An odd thread on Reddit this weekend provided a warning to those who have purchased the Special Edition of the game Xenoblade Chronicles X. The Special Edition includes the Wii U game and a few other perks. Of interest to us, is the USB drive that is included and contains the digital soundtrack of 10 songs. In actuality, the USB drive only contains a single executable on it, a .exe file. This prevents Mac owners from being to enjoy this part of the Special Edition bundle but they might be better off being spared the buggy DRM system that the publisher implemented for the Windows customers.
The USB implementation presents its initial frustrations (Windows-only, USB must be inserted to the computer as the music files cannot be moved to your music library like iTunes) before getting worse. With its custom design, some may have been hoping to copy the music locally and re-use the drive only to find that it is a paltry 800MB in capacity, according to one review on Amazon.
The executable on the drive decrypts the music contents to a mapped drive with the letter Y. It then uses Group Policy and Registry edits to restrict access to the Y drive and prevent it from showing in Explorer. Even worse, it does not revert the changes upon closing. (No idea what happens if you already have a Y drive mapped.)
This buggy attempt to reduce piracy sacrifices the experience of the paying customer. It is not recommended to run an unknown and unexpected .exe file thus using this USB soundtrack should be avoided. If the soundtrack is the primary reason you are buying the Special Edition, you might save your money and pick up the regular Xenoblade Chronicles X.
If you have launched the executable for the soundtrack, you can revert the changes by opening the Local Group Policy Editor, drilling down to Computer Configuration, Windows Components, Windows Explorer and changing the ‘Prevent access to drives from My Computer’ to Not Configured. (This tells Windows to use the default setting.)
You may then launch the Registry Editor (regedit) and drill down until you find HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorer and delete the entry with the name NoDrives or modify the value to be ‘0’ (zero). This will revert the hiding of drive letter Y.
If all of this sounds excessive to protect 10 songs going to customers that paid for a soundtrack. You’re not alone. Vote with your dollars and avoid the Special Edition of Xenoblade Chronicles X.