Stardock’s DRM Solution Is Gooey


Not content to let Valve hog the spotlight, Stardock has revealed their own solution for DRM headaches: a healthy dose of Goo.

Earlier this week Valve declared victory over the fallen corpse of DRM. Their new anti-piracy features in Steamworks, which create unique copies of games for users and allow multiple installs, makes DRM “obsolete,” they declared. Well, Stardock, the publishers behind Sins of a Solar Empire and rival digital distribution platform Impulse, have their own would-be DRM tech, which they call Goo.

That’s not just a cute name – it stands for Game Object Obfuscation, and is a tool that Stardock says “allows developers to encapsulate their game executable into a container that includes the original executable plus Impulse Reactor, Stardock’s virtual platform, into a single encrypted file.”

What happens when you boot up a Goo-powered game (Gooey game?) is the program will have you enter your e-mail address and serial number, and then the game becomes attached to you, licensed and validated. Once you’ve done that, you never have to go online to validate the game ever again, and since it’s tied to your account and not your hardware, it can be installed on multiple machines.

Also, since a Goo-powered game won’t be attached to any third-party client, a developer can use it as a “universal solution since it is not tied to any particular digital distributor.” That, Stardock thinks, can pave the way to games that can be validated on any digital distribution platform that supports the game.

Finally, Goo will allow gamers to resell their digitally downloaded games for the first time ever, since users will be free to disable their own license at any time and transfer it to someone else.

“Publishers want to be able to sell their games in as many channels as possible but don’t want to have to implement a half-dozen ‘copy protection’ schemes,” Stardock CEO Brad Wardell said. “Game Object Obfuscation lets the developer have a single game build that can be distributed everywhere while letting gamers potentially be able to re-download their game later from any digital service. Plus, it finally makes possible a way for gamers and publishers to transfer game licenses to players in a secure and reliable fashion.”

Stardock plans to announce “multiple major publishers” that’ll be using the technology next month when it releases on April 7.

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