Editor's note: We asked 2K Games PR rep Charlie Sinhaseni to confirm whether or not Borderlands will use SecuROM. His response: "The customer will need a live Internet connection during the installation which is specified in one of the first install prompts. The second check is a disc check to ensure that the retail disc is in the drive when the game is run." - Aaron
Borderlands is likely to ship with SecuROM, according to the DRM company's support page. Nobody knows what flavor of this particular copy-protection software will be bundled with the PC version of Gearbox’s Borderlands, but its inclusion — in any form — is unsettling.
This is what it feels like
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford is well aware of the problems with DRM, as he briefly discussed the topic in a recent interview with Maximum PC:
"DRM has been handled terribly for so many years. For example, false negatives are a disaster for everyone. I’d much rather have a false positive, and allow thieves to play, than prevent a paying customer from playing my game. The industry has destroyed a lot of good will with DRM problems."
Why, then, has Gearbox chosen to go with the most reviled of DRM schemes? Why SecuROM?
It’s true that we don’t know how restrictive a version of SecuROM Borderlands might use.Will it be the simple disc-check that shipped with Bethesda’s Fallout 3? Or are we facing the install limits or online-authentication of BioShock and Spore?
SecuROM! Crashing and burning PC games since inception
Either way, I feel that the inclusion of SecuROM software is going too far. It has a known history of creating hardware and software conflicts and has caused users untold amounts of headaches and frustration to get a game to run. I've not even mentioned the legal concerns surrounding the software. If Gearbox is aware of the good will left in tatters by schemes like SecuROM, why utilize it at all?
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment — we all know that Borderlands will be cracked and disseminated throughout the Internet on day zero. If I were a betting man, I’d look towards answers coming from the music industry and put my money on an insider leak. No amount of copy-protection is going to prevent that.
We’re also talking about preventing people who may not ever purchase the game at all from playing. While a notable moral goal, I can’t see how spending resources on DRM will bring a return on investment without the guarantee of increased sales. Not to mention the fact (one that Pitchford recognizes) that the risk of causing problems for legitimate consumers will only hurt the reputation of the developer and prevent future sales.
What I have found out is that the Steam version will likely not carry the SecuROM software, since Valve makes a point of listing third-party DRM and there is no listing for Borderlands. Still, it’s a sort of compromise — one form of DRM for another, and I’m one of those old fashioned types who like to have a disc in hand.
Borderlands was once a game I was really looking forward to playing, but now my enthusiasm has been soured. I'm amazed that, out of all copy-protection schemes, Gearbox has chosen SecuROM. EA is being smart with Dragon Age: Origins and has abandoned SecuROM completely, opting instead for a simple disc-check.
Isn’t Gearbox listening?