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Well... it isn't fair at all. At its core it is a draconian measure. The problem of piracy is not licensed users installing, uninstalling, and reinstalling software. The only people who this will negatively affect are licensed users. Or, as another site, talking about another game with a similar situation put it:

"If you are a Pirate:

  • BAD: You do have the same bugs that those with legal copies have, plus new ones depending on how the cracked copy was programmed.
  • GOOD: Unlimited Activations!
  • GOOD: No SecuROM to deal with
  • GOOD & BAD: It’s free, but illegal

If you are a Legal Customer:

  • BAD: Limited to 3 Activations
  • BAD: Your computer is plaqued with SecuROM
  • BAD: Game contains errors and bugs
  • GOOD & BAD: You support Maxis by purchasing the game, but you are also supporting EA, and if you support them, you support SecuROM

Honestly…what looks better to you?"

I had actually expected better from BF on this issue.

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I'm a little confused. You get an additional activation every 365 days. You buy the game and activate it. That leaves you with 3 additional activations. After a year you apply for another and are back to 4? What does "if you need it" mean? Do you get the additional activation only if you have run out of activations?

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SecuRom, Maxis, EA, bugs? In the first place I don't have a high opinion of the quote on it's own merits but its relevance is nil in this discussion.

The rest of us are discussing the pros and cons of the BFC DRM. If there is a grievance against the BFC DRM, please by all means do speak out but do try not to not drag some other company or their DRM in to it with some quote that strikes me as pretty nonsensical.

For instance, how is it draconian? A bold claim. 4+1 activation isn't exactly BFCs jackboot on my neck.

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Elmer, most of your argument seems pretty nonsensical to me...

Forget the EA bit. [2nd edit: you do know what "similar" means? hard to see how this is irrelevant, but I don't want to derail the discussion because you are unable to grasp how "similar" situations might add insight to this circumstance]

The only people this will affect are licensed users AND!!! installing, uninstalling, and reinstalling does not contribute to piracy!

If the game is installed on 2 computers, per the license, the user then has 2 activations left. Now if the user is someone like me, someone who plays many games, there is no guarantee I will want to keep the game installed on either computer all the time because of disk space considerations.

But this in effect is telling me I have to keep it installed on the machines I've got it installed on. AFAIK, many games that use installation limits like this issue a "revoke tool". That is what I am asking for. Got a conceptual problem with that?

edit: and yes, in my book trying to control how often one installs and uninstalls licensed software on ones computer is a draconian measure.

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Elmer, most of your argument seems pretty nonsensical to me...

But sfhand, out of the two of us I can get the name right. So I win. :)

Forget the EA bit. [2nd edit: you do know what "similar" means? hard to see how this is irrelevant, but I don't want to derail the discussion because you are unable to grasp how "similar" situations might add insight to this

Securom =/= Online Activation System

EA =/= BFC

I'm baffled that you think they are similar. And then to drag non related bugs in to the discussion is reaching.

The only people this will affect is licensed users AND!!! installing, uninstalling, and reinstalling does not contribute to piracy!

That is putting the cart before the horse and you know it! Unlimited installing/activation does contribute to piracy. It may effect some licensed users, maybe, sometimes, and BFC have already indicated they won't be asshats about it.

It will also, contrary to what you say, affect pirates. Which I think you'll find is the whole point of the exercise. Which licensed users should care about, because I want BFC to make lots and lots of money to enable them to make better and bigger games. So yeah, DRM is there for us too. I don't like it any more then you do, but that's the reality of it.

If the game is installed on 2 computers, per the license the user then has 2 activations left. Now if the user is someone like me, someone who plays many games, there is no guarantee I will want to keep the game installed on either computer all the time because of disk space considerations.

Well, then for you this DRM could suck and unlicensing a la e-license would be better. A quick peek at Tech Support says there will be plenty who feel different and think it's good riddance.

Mind you, the installing and re-installing doesn't use up a license.

Can't really hold BFC responsible for the more idiosyncratic uses of their product.

But this in effect is telling me I have to keep it installed on the machines I've got it installed on. AFAIK, many games that limit installation limits like this issue a "revoke tool". That is what I am asking for. Got a conceptual problem with that?

Nope. Have you got a conceptual problem with reckognising that your pre-emptive notional problems with the DRM are largely self inflicted? Won't make them suck any less for you, I am sure. But to get so laughably melodramatic about it, yeah, I'll comment on that.

edit: and yes, in my book trying to control how often one installs and uninstalls licensed software on ones computer is a draconian measure.

You are free to do so. Don't mind me as I point and laugh.

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Well the biggest reason is all the crap that Windows Accumulates over time. I work on different projects from time to time, often I look for programs that will help me do things better and faster. This involves a lot of demo and shareware installing in order to test if they do what they advertise.

Even when uninstalling these they still leave traces in Windows.

Just a suggestion, but restore points and the occasional ghosting of a drive image works wonders. The biggest thing your reinstall is doing is clearing the registry of trash. It is manageable with a slightly smaller hammer than the one you seem to be using.

I'm a developer so load and discard all sorts of trash. Really risky stuff gets a virtual machine (have 3 VMs right now for different OSs, or major customer revisions), less risky tools get a restore point created right before loading.

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But sfhand, out of the two of us I can get the name right. So I win. :)

Securom =/= Online Activation System

EA =/= BFC

I'm baffled that you think they are similar. And then to drag non related bugs in to the discussion is reaching.

That is putting the cart before the horse and you know it! Unlimited installing/activation does contribute to piracy. It may effect some licensed users, maybe, sometimes, and BFC have already indicated they won't be asshats about it.

It will also, contrary to what you say, affect pirates. Which I think you'll find is the whole point of the exercise. Which licensed users should care about, because I want BFC to make lots and lots of money to enable them to make better and bigger games. So yeah, DRM is there for us too. I don't like it any more then you do, but that's the reality of it.

Well, then for you this DRM could suck and unlicensing a la e-license would be better. A quick peek at Tech Support says there will be plenty who feel different and think it's good riddance.

Mind you, the installing and re-installing doesn't use up a license.

Can't really hold BFC responsible for the more idiosyncratic uses of their product.

Nope. Have you got a conceptual problem with reckognising that your pre-emptive notional problems with the DRM are largely self inflicted? Won't make them suck any less for you, I am sure. But to get so laughably melodramatic about it, yeah, I'll comment on that.

You are free to do so. Don't mind me as I point and laugh.

Elmar...

While you're pointing and laughing try researching "Securom online activation"... and do a little researh on revoke tools as well - you will find my concerns far more common than idiosyncratic.

Installing and reinstalling can use up a license if there is a significant system change in the interim, and as has been pointed out earlier the license accomodates installation on 2 machines. I am not an outlier, btw, I know many people with 2 computers. In the last year I've changed CPU's in both my Desktop and Laptop.

And lastly, pirates don't install and uninstall licensed software, they crack DRM schemes and install unlicensed software so this scheme will not affect them once it is cracked. Which existing DRM scheme(s) do you think is/are currently uncracked and for how much longer will it/they remain so?

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I doubt that most pirates have the technical nous to crack DRM schemes, and since CM is a fairly niche product it is unlikely to draw the attention of those people who can crack the game. DRM in this instance protects against casual piracy and BFC seem to think that it is worth the hassle.

They have the market data on sales and license usage so it's difficult to argue with them on the subject.

If the activation limit is too low, then is it too much to contact BFC through the help desk and ask for another one?

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Erh, seems a bit of a nasty system really :( Even Starforce is more lenient than that. 1 activation per year? That's really harsh. What was wrong with e-license? I liked that one better ...

It's not 1 activation per year. It's one ADDITIONAL activation per year on top of the 4 you already. That is a big difference.

Edit: And what exactly is a "major" system change? A new CPU? Graphics card? Motherboard? Ram?

Would you say that these are major system changes? The answer is: yes.

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I do at least a Windows reinstall every 3 months. So for me it's 4 reinstalls for laptop and 4 for desktop per year.

Sorry to hear that. In this case you should consider buying more licenses. We offer discounts for that. Alternatively, consider NOT reformatting Windows every 3 months on the PC that you install the game on.

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I don't know if I'd use up 4 activations in 1 year - I haven't done with CMSF. But I know when I buy a product, I'd expect a guarantee and/or insure it. That way I have piece of mind that IF there were to be a problem, then I'm OK.

Four activations a year does not give me the confidence I need from this product.

Has there been any discussion as to why the accepted method (eLicence) has to change?

We are offering any guarantees, and never have, when you purchase a game. Our EULA (End User License Agreement) hasn't changed really since day one.

We do, however, make exceptions to the rules. We're doing it daily, in fact. If you really run up against the activation count, explain what happened in our Helpdesk, and we can give you an additional one.

eLicense needed to change because of an increasing amount of problems with anti-virus programs classifying it as a false positive, problems with Windows UAC, etc.

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Well... it isn't fair at all. At its core it is a draconian measure. The problem of piracy is not licensed users installing, uninstalling, and reinstalling software. The only people who this will negatively affect are licensed users. Or, as another site, talking about another game with a similar situation put it:

"If you are a Pirate:

  • BAD: You do have the same bugs that those with legal copies have, plus new ones depending on how the cracked copy was programmed.
  • GOOD: Unlimited Activations!
  • GOOD: No SecuROM to deal with
  • GOOD & BAD: It’s free, but illegal

If you are a Legal Customer:

  • BAD: Limited to 3 Activations
  • BAD: Your computer is plaqued with SecuROM
  • BAD: Game contains errors and bugs
  • GOOD & BAD: You support Maxis by purchasing the game, but you are also supporting EA, and if you support them, you support SecuROM

Honestly…what looks better to you?"

I had actually expected better from BF on this issue.

As akd mentioned: "similar situation?"

There isn't anything similar about your quote and Battlefront. We do not use SecuROM. We allow more than 3 activations.

And there is one important thing missing: our new online activation system comes with new anti-hacking protection which will make people who play a pirated copy VERY unhappy. They will be surprised to find tanks missing, vehicles not being able to turn, game crashes etc. I don't want to into specifics, though.

Anyway, in a discussion about copy protection there is always the inevitable drift off to positions against it in general, and the mixing and matching of all the bad experiences, systems and failures of the past into the debate. I won't even comment on that anymore.

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The easiest solution to installation limits, as implimented by other game software developers, is to have a "deactivation tool" so the user doesn't go through their allotted activations.

It's funny you say that because we have been using just a system like that for 4 years now. Before most other developers had something like it.

Hmm, so for some reason we must think that the new one is better.

And here is why: What we know is that many people forget to "deactivate". Or lose their PC due to hard crashes before they can. Or something goes wrong with the deactivation. Or they have no online connection (required) to deactivate.

The end result is that we are resetting keys for people in this situation in our Helpdesk every day. Since you are allowed only 2 activations at the same time, you often only need to get into this situation once before you need support intervention.

Our new system is much better in this regard.

- Since you cannot unlicense, you cannot forget to unlicense. And it doesn't matter if your PC crashes hard or your HD fries before you can.

- Our new system comes with more activations upfront, so in most cases you can simple re-activate. Done.

- If you did use up your activations, then you can add more without having to wait for support.

- And if you have a real issue and need more than the 1 per year additional, you can always request support, explain what is going on, and we can add an activation to your key. That works the same as if you had forgotten to unlicense or had a crash in the first place.

And these are just a few reasons why the new system is better than the old one.

Martin

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And there is one important thing missing: our new online activation system comes with new anti-hacking protection which will make people who play a pirated copy VERY unhappy. They will be surprised to find tanks missing, vehicles not being able to turn, game crashes etc. I don't want to into specifics, though.

This is a REALLY bad idea. As already mentioned, there will always be some people that have payed for the game but will still run into problems with the DRM. If you can't activate the game, at least you know that and can contact customer support.

If you have bought the game legally, and are unlucky enough to for some reason still trigger these kinds of features (and this WILL certainly happen to someone), you are going to assume that the game is full of bugs and unplayable and will probably stay away from any future games in the series, and also recommend others not to buy it.

If you absolutely need a DRM, make sure that people know if there is a problem with the activation of the game they bought so they can get help to fix it. Inserting random game breaking features without telling people it's DRM related is not smart. :mad:

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And there is one important thing missing: our new online activation system comes with new anti-hacking protection which will make people who play a pirated copy VERY unhappy. They will be surprised to find tanks missing, vehicles not being able to turn, game crashes etc. I don't want to into specifics, though.

Does this affect both players in a PBEM the ones with a valid copy and the SW pirates?

These are the people I want as PBEM opponents. Perhaps, then, I will have a fighting chance.

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- Since you cannot unlicense, you cannot forget to unlicense. And it doesn't matter if your PC crashes hard or your HD fries before you can.

- Our new system comes with more activations upfront, so in most cases you can simple re-activate. Done.

- If you did use up your activations, then you can add more without having to wait for support.

- And if you have a real issue and need more than the 1 per year additional, you can always request support, explain what is going on, and we can add an activation to your key. That works the same as if you had forgotten to unlicense or had a crash in the first place.

This sounds just fine with me, I don't envision any problems with activation or the amount of activations. I had a Win XP machine(actually I still do) that has been used since April of 2004, with the proper use of restore points and appropriate backups, I have never had a problem with performance, rebuilds etc. even when adding video, sound, storage, and memory upgrades.. I also used it for web development work and database publishing solutions, downloaded 100 of betas, demo's etc... Just need to have the resolve to follow SOP's...

Now that I am retired I am running two Win7 64x machines... The restore and backup procedures work even better. So unless there is a HD crash or I buy a new machine, I don't see the need for additional activations...

I was apprehensive when BFC went to it's e-license for CM:SF... but alas that worked out... You gotta figure they know whats right for their business... I just want to see the game released.... SOON... The release date causes more stress then all these other little nuances... keep up the good work boyz and get crackin on that release...:)

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JSj, the problems will only affect people who play pirated copies. If you have a valid key and activate the game, there will be no "hidden" bugs. Doh!

Yes, in a perfect world maybe. I have never heard of a DRM or similiar that has not caused unintentional problems for some paying customers.

For instance, Arma 2 has something called FADE, that makes the accuracy of the weapons get extremely low if you play a pirated copy of the game. And there have been lots of people on the forums that have bought the game, complaining about the low accuracy "bug", and they have then had to get help from customer support to fix the problem.

I really hope that you have created the perfect, fail-proof software to make sure that no one will ever have this system triggered accidentaly, but I seriously doubt that this is possible.

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Yes, in a perfect world maybe. I have never heard of a DRM or similiar that has not caused unintentional problems for some paying customers.

For instance, Arma 2 has something called FADE, that makes the accuracy of the weapons get extremely low if you play a pirated copy of the game. And there have been lots of people on the forums that have bought the game, complaining about the low accuracy "bug", and they have then had to get help from customer support to fix the problem.

I really hope that you have created the perfect, fail-proof software to make sure that no one will ever have this system triggered accidentaly, but I seriously doubt that this is possible.

Just wait and see until the game is released. No point in getting worked up about it now. If there are problems BFC will have to sort them out, otherwise no problem :).

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JSj, the problems will only affect people who play pirated copies. If you have a valid key and activate the game, there will be no "hidden" bugs. Doh!

Moon,

I hope you guys rethink this aspect of your DRM. Now that this is out, the first time someone starts experiencing erratic problems with the software whether real or imagined, they will blame the drm and BF. If your new DRM works well enough then putting stuff like this in your game isn't necessary and IMO is just asking for problems and bad PR .....

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DRM schemes are controversial and instituting new ones will lead to more controversy.

I am, and have always been, very sorry to hear about BF's sales numbers declining between CMx1 releases. I have always thought that casual piracy - someone letting their buddies install off of their CD - was the culprit. But that is only a hunch on my part.

A DRM that limits installations to 3 events is similar to one that limits installations to 4 events - they are similiar in that they limit installations. A DRM that limits installations to 3 events is more similar to one that limits installation events to 4 events than one that limits them to 10 events (because the numbers are closer in value) but all 3 share the similarity of limiting installations. If there is anyone else on this board who can't or won't understand what "similar" means, whether for rhetorical purposes or not I can't say, there isn't much else I can do to explain.

I bought Bioshock. After the fact it became known that Bioshock's DRM included limited installation activations. There was much uproar. Within a month or two 2K released a revoke tool even though they said the user could call Tech Support in the event of problems. Within 2 years 2K removed this feature of Bioshock's DRM.

Saying a person who reformats regularly should buy more licenses, as is said on the previous page, undercuts those who are saying people should trust BF's motives. So far I have been a loyal customer and BF has more than upheld their side of the bargain, but we are entering new terrain here.

A revoke tool would reduce the amount of customer support you will need to supply if you are going to deal with your DRM scheme in good faith.

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For instance, Arma 2 has something called FADE,

We are not using FADE (I don't know what it is to be honest), so whatever problems they have are not really relevant to us.

The whole DRM question is riddled with bad experiences by customers with other publishers and developers. I guess some really bad stuff is out there. But assuming the worst because of that is not a good approach, especially given our past track record of customer service. Sometimes I wonder if you guys wake up in the morning and completely forget the last 10 years of dealings with Battlefront :)

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Moon,

I hope you guys rethink this aspect of your DRM. Now that this is out, the first time someone starts experiencing erratic problems with the software whether real or imagined, they will blame the drm and BF. If your new DRM works well enough then putting stuff like this in your game isn't necessary and IMO is just asking for problems and bad PR .....

I can't stop people from blaming whoever they want for anything that they want. That won't make them any more right, though.

And no DRM works "well enough". Anything can be cracked. Our new OAS will ensure that paying customers get what they pay for, while others don't. That should make you, the paying customer, very happy I would think, seeing as one of the common complaints about copy protection in general is that pirates are better off (well, they aren't).

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