News Posts matching "DRM"

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Sanwa Supply Intros USB 3.0 Front-Panel Header Adapter for Ready Boost Internal Ports

This tiny accessory from Japan's Sanwa Supply might come handy for boosting system responsiveness on the cheap, using the Ready Boost flash-drive caching feature available with select versions of Windows. The 800-TK021 from Sanwa is a small blue PCB, which fixes itself to the motherboard on one end, using a standard USB 3.0 front-panel header, and gives out two USB 3.0 type-A ports.

The ports can then be used to stash away discrete USB 3.0 storage devices (such as flash-drives, DRM sticks, HDDs, USB 3.0 portable SSDs). One incentive is using a discrete flash drive to speed up system responsiveness using Ready Boost. On sale, the 800-TK021 is priced at 780 JPY (US $9), it could be distributed under different labels, in different markets.

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Durango Implements Always-On DRM, Multi-GPU

Microsoft's next-generation Xbox console, codenamed "Durango", will implement an "always-on" DRM, according to a VG 24/7 report. Always-on is a stringent anti-piracy measure that's already in use with some PC game titles published by Ubisoft, which requires the players to be connected to the Internet when playing. Even as its proponents (read: game publishers only), claim increased sales, it faces strong opposition from the gaming community. The Christmas 2013 (tentative) launch of Durango rides on the assumption that fast, always-on broadband Internet will have proliferated to every living room.

Next up, there's talk of Durango featuring a unique multi-GPU hardware design that doesn't resemble symmetric PC multi-GPU technologies such as NVIDIA SLI or AMD CrossFire, but instead, the two GPUs will be tasked with rendering the same object redundantly. Perhaps Durango features native flicker-free stereoscopic 3D capability, and the two GPUs are merely rendering the two planes? Once again, there's talk that these GPUs will be designed by AMD. The CPU of Durango will feature "four or six" cores. Lastly, Blu-ray disc is back as the storage medium, in these latest rumors.Source: VG247, VR-Zone

Ubisoft DRM Server Downtime Causes A Lockout

If you are trying to play Might and Magic: Heroes VI, The Settlers 7 and Tom Clancy’s HAWX 2 or are trying to activate Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Anno 2070 and or Driver: San Francisco don't bother. Ubisoft has announced a server migration this week that will block all access from players validating their legitimate purchases via Ubisofts DRM "always on" model. The original plan was to allow some of these games to remain playable. However it didn't seem to work. Some DRM schemes are more intrusive then others but the Ubisoft "always on" DRM has come under heavy fire this week from players turned critics via Twitter. One is quoted as saying, “Dear @Ubisoft I am totally unimpressed with your server upgrade strategy."

Ubisoft has yet to give a specified time when the servers will be re-launched and players can regain access to their games.Source: PC Gamer

Ubisoft Server Maintenance To Render Always-Online DRM Games Unplayable

Next week, Ubisoft will be performing large-scale server maintenance, which could see its DRM-handling go offline. It would directly impact some games that are designed to work with Ubisoft's infamous "Always-Online" DRM, which requires gamers to be connected to the internet when playing games enabled with it. Tom Clancy’s HAWX 2, Might & Magic: Heroes 6 and The Settlers 7 will be unplayable during the course of maintenance. Bigger titles such as Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and Driver: San Francisco, however, will stay online for the duration of the switch-over. Ubisoft is loathed for its hyper-strict DRM that requires you to ping their DRM servers every few moments to reassure them you're not a pirate. It is even known to limit activations to your graphics card. This is yet another example where DRM only ends up hurting legitimate users more than piracy.

Source: PC Gamer

Origin Expands Games Catalog, DRM-Free Evangelist Joins DRM Scheme

Origin is the fledgling online download account-based DRM service from Electronic Arts launched last June, that is home to Battlefield 3. To compete effectively against other similar services, the industry-leading Steam in particular, it must offer more content. To this end, Origin has added 11 publishers to its portfolio, reports CVG. These are Trion Worlds, Robot Entertainment, Freebird Games, Recoil Games, Autumn Games, 1C Company, inXile entertainment, Paradox Interactive, Core Learning Ltd, N3V Games and CD Projekt RED. That last one is interesting, because CD Projekt RED owns and runs www.gog.com, the website dedicated to selling DRM-free games.

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Ubisoft Loosens Restrictions. Slightly

Last week we brought you news of Ubisoft's hard three machine activation limit on Anno 2070 and how it scuppered a review by Guru3D when they swapped out graphics cards. Guru3D's post then went viral on the web and it appears that this has put sufficient pressure or 'heat' on Ubisoft to relax the restrictions just a tiny bit, since they weren't going to use any more Ubisoft games for benchmarks. So what have they done? Allowed an unlimited number of graphics card swaps. That's it, everything else stays the same, so if other components such as the CPU, motherboard etc are changed, then one will still run into this frustrating brick wall and have to get in touch with customer support to reset the activations.

An Open Letter to the Gaming Community from CD Projekt RED

A month ago, we reported that CD Projekt RED, makers of The Witcher 2 had claimed that they could identify '100% of pirates' and had started an RIAA-style 'settlement letter' shakedown (extortion) tactic in Germany. Well, unsurprisingly, this hasn't gone down too well with their customers and the outcry has been loud and strong, especially on gog.com, where their forums have been full of posts from disgruntled customers. Well, it looks like the pressure has gotten too much for them and they have backpedalled furiously on this decision and issued an open letter, published on rockpapershotgun.com. In it, they state that they want people to continue to have faith in them and stressed how they're still totally against 'piracy' of their products and appealed for gamers to refrain from engaging in it:
In early December, an article was published about a law firm acting on behalf of CD Projekt RED, contacting individuals who had downloaded The Witcher 2 illegally and seeking financial compensation for copyright infringement. The news about our decision to combat piracy directly, instead of with DRM, spread quickly and with it came a number of concerns from the community. Repeatedly, gamers just like you have said that our methods might wrongly accuse people who have never violated our copyright and expressed serious concern about our actions.

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Guru3D's Graphics Card Review Killed Off

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Guru3D's Graphics Card Review Killed Off (UPDATED)

Hilbert Hagedoorn of well-known PC tech review site guru3d.com recently bought a copy of Ubisoft's Anno 2070 and wanted to use it in one of his graphics card reviews. However, he became badly unstuck. This game comes on the Steam platform and the store page states: "3rd-party DRM: Solidshield Tages SAS 3 machine activation limit". Unfortunately for Guru3D, they found out exactly what this means, which resulted in just one performance graph, an aborted review, an unplayable game – and bad publicity for Ubisoft once again. They have published an article about their experience, pledging not to use their titles again because of this DRM.

Now GOG.com Joins Opposition to SOPA and PIPA

The highly controversial SOPA & PIPA bills currently being rushed through Congress by Big Media are encountering ever more opposition from minor and major players alike, such as Google. Now gog.com, owned by parent company CD Projekt RED, has come out against these bills too and are one of many games companies to do so. They address the questions of "will it work?" and "will it stop piracy?" with the answers being sort-of and no.

The Most Pirated Games of 2011

Today Kotaku is reporting the top 5 games pirated for major platforms this year according to TorrentFreak. As usual the PC platform is the most guilty almost doubling in pirated copies then its competitors.

Some of the titles listed are not surprising but the lack of a certain title filled with dragon slaying is. Why Skyrim didn't make the top five is anyone's guess. Either Steam is in fact the most user friendly DRM or people just love Skyrim. Either way this is just a small glimpse into the world of pirated software.

Top Five Pirated PC Games

1. Crysis 2 (3,920,000) (March 2011)
2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (3,650,000) (November 2011)
3. Battlefield 3 (3,510,000) (October 2011)
4. FIFA 12 (3,390,000) (September 2011)
5. Portal 2 (3,240,000) (April 2011)Source: Kotaku

Windows 8 Secure Boot Feature: Not So Secure?

We have brought you the potential perils of the upcoming UEFI Forum-implemented - www.uefi.org - Windows 8 secure boot feature here, here and here. However, it appears that it may not be so 'secure' after all, since there appears to be a surefire way to circumvent it, at least for the moment, while it's in development.

Softpedia has scored an exclusive interview with security researcher Peter Kleissner, who has created various Windows (XP, Server 2003 etc) "bootkits", which allow OS infection at the highest privilege level, giving unrestricted access to the whole of the PC. His latest one, called Stoned Lite, shows how the Windows 8 secure boot process, still in development, can be subverted, as it stands. He is planning to release details of how the code works at the upcoming International Malware Conference (MalCon) - http://malcon.org - that will take place in India on November 25th. It appears that the real vulnerability exists in the legacy BIOS boot procedure, not in Microsoft's implementation of secure boot, as Kleissner said:
The problem with the legacy startup is that no one verifies the MBR, which makes it the vulnerable point. With UEFI and secure boot, all the boot applications and drivers have to be signed (otherwise they won’t be loaded). You can compare it to TPM, although Arie van der Hoeven from Microsoft announced that the secure boot feature is mandatory for OEMs who want to be UEFI certified. It is a good message that security is not an option.

Walled Garden Outfit Valve Accuses Apple Of Operating A Walled Garden

You've got to laugh at the hypocrisy of big companies sometimes. It's a well known fact that Apple operates a very closed and controlling walled garden eco system with all of their products, courtesy of the late Steve Jobs. Examples include the iPhone, which can only purchase apps from the official Apple apps store and the iPod, which can also only sync with iTunes, both due to deliberate vendor lock-in using a combination of hardware and software DRM (Digital Restrictions Management). Apple claims that this is to ensure a seamless, consistent and high quality user experience. Savvy users know this to be only half the story, instead it's there to shut out competition and lock you in to Apple for everything in order to charge high prices for allegedly "premium" product. The only way to avoid this, is to jailbreak the devices (break the DRM) which conveniently (for Apple) voids the warranty on these expensive gadgets. Thankfully, this process is no longer underground, due to a recent court ruling that said jailbreaking was legal, much to Apple's displeasure.

However, the equally closed Valve, with their Steam gaming platform and it's account-based DRM has accused Apple of being a closed system! They are also "concerned" about it. This happened in an interview between Bellevue-based Valve's Gabe Newell and leading games investor Ed Fries at the WTIA TechNW conference. This has been reported in The Seattle Times in Brier Dudley's blog.

Ditch The Restrictive DRM: Happy Customers Equals More Profit

Rice University and Duke University are the latest in a long line of educational institutions to fund research on the effect of using restrictive Digital Rights Management (DRM) to try and control levels of so-called "piracy", which is allegedly reducing sales of content-only, infinite goods/virtual products, such as music, movies, computer games and books. (Some observers writing about DRM replace the word "Rights", giving us the phrase Digital Restrictions Management, which seems a more accurate description of what it's really about and removes the veneer of legitimacy from it. When buying DRM'd content, you are buying digital handcuffs, nothing more, nothing less.) The universities sponsored a study called Music Downloads and the Flip Side of Digital Rights Management Protection and what it found is that contrary to popular belief amongst the big content companies, removing DRM can actually decrease levels of piracy and increase sales. The fact is that DRM is always broken by hackers and pretty quickly too, often within a day or two (there isn't a single one still standing) leaving legal users who work within its confinements with all the restrictive hassles that it imposes, while the pirates get an unencumbered product to do with as they please. How is this progress?

Electronic Arts' Massive 2012 $1.6m Battlefield 3 Tournament: Consoles Yes, PC No

While PC gamers are getting understandably excited about one of the year's biggest releases, which is guaranteed to have standards-setting graphics at least, there's a kick in the teeth waiting just around the corner. EA and Virgin Gaming have teamed up to launch a massive BF3 contest with $1.6m in cash and prizes - for consoles only. Yes, you read that right. And the reason? Consoles are the "gold standard". That's the aging console platforms reported on TechPowerUp a few days ago. GameStop's president Tony Bartel said in an interview with IndustryGamers:
We continue to believe that the console is a strong platform and will continue to be the gold standard.

Windows 8 Secure Boot: Designed to Lock Out Linux?

Proposed changes to the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) firmware specifications would mean PCs would only boot from a digitally signed image derived from a keychain rooted in keys built into the PC. Microsoft is pushing hard to make this mandatory, so that users cannot override it. This feature would have the handy benefit of excluding alternative operating systems such as Linux and FreeBSD. This is according to Professor Ross Anderson of Cambridge University and other industry insiders. Also, it's not at all clear that it actually secures against viruses and other malware and appears to be solely designed to appease corporate self interests for unbreakable Digital Restrictions Management (DRM).

UEFI supercedes the 30 year old veteran BIOS found in most PCs today, which is very inefficient and slow for modern PCs, carrying a lot of old, legacy compatibility baggage that's just not needed in today's PC. UEFI, a key component of Windows 8, is designed to work on several CPU architectures, such as ARM and is streamlined and efficient. It also includes a much improved graphical interface that replaces the keyboard-driven menu system of the BIOS.

Adobe Flash Player 11, AIR 3 Out in Early October

In early October, content technology major Adobe will release Flash Player 11, the next major release of the Adobe Flash client-end software. The new browser plugin promises a platform that allows 1,000 times faster 2D/3D rendering performance over Flash Player 10, using full hardware-acceleration. Right here we see Adobe waking up to the HTML5 threat. Angry Birds on Google Chrome, anyone? The next key area addressed by Flash Player 11, is full native 64-bit (x86-64) web-browser support. This move will potentially cause the long-overdue decline of 32-bit web-browsers on 64-bit operating systems, since you already have HTML5 and Java on 64-bit browsers.

Next up, Adobe will pack its AIR platform, a Flash-based application runtime environment that uses the "superior user-interface" plank. AIR 3, which accompanies Flash Player 11, will support native extensions, that gives AIR applications added functionality. These include hardware capabilities including access to device data, vibration control, magnetometers, light sensors, dual screens, near field communications (NFC) and more. You know what adobe is getting at, future portable devices that are extremely powerful and functional.

Apple Introduces iCloud, Free Cloud Services Beyond Anything Offered to Date

Apple introduced iCloud, a breakthrough set of free new cloud services that work seamlessly with applications on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to all your devices. When anything changes on one of your devices, all of your devices are wirelessly updated almost instantly.

“Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up-to-date across all your devices,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it’s integrated into our apps you don’t even need to think about it—it all just works.”

Pioneer Intros New Blu-ray 3D Ready Internal Burner

Pioneer Japan rolled out the BDR-S06J internal Blu-ray disc writer drive. It is available in three bezel options: white (BDR-S06J-W), piano black (BDR-S06J-BK), and matte black (BDR-S06J-KR). The drive uses the standard SATA interface, and has a 4 MB buffer. It can burn Blu-ray discs at 12X, and has Blu-ray 3D support using PowerDVD. Along with this, it also supports AVCREC DRM (2D or 3D). Scheduled to arrive in November, the drive goes for ¥30,000 (or US $360).

Source: Akihabara News

Steamworks Makes DRM Obsolete

Valve today announced a new set of advanced features delivered in Steamworks, a complete suite of publishing and development tools that are available free of charge to developers and publishers worldwide.
Headlining the new feature set is the Custom Executable Generation (CEG) technology that compliments the already existing anti-piracy solution offered in Steamworks. A customer friendly approach to anti-piracy, CEG makes unique copies of games for each user allowing them to access the application on multiple machines without install limits and without having to install root kits on their PC.

The new features also include support for in-game downloadable content (DLC) and matchmaking. The in-game DLC support allows developers to deliver new content as they choose (paid or free) from inside the game itself, allowing users to make immediate purchases and experience the new content in the same game session. The Steamworks matchmaking now includes the robust lobby system shipped and tested in Left 4 Dead.

Sony BMG to Drop DRM

Sony BMG has become the last of the ‘big four’ record labels to drop Digital Rights Management – on part of its music collection at least. Specific details have not yet been released, so this could potentially apply to all of the songs that Sony offers for download. Digital Rights Management is the technology that limits users to playing songs only on certain computers and devices, and has been the subject of fierce opposition over recent months. Warner, EMI and Universal have all made plans for DRM-free downloads, and Sony is set to launch its DRM-free downloads in the first quarter of this year.Source: BusinessWeek.com

More Music Labels Considering Selling DRM-Free Music

EMI started the anti-DRM movement by being the first major record label to sell their music without DRMs. Fortunately, Universal Studios caught on quick, and now offers the majority of their library sans DRMs to select retailers. And thanks to a recent promotion of the Amazon DRM-free music selling service, and a new partnership of said music service with Pepsi, more record labels are planning to sell DRM-free music. Warner Music Group, who owns material from famous artists such as Black Sabbath, is planning to put their music on Amazon. Sony BMG is also planning to place their material on Amazon. The main reason behind this sudden adoption of DRM-free material is the recent success behind DRM-free music. A symbol of this success is Universal making 85% of their music available as an unprotected MP3 file. Universal is all but confirmed as staying in the DRM-free MP3 market, pending final results of the market trial due in mid-January.Source: PC World

New DRM for Blu-Ray Fails; Backfires

In another move against pirates worldwide, Sony unveiled and attempted to adopt "BD+", a type of virtual-machine encryption that allows a Blu-ray disk to determine if the player is hacked. Unfortunately, the earliest adoptions of BD+ show abysmal results. Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer and The Day After Tomorrow are the first two movies to feature BD+ encryption, and neither of them will play on Samsung's BDP-1200 and LG's BH100. While both companies promise to release firmware upgrades within the coming weeks, there is a bigger problem: disks with BD+ loaded on them take up to two minutes longer to load than their encryption-free brethren. And even when the disk does play, there's a good chance that it will either crash or stutter during playback.Source: Reg Hardware

2K Games Responds to BioShock SecuROM/PC Activation Controversy

We have been reading and listening to your frustrations over SecuROM, PC activation problems, and technical support issues since BioShock launched on Tuesday, and we've devised a plan to help.

Starting immediately, we will be upping the activation count to a 5 by 5 plan. We will be raising the maximum amount of computers a user can have BioShock installed on simultaneously from 2 to 5, and allowing a user to reinstall BioShock on each of those computers from 3 times to 5 times. Also, we have in the works a revoke tool which you will be able to run on your machine if you want to free up that key and move it to to another computer (this works very much like Steam or iTunes system). We are also working with SecuROM and 2K customer service, so that when you do need to call in support problems, you get answers to your questions faster, without much waiting or being bounced around. SecuROM has been given much more autonomy to help fix your problems quickly and effectively. I am personally sorry for anyone who got bounced around in the past couple days (I even think I contributed to this problem) and we're going to make sure that does not happen in the future. As for other technical issues, we are bringing on a team of tech support that will be on the 2K forums 24/7 to help people resolve their technical issues. Our QA guys are in the offices and on the forums, too, reproducing issues and looking for workarounds and compiling information that they can put towards making you a patch and updating the knowledge base.

Microsoft's Windows Media DRM Cracked Again

Via an update of the Individualized Blackbox component (IBX), FairUse4WM can now remove DRM for Microsoft IBX versions 11.0.6000.6324 and earlier, on both XP and Vista.
This is another drawback for Microsoft since for the past year hackers have managed to defeat DRM in more than one occasion.
This release was first announced on Doom9 forums where a user nicknamed 'Divine Tao' managed to update FairUse4WM to support new keys (v1.3 Fix2). In any case so far 'Divine Tao' does not seem to be working with the same hacker(s) who broke the Windows Media DRM code a year ago, as the user says that he could not access the FairUse4WM source code.

Editors note: It is a federal crime to remove the copy protection from any song in the United States. If you are caught, you can be fined $25,000 and put in jail for 5 years. TechPowerUp! does not support piracy.Source: Doom9
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