The Windows 10 DRM debacle: welcome to reality, PC people

By Patrick Garratt, Wednesday, 19 August 2015 13:36 GMT

In the wake of Windows 10 blocking games with SafeDisc and SecuROM, maybe it’s time to admit ancient PC games can’t be supported forever.

crimson_skies

Considering there are workarounds in place for making these PC games run on Windows 10, the fact anyone is even remotely upset about Microsoft’s decision is baffling to me. You probably like fiddling if you’re a retro PC gamer. So fiddle.

Please correct me if I’ve got this wrong.

Windows 10 won’t run old games with SafeDisc, and those with certain versions of SecuROM, because it’s a security risk. We’re talking about old games here – mainly from 2003-2008, according to Microsoft – including some modern classics. The PC version of BioShock, for example, used SecuROM when it was released in 2007, although it was removed in 2008.

Some people are pissed off about this because it means they either:

  • Can’t upgrade to Windows 10 because their entire existence revolves around playing Anachronox on one PC, and one PC only.
  • They may have to re-buy a game on GoG to get a DRM-free version.
  • If they can’t do that, they have to use a workaround to disable the DRM.

Is that right?

Look, it’s going to be difficult for me to not come across as sarcastic about this “issue,” because I can’t take it seriously in any way. Microsoft refusing to allow this rubbish to work on Windows 10 is a good thing. No one ever wanted it (apart from a dove-toed generation of misguided publishing suits) and it should be consigned to history.

If you want to sit there with it, you need to accept you’ll be using historical systems.

I play games across all formats, and I’m a life-long console player. As such, I’m well versed in the field of gaming software DRM and historical upgrades, as is any TV gamer. Nintendo has practically made a business of endlessly charging people for the same games on different formats, and any form of backwards compatibility in consoles is treated as a gift, not a right. It’s expected that historical console software will not work on next-gen platforms.

Crimson Skies was highlighted in the original RPS article that uncovered the DRM story as one game that won’t work on Windows 10. If I want to play the console version, I need to plug an original Xbox into my television, and, should I wish to play it, that is what I would do. Platform-locking is the norm in consoles, and there’s usually no way around it. Considering there are workarounds in place for making these PC games run on Windows 10, the fact anyone is even remotely upset about Microsoft’s decision is baffling to me. You probably like fiddling if you’re a retro PC gamer. So fiddle.

I’m going to use Crimson Skies as an example of how ridiculous it is to get riled about this Windows 10 matter. It released in 2000 on PC. That’s 15 years ago, the same year SSX released on PS2. No one’s having a fanny about not being able to play SSX on PlayStation 4. If I wanted to, I’d have to play it on a PS2. If I didn’t have a PS2, I could buy one on eBay for about £20, and probably get a ton of games and some SingStar microphones. And it would be OK.

If I still played Crimson Skies every day on my PC, and then upgraded to Windows 10 and suddenly found it didn’t work, I could just use a bit of software to fix it or do it myself. Alternatively, I could just keep Windows 7 on a separate SSD or HDD. Or I could invest about £10 in a second PC, one with a processor more powerful than Crimson’s Sky’s recommended 266 MHz Pentium 2, and use that. That’s assuming anyone heavily involved in historical PC gaming doesn’t have a garage full of ancient motherboards and mice.

I could also admit that it’s potentially unrealistic to expect old software to be infinitely supported on modern technology. I could do any of these things. They would all solve my problem.

Come on, PC people. Let’s get with the future. Don’t get cross about dropping the ridiculous DRM you’ve been railing against for years. Let’s do this thing. Put Crimson Skies back in the box. It’s probably the best place for it.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments