Of Bioshock 2 and DRM

This is a game I’ve been anticipating and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I was all ready to pull the trigger on a pre-order but the DRM has given me pause.

First there’s the whole Games for Windows Live (GFWL) thing. It annoyed the hell out of me in Batman Arkham Asylum, and I’m not particularly thrilled about it here. Had I known what GFWL was when I bought Arkham Asylum I might have thought twice. I know Steam is a similar concept, but somehow it’s more tolerable, although if you buy Bioshock 2 through Steam you have to put up with both!

The game is also protected by Securom, and has a 15 activation limit enforced by GFWL. With Bioshock 1 this caused issues, and later on I believe they removed the limit (although back then the limit was enforced by Securom).

If you preorder the game it will cost $90 NZD boxed or $63 NZD on Steam. With the Steam version you effectively have to handle two (no wait, three) DRM systems – GFWL, Steam and SecuROM! It really doesn’t get much more ridiculous than that.

Boycott this is not, but I think I might vote with my feet here, even if I am in the minority. Or I’ll just wait until they remove the DRM and drop the price like they did for the original Bioshock.

My opinion of Steam and GFWL can be summed up thusly:

Steam serves the publisher while throwing the customer a bone, and while you give up some rights you do gain some conveniences. It is also cheaper.

GFWL seems to be designed to serve only the publisher, and is little more than an annoyance for gamers.

At least the pirates won’t have to deal with this crap.

More info at Arstechnica, the Steampowered Forums and the 2k Games Forums.

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