Xbox DRM – In the age of PC Digital Distrobution

I can\'t let you do that, Dave

Xbox DRM – In the age of PC Digital Distrobution

Xbox DRM has been a bane for us all. We have all red ringed our xbox 360’s, and if you haven’t, then you just haven’t used yours enough yet. I’m not sure how they calculate their 10-30% failure rate. I believe it lies closer to 100%. It WILL fail eventually, often within a year and a half. Still, it is probably the system to own if you like to play games (lots of great exclusives), and especially if you like to game online with friends. Once your 360 dies and you (hopefully) get it replaced, you have access to your content. Restricted access that requires the owner be logged on the 360, and in some extreme cases MUST BE ACTIVELY PLAYING. This is to prevent friends from sharing Live content, but it affects us ALL once our first system dies. I have to be logged in just for my friends to have access to FREE GAMER PICS I downloaded while they make their Profile (Local or Live).

PC Gaming, however, has even a bigger hurdle with Piracy. Yet, they are adapting in different ways with their digital distribution. Is there a solution to DRM on either platform that can make consumers happy, while giving businesses profit? The rule of a successful compromise is that neither party leaves happy; but isn’t that necessary for good/repeat business? As a consumer, shouldn’t we BE happy?

Shipwrek: “Oh, and another thing, the licensing agreement for several games on XBLA does not follow the terms of service that you agree to when you download the game. Certain games like Puzzle Quest and some of the Sega titles will not allow other users to play the game on your replaced console even when you are signed into Live.

It’s somewhat of a different issue, but related to this DRM problem as well and something that I’m sure a lot of people are frustrated with.

I have also emailed Major Nelson about the problem, and while he provided a quick response, there was nothing he could really do since it’s not really his department.”

Apparently, if you use the official xbox return policy, you can sometimes get them to reset the license of the xbox if you complain enough. Redownloading the item is then treated as if you were downloading it for the first time, allowing that new xbox to be the primary xbox.


Still, I’ve read that they only do this if you use the official Microsoft return policy. It probably depends on who you get, and how much you have to complain.

It certainly makes Valve’s Steam, and Stardock’s upcoming Impulse look good and promising. I wonder how Penny-Arcades Greenhouse will do as well.

Steam easily leads in that it has been out for some time and has amassed a library larger than Half-life 2. Having a high-end computer nowadays also means steam runs a great deal better (though still resource intensive). It also still allows for the 3rd party copy protections to be in place (such as Bioshock’s install 3 times dealy). Though, this goes against their policy of “install steam, login, and play anywhere.” Not sure if they’ve fixed this. Anyone know? Also, their weekend sales ($5 for different games) have attracted me to various impulse purchases. Speaking of which…

Impulse is simply doing away with copy protection. Since pirates will get their way anyway, they aren’t going to make it hard on us who have purchased the software. I have personally purchased both GalCiv2 and Sins on this principal alone.

Impulse also seems to house smaller companies projects. Greenhouse seems to go even more extreme in that end: the home for independent developers. Their first launch title is the Penny-Arcade game, Episode 1.

Overall, I’m very excited to see how these two products/services grow.

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