TRON: Evolution unplayable 8 years after launch due to DRM

TRON: Evolution is a game with a rather familiar story these days. A license expires, a studio closes, or something else like that happens and the game gets removed from Steam. What’s a little more unusual is that the SecuROM DRM license also appears to have lapsed, and owners of the game are finding TRON: Evolution entirely unplayable.

“Yesterday I decided to play TRON: Evolution, maybe even practice speedrunning it, so I install the game, try to activate it (game still uses SecuROM DRM) and… the serial key has expired (?!),” read a submission on the /r/tron subreddit.

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“In reality, everyone who owns the game, but doesn’t have it installed (and launched at least once) right now can’t play the game (probably) ever again,” the submission continued.

The Reddit submission goes on to state that the poster is unsure whether this is SecuROM’s or Disney’s fault. What they do know is that many (if not all) serial keys have been revoked, effectively rendering the game entirely unplayable. There is a solution to the problem, but it’s not the most ideal for someone who owns it looking to do a fresh install.

“From what I understand (not confirmed), the only way to be able to play it, is to have it installed and activated before it all happened. After uninstalling the game you have to de-activate the key, so reinstalled game won’t work either.”

TRON: Evolution DRM lightcycle

Typically, games removed from Steam are only removed from the storefront. People who have already purchased games are still able to access them and even reinstall them if they’re deleted. However, DRM layered on top of the actual product could potentially render a game unplayable, which seems to be what’s happened here.

“Following through to the linked discussions, it looks like the game’s SecuROM subscription ended, and now no one can validate new installs,” stated a comment on the /r/Games discussion on teh topic. “The game was delisted from Steam back in April, but installation was still working until October or so.”

“On the other hand, it looks like the protection was cracked a long time ago,” the comment continued. “Stinks that legit owners would have to go track that down just to play their game now.”

The situation with TRON: Evolution is deeply unfortunate and shows the other edge of the double-sided sword of DRM. Hopefully, someone in a position of authority will be able to resolve this problem in a way that satisfies paying customers.