This really grinds my gears…As reported here in the past, Mass Effect for PC contains a new type of SecuROM which will be present in all future EA/Maxis games.

What does it do?  Not only does it install itself to your computer without a word of notification as well as disable your firewall, dvd drives and cd/dvd burning software.  It limits you to installing your game on your PC up to 3 times.

This can be triggered via using up your 3 activations and each time you change a piece of hardware, reformat your computer or install/upgrade a new operating system, it takes up one of the activations.

This is proven to be true by a guy over at the Mass Effect forums.  He registered and started to play the game (Activation #1).  Well, when he tried to play the game he had strange artifacts on his screen.  Thinking it was an OS-related issue, he reinstalled XP and reinstalled the game (Activation #2).  Finding out that it didn’t help the problem, he soon figured out it was his graphics card struggling.  Well, he bought a brand new card and that solved the problem (this triggers Activation #3).  Game ran fine for a short period of time (2 days) and he played thru it and completed the game.  Well, a week after that, he decided he wanted to run thru the game again.  This is where he stumbles upon this error:

“The game can not start. For security reasons, only a limited number of machines can ever be licensed by a single purchase. This limit has been reached. Please purchase another registration code, reinstall, and then try again.”

There is no doubt that EA will try to include this new version of SecuROM on Spore and possibly The Sims 3….and if it is, we are going to encounter some very serious problems.  Heck, I can’t even count the times I had to reinstall the games, upgrade my hardware and reformat…

You know, come to think of it…EA is doing this to prevent piracy of their games, but it’s only hurting us legal customers.  Look at this:

If you are a Pirate:

  • BAD: You do have the same bugs that those with legal copies have, plus new ones depending on how the cracked copy was programmed.
  • GOOD: Unlimited Activations!
  • GOOD: No SecuROM to deal with
  • GOOD & BAD: It’s free, but illegal

If you are a Legal Customer:

  • BAD: Limited to 3 Activations
  • BAD: Your computer is plaqued with SecuROM
  • BAD: Game contains errors and bugs
  • GOOD & BAD: You support Maxis by purchasing the game, but you are also supporting EA, and if you support them, you support SecuROM

Honestly…what looks better to you?

Source:  Mass Effect Forums and discussion at Simmers against SecuROM