New EA titles will require net connection to phone home...
If you've studied music, film and game piracy for any length of time, it's pretty clear that piracy will never be eliminated. The fight against piracy is always a game of percentages, and one market that's losing that fight is PC Gaming. Despite no shortage of annoying copy-protection systems like Starforce
, PC game sales continue to plunge, and developers are shifting their attention
to the console industry, where the need for hardware mod-chips and online verification systems make piracy slightly harder.
One of the industry's bigger anti-piracy protection companies has been SecuRom, whose latest protection scheme is causing a bit of an uproar
. The new system, which will be used on high-profile Electronic Arts titles like Spore
and the PC-release of Mass Effect
, will be the first to absolutely require an Internet connection to confirm the authenticity of the user CD key during installation. Your game then rechecks the CD Key's validity every 5-10 days. A Bioware developer has more in a post to their forums
For clarity, though, an internet connection is not required to install, just to activate the first time, and every 10 days after. You can be completely connectionless for 9 days and encounter no problems playing Mass Effect. And you don't need the disk in the drive to play.
Great -- you could install it, but not play it. Thanks. What if you have no connection? Too bad, apparently. The system also doesn't seem to leave much room for those who like to buy, sell and trade used PC games.
It's hard to think pirates won't find away around this system as well, which risks simply annoying paying customers. That's part of why the content industry wants to shift anti-piracy protection to the ISP level and make carriers anti-piracy gatekeepers. While many ISPs hate the idea, it's seemingly being embraced by companies like Comcast (which has plans for increased DMCA enforcement
) and AT&T (which has plans for network piracy filters