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CDV Drops StarForce, To Use TAGES For Game Protection

CDV Drops StarForce, To Use TAGES For Game Protection

May 24, 2006 | By Simon Carless

European-headquartered game publisher CDV has announced that it will be stopping its use of the controversial StarForce PC copy protection scheme, in a short press statement which explained that, "in response to consumer demand", it will be be migrating to TAGES copy protection for future game releases.

This follows April's news that Ubisoft had opted not to include the sometimes controversial StarForce copy protection system in its upcoming Heroes of Might & Magic V, as well as other future PC titles, following lawsuits against the company claiming that StarForce's DRM system compromised the security of their PCs.

The Russian makers of StarForce continue to deny such claims, though, starting a competition late last year with a prize of $1,000 to any consumer who can prove that StarForce is adversely affecting their computer, despite third-party website claiming "reports about... unstable or slower-running Windows systems after installing a video game (even after it was removed!), and corrupted drivers" related to StarForce's installation.

In response, StarForce has announced that the StarForce drivers, which the company describes as "a low level driver that enables the accurate checking of the copy protection system", have passed the 'Designed For Windows XP' certification, which is run independently by VeriTest, a company that manages programmes on behalf of Microsoft.

CDV's new system, TAGES, will first be integrated into the retail release of Glory of the Roman Empire, scheduled to ship on June 26 across North America, and CDV "will continue to integrate TAGES on a case-by-case basis." CDV had recently come under fire for including StarForce on the retail version of its Ubersoldier game and City Life demo, despite some previous indications that it had dropped the system. Talking to the Game Overdrive website at the time, CDV U.S. Director of PR and Marketing Mario Kroll commented: "CDV works with many different developers and often we have to use what copy protection those partners wish to use or that they have already integrated in products that have been months and often years in production."

However, CDV's Chief Technology Officer, Teut Weidemann, commented of this latest announcement, making it clear that the company had changed its overall strategy: "We believe that TAGES will provide a sensible balance between protecting CDV's intellectual property rights against piracy, while at the same time minimizing the restrictions experienced by legitimate owners of our products."

[UPDATE: 06/05/06, 06.54pm - corrected quotation source for CDV Director of PR to be Mario Kroll, who has given a follow-up statement to Gamasutra on this story.]

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