“Red Alert 3” will also have SecuROM DRM.

It appears the folks at Electronic Arts are doing everything they can to ensure I never purchase one of their PC games again. Word over on the official support forums for Command and Conquer says that the upcoming Red Alert 3, a sequel to my all-time favorite RTS, will use a slightly more lenient SecuROM DRM scheme:

Hi guys—

I’ve been hearing your concerns about the DRM situation and wanted to get back to you with some information about our plans. In the case of Red Alert 3 (and all PC titles coming out of EA), we will use SecuROM – the same copy protection that the EALA RTS group has used on our last three titles. This time around, however, the copy protection will be configured to be more lenient than we’ve supported in the past.

I know this can be somewhat of a polarizing topic, and I thought it would be best to open the lines of communication with some facts:

– We will authenticate your game online when you install and launch it the first time.

– We will never re-authenticate an installation online after the first launch. In other words, no reaching out to a central server post-install to see if you’re “allowed” to play.

– You will be able to install and play on up to five computers.

– This system means you don’t have to play with the disc in your computer. Personally, I think this is a huge improvement over our previous copy protection requirements, which have always required a disk to play.

– Life happens. I know it’s unlikely, but for those unlucky few who install the game and have their machines nuked (virus, OS reinstall, major hardware upgrade, etc.) five times, EA Customer Service will be on hand to supply any additional authorizations that are warranted. This will be done on a case-by-case basis by contacting customer support.

-You can, of course, play offline without impediment or penalty.

Red Alert 3 is shaping up to be a world-class RTS game that will give you many hours of enjoyment. I think it would be a shame if people decided to not play a great game simply because it came with DRM, but I understand that this is a very personal decision for many of you and I respect that. As you might imagine, I’m a lot less respectful of those people who take the position that they will illegally download a game simply because it has DRM.

Either way, we’ re very proud of the hard work our team has put into this game and we hope you will all enjoy it when it launches.

I’m so not happy. So not happy that I took the time to leave the following comment on that thread:

    I’m a 41 year old gamer who has bought numerous titles from Electronic Arts all the way back to the original Archon on the Commodore Amiga back when EA was just a small company run by Trip Hawkins. That was back in 1982 and I was 15 at the time. In the 26 years since I’ve spent countless thousands of dollars on EA games for the Amiga, PC, and various consoles. I’ve watched over the years as the copy protection became more and more intrusive while doing nothing to actually stop the pirates, but the games were good and the copy protection not much more than an annoyance so I spent the money and enjoyed myself. It’s safe to say that I’m a long-standing fan of EA and many of the titles they’ve put out. Red Alert and its sequel remain two of my all-time favorite RTS games and I was eagerly looking forward to playing the latest installment when it is released.

    Electronic Arts, however, has decided to reward my (literally) decades-long loyalty by making use of one of the more problematic DRM systems available. These days I make my living as a PC support specialist and there are various legitimate programs, such as Process Explorer, which may or may not run properly if I have SecuROM installed on my systems. SecuROM said this was an attempt to stop people from hacking their DRM system, but considering that Spore was cracked and on the Bittorrent sites almost a week before its release it doesn’t seem to be stopping the hackers. In fact the only people being inconvenienced by this DRM system are legitimate customers who have paid for the software. You’ve already admitted that even if it works fine without conflict for the vast majority of your customers there’s still likely to be a subsection who run into problems. I believe you called that “Life Happens” in your original post. What a great attitude to take with your paying customers. It was enough to get me to take the time to register an account just so I could let you know how I feel about it.

    I’m done being treated like a criminal in order to use the software I’ve paid for. I did not purchase Bioshock despite being a fan of the original System Shocks because of SecuROM, I did not purchase Mass Effect for the same reason, I also haven’t purchase Spore in spite of following its development since its announcement, and I won’t be purchasing Red Alert 3 for the same reasons. I don’t care how many copies you allow me to install before I need to call your support line. I’m testing software and OS installs all the time which means I’m restaging my PC on a regular basis which means it won’t be long before I have to start calling and explaining why I need a 5th, 6th, 7th… 20th reinstall to some poor sap on the phone. Meanwhile Joe Pirate Boy is able to enjoy his copy as much as he wants and reinstall it as much as he wants without having to call anyone.

    There are three of us in my family who were dieing to play Spore so much so that we would’ve spent $150 for three copies of the game just so we wouldn’t have to wait for one person to stop playing before someone else could start, but now its not going to happen. I still play my copy of Red Alert 2 some eight years after it was released and it still installs just fine without any need for an Internet connection or calling someone up on the phone. Will I be able to do that with Red Alert 3 in 8 years? Will you still have registration servers running for it and someone sitting by a phone ready to grant me my 130th install? Will you release a patch at some point that removes the DRM so that nonsense won’t be necessary?

    In summary: Explain to me why I should spend $50 just so I can be treated like a criminal?

Every now and then some PC developer goes on a rant about how piracy is destroying PC gaming. I say what’s destroying PC gaming is the bullshit DRM schemes. While they whine about how some game they just released has been cracked and downloaded some 10,000 times being the loss of 10,000 sales (which isn’t entirely true) they manage to overlook the loss of sales from people like me who are sick of the pirates having the hassle free version of the game. If the reaction to Spore is any indication then people are starting to get fed up and the publishers risk alienating the few people who are buying their software.

16 thoughts on ““Red Alert 3” will also have SecuROM DRM.

  1. Let’s see…Bioshock, Spore, Sims 3, and now Red Alert 3. EA is doing a fantastic job of saving me a lot of money since I refuse to pay to be treated like a criminal.

  2. I think it would be a shame if people decided to not play a great game simply because it came with DRM

    Translation: “We hope that our shiny game will distract you from noticing how moronic we are.”

    You gotta draw the line somewhere.  There are still plenty of decent games out there without DRM.  Play those.  They’re saying these things as if it will hurt you, not them to not play their game.  Don’t fall for it.  Don’t play, and TELL them WHY you won’t play.  This argument about piracy has been going on since computer games first came out, and if the DRM crowd was right, the developers would all be bankrupt and no decent game could ever be made money without copy protection installed on it, and that is simply not true.  What they are saying is “Broken software is a small price to pay for playing our game.”  Well, my response is that it is too high a price to pay.  I don’t need to play games that much.  When it comes right down to it, they need us more than we need them.

  3. I understand that DRM is bullshit but in order to be a PC gamer in this day and age I have no choice if I want the lastest games on that platform. Your best bet Les is to be just a PS3 gamer. I will only use steam or direct2drive sites to download games. I have had no problems with their services. I’ve had zero issues playing their games like this. Of course I don’t constantly reinstall my OS so no problems. Wjhat I hate is downloading games from EA or Atari and them charging extra to be able to download their games for 2 years instead of 30 days in case I need another copy. What a bunch of crap. At least with download services I mentioned lets you download as many times as you want.

  4. I’m looking at purchasing Penumbra: Overture and its sequel, and the Penny Arcade endeavor for several reasons, not the least of which are the Linux support and the lack of pretentious DRM. There are a few such companies doing this. But, on the whole, the death of PC gaming are a) the ease and power of consoles, especially after release, and b) the DRM companies themselves. The publishers (like EA) are just idiot middlemen being fast-talked out of their money.

    To quote one of my other favourite games: “everyone… Haven’t noticed they’re all swept up in the same flow. I’m just going against it. That’s all.”

  5. So what happens if I do buy it?

    From what I understand your computer will make weird noises… then it will explode killing everything in a 3 city block radius.

    I mean, I could be wrong… but I am not willing to take that chance.

  6. My two cents:

    Let’s say I want a product (such as a video game). I want the best possible product, regardless of price. So I do some research, and I find that the pirated version of a game is a better product (unlimited reinstalls, doesn’t interfere with my other software).

    I can still pay for the game if my morals demand it, but in that case I would leave it in its original package, and then install and play the pirated version. But first, I’d want to hear a mighty fine argument as to why I should pay more for an inferior product.

  7. That is very cool! I checked the original thread and it appears my comment has been rather well received. At least by the other people commenting. I doubt it’ll convince EA, but it’s nice to see it struck a chord.

  8. From what little has been heard from EA it still appears that they have no intention of dropping SecuRom, just tweaking the rules it runs under. So this still means that this software will be chewing up my resources perpetually no matter what it is that I’m doing on my system, playing an EA game or no.

    This is nothing more than an insult, and as I said before, I don’t encourage such behavior by giving them money. I’ll live without, there are plenty of other games out there for me to enjoy.

  9. I can’t even remember how I got here, but I agree whole heartedly.

    As you mention you were an Amiga user and no doubt PC gamer of a similar time, I’m sure you can remember some of the crazy code protection systems that came out.

    One of the worst was from Team 17 for Worms on the Amiga. My good friend bought a copy as it had been highly anticipated and enjoyed the demo on Amiga Format. So how did the code book work? glossy black text on a matt black background. Under the yellowy bedroom lights, you could barely see the letters. It was so infuriating, that when a pirate copy started doing the rounds he jumped at the chance to play the game he had just paid for with no fuss. My point being is that not only does DRM on games encourage piracy, what about the next time? Do you think he bought or pirated the next Team 17 game?

    DRM when it gives a Pirate the superior experience to a paying customer backfires on the publisher enormously.

  10. This news is pretty depressing for me. I really wanted to purchase this game. I loved loved all the Red Alerts. Damn you EA!!!!!!!!

  11. Well I never leave comments but this topic has motivated me! – Also its appearing in search engines so hopefully someone from EA will read my honest experience of piracy…

    I’m 27 now and when I was about 10 I had spectrum – Like all spectrum owners I had a few legitimate games and at least 2 boxes of pirated tapes – Piracy is NOT exactly new. In fact it was possible to pirate those games over the phone so technically internet piracy existed back then smile

    I also admit to copying floppy based programs on my first PC, although more often than not I bought the game. Same when it moved to CD/DVD.

    In the last few years however it’s been getting more complicated to simply ‘play a game’ and I first found pirate bay (before it was so famous) whilst looking to crack a game I owned because I had lost my registration details/email etc.

    Bottom line is I have since then used Pirate bay to download whole games. It’s not that I don’t want to pay – I really couldnt care less if EA knocked on my door and demanded the money – the games worth it, they could have it. The problem is downloading is faster than going to a shop and I want to to download just the game – not a stupid launcher as well. Obviously several games require a launcher and online account to play online but for those that don’t I really can’t see any argument for paying other than ‘its wrong to pirate’

    Well its equally as wrong to inconvenience me in the first place just because they have a piracy problem.

    I’m not saying two wrongs make a right and I’m aware I have now contributed to the problem – I just thought it might be a good idea to be honest, own up and most of all point out that as long as piracy is easier than spending money I won’t be the only one!

    Sorry EA – but sort yourselves out wink

  12. Additional :-

    Just wanted to point out that if RA3 was available to download/buy and I was able to play it without any forced registration, exchange of information or third party apps being installed on my system I would hand over the cash today.

    But it isn’t so instead I’m at 35% downloaded from TPB.

    Message to EA – If you do come across this post, WB and I’ll give you the cash for the license – It’s really no trouble at all!

  13. I signed up to your site for many reasons but this topic urged me to click register. XD

    I am personally disgusted with these companies   treating loyal customers like criminals with this supposed drm protection garbage.  Only protection offered is not to the customer but to the pockets of these giants.  I am officially boycotting any company that supports this constant and unyielding frustration and sheer rudeness of their assumptions.  This will cause me to miss many great games, some of which I was actually looking forward to.  I despise this fact and the people responsible.  But, if it will help to send the clear message that people don’t wish to deal with such idiocy then so be it.  There are literally tens of thousands of new and old games for me to play.  So much that I probably won’t get to play them all in my lifetime.  With the math on my side I can boycott them happily. 

    A prime example of a companies attempt to detour misuse of their product would be a game called runescape.  Now, I just turned 28 six days ago so I’ve been gaming for a good 18 years.  I’ve seen it all and then some.  I use this particular example because it has to be the most idiotic display of property protection to date.  The creators of Runescape have an issue with bots, autors, et cetra.  They implemented “Random events”.  These “Random Events” were special little programs that interrupted game play to ensure the user was in fact a human being.  In theory it works but they utterly misused this method.  How?  Well, every 15-20 minutes (sometimes sooner) these little programs would pop up during ANY current activity which includes combat of all types.  These programs forced you to interact with them (which can’t be done during combat in some cases) or the user suffered being ‘killed’ which meant they lost most of their very expensive items, or they were teleported to another section of the game causing unneeded frustration or it would teleport you to a mini-game which caused several issues that ruined most experiences with the mechanics of the game.

    These “Random Events” caused many, many people to quit, caused children and some adults heartache and frustration when their months of hard work was literally stolen from the very company they trusted and NEVER stopped the original issue.  The sad and terrible part of this example is the morons are still implementing these methods with little to no success.

    This can only compare to drm’s on the inconvenience factor but I was trying to display just how backward these companies can be with supposed benefits.  It sickens most people to have to be treated this way yet most allow themselves to suffer because they think..  well…  what can they do about it? 

    Not only do I plan to boycott ALL companies that support this idiocy but, I will begin a campaign of thread creations on any forum I find dealing with this issue.  I will place the facts and why these facts are insulting to everyone.  I will also promote, strongly, to boycott these companies until they all get their acts together.

    I refuse to be, or let anyone else be treated like a criminal.

  14. @Mymind Great. Send us some links to these boycott threads, will ya? You’re not the only one who wants to boycott games with DRM.

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