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The sound of grinding teeth as an accompaniment to my day - Tactical Ninja

Oct. 25th, 2012

09:49 am - The sound of grinding teeth as an accompaniment to my day

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Supple mounds? SUPPLE MOUNDS? Really, fanfiction?

O.o


DRM.

Yeah yeah, I know, but I don't have any particular issues with registration keys and general copy protection. I'm ok with the idea that people ought to pay for quality media such as games, DVDs etc - I mean, there's a reason I bought the Mass Effect back catalogue rather than accepting offers to get it for free, and that's because I like Bioware games and want to give them money so they'll keep making games. I understand that if everyone fileshares all the time, then companies won't be able to pay for development of new games, and I like new games (and movies) so I'm ok with paying for my media.

However, it becomes an issue when DRM makes said new games/media unavailable for legitimate purchase. This is not news. I have ranted at length about the way that media distributors withhold shows from us in NZ while the rest of the world gets to see them, in order to extort as much money as possible out of our broadcasters. How we are not big enough to get Netflix because there's no money in it for them to set up here, and how I'm totally ok with pirating media when there's no legitimate way of purchasing it.

This is a bit different though. What's bugging me today is that I bought a copy of Mass Effect 3, right? I paid money for it through a legitimate agency and they sent me the disks and I duly stuck Disk 1 in my hard drive and...

....

....

... nothing. It churns away for a while and nothing happens, and when I try to force it, it churns some more and then pops open and goes "Please insert a disk."

Whoah, thanks for that helpful message.

Not to be deterred, off to Google I go. I'm getting pretty good at this business of finding and fixing bugs through googlemancy. So the first thing it suggests is that I update the firmware for my drive. OK, no problem, do that. Still nothing. By now it's time to go to work. So I've spent a bit of time this morning looking around to see what's up with this.

It seems that what the problem is, is that my drive is old - the latest firmware was published in 2008. That shouldn't really be a problem - it still works, can read and write, does what a disk drive is supposed to do by ubiquitously letting me access portable files. That is, until it encounters modern DRM, which is apparently what is making the disk invisible to my drive. It simply doesn't have the ability to read through the DRM software that supposedly protects the disk from my evil desire to steal this game from EA...

.. oh wait. What it's actually doing is preventing me from installing a game I bought legitimately. They already have my money, yet I don't yet have a game. Hmm..

And before the technocrats among you start saying "Well you are behind the times because your drive is more than four years old", please be aware that I have had no trouble installing other recent games, because they don't have this DRM software that makes their files invisible.

Anyway, my research has led to 3 possilbe solutions:

1. Buy a new drive.
2. Install the files through our network from another machine.
3. Download the game from Origin (11G).

I suspect I'll go for 2. I'm told that once the files are on my machine and I run setup, it'll take me to Origin and I'll be able to enter my product key and once that's done it'll let me read the disks. So I'm told, anyway.

However, isn't this just a little bit arse-backwards? I have to essentially fileshare in order to be able to get the distributors to recognise that I have a legitimate copy of their game? Yes, it's only one game, but in my googling around I found that it's becoming more of a problem, and the name that keeps popping up is EA. They are apparently one of the main instigators of this type of issue. I have no reason to believe this will become less of an issue in the future. And that's a shame, because they have control of the distribution of my favourite games.

I know I said that every upgrade I've ever done has been driven by a game, but in the past that has always been so that I can take advantage of improvements to graphics, gameplay and the like. For some reason, the idea of having to upgrade hardware just so that I can get around DRM to play a game I own sticks in my craw something chronic.

DO NOT WANT.


tl;dr EA you suck donkey balls and I hate you, you mistrusting arseholes. Etc.

Me and my supple mounds will be over here sulking if you need me.

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:ferrouswheel
Date:October 24th, 2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
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Can you see the files in explorer or are the DVDs completely invisible?

I had a similar problem, but it was due to the DVD pressed data being arse backwards and thinking disc 1 was disc 2.

Solution was to copy the DVDs to hard drive, manually edit config files and install from hard drive.

And this is software I paid for. Would've been easier to torrent a cracked version.

This is one reason I haven't bought skyrim. Because it also has weird Steam DRM which messed with the modding community. I'll stick with my "works out of the box" cracked copy until Bethesda remove it.
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[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:October 24th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
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It can't see Disk 1 at all. I haven't tried Disk 2 but from my looking around, I'm guessing it'll see it but as soon as I run it I'll get a popup to insert Disk 1. ;-/

Weird, my copy of Skyrim worked just fine out of the box. It had a large update that auto-downloaded from Steam but the basic install went like clockwork.

I've only ever really had trouble with EA games. And The Witcher. The Witcher can kiss my arse too, because apparently that one's install bug is also about DRM.
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[User Picture]
From:Will Marshall
Date:October 24th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
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Just torrent ME3 and use your legitimate CD key to install it...
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[User Picture]
From:Will Marshall
Date:October 24th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
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I don't have a computer with an old-fashioned optical drive anymore, so on those occasions where I buy a game this is the easiest option.
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From:tatjna
Date:October 24th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
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I am assuming you now also live somewhere with decent internet.

During my travels around this problem this morning I have discovered just how many people are pissed off about the privileged expectation by EA that 10G+ download is quick and easy for everyone.
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[User Picture]
From:t_c_da
Date:October 25th, 2012 02:14 am (UTC)
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I suspect it derives from the usual developer situation: in order to be superproductive they have the newest, fastest everything and then develop something that works just fine on that hardware, but sucks big time on anything the normal user is likely to have.

I have struggled with this problem as a user for at least 40 years, from mainframes on down through the ages...

I also suspect that this is why every new release of Winblows requires a hardware upgrade to perform respectably/reasonably.
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[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:October 25th, 2012 02:16 am (UTC)
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I haven't really had that problem with Windows, but that's probably only because my hardware's normally upgraded beyond it because of games.

And yeah, also combined with the fact that these games are developed in countries that had the internet speeds we have now back in 2005, uncapped.
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From:t_c_da
Date:October 25th, 2012 05:09 am (UTC)
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I can lend you some cap - we have 40Gb, of which in the last two months combined we have used 3Gb. Probably not fast enough for you though, eh?
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From:tatjna
Date:October 25th, 2012 05:18 am (UTC)
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Ours is 200G which is OK for three net dwellers, and our dl speeds can get up to 1.3MB/s but normally sit between 300 and 800kb/s.

Which is a huge improvement on a couple of years ago. Shit, I remember in 2003 our cap was 2G and our cable was getting about 125kb/s.
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[User Picture]
From:Will Marshall
Date:October 25th, 2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
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In the case of games it's not so simple. Games testing is done on big racks of machines with wildly varying specs: it's just about finding the best-selling tradeoff between shiny (yay!) and performant (available to more people).

Game code tends to be insanely lean, crazy-efficient stuff - so there's that.
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[User Picture]
From:Will Marshall
Date:October 25th, 2012 11:14 pm (UTC)
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To be fair, we're talking about distribution of a luxury good that's inherently high-tech. There's always going to be a technological bar to clear (HDD space, GPU, internet speed, blah), and that bar is going to keep moving as long as the market continues to demand shinier games.
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From:tatjna
Date:October 25th, 2012 11:36 pm (UTC)
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True. But I noticed this morning a comment somewhere from someone bemoaning the fact that they only have 5MB download speeds, which says a lot about where NZ is at compared with other parts of the world. Maybe the rest of the world feels that 5MB is an 'only' scenario, and if that's the case, NZ is going to end up out of the dl market pretty fast.*

Some would say it already is, which is one of the reasons I want my DVD game to work out of the box. It's really not that much to ask.

* I don't really need you to tell me that this is the case and NZ needs to step up. I already know this. I don't have the power to make it happen or it would be happening already. Please take it as read that I already understand your position on this.
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From:Will Marshall
Date:October 25th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
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I'm actually very curious to see a financial breakdown of digital distribution (Steam etc) vs optical media distribution.

On the face of it optical media is basically free, but I suspect it's way more complex than that.

(And yeah, the DRM on disks is inexcusable. Also prosecutable, I suspect)
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From:tatjna
Date:October 26th, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
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My guess would be that digital distribution through things like Steam and Origin have overtaken optical by now, since the bulk of the game-buying population live in places where it's fast, cheap and easy to dl.

For the rest of us, it would be nice if they considered our existence and waited till our internet catches up before making optical obsolete altogether.
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[User Picture]
From:Will Marshall
Date:October 26th, 2012 12:09 am (UTC)
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Nice, but unlikely unless we represent a big enough market that it's actually profitable to do so.
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From:tatjna
Date:October 26th, 2012 12:17 am (UTC)
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Always the same story with this country. I mean, I'd like to present the argument that supporting us now will pay off in the future because of loyalty gained through having been looked after, or through retained business or whatever, but the fact is that we have no clout on the world stage because there aren't enough of us so nobody gives a crap.

See also: Netflix.

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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:Will Marshall
Date:October 25th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
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Universally we can agree that DRM is fucking stupid.
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[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:October 24th, 2012 10:44 pm (UTC)
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I don't even need to do that since 2 other machines on our network have it. I could also legit dl it from Origin but that'd be 11G and I was trying to avoid that by, you know, buying the disks.

I know there are ways around it, this is just a rant about my frustration at how obstructive DRM is becoming.
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[User Picture]
From:fushia_darkness
Date:October 24th, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
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What?! You give away 'supple mounds' and then... nothing. Tech stuff I don't understand at all... M all confused here ;)
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From:tatjna
Date:October 24th, 2012 10:58 pm (UTC)
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I came across it as a description of someone's breasts and just went WTF?!

"His hands found her supple mounds..."

SUPPLE MOUNDS
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[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:October 24th, 2012 11:11 pm (UTC)

Re: "supple mounds lost their morning mist"

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I am amazed how many vegetables are in that search. I would not generally describe vegetables as supple.
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From:bekitty
Date:October 25th, 2012 03:35 am (UTC)
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Yeah, "supple" to me implies bending without breaking. Kind of like the way carrots do if you leave them in the fridge too long.
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From:pombagira
Date:October 25th, 2012 03:34 am (UTC)
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turgid man column.. i have seen, err read that in fanfic.. O.O

*wobbles supple mounds*

bwahaha
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[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:October 25th, 2012 04:38 am (UTC)
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My my, what supple mounds you have!
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[User Picture]
From:pundigrion
Date:October 26th, 2012 04:02 am (UTC)

My supple mounds bring all the boys to the yard

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NZ sounds a lot like Canada for internet speeds and DRM woes. I'm assuming here that a lot of Aussie content is blocked for you just like US here just to rub it in even more.
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