Pete Hines on Fallout 3 PC DRM protection

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It's the most controversial topic of this gaming year as far as Guru3D is concerned, and I'm glad it receives so much attention as game-developers really do need get more aware of how we (the gamers and people that actually spend money on purchasing that product) look at this forcefully installation or root-kit viral like  software.

Here's a much better example of developer awareness. Over at ShackNews they conducted an interview with Bethesda's Pete Hines as he talks about a big title to be released soon, Fallout 3 PC. What kind of DRM will be included on the Fallout 3 disc? Will the PC version suffer from console interface holdovers a la Oblivion? Is the company optimistic about supporting the PC platform in the future? Here's an excerpt:

Similar question in the sense that it's an issue that can be overblown. What kind of copy protection will be included on the PC version of Fallout 3?

Pete Hines: Pretty similar to what we did for Oblivion, which was--we basically don't do any--we do the mildest form possible. I actually don't know if I even want to get into what it is that we exactly do, but we try to be really noninvasive when it comes to that stuff. [ed- Oblivion employed a simple DVD check.] And it is a pain in the ass--it is a pain in the ass that we have to do it at all in the first place. But when you spend tens of millions of dollars, we don't think it's right to just put something out there and let everybody do whatever they want and pass it around. And to have to support all of that--which is often the unspoken thing that nobody really wants to point to. You can argue all day whether or not somebody would have bought a copy of a game they pirated, but you can't argue, and you will never win the argument that I'm not having to provide tech support for those folks. Because I know for a fact that we are. We catch those folks all the time, where we're providing support for somebody who turns out didn't actually pay for the game and just downloaded a copy.

Did you put a lot of work into optimizing the PC version, and accounting for people with older machines?

Pete Hines: Yeah, we've been working with folks like Nvidia and having them do compat testing and optimization stuff, and looking at how the game plays on Nvidia cards. We've been doing some stuff with Alienware, specifically testing on different configurations of their machines. So we are trying to do our due diligence on the PC and make sure it runs as advertising. But the problem on the PC, it's just not--you have a 360, you have the same thing that everyone else has. When you talk about a PC, how much RAM you have, do you have the right video card driver, the right sound card drivers, are you running all kinds of applications in the background that are eating up memory or trying to interrupt the process of the game and makes the game crash--you don't have any of those problems on the 360 or PS3. So we try as much as we can for account for everything that we can account for, but the killer is all the variables you have no control over. I don't even know if I have the right drivers for anything on my home PC. It's something that you have to spend a bit more effort as a consumer.

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