'GFWL Legacy' -- did any of you know this?

_PixelNinja

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 12, 2011
Messages
1,460
On another forum, members and I were discussing about layered DRM (e.g. Steam + SecuROM + GFWL) on games -- this naturally lead us to talk about activation limits. After some research we found the following:

Games for Windows Live

There are two kinds of GFWL activation:

  • Current method: Server-Side Activation, or SSA. This binds the CD key permanently to your GFWL account, similarly to Steam. Thanks to this feature, the games do not carry activation limits! On top of this, a new GFWL feature has been added: Zero Day Piracy Protection (or ZDPP). This is their attempt to prevent pre-release copies from being played, and it can only be applied to SSA games.
  • Legacy method: A simple CD key check. This still requires an Internet connection, but it does not tie the key to your account. This has an activation limit between 10-20 (usually 15), similar to the usual Microsoft products (such as Office). If you hit the limit, contact Microsoft support. With proper evidence they will give you a new key, but you are only allowed one more key. After that, you will need to buy the game again.

In other words, games that use the GFWL Legacy allow you to install the game somewhere from 10 to 20 times, which can be renewed once giving a total activation limit of 20 to 40 installations. Then you have to repurchase the game. This is not like SecuROM activations where you are limited to a certain number at a given time; you have x number of installations, period.

Here is a list of games using GFWL Legacy:

  • Battlestations Pacific
  • Bioshock 2
  • The Club
  • Fallout 3 (Plus All Five DLC Packs); Single-player only, can be completely ignored (no profile/activation needed).
  • Flatout: Ultimate Carnage
  • FUEL
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition
  • Grand Theft Auto 4 + Episodes
  • Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 2 + Chaos Rising
  • Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights
  • Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
  • Lost Planet: Colonies Edition
  • Quantum of Solace
  • Red Faction Guerrilla
  • Resident Evil 5
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars: Republic Heroes
  • Stormrise
  • Street Fighter 4
  • Universe at War: Earth Assault
  • Vancouver 2010

Upon discovering this I was quite upset. Some might say that 20-40 installations is quite a big number but: this is something that is not clearly mentioned on store pages, there is no mention of the exact installation limit of the game and you are basically paying for an extended rent.

So my question is the following, were any of you aware of this regarding GFWL?
 

dnottis

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Aug 14, 2001
Messages
4,768
yea went through this with GTA IV... really pisses me off that it's not like a 6 month reset or something. Dont see why they should limit installs...

and yea, having it through steam doesn't mean anything, GFWL has key install activations whether its retail or steam copy.
 

Procyon12

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 26, 2011
Messages
1,190
Yes. It's why I buy games on Steam.

if the dev steps in and says only activate X amount of times steam cant and wont do anything. if your concerned you should by games on amazon, because amazon will give you a new key out of pocket if you somehow reach all your install limits.
 

jiminator

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 2, 2007
Messages
11,607
GFWL was microsofts attempt to kill PC gaming. they failed, but all the same, fuck them.
 

_PixelNinja

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 12, 2011
Messages
1,460
yea went through this with GTA IV... really pisses me off that it's not like a 6 month reset or something. Dont see why they should limit installs...

Do you know how many activations you were limited to? This might interest owners of the game (myself included).
 

pigwalk

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Dec 14, 2004
Messages
8,396
It may have activation limits, but you can still sell and trade those games. Can't do that on Steam.
 

dark_reign

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Messages
2,314
Ridiculous. I'm guessing most would never reach the install limit, but it's still bullshit. Once a game has peaked in sales, install limits and any DRM should be removed. It's not like sales are going to be affected by keeping this shit installed.
 

PrincessFrosty

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
5,905
Doesn't surprise me.

I honestly doubt I'll ever get to 20 installs, much less 40 but it still bothers me. What bothers me more is the crap I'll run in to years from now when breaking those limits and trying to work out why the keys wont activate.

That's if the auth servers stay on line that long, honestly with this kind of online authentication we run the greater risk of auth servers/services being retired, or becoming unavailable for whatever reason.

The whole thing is gay, GFWL is gay, microsoft need to understand that PC gamers aren't like console gamers, we don't want this kiddy xbox looking crap on our PCs, generally we want no bloatware and streamlined functionality, don't start introducing 3rd party crap for stuff that can be done inside the game, like managing save games and authentication, etc.
 

sirmonkey1985

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010
Joined
Sep 13, 2008
Messages
22,230
The whole thing is gay, GFWL is gay, microsoft need to understand that PC gamers aren't like console gamers, we don't want this kiddy xbox looking crap on our PCs, generally we want no bloatware and streamlined functionality, don't start introducing 3rd party crap for stuff that can be done inside the game, like managing save games and authentication, etc.


if thats the case then can we get rid of Steam, origin, battlenet, and impulse? you can't say to get rid of one bloatware and not get rid of all the others as well.


Upon discovering this I was quite upset. Some might say that 20-40 installations is quite a big number but: this is something that is not clearly mentioned on store pages, there is no mention of the exact installation limit of the game and you are basically paying for an extended rent.

So my question is the following, were any of you aware of this regarding GFWL?


there hasn't been a single game with install limits that has ever said there were any. remember the fiasco with Crysis, we all had to find that out the hard way and its even more of a pain in the ass to get around the 3 install limit with that game.
 

Dion

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 2, 2004
Messages
3,769
Yes. It's why I buy games on Steam.

Got a good laugh at this. You realize steam games have GFWL too?

As for activation limits you can call m$ and they will reset em. And who the hell uses 40 activations? Someone doing something illegal :O
 

PrincessFrosty

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
5,905
if thats the case then can we get rid of Steam, origin, battlenet, and impulse? you can't say to get rid of one bloatware and not get rid of all the others as well.

No, because they're digital distribution platforms, they exist for people who wish to buy their games digitally.

I disagree that some store sold games should require steam, I think that's pretty gay as well but they're in the minority, usually just Valves titles.
 

dark_reign

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Messages
2,314
As for activation limits you can call m$ and they will reset em. And who the hell uses 40 activations? Someone doing something illegal :O
Unless you hit the total limit and must repurchase the game. While very few people will encounter this, it's crazy to make you buy the game again if you have a legit key. For older games that are long past making a profit, the install limit should be removed.
 

Wizardhawk

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 11, 2005
Messages
257
With older games i'd imagine it would be even harder to hit 40 installs. Seriously, why even bother uninstalling (insert 10 year old game here) with it's 1gb hd space consumption that you like to play every 6-12 months. Even if you installed a game twice a year, that's 20 years before a problem...

Even if you bought a new hard drive every year and still did your 2 installs on both of them every year that's 10 years and by then you can probably get the game for $0.99 assuming it's not freeware (yes there are some exceptions to this, but it's still probably more likely than someone installing a game 40 times legit).

You can call em in to get em reset.

OP mentioned that you only get one reset, hence the total limit.
 

limitedaccess

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 10, 2010
Messages
7,594
An interesting note about GWFL Legacy games is that the cdkeys were interchangeable. Meaning you could use the key for one game on a different game.
 

rudy

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 4, 2004
Messages
8,704
I am guessing with a limit that high the only purpose is to stop people who are putting out keys to let everyone play or have lost their account or something. I don't think I have installed any game that many times, even the original HL.

On the other hand, GFWL is still garbage software.
 

_PixelNinja

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 12, 2011
Messages
1,460
Ridiculous. I'm guessing most would never reach the install limit, but it's still bullshit. Once a game has peaked in sales, install limits and any DRM should be removed. It's not like sales are going to be affected by keeping this shit installed.

I find it ridiculous too. While the install limit is relatively high this still makes the game a disposable. To me it's also a question of principle; when you legitimately purchase a game, you should be able to play it as much as you like. And I agree with you and others who think that DRM should be eventually removed at some point in a game's life.

there hasn't been a single game with install limits that has ever said there were any. remember the fiasco with Crysis, we all had to find that out the hard way and its even more of a pain in the ass to get around the 3 install limit with that game.

I'm not quite sure about that -- for instance, all the games I have purchased that use SecuROM had the activation limit clearly written on the store page. Regardless, in any case when it is not mentioned I think it is a bad thing. In my opinion, if a game has activation limits, it should be mandatory to clearly say so on the store page of the download service or the retail box. Regarding GFWL Lecacy the information is very hard to find.

In any case, while my post may come of as a rant it's purpose is also to inform; I'm quite sure this is the kind of thing people would like to know before buying a game.
 

GoldenTiger

Fully [H]
Joined
Dec 2, 2004
Messages
22,885
So is gfwl. They sell games too.
No, because they're digital distribution platforms, they exist for people who wish to buy their games digitally.

I disagree that some store sold games should require steam, I think that's pretty gay as well but they're in the minority, usually just Valves titles.
 

GoldenTiger

Fully [H]
Joined
Dec 2, 2004
Messages
22,885
Got a good laugh at this. You realize steam games have GFWL too?

As for activation limits you can call m$ and they will reset em. And who the hell uses 40 activations? Someone doing something illegal :O

I lol'd too!
 

sirmonkey1985

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010
Joined
Sep 13, 2008
Messages
22,230
No, because they're digital distribution platforms, they exist for people who wish to buy their games digitally.

I disagree that some store sold games should require steam, I think that's pretty gay as well but they're in the minority, usually just Valves titles.

just because they sell things doesn't automatically remove it as being bloatware. people just love ignoring what "bloatware" is when its a program they use.
 

Michaelius

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 8, 2003
Messages
4,684
I knew this - so I'm never paying more than 5-10 euros per game that uses GFWL.
 

svr

Weaksauce
Joined
Mar 15, 2008
Messages
121
I did not know this when I bought DoW 2 and Chaos Rising. When I found out I was disgusted and felt I got ripped off.

I knew GTA4 had install limits but I always thought you could get more but guess not.

I'm not getting this shit again unless it is free or below 5€.
 

mas

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 27, 2007
Messages
1,230
yea went through this with GTA IV... really pisses me off that it's not like a 6 month reset or something. Dont see why they should limit installs...

and yea, having it through steam doesn't mean anything, GFWL has key install activations whether its retail or steam copy.

I did not know this when I bought DoW 2 and Chaos Rising. When I found out I was disgusted and felt I got ripped off.

I knew GTA4 had install limits but I always thought you could get more but guess not.

I'm not getting this shit again unless it is free or below 5€.

irrelevant anyway since not long after launch, modders already made their own tool to bypass xlive, this works for other xlive games as well. so what you do is install the game, replace the xlive dll and run off the local account with your original key, then you don't have to re-register the game with ms.

http://www.gtaforums.com/index.php?showtopic=388658

*rockstar is well aware of this, it doesn't bypass or replace the actual drm, all it really does is skip the xlive login/game intros/social club for both modders and players to run the game quickly, instead of sitting through all the crap every time this game launches, you still need your key to play.
 

Megalomaniac

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
2,193
I do think that anyone who activates a game more than 20 times in 10 years either reinstalls an OS way too often or is doing some thing illegal. That said, I think they will ease these rules as the games become older.
 

dukenuke88

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
1,924
OP, I too have ran into the GFWL wall...this is regarding GTA 4. I have it on steam, and it uses GFWL and Securom. Securom has unlimited install, so thats a plus right there. GFWL does not mention of any install limit, but it is required to sign onto GFWL in order to save.

so apparently, about 2 years after I bought the game, I get hit with the "you have exceeded your CD key" on the GFWL portion of the activation. I became furious....I always read closely on the securom portion to make sure I know how many activations I have...but I was not aware that GFWL being limited install....so I phone up GFWL...its now been 2 months since I open the support ticket...and they say they are still working on it....WTF??? How long does it take to freaking reset a damn key? They pretty much send me automated emails every 2 weeks or so saying they are still working on it...I can't even reply to these idiots...I have to phone up and they still give me crap about how they are still working on it

So guess what? I hit up Steam...since they pretty much have GTA4 on sale every few months....I let them know of my DRM situation...I asked them to just remove the damn game so I can re purchase....since it wont allow me to purchase a game I already own....well guess what? Steam support says theres no way to remove a game....wow?? really? And the guy goes on to say...even if there was a way to remove the game from the library, and you re purchase the game, the Steam system will automatically give you THE SAME CD KEY as before....wtf??

I'm so over GFWL and stupid GTA 4...I can't believe a legit customer like me has to go through this crap
 

_PixelNinja

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 12, 2011
Messages
1,460
Sorry to hear (read?) that.

I did not write about it in earlier posts but you mention a few other of my concerns regarding this system:

1) How good is Microsoft in addressing a key reset?
2) How to does one repurchase the game once all activations are expired on Steam, since you cannot buy a game you already own?

You are the second person to tell me that when this happens it doesn't go very well.
 

dukenuke88

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
1,924
Sorry to hear (read?) that.

I did not write about it in earlier posts but you mention a few other of my concerns regarding this system:

1) How good is Microsoft in addressing a key reset?
2) How to does one repurchase the game once all activations are expired on Steam, since you cannot buy a game you already own?

You are the second person to tell me that when this happens it doesn't go very well.

1. well so far with me, its been terrible...like I said, almost 2 months now and STILL can't get the game to work. I phoned up gwfl support and asked them why in the hell its taking so long, its a damn CD key...he basically said, sorry for the inconvenience but if there was a "magical button" that they could press and reset the key, they would press it. but unfortunately this whole CD key process takes awhile because they have to escalate it through the whole chain of command until it gets the okay

2. Steam basically told me...theres no way to remove a game from your library....the only solution is to create another account and buy the game there....very inconvenient if you ask me...i know this is GFWL's fault....but seriously, I have been pretty disappointed with Steam's support as well....with Steam being this huge, I'd except them to have the ability to remove a game from your library...and re purchase with a whole new game/key...but they told me its a hardware/software limitation on their side...and even if they did have the ability to remove it, you would still be stuck with the same CD KEY....:rolleyes: .....also the fact that steam support ONLY has e-mail and no phone number....and guess what? it takes about 3 days for them to respond...

I was never bothered too much by DRM in the past...I ran into the crysis DRM wall...support was SUPER quick and they reset my key no questions asked...all my other games with DRM, I was never really bothered by it...Securom is the devil but I never saw any "noticeable" slow down during gaming....but ever since this whole GTA 4 thing and GFWL crap....I'm so over DRM...
 

dark_reign

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Messages
2,314
Two months??? I'd say they are full of shit. They have the information right in front of them and it's just a matter of resetting the key with a simple click. They don't need to go through a bunch of other people to get it approved. That is stupid and very inefficient. Windows re-activations are done in a matter of minutes.
 

dukenuke88

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
1,924
Two months??? I'd say they are full of shit. They have the information right in front of them and it's just a matter of resetting the key with a simple click. They don't need to go through a bunch of other people to get it approved. That is stupid and very inefficient. Windows re-activations are done in a matter of minutes.

seriously right? i let it slide the first few weeks...just cause i didn't wanna argue...then a month rolls around i'm a little bit busy, so i wasn't in too much of a rush to play....but i was still mad at the fact even after a month, they still didn't fix the issue....now its almost 2 months....i called last week, since i have some free time to play now...and behold, still a work in progress...

and btw, i did own a retail copy of win xp...microsoft didn't have any issues with reactivating my CD KEY...they just asked for my key and why I needed reactivation....all it took was a few minutes.

sometimes i feel PC gaming has just gone to crap...we have to jump through so many hoops just to get the game to work...
 

nerdydesi

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 30, 2009
Messages
1,093
This is an informative thread. I still have never played GTA4 online. I'd like to on the PC version, but don't feel like registering my key and using up an activation in the process. I like that the game comes with a revocation tool that automatically runs when you uninstall the game, unlike some of EA's games with Securom.

But all this activation bullshit is nonsense. I have to worry about losing activations if I get a virus and have to format my PC without uninstalling the games. I have to worry about losing activations if I switch out my motherboard, etc.

Ugh. :mad:

I'll bet that this DRM activation crap will be coming to consoles, even more than it already exists now there.
 

nerdydesi

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 30, 2009
Messages
1,093
2. Steam basically told me...theres no way to remove a game from your library....the only solution is to create another account and buy the game there....very inconvenient if you ask me...i know this is GFWL's fault....but seriously, I have been pretty disappointed with Steam's support as well....with Steam being this huge, I'd except them to have the ability to remove a game from your library...and re purchase with a whole new game/key...but they told me its a hardware/software limitation on their side...and even if they did have the ability to remove it, you would still be stuck with the same CD KEY....:rolleyes: .....

That is untrue. I bought Dragon Age Origins: The Ultimate Edition from Steam a few months ago. The base game works fine out of the box. However, you have to register all the included DLC to unlock and play them. I used my CD-KEY to authenticate the DLC and it worked the first time I ran the game for an hour. But after quitting and playing the game later, I'd get error messages that the DLC couldn't be authorized. I couldn't even load my saved games if the DLC didn't authenticate since it was part of the save files. Sometimes, the DLC would not work when I was online but work when I was offline. WTF? I found out from the BioWare forums that tons of people have trouble authenticating their DLC with the Ultimate Edition version of the game. Damned EA servers.

I emailed Steam and told them to remove it and they did and refunded the full price and I bought it again and I did gain a new CD-KEY which I checked. I write down all my keys.

Also when I went to India two years ago, I bought a copy of Left 4 Dead 2 there for only $10 when it just came out. You can get new PC games in India for cheap, non-bootlegs, the genuine article. But when I came back to the U.S, I couldn't run the game due to Steam giving me a region error message. They must want to prevent gray market imported games. I couldn't buy the game again in the U.S since I already "owned" it. I asked them to remove it and they did and I bought an American copy during a sale.

Both times, Steam removed the game I asked them to from my library within 2 days max. So far, I'm a happy customer with them and obviously extremely frustrated at god-damned DRM.
 

dukenuke88

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
1,924
nerdydesi, thanks for your input...could you provide me with your steam ID or something? because If ALL ELSE fails with GFWL...i want to tell steam support IT IS POSSIBLE to remove the game from the library and provide proof with other members having their games removed

also, GFWL there is NO REVOKE tool...zip, none...nada....once you use it, its done....like I said earlier, I have learned to deal with DRM because they usually provide you with a revoke tool...but GFWL does not provide one ....and thats how I hit a wall...freaking a
 

PrincessFrosty

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
5,905
just because they sell things doesn't automatically remove it as being bloatware. people just love ignoring what "bloatware" is when its a program they use.

The key difference is steam is a choice and GFWL is not.

Steam is primarily a distribution platform which is an alternative to buying your games from a B&M store, you can debate back and forth about which is more bloatware but at the end of the day you have the option to not buy games through steam if you decide that steam doesn't add value to your gaming experience.

There are a few exceptions, valve games require steam and in this specific case I'd agree with you that steam is a bad deal because even store bought copies require steam and I am strongly against this.

If a piece of software has value added features which you use and like then it's hardly bloatware and to be quite frank at this stage I'm happy to say that Steam sports enough features that I actually like to use it, with 200+ digital games having a catalogue to manage them, to update them and the convenience of having them in one place is a bonus, having cloud saved data is mega handy, these are features I actually want so steam has some value as software more than just DRM and download management.

GFWL is pretty much the opposite feature wise, not only do you NOT have a choice to use GFWL, but it also doesn't actually add anything of any value.

Both times, Steam removed the game I asked them to from my library within 2 days max. So far, I'm a happy customer with them and obviously extremely frustrated at god-damned DRM.

My only dealing with steam support was the same, I bought Dead space which refused to work, despite not being entitled for a refund they gave me one anyway and removed the game from my account. Generally speaking they're going to avoid requests to move games between accounts because it would essentially allow unauthorized trading of steam games via their support channel which is a can of worms they're obviously not going to open.
 

pigwalk

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Dec 14, 2004
Messages
8,396
The key difference is steam is a choice and GFWL is not.

That is absolutely not true in so many cases. So many games these days ship as Steamworks titles, whether I buy them through Steam or a B+M, I'm still forced to use the Steam client. If anything, GWFL is less intrusive since I don't have to launch a separate client before starting the game, it just auto-loads itself as the game is launching.
 

PrincessFrosty

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
5,905
That is absolutely not true in so many cases. So many games these days ship as Steamworks titles, whether I buy them through Steam or a B+M, I'm still forced to use the Steam client. If anything, GWFL is less intrusive since I don't have to launch a separate client before starting the game, it just auto-loads itself as the game is launching.

GWFL titles rely on GFWL, I can't install something like Fallout 3 and select not to have GFWL because it's integrated.

However I can choose whether I want to buy it on steam and use the steam client, or buy it from a store and not use steam. The cases where store games require steam are very few in number, mostly just valve titles.

Is there any games where GFWL is an option? Certainly not that I'm aware of, if the game ships with GFWL then it's a requirement and you have no option. No one would bitch about GFWL if they could simply uncheck the option in the installer because we'd simply not install it.

It's not about being intrusive, you can set steam to auto login and auto start with the PC, the client is pretty light and sits in the system tray out of the way, you can stash game shortcuts on the desktop as normal so steam can be completely non-intrusive.
 

GoldenTiger

Fully [H]
Joined
Dec 2, 2004
Messages
22,885
GWFL titles rely on GFWL, I can't install something like Fallout 3 and select not to have GFWL because it's integrated.

However I can choose whether I want to buy it on steam and use the steam client, or buy it from a store and not use steam. The cases where store games require steam are very few in number, mostly just valve titles.

Is there any games where GFWL is an option? Certainly not that I'm aware of, if the game ships with GFWL then it's a requirement and you have no option. No one would bitch about GFWL if they could simply uncheck the option in the installer because we'd simply not install it.

It's not about being intrusive, you can set steam to auto login and auto start with the PC, the client is pretty light and sits in the system tray out of the way, you can stash game shortcuts on the desktop as normal so steam can be completely non-intrusive.

There are a good number of top-tier titles requiring Steam now for their activation and running. You do see how hypocritical you're being, right? GFWL is no more obtrusive, in fact LESS obtrusive, than Steam, yet you complain it is too intrusive, while defending Steam and minimizing its bloatware aspect? Anyway I fail to see how this is related to it being a "choice" or not as you initially claimed that Steam was always optional. Unless you're trying to pivot away from your misinformation?
 
Top