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Grand Theft Auto IV PC debut gets SecuROM sideshow

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The upcoming PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV will install SecuROM 7 on customers' systems, although the game maker claims its properly de-fanged the detested DRM technology.

Rockstar told the gaming site IGN that GTA IV's flavor of SecuROM won't limit the number of installs of the game, nor will it restrict the number of machines it can be put on.

Those were arguably the most reviled SecuROM checks previously used on games such as EA's Spore, which have put many gamers up at arms. EA later backed down on the number total Spore installs, but kept the PC limit capped at five.

A Rockstar spokesperson told IGN:

GTA IV PC uses SecuROM for protecting our EXE until street date has passed, to ensure the retail disk is in the computer drive, and is used for Product Activation of the title. Product Activation is a one time only online authentication when installing the game.

The anti-DRM crowd will still have the rest of SecuROM's questionable repertoire to wag a finger at. It had been known to cause hardware problems for some, and even after a game has been removed from your system, uninstalling SecuROM is no easy task.

The latter point explains why the Rockstar rep added that even if a customer uninstalls and re-install GTA IV, it won't require re-authentication. (Unless a customer changes to "major" components on the PC, such as CPU and video card). "Active functions" of SecuROM are removed on the game's installation but "some traces will remain," according to Rockstar. The company said it's presently "working" with SecuROM just to post information on its support pages on how to remove the DRM completely.

Although an internet connection will be required for activation, the game maker said it will provide for rustic customers to activate the game using someone else's machine with web access.

To ward off those looking for the inevitable pirated version of GTA IV with SecuROM removed, the Rockstar spinster went with the angle that property theft isn't as easy, profitable, and amusing as each and every game in the GTA series would suggest:

Aside from the fact that warez are a great place to pick up a Trojan or key logger, using a cracked copy of GTA IV PC will result in varying changes to the game experience. These can range from comical to game-progress-halting changes.

It sounds a bit like the company is leaking bugged versions of the game on file-sharing sites. That may even keep freetards from getting their paws on a stolen digital copy for one — maybe two days tops by our estimate. ®

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