You might best know Sony DADC as the makers of one of the worst copy protection systems in the world, SecuROM. SecuROM has been accused of being everything from a rootkit to just a burden and a barrier to gamers even going so far as to actually prevent gamers from playing their games. EA was recently slapped with a lawsuit in the US due to its inclusion in their game, Spore. It has even been known to require activation per user, on the same computer which was probably the cause of its later removal from Bioshock.
Why JoWood would decide that this was the best form of DRM for their product, is baffling. They state they are reacting "to the needs of the gaming community," but really it looks like they’re working to alienate the community.
“Digital Rights Management as a module of the digital services has always been a tightrope walk between user friendliness and security of the product. ArcaniA – Gothic 4 is different here” explains Clemens Schneidhofer, JoWooD Entertainment. “With Arcania – Gothic 4 we deliver a high-quality product gamers will enjoy playing for hours. This joy and fun should not be disturbed by intrusive copy protection measures. So SecuROM is the perfect solution for us because it offers the necessary security and at the same time it fulfills our high expectations concerning costumer-friendliness.”
They haven’t quite gone the way of Bioshock, Mass Effect or Spore as ArcaniA – Gothic 4 can be installed on an unlimited number of PCs and only needs to be activated once via the Internet. To play, which can be done at up to three PCs at a time, neither the original disc nor a constant internet connection is needed. The possibility of an uncomplicated transfer of license between the used PC offers a maximum of flexibility to the customer.
“The implemented digital services will be perfected by a user-friendly Auto Update Feature that informs the gamer pro-actively – without an annoying search – about the availability of a new Update and installs with the permission of the gamer right away” says Sascha Geschwendtner, Product Manager Games Services Sony DADC. “In addition other innovative solutions to increase the usability and the comfort of the game were implemented one of them being the verification of the release date. This feature allows the user to install the game in advance and to start it directly on the release date and therefore helps to avoid unnecessary waiting time to access the game-world.”
So they are turning SecuROM into a digital delivery platform? Do they believe that will make it acceptable? We have all of those features when you get the game from most digital distribution sites like Steam. They make it sound like you have to search for hours to find a newly released update for game.
It is astounding that a company like JoWood could think that SecuROM was the way to go with their newest game. I would rather have a persistent Internet connection required than have SecuROM installed on any system I own.
It’s easy to imagine this pushing gamers away from the PC version and into the console version of the game.