Just Cause 2 Developer On Why It Won't Utilize DRM: 'It Treats Our Fans Like Criminals'
from the a-refreshing-blast-of-honesty-and-common-sense dept
Well, we’ve certainly heard plenty about DRM and shoehorned-in multiplayer recently, what with EA’s recent Hindenburgish SimCity “launch.” As was detailed all over the web, the only people hurt by these “features” were paying customers, many of whom spent $50-60 for a server Roulette wheel that limited users to one spin every half hour.
Many developers are concerned with piracy and have made the mistake of crippling their software with DRM that punishes paying users disproportionately while affecting pirates hardly at all. At best, these efforts result in a Pyrrhic tie, damaging the developers’ relationships with their customers while having a negligible effect on infringement.
Fortunately, some developers would rather not sacrifice their customers’ happiness in order to briefly irritate a few pirates. Avalanche Studios, the developer behind Just Cause 2, is one of these forward-thinking developers. In an interview with Gaming Bolt, founder Cristofer Sundberg had this to say about DRM.
“DRM solutions which limit the game experience should not exist. That’s my honest opinion…
They make us look greedy, which we are not. It treats our fans like criminals, which they are not. With that said, I think that we deserve getting paid for years of hard work and I think piracy is hurting our ability to make great games.”
However you may feel about his statement on piracy, there’s no arguing with the fact that he’s unwilling to put anti-piracy efforts ahead of providing Avalanche’s customers with a great experience. He also parts ways with EA (among others) on another aspect of piracy prevention, one that’s almost always presented as a “feature,” rather than just another limitation on the end user.
He is also against adding multiplayer component to a game to prevent the game from being traded.
He uses his own game as an example. Just Cause 2 is rarely sighted in used game stores simply because the players who purchased it years ago are still playing it. There’s no (native) multiplayer in Just Cause 2 (excluding an awesome PC-only mod), but that has done nothing to diminish its popularity). As Sundberg sees it, throwing multiplayer options in for their own sake (or as a form of DRM/resale prevention) weakens the original product.
“Nobody wins in the end; the developer can’t make the great experience that they want to, the publisher doesn’t get its money back and the consumer is disappointed. I am convinced that this mentality contributes to the downfall of the industry.”
So, either Sundberg is crazy or he’s actually paying attention to the gaming community. At times, it almost seems as though certain companies think their customers are the last people they should listen to — a very strange position for entities in the business of selling things. Hopefully, more will realize the damage they’re doing far outweighs the nominal gains and DRM will become an exception rather than the rule for AAA developers.