The Chronicles of Riddick DRM Sparks Outcry

By Chris Faylor, Apr 09, 2009 10:22am PDT Reports that the PC version of The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena can only be installed three times have sparked another round of outcry from the extremely vocal PC community, though publisher Atari says these reports aren't entirely accurate.

The PC version of Starbreeze's stealthy first-person shooter does indeed have a three-machine install limit, Atari told Shacknews in a statment, but customers can acquire more activations, assuming "it's a legitimate request," by calling the Atari hotline.

"We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy," explained Atari. "The [initial] activation code lets you install the game on up to 3 machines, with an unlimited number of installs on each assuming that you don't change any major hardware in your PC or re-install your operating system."

Concerns arose earlier in the month after an Atari Forums post, citing PC Gamer, claimed that the DRM was non-revocable. This led many to believe that a copy of the PC game could only ever be installed three times, with no chance of recovery after that.

In response, Amazon.com was flooded with negative reviews and one-star ratings for the game. One review claimed that "DRM restrictions have left this game unplayable," adding "it isn't even any good." Another was titled "3 Installs: Piracy wins again".

Machine-based activation limits are nothing new in the land of PC DRM. Far Cry 2, Spore, Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box, Crysis Warhead, Dead Space and many other titles have used this particular technique in an attempt to restrict piracy.

Typically, legitimate owners can either revoke past installs or call customer support for assistance if they find themselves hampered by the limit.

An enhanced remake of The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (PC, Xbox) with an entirely new campaign and the addition of multiplayer, Dark Athena (PC, PS3, X360) launched in North America this week, and arrives in Europe on April 24.

Thanks to everyone that sent this in.

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  • I don't see what all the complaining is about, the funny part is I don't think it's the pirates as they play their games without any copy protection anyway. Basicly the gripe is, if one pays X amount for a game, it should be theirs to do whatever they want with it. Period, I get that. However after an initial period of time, the 3 time limit is removed and one is free to do what ever they want with it.

    I have no idea if DRM stops 'extra' piracy or not, but the money spent on DRM is wasted money IMO and could be spent developing the game to be even better. I think a simple copy protection would be enough to stop common piracy much like your average DVD movie. The hardcore crackers will always find away around any DRM and seed it about the net so why waste the money? I like many other average joe's just buy the game and play it. I do not waste my time finding a pirate copy, installing all kinds of crap to get it working and chance getting a nasty virus.

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