Copy Protection Sucks

A good friend of mine (and ecommerce expert) very kindly sent me a nice parcel which NamPost has eventually deined to deliver to Opuwo containing various wonders including his amazing screen wipes and a copy of Rainbox Six 3: Raven Shield.

Raven Shield is a game we used to play back in the day on PCs before we all consoled up and was sent in response to my pathetic plea for PC games now my gaming options are somewhat limited.

Abso-fantasmarogical. A bit of nostalgic retro (but still good) anti-terrorist action that would, given its age, play fine on my laptop.

Installed and ready. Like many games it requires you have the original CD in the drive to avoid piracy. The only problem is, even with the original CD in the drive, it still tells me to insert the correct disk. Damn.

A quick bit of googling reveals it (a) doesn’t work on some CD drives and (b) at the very least requires all virtual drive software to be uninstalled (even if it is not running as a virtual drive).

Ok, a quick trawl through my software and I remember I’ve got PowerISO installed so remove it. I’ve also got various CyberLink stuff that came with the laptop and I use every day though I don’t think it’s got a virtual drive function.

No dice.

Right – patch to the latest version. The downloads from UBI are all helpfully 1.0-1.6 or 1.3-1.6 etc. I don’t know what version the installer has installed as I can’t run the flipping game. Eventually plump for and download, very slowly with several breaks in connection, the 1.0 to 1.6 US patch.

Errors on run, corrupted download or some such (no MD5 hash to check, thanks UBI). Various other download options from their site lead to a plethora of pay-to-play download servers. Oh joy.

Then I look on the disk – the 1.0 to 1.6 UK patch is on the flipping CD. Of course the installer didn’t run this, nor is there a big sticker saying RUN PATCH NOW. Anyhow, try this one and… it works. “Patch Completed Successfully”.

Still no bloody dice. Will not accept the CD.

So at this point I visit a certain site which shall remain nameless apart from, perhaps, it’s initials might be something like GCW.

On here I find a 1.6 no-cd patch which downloads directly and straight away. Copy it into the game directory and a minute later I’m fragging terrorists (or rather being fragged by terrorists).

My point is this – here I am with a legit copy of the game, unable to play it because of copy protection. Yet when I decided “naff it” and to bypass that copy protection I was able to do so with no technical skill in a couple of minutes.

Had I actually sourced an illegit copy from one of the many methods requiring very little technical skill, it probably would have come pre-patched or at the very least with the patch for me to apply post-install.

UBI soft – a message for you: nobody who is pirating your software is really affected by your ridiculous copy protection, they will just bypass it, easily and in a minute or so. The only people you are annoying (and pushing towards never using your games or having them fall off the back of the internet if they do) are the legitimate users. Having a support forum where you shrug and say “certain CD drives are not supported” is crap and frankly not good enough. Sort it out.

And don’t even get me started on DRM. How glad am I that I didn’t purchase a lot of music via iTunes which now, sans iPhone and iPod, I would be forced to rebuy or (again with a simple google search) crack into an alternative format.

Yes I know I am a fully-fledged FSF and GNU supporting freetard who gives his own software away for free (mainly because of course nobody would buy it) but a legit copy of a game that’s harder to get working than it would be to illegally download? That’s just Microsoft Logic all over.

Right – rant over, I’m off to save the free world and save the hostages! Get some.

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