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Capcom DRM Shackles...Then Promptly Unshackles Super Street Fighter IV's PC Release

Players didn't like only having 15 playable fighters offline. Now Capcom is ditching the restriction.

Under the old piracy measures, you would not be able to play as these characters offline. But now you can!

Capcom laid out the feature set and changes that would be integrated into the long-time-coming PC port of Super Street Fighter IV (complete with the Arcade Edition patch) last week. Along with those features--including more comprehensive video options for users with low-end hardware to hit 60 frames per second online-- Capcom also revealed the game's security and anti-piracy features.

Like the release of Street Fighter IV on the PC in 2009, SSFIV: AE features Games For Windows Live support for the online functionality and requires players to be logged into a GFWL account to access the game's full functionality. Those who played SSFIV without being connected to the Internet would find the game's offline functionality to be severely limited. Capcom senior VP Christian Svensson wrote in his blog post announcement:

If you aren’t signed in to an online GFWL profile, the offline mode has limited functionality. Obviously there’s no online play, access to replay channels or other online-centric features (and this is the part that keeps the online play secure from hackers or pirates). Additionally, you won’t be able to save any progress in challenges or settings, won’t have access to any DLC you’ve purchased and all local play will be restricted to 15 of the 39 characters.

As you would imagine, the realization that an offline outage would turn SSFIV into a game with less playable characters than the original release of SSIV (15 fighters compared to the original game's 25) sent prospective players into a frenzy. Fans argued that the anti-piracy measures would directly detract from the experiences of paying customers rather than deterring piracy or (as I imagine Capcom wanted out of this system) encouraging pirates to purchase the full game to unlock the game's full content.

The response to this function-locked PC release of SSFIV was so overwhelming that Capcom has decided to scrap parts of that system. Svensson wrote on his blog that, shortly after the game launches, Capcom would release a patch that removed the character limit from offline play. Players will still be prevented from saving their progress offline, but if you're looking to just practice combos or play local games on the PC, you won't have to connect online to do it.

It's good to see a big publisher like Capcom relent on some piracy countermeasures at the request of their fans. As far as I'm concerned, the easier it for those fans to take character models and bolt them onto other fighter's animations, the better.

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Posted by MattBodega
Under the old piracy measures, you would not be able to play as these characters offline. But now you can!

Capcom laid out the feature set and changes that would be integrated into the long-time-coming PC port of Super Street Fighter IV (complete with the Arcade Edition patch) last week. Along with those features--including more comprehensive video options for users with low-end hardware to hit 60 frames per second online-- Capcom also revealed the game's security and anti-piracy features.

Like the release of Street Fighter IV on the PC in 2009, SSFIV: AE features Games For Windows Live support for the online functionality and requires players to be logged into a GFWL account to access the game's full functionality. Those who played SSFIV without being connected to the Internet would find the game's offline functionality to be severely limited. Capcom senior VP Christian Svensson wrote in his blog post announcement:

If you aren’t signed in to an online GFWL profile, the offline mode has limited functionality. Obviously there’s no online play, access to replay channels or other online-centric features (and this is the part that keeps the online play secure from hackers or pirates). Additionally, you won’t be able to save any progress in challenges or settings, won’t have access to any DLC you’ve purchased and all local play will be restricted to 15 of the 39 characters.

As you would imagine, the realization that an offline outage would turn SSFIV into a game with less playable characters than the original release of SSIV (15 fighters compared to the original game's 25) sent prospective players into a frenzy. Fans argued that the anti-piracy measures would directly detract from the experiences of paying customers rather than deterring piracy or (as I imagine Capcom wanted out of this system) encouraging pirates to purchase the full game to unlock the game's full content.

The response to this function-locked PC release of SSFIV was so overwhelming that Capcom has decided to scrap parts of that system. Svensson wrote on his blog that, shortly after the game launches, Capcom would release a patch that removed the character limit from offline play. Players will still be prevented from saving their progress offline, but if you're looking to just practice combos or play local games on the PC, you won't have to connect online to do it.

It's good to see a big publisher like Capcom relent on some piracy countermeasures at the request of their fans. As far as I'm concerned, the easier it for those fans to take character models and bolt them onto other fighter's animations, the better.

Posted by Saga

cool

Posted by EveretteScott
@Saga said:

cool

What a pointless comment.
 
I'm glad Capcom did this, good move.
Posted by Scooper

It's cool they addressed the issue.

Edited by Goldanas

I personally don't like playing fighting games, especially Street Fighter, online. I only play local matches with friends, mostly because the netcode for fighting games just isn't there yet and because the communities aren't exactly fun to play with.

Good on Capcom for not being complete morons.

I've purchased this game 3 times now, and I'll purchase it another 2 it seems (PS3 and PC), but we all know pirates will make a patch to reinstate the functionality within days.

Don't screw over paying customers with your pointless "anti-piracy" measures.

Posted by RecSpec

Fifteen characters? Wow, I mean, I know they were trying fight piracy, but damn.

Posted by fleethefactory

Dude I can't even look at those character models, they make me feel weird inside.

Posted by Subjugation
@EveretteScott: That's what a "be the first post" quest does to the comments section.
Posted by PixelPrinny
@Goldanas said:

I personally don't like playing fighting games, especially Street Fighter, online. I only play local matches with friends, mostly because the netcode for fighting games just isn't there yet and because the communities aren't exactly fun to play with.

Plenty of games, SSFIV included, have code that allows for lag-free matches where you can input things like one-frame links. The whole "online code just isn't there yet" is a silly, baseless argument now. Sure there are matches where you'll find lag, but you'll find that in any online game -- shooters, racing games, etc. and unless your connection is at fault, it's not the norm.  
 
Anyways, looking forward to seeing what crazy costumes people can come up with for all of the edition Super characters. There were some fantastic costumes created back in the original SFIV PC edition like a Harley Quinn costume for Chun Li or Strider Hiryu Vega
Posted by MEATBALL

I'm so glad you brought this video to my attention.

Posted by agentboolen

Who would think of this as a reasonable anti-piracy feature?!?!  Why do these companies think gamers PC's are always online?!  If your on a laptop and don't have it plugged in you might really want to use the option of not being connected to the internet just to get more battery power.  It just makes no sense.

Posted by darkjester74

Those character swap vids are AMAZING!

Posted by AlwaysBeClothing

Its good that they relaxed on the drm, but from the publisher side, they still don't have an adequate way to curb piracy. Makes me wonder if their future drm policies will be any different.

Posted by Eribuster

Glad to see Capcom pulling back from restrictive DRM. It would be better if they pulled all the way back, but this new offline mode patch is better than what was originally proposed.

Posted by 234r2we232

This'll be great for those 10 people still playing PC games.

Edited by HitmanAgent47

Wait you can't save offline? I don't have a games for windows live account for online. I usually make an offline profile to save. It's basically forcing ppl to sign up to GFWL if they don't want to, but at least a patch adresses some of the issues.
 
Then again what right do I have to complain? I am happy to get another fighting game from capcom.

Edited by President_Barackbar

@sofacitysweetheart said:

This'll be great for those 10 people still playing PC games.

10 people playing PC FIGHTING GAMES. That's the niche, not PC games.

Posted by ThePhantomnaut

THAT VIDEO AINT SF4 KORYU.

Posted by ThePhantomnaut

@President_Barackbar said:

@sofacitysweetheart said:

This'll be great for those 10 people still playing PC games.

10 people playing PC FIGHTING GAMES. That's the niche, not PC games.

SHOUTOUTS TO GGPO.

Posted by ervonymous

@sofacitysweetheart: I know right, go ahead and keep this online only DRM on the PS3.

Posted by atomic_dumpling
@sofacitysweetheart said:
This'll be great for those 10 people still playing PC games.
Oh, you naughty naughty boy.
Posted by Lunar_Aura

The patch will hit shortly after the game launches and I will buy the game no sooner than that. Don't play games with me, Capcom. I pay to play your games, not the other way around.

Posted by phrosnite

DoW2: Retribution dropped GfWL so I'm not buying any other game that uses GfWL...

Posted by Cordiss

Good, I'll be playing this on pc and I'm glad to hear this.
 
BTW, Giantbomb, thanks for focusing on the goofy mods on PC, and not the lag free multiplayer.

Posted by Brackynews

anti-piracy measures would directly detract from the experiences of paying customers rather than deterring piracy or (as I imagine Capcom wanted out of this system) encouraging pirates to purchase the full game to unlock the game's full content.

More dumb-ass decisions by suits in boardrooms looking at charts that have never tried actually using their products.

Posted by morecowbell24
@EveretteScott said:
@Saga said:

cool

What a pointless comment.  I'm glad Capcom did this, good move.  
So you saying what the other person said in more words makes your's less pointless?
Posted by Khann

Oh look guys, consumers do actually have some power.

Funny that.

Posted by GunslingerPanda

Damn, was gonna get this game, but GFWL? Anti-purchase.

Posted by Mumrik

I'd buy it if they offered it as DLC for SF4.

Posted by Rockdalf

Hey, at least Capcom honors their word.  Remember that spectator mode patch for Marvel?  Yeah, Capcom, that one!

Posted by ThePhantomnaut

@morecowbell24 said:

@EveretteScott said:
@Saga said:

cool

What a pointless comment. I'm glad Capcom did this, good move.
So you saying what the other person said in more words makes your's less pointless?

This whole conversation is funny.

Posted by MysteriousBob
@Mumrik said:
I'd buy it if they offered it as DLC for SF4.
Its been over a year and some idiots are still saying that? 
Its a NEW GAME. There's way too many new features to be DLC. Stop being stupid.
Posted by rmanthorp

This makes me sad because now I want to buy it more :C

Moderator
Posted by GreggD

@ThePhantomnaut said:

@morecowbell24 said:

@EveretteScott said:
@Saga said:

cool

What a pointless comment. I'm glad Capcom did this, good move.
So you saying what the other person said in more words makes your's less pointless?

This whole conversation is funny.

I like the dog in your avatar. He makes me smile.

Posted by doe3879

I was a little outage after read half the article but then feels like it's a pretty good idea to restrict some content from offonline play for a short period of time and then remove the restriction with path later on...if not too later on I suppose.

Considering hackers usually doesn't care to update their crack after the launch period

Posted by Raakill

Preordered. Very happy they didn't gimp it.

Posted by MrKlorox

Cool. Not perfect, but way way better than it was. Silly Capcom.

Posted by ThePhantomnaut
@GreggD said:

@ThePhantomnaut said:

@morecowbell24 said:

@EveretteScott said:
@Saga said:

cool

What a pointless comment. I'm glad Capcom did this, good move.
So you saying what the other person said in more words makes your's less pointless?

This whole conversation is funny.

I like the dog in your avatar. He makes me smile.

  
Posted by Mumrik
@MysteriousBob said:
@Mumrik said:
I'd buy it if they offered it as DLC for SF4.
Its been over a year and some idiots are still saying that? Its a NEW GAME. There's way too many new features to be DLC. Stop being stupid.
Stop drinking the Kool-Aid. It's a expansion - so sell it for 10-15 bucks to people who already own SF4.
Posted by Kyle

@ThePhantomnaut said:

@GreggD said:

@ThePhantomnaut said:

@morecowbell24 said:

@EveretteScott said:
@Saga said:

cool

What a pointless comment. I'm glad Capcom did this, good move.
So you saying what the other person said in more words makes your's less pointless?

This whole conversation is funny.

I like the dog in your avatar. He makes me smile.

cool

Posted by Stefanten
@Mumrik:  14 (!) new characters, 2 ultras for every character, completely rebalanced gameplay, vastly improved online (8 player lobbies, ability to save replays etc.) and about 5-6 new stages. That's a pretty major upgrade from vanilla SF4.
 
If Super had come out for PC and they weren't offering AE as DLC, then yes, that would be crazy. But at 40 bucks, this is a great deal even if you own SF4.
Posted by GreggD

@Kyle: Wonderful contribution to the conversation.

Posted by l3illyl3ob

Thing with this type of DRM is that it doesn't deter piracy even a little.  Pirates will still crack the game and be able to play with the full feature set offline while paying customers get a gimped copy.  That's what Capcom really fails to understand, they think their DRM is failproof or something.  It's not. At least they're giving us all the characters again.
 
The good news is that Microsoft upped their GFWL security, so you can no longer just use one key on every game. Every GFWL game now comes with a unique key just for it. This alone is good enough to deter piracy, Capcom is foolish for trying to bolt on even more.  Guess I can't blame them too much after MS shafted them pretty hard with GFWL's old pathetic key system.

Posted by boylie

@Kyle said:

@ThePhantomnaut said:

@GreggD said:

@ThePhantomnaut said:

@morecowbell24 said:

@EveretteScott said:
@Saga said:

cool

What a pointless comment. I'm glad Capcom did this, good move.
So you saying what the other person said in more words makes your's less pointless?

This whole conversation is funny.

I like the dog in your avatar. He makes me smile.

cool

What a pointless comment. I'm glad I saw this video, good moves.

Posted by THRICE

It's a pretty stupid way of implementing DRM but to play devil's advocate if your an honest to goodness purchaser of the game your going to be online. Aside from the time my router busted and that only affected Wi-Fi I can't think of a time where I wasn't able to access the internet on my PC. Aside from people on military bases which I understand who are these people who are able to download these games legitimately then not be able to connect to the internet consistently to play. At that as soon as your internet goes suddenly you feel the urger for SSFIV and are overwhelmed by the inability to play as Adon?

Posted by Xpgamer7

When will companies learn restrictions shouldn't be the answer to piracy.

Posted by Beforet

It's nice to see companies wising up to how much these intrusive DRMs hurt their games. In other news: the use of ellipses in the title fills me with much, much nerd rage.

Posted by raikoh05
@EveretteScott said:
@Saga said:

cool

What a pointless comment.  I'm glad Capcom did this, good move.
what a pointless comment.
Posted by sickVisionz

I guess this is good news, but are there really hardcore PC gamers who don't have the internet at their house?  To me that's sounds as oxymoronic as a guy with a 7.1 sound system and a 60" HDTV who only has a VCR.

Posted by ShaunassNZ
@sickVisionz said:
To me that's sounds as oxymoronic as a guy with a 7.1 sound system and a 60" HDTV who only has a VCR.
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