BioShock 2 DRM madness: Once again, publishers make pirating a game more attractive than buying it legitimately


Looks like we have ourselves yet another DRM-related controversy for your amusement. The star this time is BioShock 2, the upcoming FPS developed by various 2K studios. The usual suspects abound: SecurROM, limited installations, and Games for Windows Live.

I’ll put this in bulletpoint form to make it more digestable. If you want to see the passion behind this topic, I suggest you take a few moments to read through all the Rock, Paper, Shotgun comments.

• You need Games for Windows Live. There’s a segment of the population, particularly among PC gamers, who are usually more erudite, that simply abhor the idea of Achievement Points, and feel that Games for Windows Live is a meaningless intrusion. I’m among these people. We don’t need our lives validated by meaningless points, nor are we interested in comparing how many points we’ve accumulated with how many our friends have accumulated. It’s irrelevant, nut the game requires it. Oh, and you need a Games for Windows account merely to save the game.

• You’re limited to five installations. Who needs to install a game more than once? You, maybe! Let’s say your hard drive crashes. Now you’re looking at four installations. Crashes again? Say hi to three! And what happens when the game’s authentication servers go away? What purpose does limiting installations serve, by the way?

• SecuROM is there. Some people are just ideologically opposed to SecuROM’s presence given its spotty pedigree.

There you have it: BioShock 2, laden with DRM and other assorted nonsense. I suppose you can explain Games for Windows Live’s presence by the fact that, well, the game already had the Xbox Live infrastructure built into it, so why not transfer all of that into the PC space? It’s certainly easier for the 2K teams, but easy doesn’t necessarily mean good for you and I.

The beauty of all of this is that legitimate customers have to jump through all of these hoops to play the game. Pirates? No-CD cracks, zero DRM screwing with your computer’s innards, etc. It’s a squeaky clean installation, and you can install it as many times as you want. It just doesn’t seem right.