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Old 07-21-09, 10:22 AM   #1
mailman2
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Default GFWL - exceeded key usage. MS's DRM in your DRM infected PC Games

So for anyone that doesn't know, all the GFWL (games for windows live) games not only have DRM for the game itself but also for how many times you can login to your profile with those keys.

For example:
I own a D2D copy of GTA IV which I always revoke the key when I need to reinstall. I've still got all the activations in tact. However, when installing the game now I'm getting an error trying to get into GFWL.
"Can't sign in because you've exceeded the usage allowed by your product key. Please enter another product key"
So I call GFWL support at 877-274-4349. They wanted me to reinstall the game, so I did. Then they wanted me to create a new admin account and try reinstalling it again, so I did. All the while both I and the support guy (which thank God he was in the US and not in some third world, un-english-speaking country) knew damn well the key needs to be reset. But this isn't something that can easily be done.

After all this they are now going to give me a call back with a new code for GFWL. What a PITA but if this isn't bad enough - all GFWL games have this extra layer of DRM built in. So not only do you have your key for the game with activation / revokation but all games with GFWL are also limited through Games for Windows Live!!

I own a few others, Gears of War, Fuel, etc.

So I guess this rant is another "DRM sucks cause it hurts people that buy games" rant. I can create an offline profile without a problem but I bought the damn game and expect it to work 100%.

What do you guys think?
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Old 07-21-09, 10:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: GFWL - exceeded key usage. MS's DRM in your DRM infected PC Games



Thats where GFWL belongs IMO.
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Old 07-21-09, 11:02 AM   #3
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Default Re: GFWL - exceeded key usage. MS's DRM in your DRM infected PC Games

The only GFWL games that I know of that require activation are Shadowrun and Halo 2 PC, activation on GTA IV sounds like a D2D proprietary thing.

As for limited number of uses, exactly how many times have you uninstalled and reinstalled GTA IV? I've reinstalled Shadowrun at least 5 times and it has never bothered me about anything.
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Old 07-21-09, 11:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: GFWL - exceeded key usage. MS's DRM in your DRM infected PC Games

all i can say is this is the most restarded thing ever and just encourages pirating more then ever
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Old 07-21-09, 11:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: GFWL - exceeded key usage. MS's DRM in your DRM infected PC Games

You had to reregister you key with GFWL? After my intial time I never had to do it again when reinstalling fallout 3. I always thought it saved the authorization to your profile server side. It might be a D2D thing like Ray16 said since they have thir own drm with online activation.
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Old 07-21-09, 12:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: GFWL - exceeded key usage. MS's DRM in your DRM infected PC Games

Quote:
Originally Posted by |MaguS| View Post
You had to reregister you key with GFWL? After my intial time I never had to do it again when reinstalling fallout 3. I always thought it saved the authorization to your profile server side. It might be a D2D thing like Ray16 said since they have thir own drm with online activation.
Exactly... when I reinstall a GFW Live game and sign in to my Live Profile, it automatically knows I have put the key in before, and doesn't ask. I have only entered all my GFW Live keys once.

Are you trying to have the game on different profiles? If so, why?
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Old 07-21-09, 12:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: GFWL - exceeded key usage. MS's DRM in your DRM infected PC Games

Well here is the deal, its not just a D2D thing.

You install the game and activate it with Rockstar, the code is stored for GFWL too. If you crack the game, which I have on occasion to avoid losing an activation (when I was running Vista and 7 on separate HDs) when you start it and come up with the GFWL sign in you will have to manually type it in. So it's definitely tied to GFWL if you legitimately activate the game first GFWL must use the registry entry for that key.

When you download your profile from Live it's sending your key for GTA IV to their server as well. All GFWL games do this and they all have a limit to how many times you can do this before you will have to contact them. I verified this - they wouldnt tell me specifics on how many times you can do this, it may vary from game to game but has nothing to do with retail vs downloadable content.

I have reinstalled GTA IV maybe 10 times, always revoking my key from Rockstar... so maybe the GFWL maximum is 10? Not sure, they wouldn't tell me. At the least they arent in India which I guess they used to be - so thats a good thing.

Oh, btw I contacted Rockstar first and they told me flat out - "thats a MS GFWL thing, not us. Please contact them."
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Old 07-21-09, 12:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: GFWL - exceeded key usage. MS's DRM in your DRM infected PC Games

Quote:
Originally Posted by |MaguS| View Post
You had to reregister you key with GFWL? After my intial time I never had to do it again when reinstalling fallout 3. I always thought it saved the authorization to your profile server side. It might be a D2D thing like Ray16 said since they have thir own drm with online activation.
GFWL keys are currently stored client-side in your AppData folder. So long as you don't format/reinstall windows or delete the GFW AppData folder you shouldn't have to enter the key on subsequent installs.

However, I believe GFWL version 3 due out later this summer will actually tie keys to your account server-side. No word on if this change will be retroactive or if it'll only apply to games released after the update becomes available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mailman2 View Post
Well here is the deal, its not just a D2D thing.

You install the game and activate it with Rockstar, the code is stored for GFWL too. If you crack the game, which I have on occasion to avoid losing an activation (when I was running Vista and 7 on separate HDs) when you start it and come up with the GFWL sign in you will have to manually type it in. So it's definitely tied to GFWL if you legitimately activate the game first GFWL must use the registry entry for that key - but it always transmits when you download your profile.

When you download your profile from Live it's sending your key for GTA IV to their server as well. All GFWL games do this and they all have a limit to how many times you can do this before you will have to contact them. I verified this - they wouldnt tell me specifics on how many times you can do this, it may vary from game to game but has nothing to do with retail vs downloadable content.

I have reinstalled GTA IV maybe 10 times, always revoking my key from Rockstar... so maybe the GFWL maximum is 10? Not sure, they wouldn't tell me. At the least they arent in India which I guess they used to be - so thats a good thing.
Are you sure this isn't a SecuROM, Direct-2-Drive or Rockstar "Social Club" (assuming the social club has any anti-piracy features) specific issue? This is the first I've heard of GFWL by itself doing such a thing.
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Old 07-21-09, 12:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: GFWL - exceeded key usage. MS's DRM in your DRM infected PC Games

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Originally Posted by RAY16 View Post
GFWL keys are currently stored client-side in your AppData folder. So long as you don't format/reinstall windows you never have to enter the key on subsequent installs.

However, I believe GFWL version 3 due out later this summer will actually tie keys to your account server-side. No word on if this change will be retroactive or if it'll only apply to games released after the update becomes available.
Not true. They are calling me back with a new key after they "investigate". Some googling found that MS has to issue a new key now to fix this. As for it being stored client side thats why they had me reinstall the game in a new profile to see if that was the problem. It wasn't.
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Old 07-21-09, 12:49 PM   #10
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Default Re: GFWL - exceeded key usage. MS's DRM in your DRM infected PC Games

Quote:
Originally Posted by RAY16 View Post
GFWL keys are currently stored client-side in your AppData folder. So long as you don't format/reinstall windows or delete the GFW AppData folder you shouldn't have to enter the key on subsequent installs.

However, I believe GFWL version 3 due out later this summer will actually tie keys to your account server-side. No word on if this change will be retroactive or if it'll only apply to games released after the update becomes available.

Are you sure this isn't a SecuROM, Direct-2-Drive or Rockstar "Social Club" specific issue? This is the first I've heard of GFWL by itself doing such a thing.
It has nothing to do with RSGC or secure rom. I asked the support guy if games like Fallout 3 and Gears of War do this too and he said "yes", but they couldnt disclose the activation limits per game. I was like "...well I wont be buying anymore GFWL games in that case."
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Old 07-21-09, 12:56 PM   #11
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Default Re: GFWL - exceeded key usage. MS's DRM in your DRM infected PC Games

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Originally Posted by mailman2 View Post
Not true. They are calling me back with a new key after they "investigate". Some googling found that MS has to issue a new key now to fix this. As for it being stored client side thats why they had me reinstall the game in a new profile to see if that was the problem. It wasn't.
GFWL keys are stored in the AppData folder. Maybe Rockstar changed that with their game, but every GFWL game I've had experience with has done so.

Regardless, this is an interesting discovery. But is it really so much worse than SecuROM or TAGES online activation? If you boycott GFWL you'd have to boycott the others as well, lest you contradict yourself. Keep in mind that I'm not a fan of online activation or install limits myself, but it would be silly to single out GFWL.
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Old 07-21-09, 01:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: GFWL - exceeded key usage. MS's DRM in your DRM infected PC Games

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GFWL keys are stored in the AppData folder. Maybe Rockstar changed that with their game, but every GFWL game I've had experience with has done so.

Regardless, this is an interesting discovery. But is it really so much worse than SecuROM or TAGES online activation? If you boycott GFWL you'd have to boycott the others as well, lest you contradict yourself. Keep in mind that I'm not a fan of online activation or install limits myself, but it would be silly to single out GFWL.
I hear what you are saying about the AppData folder, I'm not disagreeing with you about that - but that it send this information and uses "activations" with GFWL.

What really sucks about it - they offer no revoke for it at all, you have to call them and wait for days. When I asked if there was a way to revoke the key for GFWL, the response was a stumped..."Huh??". So I explained to him I can revoke my keys for other games like Mirror's Edge, GTA IV, Far Cry 2. The support tech never heard of the term, and of course said there is no way to get the activations back you have to call them and deal with them.

You CAN create an offline game profile and that will save your progress, using GFWL is only for the multiplayer component of the game. I was able to play with a new profile, offline without a problem - however you cannot connect to MP at all. So what you are saying about storing client side, I would imagine would be true of an offline profile, there wouldnt be any key transmissiong to GFWL if you just use an offline profile.
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