EA editor criticizes DRM in Command & Conquer 4

EA editor criticizes DRM in Command & Conquer 4

Summary: EA.com's editor-in-chief and blogger Jeff Green has used Twitter to publicly criticize Command & Conquer 4's DRM mechanism.


EA.com's editor-in-chief and blogger Jeff Green has used Twitter to publicly criticize Command & Conquer 4's DRM mechanism.

The DRM mechanism baked into Command & Conquer 4 is very similar to that used by Ubisoft uses in the PC games Assassin's Creed 2 and Silent Hunter 5 in that it requires an always-on connection to the DRM servers. If that connection drops, the game shuts down and your progress is lost.

Green's first Twitter post highlights the weakness of the DRM mechanism, going as far as calling it a "fail":

Booted twice--and progress lost--on my single-player C&C4 game because my DSL connection blinked. DRM fail. We need new solutions.

Next he gives buyers a warning:

The story is fun, the gameplay is interesting and different at least--but if you suffer from shaky/unreliable DSL--you've been warned.

Finally, he talks of adjusting expectations:

I think if we think of C&C4 as an "online-only" game--which it basically is--then maybe we'd adjust our expectations accordingly.

It seems that DRM has come to the point where the only folks inconvenienced by it are those people who have paid for the game and are trying to enjoy it.

Great business model ... NOT!

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Security

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  • Complete Fail

    I know what that EA guy means... I bought the
    game recently (actually, last Sunday) because
    my brother wanted to see and try what's in it,
    and because we're a fan of the game. I didn't
    really like the DRM in it but we still bought

    During the first few moments, I got dropped
    FIVE TIMES! and it wasn't able to save at all!
    It was an offline game, and it was a campaign!
    It SHOULD BE storing my saves on my computer
    for god's sake! But, apparently it sends my
    save over the net, which defeats the idea of an
    offline game.

    If I could only get a refund, I WOULD SEND THIS
    BACK FOR REFUND! Then, get a pirate copy and
    enjoy the game offline! I'm one of those guys
    who doesn't really play online so yeah... NOT
    • Where did you buy it?

      If you bought it at a big retail location (Walmart, Best Buy, etc) I would try to return it.

      I know they have policies saying that state you can't return opened games, but this situation is different. You are not able to use the product you purchased, and if I were you I'd at least try to get your money back. At least get a store credit.

      If that doesn't work, or if you bought it on Ebay or some other similar place, I'd contact EA and aske them to refund your money. THis crap is unacceptable, and as long as people don't complain and vote with their wallets EA won't respond.
      • the problem

        Well, the problem with that is that is the serial
        number... because instead of requireing it during
        setup, it is linked to the EA account instead,
        making the DVD material completely unnecessary
        since your EA account has the access, not the
        computer you installed it to. thus, as long as you
        have an installer, you can just login and play...
        that is if you are online....
        • If you paid for it with a credit card...

          ...call the cc company and dispute the charge as a last resort. I have to do that on occasion with retailers who wanna play hardball. Play hardball back.
          still not nice
  • RE: EA editor criticizes DRM in Command & Conquer 4

    Tell me how this doesn't push a person to track down a pirated copy.
    • Some people are simply unaware that the pirated version has less issues.

      [b] [/b]
  • Command & Conquer 4 is poorly rated.

    Doesn't EA get it? Obviously not.

    DRM should be dead - it can always be broken.

    Any game should have an Online and Offline mode of play. Perhaps if EA considered this and lowered the prices a bit in this global economy, people would not need a pirated copy.

    BTW - The game was poorly rated, anyway!

    Don't buy EA stock! :0(
    • say what?

      This is a terrible idea and i'll skip this version of CC because of it. EA has killed this genre anyways by turning out poor product so they can make a cheap buck. Way to go guys. Another big company screwing the consumer!
    • Partially agree

      Although I don't agree with price being a
      justification for piracy, I [i]do[/i] agree
      that gamers should boycott games that impose:

      -- Intrusive/onerous DRM,
      -- Constant connectivity for single-player
      -- Online storage of save files and/or

      At the very least users should have the choice
      to run fully disconnected.

      Simply don't buy games that don't allow you to
      do this. No matter how cool the game, it's not
      a [i]necessity[/i] like food, clothing, or
      shelter ... you can live without it.

      DRM-pushing publishers [i]can't[/i] live
      without customers, however.
  • EA Fails on DRM

    and they have been doing so quite for some time.

    It's to the point where it's more stringent than consoles. In the case of C&C and AC2 it's way too stringent. An implementation that can cause someone to lose progress on the spot due to a shaky internet connection, without even giving you the chance to at least save your game is pathetic.

    By trying to control piracy developers have been dropping the ball on PC gaming for some time, and it's showing by way of even more decreasing sales. It's just too convenient for people to simply goto consoles. They usually don't have to worry about this crap.

    I say this as an avid PC gamer.
    • Any DRM is a fail

      It just inconveniences people who actually buy the things in question legally and pushes people like myself (who do not want to have to deal with the DRM issues) to pirating the games, because we are not giving ANY money for something that might not work because we don't have an 'always on internet connection'.

      The BEST DRM solution is NO DRM solution. Not a disc-check, not a online check, just NO DRM at all.... or at most, a CD-Key.
      • That's a lame excuse from an admitted pirate

        DRM didn't push you to pirate anything. If you choose to be a pirate you are scum.


        DRM started because of a-holes like you, you moron. In the days of games on floppy games any indecent jacka$$ could and did copy games to their hearts' delight. Companies have been on a cat and mouse chase trying to figure out ways to prevent idiots like you from stealing the products they've invested time and money into.

        I'm pretty sure that if you are a working person (though you might be a bum for all I know) you wouldn't want to do your job and not get paid for it.

        I do not agree with such a stringent implementation of DRM such as the one on C&C 4, since it makes the game unplayable to paying customers, but I certainly don't condone stealing the game. I think companies have to come up with a better model, and it's up to them to figure out what that model should be, but I'm not going around looking for cracked games just because of that. I just don't buy such games; I won't be buying C&C 4.

        If you want to play a game that is not offered for free PAY for it.

        If a game has elements that render it useless, or diminish its usability, don't buy it and tell the company why you are not patronizing them.

        If you want to pirate a game using DRM as an excuse to do so: Ceremoniously GO FRAK yourself.
        • Agreed.

          As I've stated in other posts, I also dislike
          and don't support draconian DRM schemes.
          Therefore I don't buy games that have single-
          player modes which require online connections,
          save their files to a central server, or
          otherwise treat paying customers as though they
          were criminals.

          That said, I also can't stand the lazy/greedy
          attitude of those who say, "Waaaah!!! Games
          cost too much ... I'm going to pirate them.
          Waaaah!!! That DRM's too tight ... I'm
          downloading the crack."

          Grow up. If everyone stole everything, there
          would be no incentive to produce anything new.
          (Anything of quality, at least.)

          By all means boycott publishers that try to
          impose these unreasonable DRM schemes, but vote
          with your CASH (not your torrents) for games
          that strike a fair balance between copy-
          protection and consumer rights.

          Using DRM or price-point as an excuse to pirate
          is just a rationalization for theft. If you
          don't like the terms of a deal, don't buy. If
          you can live with the terms, buy legally.

          (The same goes for movies, music, etc.)
          • If everyone boycotting everything, there would be no incentive to produce

            [b] [/b]
        • Are we reading the same post? Because I don't see anything in his implying

          that he pirated this (or any other) game.

          Also, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that making a copy of something for free instead of simply abstaining from it altogether has some kind of a negative impact on its creators, or publishers, or something. It doesn't. It is actually better for them than abstaining from it, since if you end up liking it you might end up convincing someone else to buy it (on purpose or not).

          Stealing would be if you took it away from them, so that they had to replace it (or do without it). Like if you went down to a store and stole a television. This makes a negative impact.

          "Piracy", on the other hand, means copying out of thin air. Like if you saw a television you wanted, but couldn't afford it, so you decided to make an identical copy of it out of thin air. When your friends come over, they might notice the brand, and be more likely to buy a TV of that brand in the future, thus making a positive impact, where as if you simply didn't get it at all you would be having no impact.
          • I don't know

            Did you read this? Notice the bolded portions...

            "It just inconveniences people who actually buy the things in question legally and [b]pushes people like myself[/b] (who do not want to have to deal with the DRM issues) [b]to pirating the games[/b]"

            I'm not even going to address all the other babble you offered, but thanks for the laughs.
          • Being pushed to do something isn't the same as doing it.

            For example, your flamebait ("I'm not even going to address all the other babble you offered, but thanks for the laughs.") pushes me to flame you, but I'm above that so I choose not to.
  • No different than the one use in Batman

    Can't save a game unless I'm logged into the Live site. It really irritates me. I'm not sure COA WOW 2 was any better though. I went to the store, bought the game, and still had to connect to Steam.
  • Until We Stop Buying there will be DRM

    So stop buying stuff with DRM if you don't want DRM. You'll have to do without some of the better games until the catch on. But of course this would require many and a public loud many.
  • Insist on true ownership of your goods

    (Posted to another article on DRM, but equally
    applicable here.)

    I [i][b]strongly[/b][/i] oppose "required
    connection" or subscription-only sales models
    for stand-alone products.

    As consumers, we should never abandon the
    expectation of true OWNERSHIP of the products
    we buy. Being trapped into leasing something
    that could be delivered, purchased, and
    [i]owned[/i] as a discrete unit will inevitably
    prove more costly and less consistently
    available over time.

    I exempt truly online games such as MMORPGs, or
    [i]services[/i] such as NetFlix, in this.
    Those models require ongoing overhead, and are
    therefore much better suited to the
    subscription model. (I don't have a problem
    with NetFlix in this regard because I'm not
    forced to only [i]borrow[/i] movies ... I
    always have the option to buy DVDs that I wish
    to keep, from them or anyone else.)

    A stand-alone game (and productivity software,
    for that matter) should be MINE when I buy it,
    store its saves and configuration locally,
    remain usable by me forever -- free of monthly
    charges -- whether or not I have an active
    internet connection.

    If those sound like radical ideas to anyone,
    then you've already drunk too much of the DRM