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JMich: Also, at the moment I'm just being a bit of an ass giving examples for a definition that are border cases for it.
In this example, you mentioned hardware requirement preventing you from playing a game, and the 2 examples are the dongle (usb, parallel or otherwise) versus the graphics card needed. I don't think anyone would count a game requiring a 3dfx card as having DRM (assuming it didn't have any other of course), but if the game required a dongle it would be considered as having DRM, even though the dongle was included in the box.
I guess the motivation for the restriction there counts too. If the parallel port dongle exists there just to limit usage of the application, it can be considered anti-piracy/DRM/copy-protection/whatever. But if the required piece of hardware is there for other reasons (like offering better graphics), it is not.

So far I like Antiperse's (sp?) DRM definition the best, ie. can the restrictions for the purchased item be changed afterwards, on the fly, without user's consent? Ie. can the restrictions be actively controlled and managed by the rights holder after the purchase?

And I agree the definition of DRM or anti-piracy methods is not clear-cut.
Post edited May 06, 2013 by timppu
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JMich: If you decide to benchmark the game on 12 different computers on the same day though, you will run into trouble. So I'd also add a clause that activation is needed after the first 10% of the game.
It's a weird example, IMHO, because that's not regular private use. And professionals or services who do that kind of stuff may probably get access to a special license (and even sponsorship of sorts) and a version which does not suffer from the activation limit that the commercially distributed version has. Extensive benchmarking may actually be the kind of use of the game that the publisher wants to limit to certain individuals or groups of people.

But I agree that demanding an activation only after a certain point in the game or after using the game for some time (like an hour) is a neat idea. For example I've already wasted activations in the past for installing a game on a system that turned out to be too weak for the game or because I had to format the system soon after installing the game. It's kinda unfair that I may loose access to the game because of such technical reasons.
Post edited May 06, 2013 by F4LL0UT
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F4LL0UT: It's a weird example, IMHO, because that's not regular private use.
It's an actual example, of the Anno 2070. The activation limit it had was supposed to be increased by 1 per month, but the first tests were done on 10 computers, while the activation limit was 3. But I may be remembering the story wrong.
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timppu: But if the required piece of hardware is there for other reasons (like offering better graphics), it is not.
Thus why I'm asking for 3dfx exclusives. Not sure if there were any, since I can't find any at this point, but if the game required a voodoo card to run, and wouldn't run without one, isn't it equivalent to not running if the dongle isn't found on the PC?
If you had medium graphics without the voodoo, but great graphics with the voodoo, that isn't a requirement to run.
Post edited May 06, 2013 by JMich
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JMich: ...I would consider it a more of a pain than intrusive. ...
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Trilarion: I would say that all DRMs are more or less pain and intrusive. How could any DRM work without being intrusive? There must be a checkpoint at some point.
There are two different potential annoyances for me with DRM:

1. How does it affect and restrict installing and playing the game now?

2. Does it cause any potential dangers for the future, if I want to (re)play the game in the (maybe even distant) future? This is also important considering I quite often buy games into backlog, and play them much much later from the purchase day. I have loads of games I've bought years ago, but not yet even installed once.

It seems some people feel that as long as #1 is fine (e.g. it doesn't require being connected all the time), the DRM can't be considered intrusive. But soime of us care also about #2, because we don't want to consider the purchases mere "long-time rentals" that might be revoked without our control and consent (and the arguments that "you might still not be able to play the game in your future PCs, DRM or not!" are completely irrelevant to this)..

Someone who installs games only once soon after purchase, and throws the game away after finishing it or getting bored, doesn't necessarily consider it intrusive if there was e.g. 3-time installation limit for the game. He used only one of the installations anyway, so why should he care? It was completely transparent to him. But for someone else it may matter.

There was the example of limited activations, where the activations would be automatically increased or resetted every now and then. But that still depends on someone to do that resetting in the future, someone who might not be there in 5 years if I want to re-install the game. In fact, if the authentication servers controlling the installation limits were offline, you couldn't install the game even if you still had unused installations in your pocket.

So while I would find such scheme unintrusive _now_, it might have become intrusive in 5 years.

To give some kind of analogy: Rise of Legends (a 2006 game) has a system where you download updates for the game in-game from their update servers, and no offline updates were ever offered.

Back when the game was new, anyone could argue that it is not intrusive, and no one has anything to complain about it. The update system worked great back then (I presume).

Until one day, they put the update servers offline. So when I recently installed the game and tried to update it, it couldn't update itself anymore due to the original update servers being offline. Something that was unintrusive before, has now become intrusive.

A bit similar case with various Starforce copy protections and such. For 99% of the people, they worked fine and were pretty much transparent back when the game was new. But when you try to run the game later on some newer Windows version, it may be simply that damn same copy protection that suddenly makes you unable to play the game. So it was unintrusive back then, but intrusive now.

Then again, one could argue that you can still play the on the original system it was intended for (e.g. some a bit older 32bit Windows XP PC, not a 64bit Win7/8). But it has still become an _extra_ impediment later to play the game, something that it wasn't before.

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JMich: Thus why I'm asking for 3dfx exclusives. Not sure if there were any, since I can't find any at this point, but if the game required a voodoo card to run, and wouldn't run without one, isn't it equivalent to not running if the dongle isn't found on the PC?
If you had medium graphics without the voodoo, but great graphics with the voodoo, that isn't a requirement to run.
Besides the special 3Dfx versions of games like Mechwarrior 2 and Fatal Racing that were delivered only with new 3Dfx cards, I don't think there were. The retail versions of said games still worked also without 3Dfx cards.

Anyway, even if the was, I think the point is the motivation. If some game needs minimum 4GB of RAM, it is not DRM/antipiracy/copy protection unless the motivation for the restriction was not to allow people with less RAM to play the game, and not to make the game better with more RAM.

EDIT: Come to think of it, the motivation with 3Dfx specific Mechwarrior 2 and Fatal Racing was to limit the usage to systems with 3Dfx cards.
Post edited May 06, 2013 by timppu
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timppu: I think the point is the motivation.
No complaints there. If the reason for a restriction is to prevent "unauthorized" usage, it probably counts as DRM, no matter the implementation. That doesn't mean that if the reason is something else, it's not DRM, but a blanket statement will have cases that it has to re-examine.
Example, HALO and the rest of the games that required Vista, though later were made to work on XP. Is that a requirement for the game, a DRM scheme, or something else entirely?
I have a good example with shitty CorelDraw software. It mostly runs fine. It installs a driver that is started each time windows is started and don't you dare disabling it or the software won't start. The driver in question does not get de-installed, once the software is de-installed. And every month or so they annoyingly ask you to register online and you cannot turn this notification off. This happens for software that you bought and paid money for and own a serial key and even allow to phone home.

It's difficult to measure how painful and intrusive this reallly is, but surely without it would be measurably less painful and less intrusive.