Tuesday, August 28, 2007


By now anyone into the PC gaming scene has heard about the ridiculous anti-piracy methods that were implemented in BioShock. And while the SecureROM protection is certainly not a root-kit, it does install software without explicit permission from the user and it makes the assumption that anyone who installs the games is a bad evil crook.

The purpose of this software is to attempt to control how many times the game can be installed before requiring the user to contact tech support, beg forgiveness for to many installs, and receive another serial number.

I was planning on getting a hold of this game. I am not willing to pay for the privilege of being treated like a thief.

(OK, well technically I DID play for the privilege to BE a thief before, hmmmm)

Anyway, this is a game that I was seriously excited for. I am a huge fan of the System Shock and System Shock 2 games. BioShock was touted as a spiritual successor to these games. I did install the demo and geeked out over it since the game play reminded me strongly of my old SS memories.

I’ll go no more into this because it’s been discussed by much cleverer people than I.

But, the thing that I keep wondering about is how this decision was made. I keep imagining a conference room filled with clueless morons and deciding that it couldn’t possibly have happened that way. The people making the decision to treat legitimate users as plundering hordes must have been made by intelligent and educated people. How then, could they have made such a stupid mistake? What could have blinded them to the fact that the only people who will be harmed by this decision are the legitimate users? How could they have thought that the people engaged in software piracy won’t just remove any protections?

I suppose someone must have made the analogy of putting a home alarm system on your house. The point of a home security system (for most people) is to shift the risk reward ratio so that bad guys will choose to rob the house next door instead. This strategy actually works pretty well for a situation where there are multiple targets of equivalent value.

If this was the thinking they choose to use then they were wildly wrong. Each piece of software is a unique target. Thinking that the pirates will just hack someone else program instead is a serious logical blunder.

Anyway, since I never finished Oblivion, after removing the Bioshock demo and all traces of SecureROM from my system I re-installed it. I guess I’ll just play that instead.

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