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M.E. takes a hint from E.T. and decides to phone home more regularly

While Xbox 360 gamers have been able to enjoy Bioware's action-RPG title Mass Effect -- and all the innuendo and controversy surrounding it -- since November 2007, PC gamers will only receive their first taste of Commander Shepard's interstellar adventuring and Captain-Kirk-esqe taste for alien romance later this month.

That is, assuming their computer can not only meet the modest system requirements, but also remain connected to the Internet for the mandatory authorization check that occurs upon installation and every ten days thereafter.

That's right, fellow PC gamers -- it seems that the complaints and furor that surrounded Bioshock's irritating activation scheme have been taken as a "how-to" rather than something to be avoided. Bioware marketing employee Chris Priestly has posted the grisly details on the official Bioware forums, and it isn't pretty for those who only have sporadic connectivity:

Q: What happens if I want to play MEPC but do not have an internet connection?
A: You cannot play MEPC without an internet connection. MEPC must authenticate when it is initially run and every 10 days thereafter.

Q: What happens if I install and activate MEPC with an internet connection, but then do not have an internet connection after 10 days? Can I still play MEPC?
A: No. After 10 days the system needs to re-authenticate via the internet. If you do not have an internet connection you will not be able to play until you are reconnected to the internet and able to re-authenticate.

The discussion thread on the Bioware forums has grown rapidly, with several members voicing their distaste to various degrees of subtlety -- some even openly declaring that they will pirate the game rather than buy it, simply because it will be less of an inconvenience.

In addition to the game routinely phoning home, the SecuROM copy protection will also enforce a limitation of three "activated" installations of the game -- any copies installed beyond this will require a phone call to EA Support. For those who recall the server issues during the initial launch of Bioshock, EA has addressed this with no small amount of confidence:

Q: There were some problems with authentication servers for games like BioShock. Is EA ready for the influx of MEPC players? Will we be able to play our games when we get them home?
A: Yes, EA is ready and we are confident there will be no server problems. EA has assured us that they have their authorization systems and customer support staff in place and ready for the launch of Mass Effect for PC. Anyone having issues with getting the game activated will be able to contact EA Support and get their problem resolved.
Gamers of the world will have to wait until May 28th to determine if EA remains true to their word, or if they will be forced to eat them.

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RE: Beginning of the end....
By Manch on 5/8/2008 2:18:30 PM , Rating: 3
what sucks about this is these are the types of games I play when i go on my 4-6 month rotations to the desert. Not like i can get broadband out there!

If this gets put into more games, I'll be forced to play older games or go excluively console.

I'm against piracy becuase it's killing pc gaming. It's sad if you think about it, PC gaming is getting destroyed by pirates and developers and the legitimate customers are the ones getting the shaft.

Pirates eat into the developers money, they in turn put this crap on there games to protect their investment, consumers refuse to buy or turn to piracy, developer gets pissed becuase they're losing more money, implements stricter DRM, more people go to piracy............

Soon no more PC versions or exclusive titles, no custom maps, etc. Soon we'll all be consoled and have to wait for map packs and pay 800 live points or 900 Wii ruppees,or 875.24 PS3 pesos just to add replayability.

God this sucks, and damn you EA, you are the worst!

RE: Beginning of the end....
By Akazar on 5/9/2008 1:00:38 PM , Rating: 2
Piracy is not killing pc gaming. Console gaming is. And crappy games.

Morrowind Oblivion has no copy protection and is one of PC's alltime best selling titles.

By dare2savefreedom on 5/10/2008 1:32:39 PM , Rating: 1
GREED is killing pc gaming,

think about it.
You can rape the gamers more money on consoles.
On the consoles you make a ok version on xbox360 and then half-a$$ port it to ps3,wii,ps2. Minimize development costs and increase profits.
Now if you have to port it to pc then you have to worry about actually supporting more than one configuration. You have to actually worry about supporting a product - that'll cost profit.

I say fsck it and let pc gaming die and let the developers dream of fat wallets from "protected" console games. Meanwhile my modchips are getting installed. Hell the last 2 games I bought were console games at 1.99 each so the benefit of console gaming is that I get dirt cheap games. No profit for developers - ahahahhhhh!!!!

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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