DRM Is Destroying My Holiday Gaming (And Kicking Puppies)

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I’m currently writing this from our waterfront holiday home that sits around 40 minutes outside of Pretoria.

We come here to relax at the end of every year, mostly with the idea of enjoying some sunny weather, days out on the boat and pretty much everything else that feels completely opposite to our daily city life sitting in an office.

Today however, it’s not sunny and we are not out on the boat. A crazy amount of rain has been flowing like the tears off of an emo kid’s cheeks, leaving us with nothing but indoor activities.

We always bring all of our consoles and gadgets with to our holiday home, always because of the crazy summer weather in Gauteng and year after year it has proven worth the effort. We have never had more than GPRS out here for internet as there is no ADSL support out here and we have now only just realised that we now have 3G (which is still just so damn expensive) in this area for the first time in forever.

I’m really ticked right now, and it mostly had to do with the fact that I am sitting here writing rather than playing some really awesome games in the perfect gaming weather. The reason being that DRM wants me to be sad, it doesn’t want me to play games. It wants me to suffer for owning original and legitimate software.

Last night when the weather was also iffy, I decided to hit up some of my Xbox Live Arcade games that I have been wanting to get around to for a while, only to remember that thanks to me recently switching to my new Xbox 360 250GB, all of my downloaded content is linked to another console which means that I need to be online to verify that it’s all legit.

Now most of you know that you can use xbox.com to transfer your licenses over to the new console, but it only allows you to perform that function once per year and we all know that where Xbox 360s are involved, that doesn’t always cut it.

So then, almost all of my Xbox Live Arcade games are only limited to their trial modes, with the exception of any very recent downloads. I downloaded the extra track pack for Trials HD recently too, but I can’t play them because the original game can’t be verified as mine. Argh.

After some some good storming, lightning took out a transformer and so half of the power in our area, strangely leaving half our plugs working, and the other half (the ones that all the consoles are plugged into) not working at all.

All was not lost for my quest to catch up on some gaming, as I still have Starcraft II on my laptop and have been meaning to get around to finishing the campaign and thought some bad holiday weather would be perfect to do just that.

I knew that Starcraft II had the ability to let me play in offline mode, but when I put in my details I got some story about the game needing to log onto the internet to verify the account and game copy.

What I didn’t know is that the game won’t allow you to play in offline mode without having logged in at least 30 days prior. Had I known this ahead of time I would have simply logged in before I left for my vacation.

Ok, I thought. This isn’t a complete trainsmash, we have 3G now and my phone can tether to my laptop and even if I got completely butt-mollested by Vodacom for some basic 3G usage (See: R2.00 or around $0.25c per MB). After all, the only thing I needed to do was verify my account so it shouldn’t take much bandwidth at all.

I started the game up, then activated my 3G tethering only to have the game completely die on me when I tried to log in. I realised shortly thereafter that it was because simply logging in was not enough. No… Starcraft II was so happy that i had a connection now, that it wanted to run the updater.

Seeing as I haven’t played in a while, it wanted to update a bunch of things and I wasn’t prepared to pay a small fortune to update the game. What makes it even better is that I couldn’t find any sort of way to skip the updates either, so Starcraft II just ain’t gonna happen.

I haven’t even tried it, but I also know that my idea of finally catching up on the last bit of Dead Space on Xbox 360 is also just never going to happen this vacation because it has one single piece of DLC that was downloaded on a previous Xbox and it doesn’t actually let me play the game at all because it can’t verify the ownership.

It isn’t all bad though thanks to some non-idiotic decisions by some people. The Playstation 3 has been treating me very well so far, and doesn’t seem to want anything from me. It has become the definite media center of choice as well, – as unlike the Xbox 360 – it doesn’t need to fill out online forms every time that I want to load up a video that uses its media codec pack. Seriously Xbox 360, do I really need online verification to watch a friggin’ promo trailer that was even downloaded from Xbox Live?

Steam has also been on my side. My Mom was saying that she really wanted to play a game that would give her brain a good workout. Even though it required some WASD / keyboard and mouse training, I managed to get her into the ever so wonderful Portal.

So far she is absolutely loving Portal (despite spending an incredibly large amount of time aiming at the ceiling) and Steam has been kind enough to let us play whatever we want, whenever we want. So I think a good Torchlight session will be in order later tonight.

You know, the real point I want to make is that even though piracy is the reason behind all of this DRM, there is some snot-nosed tosser busy playing pirated versions of these games without absolutely no issues whatsoever while I have to go through all of these pathetic run-arounds for nothing.

DRM is clearly still not doing anything to curb piracy and I get the sweet pleasure of going through nothing but annoyances and grief for lacking a half-decent internet connection.

Thanks DRM, we love you too you useless piece of annoying crap. Here’s an idea, hows about you let me play my games while I’m on my time off instead of treating me like a criminal.

Last Updated: December 20, 2010

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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