Gaming. Definitely one of my favorite past-times. Whenever a PC game is released, it used to evoke great anticipation and excitement in eager gaming fans. But now, they also elicit groans of dread and frustration, thanks to the dreaded copy protection that most PC games now come with. Lately, the Internet is abuzz about 2K Game's utterly stupid implementation of SecuROM (Sony's rootkit) in their latest game, BioShock. In fact, that issue is the progenitor of this very article.
I was one of the mindless peons (I'm sure that is what these arrogant copyright holders think of their paying customers) who bought it on launch day. I too had my fair share of problems getting it activated. I finally resorted to the most-unrecommended method of mashing the Back and OK buttons incoherently until it finally caved in and declared the game activated. I don't usually act so senselessly but I believe a stupid problem should be dealt with in a stupid manner.
So, let's dissect this stupid problem in the most idiotic way possible. Yeah, that means talking about it even when we are pretty sure the developers and publishers won't care a whit about what we say. I will however limit this discussion to video games. I don't want to delve into the horse manure that is also known as the RIAA and MPAA - yuck! But I will cite some examples from time to time.
The Consumer's Problem
With the Internet so prevalent in the lives of many gamers in this Information Age, they have two choices when they want to obtain electronic media, and boy, is it a tough choice! :
- Go the legitimate route (that means buying the darn thing!)
- Go the greyish/illegitimate route (we all know what those are!)
FYI, neither I (PsYkHoTiK) nor any member of TechARP.com condone any act of piracy or copying (except Fair Use of course) through illegal means.
Although it looks like a good-versus-evil problem right there, choices that game developers and distributors make can turn that obvious choice into a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. This drives many people into choosing option no. 2 even when they want to choose option no. 1. Why is that? Let's take a look at the choices game developers and publishers can take.