According to consumer advocacy website The Consumerist, a tech support representative at publisher Electronic Arts confirmed to a user on the official Mass Effect forums that no additional activations are earned by uninstalling the game.
Those gamers who have reached their three install limit must contact EA technical support to request additional activations. Though the protocol is meant to guard against piracy, many affected users claim that hardware issues, operating system reformats and other technical problems led to a swift exhaustion of activation credits.
The Demiurge-developed port was originally planned to ship with a DRM scheme requiring users to reactivate the game every ten days via an internet connection, which was later revised into the current setup following an uproar of angry consumers. Another EA-published title, EA Maxis' life sim Spore, will hit PCs with a similar DRM package.
The PC edition of 2K Boston and Australia's BioShock features a similar system which allows only five installations of the game at any given time. The developer released a pre-uninstallation utility two months after the game's debut to refund activation slots to the user.
However, that software is not able to revoke a BioShock activation if the installation is rendered inaccessible by circumstances such as hard disk failures.
As with Mass Effect, BioShock owners who wish to exceed the limit must contact 2K Games to request more installations, which are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Shacknews has contacted an Electronic Arts representative for comment, but has not heard back as of this writing.
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