Battlefield Hardline appears to be lumbered with DRM that treats a hardware change as a separate computer, and will lock the game after a few such changes.

Guru3D have been trying to do a performance review of Battlefield Hardline, which necessitates switching out the graphics cards to see how the game runs with each. Unfortunately, after doing so several times, they apparently hit an error – “Too many computers have accessed this account’s version of Battlefield Hardline Digital Deluxe recently. Please try again later.”

Basically, the software monitors your hardware changes. When your hardware changes a few too many times, it temporarily blocks your access to the game. Guru3D reckon it’s five hardware changes per license, with the game then “blocked for 24 hours per activation.”

This is, obviously, rubbish; your computer is yours, and changing your hardware should in no way lock you out of a game you’ve legitimately purchased. This makes hardware reviews incredibly difficult to do, obviously, but there are also legitimate reasons why you might swap out bits of your hardware – because, you know, the PC lets you do that sort of thing, and it’s one of the advantages of the system. Let’s say you install the game and your graphics card (#1) dies, so you replace it with a spare you’ve got lying around (#2) while you wait for a new one (#3) to turn up. That’s three different hardware configurations right there. Maybe you put some more RAM in, too? Or… well, you get the picture.

It might not be something most people would encounter (or at least, not too quickly) but it’s still hardly a positive for anybody. Are people sharing their Origin accounts so much that it’s a massive, legitimate problem, and EA needs to monitor the hardware that’s using those accounts? Ugh.

Tim McDonald
Tim has been playing PC games for longer than he's willing to admit. He's written for a number of publications, but has been with PC Invasion - in all its various incarnations - for over a decade. When not writing about games, Tim can occasionally be found speedrunning terrible ones, making people angry in Dota 2, or playing something obscure and random. He's also weirdly proud of his status as (probably) the Isle of Man's only professional games journalist.

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