New Starforce DRM

This can’t be real -

Now, Futuremark has uncovered a very dangerous anti-piracy system Starforce is now using. This copy protection system installs a driver that runs at the highest level of access on the system, which gives it low level access to the PCs hardware and any drivers and processes. This driver runs regardless of whether the game runs; keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity such as attempting to copy a protected disc. If something suspicious is detected, it forces the PC to make an immediate reboot, regardless of any other applications running and whether or not the user has any unsaved work.


(makes sign of the cross)

As I said on, Starforce is no friend to gamers, or anyone else for that matter. Before this changes, virtually everyone will have to boycott any game with Starforce on it.

How much is a Russian hitman these days?

I’ve never had any obvious problems myself with it, but the more I learn the more amazed I am that anyone can take it seriously anymore. It has to be said that I can’t lose Space Rangers 2, so I’ll just have to hope it’s not doing anything nasty to my system.

It’s crossed the line that separates copy protection from malware. Some might say there is no line, and I’m starting to agree.

Oh and incidentally, I just bought GalCiv 2 from the store today. Another extremely tiny victory for no copy protection!

As ridiculous as this seems, the thing that sold me on Galciv 2 was the lack of copy protection.

Why? I can play it on my laptop without having to get a stupid crack.

Well, i’m already on board. Anyone else boycotting?

Isn’t Vista supposed to be a lot snarkier about drivers? Maybe it won’t allow Starforce to install without a warning to the user.

HOMM V better damn well not use Starforce. I won’t be buying it if it does. I bought Space Rangers 2 and Silent Hunter III, but this bullshit has gone far enough.

It really sucks these jerks have screwed pc game developers.

What do you want to bet StarForce employees are sitting there seeding/downloading pirated games just to artificially pump the # of pirated game numbers up?

Space Rangers 2 has been cracked, so if that’s the only Starforce game on your system you can remove the drivers and use the nocd executable.

I’m on the verge of upgrading most of my system. If I do, I’ll probably reinstall Windows–and Starforce will not be welcome on the new install.

One blog entry linking to a tiny article about it is’nt what I’d call “well done”.
If they wanted to write bad stuff about Starforce, they could at least do a better job about it. :-)

Starforce is bad, mmmkay, but they could dig up so much more dirt :)

That said, I’ve been boycotting publishers that use their products since some time in 2004 and I’m not likely to change this anytime soon.

From what I’ve seen, HOMM V will use SF, but perhaps they’ll change their mind before they release it. If its UBI Soft, dont bet on it though.

Regardless, anyone who protest on starforce are working for the mafia.

@Mike: I believe I read somewhere on the Starforce web pages that they had a working restriction driver for Vista Beta 1. Apparently a lot has changed since then, and with build 5308, who knows. Even Daemon tools and other emulation applications have stopped working in this build.

I’ve been reading all this crying about Starforce in the last 3 weeks or so, and I can’t contain it anymore, I have to ask…

Have all you people really been putting the disc in the drive and tolerating the +20-90 seconds it takes to load a PC game with copy “protection” for the last ~five years?

I mean, just… wow. Welcome to the 21st century.

Not me :-)

Started more or less boycotting cd-in-drive-malware since ~2004ish. … And its been lonely gaming years since, but… I’ve read a lot of books (Also those in Morrowind).

Decided one day that; If I was forced to use a nocd patch for a game, I might as well spend my money elsewhere.

Cd-checks are pointless (as demonstrated (yet again) by Stardock).

If they want to have it, sure, go ahead, but at least, do like they do with Quake / Unreal games and remove it after a while - so others can buy the game as well.

This is interesting to read:

(Edit): Would be more interesting if the link actually worked…

Silly blog sites who repost what others repost from another respost that their brothers mothers cats wifes sister told them is not exactly doing the “Anti starforce movement” any services.

Much like a lot of the media jump onto something they believe to be true, because they wish it to be true, so a fake article goes a round of the globe thanks to Reuters, Cnn etc…

I am already boycotting anything with Starforce on it.

I supplement enough of my gaming nowadays with MMOs that I’ll be content to skip any potential good games with starforce. I’m tired of publishers trying to dick around with what I can and cannot do with my software. Publishers need to learn that invasive copy protection is not going to be tolerated.

I agree with a post that Tycho had on penny arcade. The way to get publishers to stop using starforce is to convince them that using it gives them bad press and negative word of mouth. Which means, post about how bad starforce is whenever you talk about a game which has it. Spread the news to those who don’t know.

Needs to be done.

I’m in.

My question is: Where the fuck is Microsoft when all this is going on? Don’t they have some legal grounds to move against Starforce (or anyone else) whose products can be proven to compromise Windows’ security and stability? Isn’t there some kind of “developer EULA” that 3rd party software companies sign which makes them accountable for this kind of thing?

Well, technically, learning how a copy protection method works is illegal under the DMCA.

Illegality has not really stopped Microsoft before, but breaking criminal laws to obtain evidence for a civil suit likely won’t fly.


Yea, I am. I was gonna get Space Rangers 2 but no dice.