If you are a PC gamer, then you are no doubt eagerly awaiting the release of GTA 4 (Grand Theft Auto IV). Actually, the game’s PC release date is less than a week from now on; it will officially be released in North America (NA) on the 2nd of December and in Europe (EU) on the 3rd of December. Unlike its console counterparts, PC version of GTA4 comes embedded with DRM (Digital Rights Management) software. Yep, you guessed correct; it’s SecuROM. Not just any other version of SecuROM but the online activated, supposedly ‘hard to crack’ variant of SecuROM 7.1.
This essentially means that every legitimate user needs to activate their copy of GTA 4 online in order to play the game. There is however no limit to the number of activations allowed per user and nor are any reactivations required. Embedding a DRM as controversial as SecuROM into Grand Theft Auto 4 is somewhat surprising on Rockstar’s part, especially considering that their last PC release Bully : Scholarship Edition, was completely DRM free.
Anyway, embedding SecuROM into GTA 4 does not mean that pirates won’t crack it. So far, every major PC title of 2008 which used SecuROM protection has been cracked by scene groups such as RELOADED, Razor1911, ViTALiTY and non scene individuals such as DarkC0der. Pirates successfully released DRM removed, modified but working executables (aka cracks) for games such as Spore, Mass Effect, Alone in the Dark, Dead Space, Fallout 3 and many more. Crackers initially had trouble with the new SecuROM and it took them some time to fully crack games such as Mass Effect and Alone in the Dark. But now the protection is somewhat popular and unless SecuROM devs did some major changes to their DRM, expect a cracked version of GTA 4 to surface very soon after (or before, who knows) the game’s official release. And judging by comments on various gaming forums, it’s not just pirates that use cracked exes. Cracks are apparently popular among legitimate buyers who just don’t want SecuROM on their systems.
Speaking of cracked versions, there are many fake GTA 4 torrents floating around in public BitTorrent trackers. Do not be fooled into downloading these; the game has not leaked (yet) and these torrents are most likely viruses, malware or gay porn. When or if GTA 4 does leak, FILEnetworks Blog will be one of the first to update on the news so stay tuned.