In their post about the upcoming Arcade Edition to Super Street Fighter IV for the PC, Capcom-Unity has noted, among other things, that the game will feature a form of “always on” digital rights management. According to the post by Chris Svensson, gamers will have to sign into either a Games for Windows Live or Xbox Live account, and at key “jump” points (loading screens, etc.), the game would check to see if it’s still online. If the game is offline, in addition to losing all online functionality, the ability to save settings or challenges would be lost, as would any DLC, and only 15 out of 39 characters would be available for play. There will be no installation limits, and the digital and retail versions of the game are the same.
The wide-ranging post also goes into detail about a benchmarking setup meant to see a computer’s capability to play the game at optimal settings, information about controller support, and the minimum and recommended hardware settings for running the game.
(Thanks, Game Politics)
Analysis: Talk about a kick in the teeth. “We’re sorry your internet went down, but to protect against pirates, we’ve intentionally and maliciously broken two thirds of your game. Yes, we’ve made 24 characters unplayable to punish “pirates” who have already cracked this game you’re playing… well, you’re just going to have to sit tight, buddy! You bought it, we have your money!”
Anything’s better than the SecuROM debacle, and just about anything’s better than Ubisoft’s pathetic DRM scheme, but the fact is that this is going to be a burden on the lower-end systems that are able to run this game. Furthermore, it doesn’t work. Yes, online play will be broken for pirates, but do they even really care about that? By taking away 24 playable characters – effectively making the game an extremely expensive demo – Capcom has once again made a game where pirates get – in offline mode – a better game than the pirates get. Not to mention the fact that the DRM is specifically tied to Games for Windows Live, easily the worst infrastructure on the market, especially when compared to vastly superior systems like Steam.
What’s frustrating about this is that it’s not necessary. You want to tie your game to GFWL, fine. But all you need to do is tie the online features to internet connectivity. Do a health check whenever you need to access something online. Period. If that fails, they lose that part of the game, but not almost 2/3 the fighting roster. This is intended to be a massive screw-you to pirates, but they’ll get around the restrictions, so the only thing Capcom is going to accomplish here is engendering discontent with a portion of their paying population, and making their non-paying population larger, thanks to the people who won’t buy this due to the almost Draconian DRM.