| Rockstar utilizes onetime activation and Securom|
Continuation: GTA 4 PC DRM: Copy protection and activation in detail
Q. Why did R* choose to have copy protection?
A. Creating video game entertainment is our passion and we invest a considerable amount of time and effort to release each title, and employ a large number of people in the process. Having copy protection allows us to protect the integrity or our titles and future investments, but at the same time we have worked very hard to ensure that our solutions do not persecute the legitimate players of our games. Implemented correctly, SecuROM is the most effective form of disc based copy protection and allows us to manage authenticity on a global level for Grand Theft Auto IV.
Q. What do I need to do to start playing GTA IV on my PC?
A. A copy of the game (retail disc or digital distribution) and a computer that meets the minimum system specifications is required. An internet connection, assorted software installations, and certain service registrations are required for activation and use of all the software features. The minimum system specifications, recommended system specifications, required software installations and other requirements are listed at the end of this document.
You will need an active internet connection to activate the software and the retail disk is required to be in the computer drive in order to play.
In order to upload videos to our internet site and play online multi-player modes, you will also need an active internet connection and accounts with both Rockstar Games Social Club and Games for Window-LIVE.
GTA IV PC also requires a number of software installations, including Games For Windows, Adobe Flash, Internet Explorer, SecuROM and our Rockstar Games Social Club application.
Q. Do I need to activate this game online?
A. Yes, but to be clear, if you install the game on a computer that isn't connected to the internet, you can perform certain steps to activate your game on another PC with an active internet connection. Once the game is distributed, information on this method will be available on a GTA IV support page.
Q. I don't have any internet connection. I only intend to play offline in single player. Do I still need to authenticate online somehow? Or is there another way I can get my purchase running.
A. We have provided a means whereby users that do not have an active internet connection at home can go to another computer that does have one, and access a support site that will help you through the authentication process.
Q. I'm in the service, and I want to play this game on my laptop while overseas, will I ever run into any trouble playing if I'm away from a connection for months at a time?
A. An active internet connection is required to play multi-player games and upload user-created videos, but the offline single-player mode is always available - even if you aren't connected to the internet.
To save offline gameplay and Achievement point progress related to a particular GFWL Gamertag, you must have logged in with that Gamertag at least once and saved your progress with it. Achievement points are not tracked in 'offline' accounts in GFWL games. Single-player game progress is always tracked and saved.
Q. Does GTA IV include any version of SecuROM? If so, what kind? Is it like a rootkit?
A. 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. GTA IV has no install limits for the retail disc version of the game, and that version can be installed on an unlimited number of PCs by the retail disk owner.
Q. How many times will I need to authenticate my retail disk? I've purchased the game. why do I need to constantly remind your company that I'm not a dirty pirate?
A. You will only need to authenticate the retail disk once per Windows account per machine. Even if you uninstall and re-install the game, it will not have to be re-authenticated.
There are some unique circumstances under which you may have to re-authenticate the software on a machine. For example, if you change any two 'major' components on your PC, i.e. CPU and video card, you will have to re-authenticate the title.
Also, if you install on a different PC or under a different Windows account on the same machine, you will have to authenticate that installation as well, but this is standard to any software needing a serial.
Q. Will any type of software be running in the background of my PC while installing or playing the game? If so, what kind?
A. Games for Windows-LIVE and SecuROM will run when the game is running, but not at any other time.
The Rockstar Games Social Club application is required to run in order to launch and play the game.
Q. If so, is there anyway to get rid of them?
A. These components are required to play the game.
Q. How many times can I install and uninstall GTA IV using the retail disc I purchased?
A. As many times as you would like, if using the retail disc version.
Q. Will I need the disc in the drive at all times?
A. To launch and play the GTA IV retail version, you must have GTA IV Disc 1 in the drive. If you want to play without a disk in the drive, you should buy the digital version of the game.
Q. If I download a copy from a digital distribution channel, such as Direct2Drive, how many times can I then uninstall and reinstall the game?
A. Each digital download vendor has its own policy on the number of installations that are allowed. Check the vendor's policy before you purchase.
Q. Will the downloaded digital distribution version of the game come with any different type of DRM than the retail version?
A. All versions of the game will use SecuROM for Product Activation. Downloadable versions of the game will have additional code if the vendor requires it, such as Valve's Steam program.
Q. I have several machines, including a large rig at home, in my office, and a laptop that I take on the road. Can I install the game on all of my machines at once, and if so, how many?
A. Yes. If you have the retail disc version you will just need to take the disc with you and you can play on an unlimited number of machines. For the digital download versions you can install the game on 5 different PCs at one time, and can always REVOKE a license from any of those machines at any time to allow more new installations on a total of 5 machines at any time.
Q. If I install the digital download version on my multiple machines, will it be easy, like iTunes, to simply reset which computers I've authorized on my own?
A. Our authentication tool does not work quite the same as iTunes. Once the game is installed, if a user never goes online again, we cannot REVOKE a license from that computer. So a global 'reset' is not available for the digital distribution authentication.
There are tools on the local machine and support options to revoke a license on any particular machine, in just about any case, but they must be REVOKED one-at-a-time.
Q. If I need to activate this game online when I purchase it, what measures are in place to ensure I can still play the game in the event that a Rockstar server becomes temporarily unavailable? I don't want to be stuck with a $60 coaster in my house. I just paid for it!
A. As mentioned above, registration is a one-time process in most cases and only takes a few seconds to perform.
Q. Will I ever need to call any sort of hotline, whatsoever; if I should run into any trouble reinstalling the game I have already paid for?
A. There are various web-support options for both Rockstar Games and SecuROM, but phone support is available to both companies if needed.
Q. In the seemingly inevitable event that some dirty pirate manages to crack GTA IV PC and make it available, what are the advantages and disadvantages to using a legitimate copy over a pirated one?
A. 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.
Rockstar Games rewards loyal, paying customers and will offer incentives and downloadable content that will only be available to registered users of the game, running non-hacked copies, via Rockstar Games Social Club.
Q. Is this game going to be available on Steam? And if you are using SecuROM on the retail version, will it also be a part of the any version distributed digitally? Either via Steam or other?
A. All versions of the game will use SecuROM functionality. Steam will requires an extra layer of code to purchase and buy the game via Steam. Since Steam requires a login it will not have install limits that some other Digital Download copies will.
Q. The SecuROM name alone instantly scares away so many vocal online consumers such as me, why exactly has Rockstar decided to use it as well? I swore I'd NEVER buy ANY game with SecuROM, ever, based on principal. What makes GTA IV any different?
A. SecuROM offers a diverse toolset to publishers to help safeguard their IP and interests. Vocal 'board posters' seem to be most down on the SecuROM feature that limits the number of installations. But this SecuROM functionality is really nothing different than what iTunes has used for years now, which is used in over 500 millions files purchased from iTunes store.
We recognize that the installation limits have been a major issue, so we have not limited the number of installations for the retail disk version of GTA IV PC. The only installation limits will be the ones used by our digital distribution partners. If users are concerned about install limits, they should buy the retail disk version of the game.
Q. I share a PC with my brother. If we buy GTA IV, will we still be able to play separate games? Can I play my game and save my progress in offline and online stat tracking, while he plays separately on his own when I'm not? We won't have to buy two copies of the game, will we? We don't have to do that for our 360 games.
A. If two users who play under the same windows account want to track offline games separately, they will just need to create two profiles in the game in the Games for Windows-LIVE interface in the game.
If two users want to track their own Achievements and rankings in online MP matches, they will each need their own Gamertag, which is also created in the Games for Windows-LIVE interface.
If users would like to track their own stats progress and other features exclusive to Social Club, they would each need a separate Social Club account to do so as well.
Q. If I uninstall GTA IV, how can I be certain that there won't be anything left on my computer? I remember hearing that SecuROM was still on computers even if someone uninstalled Spore. I don't want to have to jump through any hoops just to uninstall a game and anything else that was on the disc when I installed it.
A. As part of the uninstall process, the Rockstar Games Social Club application and the GTA IV game can both be removed. Shared software and plug-ins, such as Games for Windows Live, Adobe Flash and Direct-X may have to be deleted separately. In regards to SecuROM, deleting GTA IV will remove the active functions if it is the only application that requires SecuROM, but some traces will remain, such as a registry entry and file, which allows you to reinstall without re-entering your authentication code. We are working with SecuROM to post information on our support pages regarding how to remove these inactive traces of the program for users who wish to do so.
Q. I have serious problems with software or registry entries being installed on my computer by games and then not allowing me to uninstall them. Even if I do manage to get them off of my computer, how can I be sure my game will still run?
A. If you remove any components needed for GTA IV, like SecuROM, Games for Windows-LIVE or Social Club, the game will not run. Period.
Registry entries are part of each of these components and if removed will stop you from playing the game until you re-install all necessary components.
Q. Once I finish playing GTA IV, how can I go about giving it to my brother or friend as a gift? I bought it in the store just like all my other games, I can still hand it off to others once I'm done with it, right?
A. You can give the game out to anyone you want, at any point. If you bought the disc version, only the user who currently has the disc in the drive while playing will get to do so.
Q: What are the Minimum System Requirements?
OS: Windows Vista - Service Pack 1 / XP - Service Pack 3
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8Ghz, AMD Athalon X2 64 2.4Ghz
Memory: 1.5GB, 16GB Free Hard Drive Space
Video Card: 256MB NVIDIA 7900 / 256MB ATI X1900
Q: What are the Recommended System Requirements?
OS: Windows Vista - Service Pack 1 / Windows XP - Service Pack 3
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad 2.4Ghz, AMD Phenom X3 2.1Ghz
Memory: 2.5GB Vista / 2GB XP, 18 GB Free Hard Drive Space
Video Card: 512MB NVIDIA 8600 / 512MB ATI 3870
Q: What are the Other System Requirements?
Initial activation requires internet connection; Online play requires log-in to Games for Windows - LIVE and Rockstar Games Social Club (13+ to register); retail version requires disc in drive to play (unlimited installations for retail discs in most countries); software installations required including Sony DADC SecuROM, Adobe Flash, DirectX, and Microsoft's .NET Framework, Games for Windows - LIVE, and Internet Explorer.