Why DRM is Good for Business
Recently the users of the Internet have been raving and throwing down DRM in games of the present. Let’s look at why businesses utilize DRM and why it is good for them.
Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a term that describes a method used by companies to ensure that their content is used within their copyright limits. At it’s base, it prevents users from using one game key in order to play multiple copies. Companies have recently been using different methods to ensure that the DRM on a game is not bypassed, such as requiring an online pass to log-in or even forcing users to stay online the entire time they are playing. While this angers many users, and can sometimes become quite weird with wording (yes, we’re looking at you, Ubisoft), it is essential that companies use them in order to make a profit. While some would think that this would deter customers, that is not the case. Let’s look at why with an example.
Let’s say that Little Xavier buys a copy of The Witcher 2 (coming to the Xbox 360 next year, by the way) from his local Gamestop. When he get’s home, he uses the discs to install the game, and the provided code to activate the game in order to play it. He loves it so much that he tells his friends, Average-sized Federico and Big Bob, how much he loves this games, and let’s them borrow the discs in turn. Well without the DRM, they would be able to install and play the game with no problems. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Average-sized Federico tries to use the code given in the box and it does not work, but after going through the trouble of installing the game and seeing how much fun it is watching Little Xavier, he convinces his Dear Mother to buy him a copy.
Plus one sale for the developer, CD Projekt Red.
Big Bob goes home and runs into the same problem as well. After rage-quitting the install three times, he realizes that he needs to purchase a CD key. Rather, he decided to go find a cracked version of the game online. This is too much work for Big Bob, though, and he cannot figure it out, so he too has his gracious Mother buy him a copy of the game as well.
Again, plus one sale for the developer.
As you can see, this is the issue that developers run into; people could just go and find a cracked version of the game online. As the last few days have shown, it doesn’t take very long (at all) to have someone crack even the most anticipated games (From Dust for the PC was cracked in a mere two days or so).
While the outrage from the community is certainly disheartening, it will not stop companies from using a form of DRM. While some of the community may not like it, it will only help the company make more money in order to continue to make the games you love. This does not mean that the way gaming companies go about it is completely right; I think that the fact that one must remain online all the time for certain games is a little ridiculous, but even still I cannot see that argument all the way through either. How many people actually disconnect their computer from the Internet on a regular basis? While I can understand offline gaming in some situations (i.e. when you’re on an airplane, in a car, etc.), I feel that most people blow that argument out of proportion and use it simply because they have no other reason to complain. Nonetheless, we all know that we will buy our favorite games, DRM or not.
Piracy is illegal, and in a market where the only means of revenue is from customers is through the purchase of their games, I frown upon those who do illegally download games. It is one thing to download it (illegally) and then purchase it (legally) in the end, but those who simply download them because they can really need to evaluate where there priorities lie. Unfortunately, the DRM is here to stay. Thankfully, we have moved away from having to have the disc in the CD drive in order to play it (that was a pain), but there has to be some way to verify that you have bought your game. Fortunately on the Xbox, all we have to do is have the disc in the drive. That is unless you’re playing an EA game and bought it used; then you need to purchase an EA Pass as well. Has anyone at EA maybe thought about a membership type of program for that? Maybe $24 for a year? I would pay that.