Stardock introduces non-traditional DRM solution

By Justin Mann on March 26, 2009, 1:37 PM
A recent summit held by the FTC has brought the topic of DRM up this week, with the intention of clarifying where the industry is going. Some aren't content to wait and see what the outcome will be, however, and instead are looking to change DRM technology on their own. One such company is Stardock, the same company that proposed the Gamers Bill of Rights framework last year.

Stardock has announced today that they have been preparing a new type of DRM, which they claim will solve many issues that both developers and players face. Dubbed Game Object Obfuscation, in short, the new system puts entire games into a container format alongside Stardock's own “Impulse Reactor” virtual platform. When this file is launched for the first time it prompts for certain information like email addresses and a serial number. The end result is that, once activated, the game is permanently tied to that account as opposed to a piece of hardware like most activation systems do.

The advantage that Stardock plays up with this technique is that a permanent Internet connection is no longer required to keep content active. It also lets users validate games on any digital distribution service that supports them, alleviating concerns that if a publisher goes out of business people will lose access to their purchased titles. Further, users can install their games to multiple computers without hassle and could even self-invalidate their license to resell it or simply transfer it to someone else.

Some weak points and downsides to this technology come to mind, though. Could games be pirated just by sharing account details? Is it possible for a company to invalidate someone's license on their own? Little of the “negative” details were provided, so we'll have to just wait and see how “GOO” turns out.

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