Print 79 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on May 16 at 4:38 AM

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: DRM again
By TheDiceman on 5/12/2008 12:11:29 PM , Rating: 2
You know, while I agree that this DRM and registration crap is annoying to say the least... who cares? It in no way affects your game play and honestly, how many of you are actually not regularly connected to the internet with whatever rig you use for gaming? Do I like the fact that they want to do stuff like this? No, will it affect my purchases, no. The only major reason I would see for anyone being deeply bothered by crack pot ideas like this is if they were going to pirate the game in the first place.

RE: DRM again
By mindless1 on 5/16/2008 4:25:30 AM , Rating: 2
Then by "anyone" you aren't considering some users. I have a simple "no connections" policy, nothing goes checking on newer versions or connects anywhere any time, until I initiate it. This includes software and hardware firewalling, and something that complains and refuses to work is not going to make me into a willing repeat customer, I'm not going to open holes just so one misbehaving app can have it's way.

Connections to the internet shall only occur when _I_ choose to send specific data or retrieve it.

Maybe I just have different ideas about security than you do, but that's part of what PCs are about, that it's not an unconfigurable computing and network environment and the more demands an application makes in order to work, the more it becomes inoperable with already fixed static environments.

In other words there's just no way any one game will matter enough when there are so so many others out there, especially when it's from a company like EA which already had some negativity surrounding it for various other reasons.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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