PC Gamer's Greg Vederman
takes a look at
some of the copy protection systems being employed for PC games, including the totally sketchy bane of legitimate PC
game buyers everywhere: StarForce! He writes, "StarForce, is notorious for not only making it difficult for a
small percentage of legitimate users to load up StarForce-protected games, but also for leaving potentially
problem-causing StarForce software behind on your PC, even after you’ve deleted the game it was
Most of the article is about StarForce--and a pitch to check out the more in depth coverage in this month's PC Gamer--though it's worth noting that not every game uses these methods of copy protection, despite Vederman's proclamation that "any PC game bought at retail is going to have it embedded on the game disc(s) in one form or another." Stardock's Galactic Civilizations II not only refuses to use the "draconian DRM schemes or CD copy protection" offered by companies like StarForce, but they've incurred StarForce's juvenile wrath for their abstention.
On their official site, Stardock defends their customer-friendly decision to avoid the hassles that copy protection entails while linking to a forum post in which StarForce actually "provided a working URL to a list of pirated GalCiv II torrent" (image). It seems StarForce doesn't like when successful games (apparently the #1 PC game at Wal-Mart last week) don't buy their snake oil.