Grand Theft Auto 4 PC Uses SecuROM DRM, Rockstar Addresses Common Complaints

The December 2-due PC release of Grand Theft Auto IV will utilize the oft-criticized SecuROM copy protection, publisher Rockstar has confirmed, though some controversial SecuROM features, such as install limits, will not be utilized.

"SecuROM is the most effective form of disc based copy protection and allows us to manage authenticity on a global level for Grand Theft Auto IV," IGN was told.

The game requires a one-time activation via an internet connection, and those with a physical copy will need to have the game disc in their DVD drive while they play.

However, the retail version will have no install limits, with Rockstar clarifying that the physical version "can be installed on an unlimited number of PCs by the retail disk owner." As for digital distribution, the company stated that "each digital download vendor has its own policy on the number of installations that are allowed."

The studio also noted, in an ominous tone, that "using a cracked copy of GTA IV PC will result in varying changes to the game experience," explaining that "these can range from comical to game-progress-halting changes."

More details addressing common SecuROM complains, including required software installations and re-authentication, can be found below:

GTA IV PC also requires a number of software installations, including Games For Windows, Adobe Flash, Internet Explorer, SecuROM and our Rockstar Games Social Club application.

An active internet connection is required to play multi-player games and upload user-created videos, but the offline single-player mode is always available - even if you aren't connected to the internet.

GTA IV PC uses SecuROM for protecting our EXE until street date has passed, to ensure the retail disk is in the computer drive, and is used for Product Activation of the title. Product Activation is a one time only online authentication when installing the game. GTA IV has no install limits for the retail disc version of the game, and that version can be installed on an unlimited number of PCs by the retail disk owner.

You will only need to authenticate the retail disk once per Windows account per machine. Even if you uninstall and re-install the game, it will not have to be re-authenticated.

There are some unique circumstances under which you may have to re-authenticate the software on a machine. For example, if you change any two 'major' components on your PC, i.e. CPU and video card, you will have to re-authenticate the title.

Also, if you install on a different PC or under a different Windows account on the same machine, you will have to authenticate that installation as well, but this is standard to any software needing a serial.

All versions of the game will use SecuROM for Product Activation. Downloadable versions of the game will have additional code if the vendor requires it, such as Valve's Steam program.

As part of the uninstall process, the Rockstar Games Social Club application and the GTA IV game can both be removed. Shared software and plug-ins, such as Games for Windows Live, Adobe Flash and Direct-X may have to be deleted separately. In regards to SecuROM, deleting GTA IV will remove the active functions if it is the only application that requires SecuROM, but some traces will remain, such as a registry entry and file, which allows you to reinstall without re-entering your authentication code. We are working with SecuROM to post information on our support pages regarding how to remove these inactive traces of the program for users who wish to do so.

In addition to SecuROM, the PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV supports 32-person multiplayer--double that of the console versions--and sports a new Video Editor. If that's something you're into, don't forget to check out the system requirements.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    November 28, 2008 10:23 AM

    Epic Failure.

    • reply
      November 28, 2008 10:28 AM

      Ah well, can't win them all....

    • reply
      November 28, 2008 10:29 AM

      That much fine print to just play the game is ridiculous.

      If I buy it, that should be the end of anyone's involvement but my own in my use of the game.