Thought I would never say this...
Went and bought Mass Effect today and found it has some very instrusive copy protection scheme. So much that I'll probably be looking for a way to remove it just so I can enjoy the game 3 to 4 years from now when their 'activation' servers aren't up.
Going to write a strongly worded letter to EA about this. I own nearly 100 EA games and have paid for them all. Automatically assuming I'm a criminal is ridiculous. The pirates will still pirate the game while I'll be calling trying to re-activate mine. I think you are allowed 3 activations and it checks every 10 days to see if your code is legit. There are rumors this was relaxed a bit after a huge barrage of emails from PC gamers so perhaps I have old info.
I hope developers realize this - if they begin to seriously upset their core PC consumer they will only have a console market. Further they will not gain the PC consumers back in console sales b/c I know many PC users that will not buy a console. Gamers seriously affect the PC market and maybe it's time we reminded them of that fact.
If things progress like this I guarantee PC sales will drop through the floor. Bean counters can say what they want but the primary reason for high dollar PC sales in the consumer market is gamers. Everyone says the market is shrinking but I don't buy it. Now when a PC game doesn't sell they attribute it to piracy. News flash. Maybe your game just sucked!! But blaming the boogeyman is so much easier than admitting you botched. Everyone I meet online who is not a cheater or hack has paid for their game and is eagerly awaiting more and more games. I don't mind throwing 50 to 60 bucks at a great game - and I want a nice package, some type of manual, maps (if applicable), and doo-dads are nice too.
I just don't agree that piracy is the key reason for the lost sales in PC games. Perhaps it's because gamers are tired of the same old same old and so companies took that same old same old to a new market. Bet it gets old sometime for them as well. I pay top dollar for my components and my PC game looks better on medium than the console version on max - but graphics mean diddly to me. Give me a great game I can get into and play and I'll play it over and over and over. I'll buy every expansion pack they release and continue to play. I still like to load up GTA 3 and GTA Vice City and as cartoony as they look it is still a ton of fun.
Maybe some companies will begin to realize the huge void that has been created and cash-in with some great games.
Excellent read about Stardock's no copy protection policy.
I happen to have bought Sins of a Solar Empire and enjoy it more and more. At first it was hard but it is a great game and the no copy protection stuff reminds me of the glory days of PC gaming.
This goes along with what I've been saying but in different words. Pirates are not customers and never would have been customers so how are they lost sales? I still buy my games and I could care less if pirated versions are available. I will always buy my games.