Publishers weigh in on Starforce

Aspyr apologizes for inconveniences related to program while Galactic Civilizations II's Aussie publisher backs up decision to go without copy protection.

Earlier this week, Starforce Technologies, the makers of Starforce copy-protection software, apologized to the developers of Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords for one of its forum moderators linking users to a site where they could pirate the game. The story still wasn't over with, as a pair of publishers have since weighed in on the matter.

Auran, the Australian publishing partner of Dread Lords developer Stardock Systems, contacted GameSpot with the following statement:

"With the full support of the developers, Auran is publishing this game with NO COPY PROTECTION [emphasis theirs], instead relying on a quality product that provides registered users with frequent updates, additional features and outstanding support to create a best-seller."

That was followed by news that Aspyr Media was going to pass on Starforce for its upcoming release of Spellforce 2, even though it had used the program in the demo version of the game.

"Aspyr Media is responsible for publishing the North American release of Spellforce 2," an Aspyr representative said. "We wanted everyone to know that Starforce will *not* [again, emphasis theirs] be included in the retail release of this game. Starforce is being used in the demo in cooperation with the European publishers of the title, JoWood Productions. This is to help prevent reverse engineering that could lead to our product being put up on illegal software networks. We apologize for any inconveniences Starforce may have caused and would again like to reassure everyone that we have chosen alternative copy protection software for our final release product."

Currently the only copy protection in Dread Lords is a serial number that must be entered in order to download content updates from Stardock. The company expects the first such update to release at the end of the month.

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Discussion

35 comments
ehsan_asf4
ehsan_asf4

I hate play the games from CD/DVD . Maybe cause "If my disk dameged then ... ?" , but that's not the only reason . Anyway I can tell you all : "I PLAY EVERY STARFORCE PROTECTED GAME FROM MY H.D.D ." StarForce must die with its rubbish "PROTECTION !!!!!!!!!!!!!" .

tallphantasm
tallphantasm

Okay, we've heard a lot about SF and how much it sucks..but will SOMEBODY out there tell us how to get RID of it? There is no www.starforce.com or anything to go to easily to download their removal software...so where to go? Somebody out there has to know this...remember, we're not all such computer dorks that we know everything by default.

WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77

"Starforce takes a lot of heat for being the ONLY form of software protection that can actually stop hackers." I have word that it causes problems on the development side of it too. You do not have to believe that there are some people who have problems with SF, but that does not mean there haven't been. SF has taken heat that is deserved due to their responses and their attempts to prove otherwise. Remember, their contest was a joke and everyone saw through it. Providing a link to a Torrent site with an illegal download was icing on the cake.

shervinv
shervinv

I don't care about copy protection since I buy my games, and anyone who wants to hack a game will anyways, copy protection or not. However, Starforce installs and does NOT get uninstalled when you uninstall the game. What's it doing there?? It's intrusive, and I understand it can mess with your machine. I'm personally boycotting any game with it, which is VERY unfortunately. I've been looking forward to HOMM5 for a long time, only to find out it ships with this crap, as do all other ubisoft games. Sorry ubi... you lost my $$ for whatever its worth. And congrats to Stardock Galactic Civ, I own it, and its become a best seller, despite no copy protection.

Lart44
Lart44

Gentleman, talk on forums is good. But what you need to do is contact your retailers managers and tell them about what Starforce does to drives. Many people are returning drives under warrantee for repairs and that is costing not only retailers money but in the long run making prices increase for us. We need to demand that publishers put the Starforce label on the game box. Right now if you call Ubisoft they will tell you the little waring on the box that says noting about Staforce but tells you the Copy protection used could conflict with your CDRW and DVDRW drives is enough to cover them. Well its not. Tell you retail managers about this problem and spread the word. We should not have to take this from any publisher and if they refuse to remove it from their games then we will not purchase any game from publishers that use this copy protection. Starforce is a TrojanKit: Definition: 1. Security Applications installed without end user consent. 2.Software that grants Ring 0 access to Ring 3 (user level) applications. 3. Interferes with other software such as virtual drives, SCSI/SATA etc. 4. Puts its own virtual protection drivers on the system. 5. Interferes with other applications Windows registry settings. 6. Can be exploited with replacement malicious versions to grant Full Ring 0 access Starforce once installed is constantly checking your system and sending info to drives interferring with streams back and forth. SF is so over zealous about its sector checking that if it loses these it will refuse to function. On top of this, XP reads this as a disk I/O error. Which in turn causes it to step down the IDE speed to compensate. Eventually it will step down to the older 16 bit mode which disables DMA access altogether. No DMA means. 1. No Digital access to play audio CD

archmagus666
archmagus666

All of the employes of Starforce need to be rounded up and shot with a gun barrel in their mouths on TV. I bought Splinter Cell 3, it installed Starforce without my persmission (of course) and a few months later my DVD burner was screwed up, fortunately I was able to fix it by re-installing the firmware.

johnnyb47
johnnyb47

FINALLY some publisher gets the idea that the quality of the game, not the useless, crappy, copy-protection will make the end-user buy the original, and not go for the pirated version.

namuseta
namuseta

Lot of ppl seem to think starforce is some ultimate copyprotection well its given that it takes a little more time to get no cd crack out but you can play starforce games easyly even whitout any nocd crack i like to play all my games from images as i like my comp quied and cd rom drives are real noice makers so starforce is annoance to me bacause after you make the image of the game you have to *PEEP* whitch takes some time but nothing else

brunocavaco
brunocavaco

Mark my words: "I will NEVER buy another game that brings Starforce". The only thing it does is to mess up your system. I only bought one game that used that protection and I tell you something: "NEVER AGAIN" Have fun :)

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

starforce is the copy protection that i dislike

Igiss
Igiss

StarForce should be Dead and Forgotten Forever.

thorboy03
thorboy03

Good. It's about time publishers say "No!" to Starforce...

rainmanstile
rainmanstile

galactic civ is such a great game and the second is supposed to be even better. i understand that someone wants to play these games without paying but these guys will make more of these games if we pay them. radical concept to some of those idiots who pirate it every time and complain about the "corporations". stardock is a company owned and run by gamers so im told and these guys want to give you the best possible product out there. so why are these fools trying to rip them off? they explain everything about there policy and why they do what they do at stardock.net if you bother to read it.

ergo2497
ergo2497

More power to the people behind Gal Civ for fighting Starforce. And more garbage thrown at Starforce for first screwing up people's systems, then lashing out at those who bypass their crap by encouraging piracy. A$$holes.

Nick_Cave
Nick_Cave

What Starforce did was unthinkable . Im buying Gal Siv 2 tomorrow

NotoriousFuzz
NotoriousFuzz

As a gaming community, we need to stand by companies that trust gamers to make wise decisions about thier products. The inclusion of StarForce means that they dont trust us with our own purchase to do what is right. Granted, there is the case where the game may be easier to pirate than to buy, but in most cases the pirated copies are downloaded by those who would not have bought it in the first place. It may be good for us to take advantage of the situation to make a stand against this kind of silliness.

Sturm08
Sturm08

And the Starforce backlash begins. Oh, how I love karma.

trancejeremy
trancejeremy

Just to be clear, though, Gal Civ II apparently does use internet activation for the patches. Not just a serial number to get them, but a WinXP style scheme with generates an id for your computer, then matches that with the serial number in their database. If you aren't connected to the internet, and it can't acitivate the game after a patch, then you can't play.

Tiburon1186
Tiburon1186

Starforce is not hard to get around for hackers... fyi

acesion
acesion

I hate starforce as much as i hate SONY I will admit that i have indeed pirated games , but any of the games i played for more then a week i have bought for online play and such. Anyways Starforce is just a pain in the butt to get around but its not impossible though after you play some of the games that use it you kinda feel like it wasnt worth the trouble.

InfectiousDust
InfectiousDust

"Auran is publishing this game with NO COPY PROTECTION [emphasis theirs], instead relying on a quality product that provides registered users with frequent updates, additional features and outstanding support to create a best-seller." That is the most beautiful thing I've heard a publisher say in a long time. Relying on your product's quality for sales? What a novel idea!

Targzissian
Targzissian

Someone I know :) played a lot of cracked software on the Apple II back in the eighties, and as a result ended up purchasing a lot of those titles to get legitimate versions with all the accessories. There has to be a balance. I wish the publishers of Galactic Civilizations II and Spellforce 2 success in striking that balance.

Blazer88
Blazer88

Well except for that first boneheaded poster,.I have yet to hear anything good about Starforce.

Chilibo
Chilibo

Off topic, but what's the deal with those "uber-hackers" trying to crack the 360. Last I heard they cracked a DEMO disc in Dec., and then..........nothing.........after they said it would be another month. I am not looking for info on that, but I would like to see a comment or two from them with them giving a little props to the XBOX 360 designers. Or a reason, or probably an excuse knowing the types of people who do these things. They won't let their pride admit it.

QualityJeverage
QualityJeverage

Exactly, Starforce is no safer than any other copy-protection. All it does is punish and restrict legit users, it's about time the Publishers realize it. More power to you Auran.

highnoon206
highnoon206

Starforce doesn't do a thing to stop pirates, but does inconvenience legitimate users. AND they resort to extortion by posting a link to a torrent when a title doesn't use their poor software? Really, about as shameless and stupid as you can get. I hope more developers and publishers take a hint that they are hurting the reputation of their otherwise good games by including nefarious junk like StarForce.

doomed51
doomed51

never liked starforce as it is

dchan01
dchan01

Yay the world is a better place for every program that does not have to resort to obtrusive copy protection.

grasu
grasu

Starforce blows: Not only does it mess with your computer but it doesn't do jack to stop hackers. Hell, if anything it just makes it harder for them to get around the system. The only way to actually stop the pircay problem has to come from Microsoft: They're the ones responsible for numerous flaws in their operating systems and their stuborness to actually DO something about it other than releasing a new Windows... IN THREEEE DEEEEEE as if any one actually cared about a 3D desktop.

teamparadox2k
teamparadox2k

"Starforce takes a lot of heat for being the ONLY form of software protection that can actually stop hackers." Yea Uhm...except it doesnt stop anyone or anything and all it does it have negative impact on your system. Unless your a total moron you can get around StarForce pretty easily in 99% of case's

biosc1
biosc1

Publishers need to take into account the relation between making a game harder for hackers to steal versus treating the customer like he is a thief causing issues for legitimate installs.

kungfuhokie
kungfuhokie

"Starforce takes a lot of heat for being the ONLY form of software protection that can actually stop hackers." Lol, it doesn't do jack. I've seen no less than four different ways to get around Starforce.

blackIceJoe
blackIceJoe

THat sounds bad that is to bad what happened with the stealing of the games.I hope they can get it back on track this time and be a lot harder to steal.

THF2
THF2

Starforce takes a lot of heat for being the ONLY form of software protection that can actually stop hackers.