View Full Version : When will Bioshock DRM be patched out?
08-10-2011, 08:46 PM
I'm wondering if there is any news about a patch to remove the Bioshock online activation during install?
It makes me nervous not having such a patch because, while it's not a problem at the moment while the activation server is up, at some point it will go offline and that will render Bioshock unplayable.
I regularly play games from a decade or more ago, and would hate to see my more recent purchases rendered unusable due to something out of my control. Promises have been made by multiple people within the company that a patch will be released, and I'd like to hear an update as to when that might occur.
08-11-2011, 06:14 AM
Welcome to the forum, Frag_Dad.
Do you have any links to these "promises...made by multiple people within the company"? I've been here since BioShock's launch, and I don't recall this ever being said. 2K Elizabeth has been the primary spokesperson for 2K Games until recently, and she's never made this promise to the best of my knowledge.
Perhaps you are referring to the limited number of activations, which were promised to be patched out and indeed have been?
A lot of us, myself included, have worried about the servers which provide the BioShock executable file "going dark". I agree with you that that would be a tragedy. But I clearly recall 2K Elizabeth addressing our concerns by saying, many times, that if that were to ever happen, 2K Games would try to find a way to help us out. However, I do not recall any talk of them removing online activation as part of a planned, future patch. The box clearly states that online activation is required, so 2K is not required to patch out that feature.
In reality, we've had nearly four years of trouble-free service from the servers. And 2K is part of one of the strongest gaming companies out there. Chances of them going bankrupt or abandoning the BioShock servers--particularly with BioShock Infinite making huge waves--are practically nil going forward for quite a few more years.
I've often joked that by the time the servers go dark, we'll probably be able to buy a compilation disc for $10 at Walmart that contains the full files of BioShock 1-5 called "BioShock Greatest Hits Collection". LOL :)
08-11-2011, 07:48 AM
Hi japester, thanks for the reply. I appreciate you taking the time.
As for links to these promises, the first was in an interview with Joystiq:
In that interview, Ken Levine says: "We will unset the online activation at some point in the future".
Also, as you mention 2K Elizabeth made the promise (in the thread http://forums.2kgames.com/showthread.php?18452-Activation-limits-removed-on-BioShock-for-the-PC&highlight=activation+server) that "I can promise that if we ever stop supporting BioShock in the ways you speak of, we will release a patch so that the game is still playable".
Also in that interview, Levine stated "...at some point we'll move back from online activation. If people want to play BioShock ten years from now, they'll be able to play it. We have a commitment from 2K that that is going to happen and we'll hold them to that commitment and they're serious about it, we'll make that happen."
Now, I understand that the box clearly states online activation is required. 2K have explicitly stated that, and so I realise they are not obliged to remove it at some point. However, it would be a sign of good faith to do so - and, as the interview above states, it is something that the lead designer has said will happen.
As to whether I will be able to play Bioshock in "a few more years" isn't the point - it's will I be able to play it indefinitely? Again, i realise that the product sold as it is does not claim that to be the case, but it would be very unfortunate were it the case. The appearance of a financially successful company can be deceiving - I don't think many people predicted the decline of Looking Glass Studios, particularly following their Thief and System Shock games.
As for your compilation disc at Walmart, well, will that have DRM too?
Now I don't expect DRM to be removed tomorrow, but I'd like to see it happen at some point! It's a game I want to be able to play in the future, and not one that I just have memories of once playing.
08-11-2011, 12:26 PM
Thanks for the links. And it's no trouble; I share your concerns! :)
Just to be clear from the outset, all moderators are volunteers and do not officially speak for 2K Games. So these are all my personal thoughts, based on years of following BioShock. I don't have any inside information or the ability to make promises for 2K Games. :cool:
Your quote from 2K Elizabeth matches what I said. IF they stop supporting it, they will help us out. Since they are still supporting it, there has been no need to patch anything just yet.
Ken's comment, in full, says, "We will unset the online activation at some point in the future -- we're not talking about when." Which, if you plugged that into this thread, kinds of ends the discussion right there. LOL. But it does dovetail nicely into 2K Elizabeth's promise. All Ken has said is that they are worried about the game being playable into the future, and 2K has promised them they will support it. He's relaying the same promise from 2K Elizabeth that we've already discussed.
In short, I don't see anything to support a progress report about a patch. If they announce a shutdown, then I would fully expect them to announce a patch of some sort.
I was only partially joking about the "Greatest Hits" collection. I still have quite a few old gaming systems and old PC software. And while I like the concept of "playing forever", it's really not feasible. I have plenty of PC games that have become unplayable due to changes in hardware and operating systems. And old consoles simply die. But games evolve. Steam is a perfect example. I think I picked up BioShock for $5 during one of their sales. Yes, I'm still relying on a server, but it's a backup to 2K's. Eventually, games could all be distributed using the cloud network. Who knows? One thing I'm certain of is that BioShock is a classic and won't be forgotten. If for some reason the original disc is no longer working in 10 or 15 years, another format will surely come along and be available for a pittance. I don't think it's unreasonable to repurchase something after getting years and years of enjoyment from it. Instead of wearing out like every other item we own, digital media becomes obsolete in some way or another. It's all ultimately the same.
EDIT: Whoops. I almost forgot. It's important to note that Ken made those statements just a few days after launch. I don't believe you'll see him repeating those comments much after that. When I was searching for info to answer your question, I was reminded that Ken appeared on the forum and made similar comments about the DRM. But he quickly erased them. Why? I don't know. Perhaps it was easier leaving those statements to one spokesperson, 2K Elizabeth, to avoid confusion? I can't be certain. Maybe they wanted to avoid confusion similar to this thread?
08-11-2011, 08:49 PM
Thanks again for the reply japester!
The reason I omitted the last bit from the quote from Levine was I didn't think it was relevant due to the interview only being days after release - if they have included DRM to try to combat piracy, you don't want to give everyone a day and date on which you'll remove it when your game has just come out!
The idea of a company releasing a patch if they go under doesn't gel with me, because if they are in severe trouble they won't spend the time and money to develop and release something which is of no benefit to them. That's why I'd like to see it happen sooner rather than later!
I disagree with you also on your point about old games systems. I own a large library of PC games, and some of them are not playable on my current desktop. I'm in the process of building an old Windows 98 box to play older games - for things even older than that there's DOSbox which works extremely well. My point being that these things are in my control - if I REALLY want to play these games I can find a way, whereas an authentication server is completely out of my hands.
Anyway, I realise I've gone and disagreed with a lot of what you've said, which was not my intention - especially being new here to the forums! It looks the answer to my question is simply 'no-one knows'!
Cheers again for taking the time to write decent replies, rather than a quick one-liner. I really appreciate being able to discuss it properly with somebody.
08-11-2011, 10:20 PM
No, no, no. No apologies necessary. If we all agreed with each other, this place would be boring! LOL
I appreciate the dialog. Polite debate and discussion is so rare, I'll take them whenever I can.
I'm hoping that 2K going under won't be an issue. Not if they keep being smart about the titles they develop. If a patch were to come out (and that's not a given), I'd expect it more along the lines of "these servers are no longer cost effective, so we are shutting them down". Plenty of legacy titles are going freeware these days. It would be cheap PR for 2K to freely distribute the BioShock executable one day, coinciding with the release of a new BioShock or Irrational Games title. Or maybe rerelease it in a higher definition format, like Sony is doing with Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.
At the very least, we have BioShock Infinite coming out next year, and an unnamed BioShock title on the Playstation Vita sometime after that. Which means 2K is committed to supporting the BioShock name for at least 3-4 more years. Shutting down the servers in that timeframe without providing an alternative is highly unlikely. :)
I envy you for your legacy system project. I've thought about that several times (definitely need a floppy drive!), but then some old title gets released on Steam or as part of a compilation, and it chips away at my desire. Re-releases of the X-COM and Fallout series were huge for me in that regard. Then Wing Commander gets released on the PSN. LOL. I'm reliving my gaming heyday right there.
I don't think it would hurt to ask this question again in a year or two, if it's still on your mind. But for now, I'm almost certain there is no info out there from any official source.
Nice meeting you, sir. :)
08-12-2011, 11:24 AM
SEGA patched out the DRM from Alpha Protocol after just half a year. Now it's been 4 years since Bioshock was released.
Not fond of the Bioshock 2 DRM either (GWFL). Earlier today it automatically deleted my saves because I had changed my graphic card earlier this week. What the!? :confused:
Fallout 3 use GWFL too, and it didn't do anything like that. Not sure why 2K decided to use such a stupid save deleting feature when Bethesda didn't.
My point being that these things are in my control - if I REALLY want to play these games I can find a way, whereas an authentication server is completely out of my hands.
Very much agree with this. Earlier this year PSN was down for a long time, and it was impossible for people to play Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 as they couldn't go online, even though it's a single player game.
Online DRM (including Steamworks) is the worst as you then have to rely on someone else to play the game you bought. If the server is down or whatever, there is nothing you can do but to wait until they fix it, if they ever do.
08-13-2011, 12:50 AM
Thanks for the info japester - like you, I hope 2K are around for a long time! I'll just have to wait and see what happens with the authentication.
Sorry to hear about the saves being deleted Freddo, I didn't realise GFWL did that kind of thing. That's pretty frustrating!
I had been a bit out of the PC gaming loop for a couple of years before I bought Bioshock 1 and 2, and missed the transitional period when it became common for games to use this sort of DRM. I didn't really think about it until i went to install Bioshock and realised it wouldn't work if the server was down!
Since then I've become quite selective with the games I'll buy and try to avoid ones which have DRM like this. I bought Far Cry 2 after finding out that the latest patch removed all the DRM, but am holding off buying Assassin's Creed II because of it needing a server online every time you start the game.
I try to avoid DRM even though it seems to be pretty transparent at the moment, because as I've said it's in 5 or 10 years time that I'm concerned about. Having said that, I haven't had any bad experiences like you Freddo!
Anyway I'm just rambling but thanks very much for the discussion - I'm impressed with these forums so far!