Game Tested: Sins of a Solar Empire
DRM Implemented: “DRM Free”
Medium: Disc Version
Version Tested: 1.00 and 1.05
Release Date: April 2008
Evaluated By RYG: March 2011
Bucking against the trend set by EA with its high profile release of Spore, Stardock went ahead and released Sins of a Solar Empire DRM Free. It was a marketing strategy that made waves and headlines – even bore a “Gamers Bill of Rights”, which has now been updated in Stardock’s latest Consumer Report.
Like Colin McRae DiRT, World of Goo (Disc Version) and Cortex Command (TB24) RYG found that DRM Free does not necessarily mean that Consumers will have rights and ownership to the game holistically.
Not every game will receive a “Consumer Friendly” score/rating and it was made so that every game implemented even with the worst form of DRM imaginable has equal footing against its competitors in creating a Consumer-Friendlier game.
In other words, DRM Free or not, the burden on how RYG evaluates and rates PC Games is measured collectively between a Publisher’s contribution, a DRM Vendor’s contribution and a Digital Distributor’s contribution.
Scores are- 77% for the DRM Vendor and 78% for the Publisher
If Consumers didn’t register the game – if they did not update Sins of a Solar Empire, then perhaps the final score would be significantly higher than what it is now. Or, Sins of a Solar Empire would have been a truer DRM Free game in the current market.
However, it fails in that DRM-Free definition on the basis of how patches are delivered and what Consumers must go through even if they are not well initiated with Stardock’s Impulse Client. Some may not be miffed by this, much like this player who is in support of this “DRM-Free” strategy. On the other hand, if Sins of a Solar Empire was meant to be DRM-Free, it should be exactly that: DRM Free, as responded by Caliant.
I believe that when you buy something, it's yours to do what you want with until you tire of it. It should not be subject to the affairs of Impulse in this case. I still play some games from 5+ years ago that I very much enjoy.
Will I play Sins in the medium to long term? It seems that first depends on the reliability and even existence of Impulse and I don't like that. Was Sins worth buying in spite of the DRM? Yes.
Does DRM however affect my decision on what products to purchase? Yes. You may not care if you are leasing a game rather than buying but I do.
So no, it's not a joke.
RYG finds Sins of a Solar Empire 78% “Tolerable” by Consumer Standards
You can also download the PDF Version of RYG's Evaluation Report on Sins of a Solar Empire. If anyone would like to discuss the testing results for Sins of a Solar Empire, you're more than quite welcome to join us on our forums.
NOTE: RYG evaluates all PC Games on computer systems running Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems and bearing both minimum and recommended system specifications. Internet Connections simulated range from 512kb/128kb ADSL to 24000kb/1000kb ADSL2+.