Mar 16, 2011

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RYG Clarifies: DAII “Release Control” Is SecuROM

RYG Clarifies: DAII “Release Control” Is SecuROM

The past week or so has been a bit crazy, and some fans have been confused.  While consumer advocate site Reclaim Your Game (confirmed by Vivid Gamer) revealed SecuROM files installed along with the disc-based version of Dragon Age II, Bioware (and EA) have come out firmly stating (see also here) that the game uses something called “Release Control,” which, although made by the same Sony division (Sony DADC) that makes SecuROM, is entirely different, and not, in fact, SecuROM.

As a result, many major news outlets ran retractions on stories regarding SecuROM in Dragon Age II, some of which referenced our original article on the subject.  RYG decided to clarify why they stated the game includes SecuROM, and to defend their position as such in a recent two-part article on their website.

RYG concludes that, while it may not be the same, limiting version of SecuROM found in games such as Spore or Mass Effect, Dragon Age II does install SecuROM on your computer (if you have the disc-based version), based on the very definition of what SecuROM is on Sony DADC’s own SecuROM website.

I won’t go through their entire analysis: for that I highly recommend you read their full article, including their supplemental PDF documents, but I will give you the highlights.

  1. EA and Bioware stated initially, and continued to do so after RYG’s story hit the news, that DAII does not include SecuROM, but instead something called “Release Control,” which is completely different.
  2. According to SecuROM’s official website, Release Control is just one aspect of many that publishers can use for protecting their software.
  3. Furthermore, the website clearly refers to this pre-release control as “SecuROM Release Control“: it is clearly an aspect of SecuROM, not something completely separate, as EA Bioware have claimed.
  4. At least from information you can obtain from Sony DADC’s official website, the company has no other form of release control other than that provided through SecuROM.
  5. Based on the official information from these websites, it is difficult to see how the Release Control system installed with the disc-version of DAII is anything other than a branch of the SecuROM DRM family.

Again, as found by both RYG and Vivid Gamer, Sony DADC does install files in your temp folder and registry related to SecuROM, and these files are not removed after the release-date check has been completed, despite EA Bioware’s insistence to the contrary.

The SecuROM Release Control files can be found within /AppData/Local/Temp/mtka_tmp/, and must be deleted manually.  DFA.dll can also be found and is labeled (both on your computer, and through SecuROM’s website) as “SecuROM Data File Activation Library.”  To completely remove any traces of SecuROM, you must delete the temp folder and run a SecuROM removal tool.  Again, as found by both RYG and VG, removing SecuROM will not prevent you from playing the game, although you may have to go through the process again if you need to reinstall.

While it is relieving that the worst version of SecuROM is not a part of Dragon Age II‘s disc release, it is still troubling that the files are installed in the first place without the user’s knowledge, and that they are not removed afterward, unless the user does so manually and via a SecuROM removal tool.

Many of you may think this is whining, or that it isn’t a big deal: but if you pay for something, you have a right to know what is being installed on your computer, and a right to make a decision to purchase a product (or not) based on this knowledge.  By repeatedly concealing the truth about the Release Control system connected with Dragon Age II (and Dead Space 2), EA and Bioware have violated trust with their customers.

As RYG concludes, “If a game is using any part of SecuROM, the game is using SecuROM regardless of how many SecuROM services it uses.”

Furthermore, RYG’s efforts to reach out to EA, Bioware, and Visceral Games were in vain, with RYG either getting no response, or simply being redirected to the same erroneous information: that the games do not contain SecuROM, but something entirely different, as they have clearly disproven.

As a consumer who has a large library of EA-published games, I find this incredibly disappointing: that not only they, but their subsidiaries would go so far to maintain a falsehood when the evidence to the contrary is already there.  Even more disappointing, in my mind, is how quickly major news sites (and individual gamers) are to dismiss this all as an over-reaction or to make excuses for EA, Bioware, et. al., or worse, to quickly accept their bogus explanation without investigating the matter further.

I hope that between RYG and Vivid Gamer’s reports on the issue, consumers can make informed decisions regarding their purchases, and can do their best to remedy themselves if they have already purchased the PC disc version of Dragon Age II.

[Source: Reclaim Your Game]