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StarForce was a digital rights management technology widely used in CD-ROM PC games in the mid-2000s, now seldom used in the west, it was developed by StarForce Technologies, a Russian software developer with headquarters in Moscow.
Why It Sucks
- The main reason behind StarForce's controversy and hate is the severe side effects the software brings, most notably breaking the user's computer. When a game using StarForce is installed on your computer, the DRM installs its own device driver onto the OS which has a high tendency to cause system instability and computer crashes. On Windows 7 in particular, if a game using Starforce is installed and the computer is turned off, on the next start up, the system will not boot up properly and forces the user to restore the OS. Not even removing the driver before shut down will prevent the DRM from destroying the Windows 7 installation. Reports of StarForce destroying the installation on later versions of Windows such as Windows 8 and 10 also exist. Players were forced to use virtual machines just to play the Starforce protected games without breaking their system32 (unclear).
- It was said that when reports of these system breaking issues surfaced, StarForce Technologies denied these claims and held a contest for $10,000 to prove that Starforce breaks systems. However, they required you to demonstrate it in some Muscovite office complex, under their supervision, which probably explains the fact that there are no winners.
- It was also said that when Stardock Software released their video game Galactic Civilization 2 and decided not to include DRM in the game in hopes that player will simply pay for a good game. And when Starforce caught whiff of Stardock Software's experiment (which turned out to be successful), they actually pirated Galactic Civilization 2 and then posted a list of torrent sites where one could warez the game. All in attempt to get their twisted message across: without DRM like Starforce, people can pirate any game like Galactic Civilization 2.
- This DRM also works absolutely terrible with games themselves. It often doesn't recognize the serial numbers, its own drivers and completely refuses to work properly. All these problems also prompted some people to create programs that remove Starforce DRM from the games, those being Starfuck and Starforce Nightmare, but unfortunately, they became ineffective due to the lack of updates.