Wednesday, 30 August 2017


2 weeks to wait for DRM implementation. Cheers, Sega.

Image result for Sonic mania 
Sonic Mania (2017), Sega, Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, PagodaWest Games

Sonic Mania is a game made by fans for fans. It was announced at the 2016 event Summer of Sonic with mixed reception. I was sceptical at first as I thought this was the only announcement but as I saw it further into development, I amongst others got so excited, possibly making Mania my most anticipated game this year. The dude that made CD slightly less shit and the amazing ports of 1 and 2 that are rotting on iOS and Android (Bring them to other platforms, you fucks) is involved? Tee Lopes, the guy that's made such amazing remixes in the past is doing the soundtrack? Sign me up. The stars alligned and a couple of delays later, August 15th was the final date. I was ready. I threw down my £13.50 on Steam and waited patiently. This game can't go wrong. It has to be good. If it isn't good then I dunno what kind of emotional trauma I'd go through. I was so stoked... then August 11th happened.

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Taken from the official Sonic the Hedgehog Facebook Page

A 2 week delay for the PC version. My heart sank. A game I've been looking forward to for close to a year has been delayed on the only current generation gaming platform I own and the consolation prize was a copy of a game every Sonic fan owns in one form or another (Should've been 3&K). Most people I know cancelled their PC orders and got it on console but because I'm a stingy bastard that doesn't want to drop 200 quid on a console, waiting for 2 weeks was my only option. I was serious about this. I took a social media hiatus for 2 weeks, only posting on the pages I run infrequently, and got a YouTube filter add on for my browser to filter out any video with "Sonic Mania" in the title or tags. Dead fucking serious. I still got spoilt a couple of the levels but water under the bridge. As the 2 weeks went by, I took it on the chin. My mind went off it as I focused on grinding for Summer boxes on Overwatch. As they worded it, they need to polish the PC version. They never specified what specifically but I'm aware that PCs come in different flavours, different set ups and drivers so game companies have to keep those into account. I waited patiently and the game finally came out August 29th. I played up until a late level of the game and fucking loved it.

Sonic Mania's title screen

The bosses are a bit eh and a couple of the level choices are... questionable but this is the Sonic 4 we've should've gotten all those years ago. If you are a classic Sonic fan, this is the perfect game for you that celebrates everything great about the classics. But, of course, everything has to have a catch. The true reason for the 2 week delay was revealed the day it came to PC. Not by Sega or anyone involved in the project but instead, Steam users.

Familiar with DRM? Digital Rights Management is a variety of methods to prove you have a legitimate copy of a piece of software. Back in the day, common methods were using a card that comes with the software to decipher a code and you'd only have this card if you got the legitimate version of the software or having to run the disc or floppy or whatever format it was every time you wanted to boot the software on your computer. It was cumbersome as all hell but back then, methods such as these were the only option for companies to crack down on pirates. For more methods and info, I'd recommend Lazy Game Reviews' mini-documentary on DRM for old PC games;

LGR - History of DRM & Copy Protection in Computer Games

Nowadays, we have the internet. The home of social interaction and information galore but also social interaction and gore porn. The internet has helped piracy in a lot of ways. Home based hackers have cracked down and countered almost every piece of software out there, even at one point Ubisoft screwing up so bad, they had to use a pirate crack to remedy a game breaking DRM they couldn't fix themselves for Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (fucking seriously). The influx of pirates is why some companies feel iffy about putting their games on PC. Understandable, sure, but the success of Steam has proved a large amount of PC gamers are willing to pay money for games, especially because of the glorious Summer and Holiday sales. A good chunk of them. Mortal Kombat X, despite WB treating the PC base like used toilet paper, sold over 1 million units on PC alone. What PC gamers or people in general don't like is being treated like arseholes.

You know that thing that caused the Sim City from 2013 to be a load of crap or what almost every Ubisoft game has causing people to tell Ubisoft to fuck off? Yeah, that's in Mania. Always online DRM.

This wasn't even on the Steam page yesterday

Denuvo is notorious among PC users. The way it works is that you need a stable internet connection to play a purely single and local multiplayer game. You can see the issues with this. Denuvo is notorious because it's known to have software similar to that of Malware and while there's no solid proof, some claim that it affects performance of games. It also makes modding a bitch, a feature people always jump to first to say why PC gaming is the best and easily what breathed more life in the PC version of Generations.

Always online is bullshit. Plain and simple. What's even more bullshit is a 2 week delay to implement previously said bullshit. I took a 2 week social media break because of DRM. People make the argument that we're always online so DRM is fine. What if I'm out on a long trip and want to take a laptop with me to play Sonic Mania where there's no wifi or the wifi is trash (and I'm not paying £10 in data to play a single player game)? What if there's bad weather and the internet has been cut out because Virgin Media can't handle rain? I get fucked over for a product I bought because a company is scared of a minority not paying for the game. Aaron Webber, the social media manager, is empathetic about the situation and Stealth, one of the developers, has denied association with this, despite his comment being deleted so quickly on the official thread for the announcement of DRM;


Gabe Newell put it best 7 YEARS AGO!

"One thing that you hear [Valve] talk a lot about is entertainment as a service. It's an attitude that says 'what have I done for my customers today? It informs all the decisions we make, and once you get into that mindset it helps you avoid things like some of the Digital Rights Management problems that actually make your entertainment products worth less by wrapping those negatives around them."
Gabe Newell at the 2010 Game Developer's Choice Awards

DRM ENCOURAGES piracy. You put DRM in, people get annoyed, people will find a solution to it. Respect goes both ways. You treat fans like they're criminals, they're gonna do whatever it takes to tell you to fuck off. It's also especially bullshit that you delayed the PC release for 2 WEEKS to implement this anus gravy into the game.

But wait. There's more! At the time of this blog post (August 30th, early-ish afternoon), Sega posted an update on their Facebook page and patched out an issue with the DRM.

Anyone else think this is worded weirdly? It's like they accidentally left it in like they accidentally dropped a jar of jam or something but instead, they purposefully threw it because they saw that kid from school that peed on their coat from a distance. You put in DRM bullshit, it's what you expect. Denuvo is also still there regardless of the restrictions you patch for it.
 The update taken from my Steam client

It is actually a shame because Sonic Mania is such a good game. Easily the best since Generations, 6 years ago. For such a good game to be tampered with is a shame. I hope the backlash they've received, especially from the influx of upvoted Steam reviews, helps them learn from this.