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Thread: Drm

  1. #1
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    Drm

    I was just wondering what RPS's views on DRM are (I can already imagine, but eh), and I - personally - wonder why they even bother with intrusive DRM.

    I can understand "minor" DRM, like CD keys and the like. It's a mild protection of investment that, whilst easily cracked, pushes away lighthearted non-bothersome pirates that would rather pay than mess about with it.

    I can also understand the usage of multiplayer as a form of DRM. Additional content in order to force the player into buying the game is perfectly understandable and pretty much acceptable. It's fair to both the company and the player to use this method.

    But then we get into the harsher DRM. Stuff like Securom or Ubisoft's DRM system (lol Assassin Creed 2) which are far harder to deal with as a regular customer. Forced registration or being online when trying to play a singleplayer game are just terrible things, especially when you realise that pirates do not have to deal with these issues.

    The companies claim that it's to prevent piracy (which it never does, maybe casual pirates, but usually not even them) but most people suspect that it's to prevent resale. You can't sell something properly if the other person doesn't get a real product.

    I'm fairly certain, however, that this level of intrusive DRM forces more people into piracy than it prevents resale. It's like burning the bushes behind you to get someone out of cover and then blanketing the world in thick smoke. It's just plain stupid.

    What do you all think? Is this just braindead retardation on the part of the companies, or is there some genius sinister force at work here?

  2. #2
    Lesser Hivemind Node agentorange's Avatar
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    I must be the only person in the universe who has never had significant issues with DRM of any kind.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus ColOfNature's Avatar
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    Nah, I'm the same. I listen to everyone bewailing DRM and all I can think is "meh, not my problem". Of course, now that I've said that every single game is going to stop working.


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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    I'd like to see a day where a car you lease stops working the moment the weather screws with the 3G as it checks to see if you still have "rights" to the car.

    I'd stake out a spot by the highway and laugh and laugh.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus ColOfNature's Avatar
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    I don't drive.


  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColOfNature View Post
    I don't drive.
    I fail to see how that stops you from understanding the analogy.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus ColOfNature's Avatar
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    It doesn't, but the analogy is pointless. Firstly, do any car-hire companies actually use such technology? And simply saying "it's bound to happen" doesn't count. Secondly, being deprived of a computer game is hardly the same as being stranded by the roadside with a knackered motor. And thirdly, just because I'm not organising a lynch mob doesn't mean I'm not bothered by the issue, but frankly I don't see that it's going to change. DRM is a fact of life, it's not going away, and getting bolshy every time it's mentioned is a wasted effort.

    When I slink into the forum and ask for help getting a game to work due to dodgy DRM feel free to lead the pointing and laughing. Until then, and as long as we don't go back to rootkits and DRM that actually breaks peoples PCs, I have no problem with games phoning home when I fire them up - although I'd look askance at one which insisted on being connected for the whole session - because I don't play games on a PC which doesn't have a permanent internet connection, and while I understand that there are those who do, well... meh, not my problem.


  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColOfNature View Post
    It doesn't, but the analogy is pointless. Firstly, do any car-hire companies actually use such technology? And simply saying "it's bound to happen" doesn't count. Secondly, being deprived of a computer game is hardly the same as being stranded by the roadside with a knackered motor. And thirdly, just because I'm not organising a lynch mob doesn't mean I'm not bothered by the issue, but frankly I don't see that it's going to change. DRM is a fact of life, it's not going away, and getting bolshy every time it's mentioned is a wasted effort.

    When I slink into the forum and ask for help getting a game to work due to dodgy DRM feel free to lead the pointing and laughing. Until then, and as long as we don't go back to rootkits and DRM that actually breaks peoples PCs, I have no problem with games phoning home when I fire them up - although I'd look askance at one which insisted on being connected for the whole session - because I don't play games on a PC which doesn't have a permanent internet connection, and while I understand that there are those who do, well... meh, not my problem.
    Methinks you're reading a bit too much into this.

    Point was, we don't "own" the games, we "lease" them, and the lease can be terminated at any point for any reason. Traffic safety concerns aside, I'm just applying the same rules to a different market.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus ColOfNature's Avatar
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    Has that been tested? If a publisher decided to unilaterally revoke my right to use a game I'd be looking for recompense, and if they did it to enough people they could be looking at a class action. Shutting down mutliplayer servers for years-old games is one thing, but I can't see them throwing the switch on an entire game. The backlash when that happens would cripple Twitter, for one thing.


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    Quote Originally Posted by agentorange View Post
    I must be the only person in the universe who has never had significant issues with DRM of any kind.
    Same here. The only time I've ever had an issue with DRM is when I lost the CD codes to Nox a few years back. I guess some of the more outrageous DRM (such as Assassin's Creed 2) can cause issues, but personally I've never encountered any problems.

    Besides, if you have a problem with DRM then the logical thing to do is refuse to buy the game and bring the practices to light while using alternatives like GoG, freeware games, games without DRM (like Galactic Civilizations), etc. Whining about the problem and then forking out $60 isn't going to convince them that their practice is unacceptable, and pirating the game is just going to make devs more frantic to step up DRM.

    I don't think it's a complicated problem, but I believe that the people who crusade against DRM are the very contributors to the "problem".

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Methinks you're reading a bit too much into this.

    Point was, we don't "own" the games, we "lease" them, and the lease can be terminated at any point for any reason.
    It could, but it wont.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastBaron View Post
    It could, but it wont.
    Except when it is.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColOfNature View Post
    Has that been tested? If a publisher decided to unilaterally revoke my right to use a game I'd be looking for recompense, and if they did it to enough people they could be looking at a class action. Shutting down mutliplayer servers for years-old games is one thing, but I can't see them throwing the switch on an entire game. The backlash when that happens would cripple Twitter, for one thing.
    I can't think any time this has been tested, but honestly I can't see it happening any time soon. The second someone denies a purchased (leased) product to the client, public outrage would cripple, if not collapse, the company. Although I agree that the idea of "I'm renting a copy of the game" conveys a sense of "we're allowing you to use this product, with some restrictions" the fact remains that we are the paying customers and if we're screwed over enough or barred access to what we payed for, it's not going to be a good day at the office for publishers or gaming platforms (Steam, Impulse).

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColOfNature View Post
    Has that been tested? If a publisher decided to unilaterally revoke my right to use a game I'd be looking for recompense, and if they did it to enough people they could be looking at a class action. Shutting down mutliplayer servers for years-old games is one thing, but I can't see them throwing the switch on an entire game. The backlash when that happens would cripple Twitter, for one thing.
    There's a sizable minority that have had their entire Steam account banned and lost every game on there.

    No-one has tried doing it to everyone yet, but it does happen. And as all the people that defend Steam make perfectly clear in the internet whining that follows: the EULA says it's perfectly fine for Steam to do that.

    Some of them probably deserved it (hacking, pirating, etc) but that shouldn't be Steam's decision to make. In the same way Sony can't come around and take your TV back if you're found guilty of speeding.

    The thing is, yes, it'd be awful business for any company to do that on a large scale, so they probably won't, will they?

    And that's true but it's not how the world works. If I order a game from Amazon, Amazon can't just decide not to send it to me and not give me my money back either. There are laws in place protecting me and they're there for a good reason. The fact that if Amazon suddenly decided not to fulfill 20% of their order at random, everyone would stop buying from them, isn't considered a sufficient deterrent by any sense of the word.

    And while most people engaging in digital distribution at the moment are fairly clued up, when it takes off, the lack of any legislation protecting it is going to make it a haven for scammers.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus ColOfNature's Avatar
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    Mail order is already a haven for scammers, there are plenty of fly-by-night companies out there. That's why you go to Amazon.

    As for the Steam accounts shut down by Valve, are there any statistics on how many of them were shut down without reason and never reinstated? You do hear fairly often about this, but there's never any context. Why were they shut down? Did the owners do something that warranted it? What does in fact warrant that kind of punishment? Is it even legal, regardless of the contents of the EULA? Just because the service is digital doesn't absolve the provider of a responsibility to the customer, and I'm pretty sure the law would agree with that.


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    A quick Google search brought up some random incidents of people reporting banned accounts, but I didn't see any studies or credible reports on the issue.

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    The companies claim that it's to prevent piracy (which it never does, maybe casual pirates, but usually not even them) but most people suspect that it's to prevent resale. You can't sell something properly if the other person doesn't get a real product.
    While I'm sure crippling the resale market is a factor in the descision to use DRM, I would say that it's main purpose is to prevent "day-1 piracy". Major publishers make most of their money from games in the first weeks or months of release, and DRM systems usually add a significant delay before cracked versions are available, so it makes perfect commercial sense for them, even if they do lose a few sales because of it. The most important thing to them is that their core market, in most cases 16-25 year olds who are well within their means to buy the game at full price (of have their parents buy it for them), don't have the option to download the game for free at release.


    With regards to publishers revoking access to games: it happens all the time. Think about APB or Hellgate:London (although in both instances it was due to the developers folding, but people had still put down significant amounts of money up-front and ended up with no game shortly afterwards).

    EA also regularly "retires online features" of many of it's games (probably numbering over a hundred to date), which may not be a complete denial of service but it's removing the ability to use a significant portion of the game.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    I want to be able to boot up a game decades from now with only a few minor tweaks. This sounds insane, but I’ve been doing just that. Modern DRM makes that scenario… uncertain. Will the company continue to support it? Will there be a patch for games which require a constant online connection to servers long since gone? Will I have to phone up customer service and say “hello, twenty years ago I bought a game from you and now I’d like my activation limit raised.” I just don't know, man. I just don't know!

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistabashi View Post
    While I'm sure crippling the resale market is a factor in the descision to use DRM, I would say that it's main purpose is to prevent "day-1 piracy". Major publishers make most of their money from games in the first weeks or months of release, and DRM systems usually add a significant delay before cracked versions are available, so it makes perfect commercial sense for them, even if they do lose a few sales because of it. The most important thing to them is that their core market, in most cases 16-25 year olds who are well within their means to buy the game at full price (of have their parents buy it for them), don't have the option to download the game for free at release.
    I still say that if the company is relying on Day-1 sales, the company is trying to sell an inferior product. "Quick! Push out as many copies as possible before they discover it's shite!"

    But that's neither here nor there. The point I'd like to convey is that the company is not on my side - that is, the side of the consumer. The company doesn't care if, for whatever reason, my access to the game is revoked. Be it by thunderstorm or whatever. The company only cares that it got my money.

    After all, when access to my game is revoked, they still have my money.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  20. #20
    Lesser Hivemind Node Kaira-'s Avatar
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    Yes, I can understand why companies would place online-reliant DRM on their games - it seems effective, and it apparently doesn't hurt sales too much. I am also quite interested to know what would be the first case of online DRM in games, would that be Half-Life 2 and Steam or was there some game else before that?

    As for my personal position towards DRM... I don't like it, in any form. I can tolerate some forms of it better than others, but generally, I try to buy my games DRM free even if it costs me more than version with some DRM. I rather buy games with DRM which doesn't require any form of online as compared to, say, Steam or online activitations. And from that point on, I'll rather buy game with just online activation as compared to constant online connection, online when starting the game or requiring a third-party client. There is no way I'd pay full price for a game, even indie, if it's tied to Steam or any other 3rd party client, not to speak of constant online required. Online activation... well, only game that requires online activation that I've bought full-priced was The Witcher 2. I don't want to rely on a third party to give me access to my games.

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