EA Labels President: DRM Is A Failed Strategy, But SimCity Didn't Have Any DRM
from the wait,-what? dept
I must admit that there are times when I become very concerned about whether or not I can actually read. Or, more concerning yet, whether I have the proper capacity to imbibe reality at all. This, friends, is surely one of those times. Barely a week removed from Super Meat Boy developer Tommy Refenes alerting Electronic Arts to the fact that their own DRM hurts their bottom line more than any amount of piracy, still in the midst of what some might call the wind-down curve of the SimCity fiasco, and with examples like Spore and their single-use codes still in my mind, I find a statement made by EA Labels President Frank Gibeau that seeks to unmake all of those thoughts.
At a developers conference, Gibeau revealed his belief that DRM is a completely useless tool for game developers. Then, to make sure that my brain was as confused as possible, he made sure I knew that SimCity didn’t have any DRM component to it.
“DRM is a failed dead-end strategy; it’s not a viable strategy for the gaming business. So what we tried to do creatively is build an online service in the SimCity universe and that’s what we sought to achieve.”
I’ll wait for your own cerebellums to cease attempting to commit suicide before beginning with the obvious rebuttal: wut? EA, notorious purveyor of DRM, now says that DRM is a failure. They also insist that requiring an always online connection for their SimCity game to function out of the box was never about DRM, it was about making the game an MMO.
“I was involved in all the meetings. DRM was never even brought up once,” Gibeau told GI.biz. “You don’t build an MMO because you’re thinking of DRM—you’re building a massively multiplayer experience, that’s what you’re building. If you play an MMO, you don’t demand an offline mode, you just don’t. And in fact, SimCity started out and felt like an MMO more than anything else and it plays like an MMO.”
Except, of course, when it doesn’t. In fact, if the game can be tweaked to play offline and is essentially the same experience, then your game is almost exactly nothing like a massively multiplayer online game. This, particularly from a company that as been caught with its hand in the lying cookie jar already, is an instantly dismissable pile of BS.
But, SimCity aside, I would issue a challenge to Mr. Gibeau. If in fact you and your company believes that DRM is a “failed strategy”, then I am sure we shall never see any form of DRM in your games moving forward. Who wants to take bets on that one?