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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  • I wouldn't care at all about schemes like this as long as a) they transparently work, and don't lock me out incorrectly or otherwise screw up my computing/gaming experience, and b) they are disabled or at least dialed back to something less draconian once some amount of time has passed from release.

    Skipping past part a) for the moment and on to part b):

    I'm curious about what the actual costs tradeoff looks like (for even the most well-behaved anti-piracy measure) as time passes. Pretty soon the initial retail sales-gasm window will be over, and any cracks will be widely disseminated. Does the hit from customer ill-will and support costs start to outweigh any benefits? Seems like it might.