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I was in Best Buy, looking for a new keyboard, when I said fuck it; looking online, I found that there were much better deals than the shitty ones they had on good keyboards (seriously, a Microsoft Sidewinder X6 for $85? The LIST PRICE is $80, and I can find them for $50. No thanks!). However, while walking out, I noticed that the Oblivion GOTY edition was in stock for $20. $20 isn't bad, and I remembered old threads proclaiming that Oblivion's PC version didn't have DRM. I figured $20 was worth it - better than the $30 they were charging on Steam - and picked it up.

This morning, I decided to install it. Before I did, I read the EULA, and analysed it for good measure. Everything looked kosher.

Then, for shits and giggles, I decided to look up "Oblivion DRM". Again, most threads came up good, except for one blog entry by Rob Dickerson, stating that the GOTY edition of the game had SecuROM, and he found out because it had a version that WINE didn't support. This was an alarm in my head - the only way he found out was because WINE choked on it? The only way we know is if a Linux user finds it? - but more importantly, it made me do further research before saying "yes, I accept the license agreement". Again: I have not accepted the license agreement yet.

I did another search for "Oblivion GOTY DRM". That drew some hits! Amazon reviews (the trustworthy, non-astroturfed ones), other blog entries, and very exasperated 2K Forum threads that caused moderators to have to get involved. They all specifically said the same thing: regular Oblivion doesn't have SecuROM, but GOTY (which has the expansions) does. They pulled a fucking bait-and-switch! At this point, I cancelled the license agreement, and took the now-poison CD out of my drive.

Just for shits and giggles, I decided to check out my App Data folder for my account. I said to myself "these fuckers couldn't have installed this before I even received my first screen... could they?"



Notice the date. Notice the time. Remember that \Application Data, and everything inside it, is hidden by default. That's a fresh install, all of which happened without my accepting the EULA.

Now, I'm 100% livid. Just putting the disc in my machine installed this software, which runs in the background and cannot be found via task manager. That's a rootkit if I've ever seen one! Considering the efforts I've had in fighting this shit - efforts which have led to my fellow DHGF writers publicly sending me cheapshots in their own articles (fuck you too, Nate) - it's especially frustrating when I think I've got something that's clear, then find out the hard way that I was wrong. Now, because of this mistake, I've got a useless $20 game that I cannot return. Sure, I could drive to Orange (half hour) and go into Best Buy, demand a manager and state my case, but at best, I'm getting $20 back; at worse, I'm spending gas money to make an asshole out of myself. Best Buy and 2K have my money, they could care less, and the sad state, as the cheapshot Nate sent across my bow proved, is that most gamers simply don't care what's on their PCs. As long as they have pretty things to look at, they're happy, and I'll probably be looked at like some tin-foil hatter for actually being smart about my PC.

The only good news about this is that it seems SecuROM's uninstaller - unlike most malware uninstallers - actually works. With that said, however, I was shocked to find so many entries there, including some from Bioshock. For those unaware, that would be the Bioshock *DEMO* I installed off Steam (which didn't mention SecuROM), and which I thought I'd cleaned up. Cheeky little bastards, these guys. It'll be interesting to find out which games I have that don't work now, considering how careful I am with my PC game purchases.

I like Oblivion. I even like it more than Fallout, mainly because post-apocalyptic settings don't really get it done for me. I liked the XBox version, and traded it in because I wanted the PC version, which is easier to play and allows for mods. Now, I've got three choices if I want to play this: 1) Suck it up and deal with SecuROM, like any good consumer sheep, 2) wait for another Steam sale, which will still cost me more money but at least will draw me Morrowind as well, or 3) Pirate it, which goes against everything I've ever said in my articles. Meanwhile, I'm stuck with a game I won't even give away - hey, you want this shit on your PC, have fun, but I'm not giving it to you - and can't return, despite my best efforts, because of one stupid mistake.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
mel_makoro
Jul. 29th, 2009 12:51 pm (UTC)
My brother found a method online that will disable SecuROM permanently--for all products that may have it--though I don't know what route he took to find it. All I know is that a method is out there if you search for it. As my brother's reported to me, removing SecuROM altogether means that it could be reinstalled; however, disabling it means that any SecuROM-laden product will think it's there doing it's usual thing, when in truth, it's not doing anything... so the new product won't bother trying to install something that's there already.

Of course, I'm not sure what to tell you if you want to get rid of SecuROM on principle....
dmajohnson
Jul. 29th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
I'd at least email 2K and ask if they'll allow you to return it directly to them. Some companies will accept this so long as you have your original reciept and it hasn't been very long since the purchase date. If nothing else, they'll know you're unhappy enough about it to dump their product. In either situation, I'd then write a letter to them (a physical letter, not an email) either thanking them or expressing my frustration with them as the case may be.

Simply blogging about it won't amount to anything.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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