EA laces C&C4 with Ubisoft-like always-on DRM

By on March 18, 2010, 5:55 PM
Ubisoft caught some serious flak over its controversial DRM, but it seems EA's not afraid of a few pitch forks and torches. The company has reportedly included a similar always-connected DRM mechanism in its latest Command & Conquer title. According to a moderator on the official C&C4 forums, the game "has no DRM. Zip, zero, zilch, none" -- but a few lines later he said it requires a constant Internet connection. The post has since been edited to exclude that faux pas.


In a review of Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, Eurogamer highlighted some of the game's issues -- most of which should sound familiar if you read anything about the Ubisoft debacle. The site says that C&C4 is constantly monitor and uploading your experience-point count, and thus the game is always online. If your connection drops for any reason, you will be kicked from the game -- even in single player -- and the game won't attempt to reconnect, so your session is totally lost.

It's also noted that C&C4 plays well on a mid-range laptop, which would make it a great title to pick up while traveling, but without a strong Wi-Fi signal that isn't currently possible. It's unclear whether EA will incorporate these limitations into other titles, and let us pray that other companies won't resort to always-on schemes.




User Comments: 53

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Clrabbit said:

STRONG wi-fi!? were I live there IS NO Wi-Fi. Most my friends I LAN with don't even have Internet or we're playing in a park "Thous the Laptops and not a LAN box" why do you think we LAN?

Oh~ well I don't like C&C any ways give me empire earth any day. But that is 100% pure BS for a RTS to have such things, I've been to LAN parties were there are 100 's of people playing a single RTS, I can only image then nightmare I could cuss trying to keep all the systems so the DRM doesn't flake out on your mid game. seeing as most huge LAN parties don't even have Internet connections expect on one or two systems... and that just sounds like a Royal pain to Nat 100+ systems though 1 for DRM crap.

Guest said:

Like always with DRM I will buy the game and install a crack to disable it.

I own my equipment and internet connection and don't like it when more and more companies take liberties with my machine and it's connection. Not everyone can afford an always on connection or have access to high speed internet.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Ha ha! i just realised, this type of DRM completely renders "gaming" laptops useless!

TomSEA - you can't still believe This type of DRM is the way to go to protect developers work?

flukeh said:

burty117 said:

Ha ha! i just realised, this type of DRM completely renders "gaming" laptops useless!

TomSEA - you can't still believe This type of DRM is the way to go to protect developers work?

Gaming Laptops are still just as relevant as desktops, they do have an Ethernet port as well you know =P

boyese said:

i hope they release a 'patch' to get rid of this or everyone will just get a cracked exe.

rufio said:

so in other words, you can't play this game if you don't have access to internet wi-fi? not even for single player? that is just plain stupid.

ToastOz said:

good way to stop illegal copy's, bad because it hurts those who paid for it.

mystic420 said:

ToastOz said:

good way to stop illegal copy's, bad because it hurts those who paid for it.

You must be joking... Within a week of any game release there is always a hack or patch. Truthfully, I think they should just give up on protection all together and put their efforts into making the games better and bigger. I patch all my games so i don't have to put in the CD every time. It's a waste of time and damages the CD over time. Want good copy protection, wait a few years and it will all be done online. The game will never be in your system drive and we'll have to pay for a per use or recurring payment to play and hacking or patching will be near to imposable... Just my 2 cents...

cyrusjumpjet cyrusjumpjet said:

This is ridiculous -- and, sadly, expected.

I don't care too much in this instance because I played the beta for this game and it was really disappointing. EA will not be receiving any of my hard-earned cash for this.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

flukeh said:

burty117 said:

Ha ha! i just realised, this type of DRM completely renders "gaming" laptops useless!

TomSEA - you can't still believe This type of DRM is the way to go to protect developers work?

Gaming Laptops are still just as relevant as desktops, they do have an Ethernet port as well you know =P

Not really, if i'm going to be on a train or boat for a couple of hours they don't really have wifi or lan cables to use. Or even a long car journey!

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This was already announced last year much to the dismay of die hard C&C fans everywhere. I was extremely disappointed in EA's decision to take an RTS game and force it to an always-online format DRM. Then spinning it in a way that benefits the consumer because it'll keep track of achievements, statics or any other non-essentials.

When this game was announced I was looking forward to finally finishing off the series and seeing how they would conclude it. Then the bad started to emerge leading with this...which completely put me off. Followed by them completely turning around the established gameplay of C&C, dropping resource gathering in favor of nodes, taking out base building and replacing it with an everything movable unit that if killed will be replaced and with units that don't have the right feel or look. If I wanted to play an RTS like DOW2/COH I would, changing something that has been established just hurts the franchise imo. Even though it was well received they should have just made a new game instead.

Overall I am sad with the direction C&C 4 took for closing out an amazing franchise. I am more disappointed that companies think an RTS game needs an always-online DRM and I hope more don't take this route in the future. RUSE by the way is coming out this summer from Ubi which I was really looking forward to but if it includes the same always-online DRM I guess I'll have to pass. In the mean time I'll keep playing C&C3 Tiberium Essence which is one awesome mod . [Link]

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I recently had issues with a newly purchased game. Basically everyone was passing the buck and putting the compatibility issues on the other company. So I obtained another copy, loaded it up and am having a blast.

I made the choice to pay for the game to support the company so they make more. Obviously I don't have to. Pirates will always pirate, no amount of DRM will stop them. Then there are people who can pirate, but choose to buy the games. These are exactly the people who may stop buying these games with schemes like this.

elroacho72 said:

I wouldn't have a problem with it if you didn't lose your season.That totally sucks... to be blunt.

mrtraver said:

Damn, I was really looking forward to this game, but to hell with it now. I was hoping to play a little on a laptop during lunch hour, but now I won't even play it on my desktop with its always-on connection. And I don't give a rip about online play, let alone online stat tracking. I don't mind a one-time check online to authenticate, but always-on is verboten.

Screw you, EA. Right back at ya.

seefizzle said:

DRM is stupid for everyone. People will always find ways around it. I had over two hundred gigs of music that I legally downloaded from the Zune Marketplace. Then canceled my subscription and stripped all the DRM off of every MP3.

This always on type of DRM will only succeed at being annoying to paid customers. The people who rip this off will find ways around it. I have zero interest in playing this game, and even less knowing about the always on DRM issue. Now if you told me that Modern Warfare 2 was going to utilize this type of DRM it might break my heart, even though I paid for a legitimate copy of the game.

DRM will never stop pirates. Only make things a hair more difficult for whoever cracks it.

Eddo22 said:

I can't really say I'm interested in the game, but I hope the legit purchasing customers can hold out long enough to see this crap DRM forgotten about.

I do want Assassins Creed 2 but I currently have no plans to purchase it. Good to see it's not selling that great.

levar said:

say whaaat thats even worst that Ubisofts this will be a pain, you know what I think its time I grab myself some cat5e cable and buy some Rj-45s and make myself an Ethernet cable my PC is currently on wireless and every now and then I get cut-off, it won't be that messy trying to go fully wireless in my house. Anyways this is crazy at least have a limit before it cuts you off, because this is crazy.

pipopaz said:

I heard some really horror tales from some of my friends about it, if your internet signal drops down and you haven't save you can kiss goodbye to your playtime. So now that it's going to be in more games I hope it won't be widespread...

Timonius Timonius said:

"If your connection drops for any reason, you will be kicked from the game -- even in single player -- and the game won't attempt to reconnect, so your session is totally lost."

This is a MAJOR game design flaw. I won't be buying this game anytime soon anyways (I usually wait for a good sale as I already have a backlog of older games I want to play). Hopefully by the time I get around to it it won't be an issue. And if everyone is so upset about it then DON'T buy it (and DON'T torrent it either - sheesh). A massive lack of sales might scream at EA to fix the problem.

Guest said:

Personally I feel DRM is not good for the future of computer gaming, this is not the solution to stopping piracy. Why support these big companies that don't even trust their own companies such as EA? I will never install any game that has DRM on my computer, besides old school C&C is much better than this EA crap version after playing the demo,

Guest said:

Personally I feel DRM is not good for the future of computer gaming, this is not the solution to stopping piracy. Why support these big companies that don't even trust their own customers such as EA? I will never install any game that has DRM on my computer, besides old school C&C is much better than this EA crap version after playing the demo,

(Sorry about double posting, don't know how to correct my previous post)

Thompson said:

So it begins...

Of course it'd be EA who'd pick up a crappy idea and run with it.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Sign of the times folks. I'm not a proponent of this level of DRM. But on the other hand, considering the insane, and I mean INSANE amount of PC game theft going on, it's hard to fault publishers for going to this extreme..

For those who steal - don't do it. It's killing PC gaming. And tell your friends who do it too to knock it the hell off.

It can't get more simple than this. You don't steal, we don't get DRM.

Yoda8232 said:

That sucks for mobile gamers but for most this is SOMEWHAT better news. I'm still not going to buy the game, but I did enjoy the beta. Well it's not that bad really because you can't build a huge base so if your net crashes it's not that big of a loss.

ansarimikail said:

I guess I'm not surprised.

Guest said:

DRM equals pass! everyone boycott!! if its got always on DRM boycott the game! use your money to show them whos boss. only buy games it does not have DRM. or only needs to quick check to see if its legal.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm sure more developers/publishers will try this but ultimately it will be proven to be a failure both in sales and in stopping people from pirating the games. The sad part is that if games with DRM like this do poorly in sales the companies will just blame piracy.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Didn't EA learn anything from Ubisoft or Spore? I feel sorry for fans of the series...

purity999 said:

And this is why I will not be purchasing this, constant internet connectivity? Are you joking? What about all the people in the Military deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan? Guess we won't be playing this.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If you don't like the DRM, then just don't by the game. It isn't the end of the world if you don't get to play a game. There are always plenty more out there that are available. And worst case you can go back and play some classics :-)

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So, once again a big publisher takes a huge title and completely screws it up with DRM, costs itself potential customers who won't (or can't) deal with their chosen restriction, and the only ones who win are the pirates who won't care and wouldn't have bought the stupid thing anyhow.

Huzzah, EA... Way to go!

buendia said:

This is bad news. This DRM thing has become an obsession to big companies.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

TomSEA said:

Sign of the times folks. I'm not a proponent of this level of DRM. But on the other hand, considering the insane, and I mean INSANE amount of PC game theft going on, it's hard to fault publishers for going to this extreme..

For those who steal - don't do it. It's killing PC gaming. And tell your friends who do it too to knock it the hell off.

It can't get more simple than this. You don't steal, we don't get DRM.

I to a point agree but do you not see that they are actually making the situation using this kind of extreme DRM is actually making the whole situation worse?!

Its true, if everyone stopped stealing the games then it would go away but that will never happen so DRM will still be around but do you not see that going to an extreme like this has caused for more people not to buy the game and has actually stopped people without an internet connection completely simply can't play the game even if they wanted to??

I miss the old days of just having a CD key to play the game on an old laptop (Red Alert 2 ruled!) instead, i now have to get a 3G wireless dongle which might lose signal anyway and lose my game even when the part of game i'm playing. So i then get a bill for using the dongle just to simply play a part of the single player on the way to wales or on the boat to france.

This Type of DRM is not just extreme, its stupid.

Eddo22 said:

"For those who steal - don't do it. It's killing PC gaming."

I don't think that's totally true. I'd say that consoles were killing pc gaming. Everyone needs to ditch consoles and get a PC. I can pretty much guarantee that would result in lower prices for PC parts and probably games too...and people wouldn't be stuck with the same stone age machine for 4-5 years like they are with modern console machines.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Eddo22 said:

"For those who steal - don't do it. It's killing PC gaming."

I don't think that's totally true. I'd say that consoles were killing pc gaming. Everyone needs to ditch consoles and get a PC. I can pretty much guarantee that would result in lower prices for PC parts and probably games too...and people wouldn't be stuck with the same stone age machine for 4-5 years like they are with modern console machines.

I Like this guy! I've been saying that since the "Nexy Gen" consoles have been out. The more console sold the lower PC gaming seems to go.

It doesn't help a lot are lied to for example a lot of "Guest" users on this website pop in to say on the related articles that the ps3 "is the best".

But yet rarely do console games actually run at the full resolution stated and just generally playing with a controller is down right bad. So bad infact all FPS shooters use an "auto-aim" to help the fact that at the end of the day, when playing on a console your not really using any real skill.

sagejay said:

"If your connection drops for any reason, you will be kicked from the game -- even in single player -- and the game won't attempt to reconnect, so your session is totally lost."

This is ridiculous, if I have a bad internet or if I go somewhere that doesn't have internet, I get kicked out of the game even though I bought the game legit?

Docnoq said:

TomSEA said:

Sign of the times folks. I'm not a proponent of this level of DRM. But on the other hand, considering the insane, and I mean INSANE amount of PC game theft going on, it's hard to fault publishers for going to this extreme..

For those who steal - don't do it. It's killing PC gaming. And tell your friends who do it too to knock it the hell off.

It can't get more simple than this. You don't steal, we don't get DRM.

I don't think it is that simple, Tom. Even if everyone on the planet stopped pirating, I believe companies would still put DRM on their games 'just in case'. You have to also take into account that other countries are not as strict about copyright laws as the U.S. and do not care to enforce them, so attempting to make everyone stop pirating is a bit of a stretch. Add that to the fact that the only way to obtain certain games in some countries is through pirating since they are banned and you are pretty much guaranteed to have pirating.

As far as this game, I purchased the last C&C but I never finished playing it. I got bored with the hour long missions with little variability. I guess I won't be buying this one either especially with that type of DRM and my unstable internet. I would rather not spend 45 minutes building up my army to have it instantly vanish because my net spiked. Pass.

Guest said:

Guess I won't be buying many more games if this keeps up. I deploy in the military a lot and have no internet. Oh well. Guess they don't want my money.

Guest said:

already cracked , 135 kb program that simulates game server.

FrostBolt said:

The most popular and best selling game on the PC (World of Warcraft) requires an always-on connection. I think that if the game is good enough, people will accept it. It is an annoyance because the Internet goes out sometimes, servers crash, and you don't really own the game. Instead, you pay to access it until they decide to shut down the server. Once they release Command and Conquer 5, they can stop supporting this one and you have to upgrade or find a new hobby. You don't own it they way you use to. You get less and pay the same, so it's kind of equivalent to a price increase. However, if the game is worth the money, people will still pay to play.

Guest said:

I definitely pick one up this summer when assembling my new computer.

On a side issue, I wouldn't underestimate the skills of certain video gamers that play at an elite level compared to others on their consoles. The US military is aware of what they do online and actively recruits them to into various roles.

Guest said:

My apologies. The part 'I definitely pick one up this summer when assembling my new computer.' was supposed to be posted on a different article.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

frostbolt said:

The most popular and best selling game on the PC (World of Warcraft) requires an always-on connection. I think that if the game is good enough, people will accept it.

Good point, but completely irrelevant. If people want to play a game that needs an internet connection, they can go play WoW. This game is not WoW. Not in the same genre. Not the same game mechanics. There is absolutely nothing about this game that deserves comparison to WoW, yet people keep using that as some kind of justification, which is completely off the mark.

The big issue is that this is not an MMO we are talking about here, it is a game with SINGLE PLAYER modes, yet requires constant connection to the internet to... well, to just play by yourself. That is what people are upset about. Those with slow or metered connections avoid internet-connected games. Those who travel and like to play on the road can't rely on constant net connections. This ridiculously short-sighted DRM robs many people like that, who would actually like to play the game, of the chance. It's honestly one of the stupidest moves I've seen in a long time to attempt to fight piracy. All it does is annoy and limit honest customers. Period.

drasho said:

i hope this is not the new way to go for hte gaming industry... This just mean that ppl will stop buying game and everybody will download/crack it... This is the type of thing that would push the ppl that knows how to crack their game but decide to pay the game into the downloader side...

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

TomSEA said:

Sign of the times folks. I'm not a proponent of this level of DRM.

You might have more sanity than I credited you for.

TomSEA said:

But on the other hand, considering the insane, and I mean INSANE amount of PC game theft going on, it's hard to fault publishers for going to this extreme..

Uh oh, maybe I spoke too soon.

TomSEA said:

For those who steal - don't do it. It's killing PC gaming. And tell your friends who do it too to knock it the hell off.

Wow... completely off the deep end here. How can you honestly say that "piracy" is killing PC gaming when the most pirated game of 2009 also grosses over $1 billion? If you think making incredible profits regardless of theft will deter game publishers, then you need your head examined.

TomSEA said:

It can't get more simple than this. You don't steal, we don't get DRM.

In what light can you possibly believe this statement or even assume its a possibility? There is NO chance that the "piracy problem" will stop. DRM is not a solution for any current problem, ergo, removing a current problem doesn't equate to the removal of DRM. Please show 1 example where DRM has actually helped any where or a game where piracy was the sole cause of its demise.

Deathstar17 said:

TomSEA said:

Sign of the times folks. I'm not a proponent of this level of DRM. But on the other hand, considering the insane, and I mean INSANE amount of PC game theft going on, it's hard to fault publishers for going to this extreme..

For those who steal - don't do it. It's killing PC gaming. And tell your friends who do it too to knock it the hell off.

It can't get more simple than this. You don't steal, we don't get DRM.

More like, you get DRM regardless and the pirates get the cracked version without it. This will get cracked like everything else and the status quo will remain.

Guest said:

If you can't afford the Internet, you shouldn't be buying the game Mr. Cracker.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Dammit EA!

Puiu Puiu said:

They are hoping that it will become a multiplayer hit so in which you already need to have a constant internet connection.

BTW wouldn't it be easier to do something similar to steam? They should have the money and man power to do that.

Guest said:

this is all because of your stupid ****ing pirates who thought you would never get caught, well ya did and no we regular folks got to pay for your sins, you inbreds!

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