A note posted by BioWare Technical Director Derek French on the official Mass Effect forums, reported by 1Up, said the game will use SecuROM copy protection requiring an online activation when the game is first installed. But following that, the copy protection will require a "re-check" with its server within ten days in case the CD key has been pirated or become public. The re-check begins with five days remaining in the ten-day window, and offers a second ten-day "grace period" if the server cannot be reached. After the expiration of the second ten-day period, the game will need to be fully re-activated before it will run.
The new system will apparently be used in all future PC releases from EA. In response to concerns that owners of the PC version of the game will not be able to play it once the validation servers are pulled down, French wrote, "It does not take any effort to keep the servers running, because it's not just for Mass Effect, it will be for Spore, and all the other PC titles coming up. In fact, it would take more effort to shut down one PC title than to keep them all going."
"Just like people claimed we would shut off the NWN1 Master Server, we said we wouldn't and we haven't and people are still playing," he added.
French said each activation key will be good for three installations, and that the game's requirement of a regular internet connection, despite being a single-player title, will be clearly marked on the game's packaging. Mass Effect for the PC is scheduled for release in North America on May 28.