Linux Gaming News

DRM Schemes in Video Games

More and more games are using online DRM schemes, from Always Online and Online Activation to Online Passes. There was a poll taken last year of over 100,000 people and it found that 40% do not have High Speed/Broadband internet, 30% have no internet at all. As most of these respondents tend to live in rural areas can online requirements, for single player only games, be considered discriminatory akin to redlining?

Many console games have content cut out unless you activate the online pass. If you trade in or sell the title then the new owner would have to purchase a new online pass from the developer or publisher. It was announced that the recently released Rage by ID software (the makers of Doom) would not be selling the online passes separately, the only way to get one is to buy a new, unused copy of the game. Is this a technical violation of the the First Sale Doctrine (17 U.S.C. § 109) or did game companies just discover a loop hole that doesn’t pertain to movies, music or books?

Many PC games require an online activation at installation. Many gamers a leery about needing to activate with a specific publisher as they, and their activation servers, may not be around in a year or two, so most activation goes through a 3rd party. The largest such company is Steam, but Steam is also a digital retailer. This means that whenever a store sells a copy of a game that requires Steam activation they are sending their customers to a competitor to complete the transaction. Would this be considered an anti-competitive practice such as Collusion or a Barrier to Entry?

I don’t think any of these practices would be tolerated by any other branch of the entertainment industry. I believe they only exist in video games due

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