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Old 05-27-2011, 01:22 PM   #1
marfig
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Default Witcher 2 first patch removes DRM

It's out and it will remove the DRM from the game.

It's possible that this decision has been motivated by the complaints of players that the DRM was impacting on game performance, while others where having issues activating the game.

Adam Badowski, CD Projekt RED Development Director said something in these lines: "Our approach to countering piracy is to incorporate superior value in the legal version. This means it has to be superior in every respect: less troublesome to use and install, with full support, and with access to additional content and services. So, we felt keeping the DRM would mainly hurt our legitimate users." (source)

Two quick personal thoughts on this:

- The DRM served its purpose at this point in the game. Knowing piracy as we know it, DRM sometimes doesn't even stop copyright infringement on day 0. So, it makes a lot of sense to me that, once the game is out and the first critical days of sales are over, the DRM be removed. Two thumbs up to CD Projekt RED.

- CD Projekt RED isn't however alone. It's publisher is Atari. Despite a clear shift in policy from this distributor in the past couple of years, which has been more tolerant towards DRM-free games, it's still with some irony that I watch a developer taking charge of their game on all matters, including DRM-based decisions. This only gives credence to the idea of some that developers hiding behind "but our publisher demands it" is just not good enough of an excuse. This should be true for any developer not directly under the publisher payroll. And their independence should give them plenty of room for negotiation.
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Old 05-27-2011, 02:20 PM   #2
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The idea of retail DRM is to prevent distribution and play before the game's initial release, not so much prevent zero-day piracy. Since retail copies are sent out weeks in advance, they needed the date lock from DRM to prevent an early release, both from leaked copies from the manufacturer and from early delivery from retailers. Digital distribution doesn't have this problem, since if you don't release the entire game, no one can play it. It served its purpose, thus it was removed, and for that, we can be grateful. Most companies only remove DRM after a year or more... if they even bother to remove it.

DRM affecting frame rates? I find that kind of hard to believe; unless of course it uses some form of live decryption from the DVD, which could put strain on slower CPUs, but even then, that would be sporadic and not constant; or the DRM was just badly integrated.

The "publisher demands it" stance on the DRM problem is very real. Publishers will not work with developers if they do not abide by its rules. Some Publishers go one step further and demand that all testing be handled internally or through a contracted test group - never to use closed/open beta testers sourced from the public. Deep Silver (quite big here in EU) is one such publisher that did this, though i'm unsure of its stance now. Yes, the developer could go somewhere else, but choices are often limited - do they go for a bigger publisher and loose a bigger cut, or a smaller publisher and get a bigger cut with enforced DRM.

A lot of Devs dislike DRM as much as we do, they are customers themselves. Having said that, there are very few independent Devs these days, most are owned by publishers - well, Devs that make the wonderful AAA titles we enjoy. Steam has helped bring Indie to the masses, Apple's app store too.
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Old 05-27-2011, 04:52 PM   #3
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Very interesting. Never equated DRM with retail distribution. Do you have some material that I can read? Note that my hands-on experience with DRM has always been in the context of avoiding, delaying, or enforcing copyright infringement or protection. So, I certainly never saw it in that light. Still, what you say makes some sense...
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Old 05-29-2011, 09:50 AM   #4
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I should avoid blanket statements and think a little more carefully - it should be that 'one of' the ideas behind DRM... but needless to say, it covers a broader range of ideals, most of which can be circumvented. Prevent disc copying, prevent resale of PC games, prevent play without a digital signature tied to an account, etc. It's also partly used as a filter for tech support - this is why Bioware (and Blizzard i think) have the games tied to forum accounts, so as to prevent Devs and Mods spending time on helping someone who hasn't paid for the game.

Dragon Age 2 came with 'Release Control' DRM as detailed here.
- http://support.ea.com/app/answers/de...se-control-faq

I've been trying to dig up a quote by Bethesda I believe (Crytek maybe, don't know), about their use of DRM as to prevent an early release of games, but this new Google search is more of a hindrance than help. It was a few years back mind you, was either Oblivion or Fallout 3 related.

An interesting article to read up is this... it's about page 8 that it gets interesting with the different methods and uses.
- http://www.tweakguides.com/Piracy_1.html

After a bit of digging, found an interview with Bethesda regarding DRM in Fallout 3, though it's not exactly the quote i was after.
- http://www.shacknews.com/article/550...3-pc-interview
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Old 05-29-2011, 03:22 PM   #5
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Ugh! Didn't mean to have you go on a quote hunt. Just if you had anything on hand. But thanks for the reading.

Meanwhile I spoke with a friend of mine on the area of retail and he confirmed me ,DRM or not, they are contractually obliged to respect release dates, for which reason a DRM could be seen as a futile means to ensure retailers respect the publisher wishes.

That said, I agree DRM can have a wider spectrum of applications (and we didn't even discuss first sale doctrines). But no doubt it serves a major purpose in trying to curb down piracy by some margin during the critical first days of sales.
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Old 05-29-2011, 05:23 PM   #6
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Quote hunt or not, I should not make statements based on a hunch and assumption, unless otherwise required ... I do not mind being called out, it was valid and just. DRM is a touchy subject, some it angers, to others it is a mild annoyance.

Personally, I am in 2 minds over it, to protect IP is one thing, but to punish those that abide by it while having no affect over those that don't... seems awfully unkind; so I am grateful to CDP for removing the 'restriction' on customers, I really do wish more companies took the same approach.

A day one headache I can live with, we are so used to them with PC releases these days that we expect 'day 1 patches'. But to enforce such practices on paying customers long after the pirates have had their way is just damning. I do not buy or play games with limited activations, the only exception would be Mass Effect - but things like Far Cry, Crysis, Assassins Creed II, Red Alert 3, C&C4, etc, I have not bought nor played, because I do not agree with the methods implemented via their DRM, though Ubisoft with Assassins Creed have cut back on the persistent need for an online connection (thankfully). Steam I can live with, though their ability to lock out an account complete with games does make me uncomfortable, regardless how rare. I could play such games via console, but when said console dies after a year of use, it does mar ones perception of the company... (for a PS3 to lose HDMI and BD support just after a warranty expires then expected to pay 150 to get it repaired? Sorry, but no, Sony lost me there...)

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Old 05-29-2011, 06:24 PM   #7
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Yup. It's pretty much my stance too. Why I was pleased to see this company remove the DRM within days of the launch. I'd be even more pleased if the reasons had been cleared stated as "it no longer serves any purpose". But regardless, kudos to CD Projekt RED.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:30 AM   #8
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It was probably Crytek... I distinctly remember Crysis & Crysis Warhead opening a prompt and running a date check after the installer closed, which they still do to this day.

This thread reminded of one issue of DRM... In 2007 I bought Prey for use in benchmarking, but when inserting the disc I kept receiving "Original disc could not be found or authenticated" messages when trying to initialize the installer. The disc was perfectly clean, even worked on a different machine. Turned out my brand new SATA DVD drive wasn't compatible with the SecureROM DRM protection on the disc, and SecureROM had to send me a patch to get it to even install. Given I couldn't ask the store for a refund, if SecureROM hadn't sent me a fix my only option would have been to download a pirated, cracked copy (the disc was required for the game to start).

That wasn't even the first time, around two years later there was another game that experienced a similar issue with SecureROM that ALSO required a patch from them to get functional (only worked intermittently), but it's not in my Gmail history and I have no recollection of what the game was. But in any case, my point was that even DRM that shouldn't affect legitimate users still often manages to do so in one way or another.
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