Dying Light The Following Comes To GOG

Dying Light features you playing in the city of Haran, overrun by zombies, with a few safe havens separating the masses from the threat. In order to stay alive ‘runners’ do just as they are called, run. Running to and from drops with supplies and a preventative measure that helps those infected, users need to use every weapon and tool they can make and find in order to traverse the cityscape and survive the night. If that sounds like your cup of tea you can now find the Dying Light The Following on Good Old Games (GOG).

GOG is known for providing DRM (data right management) free games, removing the “online” required status that comes with many games (including some single player games). If you were worried that the four player co-op feature of Dying Light is lost if you get the game through GOG, do not fret. The multiplayer features of Dying Light will be available through GOG Galaxy, the new multiplayer system that GOG hopes will keep some of their more dated games viable for multiplayer well after the original servers and systems are offline.

If you were worried that the four player co-op feature of Dying Light is lost if you get the game through GOG, do not fret. The multiplayer features of Dying Light will be available through GOG Galaxy, the new multiplayer system that GOG hopes will keep some of their more dated games viable for multiplayer well after the original servers and systems are offline.

Featuring the basic game, the Following expansion and not one but four DLC’s including the Bozak Horde game mode, the game looks to promise you everything you need without shackles. For a limited time, the game also has 17% off, giving you the whole bundle for just £33.29.

You can find the game here, and we will see you on the rooftops.

Sony Hack Revealed New Blu-Ray Protection Details

When it comes to digital content, companies both love and hate the ease at which they and others can copy and distribute content, with everything from your favourite games to the latest movies being stored in memory smaller than your finger nail. In a move to help protect their content, companies are looking at new ways to stop people from copying their content. Documentation found by Wikileaks points that Sony may be looking to take Blu-Ray protection to a whole new level.

The Blu-Ray disc association is responsible for anything to do with the format, and it would seem that they are now working on an Advance Access Content System (AACS) which would feature not just advanced cryptography in hopes of preventing people from uploading your favourite movies online, but from version 2.0 in their Ultra HD collection would require an internet connection for the “enhanced” protection.

It should be noted that the internet connection is only required for the first time you play the disc on a select device, the idea being that it would download its “key” for later use to the hardware, acting as an authorization token for playing the movie. There are also notes regarding the Digital Bridge device, a device that creates “managed copies” of your favourite movies meaning you can place it on your phone or tablet and still be protected by AACS.

Far Cry: Primal And Rise of the Tomb Raider to Use Denuvo

Major publishers have attempted to curb piracy on the PC platform by implementing various forms of Digital Rights Management including SecuROM, TAGES, Games For Windows Live, Rockstar Social Club and many more! In reality, all this does is negatively impact on the experience for genuine customers as cracking groups usually release a pirated version extremely quickly. The latest creation to try and reduce piracy is Denuvo which acts as an additional protection layer to compliment existing forms of DRM. Apparently, Denuvo is best described as an Anti-Tamper piece of software which “continuously encrypts and decrypts itself so that it is impossible to crack.”. 

However, this isn’t entirely true because Dragon Age Inquisition eventually got cracked despite using Denuvo protection. Clearly, the concept revolves around delaying the cracking process long enough to make pirates infuriated and encourage them to purchase the game through legitimate channels. It might surprise you but quite a few modern releases utilize Denuvo including Just Cause 3 and Metal Gear Solid V. Furthermore, according to Far Cry: Primal’s EULA, the game will also use Denuvo and specifically states:

“THE PRODUCT IS PROTECTED BY DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE (“DRM SOFTWARE”) AND DENUVO ANTI-TAMPER PROTECTION TECHNOLOGY”

“CERTAIN FILES OF THE ANTI-TAMPER TECHNOLOGY  MAY REMAIN EVEN AFTER THE PRODUCT IS UNINSTALLED FROM YOUR COMPUTER. “

The second clause is very disturbing, and surely a breach of European law. This is because it behaves like spyware, and cannot be removed. Furthermore, the way Denuvo works is only known by a minority of people and hopefully as consumers become more aware of its terrible nature, there should be a greater uproar. On another note, Codefusion’s  tech support site indicates that Rise of the Tomb Raider will also implement Denuvo. I really hope there’s a backlash against publishers opting for this piece of terrible software because it’s quite secretive and has some extremely worrying ramifications.

Pirates State That Cracking PC Games Is Getting Too Difficult

2016 is a big year all around, with new movies and games being released, people are going to be busy buying the latest in their collections. Not everyone does this, some watch movies online before they are released in the cinema and some play games without buying them. With the video game industry set to expand this year, the matter of pirates will be something the industry has to contend with. Pirates are known for breaking the encryption that protects games and often share these “cracked” versions online, although according to some reports, that may not be true for much longer.

Speaking to TorrentFreak, a member of the Chinese hacking group 3DM has said that over the last eighteen months people have been finding it more and more difficult to crack the recent releases. Providing examples, apparently it took over a month to crack Dragon Age: Inquisition while games like FIFA 16 and Just Cause 3 are yet to be cracked even with games like FIFA 16 being released all the way back in September.

One of the reasons they are finding it so difficult is the use of secondary DRM technologies like Denuvo. Designed to be unobtrusive and almost silent to paying customers, this combats one of the reasons provided by users of cracked games, the fact that their experience is ruined by DRM measures which require them to be constantly online for single player games.

It could not be long before extra DRM methods are subtle and silent, leading to more and more people giving up on cracking games in favor of paying for them.

Steam Adds the Option to Permanently Delete Games from your Library

There’s always that one game in your Steam library. Whether you got it on sale thinking it would be good for the price, as a joke with you racking up hundreds of hours on it only for your friends to ridicule you, or even the one a friend got you, just so it’d be in your library forever after you dared play it once. Well now there’s a way to hide your game shame beyond just stashing it in a folder and hoping for it to never see the light of day again, with Valve adding the new option to permanently remove games entirely from your Steam account to their customer support.

Easily accessed by visiting Steam’s support page, followed by ‘games, software, etc’ and then the entry in your library you want to wish a permanent goodbye to. Go through the motions and you’ll find yourself free of it for good. Keep in mind that this isn’t a hide function, nor a refund, anything you remove here is gone for good with no compensation. The feature isn’t perfect either, with any games gotten through bundles requiring you to remove the entire bundle along with it, so the folder of shame may not be retired just yet.

Are you planning to purge any stains on your Steam library? Let us know in the comments below if you want to give that purchase of shame one last moment of light before it’s gone for good.

TPP Could Outlaw Jailbreaking Smartphones

By now, most people will have heard the many ways in which the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement between Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, United States, Vietnam, Chile, Brunei, Singapore, and New Zealand, will restrict or prevent free expression for users of internet and related technologies, but with the full release of the proposed agreement via Medium, it seems TPP could affect the way citizens of member countries use technology in previously unforeseen ways.

Evan Greer, Campaign Director of technology advocate group Fight for the Future, has highlighted several articles within the released proposal that potentially seek to prevent users from modifying the firmware or unlocking the network carrier restrictions on a smartphone, specifically citing article 18.68, Technological Protection Measures, which protects against circumventing DRM.

“This section attempts to make it a crime to circumvent any “Digital Rights Management” (DRM) locks on a device, even if you own it,” Greer writes. “It could criminalize people who unlock their phones in order to use accessibility software, for example, or make it illegal to circumvent DRM on a computer in order to use Linux.”

“Now that we can read the final TPP text,” he adds, “it’s obvious why it was kept in total secrecy for so long: this agreement is a wishlist for powerful special interests and multinational corporations. The Intellectual Property chapter confirms our worst first about the TPP’s impact on our basic right to express ourselves and access information on the Internet. If U.S. Congress signs this agreement despite its blatant corruption, they’ll be signing a death warrant for the open Internet and putting the future of free speech in peril.”

WikiLeaks has even stirred up fears that, according to article 14.17, open source software could be outlawed.

https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/662330352904577024/photo/1

While businesses almost uniformly benefit from TPP, it seems that the price of that is impinging on the rights and freedoms technology users and consumers.

Image courtesy of Alochonaa.

GOG Halloween Sale Begins! Days Of Deals Up To 80% Off

Halloween is less than a week away and with sales and GOG are no stranger to sales and deals. For less than 4 days games are available for up to 80% off, so why not see if any of the following catch your interest.

Outlast

So what could be scarier than being a news reporter and having to go to strange new places and find out all those deep dark secrets? How about when you get a tip, you only have to follow up right? What about when that place is a locked up mental asylum?

Outlast sees you follow out this tale in a stealth based game utilizing parkour, based on real asylums and criminal insanity. At £3.29 for the base game, and a further £1.49 for the expansion you can grab the full bundle for less than £5 and it’s well worth the experience.

Amnesia

Mentioned in our recent covering of Halloween based games, Amnesia is a series of games which feature more of a scare and run than run and gun. At £3.29 for Amnesia Dark Descent and a further £3.29 for A Machine For Pigs, you can hide and seek out the truth while avoiding both the creatures that look to hunt you and the darkness that may make you a little jumpy at the shadows.

Alan Wake

The dark is a mysterious thing, it can be both intriguing and at the same time it can also make you jump and hear your heart beat through your ears. For £6.68 for the series or £4.99 for Alex Wake, and £1.69 for the American Nightmare, why not try scaring off the shadows and experiencing a story that will grip you till you leave.

It’s Now Legal to Bypass DRM Once The Servers Have Been Closed

Many video game publishers have implemented various forms Digital Rights Management into major titles from Games for Windows Live to SecuROM. These are designed to reduce piracy rates and delay the time it takes for a scene group to release a pirated version. Publishers hoped this would make impatient people rush out and buy the game from a legitimate source.

However, in 99.9% of cases, DRM is ineffective and only impacts on the paid player’s experience. In a cruel twist of irony, games which implement DRM promote the illegal version which doesn’t have any restrictions. Additionally, DRM can communicate with a server to authenticate details. This becomes a problem when the servers are taken offline, and renders the game completely useless.

In November, the Electronic Frontier Foundation argued their case:

“Seeking an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provision, in order to allow gamers to modify their software to disable authentication checks or to connect to third party servers after official support for those games has ended.”

Yesterday, the EFF announced its petition has been successful and accepted by the Librarian of Congress. The official statement reads:

“The Librarian granted part of EFF’s new proposal for an exemption to preserve abandoned video games,” 

“The new exemption allows players to modify their copy of a game to eliminate the need for an authentication server after the original server is shut down. Museums, libraries, and archives can go a step further and jailbreak game consoles as needed to get the games working again.”

“Disappointingly, the Librarian limited the exemption to games that can’t be played at all after a server shutdown, excluding games where only the online multiplayer features are lost. Still, this exemption will help keep many classic and beloved video games playable by future generations.”

This is fantastic news for the preservation of many older games which cannot be played without modifying DRM. Frankly, there shouldn’t be DRM there in the first place, but at least this ruling provides some legal clarity when games are no longer supported.

New Windows Update Disables Safedisc DRM

Microsoft made a lot of people mad last month when it disabled support for Safedisc and certain versions of Securom DRMs in Windows 10, which made hundreds of older PC games unplayable, short of downloading no-CD cracks. Rather than fix the problem, Microsoft is extending it to the older version of its operating systems. A new security update for Windows Vista (Service Pack 2), Windows 7 (Service Pack 1), and Windows 8/8.1 – 3086255 – has removed Safedisc support.

The description for 3086255 claims that it “addresses a defense-in-depth update for the secdrv.sys driver, a third-party driver,” acknowledging “The update turns off the service for the secdrv.sys driver. This may affect the ability to run some older games.”

Microsoft does provide a two workarounds for users to activate Safedisc games again, but warns that the “workaround may make a computer or a network more vulnerable to attack by malicious users or by malicious software”.

Run cmd.exe and type in ‘sc start secdrv’ to start the driver service. The driver can be turned off again by entering ‘sc stop secdrv’ into the command prompt.

Safedisc can also be turned on permanently via a registry edit:

  1. Click the Start/Windows icon button, type ‘run’ into the search bar, enter ‘regedit’ into that window, and click ‘OK’;
  2. Find the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\secdrv;
  3. Right-click on the file, and select ‘Modify’;
  4. Enter a number into the value data box – 4 to disable, 3 for manual, and 2 for automatic – and click OK.

Thank you Rock, Paper, Shotgun for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Smart Things.

Microsoft Kills Support For Ageing DRMs with Windows 10

Windows 10 has been officially released for a while now and it still draws headlines for various reasons. Sometimes they aren’t the best, but mostly the release has been positive and well received. For the biggest part, Windows 10 will run anything that Windows 7 and 8 did, but there are a few very limited exceptions and two of those are aging DRM protections.

Securom and SafeDisk protected games won’t run in Windows 10 and they will never do so. If you wish to play older games that use this form of optical disk DRM, then you’ll need a no-CD crack or similar. Many older games have also been re-released on GOG and Steam where you can get them in working condition.

The reason behind the block is a basic restructuring of how everything works. It is a new operating system and it needs to adapt in order to close loopholes that can be abused. And that is the main reason for those two DRMs not to work anymore, they can be abused by malware as an attack point on your system.

“And then there are old games on CD-Rom that have DRM. This DRM stuff is also deeply embedded in your system, and that’s where Windows 10 says ‘sorry, we cannot allow that, because that would be a possible loophole for computer viruses,’ said Microsoft’s Boris Schneider-Johne in a video interview.

That’s why there are a couple of games from 2003-2008 with Securom, etc. that simply don’t run without a no-CD patch or some such. We can just not support that if it’s a possible danger for our users. There are a couple of patches from developers already, and there is stuff like GOG where you’ll find versions of those games that work.”

Where the above quote is directed at Securom, it isn’t any different for SafeDisk. The company behind it says that they won’t update it to work with the newer Windows version and says that it’s Microsoft’s job to fix it. Long story short, SafeDisk won’t work with Windows 10 either.

Windows 10 is a great operating system and there isn’t any doubt about how popular it will get any more. I can also add the bonus information, as a lot of people still are misinformed on the issue, that Windows 10 won’t disable your cracked games or disable the system for unauthorized hardware. That paragraph in the ToS has nothing to do with Windows 10 but is instead directed at the Xbox and Microsoft Services. This fact is still being misrepresented by a lot of sites and you can read the real story here.

We May Not See a PC Release for Rock Band 4 and Here’s Why

We saw Rock Band 4 being announced for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 earlier this year, but how about the PC? We haven’t received any official announcements for the latter platform, up until now that is. Harmonix just announced that the latest Rock Band title will not have a PC release due to piracy concerns.

The developer is not actually concerned with the game’s piracy itself, but more with the songs in the title itself. They state that there are many concerns regarding the platform’s security and it looks like bands are sceptical with releasing the game on the PC as well. They are afraid that their songs may eventually end up being stripped out of the game and uploaded to torrent websites, thus they are more comfortable on going with the closed nature of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 platforms.his does not mean we won’t see Rock Band 4 on PC. Harmonix stated that songs may come with a DRM platform and prevent songs from being ripped out of the title.

However, this does not mean we won’t see Rock Band 4 on PC. Harmonix stated that songs may come with a DRM platform and prevent songs from being ripped out of the title. However, they will not make the move to release it on PC due to the low demand on the platform. They say that if a lot of fans want it on the PC, they may consider making a PC version in the future. Until then, we just have to look forward for the console version.

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information

Malware is Everywhere Warns Linux Inventor

The man who developed the GNU operating system, better known as Linux, has warned computer users that malware is not just viruses, and that it pervades every form or modern software, from freeware to game, and even operating systems. Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation, bemoans the fact that malware has become the norm, distributed under sneaky EULA policies and tacit agreements.

“What kinds of programs constitute malware?” Stallman asks, then answers. “Operating systems, first of all. Windows snoops on users, shackles users and, on mobiles, censors apps; it also has a universal back door that allows Microsoft to remotely impose software changes. Microsoft sabotages Windows users by showing security holes to the NSA before fixing them.”

“Apple systems are malware too,” he continues. “MacOS snoops and shackles; iOS snoops, shackles, censors apps and has a back door. Even Android contains malware in a nonfree component: a back door for remote forcible installation or deinstallation of any app.”

“What sorts of wrongs are found in malware? Some programs are designed to snoop on the user. Some are designed to shackle users, such as Digital Rights Management (DRM). Some have back doors for doing remote mischief. Some even impose censorship. Some developers explicitly sabotage their users.”

Malware isn’t just confined to operating systems either, Stallman cautions, with free software just as likely to contain backdoor exploits. “Even humble flashlight apps for phones were found to be reporting data to companies. A recent study found that QR code scanner apps also snoop,” he laments.

Stallman’s advice is to not trust modern software. Use it, but do so with open eyes. The Free Software Foundation reports on cases of proprietary malware, so it’s worth checking regularly.

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information.

Firefox Users Can Now Stream Netflix Without a Plugin

Firefox users will no longer be required to download the Microsoft Silverlight plugin if they are wanting to watch Netflix through their browsers. The newest version of Firefox integrates Adobe Content Decryption Module (CDM), which is needed to stream from Netflix on HTML 5.

For a long time now Mozilla has been anti-DRM due to their open-source philosophy, but it seems now they are bending to the demand of users by including the Adobe Content Decryption Module. They haven’t forgotten their roots though as they also have a non-CDM version of Firefox that users can download if they don’t want any additional DRM in their browsers. This may help Firefox gain some users since there are so many who currently stream Netflix through their browsers. It seems like they are wanting to capitalize on part of that user base that wants to move away from Chrome or another browser. There are millions of Netflix users around the world with more customers joining every day so even gaining a small percentage would help grow the Firefox user base.

Now the only problem for users with Netflix is what to watch and how long they will have to wait for the second season of Daredevil to drop so they can binge watch it in one sitting.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

GOG’s Steam Rival Goes Live Today

The wonderful online digital game store Good Old Games (GOG) is launching its own digital game distribution platform to rival Steam and EA’s Origin. GOG Galaxy goes live today, and a beta version of the client is available for download here. The standalone client shares much in common with Steam, Origin, and other rival platforms, offering achievements and friends lists, but GOG’s unique selling point is a firm stance against DRM.

GOG’s press release reads:

GOG Galaxy features one-click installation and auto-updates for its library of over 1000 titles, but it also stays true to GOG.com values: it’s all optional. Automatic updating can be disabled for any game; but if you leave it on and a patch breaks something, GOG Galaxy will offer its rollback feature to restore a previous version of the game. Gamers can also download a standalone, DRM-free backup copy of every game, so keeping purchases safe is easier than ever.

GOG can be taken at its word on this: the creators, associated with CD Projekt Red, developer of the Witcher games, are famously anti-DRM. GOG Galaxy sounds like the real deal, offering GOG’s impressive catalogue of games, and will be welcome competition to market leader Steam.

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information.

GOG.com DRM-Free Games Big Winter Sale Ends Tomorrow

GOG.com, a website famous for its DRM-Free content, has its big winter sale on at the moment, with only 20 hours before it’s over. There are some massive savings on bundles covering a whole host of popular titles.

For instance, you can get “The Ultimate D&D Collection” for just £13.70 instead of £67.80 – that’s 80% off! Prince of Persia 1-4 is going for a mere £6.36 – 75% off. You can get the Rayman series for £6.16 and a collection of some of the best flight sims for £4.16.

There’s also some offers on individual games too – there’s 80% off Wargame: European Escalation – £1.29, along with 80% off the popular Terraria.

Be sure to get over there quick! There is just 20 hours left on the bundles and even less on the individual games!

GOG.com

Lawsuit Against iPod DRM Set to Collapse

The highly publicised trial against Apple this week, that accuses them of unfairly restricting competition by limiting iPods to use music only downloaded from the iTunes Store, is set to collapse according to the BBC.

Apparently, the plaintiffs in the case both purchased iPods after 2009, outside the 2006 – 2009 window that the case concerns. Apple’s lawyers made the discovery after checking the device’s serial numbers.

“I am concerned that I don’t have a plaintiff. That’s a problem,” Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said at the end of the trial’s third day of testimony in Oakland, California.”

The trial has been heavily covered in the news this week, most notably due to the allegation that Apple “removed music from people’s iPods” that was downloaded from rival services. Apple says that this was misconstrued, as the songs were only removed during software updates for security purposes. The company has also argued that the use of Digital Rights Management was a necessary evil, because it was the only way the music companies would give Apple their trust and was also seen as a way to hamper piracy.

If the trial is successful, Apple could have to pay up to $1 Billion in damages.

SourceL BBC News

The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection Comes Bundled with SecuROM

EA have released the full collection of the beloved Sims 2 and decided to give the full package away to anyone who had the base game on their Origin account. Because of the popularity of this and the high demand they decided to give it to everyone with an Origin account instead. All one had to do was redeem the “special code” that could be found every where on the web this past week.

Already a bit worried about Origin itself, Lisa Pham from Reclaim Your Game dug a bit into the new Sims 2 version. She found that EA had put SecuROM Version 07.40.0009 in their nice Free Sims 2 Ultimate Collection which they plan to sell in their store soon.

SecuROM has been around for many years now and most people aren’t too bothered by it. Originally created by Sony, it’s a bit of software designed to prevent video game piracy, by resisting duplication devices and preventing reverse engineering. It’s not altogether a bad thing, but it’s copped a lot of negative attention over the fact that it is not removed when you un-install the game it came from. It also throws a number of false positives for piracy attempts, including not recognising the authentic discs. It also generally monitors your software use even when you’re not playing the game. Opponents have labelled it spyware.

EA has already been under the microscope for its use of SecuROM in Spore, which prompted a class action lawsuit. Coincidentally Bordelands just announced the removal of SecuROM in their move from GameSpy to Steam.

Removing SecuROM isn’t an easy thing either. Pham removed the Sims 2, Origin and SecuROM and there were still undeleteable registry entries left. After some trial and error it was discovered that TrashReg could remove those last pesky entries.

Thank you Reclaim Your Game for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of EA.

Magicka Developer Paradox Speaks Out Against The Use of Video Game DRM

Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester thinks digital rights management (DRM) technology can be a headache, admitting his studio doesn’t want to put up roadblocks to keep gamers from purchasing new titles.

It’s a difficult decision for game developers, because they want to protect their game titles from piracy – but too many gamers don’t appreciate some of the hoops they sometimes have to jump through.

Here is what Wester said in an interview with GameSpot:

“It can punish players who actually bought the game.  I remember buying Civilization III, and I couldn’t install it because I had something else installed.  I had to uninstall two different programs, change the settings… it was a hassle.  If I had pirated it form anywhere, I would have gotten it much faster, more convenient.  So we don’t want to put barriers on convenience for the gamers.  It should be more convenient, you should get more content, it should be easier for you to install if you buy the legal copy.”

There are a growing number of video game studios speaking out against DRM, but many video games still have the restrictive software.  Ubisoft recently mentioned that it isn’t interested in rolling out DRM that will hurt legitimate players, which pirates are easily able to circumvent anyway.

Thank you to GameSpot for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Flickr

Ubisoft: DRM Can’t Stop Piracy – No S**t Sherlock

It seems that after a long period of “braindeadism” game publishers are finally waking up to the fact that DRM does not stop piracy. DRM is no barrier to piracy, skilled “game pirates” like Skidrow, Reloaded, Razor1911, Codex and R.G Mechanics (to name but a few) see DRM as a small annoyance to be overcome with a crack. Once that annoyance is overcome it is a case of let the piracy continue as normal, and in most cases the DRM annoyance has been dealt with before the game even officially launches.

Ubisoft are the latest game publisher to realise that DRM is a bad thing. As they so rightly say DRM often results in “punishing a paying player for what a pirate can get around.” Instead Ubisoft state they are looking to offer services and benefits to gamers that give them a reason not to pirate including better quality and more compelling games but also value-added online services that wouldn’t be available to pirates – whether Ubisoft have yet to deliver on that pledge is another matter entirely. Of course, here’s to hoping that “online services” doesn’t mean some kind of SimCity-style always online mechanism but Ubisoft have a point. In 2012 Ubisoft dropped its controversial DRM system and since then they require only that users connect to the internet once when they first install their game. The move was applauded throughout the PC gaming community.

Check the full interview at the source link below.

What do you think about DRM in games?

Source: GameSpot

Image courtesy of Ubisoft

Removing DRM Can Lead To Boosts In Music Sales

According to researcher Laurina Zhang from the University of Toronto, it is more profitable to sell music online without digital rights management protection. Higher revenue would benefit both the record labels and artists in addition to making it more convenient for legitimate music buyers to manage and consume their digital purchases. Now there is a matter of putting theory into practice, which does not always go as planned.

The researcher used 5,864 albums from 643 artists in her study, comparing sales before and after each of the four major record labels, the EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner decided to remove their DRM. She found a 10% increase in revenue after the protections had been removed which also accounts for other factors like release date, music genre and typical sales variations.

Looking deeper into the study, not all albums were affected the same. Zhang found that older releases selling less than 25,000 copies saw their sales increase by 41% while overall lower-selling music saw an increase of 30%. When we get to top-selling albums however, Removing DRM appears to not have any effect on revenue whatsoever.

When it comes to DRM and its function, it appears that it did exactly the opposite, meaning it did not stop people from illegally acquiring music through piracy and instead lowered legitimate music purchase due to its restriction. Fortunately a lot of labels are now realizing this mistake and are dropping traditional DRM.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of randomstringofwords

Ubisoft Scraps Uplay Online Pass System, Assassin’s Creed 4 Was The Catalyst

After dissent from Assassin’s Creed 4 fans and players, Ubisoft have decided to officially scrap the Uplay Passport code requirement to access to online aspect of Assassin’s Creed 4, called Edward’s Fleet. Previously gamers would need to enter a Uplay Passport code to unlock the online aspect of the game (the companion app called Edward’s Fleet) and bonus content of Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag. These codes were supposed to ship with all copies of the game but in some instances they didn’t and if you didn’t have a code then you had to pay extra to buy one separately. Now that Ubisoft have scrapped the Uplay passport all gamers will be able to access the online aspect for free via Xbox Live or PSN. Ubisoft encourages anyone who purchased a Uplay passport code for Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag to contact regional support, presumably for a refund or some type of reimbursement.

Ubisoft also notes that all future game titles will not feature Uplay passport again. Ubisoft’s move follows a similar move made by EA earlier this year where it also scrapped its online pass system for all current and future games after very negative feedback from gamers.

“What’s more, Uplay Passport will not be a part of any future Ubisoft games. The Uplay Passport program was initiated as a means of giving customers full access and support for online multiplayer and features, along with exclusive content, bonuses and rewards. However, games today are blurring the line between offline and online, between what is “single player” and what is “multiplayer.” Based on that and on the feedback we received from you, we recognized that Passport is no longer the best approach for ensuring that all our customers have the best possible experience with all facets of our games.” Stated Ubisoft.

Image courtesy of Engadget

No DRM For The PC Version Of The Upcoming Sequel – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

CD Projekt Red’s Co-founder and Joint CEO, Marcin Iwinski, has stated that even though they have played with it in the past, their upcoming title, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, will not contain DRM of any sort on PC.

I’d like to say it loud and clear: The PC version of The Witcher 3 will have absolutely no DRM from day 0. Zero. Zip. Nada. It doesn’t matter if you choose to buy it on GOG.com and support us directly or buy the game in box format, you’ll still get the 100% DRM-free experience. And this goes for the whole world.

In a bit of a retrospective comment he was honest enough to say, “We’ve fiddled with DRM in the past (Oh boy! How young and naïve we were;)) and that’s enough. Lesson learned.”

The game will also be made available on Steam, which by nature uses DRM which is out of CDPR’s control, but he went on to say that gamers’ have a choice as to where they purchase the game and that anywhere that CDPR has control, like GOG.com, there will be absolutely no DRM.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information

Unactivated Windows 8.1 Blocks Some Features

Softpedia report that Microsoft is taking a minor stance against unactivated copies of Windows 8.1. To encourage users to opt for fully licensed versions, now that they are available to buy, Microsoft will limit the functionality of unactivated copies by blocking you from setting a custom desktop background or changing the colours of the start screen. Just like on Windows 7 your desktop will be plain black with a “watermark” indicating that you need to activate or license your copy of Windows 8.1.

Finally as a last “nudge” towards making sure you activate your Windows a full screen activation request will pop up every few hours to remind you to do so and provide you with the relevant links and documentation to do that. From what I can remember of unactivated Windows 7, which we have run on a few test benches in the past when you don’t have time for the activation and updates procedure, these features were all present on Windows 7 too. In most cases users will be able to activate their Windows 8.1 with a legitimate license key and be rid of these annoyances, but for “Pirate” users a crack will be needed.

Image courtesy of Windows 8.1

Humble Android Bundle 6 Now Available

Humble Bundle has been non-stop recently, bringing us one bundle after another. Bringing us their 6th Android Bundle, giving us the opportunity to get 6 games for one low price, games for Android, Windows, Mac and Linux as well as a bonus game and soundtracks too! If you were to purchase these games separately you would spend around $95, with this bundle you are able to pick how much you pay, either paying as little as possible, or aiming for the stars and keep your name on the “Top Contributors” list.

This bundle brings us DRM Free games

  • Aquaria
  • Fractal: Make Blooms Not War
  • Organ Trail: Director’s Cut
  • Stealth Bastard Deluxe
  • Pulse: Volume One

Beating the average will give you 2 additional games

  • Frozen Synapse
  • Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars – Director’s Cut

With this bundle you will get soundtracks for all of the games.

“All of these games are DRM-free and ready to go for many Android devices as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux! With a purchase of $1 or more, users will also receive keys to optionally redeem the games on Steam. Linux users can also retrieve many of the games in the Ubuntu Software Center as well!”

If you love this bundle you will love this weeks “Weekly Bundle” only available for one more day! Which offers us five awesome games from 11 Bit Studios.

Image from HumbleBundle.com

Source

Xbox Live Account Ban Will Result In Losing Access To All Your Xbox One Games

Edit: Xbox Live’s Major Nelson has answered the question “if someone is banned their fault or not will they lose access to the games they purchased?” by responding “absolutely not you will always have access to the games you have purchased” but he did suggest the ban could still apply to multiplayer. This essentially crushes what Xbox Live’s official support team stated on Twitter in the article below. Details of Major Nelson’s response can be seen here. Thanks to Kyuu for the tip-off in the comments below.

It seems like things have gone from bad to worse for Microsoft. Some of the criticisms it has faced in the past weeks include:

(We have written articles about most of these big issues with the Xbox One although we haven’t been able to cover them all, you can see the articles we have written below as they have hyperlinks)

There are probably more criticisms that we missed but as you can see Microsoft’s Xbox One has had a really hard time of late. This shows no signs of letting up as now it is revealed an Xbox Live Account ban means losing all access to your Xbox One games according to Xbox’s Support Team on Twitter. Again this is causing outrage because people are worried about if there account is hacked or banned for an unfair reason. In essence the PlayStation 4 won’t have this problem because games are all physical, not digital, and are not tied to your account. While this is “no different” to current digital Xbox 360 games it is still likely to outrage people more. At least with Xbox 360 you have the option to buy physical copies and avoid this “risk” of losing your digital content with account bans.

What Microsoft are doing with this is nothing out of the ordinary, in fact as far as I am aware the same principle is used by Steam. However, the fact there is no option to get around this (because all games have to be digitally registered to your account) means a lot of people could be put off.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

PlayStation 4 Will Not Be Region Locked Says Sony

A Sony representative, Brad Douglas, has recently confirmed on Twitter that the PlayStation 4 will not have region-locking DRM enabled. This means owners can play games that weren’t bought in their geographical region, which opens up the door for buying or importing games from regions where they retail for much less.

While this characteristic of the PlayStation 4 may seem negligible, Microsoft have already announced that the Xbox One will be region locked. The reason is that the entertainment requirements of the Xbox One, such as TV and content streaming services, require region locking to be in place at the request of content owners. The PlayStation 4 on the other hand scraps region locking, which was almost expected given the PlayStation 3 wasn’t region locked, but now the PlayStation 4 has a couple of major wins over its rival the Xbox One. Firstly, it boasts greater hardware capable of much more performance and now it boasts a region free DRM design.

Sony hasn’t published any official statements regarding region locking but given its representatives have confirmed it everyone is taking this as confirmation. What do you think about region locking on consoles and console games?

Image courtesy of Sony