Report: Games with SecuROM and SafeDisc DRM won't run under Windows 10

Mass Effect 1 cover

We found out earlier today that Microsoft, through Windows 10, can disable pirated games (specifically, Microsoft games) on your PC. In light of that, it's a bit ironic to learn, according to Rock, Paper, Shotgun's translation of a Rocket Beans TV interview with Microsoft's Boris Schneider-Johne at Gamescom, that Windows 10 won't be able to run games that use the SafeDisc and SecuROM DRM technology.

The original interview is available on YouTube if you happen to speak German, but the relevant bit is this: "Everything that ran in Windows 7 should also run in Windows 10. There are just two silly exceptions: antivirus software and stuff that’s deeply embedded into the system needs updating—but the developers are on it already—and then there are old games on CD-Rom that have DRM. This DRM stuff is also deeply embedded in your system, and that’s where Windows 10 says, 'Sorry, we cannot allow that, because that would be a possible loophole for computer viruses.' That’s why there are a couple of games from 2003-2008 with Securom, etc. that simply don’t run without a no-CD patch or some such."

The funny thing is that this isn't necessarily, or at least entirely, a bad thing. As RPS notes, Safedisc introduced security vulnerabilities in Windows, and SecuROM is notoriously problematic as well, so leaving them by the wayside may well be better for Win10's overall security and stability. Some games have been patched by developers or publishers to remove DRM, and DRM-free versions of many older releases are now available through GOG. Cracks are always an option—again, ironic—but not everyone is capable of, or comfortable with, wading into that particular morass. And the simple fact is that not many people are likely to fall into the narrow demographic of gamers affected by the loss.

Even so, the bottom line here is that if you have a disc-based copy of a game you still like to play around with—BioShock, maybe, or Mass Effect—you're going to need some kind of Plan B. And anyone who enjoys occasionally firing up classics from long ago may be in for unhappy surprises down the road, too. We've emailed Microsoft for more information and will update if and when we receive a reply.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.