Posted by CheCalavera 18:50:22 01/28/09:

Guys, I know I wasn’t supposed to start any more threads about this, but this is important. I’m risking my posting privileges, because I’ll never hide behind an alt to make my feelings known.

I just found out my personal “Most Anticipated Game of March 2009” is going to have phone-home DRM, which is a Judas-like betrayal of the fan community. I came here as soon as I found out, because I know a lot of you are interested in this game and I thought you should know that it’s been ruined.

By the way, I’ll thank the mods not to lock this thread like they’ve locked all the others. I know that some people around here seem to think the First Amendment doesn’t mean anything, but this is still America and the internet.

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So before you brandish your banhammers, ponder this: King George would’ve locked Thomas Paine’s discussion threads if he could’ve. But they didn’t have the internet back then, so we had a revolution instead. That’s why it is so important to write, as he did and I am, about the struggle for freedom from tyranny.

Yes, DRM is tyranny. I’m sick and tired of people coming into these discussions and being like, “Dude, WTF? Who cares about DRM? We’re here to talk about games!” Slaveowners were probably sick of hearing Abraham Lincoln talk about slavery. Would you guys have trolled his boards, too? I’ll bet you would’ve. Fascists.

For those of you capable of independent thought, let me explain this DRM scheme that is being foisted on an unsuspecting public. Every two weeks, a program that is installed alongside the game, totally without your permission, will contact an outside server to authenticate the installation.

Did you hear that? A program you don’t control is talking to another computer. I feel violated just thinking about it. We don’t know what kind of information it’s sending. It might be cataloging stuff you’ve got on your hard drive and sending data about that. Or maybe your browsing habits. Or your search history. This stuff may not even be anonymous. We don’t know.

What if one day you end up being prosecuted for something that someone else put on your machine, just because one of these programs spots it and raises a red flag? I’ve known people who are in jail because of DRM. Well, I’ve heard from people I trust that they know people this has happened to.

Look, are you willing to take that chance? I’m not. I loan my laptop to people all the time, and who knows what they might download without my consent. Some dude might be like, “Hey, I need to finish a paper,” and I’d be like, “Sure, bro, mi casa es su casa.” And I’d give him my laptop, and instead of writing a term paper he’d be like, “Sweet, time for some copyrighted music, games and freaky pornos!” The next thing you know, I’m a registered sex offender. All because I helped a guy out, and then my game’s DRM dropped a dime on me.

And don’t even try to pull that “just buy the Steam version” crap on me, OK? You ever stop to think about what will happen when Valve goes out of business? It’ll be 11/16 all over again. All you fools will be like, “Man, I should’ve listened to that guy I was a dick to on the forums, because he was right on.” But it’ll be too late, and while your computers are trying to contact a Steam server that’s no longer there, I’ll be enjoying my cracked physical copies of games, totally DRM-free.

Man, I can’t wait for that day.

EDIT – 19:30:25 01/28/09:

I’m sorry for ranting again, guys. I really don’t mean to get so harsh with you, especially since some of you guys are my best friends. I was really touched by the response to my hunger-strike live-blog over Spore. Sure, a lot of you told me to go eat a dick, but there were also a lot of you who really wanted me to eat food again. You said I was scaring you.

I still think that if more people had joined my protest, we could have changed the world, but I’m aware that not everyone understands how important this is yet. So yeah, I just wanted to say that I don’t mean to come across like a jerk.

EDIT – 20:02:16 01/28/09:

You know, I don’t know why I’m the one apologizing here. Really, you guys need to see how you’re responsible for provoking me.

Remember that quote about Nazi Germany? “First they came for the communists, and I said nothing because I was not a communist.” It’s the same situation with DRM. I’m not even kidding. I’ve studied history, and the parallels are eerily similar.

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Seriously, guys, unless you stop buying games with draconian DRM, it’s only a matter of time before you hear the tread of jackboots on the stairs.

EDIT – 20:44:08 01/28/09:

A couple guys have sent me PMs asking me to calm down. I just wanted to let you know I am calm. The only people who aren’t calm are fanboys, because I’m calling out their favorite games and developers.

DRM-free gaming is a right. I should never, ever be required to validate an installation or be connected to the internet to play a game I paid for.

It doesn’t matter that this may not always affect me. You guys can say, “Hey, you’ve been on these boards two years and you have 3000 posts to your name. Why do you care if a game requires a connection, since you never f***ing leave?”

You know what? I feel for the log-cabin PC gamers. The people who live in places where maybe they don’t have internet, but they have a Wal-Mart and they bring home a game they’re really excited about, and it doesn’t work because money-grubbing corporate bastards are so worried about piracy they’ve forgotten about the little guy.

What is absurd about this entire situation is that DRM is the only reason why there’s so much piracy! Everyone I know who pirates games does so because they want to play the games, but don’t want privacy-invading, data-stealing, system-resource hogging, malware DRM applications on their hard drive.

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Who, then, is the criminal here? The man who commits a crime to feed his family DRM-free gaming, or the man who forces that first man to commit the crime?

The second man, that’s who. The crime-forcing man is the true criminal.

And don’t anybody try to tell me that these non-criminal freedom-fighters are “killing PC gaming.” No, they aren’t. Publishers are killing PC gaming. There’s millions of gamers like me who refuse to buy games from companies like Activision, EA, Take-Two, Ubisoft, THQ, Microsoft, Valve, Stardock and many others.

In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of a company that I’m not boycotting right now. Which kind of sucks, but you know what they say: “Sometimes you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Companies that refuse to respect my integrity and my freedom don’t get my gaming dollars.

After all, as I think I’ve proved to my satisfaction, a pirated game isn’t a lost sale. Jason Holtman of Valve said it best when he pointed out that “pirates are underserved customers.” Admittedly, Holtman is a criminal by my own definition, but he’s finally starting understand what you people refuse to acknowledge. Pirates want to buy games, but on their own terms. At a significantly lower price, for instance, and without any DRM schemes attached.

Maybe pirates are more discriminating about what they buy. Did anyone ever consider that maybe the rise in piracy is related to how much today’s games suck? It’s a well-known fact that no game made after 1998 is any good. Pirates are just gamers who like to try before they buy, and what do they find? That most current games are terrible, dumbed-down versions of the titles that PC gamers really want.

Maybe the problem is that there’s so many developers churning out product for the high-chair and console crowd that their games aren’t worth time, much less money.

EDIT – 21:30:34 01/28/09:

Guys, this might be my last post here for awhile. I’m going over to GameStop and immolating myself in the parking lot.

Rob Zacny is a freelance writer. When not focused on gaming, he pursues his interests in Classics, the World Wars, cooking and film. He can be reached at zacnyr[at]gmail[dot]com.

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