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.
Does it cost you money to call their hotline?
Except the time you are wasting? Time = money
it doesn't matter if it were a toll free number, or if the process was somehow guaranteed to only take five minutes of your time. (just a quick look at Atari's web site and I could not find any phone number to call, nor is the product even listed on their support page).
Placing the burden on the legitimate customer to prove their ownership of the game for continued activations is beyond infuriating and downright insulting, especially when you consider it does nothing to stop piracy but is really only effective at devaluing used game sales.
I know, I wasn't saying anything else.