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PC gamers eagerly awaiting the release of Mass Effect were annoyed to learn last week that BioWare was going to include a perpetual online authentication system for the game. Basically, you would've had to connect to an Electronic Arts server every ten days to verify that you're not a software pirate. After a harsh reaction from fans, though, BioWare has decided to back down.

BioWare community manager Jay Watamaniuk announced on the Mass Effect forums on Friday that they will no longer utilize periodic re-authentication. According to Watamaniuk, they reversed their decision in deference to "our many friends in the armed services and internationally who expressed concerns that they would not be able re-authenticate as often as required." I imagine most gamers don't want to deal with authentication server crashes, either.

Under the new system, gamers will only have to authorize their CD key once online. They can activate that key up to three times in case they want to install the game on multiple computers. It's definitely a victory for gaming convenience but the whole issue underscores how concerned game companies are about PC piracy. BioWare's taking a chance on the PC market, something a lot of developers aren't willing to do these days, so hopefully they're rewarded for their faith in gamers by solid sales. Otherwise, you could end up seeing even fewer ports of games to the PC.