Not thirty minutes ago, the UPS truck came to a screeching halt outside my apartment to deliver the package that I’ve been eagerly awaiting the entire week. Trying hard to contain my enthusiasm, I carefully opened the DVD-sized box that Amazon shipped it in, and there it was: Far Cry 2, Ubisoft’s latest and greatest — or so they claim…
The reviews have been pretty positive so far, with Metacritic giving it a very respectable aggregated score of 88%, but consumers seen to have a different opinion so far. One need only glance at the user reviews on Amazon.com to know why: SecuRom, a DRM protection scheme that can only be described as malware.
A sizable number of gamers seem to have gotten it into their heads that if they do nothing but give DRM-laden games one or two star reviews on Amazon that the developers might get a clue and stop hassling honest users with DRM. I suppose that this approach might yield some results, but I’m not too optimistic. As long as these large game studios are run by naive, elderly executives, and over-cautious shareholders, I foresee little hope of getting any an A-list title on the shelves without the inclusion of some sort of obnoxious scheme to protect the game from piracy.
I firmly believe that the issue is one of utter ignorance and naivety. The inclusion of a DRM scheme, like SecuRom, in a game is meant to deter and prevent piracy, which is all fine and well; I, like the vast majority of consumers, have absolutely no problem supporting artists and developers, nor do I believe that studios should sit idly by while their hard work is being sold on the black market. I do, however, take issue with the manner in which SecuRom approaches this problem.
The reason I’m writing this post is that I’ve just about had with SecuRom, and it’s absurd approach to anti-piracy. Having just unwrapped the game, I popped the disc into my DVD drive and fired up the installer. All okay so far; the game, weighing in at a very moderate 3.2 gigs, installed without a hitch. However, as soon as I double-clicked the executable, SecuRom intervened:
Okay, fair enough, I guess this is a reasonable objection, since I do have one application that I suppose might facilitate piracy, namely PowerISO. After all, the application does allow for the mounting of ISO images on virtual drives, which would be a crucial step in installing pirated content. So, fine, this is the first time in a while that I’ve had DRM bitch at me, so I was willing to play along. After booting PowerISO off my computer, and rebooting my rig, I tried again: but no, I got the exact same error!
A few minutes with Google revealed that I’m not the only one experiencing trouble, and that the issue is actually fairly widespread. In fact, the guys responsible for this poorly implemented mess have already acknowledged their mistake and posted a fix, which is nothing more than a modified executable.
At this point, though, I don’t know what I find more aggravating: the fact that studios have absolutely no trust in their own customers, or that they apparently have no issue with shipping defective merchandise! The game has been out for barely a week, and already a patch is needed to even get the damn thing running — this is beyond absurd! Where was Quality Assurance on this one?
Update: So far I’ve only logged a few hours with the game, and I’ve had no further issues with SecuRom, but, then again, I haven’t actually reinstalled PowerISO yet…