy this game. I do have an "always on" connection to the Internet, so ok then! (but less than a year ago, i didn't have any internet connection at all, so I wouldn't have been able to play that kind of game, but that's not my point).

    I have a connection to the Internet, so the game has the possibility to do its little online verifications... ok...

    but what if, one day, the EA verification server gets offline (because EA goes broke, for instance)... how will i play my game then?

    I have bought a lot of games, and I like the idea to be able to play them once more if I want to... but with this kind of "protection" tool, there will always be the risk that, one day, your game won't work anymore, because it won't be able to do its online werification... because the verification server won't exist anymore...

    what then... (well, maybe the game will be totally retro by then... but I still find myself to play Doom once in a while)

    When I buy something, I want to own it, and I hate the idea not to be able to play whenever I want, in addition to the fact that my game could just go "poof"

    At least, a steam game can be played offline

  • All in all this kind of thing will just lead me to do the same thing I did for Bioshock. I bought them game, had so many issues (and you cant get your money back after its opened) I just went and got a cracked version. Plays like it should now. Oh yea and I can install it more then 5 time like I should be able to with software I have actually purchased.

    Those kind of limits are unnecessary. Yes piracy is bad, yes I wish they would not do it but I really wish that game creators would just suck it up and quite trying to beat them with all these methods that just hurt us that actually buy the games. Look its simple, no mater what is done at some point, some how the game is going to get cracked.

    Worse yet what happens when the server I am supposed to authenticate with goes down? Even if its just a day its down that means I have just been robbed. That would be the same as me buying something at the store then one day they grab it out of my house to return it the next day. ITs going to happen to. Hell knowing how things go you might hit a week or two every now and then where its down. Really going to make a lot of people glad they spent that $50 on your product.

    This is dumb. I have 3 copies od Starcraft and Broodwar which I could have easily pirated ... no protection. Same for Worms Armageddon. Wish PC game companies would look back to those days and get a clue.

  • I think this will be good. Here is a "intrusive copy-protection" that the publishers think is un-crackable. And they put it on two "blockbuster" PC games. Ok, now we will really see just why console to PC ports and Innovative PC games don't see that well (as I expect to hear from the publishers after release). IF (and I know this is a big IF) this does work and is not hacked (lol) then developers can finally stop blaming Piracy for low PC game sales. I am so sick of game resources going into Anti-piracy when the product and distribution does not meet the needs of the consumer.

    I am all for the growth of the PC game market but I do not think Piracy is the problem with PC game sales. I think it is a scape-goat and the solutions to it are punishing regular users and poor people who can't afford your game (probably the majority of pirates).

    If some rich kid who could afford your game decides he wants to pirate your game, he is going to do it. His motivation is probably that he has several consoles and is just not that interested in your game. And your game had no built in reason NOT to pirate. If your game was the gift-that-keeps-giving and has value long after a one-time play-through, then its worth a purchase. Instead, he plays Crysis through once, deletes it, and goes back to playing COD4 online on his 360 with an extra $50 in his pocket. Of course his console games are pirated, too, so don't blame pirates for the success of consoles.

    Encourage people not to pirate. Pack in more value. Give people a reason not buy into your product/company. No more crappy, < 20 hours, "by the formula" video games to sell to the masses and pay for your money hats. If you do not have an innovative product or something people WANT to support, then they will not.

    Same problem with music. I stopped buying CD albums for $20 long before it was cool to download them because it is stupid to pay $20 for a CD that gets scratched/lost and that I can listen to on the radio / just don't need to LEASE the RIGHTS to the IP. Stupid, I just wanted to listen to a song, shouldn't need to be that hard/expensive.

    Do I cry at night that super-mega-pop stars get a few less millions of $$ to blow in dramatic ways and make the cover of gossip mags? No, I do not. Do I cry for big game publishers who can't ride the wave of Video game popularity into fortune 500 companies? Not a chance. Do I want good, creative game developers to make a living making video games that they believe in and enjoy making? Yes. I will continue to buy every Blizzard/Relic/Valve game that comes out. But I'm not spending any money on soulless games made by EA for $$. Not a chance.

    For games. Make it easy. Make it worth the money. Price it appropriately for value and distribution. Lower distribution and advertising costs by going to online distribution/torrents and market to the community, not the masses. PC games are niche, they don't have mass appeal like a Console. But we will support our industry, we will buy games that are good, and we will support hard working, creative developers.

    AND we will be here when that console looks AGED and everyone still has a PC. And we will be here when that Console is just a PC that plays games....(duh i think....)

  • There is a lot of anti-PC sentiment in the ol'gaming market. It probably started much earlier, but to me, it began with Oblivion.. And then on to Bioshock whose DRM WAS problematic. This will invariably be problematic as well.

    The big problem with Spore is that the content people create will be shared over some sorta network, if the user ticks that option Yes, anyway. Soooo, the spectre of DRM failure hangs overhead despite the fact that most users will have an internet connection to play Spore with. How-ev-er much the industry believes in DRM and how much money will be wasted into its improvement, hopefully they're set aside their eternal fetish with experimenting so freely with it and just come to terms with the fact that people love to break their shit.

    I dunno why they're pushing this on Mass Effect other than as a test bed to see if they really, REALLY, want it on Spore. For Spore, it makes more sense. Because. Yeah. Content via Net.
    But w/ Mass Effect? What?

    And what else will their DRM sniff for in addition to its game check that'll no doubt end up being widely disabled by the ensuing cracks?