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Fred Wester: "DRM Is A Waste Of Money"

He knows. He KNOWS.

The ever quotable Fred Wester CEO Of Paradox Interactive (as his mother calls him) has laid down some views on DRM, and extolled the virtues of PC, at Gamespy at the end of last week. And wouldn’t you know it, the man’s speaking some sense.

“It’s so much simpler to develop for the PC — you can decide everything for yourself… The PC is very rewarding because the audience is very knowledgeable about the games, they’re very hardcore, they’re very quick with their feedback, and we have a great relationship with our customers.”

As RPS has long lamented, with all the success of farting into a hurricane, DRM is utterly futile. And Wester concurs,

“I’m so surprised that people still use DRM. We haven’t done that for seven or eight years, and the reason is that it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense from a gamer perspective – I hated it. I bought Civilization III when it first came out, and for the first three days I couldn’t play it. It installed some other software, and it just shut down. I had to contact Atari support three times before I even got help. And that experience is terrible.

“No one should have to purchase a product that they’re unable to install because of the DRM. There might be other reasons, like the compatibility isn’t correct, or whatever. But people who purchase a game should have just as easy a time as those who pirate the game, otherwise it’s a negative incentive to buy a legal copy. And I just can’t see why people are using DRM still. If you take something like Sony’s DRM, SecuROM — it’s a waste of money. It will keep you protected for three days, it will create a lot of technical support, and it will not increase sales. And I know this for a fact, because we tried it eight years ago, and it never worked for us. Two major reasons: it costs money and it makes you lose money, and the other is that it’s so inconvenient to customers.”

My theory: it’s the same as the logic behind SOPA. There isn’t any. Outdated companies terrified by an internet they couldn’t have predicted feel that they have to do something. And even if that something has literally no effect on piracy, and only makes the experience more frustrating for their customers, it doesn’t matter. Because it looks like they’re trying. It’s berserk, but then people, and indeed corporations, will be entirely irrational when they’re controlled by fear.

You can read the rest of the interview here. And cheers to GI.biz for the spot.

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John Walker

Senior Editor

One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and hero of humanity. Old and special.

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