I’ve been reading a lot of twenty sided lately because I have a lot of free time during the day, his blog makes it past my web filter, and he’s got-dang fantastic. (He also writes heavily on the subject of DRM which is why I mention him here) Moving on, I was at the game store last night deciding whether or not to get mercenaries 2 for the PC when something very interesting caught my eye and I decided not to buy the game. Now, don’t get me wrong the idea of an open world third person shooter based on blowing things up seemed like a great idea and I was going pick the game up for $10 so I was on board.
But while looking at the back of the box to find the system specs I noticed a statement which read something like “This game is supported by a website that may not be active in the future and is subject to be shut down anytime.”
My first thought was; So? Games have websites and websites for old games go down all the time. I guess maybe there’s a small part of the game that requires I do something on the site and now I can’t do that, that’s cool I suppose.
Then I saw the FRONT of the box which read thusly: THIS GAME REQUIERS ONLINE ACTIVATION TO PLAY
Just to spell it out for you, The game requires that I go online in order to play it offline, the site that I have to register this product through is subject to go down at anytime and may be down already.
Finally to make excessive use of my capslock button to drive the point all the way home: I’M GOING TO PAY FOR A GAME NEW, OFF THE SHELF, A GAME THAT I MAY NOT EVEN BE ABLE TO PLAY.
This is DRM failing at its worst. You can talk all you want about how you’re technically renting a game and that at any moment you may not be able to install it and play anymore, but buying a game new and having that happen? WHAT. THE. FUCK. This is the equivalent of buying a car that’s a year or two old still new from the dealership, but finding out AFTER you buy it that they no longer have keys for it anymore. Oh, and you can’t return it. Can you imagine that? This means that it’s technically possible for someone, a few years from now, to buy a new (but forgotten) copy of Spore, or Bioshock, or any other game that requires online activation to play, and NOT BE ABLE TO PLAY IT. I will accept being treated like a pirate if the game is good enough (the game better be got damn fantastic or cheap as hell), but to DENY paying customers the right to use a product that they PAID for just because you put DRM on a game and stopped supporting it? What the hell is wrong with you people? As of right now, I am no longer buying ANY game that requires online activation, unless the game is online only (I. E. a MMO).
I do have another thought while writing this, by Valve’s, 2kgames’, and EA’s terms, any game retailer that resells used console games are pirates, and console gamers that lend games to each other (see: friends) are also dirty, nasty, rotten pirates. Now that I think about it by these standards someone should sue the crap out of GameStop for piracy. I don’t know how many people play one copy of the orange box for the Xbox360 that gets resold through GameStop but if I tried that on a PC? Lawsuit.