Friday, June 09, 2006

Direct2Drive: The Bad News

I had a nice, long post about Direct2Drive written. You guys sent me some excellent information about the service, and 90% of it was positive.

And then, after an e-mail from DQ reader Gregg that was very complimentary of the service, he sent another e-mail that also mentioned that the DRM they used came in two flavors: Trymedia ActiveMark—and STARFORCE.

Freaking StarForce. It’s the plague.

This D2D service is apparently owned by IGN, as far as I can tell. Giant gaming media company. And their download service is using the most invasive DRM with the worst imaginable reputation among gamers. Way to go, guys!

If you’re wondering how I know this, take a look for yourself:
1. Go to
2. Choose the "About" option (at the top of the page). New page loads.
3. Choose the "Support" option (at the bottom of the page). New page loads.
4. Choose the "Activating Direct2Drive Games" (on the left of the page). New page loads.

There you go--heaps of StarForce not-goodness. Choose "Why does my game require activation?" and you'll see this:
Those games not displaying an activation code are activated by Star-Force using a key.

I fired off an e-mail to their customer service asking for a list of games that use StarForce, but I haven’t heard back from them yet.

Lots of good things about Direct2Drive: convenience, nice download manager, no waiting for major releases if you’re outside the U.S., they carry an excellent selection of older, AAA games at low prices, you get the full game, you get a .pdf copy of the game manual—lots and lots of good things.

StarForce, though, has become a dealbreaker, at least to me.

Does this mean that Space Rangers 2 actually uses StarForce in the Direct2Drive version? I’ve read in multiple places that it doesn’t, but until I hear back from D2D’s customer service, I’m not going to assume anything.

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