The Escapist on game DRM, and why it’s ridiculous

The Escapist’s current episode of Stolen Pixels takes on a serious note for a change. I like this bit:

The system obviously isn’t having any effect on piracy, unless you count the thousands of people who were going to buy the game but vowed to pirate the thing when they found out what was involved with attempting to conduct honest commerce with the likes of EA.

Quite a few games recently have been easier to pirate than to buy legally (Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, Spore) and both of the big guys (Ubisoft and EA) are equally guilty. Meanwhile, game developers like Stardock with with nerves the strength of submarine plating say things like “hey, let’s treat our customers like customers“, and they have the courage to do it as a press release.

I hope it pays off for them. If I were a bit more interested in the serious-ish side of strategy games, I’d go buy and download one of their games just for that. With the angsty state of the industry right now, it’s anyone’s guess how long it takes for either Ubi or EA to buy Stardock, fire anyone with common sense and inject the place with DRM nonsense.

I’m afraid that Stardock’s games are just a bit too serious and niche to make a difference in how the industry as a whole sees their customers, but Stardock have a few friends with big names, so it just might work. The alternative, even sillier DRM, is unthinkable and will push PC gaming’s zombified stumbling corpse right off the cliff. Though in the end you can be sure that they’ll blame it all on the “pirates”.

Update: Another frustrated PC gamer is asking Slashdot: What modern games are DRM-free?. Interesting comments, though the future looks bleak for now, but who knows, it might just improve if companies notice that they’re shooting themselves in the eye socket with DRM. And if they don’t realize this, they might just jump ship and go console-only, leaving the field entirely to the indies.

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