Like an angelic voice of reason amongst the grunting lunacy comes Christofer Sundberg, founder of Avalanche Studios. The Just Cause developer has told EDGE that “always-on DRM only says: ‘Thank you for buying our game, we trust you as far as we can throw you.’” Responding to the utterly unfounded and unevidenced defence of Driver SF’s always-on DRM from Martin Edmonson last week, Sundberg told the Edgeborg that treating customers with respect would be a far more effective means of dealing with piracy.
As well as making the obvious point that DRM simply doesn’t do anything useful, Sundberg explains that the whole concept sends exactly the wrong message.
“If a DRM system constantly needs to be defended, something must be wrong. As a developer you will never win over any fans if you constantly let everyone know how much it costs to develop a game and how much money you lose. I don’t like always-on DRM solutions at all, since they offer nothing to the consumer. If you continuously give something extra for registering and being online, and award them for actually paying for and playing your game, it’d be different, but always-on DRM only says: ‘Thank you for buying our game, we trust you as far as we can throw you.”
So what’s the solution? The Avalanche honcho believes, as RPS has long argued, that the correct route is to treat PC gamers with respect.
“My solution to the problem is to start designing games for the PC player, and award PC players for being part of the community of your game and for staying connected to you – not forcing them. If you continuously tell the player that you care about their opinions, and appreciate their investment, you will lower the amount of bootleg copies.”
Of course, such claims are equally as unproven and without published figures as Ubisoft’s fervent claims that their DRM is tackling piracy. Common sense would rather suggest that Sundberg’s version of events is more realistic, but it’s important to remember that neither side is offering any proof.