Uproar Over Dark Athena DRM Limits

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Uproar Over Dark Athena DRM Limits


Word is out that the PC version of The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena [http://www.riddickgame.com/] is packing DRM with an irrevocable limit of three installations, leading to predictable outbursts of gamer rage and one-star review scores on Amazon.

Users on the PC Gamer [http://www.ataricommunity.com/forums/showthread.php?s=1dda1beb2f13cdab260a8200c6092dbb&t=671930], which gave the game a respectable score of 80 but added that it includes an online authentication scheme with no way to revoke installations.

Gamers are reacting badly to the news, of course, threatening to forgo the game entirely in order to protest one-star score at Amazon.com [http://www.atari.com], with DRM-driven negative reviews coming in regularly.

There's only one potential problem: Nobody seems able to confirm whether or not the game actually has an non-revocable installation limit. In fact, German gaming sites like Google translated [http://www.gamestar.de/news/pc/action/egoshooter/1955264/chronicles_of_riddick_assault_on_dark_athena.html]) claim that while Assault on Dark Athena does feature "install tokens" to limit the game to installations on three different PCs, these tokens are automatically revoked when the game is uninstalled. And if a user does manage to burn up all three tokens and wants to reinstall the game again, the site says Atari will provide replacements via a toll-free help line.

The status of the DRM may be uncertain but one thing isn't: Assault on Dark Athena is being punished online and sales of the PC version will almost certainly suffer as a result. It's unfortunate that gamers are willing to excoriate new games at even the slightest hint of obtrusive DRM, but it's not terribly surprising.

We've contacted Atari to shed some light on the matter and will update accordingly. In the meantime, if anyone has purchased the PC version of The Chroniles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena and feels like forwarding a copy of the EULA, I'd love to give it a look.

UPDATE: Atari has issued the following statement in response to the DRM controversy:

"The protection on the PC version of The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is an activation system with online authentication required the first time you install the game on a machine. The activation code lets you install the game on up to 3 machines, with an unlimited number of installs on each assuming that you don't change any major hardware in your PC or re-install your operating system."

"If you reach the maximum number of installations you can contact the Atari hotline and if it's a legitimate request you can get a new activation code. We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."


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Royas

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Apr 25, 2008
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I sure hope this turns out to be wrong. I really wanted this game, but if it has any kind of install limits (and I'm including revocable tokens in that), I won't buy any version of it at all. Publishers have to learn that limiting the customers' rights isn't the way to go about protecting their property. Our rights should trump theirs. At least they should, if they want our money.

Edit: Dammit, another game I was looking forward to and now can't buy because of the paranoid jackasses in charge. Guess Atari is on the boycott list with EA.
 

Cargando

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Apr 8, 2009
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Bloody EA, I wish they wouldn't try to squeeze money of us like that.

EDIT: oh wait, I did't read the whole before I posted. Deja Vu
 

dekkarax

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Cargando said:
Bloody EA, I wishthey wouldn't try to squeeze money of us like that.
It's Atari.
Even EA has abandoned that strategy.
It's all in the article, if you read it all.
 

ElArabDeMagnifico

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Fuck it, I'm just not buying games anymore if this stupidity is gonna keep going on. Not even console games.
 

Cargando

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dekkarax said:
Cargando said:
Bloody EA, I wishthey wouldn't try to squeeze money of us like that.
It's Atari.
Even EA has abandoned that strategy.
It's all in the article, if you read it all.
Atari, EA, it's all the same to me.
 

Cousin_IT

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Malygris said:
"We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."
Might this mean that using such DRM is only to protect the (genuinely vital) first month of a games shelflife before they remove it? I doubt it but would be nice.
 

Doug

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Apr 23, 2008
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I'm not all that surprised Atari are behind his ruinous idea. Still, its not a game I'm all that interested in, so I'm safe, heh.
 

oliveira8

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Cousin_IT said:
Malygris said:
"We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."
Might this mean that using such DRM is only to protect the (genuinely vital) first month of a games shelflife before they remove it? I doubt it but would be nice.
Doesnt change anything. It still gets cracked on the first day its out.

This DRM does nothing besides enraging costumers.
 

Baneat

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It's clear to me that the DRM protest is working. Eventually they will just be forced to abandon it, as evidenced by the rape this game gets on release.
 

RooksEye

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Hey let's what we always do, download the game for free. It happened to Spore, why not for this game. They need to realize that DRM is a futile endeavor. If I buy the game, I should be able to put it on as many machines that I want. That's just my opinion.
 

Skrapt

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Now such measures have been announced, this game will be cracked on day one, or pre-released without these install limits and it will quickly rise to the top of the torrents regardless of whether it's any good or not. Atari will then start crying about how their sales were ruined by piracy.

Atari please take a lesson from Spore, if you take a game that people want, slap restrictive DRM on it, hackers WILL take it as a challenge and subsequently crack and release your game sans the annoying bits on the torrents. I'm not saying it wouldn't happen anyway, just thanks to this it will happen a lot faster and with a lot more people downloading it.
 

Solivagus

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A quick Google search found a torrent for this game with tens of thousands of seeders. Yeah, DRM really does help prevent that "early piracy".

I was actually looking forward to this game. I probably won't bother now.

I'm not sure companies like Atari will listen to anti-DRM rants for very long. If they do, they'll probably just devise another intrusive method of protecting their game from piracy. Something ambiguous like stating that consumers don't really buy the game, just the right to install it onto their machine (forgot exactly what was said and who said it, it is old though).
 

TheBluesader

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Solivagus said:
A quick Google search found a torrent for this game with tens of thousands of seeders. Yeah, DRM really does help prevent that "early piracy".
/thread

I for one am stunned that Atari would be about 3 years behind the likes of Valve and Apple. Stunned, stunned, STUNNED.

And people wonder why a 30 year old company like Atari has been sold about three different times...
 

TsunamiWombat

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This is a shame cause this is a badass game and you should all play it, Srsly.

Also, read the statement. Is says there are unlimited installs. The issue is you can only activate it on 3 machines.

PS: I got it for xbox the day it came out, sucks to be you PC gamers
 

scotth266

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Jan 10, 2009
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Cousin_IT said:
Malygris said:
"We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."
Might this mean that using such DRM is only to protect the (genuinely vital) first month of a games shelflife before they remove it? I doubt it but would be nice.
ALL DRM is essentially like that, an attempt to prevent the early piracy that claims so many sales. This one seems rather pointless though...
 

Doug

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Apr 23, 2008
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scotth266 said:
Cousin_IT said:
Malygris said:
"We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."
Might this mean that using such DRM is only to protect the (genuinely vital) first month of a games shelflife before they remove it? I doubt it but would be nice.
ALL DRM is essentially like that, an attempt to prevent the early piracy that claims so many sales. This one seems rather pointless though...
In theory, yes. But they rarely issue a 'remove DRM patch', so loyal customers have to put up with DRM for as long as the games are installed.
 

scotth266

Wait when did I get a sub
Jan 10, 2009
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Doug said:
scotth266 said:
Cousin_IT said:
Malygris said:
"We implement this protection in an effort to avoid early piracy."
Might this mean that using such DRM is only to protect the (genuinely vital) first month of a games shelflife before they remove it? I doubt it but would be nice.
ALL DRM is essentially like that, an attempt to prevent the early piracy that claims so many sales. This one seems rather pointless though...
In theory, yes. But they rarely issue a 'remove DRM patch', so loyal customers have to put up with DRM for as long as the games are installed.
That's just the thing: after that critical sales period, they don't care so much, as games sell the most that they ever will within the first week of release. After that there are still trickles, but the DRM is just there for the opening period. After that, they figure anyone purchasing is interested enough to buy it and not worry about the DRM.
 

Royas

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TsunamiWombat said:
This is a shame cause this is a badass game and you should all play it, Srsly.

Also, read the statement. Is says there are unlimited installs. The issue is you can only activate it on 3 machines.

PS: I got it for xbox the day it came out, sucks to be you PC gamers
I could buy it for one of my consoles also, I just refuse to give any money to a company that treats me like a criminal. I just don't see any sense in that. I'm tired of publishers using DRM that never works to do anything except annoy their customers. It's enough to encourage a person to turn pirate, just to spite them.