Who Said DRM Is Necessary For Video Games? Not According To These Execs...

from the how-dare-they! dept

There have been a variety of highly questionable stories over the past few months claiming that piracy was somehow killing the PC gaming industry -- even as stats were showing that the industry is actually thriving. A lot of this came to a head over the last month, with the EA Spore fiasco -- with folks in the comments still insisting that EA had no choice and that video game companies somehow need to include DRM or they would go out of business. That's clearly not the case for a variety of reasons: (1) no DRM actually stops piracy so if piracy is costing game companies, the DRM isn't making much of a difference and (2) companies like Stardock have shown for a long time that you don't need DRM to be a success. Recently, we heard about execs from two more video game companies hitting back and explaining why DRM isn't needed.

The first, pointed out by a reader named Dave, is a guest post at Penny Arcade by the CEO of Three Rings, Daniel James, where he explains why DRM is pointless:
The business model of putting bits in a box and charging to experience said tasty bits is forever broken. Furthermore, to prevent the copying of bits is futile and ultimately destructive to the goal of any modern digital business, which is to conscript enthusiastic 'users', and from them, customers....

Money can't buy you love, but love can bring you money. In software the only sustainable way to earn money is by first creating love, and then hoping that some folks want to demonstrate that love with their dollars....

DRM takes a big poo on your best customers -- the ones who've given you money -- whilst doing nothing practical to prevent others from 'stealing' your precious content juices. Worse, it makes these renegades feel nice and righteous about sticking it to 'the man'. Stop trying to persuade people to love you more by hitting them a rusty pipe. Put down the pipe, and give up on DRM.
Then, reader Tyler Hipwell alerts us to an interview with the founders of Good Old Games, a video game company that sells old, out-of-print PC games for very low prices... and without DRM. Basically, the company recognizes the marketplace it's in and doesn't freak out about DRM or piracy (like so many others in the video game space):
"The games we offer are probably already easy to get on torrent sites, but we believe gamers would prefer to buy their products legitimately than pirate them. They just need a good reason to buy those games and we give them those reasons by selling games at low prices, optimized to run on modern operating systems and adding great bonus materials."
Not treating your customers as criminals? Giving them reasons to buy? Providing extra reasons to pay? Pricing the games reasonably? According to some video game companies, those are all impossible.


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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 1:03pm

    It is DRM that is killing their business!

    Digital Rental Media!

     

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    Ima Fish, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 1:07pm

    One thing I love about console gaming is that your peripherals always "just work." With PC games, sometimes your joystick, steering wheel, or gamepad is recognized by the game. However, sometimes you have to configure each and every button individually. The latter option is a real pain the the behind.

    The worst in that regard was the Transformers PC game. Technically you could use it with a joystick (for flying transformers), a steering wheel (for driving), and a gamepad (for the bots). But because it was so painful setting up each and every function, it was not worth doing.

    If I have a choice between buying a console game and a PC game, I'll always pick the console game because I know it'll just work. And that has nothing to do with DRM.

    When the PC gaming industry was riding high, they should have set up some standards for peripherals so they'd work from game to game. It's probably way to late now, but it'd be worth a try.

     

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      Mike42 (profile), Sep 29th, 2008 @ 3:22pm

      Re:

      Your post is pointless: it has nothing to do with the topic at hand. However...
      a. You have to own the console in question
      b. You have to have a game written to use said peripherals
      c. You can't play the game years later, 'cause you've probably sold the console and all the games, good and bad alike, unless you use a PC EMULATOR. (You're gaming on a PC again!)
      d. There is no trackball/mouse for any console that I have ever seen mass-produced, which kills accuracy.

      Can you tell I've heard these comments before, and they drive me nuts? People buying $600 consoles and $50 games, and selling or throwing the whole mess away once the next gen hits the streets. I still play Quake 1, no DRM EVER, and I love it! Of course, the lack of drm is primarily due to John Carmack, as he always removes the drm if it is distributed that way. Quake 1, 2, 3, 4, Doom 1, 2, 3, all work without even a key CD! (see, I got my post on subject, smeghead!)

       

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    Trerro, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 1:17pm

    Anyone remember Westwood

    I remember what they did with Command & Conquer: Red Alert - and it's the opposite of what companies do now. Like a lot of RTS games, it had 2 campaigns, 1 on each disc. They did something interesting though - the whole game was on both discs (the cutscenes were really the only reason they needed 2) and you were encouraged to pass the one you weren't actively using to a friend. There was no DRM or copy protection of any kind - not even a CD key.

    I lent the game to 2 friends, both of whom not only purchased it, but both expansions. I did as well. Burned copies got passed around my school all over the place, and sure, some people kept a CDR and never bought the game. There's no question, however, that by actively encouraging people to pass that other disc around... and doing nothing to stop you from passing copies too, they got a LOT of sales they otherwise wouldn't have. At the time, RA was one of the best selling games ever.

    That was about a decade ago. Sadly, like about 3/4 of the good game companies in the US, Westwood was bought out, raped, and pillaged by EA, and is now a soulless husk of its former self.

     

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      Ima Fish, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 1:26pm

      Re: Anyone remember Westwood

      I think the difference between now and then is that game companies became legitimate businesses and hired a bunch of MBAs and lawyers who are trying to drain as much profit from their customers as possible. Destroying their businesses in the process.

      A game programer thinks, "My new game is awesome. I want people to play it. I'm going to release it as shareware in hopes they'll buy the full copy."

      The MBAer thinks, "Why aren't we charging for the shareware versions?"

      And of course the new corporate lawyer thinks, "Why aren't we suing our customers?!"

       

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        joshua, Sep 30th, 2008 @ 1:17pm

        Re: Re: Anyone remember Westwood

        and the gamer says, "ok, I grabbed my ankles now what?"

        seriously though good point lol.

         

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      Murder[BoRG], Sep 29th, 2008 @ 1:34pm

      Re: Anyone remember Westwood

      Ahh...the good ol' days of Command and Conquer: Red Alert.

      I agree, the concept of giving customers an additional disk to pass around to spread the word was genius. Word of mouth can be quite the advertising tool if properly utilized. It's quite a shame we'll most likely not see anything of the sort again.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 1:37pm

    Anybody remember Wolfenstein? Great game for its time. The developer released a free copy of the game with no DRM that included 10 levels. He asked you to send him 10 bucks and he would send you 20 more levels. You could get those twenty levels for free on just about any BB but a lot of people, myself included, sent him money any because you wanted to support the game/developer.

    Fans will pay if you reward them for doing so.

     

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    Baluba, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 1:38pm

    The key difference is the time it takes the cracker to obliterate the DRM and release a free version to the world. If they are delayed even a day after release, it translates into tons of cash actually, because most of the sales happen in the very first weeks from launch.

     

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      interval, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 1:47pm

      Re:

      @Baluba:
      "The key difference is the time it takes the cracker to obliterate the DRM..."

      You've kept yourself very busy fooling yourself, haven't you? You must be an EA Exec. Spore's DRM was cracked two weeks before its release in the US. The vector there was the Australian release, which came out before the American release, If I have the story strait. "A-ha!" you say. Two weeks!

      No, that release was cracked within hours of its going out the door.

      For a variety of reasons your reasoning is flawed.

       

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        Baluba, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 3:19pm

        Re: Re:

        That's one case, not the average situation. And I agree that DRM is evil, but, give me a solution to ensure the developer does not go bankrupt while you enjoy their games. The developer gets 1-5$ / copy, and many times only when some sales rate figure has been achieved. And yes, I am developing games, but my soul does not belong to the Evil Ampire. In fact, if I were, I wouldn't care, because my relationships with the distributors would prevent them from removing my games from the shelves as soon as sales dip under a certain threshold.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2008 @ 3:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "That's one case, not the average situation"

          Um, actually that is the average situation. Most games have cracks within hours of the first release, if not pre-release. Why do you think they call them 0 day groups?

          It's funny how people like you truly believe negatively impacting paying customers is a viable business strategy.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2008 @ 7:09am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And the reason that's the case is that typically a pre-existing solution (eg SecuROM) that is well understood by the cracking community is used. You might hold them up producers implemented a completely different DRM scheme for every game, but frankly I wouldn't bet on it.

             

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    Overcast, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 1:48pm


    DRM takes a big poo on your best customers -- the ones who've given you money -- whilst doing nothing practical to prevent others from 'stealing' your precious content juices.


    That's all that needs said really. When I BUY the game, I don't want to have to deal with goofy, broken DRM.

    I prefer to run under Linux when I can - and a lot of DRM makes it a big pain, if not impossible to run - 'normally' anyway. It's bad enough they ignore the Linux and MAC users in 95% of cases (99% of cases, if you are talking Linux) but adding DRM to it, is like adding insult to injury.

    Any game I've played more than once or twice - I bought a copy of. $30-50 bucks is well worth having the manual, support options, and a CD.

    But... needing the CD all the time actually lessens that value; as I know - if I'm using the CD all the time, it will inevitably end up with a scratch or two, if not more.

    Games that install and you can put the CD/DVD up in a safe place and don't need it all the time are on the top of my list. They are just easier to deal with.

    If I'm looking at three games and they all look cool - ease of use and stability will win the race. DRM kills ease of use - mostly. There is a level of 'sensible' DRM they can put in - like requiring the CD for updates, etc. But junk like Spore - forget that; it might be a great game - but I know WELL it has a limited window of usage, before it's just a cup holder.

    I mean seriously - would you buy a TV that would require you to call tech support if you change devices on it three times?

    I'm curious - if Spore has sold more copies than say... Galactic Civ... I wonder if you factor in the costs of R&D on DRM, along with support issues, if it still 'nets' more.

     

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    Craig, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 2:14pm

    I paid for Spore and downloaded it legitimately. I can easily afford the cost, as it's cheaper than going to the movies with my kids, but the game has caused me more headaches than any piece of software I have ever known. I have less than two hours of game time on it, and I literally was downloading it about an hour after it was officially released.

    I'll spare you the boring details of the problems, but the other night my oldest son had a LAN party, and for a while they all played Spore. They had downloaded a copy from TBP.org and were having a blast.

    So, I sat in front of my computer and thought:

    "Pay 50 bucks, get several headaches, and have a program that may or may not run properly at any time; a program which you have spent 500% more time doing research to fix all the problems than actually playing.

    OR --

    Visit TPB.org, download for free, have no DRM and no issues and start enjoying the game almost immediately."


    Boy, do I feel stupid. I can't believe that EA made me feel stupid for being "honest".

     

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    LostSailor, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 2:20pm

    Not treating your customers as criminals? Giving them reasons to buy? Providing extra reasons to pay? Pricing the games reasonably? According to some video game companies, those are all impossible.

    Well, even with DRM, the gaming industry seems to be managing to stay in business. Non-DRM may be a great thing, even the best thing, but it's not the only thing.

    Note that Good Old Games is selling...old games. It would seem that DRM in this instance is less than useless since the games are old and already available. In this instance, the critical point of the business is giving players "a reason" to buy. And since they're old games, a low price is likely all they could hope to get.

    For this company, non-DRM makes excellent business sense. Now, I know everyone here will claim that non-DRM makes excellent business sense for all game companies, and for the developers of new games, that may be the case in some instances and for those businesses that choose to take that route. But the companies that still issue games with DRM have made a decision that DRM makes business sense for them, and they still seem to be able to turn a profit, so their business model isn't dead yet.

     

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      Mike (profile), Sep 29th, 2008 @ 5:06pm

      Re:

      For this company, non-DRM makes excellent business sense.

      Can you explain a scenario where DRM makes excellent business sense? It doesn't do anything to stop piracy, and only ends up frustrating legitimate customers.

      But the companies that still issue games with DRM have made a decision that DRM makes business sense for them, and they still seem to be able to turn a profit, so their business model isn't dead yet.

      You can turn a profit with a bad business model, but it tends to limit your profit. Again, I would like someone to explain how DRM can possibly be viewed as a good business model decision. There is no model I can see where it makes sense.

       

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        LostSailor, Sep 30th, 2008 @ 9:06am

        Re: Re:

        Can you explain a scenario where DRM makes excellent business sense? It doesn't do anything to stop piracy, and only ends up frustrating legitimate customers.

        Does nothing to stop piracy? Not quite. While it's true that it is impossible to completely stop piracy, DRM certainly stops some piracy by making it technically more difficult. And I'm sure you know the business case for DRM as well as I do: it's protecting first the initial market for the product to at least ensure recouping of investment and profit. Some DRM schemes are implemented better than others, and while some customers may be frustrated, the vast majority of customers probably take little notice of the DRM.

        You can turn a profit with a bad business model, but it tends to limit your profit.

        Well, gaming companies seem to be doing just fine by selling products with DRM. While the most ardent anti-DRM, some on this thread, cite anecdotal "evidence" that not having DRM increases sales by exposing the product to people who might not have bought it otherwise, I've not seen any concrete evidence that DRM hurts sales and profits or that not having DRM increases sales and profits.

        You say that this "bad" business model "limits" profits, but I would say that it protects profits.

        Actually, your arguments regarding digital music would tend to show the opposite: if music or games are free of all restrictions because they are "infinite" products, they should be given away. In a market where such products can be obtained for free, they generally will be, and increasingly so over time.

         

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          JB, Sep 30th, 2008 @ 10:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          LostSailor,

          You are truly lost.

          Does nothing to stop piracy? Not quite. While it's true that it is impossible to completely stop piracy, DRM certainly stops some piracy by making it technically more difficult. And I'm sure you know the business case for DRM as well as I do: it's protecting first the initial market for the product to at least ensure recouping of investment and profit. Some DRM schemes are implemented better than others, and while some customers may be frustrated, the vast majority of customers probably take little notice of the DRM.

          I propose to you a couple scenarios:
          1. A technically proficient gamer dislikes DRM and wants a DRM-free version of a game. He (for simplicity) does a quick search online to determine his options. This turns up information on how to download cracked versions of the game. Knowing the technical aspect of this, he proceeds to download, mount and install the DRM-free version.
          2. A technically ill-equipped gamer has the same in mind. He asks a few friends what they think about the game. Statistically speaking someone in his circle of friends would be technically proficient. Therefore, someone guides him to the DRM-free version.

          In both of these scenarios the DRM-free or 'pirated' version is accessible by most everyone. So technically your negation of the comment "Does nothing to stop piracy?" is correct; however, if 10% of the world is technically proficient and there is a 'prated' version available, the remaining 90% have access to it directly or indirectly.

          Well, gaming companies seem to be doing just fine by selling products with DRM. ... I've not seen any concrete evidence that DRM hurts sales and profits or that not having DRM increases sales and profits.

          What you request is impossible since showing sales with DRM versus DRM-free must be done using the same product to attain any credibility. I feel certain that if you were to place the same product on the self with and without DRM (and labeled as such), the DRM-free version would sell better than the DRM version. Some 'anecdotal' semi-concrete evidence for you to consider:

          I purchased the game and downloaded the 'pirated' version.

          My friend found out about the DRM laden game and decided to cancel his pre-order and simply download the 'pirated' version.

          Another friend of mine also heard about the DRM and decided to simply not play the game at all, canceling his pre-order.

          From these three people who would have bought the game (we all three had pre-orders) only one purchased the game. Out of the three, two of us downloaded the 'pirated' version. One of those 'pirated' downloads led to a sale (I downloaded the game before its release in the States).

          For those that look at the number of times a 'pirated' version is downloaded and equate that to lost sales, they need to look into causal relationships more and realize that these two are completely independent and have their own drivers. For those that understand set theory, the segment of people who downloaded a 'pirated' version includes at least one of the segment of people who purchased the game and therefore negates the lost sale theory proposed by many lawyers.

           

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            LostSailor, Sep 30th, 2008 @ 1:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            In both of these scenarios the DRM-free or 'pirated' version is accessible by most everyone. So technically your negation of the comment "Does nothing to stop piracy?" is correct; however, if 10% of the world is technically proficient and there is a 'prated' version available, the remaining 90% have access to it directly or indirectly.

            The pirated version of a game may be available (technically speaking nearly all games and music and movies and tv shows might be "available" somewhere) but in reality only the most motivated are going to go through the hurdles of getting and using it. DRM does go quite a ways toward deterring "crimes of opportunity" by making it easier to just buy and use the DRM product. Without the DRM, "sharing" a product without paying for it makes the piracy nearly effortless.

            As Mike's post quotes the alternative business model is "hope": " In software the only sustainable way to earn money is by first creating love, and then hoping that some folks want to demonstrate that love with their dollars...."

            What you request is impossible since showing sales with DRM versus DRM-free must be done using the same product to attain any credibility. I feel certain that if you were to place the same product on the self with and without DRM (and labeled as such), the DRM-free version would sell better than the DRM version.

            Well, it might be difficult, but it's not impossible to document whether having a non-DRM product increases sales. A better experiment than the one you propose would be to compare sales of similar or closely related products where one has DRM and the other doesn't. It's not an exact comparison, but there are ways to adjust figures for the differences. And if the gaming community is serious about convincing companies to remove DRM altogether, it only will be hard figures from such experiments that will convince them.

            For those that look at the number of times a 'pirated' version is downloaded and equate that to lost sales, they need to look into causal relationships more and realize that these two are completely independent and have their own drivers.

            I agree that you can't automatically count pirate downloads with lost sales on a one-to-one basis, but it doesn't necessarily mean that pirating doesn't cause lost sales. Cliff Harris's (Positech) experience in asking on his blog "why do you pirate my games" was quite instructive. Reading through the comments I was struck not so much by the objection to DRM, but by the folks who really wanted to play the game but honestly said, it was free so why pay?

            Without some minimal assurance that if someone invests time, effort, and money into creating a popular game that they will be recompensed and profit from their work, you won't find many people making that investment.

            This is precisely what companies that use DRM are concerned about. Mike doesn't think it's a viable business model (in spite of the fact that most of these companies are still going quite well), but DRM is protection of their profits and their business.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2008 @ 2:53pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              DRM does go quite a ways toward deterring "crimes of opportunity" by making it easier to just buy and use the DRM product. Without the DRM, "sharing" a product without paying for it makes the piracy nearly effortless.

              That's fallacious. it may deter the person who says "here grab a copy" but it strongly encourages those that is interferes with, the people who say "the legit version doens't work on my computer, does the pirated version?" DRM may deter a SMALL ammount of unauthorized copying, but it heavily encourages much larger amounts, even among those that would have been 100% legitimate customers.

              btw, I'm another of those people who canceled a multi-year long pre-order on spore and convinced many of my friends not to get it either due to the DRM.

              on the other hand I'm a very strong supporter of Stardock games and other DRM free companies. I've given away copies of the games I've bought (as in I bought extra copies as gifts AND made unauthorized copies to a few friends) and nearly everyone I've introduced a game two has bought a copy and spread the word the same way I have.


              Well, it might be difficult, but it's not impossible to document whether having a non-DRM product increases sales. A better experiment than the one you propose would be to compare sales of similar or closely related products where one has DRM and the other doesn't. It's not an exact comparison, but there are ways to adjust figures for the differences. And if the gaming community is serious about convincing companies to remove DRM altogether, it only will be hard figures from such experiments that will convince them.

              you can use stardock as an Example here, every time they have lessened the DRM they used they saw a noticeable spike in sales. They were motivated by greed to get rid of DRM and found their sales boosted in the end.

              I agree that you can't automatically count pirate downloads with lost sales on a one-to-one basis, but it doesn't necessarily mean that pirating doesn't cause lost sales. Cliff Harris's (Positech) experience in asking on his blog "why do you pirate my games" was quite instructive. Reading through the comments I was struck not so much by the objection to DRM, but by the folks who really wanted to play the game but honestly said, it was free so why pay?

              that shows a problem with the game. for example, would you buy a version of Tetris that has nothing new or unique added? most people would say no because they have it for other devices, got it for free somewhere. but ask those same people about a tetris game that allows 2-X multiplayer games and new game modes and reliable updates and they'll pay for it. each of those is something that you can require product registration to get while not being too bothered by those that just download it.

              Also, while there are some people who won't by the game because they can get it for free there are just as many who will get the game for free then buy the game and spread the word amongst friends to buy it as well.

               

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              JB, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 8:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              LostSailor,

              Again you are missing the point.

              The pirated version of a game may be available...but in reality only the most motivated are going to go through the hurdles of getting and using it. DRM does go quite a ways toward deterring "crimes of opportunity" by making it easier to just buy and use the DRM product. Without the DRM, "sharing" a product without paying for it makes the piracy nearly effortless.

              The hurdles you speak of are only overcome once and that is by the person or team that initially 'pirates' the game. If you consider installing a small piece of software and downloading the 'pirated' version as hurdles, then you sir are out of touch with most of the civilized world.

              The main problem is that companies see using invasive DRM as acceptable even though it compromises their paying customers' computers and violates well established tenets such as the First Sale Doctrine. For a game such as Spore, all that would have been needed was to require a connection to the internet and a username/password combo to play the game. Many more people would have purchased the game, fewer if any lawsuits would have been brought against EA, and they would have saved their money by not paying for SecuROM. Even in this instance they would have been able to add sub-accounts to a purchase of their software.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 2:45pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I agree, I would have actually bought spore if that is all it did. but only if I could also play it on a computer without net access. my laptop does not always have a net connection when I want to play games

                 

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    SteveD, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 2:24pm

    DRM in games isn't going away

    You can point at the mess EA made of Spore all you want, but its hardly the end of DRM. Because just as the SecurROM system was a horrible messy failure, the DRM system Valve use with Steam has been a huge success. And everyone complained about that when it first launched too...

    Chris Remo is right when he talks about developing communities and love. It makes a nice contrast to look at the effort Valve have put into developing communities when you consider how understanding gamers were with Steams early failings, compared to how they ripped EA a new one when Spore came out. But Chris is wrong to say you can rely on good will alone. That’s just one part of the picture.

    Unfortunately the problem with inviting Chris Remo to add his thoughts to what had been (up until then) a very balanced look at the issue is Three Rings only make cheap puzzle games, and these titles have hardly been hit badly by piracy.

    The slightly misleading statement in Mikes post mentioned that ‘stats’ showed that PC Gaming was doing well. That’s a half truth; PC Gaming is doing well in MMO’s and casual puzzle games. That’s a bit like saying ‘the music industry is doing fine…sales for classical and jazz are going up! Oh, pop and rock is plummeting though’. Great if you’re into those genres that are doing well, but what about everyone else? Go buy an Xbox?

    The Orange box is a great case study for looking at how genres that have been traditionally very strong on the PC can thrive; great value, low price, direct download delivery, community support…its all been done right. But it still had DRM. Contrast that to the botched Doom 3 launch, where a leak saw the game cracked and on the net the weekend before it was released in stores. The result; massed piracy and millions lost.

    The sad truth is that DRM is going noware, and big publishers would likely rather abandon the PC entirely rather then release games without it. But what’s important when looking at this issue is never to boil things down to DRM on its own. The issues are far more complex then that.

    At the end of the day DRM is just a tool, and its effectiveness is entirely dependant on how it’s used.

     

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    EArrgh, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 3:15pm

    Fixing what isn't broken

    I agree w/SteveD in that it is the method of DRM that makes or breaks it as a reason to avoid buying a game. Look at the Sims games, which have sold over 100 million copies over the years - most of those with only anti-copy and cd/check DRM. Introduce something godawful like Securom and there's instant grievance - legitimately so, it's an overly invasive and crappy piece of software.

    Another issue is the response of companies to complaints about the DRM they're using. Ubisoft and now EA ignored or dismissed problems with their DRM (Starforce and now Securom) for months or years until lawsuits arose. It shouldn't come to that point. Ever. Those waiting on future EA games like TheSims3 are watching - will EA continue to ignore countless customer complaints and roll on with Securom or make like a decent company and yank it?

    The harder it is to do the right thing, the least likely people will be inclined to do it, via boycott or pirating.

    Ironic that marketing your LACK of DRM is bringing these lesser known game purveyors to the surface. Good on them - people will pay for legit copies that aren't hobbled and devalued by DRM.

     

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    Clueby4, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 7:24pm

    Yes they're Blocking

    Yes they're blocking access to music. What if your not a geek and haven't heard; you're effectively blocked.

    And those who find it reasonable to expect DRM purchasers to burn to CD; DIAF! Why doesn't the vendor provide this feature natively with the DRM protection solution, don't think too hard it's a trick question

    Maybe if software had merchantability protection rather the the wild-west snake oil environment that the software industry currently exists , best reason for infringement in my opinion, scams like this would not be legal.

    DCMA has an exception error; Fair Use. On that reason alone it should be invalidate.

     

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    ScytheNoire, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 8:22pm

    DRM is one of the problems

    DRM does kill business, it hurts your legit customer while doing nothing to stop the piracy. It's just stupidity to keep doing it.

    I also agree that free trials are key. World of Warcraft got so big because it gave away free trials, or sold the disc's very cheap in stores at the register, and let's people try the game. Two weeks of playing and they are either hooked, going to keep playing, and pay monthly, or they don't buy it. Nothing lost by the company, only a win-win scenario.

    So companies need to learn two things. Stop with the DRM and give away trials to your game.

    This is why the business model is shifting to giving away the game and then charging for extra's or subscriptions. It's just a better business model in some ways, but it gets around the entire piracy problem altogether, since it gets it's income from large player bases and things you can't give away.

     

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    another mike, Sep 29th, 2008 @ 8:38pm

    drm and empire

    I had a wonderful conversation the other day with a Worst Buy Dork Squad flunkie regarding digital restriction management. He honestly had no clue how bad the situation was. It was all puppies and kitties with little yellow cardboard tags in his delusional little world.
    It all started out innocently enough. "Good afternoon. So, upgrading to Blu-ray TV?"
    It went downhill from there until he'd converted to linux, took up small scale farming techniques, and swore upon the noodly goodness that is Flying Spaghetti Monster.

     

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    Zorro, Sep 30th, 2008 @ 9:04am

    If I buy something, anything, I damn well expect to be able to put it on ebay when I'm finished with it. Anything which in any way prevents me from doing what the fuck I want with what I've bought, will simply stop me buying the thing in the first place.

    I'd quite like Spore but I will not pay for DRMd crap. I'll simply do without the game. Sure I could get it from a Torrent but I don't want to, I'd rather just do without the game.

    EA and other companies should listen to people. There are millions like me who simply will not buy their crippled shit. Drop the DRM bollocks and you might gain some of us back as customers.

     

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    Christian Olsson, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 8:52am

    The real item to control is not the number of installations; it is how many of these installations can be used, at the same time

    "Only customers hate DRM, pirates remove it" - this is how one developer summed up the current state of software protection from piracy. In summary, the current state of anti-piracy in the PC game industry is:

    1. Many continue to debate whether piracy of digital content equals lost sales but the real question to ask is how much of piracy would turn into sales if piracy were prevented. Given piracy rates for certain games and software, the proportion does not need to be large before the impact is significant to publishers and developers. For example, describing the PC game market as "the most intensely pirated market ever," Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli's assessment is,"for one sale there are 15 to 20 pirates and pirate versions." AutoDesk has publicly stated similar numbers for AutoCAD. If only 1 of every 10 illegal copies turn into sales, revenues would double.

    2. DRM has reduced some types of illegal copying but has largely failed to protect vendors' legitimate rights because they are rapidly cracked. If it is extremely easy to circumvent the protection, many amateurs will do it. If the protection is more challenging, some people will not be able to get around the DRM and some of these will actually purchase the game/software, rather than find it on a torrent site. While virtually all DRM solutions have been cracked, the piracy problem may well have been even larger if all games/software had been distributed unprotected.

    3. DRM has contributed to destroyed customer relationships and trust by impinging, inconveniencing and even impugning honest customers.

    4. Annoyed and hostile gamers publicly vent their outrage and fury on game suppliers and DRM suppliers via portals, blogs and message boards.

    5. Impacting honest users tends to shift their sympathy towards the pirates rather than the developers and publishers. In effect, onerous DRM legitimizes piracy - because with pirated copies you avoid the hassles DRM imposes. We have heard of honest users using a cracked version because it is easier to run but purchasing a legitimate copy that is kept unopened in order to be an 'honest' user.

    The answer is: End users should be able to install the game/software on an unlimited number of computers and keep on adding installations, as hardware changes or system crashes etc. occur. The real item to control is not the number of installations; it is how many of these installations can be used, at the same time.

    Above are excerpts from the whitepaper ”Is Anti-Piracy/DRM the Cure or the Disease for PC Games?".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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