A recent trend is for game developers to lock away critical content on game discs using technologies like SecuROM, to entice gamers into paying to unlock that content.
An example is the recently launched Mass Effect 3 and publishers EA's From Ashes downloadable content (DLC). It is apparently locked on the main disc with an encryption code. However, as always, hackers are a step ahead of the game and have found out how to unlock the day-one disc-locked content, without paying anything.
Xbigy Games reports it came across a YouTube video hinting that content is disc-locked with an encryption code. Gamers and franchise fans fooled into believing producer Casey Hudson and Bioware developers that the DLC was being designed separately from the main game have been proven wrong.
Be advised there are potential spoilers ahead.
The DLC mission's main character - Javik - was there all along within the main game but was locked with an encrypted code. Nevertheless, there is still a sizeable mandatory download for additional mission data (but this is not required to activate the DLC and complete the game).
All you have to do is follow the steps below to unlock Prothean DLC on the PC version of Mass Effect 3. Unfortunately, unless you have a modded Xbox 360 console you won't be able to gain access to these files. So, there is a separate method for Xbox and PS3 unlock for the DLC.
Step 1: Open Coalesced.bin with this http://wenchy.net/me3-coalesced-utility
Step 2: Search for the code: MemberValidCID=22, MemberAvailablePlotLabel=IsSelectableProthean,
Step 3: Now, replace the code in Step 2 with this: MemberValidCID=, MemberAvailablePlotLabel=,
If nothing else, gamers and fans have a great deal to learn from this.
If you thought Capcom was taking over the third installment game content (disc-locking key content behind a pay-wall), EA has outsmarted them all. Fortunately it is not the case with hackers, who have often given game developers a taste of their own medicine.
We wonder what Bioware and EA might say in their defence after being caught hiding unlockable content on the PC and none for the Xbox 360 or PS3. They might point to issues with digital rights certification problems with Xbox 360 and PS3.
The point is disc-locked content is becoming the norm in today's marketplace. We may be alarmists but if unchecked, developers could lock out large chunks of a game that the gamer has already paid for, only to force more payment for reported "DLC".
If lessons are not learnt, we may well end up paying more than the game is really worth, besides ending up with a game cut into bits and pieces.
Watch this video for more details of the DLC content - "From Ashes":