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March 13, 2011

Dragon Age 2: SecuROM DRM denied

by Brian Turner

Dragon Age 2: SecuROM DRM denied

Dragon Age 2 may have been well anticipated by gamers - having DRM software sneakily installed on your PC without knowing will not.

However, publisher EA Games and developer Bioware were accused of forcing the install of Digital Rights Management (DRM) software onto users machines when they buy Dragon Age 2, without providing any warning or notification of doing so.

According to Ars Technica, the DRM used was the much hated SecuROM.

SecuROM DRM system was previously used by EA Games on titles such as Spore, Sims 2 and Creature Creator, even on demo versions, and resulted in multiple class-action suits against the publisher.

The well-publicised problems with Spore almost certainly contributed to a loss in actual sales, and publishers such as Sony have been forced to pay damages for unauthorised DRM software installs on customer PCs.

So the allegation that EA Games was repeating this mistake was more than surprising.

However, one of Bioware’s own staff, Fernando Melo , has waded into the discussion to state:

“We don’t use Securom DRM. We use a release control product which is made by the same team, but is a completely different product. The constrast between the two couldn’t be greater - it is night and day.”

“[I]t simply does a check of the date against an online server when you run the game. If the street date has passed, it allows you to play and removes itself. We use this and only this.”

Apparently, SecreROM was identified because after Dragon Age 2 is installed, files remain in the users temp folder which contain either files named securom or their signature when examined mentions securom.

These files are apparently harmless, and simply relate to the same company behind SecureROM development being behind the date check, rather than because the DRM software has been installed.

While no doubt the developers of Dragon Age 2 have been caught on the back-foot by allegations of illicit DRM installs, it appears the reports are misguided.

While indeed there are indeed temp files left on user machines identified as SecureROM DRM-related, these appear to be files aimed to co-ordinate DRM protections with SecureROM if already installed, rather than proof of DRM installation.

In the meantime, no doubt Dragon Age 2 gamers will be more than relieved to have that controversy out of the way, and get down to worry-free gaming.



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