DRM is absolutely necessary for the medium to evolve. Game developers need more viable business options than making $60 games.
Without DRM, it's basically impossible to charge a lot of money for a game. Pirating becomes a more attractive option as the price rises, especially when it deviates from the norm.
This curses all the games that don't have mass appeal to very low budgets, and the quality almost always suffers.
This is bad for gamers. They are only going to get games tailored for the mass market instead of games specialized for their unique tastes.
The anti-DRM crusade needs to die so that games which don't appeal to 10 million people can have big budgets too.
Aside from "I just said that" is there even the slightest logic to any of that?
Last edited by gwathdring; 25-07-2012 at 07:47 AM.
I think of [the Internet] as a grisly raw steak laid out on a porcelain benchtop in the sun, covered in chocolate hazelnut sauce. In the background plays Stardustís Music Sounds Better With You. Thereís lots of fog. --tomeoftom
DRM is an extension of copyright, it's copyright in practice. "You can have all of that without realizing such a thing as DRM exists." - you said about selling "IP". But DRM locks things down and encourages companies to do that. What you're saying is like saying that driving drunk is okay, because people crash their cars even without alcohol. It's about introducing defects into software. The problem is not selling copies, but making a profit while developing useful or fun things.If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.
And as I said in my later post, it's not required to make profit from software. Selling copies is not required to make profit.
- grant/commision model (kickstarter)
- freemium (Tribes: Ascend)
- in-game ads
Each has pros and cons, and is suitable to different kinds of games, but neither requires DRM or copyright. It's hard to prove that copyright benefits creation anyway. The number of composers in European countries post-copyright has fallen significantly, with the lone exception being France where it seemed to increase. (Detailed stats in "Agains the intellectual monopoly", full text available online for free)
A gamer who's not too naive would just stay away from HL3 by Activision. If you're thinking "HL3 by Activision means a wasted opportunity because no one else could do it", then you're thinking in copyright terms. Gamers would just shrug and wait for a game by a better team.
DRM is not meant to protect copyright perhaps, but it works in the spirit of copyright. It enables all sorts of ugly behavior. I deffinitely not agree that horrid mishanding of once stellar game serries is a small price to pay. DRM and copyright have chilling effect on game creation.
Last edited by b0rsuk; 25-07-2012 at 08:51 AM.
Diablo3 is not PvE or PvP, it is PvAH. -- Tei
Non-gaming industries thrives on products that fewer people would pay more for.
Variety is good. Consumers are happy. Developers are happy.
Rampant piracy makes that an impossible business model for games.
There is a huge difference between asking someone to buy a $60 game instead of pirating it and asking someone to buy a $200 game instead of pirating it.
Until DRM is accepted, developers have limited options and will only make a limited pool of games. Games will evolve slower as a result.
Um, any kickstarter, funded game or indy game without DRM proves that to be false. See Dwarf fortress for "infinite pirating", oh wait it's not pirating it's free distribution!
See Minecraft or Dungeons of Dremor for other examples. You don't need DRM.
It's also how games can exist and get made in niches and be available free of charge and all sorts inbetween. We have, for all its faults, a very very healthy market for videogames right now where niches can thrive.
What happens on Steam stays on Steam. As a general rule.
Except it doesn't. It's already possible. People are doing it. And that's with "rampant piracy".Rampant piracy makes that an impossible business model for games.
There is, and you'd probably be a complete lunatic asking someone to pay $200 for your game because that's over and above -anything- currently charged. There's also a huge difference between asking someone to buy a game for 69p and £60 but the market supports both. And there's also a huge difference between asking for £60 and £6000, it's just as spurious a point.There is a huge difference between asking someone to buy a $60 game instead of pirating it and asking someone to buy a $200 game instead of pirating it.
That's not to say that people won't donate over $200 to games if they're quality and in an underrepresented genre (or they really appreciate what the developer does) because people do just that but that's not an RRP. Dwarf Fortress pulls in regular of $4k a month in donations. Without copy protection. Hmm...
No they don't have limited options, there's vast amounts of ways to fund and get funded now. Copy protection will not magically improve the viability of niche gaming nor will it increase the budgets in any way, shape or form. You're drawing a relation between locking something down and, I dunno, what? A magical money hat growing or something?Until DRM is accepted, developers have limited options and will only make a limited pool of games. Games will evolve slower as a result.
The more sophisticated DRM systems (always-online) obviously go beyond this, and prove more effective at reducing piracy throughout its lifetime, as nobody wants to play Diablo 3 on a cracked server if they can help it.
Of course, the issue is that there will never be any conclusive, definitive proof that DRM resulted in less or more sales. The only way to measure such a thing is to have a parallel universe at hand, and release a game laden with DRM and without. There are of course estimates and algorithms, but actually they were never validated against empirical data, because it does not exist. I imagine this problem exists in any statistical endeavour where you rely on statistics from illegal activity.
In its absence, there is however quite a bit of circumstantial evidence, debunking common myths like that DRM heavy games result in higher piracy rates, or that DRM free games result in lower piracy rates.
So whilst DRM free is no doubt an acceptable model for some indie games, it is clearly not for others. And of course, there are vast differences in the business models for indie titles and AAA ones, as breaking even with your multi-million dollar investment on a PC game is no mean feat, considering 90% was stolen (not that even the majority of those would ever be convertible to actual sales, but still there is huge amount of potential there).Finally, on the contentious topic of DRM, aside from Spore whose audience may well have fallen victim to DRM-induced hysteria, the presence of intrusive DRM appears not to increase piracy of a game. For example Call of Duty 4, Assassin's Creed and Crysis all have no intrusive DRM whatsoever: they all use basic SafeDisc copy protection with no install limits, no online activation, and no major reports of protection-related issues. Yet all were pirated heavily enough to have the dubious distinction of being in the Top 10 downloaded games list. But strangely absent from the list are several popular games which do use more intrusive DRM: BioShock, Crysis Warhead, and Mass Effect. This indicates quite clearly that intrusive DRM is not the main reason why some games are pirated more heavily than others. We examine this issue in more detail in the Copy Protection & DRM section.
I've saved an excellent example for last. As an indication that not only is the scale of piracy generally high across all types of games, but more importantly, that it seems to have little to do with DRM, big greedy game companies, or the high price of games, let's take a look at a game called World of Goo, recently released by a small independent developer called 2D Boy consisting of a team of 3 people. It's available as a digital download, selling for less than $20 on Steam, it has no intrusive DRM, and it's received nothing but praise, reflected in a Metacritic Score of 90%/95%. This should be precisely the recipe for preventing piracy according to some, but unfortunately the truth is less convenient: the developer of the game has stated that World of Goo has an approximate piracy rate of 90%. Regardless of the precise level of piracy, the key point to consider is that World of Goo addresses every single item on the checklist of excuses which people usually present for pirating games - yet it is still being pirated quite heavily.
Update: Just to show that World of Goo wasn't an isolated case, there is yet another example of the irrelevance of DRM, big greedy companies and high prices to piracy. The independent game Machinarium, released by a small Czech developer and priced at $20 with no DRM also has the dubious honor of a 90% piracy rate.
Update: A common complaint from gamers is that most PC games these days are ported over from the console versions (which they often are), and hence this fact is used to justify rampant piracy. However a 2011 PC exclusive by the name of The Witcher 2 provides solid evidence that this excuse is just a smokescreen. The Witcher 2 is a detailed role playing game made by independent polish developers CD Projekt solely for PCs in its first year of release. It proved very popular with PC gamers, garnering a Metacritic Score of 88%/83%. Some versions of the game came with DRM, but this was quickly removed in initial patches, and the game also received a lot of free bonus content. Did this prevent or reduce piracy? Not one bit. The Witcher 2 has an estimated 80% piracy rate, once again proving that trying to address the fanciful excuses people make for piracy can be fruitless. CD Projekt is discussed further in the Copy Protection & DRM section of this article.
Last edited by rojimboo; 25-07-2012 at 12:00 PM.
Which brings up another point against the newer DRM-methods. Modding becomes significantly harder.
This thread is quite entertaining, by the way. And sad.
just about to undercut them harshly.
Because i just listed EA doing a Witcher sequel (concurrently with GoG). After the success of TW2, you can be damned sure that Activision would also be doing one. And so would every single indie dev. And I don't mean "We basically have a studio" indie devs. I mean "I live in my mom's basement and like video games" indie devs.
So great, someone can name their HoMM-style game "HoMM". And everyone else can label their turds "Half-Life".
And you cite Conan. I am not familiar with the licensing on that character/franchise, but it sounds like the same approach taken by Star Wars, Battletech, and Warhammer (Fantasy Battle AND 40k). The copyright holder determines what stories are allowed, but they contract it out to different writers. So yes, you have different authors, but they all have to follow the same approved (general) plotline. If Dan Abnett decides to kill off Horus before The Battle of Terra, you can be sure that the Black Library wouldn't let him publish (unless they decide to make the twist that Horus wasn't at Terra, and that it was Alpharion in disguise, which is actually possible). Thus, everything is still canon (to the extent canon is handled in the franchise) and is "correct" because the copyright holders agreed to the pitch.
What you are proposing is a free-for-all situation that would really just mean brand name means absolutely nothing. So, like I said, you are sacrificing everything for the sake of not wanting to acknowledge that King's Bounty and that ElfBattle thing (I think the devs who did Warlock made it?) are the same genre, but from better devs than the current copyright holders.
First of all, I wouldn't be so eager to lump all DRM together and say it is bad for all business models - there is a significant difference between an indie business model and a AAA business model. Having said that, you also admit piracy is a huge problem and would like your users not to resort to it. Sort of like many indie developers who experience rampant piracy of 90% plus, like World of Goo. Naturally, your objection to using DRM is that it mostly seems ineffective.
However, there is a constant evolution of it, where it becomes less intrusive, and more effective. In fact, most people playing Securom+GFWL+Steam triple-deckeded DRM games already testify to this - they just enjoy playing the game, and contributed to the future prospects of the developer.
There is no doubt you, and others (in a minority) were bitten by DRM. However, boycotting games and harming yourself and the PC gaming industry in general due to past software bugs, seems completely extreme (like the infamous GFWL save issue, which has since been fixed). I mean, if I boycotted all games because of past software bugs (like Witcher 2 - recently there was a game-breaking bug with Steam cloud saves, where you just lost your progress, even though it said so in-game, how cruel), I would stop playing all Steam games, stop using Steam and GoG, in fact, stop using all software, period.
Keep in mind the constant effort to evolve DRM, and TAGES two years ago, does not equal TAGES today.
Last edited by rojimboo; 25-07-2012 at 01:09 PM.