Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lesson Learned: DRM Failure.

After almost a year of searching for a PC copy of Skyrim I thought I had finally found it. I already own it for Xbox 360, but, as I've made abundantly clear, my 360 is a bit of a dead horse, so I needed to find another way to enjoy the world of Skyrim. I picked up a copy of Oblivion for PC years ago from the outlet store, so I figured "What could go wrong if I find a copy of Skyrim too?". Turns out the answer to that question is an unequivocal everything.

I should have learned my lesson four years ago when I bought a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV for PC from a flea market. I really wanted to try out LCPDFR, so I decided to spend $5 on what I could only assume to be a complete copy, as it was sealed in a bag for flea market booth security. Only after the whole installation process was I ever prompted to enter codes that I didn't receive with the game discs, which lead me to assume, at first, that I didn't need codes. Not only did it need a code, it also needed a unique and single use DRM code, meaning I couldn't play the game even if I had the codes. After finding out just how crazy the new DRM measures and codes are, I honestly looked into cracks, hacks and many other ways to allow me to play a game that I rightfully bought, and should rightfully be able to use. Not wanting to deal with all that stuff I've just let it sit in it's case, useless and abandoned for no good reason.

It's exceedingly rare that I find myself unable to play a used PC game that I've picked up from a thrift store, but then again it could be the fact that I'm not really interested in many newer games, which come with the stupid DRM setbacks. I come from a different era where you either bought the game because you wanted to, or you knew someone who had a cracked version and they shared it around the neighborhood. I completely understand that DRM, to an extent, is a necessary evil, but the fact remains that people who want to buy a game brand new will and others won't, no amount of DRM will stop those who won't buy it from cracking, hacking and stealing.

I love owning physical copies of games and I prefer to get them at my own pace, which is often times after they're well out of print and new copies are coveted like treasure. This is where thrift stores supply me with previously played copies of games that I want to own. I am paying for a physical copy of a game, I'm not cracking or hacking or stealing anything, these are previously used, physical copies of games I wish to play and own. What many people are finding out, and very few are saying, is that current DRM measures are a very fatal flaw in the whole PC game market.

Luckily for me I picked it up Skyrim from the Goodwill Outlet store so it's cheap enough that I can throw it away and not lose any sleep, but it's a physical copy of a game that I want to play. Clearly someone had already gotten their use out of the game and no longer wanted it, and it's just not fair that I own a game (two games now) that I can't use. All my life I've been told that as long as I bought an item through fair means I'm entitled to use it however, and whenever I want, which has been utterly destroyed by DRM.

From now on no more Games for Windows labeled games will be coming home with me. It seems that is a common sign of games that just won't work when I get them home. I haven't changed my mind on buying games brand new either, there are plenty of old video games I can still buy used and enjoy without having to deal with the insanity that is current DRM, so I'm not bothered by not having brand new games at all. I'll just stick with physical copies of old games that will allow me to play them without hassling me about stupid codes I don't have.

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