It's not completely dropped, just adjusted to be less insane.
It is now at the "somewhat annoying" level of requiring authentication every time you launch the game, rather than the "completely batshit" level it was at before.
it's quite surprising... could it mean that the excessive DRM in the end did more bad than good? or perhaps they're going to stop doing singleplayer games anyway?
I didn't buy the games because of the DRM. Also recently I purchased Risen and the game's DRM won't let me play at all, so that's the last time in a while I will buy any game with additional DRM to Steam. I do not understand how game developers who also play games can support DRM.
I'm a Free/Open Source guy at heart, but even so, I'm still not sure about DRM. In a perfect world, I'd release all code under the GPL and just put a proprietary license on the game data. Or, maybe even make it all Free and rely on donations.
But, we don't live in a perfect world, and ultimately, I'll have to be able to make a living off of this, or it will just remain an N'th priority hobby. So, unless I make a mega hit, I just can't afford a 99% piracy ratio - and even if I do make a mega hit, this could be the difference between making a decent living and becoming economically independent.
With that in mind, do I go the tried and tested DRM way like "everyone else", or do I try my luck with a different approach...? It's not as easy as "I don't like DRM, so I won't use it!", unfortunately.
Whatever you do, unless you go full online, you'll have your 9x% piracy. Unless you get no sales, but i think this is worse :-P
Or unless you make a MMO/online only game
I think one check on startup is fine (what they use now) but continuous online check as before was too much.
Anyway I agree that to fight piracy would be much better if google really removes links in 24h (they have just announced a big change on that though).
Without google warez links , CASUAL piracy (what must be fought) would disappear/reduce very soon.
WRT Google and casual piracy; I believe that's the only realistic target of DRM - which can then be about as simple as the installer just asking for a key; no "real" encryption or anything. I think anything beyond that is just a waste of resources (and asking for a support nightmare), as it will still be cracked in no time, and those who know where to look will always get their cracked versions, no matter what.
A check on startup still rules out people who want to play when their net is down, or who prefer to keep games on computers that aren't internet-connected at all. (Not me, but I know people who do that.)
It annoys me because on the occasions when my connection DOES go down for hours, I pass that time playing games. I also have at least one computer which is only occasionally plugged into the router; it would be a huge pain if all the software on said machine refused to work unless it was online. And for more casual games, some people like to play them while traveling and not able to hit the net. I assume that's not so likely with BIG games.
The first company I knew who tried an 'authenticate online on every launch' system, many years ago, had to drop that after huge customer complaints and some technical problems with the server. They've since moved down to the more standard 'authenticate on install'.
I would definitely like it if google were better at clearing out the huge pirate blogs so that you had to actually know the scene to find pirated stuff!
Oh, they should have done it before the steam promo (to earn my $$)... I thought of buying the Assassin creed 2 on steam promo but changed my mind after seeing the following requirement.
"A PERMANENT HIGH SPEED INTERNET CONNECTION AND CREATION OF A UBISOFT ACCOUNT ARE REQUIRED TO PLAY THIS VIDEO GAME AT ALL TIMES"
Extraterrestrial Grail: http://sites.google.com/site/extraterrestrialgrail/
When the Spore controversy showed up, I know a guy that is Will Wright fan and refused to pirate Spore (while all his friends did).
Then he found out that Securom disliked his SLI laptop, and the game refused to run unless he rebooted and disabled one of the GPUs on the BIOS.
After that he pirated the expansions.