Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Really, 2K?

Does anybody remember my post on Batman Arkham Asylum? About it's DRM? About it's requirement to have a 'Games for Windows Live' account in order to save games? Well I still haven't played it. I'm instead playing Bioshock until I stop being mad at Eidos/Rocksteady for making me install bloatware and register with Microsoft before allowing me to save my progress in the game.

Part of the reason I've been playing Bioshock is so I can be finish it in time to play the sequel, Bioshock 2 when it comes out in February.

Then I saw this.

The tech specs for Bioshock 2 are out...To save the game or play online, you need to be logged into Games for Window Live. This still applies on Steam – so SecuRom and Games For Windows Live are needed in addition to the Steam client. Hmm.

This is ridiculous. Bioshock allows 15 machine activations, reasonable to a point, (though as I keep saying, I'd like some assurance that these games will be playable in 10-20 years when the developers will probably have a completely different activation system) yet not quite as cool as Arkham Asylum's 4 activations per month.

I'm willing to put up with reasonable activation limits. I don't have a problem with DRM in and of itself (I really like Steam's basic DRM that allows you as many installations as you want but your games can only be played on the one computer you're logged in on at the time). The Windows Live thing just makes me feel like they're spitting in my face. I have to be connected to the internet to save a game? Seriously? So if my internet's not working, not only can I not check email, look at my news feeds and surf around, I also can't play video games even if they're stored locally?

EDIT: Looks like some new info is showing up on 2K Games' forum.

Here's the word on BioShock 2:

On retail (physical disk) versions, SecuRom is used for disk-checking only.
Activation is done through Games For Windows Live (yes, through the company that's had no problems abandoning old DRM systems in the past, leaving people with useless mp3s).
No confirmation on the Steam version, if it has SecuRom (it shouldn't, it has no disks, but we'll see), or it will have the same activation limit.
You do not need to be online to save games, but you do have to have a G4WL account.

EDIT 2 - From "2K Elizabeth" on the forums, head of 2K's customer support when asked "And what happens if/when Microsoft decide it's not worthwhile to keep running GFWL?":

I'll also ask about that - but as I said with BioShock, I'm confident that we'll keep the game around. In the past, we have made sure, even if digital distribution partners go away, our customers still have access to their games.

She also said she'd post on the forums when she hears for sure what Steam's DRM/activation will be, hopefully by the end of the week.

So my thoughts:

SecuRom is not necessary on Steam at all, so if it's included that's bad.
Requiring Games For Windows Live to run in the background, or at all, is irritating.
I do appreciate that she said they would keep the game playable even if G4WL's activation goes under.

Pending word on the DRM they include with Steam, it might not be that big of deal after all.

We'll see,


PS - You know what game isn't going to require online authentication of any kind? Mass Effect 2. Hell yeah.

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