BioShock 2 PC Requirements, DRM Revealed

Update: The listing has been updated to declare a high "15 machine activation limit," after which--if hit without any deactivations--players would presumably need to contact support before they could install and play BioShock 2 again.

Update 2: Steam has once again updated its listing, now stating that a digital download of BioShock 2 sports a "5 machine activation limit," though maker 2K states "we are using SecuROM only as a disc check method for the retail copy of BioShock 2," adding that you won't need an internet connection to save single-player progress.

Update 3: Concluding DRMGate 2010, Steam has entirely removed the activation limit from its listing, while 2K's Elizabeth Tobey clarifies: "The Games for Windows Live key you get has 15 activations on it. If you reach 16, contacting Microsoft will get the key reset."

Original: The PC system requirements for BioShock 2 have been revealed by Steam, which also offers discounts and pre-order bonuses for the subaqueous sequel.

While BioShock 2 shares BioShock's use of SecuROM DRM, there's no indication that the sequel follows its decision to limit the number of installations. This proved a thorny issue for BioShock and the limit was quickly increased then ultimately removed.

Developed by 2K Marin and 2K Australia with multiplayer by Dark Sector developer Digital Extremes, BioShock 2 arrives for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on February 9, with a very impressive Special Edition on offer. Work on BioShock 2 downloadable content is already underway, with 2K Marin describing its plans as "pretty aggressive."

  • Processor: AMD Athlon 64 Processor 3800+ 2.4Ghz or better, Intel Pentium 4 530 3.0Ghz Processor or better
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Graphics: NVIDIA 7800GT 256MB graphics card or better, ATI Radeon X1900 256MB graphics card or better
  • Hard Drive: 11GB
  • Sound: 100% DirectX 9.0C compliant sound card or onboard sound
  • OS: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
  • DirectX: DirectX 9.0c
  • Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Dual Core 2.60Ghz, Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 Dual Core 2.13Ghz
  • Memory: 3GB
  • Graphics: NVIDIA 8800GT 512MB graphics card or better, ATI Radeon HD4830 512MB graphics card or better
Other Requirements:
  • Initial installation requires one-time internet connection.
  • Ability to save game, earn achievements, receive title updates and online play requires log-in to Games for Windows LIVE.
  • Software installations required including Microsoft Visual C++2008 Runtime Libraries, Games for Windows LIVE client, Games for Windows LIVE Client Patch, Sony DADC SecuROM, Microsoft DirectX.
Filed Under
From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 20, 2010 7:44 AM

    and there it goes, they just lost my money...

    • reply
      January 20, 2010 7:55 AM

      Because of the requirements, or the DRM?

      I might actually upgrade my processor and motherboard for this. I'm past due for that sort of upgrade anyway.

      • reply
        January 20, 2010 12:10 PM

        Make sure you do that before installing the game then, otherwise you end up using 2 installs of the install limits.

        • reply
          January 20, 2010 8:10 PM

          Yeah I made that mistake with the original Bioshock. I bought it without even knowing came with install limits.

          After installing it (activation 1), I realized my video card was good enough for it so I got a new one.

          I was due for a format so I decided, lets get it running on a clean system (activation 2).

          I then realized that a video card upgrade wasn't going to cover it. So I took advantage of an Intel Retial Edge deal and picked up the Core 2 Quad. It came with Vista, but I was used to XP so I dual booted start. I mainly used XP at the start and installed the game there (activation 3).

          But I started playing with Vista more and with the release of SP1 I decided to make it my primary system. the system ran flawless by the way and I ended up installing Bioshock in Vista as well (activation 4).

          That all took place in the first month I had the game.

          Not again.

    • reply
      January 20, 2010 8:04 AM

      Gonna guess the DRM, the need to log into GFWL to even save your game, the need for an internet activation.

      Those system specs are pretty easy to match these days..

      • reply
        January 20, 2010 8:10 AM

        Who fuckin cares anymore. Fallout 3 was like this. Unless you live in the boonies with only satellite internet, but even then how much bandwidth do you think GFWL uses just to sign in?

        • reply
          January 20, 2010 8:17 AM

          GFWL sign-in was optional for FO3.

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 8:19 AM

            exactly, you can play and beat Fallout 3 without ever using GFWL. You just had to install the program and that was it.

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 8:46 AM

            I'd bet it's the same here.

            paging dahanese...

      • reply
        January 20, 2010 8:17 AM

        you don't need to log in to GFWL at all. learn to internets.

        • reply
          January 20, 2010 8:28 AM

          "Ability to save game, earn achievements, receive title updates and online play requires log-in to Games for Windows LIVE."

          So this req. is false? Just curious.

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 8:31 AM

            I'd believe the writeup. You will have to LOG IN to GFWL to save, according to the information we've been provided.

            • reply
              January 20, 2010 8:33 AM

              no, you create a local account and "log in" to that. just like every other GFWL game...

              • reply
                January 20, 2010 9:15 AM

                I believe that it works like Resident Evil for PC. You have to create a LIVE account. It cant be an OFFLINE account to be able to save game. If you create an OFFLINE account, you wont be able to save it there as it cant authenticate with Windows via GFWL.

                Although, if you dont like all these, I'm pretty sure there will be "easier" mod later on....

                • reply
                  January 20, 2010 11:18 AM

                  I have RE5, you can create a local account, you can save.

                  • reply
                    January 20, 2010 11:32 AM

                    it seems like a lot of peoples issues with GFWL is they don't know how to use a computer. :(

                    • reply
                      January 20, 2010 2:23 PM

                      Not liking to create an account(online or offline) for saving games != Now knowing how to use a computer.

                      • reply
                        January 20, 2010 2:47 PM

                        not liking to create an account is not the same thing as complaining that their old save games for FO3 or RE5(in this case) aren't there when they are offline. That is called "not knowing how to use it".

                        Keep your opinions in their relevant threads please, stop following me around assuming we are talking about the same thing you have been harping on for 5 hours.

            • reply
              January 20, 2010 9:06 AM

              Yeah, the trick is that you can "log in" in a offline accout and save there. Offline accounts are easy as pie, just type a name, you don't have to do anything more. I know this is the case, right now i am playing Dirt 2, with the GFWL offline account "Turin" in my computer.

              Sometimes people complain too much about GFWL.

              • reply
                January 20, 2010 9:57 AM

                Thanks for the tip.

              • reply
                January 20, 2010 10:16 AM

                ""Sometimes people complain too much about GFWL."

                Well I just know that GFWL was a complete pain in the ass for Gears Of War PC, so I am never ever touching that shit again.

                • reply
                  January 20, 2010 11:03 AM

                  I'm using GFWL with Batman AA, Fallout 3, Tinker, and GTA IV, and I only started within the last month. The current version runs without any problems. Everything has worked extremely well. It is no more obtrusive than Steam.

                  • reply
                    January 20, 2010 8:26 PM

                    How about you format your computer right now, or upgrade to a new one. Be sure to back up all your save games first. Put the save games right back where you found them and then load up Batman and try to continue your game. Let me know how it feels when it tells you, you have a corrupt save file and you can't continue playing Batman and be faced with the idea that you have to play the SP campaign all over again just for a chance to find all the little hidden riddles.

                    People like you make me sick. Looking down on others who run into the problems with a given piece of software and voice their concern online. You not having a problem, doesn't mean there isn't a problem with the system. You should have more respect for yourself and fellow gamers and demand more than this, especially for something you pay for.

                    • reply
                      January 21, 2010 3:47 PM

                      Dear Sunshine -

                      It's so good to hear that I am making you physically ill by relating my experience with GFWL. I can only hear it because I'm looking down on you from way up here and you are so insignificantly small that it's difficult to make out detail--is it just a tummy ache, or full-blown AIDS, or what? I'm guessing something that affects the aggression centers of your brain, or some other neurological condition. You should really get that checked out.

                      Oh, and two minutes of Googling found the solution to your "problem," which someone with proper backups would never encounter.

                      People like you make me happy. It reminds me that no matter how stumped I may be on a problem, there's someone else that can't punch his way out of a wet paper bag.

                      Best wishes,
                      The Cock

                      • reply
                        January 22, 2010 5:36 PM


                        Wow silly me. Backing up my entire documents folder including a folder called Eidos\Batman Arkham Asylum\ with three folders inside and one called SaveData. How stupid of me, what was I thinking.

                        I shouldn't need to do anything else to back up my game and continue after a format. I know now its an issue and I should look into it before formatting, but would most not. I would have to run into the problem or read about others having the problem to know what to look for. Thus sharing my issue is informing others of a particular problem. That is why I feel sharing that you never had an issue isn't really relevant to people that hit the forum to post their grievances with a particular service.

                        To me it seems to be a very flawed system. Most games are terrible when it comes to saves, I have to chase them all over the drive. I really wish they just put them in your documents folder in a folder labeled saved games and it shouldn't be encrypted or tied to any service.

                        I still stand by what I said, it may have been harsh and its not so much directed at you but everyone who never had an issue who assumes everyone that does is stupid. From spending most of life helping everyone I know with computer problems, I'm fairly certain I'm ahead of 90% of users when it comes to knowledge and experience. If I run into issues it likely many others would.

                • reply
                  January 20, 2010 11:19 AM

                  Gears of War for the pc is broken.

                  • reply
                    January 20, 2010 11:42 AM

                    Considering that what I was having was account creation and login issues I don't see how you can blame the game. But even if it was somehow GOW working badly with GFWL or something like that, I don't care who technically is to blame, I don't give second chances to systems like this, especially cosidering that this game has installation limitations on top of GFWL and Steam and that I am unable to buy ANY Take Two games on Steam anyway. I don't know why they would lockout a small county in the middle of the North Atlantic when every neighbouring(SP?) country(The UK, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, etc) have access to their games on Steam.

                    • reply
                      January 20, 2010 2:13 PM

                      No, seriously. Gears of War for PC was a huge waste of money. :( It's so buggy.

                      • reply
                        January 20, 2010 2:16 PM

                        GOW being buggy doesn't rule out GFWL being a piece of shit :)

                      • reply
                        January 20, 2010 10:52 PM

                        no idea what you're talking about. played it recently and the entire game was smooth as silk. didnt have to do anything with GFWL, just offline login.

                • reply
                  January 20, 2010 10:57 PM

                  GFWL hasnt been around that long in the scheme of things. Remember when Steam first started up? Everyone hated, whinged and bitched about it... Now after having time to mature its the leading premiere online service for digital distribution and online gaming... I only just started using GFWL recently with Fallout 3, GTA4, GOW (how was it a pain for GOW?) and a few other games and seriously its not that bad... Its not intrusive... I haven't even had to make an online login for anything yet...

                  I'm not dismissing that i'm sure people have had problems, but seriously what system hasn't had problems as it matures? I at least give things a second chance if they fk up.

              • reply
                January 20, 2010 12:03 PM

                The question is "why?"

                Why have to go through all this in the first place? Just load it up, play, save, done. It seems like all of these companies insist on adding extra shit in between putting in the disc and getting to play the game. I've pretty much had it.

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 8:35 AM

            updates and online play make sense, you will probably need a real GFWL to use those features.
            saving? acheivements? not a chance, you can use an offline profile for GFWL just like fallout3 and other games.

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 8:45 AM


            • reply
              January 20, 2010 12:32 PM

              chuck norris doesn't even sit

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 8:46 AM

            To clarify:

            - You can forego logging into GFWL and save to a "local only" profile. You won't be able to do MP or get achievements but you can forego GFWL.

            - If however you log into GFWL and save your game then you have to be logged into GFWL to load that game. If you get right down to it you could copy the saved game files from your GFWL directory to the local profile directory but that's outside of what a normal person would do.

            Honestly, this is how it is in Fallout 3 and I don't think it's a big deal personally.

            • reply
              January 20, 2010 8:53 AM

              If this is the case, then yeah it won't bother me too much. I don't want to have to create an online profile to play my single player game. Of course it makes sense that you need an online profile to do MP.

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 3:36 PM

            It is most likely a requirement. Red Faction: Guerilla REQUIRES you to log in to GFWL to save and load your game. There's probably a work-around for it somewhere out there though.

          • reply
            January 23, 2010 11:24 AM


      • reply
        January 20, 2010 8:31 AM

        yup, DRM it is. when are the developers gonna realise it kills their sales?

        • reply
          January 20, 2010 8:47 AM

          A game console is DRM and it only helps their sales. Your argument is invalid.

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 8:52 AM

            How is a game console DRM?

            • reply
              January 20, 2010 9:22 AM

              For disc-based titles, you must have the disc in the drive. Mild, completely tolerable, but DRM.

              You have to sign into a service like GFWL in order to play online. The console maker can lock you out if you violate the agreement, such as modifying the console. Or if you cheat.

              The console is designed to only allow games from a particular region to run (not all consoles do this).

              The console is designed such that you cannot run copied discs on it unless you hack it. And before you say "well of course", remember that this is the point of a lot of DRM.

              There's a concern that you might want to play a SecuROM-secured title in twenty years but the activation servers are down, but if twenty years from now you want to play your Xbox 360 title and your 360 is dead and they won't fix it any more and you can't find another 360 to buy then you can't play the game any more. I know this isn't really DRM and things like emulation will some day take up the slack but it underscores the point that you only get to play the game for as long as it is worthwhile to the console maker, or until your system dies.

              I agree that SecuROM making you activate your game is above and beyond what console players have to deal with. But consoles are DRM. And heck, so is Steam. It proves that DRM can be done right to the point where people are OK with it and even defend it.

              • reply
                January 20, 2010 11:00 PM

                well said. some people crucify all DRM, while using Steam for all their gaming o_O hypocritical? they just dont realise what "good" or "unobtrusive" DRM is when its being used.

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 8:54 AM

            do they pay you to say stuff like that?

            it's not helping. I won't but the game because of that, who knows how many more people won't... is that helpful?

            • reply
              January 20, 2010 9:29 AM

              I'm with you in that I don't like having too many points of failure. For GTA4, for example, if you bought it from Steam you'd have to log into Steam, GFWL and Rockstar Social Club in order to play fully. Lame.

              But what you were saying is that DRM kills their sales. No, it doesn't.

              Game consoles are DRM. The barriers to copying games illegally are more than the average person will ever bother to overcome, so it works.

              Steam is DRM. It's not impossible to overcome (see: SiN Episodes) but it's more effective than nothing and adds things like convenience to boot. So we like Steam.

              The average person will never even notice DRM. Most people are online most of the time so all the stuff we decry are just done in the background automatically for them.

              What kills sales is games without DRM. World of Goo had a 90% piracy rate and was mainly making money off of the WiiWare version. As much as the gamer snobs on this board (like me) will skip games with DRM (there's still a few holdouts - not me - who won't touch HL2 because it requires Steam) most people won't ever even notice it's there and it stops the casual pirates.

              Plus it's not like developers/publishers are stupid and live in a vacuum. The original install limit for Bioshock was too small so they raised it. Then later removed it.

              • reply
                January 20, 2010 1:47 PM

                "Plus it's not like developers/publishers are stupid and live in a vacuum."

                Just because they aren't stupid doesn't mean that they care.

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 9:19 AM

            How are the piracy rates on the Wii and 360 btw? What about the DS?

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 10:55 AM


            • reply
              January 20, 2010 11:03 PM

              yes, but that is an original disc... many people on their PC will put in a burnt disc or mount one using daemon tools or the like... thats why PC has more involved DRM... unless you risk hacking your console, you cant use pirated software as easily... simple

              • reply
                January 21, 2010 8:21 AM


                • reply
                  January 21, 2010 5:43 PM

                  So where exactly does your morbid fear of "online activation", "limited activations" and "disk checks" come from?... How has it seriously effected your PC gaming experience in an unforgivable way?... Activation on most games take 2-5 minutes and then you're done until you re-install... are you really that feeble? Batman AA on the PC was great and i didnt have a single problem with "activations" or "securom". You must have read to many horror stories about DRM, or got annoyed when it hindered you pirating games...

                  Your mentality is so childish its ridiculous, its like not buying a new BMW because you dont like the fact it has an alarm system to stop it being stolen o_O ...

                  • reply
                    January 24, 2010 10:18 PM

                    Those limitation tells me that you are renting the software. The should then list it as a rental.

                  • reply
                    January 24, 2010 10:22 PM

                    What if the company that controls the alarm system is no more :: there goes your BMW.

            • reply
              January 21, 2010 8:29 AM

              Microsoft can decide you no longer have the ability to play on the 360. They have banned millions of 360s for cheating, hacking, etc. (as long as you take it online)

          • reply
            January 21, 2010 5:58 AM

            I lol'd.

        • reply
          January 20, 2010 9:18 AM

          Because DRM doesn't kill their sales? You're in the very vocal and very small minority of consumers. Get over it, it's not going to change.

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 11:20 AM


            • reply
              January 20, 2010 11:32 AM

              as is your doubt in it...

            • reply
              January 20, 2010 11:59 AM

              Because it really doesn't. Go back and read the list of the top selling PC games last year. Half of them have DRM, three of the ones that don't were WoW related, and 1 was an expansion pack for Sims2.

              • reply
                January 20, 2010 12:40 PM

                You have now way of knowing if they were best seller because of or despite of them having DRM. If a game sells 7 million copies with DRM but would have sold 8 million copies without DRM than having DRM significantly hurt that games sales but it would still be a phenomenal success.

                • reply
                  January 20, 2010 12:51 PM

                  and there is literally NO way to ever figure that out so, why bother bringing it up?

                • reply
                  January 20, 2010 1:28 PM

                  But that wasn't my point. I wasn't talking total sales and if I had to guess, total PC game sales were down last compared to the year before and the year before that. I'm talking DRM games vs non DRM games. You anti DRM people really like to skew things don't yah?

                  • reply
                    January 20, 2010 1:45 PM

                    "I'm talking DRM games vs non DRM games"

                    The issue is the same since you can't point to any cause and effect relationship between the DRM and the sales numbers.

        • reply
          January 20, 2010 11:24 AM

          If it genuinely did kill their sales, they wouldn't still do it. 2K has released quite a few PC games at this point. What makes you think you know their sales trends better than they do?

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 11:33 AM

            this is the internet, we'll have none of your common sense here...

          • reply
            January 20, 2010 12:14 PM

            It probably doesn't kill their sales(sadly) but 2K has no way of knowing the effect this has on sales. In order for this to make sense from a business perspective increased sales due to decreases in piracy have to more than offsett decreased sales on account of systems like this + the cost of implementing and licensing systems like this. The problem is that they can't know that this is the case since these are hypothetical numbers.

          • reply
            January 22, 2010 5:38 PM

            How could they or anyone truly judge if DRM helps or effects sales? It's impossible, every game is different and appeals to different people for different reasons.

        • reply
          January 20, 2010 11:08 PM

          such a ridiculous claim... the whole idea of DRM from a developer/ producer prospective is to make it harder for people to pirate their games.... hence creating more actual sales, and less pirating...

          i'm not saying that games dont eventually get pirated, but there is a large group of PC users who will first check torrents for a game, and if its not there they might actually buy it... DRM is developers way of getting those people to buy the game i.e. MORE sales, not less...

          the people who bitch and complain about DRM usually end up buying good games even if they have DRM. I highly doubt companies would continue to use DRM if:
          [loss of sales from DRM > loss of sales from piracy] ... think about it...

          • reply
            January 22, 2010 5:41 PM

            People who don't buy games, don't buy games. They will wait a few days for the cracked version, it always comes. DRM only effects people who buy games. How the hell would they know if the DRM lost them sales. There are so many factors influencing the sale of the game that nailing an increase or decrease down to one thing is impossible. Your ridiculous.

      • reply
        January 20, 2010 8:40 PM

        hi, i work for 2K Games, and you don't need to be online to save your game. you can have an offline profile in GFWL and save without going online. using an online profile, you can play multiplayer and single player. you can also get achievements with the online profile, which you can't with the offline profile, but you most certainly can save with both profiles.

    • reply
      January 20, 2010 12:06 PM

      Mwahahahaaha, I've avoided all GFWL games since GTAIV and I'll never play another one ever.
      I'd rather play it on the x360/ps3....And I'd much rather suggest people might be better off DOWNLOADING this game then.

      I'm against piracy but if developers are going to continue to shaft PC gamers then the PC gamers should shaft them!

      • reply
        January 21, 2010 8:32 AM

        Wait, you are against piracy but think people should pirate . . . O_o

    • reply
      January 21, 2010 7:25 AM

      Look at the bright side, you SAVED some money! ;-)

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