Atma Xplorer

Xploring Games, Computing, Photography

What is SecuROM?

What is SecuROM?  Doing a query on Google with “What is SecuROM?” gives will give you a general idea of what SecuROM is, but not what it actually does.  So in an effort to understand it and share that knowledge, I took some time to do a bit of digging.

What is SecuROM?

SecuROM™ protects your intellectual property – and thus your revenues – better than any other copy control solution on the market. It’s the most powerful and highly advanced way to keep your ideas safe. Its compatibility rate is unmatched, and SecuROM™ ’s easy implementation (which can be completed in minutes) allows for extremely fast turnaround times. Sony DADC´s engineers are constantly working on further enhancements to keep you ahead of casual consumer copying and professional piracy.

That’s the definition from SecuRom’s website.  So from there, with the emboldened casual consumer copying, we can already deduce that it’s not for the customer’s safety nor convinience but for the publisher (yep, it’s not even for the developer of the game, just the company the brands it).

SecuRom is a method of ensuring that only a pressed CD or DVD may be used with games that require a CD to play.  It’s a simple security measure to ensure that people who play the game actually bought a copy.  So in practice, what SecuRom prevents customers from using personal copies (copied and burned) or virtual drive softwares that emulate an optical disc.  They do this by (geeky part ahead, skip to next paragraph if you don’t want it.):

  • putting erroneous data onto the disc with the same data headers.  Any burnt copy will have false data on it hence making it unreadable or detectable as an unauthorized copy
  • sitting in the background looking for virtual drive software or anything to bypass their security
  • limit the number of installations of a specific copy of a game (and even the number of installations on the same machine)

Now while that sounds fair, virtual drives have beneficial uses most especially to gamers who often switch between games or for safe keeping of your prized optical discs (prized because they usually cost an arm and a leg).  How many of us have lost, scratched or damaged their discs that rendered them unreadable or unusable?  At that point, it would mean that you need to buy a new copy of the game to play it.. again.  See where this is going?

Is it worth all the press?

No and yes.

No, because let’s face it.  SecuRom is part of the dark ages of the internet when everything is propriety.  You don’t own what you’re using.  You’re just renting it.  SecuRom automatically assumes that you’re a pirate the moment you try to back up your disc or emulate it.  In that sense, the gaming community doesn’t take kindly to how they think they’re treated by game publishers (like pirates) such as EA (as is the case with Spore) and SecuRom’s creator, Sony DADC.

The irony of the situation is that SecuRom and similar types of DRM is sending more people down the dark side of PC gaming which means getting cracked, DRM-free software instead of buying them.

Yes because since EA doesn’t bother to tell it’s customers about what SecuRom is nor the risks it carries, it’s up to gamers who dove into the pit (yes, you can consider installing your PC with a SecuRom protected game as such Spore) to keep everyone else from falling to the trap.

All this considering EA announced there’s no more crappy games from them. =/  No crappy games, more crappy DRM.

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