Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

“Always On” DRM

Posted by Rampant Coyote on May 17, 2012

Everybody knew it would be a problem.

The publisher and developer knew it would be a problem.

The publisher / developer took enormous steps to prevent it from being a problem.

It was still a problem. A big problem.

I’m sure things settled down nicely and the developer / publisher is probably correct in assuming that in a few weeks nobody will really care about the nerdrage-inducing launch problems which have existed for every almost every popular mainstream game with online activation or other connection requirements to be able to play.

I’m not talking about any specific game here. You can fill in the blank with any number of popular mainstream games here that have “always on” DRM or require online activation servers to play what is primarily a single-player game. This week we had another high-profile failure. One of a long list.

Servers are going to get clobbered. Day 1, and the first few days thereafter, are going to suffer from combined problems of a new release, probably a lifetime peak of users, and inexperience dealing with “live” issues. It’s just gonna happen. And someday, in the not-too-distant future, the servers are gonna be shut off entirely. And while it’s easy to say, when the game is new and generating revenue, that you will patch it eventually so that it will be able to function after than eventuality, it’s not going to be a priority several years later when the original team has gone and the company staff is receiving a pink slip.  These are all just real world problems. They happen. Deal.

So the least a game should do is make the experience as painless as possible for the customer. Instead, we have this ugly breed of DRM that denies the customer the right to actually, you know, USE the thing they just paid a lot of money for until the publisher can get their act together. WHY do people in the games biz keep insisting that this is not a bad idea?

Probably because they think their audience will eventually accept it as “the new normal.” Sadly, they are probably right.  But I’m a retro-gamer, and I still dust off older games and play them from time to time. Every time I do, I think, “If these games had modern DRM protections on them, I could not do this. This game would be completely lost to me, and lost to history.” Oh, I’m sure somebody would crack it. But do you really want to rely upon shady third parties operating in a gray area to make your product functional over the long term?

Not being able to play your game at all is not “painless.” Having your gameplay interrupted frequently for downtimes is not “painless.” Yeah, it happens in MMOs all the time. If I’m playing an MMO – or another game that is clearly ‘server based’ – I come in with those expectations. Not a big deal. But when I am playing a game that to me feels like a personal, single-player experience running on my own system, I expect it to run. I don’t expect to have to keep asking permission from somewhere to keep playing the game I spent good money for.

It’s the “guilty until proven innocent” model of assuming your players are thieves until they can validate their identity as real customers.  I recognize the need to fight piracy. Believe me. My games – both mainstream and indie – have been pirated to hell and back. I’m way anti-piracy. I piss off readers by going on rants about what douche bags the pirates are.

But do you want to know the best form  of anti-piracy?

Being pro-customer.

Just my opinion.

But then, they sell a million copies at launch, and I … uh, don’t. So maybe I’m the idiot here.

Filed Under: Biz - Comments: 27 Comments to Read

  • JC said,

    This is just the beginning. Big publishers are look at this as an experiment; they want to make it a feature of as many new games in the future as they can and if people don’t complain about it, nothing will make them hesitate. Rock Paper Shotgun wrote about this earlier today. I will not be buying it for this reason.

  • JeffSullins said,

    So, if I create a blog post titled, “People who pirate games are amoral thieves” then I can expect some flames? 🙂

    Personally, I still find it amazing the game players think it’s ok to take what they have not paid for. Kids these days…

  • JeffSullins said,

    Oh, and for the record, I also despise always-on-DRM. I would argue, however, that those who say the existence of always-on-DRM justifies stealing games are simply spoiled children.

  • Andy_Panthro said,

    People are very quick to accept these things, and don’t consider what might happen in the future.

    EA have said that the new Sim City game will be always-online, and while I doubt they’ll have the same day 1 server issues, there are still major problems with this.

    Because Sim City is a less popular brand than the likes of Diablo, and because this is EA, I do wonder how long those servers will be online.

    I can still play the original Sim City (and Sim City 2000, the best one!), and I’ll be able to play those as long as I like. The new Sim City might become a memory, a gap in the history of a well loved series.

  • Xian said,

    I grumbled about online activation and “call home” checks. I griped about the need for a client to play a game. I complained about having a limited number of installs. This time I am drawing a line in the sand. I am not going to buy a game that requires always on DRM. That also includes games that let you play offline, but limits features in single player if you are not online – I’m looking at you Heroes 6.

    The point that many of the publishers seem to miss is that when my Internet connection is down, that’s when I want to play a game. If it is up, I may well be doing something more productive instead of gaming.

  • OttoMoBiehl said,

    I’m getting kind of tired of being treated like a criminal when I get a game. I’m also getting tired of getting an inferior product than the average person who downloads a game off of bit-torrent.

    On the other hand, maybe the constant disconnects are a feature in the game to, you know, make it a bit more difficult. It’s kind of hard to wade a bloody swath through a demonic horde casting spells of destruction and death when they all keep casting the disconnect debuff.


  • Calibrator said,

    I’m not interested in Diablo as it is just not my type of coffee but I hate DRM – it will sooner or later burn the honest customer – and I hate myself for getting a “Steam-enabled” game recently (Fallout New Vegas Ultima Edition).

    Here a Steam bug prevented the launch of the title on the second day I bought it – a bug that was limited on the country where I live, mind you, and apparently affected about 40% of all users there.

    The workaround would’ve been to immediately enter offline mode after registering the game as you can only enter offline mode when you are online – which I couldn’t at the time. Doh!

    I don’t remember the hoops I had to jump though to make it work but I probably should’ve simply waited a day. I consider it sassy to expect players to do this. It’s as worse as configuring DOS games, IMHO.

    This illustrates where a large part of our future will be, at least with mainstream games: On systems that don’t care about the user in the slightest.

    Games will become “services” which will have random operating hours like gas stations in smaller towns.

    The service fails? Then bad luck, try later! And the only thing you will hear or read is “Sorry for any inconvenience this MAY have caused!”
    They should add a “Dumb fuck! Thanks for your money!” right after it!

    And now I await lots of postings like “Steam has always worked for me!” or “Steam is the best thing under the sun as the games are dirt cheap!” etc. 😉

  • Attila said,

    One of the biggest issues is that Pirates provide a better service for people, and they provide it for free.

    Let’s examine pirating a game:
    – You can browse online for a game from the comfort of your own home.
    – With a good internet connection, you can download the game in less time and effort than it takes to go out to a store and buy it.
    – Once downloaded, you can do anything you want with the game files.
    – You don’t need to worry about switching CD’s constantly.
    – Most of the time, the comments section of a torrent contains troubleshooting issues which the uploader promptly and directly provides an answer for.

    And here’s the kicker…the pirates do this service entirely for FREE, so you don’t feel used or ripped off in any way.

    Let’s examine legally purchasing a game:
    – You probably have to go to a store. For the few games that are available online…you have to risk online banking.
    – You have to put in the correct CD EVERY time…unless you get a No CD fix…but remember, that’s a service provided by Pirates.
    – Some games have restrictions on how many times or on how many different computers you can install it on.
    – Troubleshooting problems? Dealing with most major game companies is a PAIN…you get generic responses and long wait times.

    This is the best part…games typically cost 30-60 bucks.

    If you were just reading the two lists without knowing which one was the paid for service, anyone would automatically assume the piracy was paid for and the shitty legit copies were for free.

    Once a game provides BETTER services for the money…then it might be worth it.

    Admittedly, there’s the whole principal of the thing too. Pirates are like Robin Hood…taking from the rich and giving to the poor. That might not be the case for everyone…but for lots of poor people…they simply wouldn’t have the chance to experience the same number and quality of games if not for Piracy.

    Also, the moral guilt of stealing from a mega corporation is pretty minimal to many. It almost feels like just(as in justice) revenge for all the times one has been ripped off.

    Now what about Indies? Well the moral guilt is certainly higher…but there are minor points which help justify piracy in those cases as well.
    1. If there is no demo for the game(a very bad decision) then one might end up buying a game which doesn’t work on their computer. In this case, Piracy provides a chance to test the game…and some principled few may still go on to pay for the game then(this is why I say NOT having a demo is a bad idea).
    2. If you wouldn’t have been able to afford the game. Piracy is then the only way to actually play the game.

    These are not, however, the ideal in my opinion. They are merely the best options available at the current time.

    What do I believe is the ideal then?
    – Well first off, I believe everyone should be ABLE to play every game. This means all games ought to be FREELY distributed.
    – So how do game makers make money then? Wealthy people who believe in them should contribute DIRECTLY to the MAKERS.

    Basically, back to the golden era of the arts in Italy, when wealthy sponsors would finance the works of great artists.

    Kickstarter is a step in the right direction. I just wish the way it could work is that the game would HAVE TO BE freely distributed…and that the game would remain open to donations indefinitely.

    That’s it folks…I don’t believe in placing limits by only allowing the wealthy to access certain things. Piracy is a makeshift work around to that limit. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best there is for now and worth appreciating.

    I understand that one might argue, no one would donate for a free game…but I am an idealist myself, and I believe if given that option…wealthy people would, in fact, donate. Kickstarter has already shown that to a certain degree…being allowed to donate according to one’s finances is absolutely key.


  • WhineAboutGames said,

    “The point that many of the publishers seem to miss is that when my Internet connection is down, that’s when I want to play a game.”

    This. When my internet connection is down, I’m *annoyed*, and unable to contact people and get work done. So naturally I want to distract and entertain myself until it’s fixed. That is the primary time that a lot of my games get hauled out.

    Sadly many people (slashdot etc) who rant about “all games” requiring DRM don’t bother to look for those of us who dislike the stuff and sell games without it. And in _some_ cases it has been exactly the users who contact developers and pester them for a special DRM-free copy who then turn around and put that same special DRM-free copy onto all the pirate boards. Thanks, guys! Way to prove that nobody should listen to such requests!

  • Calibrator said,

    I once got the first “Ghost Recon” game, bundled with my then new MSI graphics card (great set, in 2003 this wasn’t uncommon).
    However, it didn’t run (it demanded the original CD) and nothing I tried worked, changing graphics drivers and stuff.

    Then, of course it was a weekend, I emailed Ubisoft who published the game in my country as I suspected a problem with the copy protection (incompatibility with my DVD drive). I didn’t expect much to be honest and went on a search for a crack myself. I did indeed find one that only removes the CD check, patched the game and was off running happily.

    On Monday the Ubisoft support actually answered my email with an included “update” that I should install after the latest official patch. Great service!

    But guess what “update” they sent me: The very same crack I got off the net – identical byte for byte, same filename, same file date, only zipped without the “dox”! Still have the mail… 😉

    There are only two conclusion: Ubisoft simply used the crack from the net to resolve the problems their copy protection caused or they put it out into the wild themselves to resolve the problem, knowing that some people will help themselves and don’t cause too much “trouble” on the net.

    The latter variant is probably unlikely but the former isn’t really that better either, isn’t it?

  • WhineAboutGames said,

    @attila See, this is the sort of nonsense I’m talking about. You lump all game-makers together and blame them all for things only a handful of them are doing, you inflate details of data way out of proportion and claim that pirates always do better at support which they really, really don’t…

    … And you admit that deep down you think all games should be free anyway. AND that stealing games because you can’t afford them is reasonable to you. (Hint – There are FREE GAMES out there. If you can’t afford to buy something, PLAY SOMETHING ELSE.)

    That kind of behavior is what drives people to hate pirates. You’re not an ‘idealist’ if your ideals are “People should give me everything I want for free and I shouldn’t have to give anything in return.”

    >I don’t believe in placing limits by only allowing the wealthy to access certain things.

    But that’s *exactly* what you’re advocating for. Back in the days of patronage, only the tiny handful of the most wealthy people in the world could sponsor those great artists. Your average peasant had zero access to that art.

    If games can only be created when a millionaire puts up the funds, then only a tiny number of games will be created, and they will adhere to the tastes of those millionaires.

    Selling games for small prices to a lot of people, allowing the masses to work TOGETHER to fund the creation of art – that’s the equaliser.

  • JeffSullins said,

    As a game developer, I will never throw myself on the mercy of some benefactor to help me produce my games. I want to be rewarded for the work I create, and on my own terms.

    What you suggest would stifle innovation and reduce, not increase, access to quality games for all of us.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Heh, okay. What WHineAboutGames said. 🙂

    I agree with Atilla in one respect – one that struck me many years ago when I finally downloaded a crack for a game (Wing Commander 1) which I’d reinstalled for the fifth or sixth time years later, but could not find the documentation. I realized that yes, the cracked version was a superior product. This was one of those major opinion-forming (or opinion-changing) moments for me. It was clear something was broken with the system.

    However, the solution proposed is silly. “Everyone should be ABLE to play every game.” Able as in allowed? Why? Why should the entire human race be entitled to my labor? Or anybody else’s?

    Would that same theory extend to all professions that perhaps don’t scale as well? Should I drive in my car to a mechanic’s shop and be entitled to free work on my car unless I am rich enough to feel like paying? Should I be required to pay no more for a part for the car than the manufacturing cost of the part, unless I feel like paying more?

    As a more appropriate analogy, how about a farmer. By the time the food lands on my table, the farmer’s work is long over. He’s working on future crops. What would happen if the farmer could only plant food based upon generous donations of rich people, who naturally get their pick of quality & quantity of the food off the bat, but then everybody else was welcome to glean what was left over for free?

    While games aren’t critical for survival, the metaphor would still apply: The world would be starved for games. The only games coming out would be from a few well-known game-makers, and that’d be pretty much it.

    I dunno, the way I look at it: There were a bunch of games I couldn’t afford back in my younger years (I guess there’s still a lot that I can’t afford) which I now have access to for cheap through places like GOG.COM. I still have legal, paid access, appropriate for my budget, but I have to be willing to wait for sales or wait a while until the game is no longer ‘current.’ It feels fair to me. I pay full price for a few games I really want to “reward” with my cash (and can’t wait to play), and for others — well, I’ll wait. I end up paying what I want eventually. The game maker and I are basically negotiating on price indirectly, over time… I think a game is worth $10 to me, given my circumstances, the game-maker thinks its worth $60 when it is first released… so we wait through sales and discounts and price reductions until one day, between the publisher discounting the price and me perhaps raising my estimate, we find a price that works for us both.

  • JB said,

    Yes, but they changed their mind. In their Enhanced Edition version they removed the DRM. It was released on GOG.com not long ago.

  • Calibrator said,

    Attila, you are clearly not an idiot as you can write longer sentences – but, frankly, your perception of the world is not that of an adult.

    You go earn your money first (and I’m not talking pocket money) and then you will change your viewpoint automatically as you will then value money differently.

    You will – at some time – come to the conclusion that money isn’t easy to come by and that you want

    You are not an idealist, you are a pirate. You take what you want. Simple as that and no amount of rationalizing will change that fact.

    While you do make some correct assessments in your post you still don’t get the whole picture: The world is imperfect and no matter how idealistic you may be – it won’t get better that way. It only gets better if you vote with your money to move publishers to do something.
    Don’t like todays games? Don’t buy them & don’t play them!

    Instead you come up with stuff like like:
    “I believe everyone should be ABLE to play every game. This means all games ought to be FREELY distributed.”

    This is not even a pro piracy argument – it’s nothing more than an opinion. Yes, you are entitled to it but that doesn’t make it true.
    I for example believe in people not paying for games shouldn’t play them. I frankly don’t care if and what YOU play but I care if you don’t pay for it.
    But that’s only my opinion and I’m realist enough to see that it won’t stop a pirate.

    More funny stuff:

    “Wealthy people who believe in them should contribute DIRECTLY to the MAKERS.”

    How do you expect wealthy people got their money in the first place? By pirating games?
    Do you really expect wealthy people will fund the next Call of Duty – to make it available for free? (=no return of investment)

    “Basically, back to the golden era of the arts in Italy, when wealthy sponsors would finance the works of great artists.”

    We talk again when you have become a pawn or dishwasher at the palace of a rich guy who will then fund our “high culture art pieces” because he is such a damn philanthropist!
    Oh right, you won’t have time to play it as you will have a 16 hour workday…

    “Kickstarter is a step in the right direction.”

    Kickstarter isn’t mainstream. And that’s the end of story.
    However, if you want good cheap games go get yourself an indie bundle – there are enough of them. I bet you will be one of the 1 cent payers…

    “I just wish the way it could work is that the game would HAVE TO BE freely distributed…and that the game would remain open to donations indefinitely.”

    That argument WILL NOT FLY as people don’t donate indefinitely. In fact most won’t ever donate if there is no form of copy protection. Look at the reports of people selling their stuff as shareware or donateware (which already existed before you were born) and you will weep. If you can already feel beyond your own existance that is.

    “That’s it folks…I don’t believe in placing limits by only allowing the wealthy to access certain things.”

    The “wealthy” – as if video games can only be bought by rich people…

    “Piracy is a makeshift work around to that limit. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best there is for now and worth appreciating.”

    Nope. Not even close. Your post is only one other pro piracy rant to rationalize you not paying for stuff.

    “I understand that one might argue, no one would donate for a free game…but I am an idealist myself, and I believe if given that option…wealthy people would, in fact, donate.”

    Wealthy people always had that option but I still wait on examples for them doing this and not lose money.

    And a word from someone who earns his money: Idealism usually won’t feed you – so you should set your priorities straight. Like for example getting a job to afford “luxury goods” like games.

  • lempar said,

    “What would happen if the farmer could only plant food based upon generous donations of rich people”

    What would happen if the farmer could multiply the food he’s grown Jesus-style and then sell it – infinitely, and with zero cost to himself ?
    So no, metaphor does not apply.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Nope, he lost his shirt (and his farm) on that one crop, so he’s gone bankrupt. No more crops, no more farm, no more food. People ate really good for one season, and need to figure out where to scavenge from to survive after that.

  • Attila said,

    We tend to bring our own personal baggage into arguments. I suppose mine is very different from most of you posting here.

    I feel there are some slights towards me personally, and it makes me feel uneasy. I would really appreciate keeping points to the argument in question and not about who I am or might be. Besides, who I am as a person has no bearing on the validity of the argument(Ad Hominem Fallacy).

    That said, I would like to offer further explanation.

    My proposal of sponsorship by wealthy patrons inferred that the projects were for the public.

    And I would distinguish between the work of an auto mechanic and a game maker because I would consider the game to be ART.

    Just as a great sculptor would make beautiful statues to be admired by ALL, I imagine a game maker makes a game to be admired by all.

    I like to think the same applies to film makers, musicians, authors, architects; I’d apply it to anyone who creates art.

    I do not think the idea that everyone should have access to certain things is radical: LIBRARIES.

    Yes, there are probably differences, but I merely think that games ought to be included in the same category as books.

    Just as I believe ANY and EVERY book should be accessible at a library, I believe ANY and EVERY game ought to be accessible as well.

    I once played a game that was amazing and free: A Blurred Line. The maker of that game never released the second half of it. Had I the means, I would pay him to finish the game as he saw fit.

    ADOM (Ancient Domains of Mystery) is a tremendously fun free game. I believe the maker behind it would be making amazing games if he were able to focus all his work time on his hobby.

    I don’t see very much sponsorship in the modern world, but it’s exactly because of games like the above mentioned ones that I think sponsorship would be an amazing idea.

    To my understanding, there was a time in history that wealthy patrons funded public projects and the arts.

    The reason I’m advocating sponsorship is because I see it as the happy compromise between people who believe games ought to be freely enjoyed by all and people who want to get paid for making their games.

    By my definition of sponsorship, the sponsor would not dictate any terms as to the art the artist would make.

    That is my ‘vision’.

    The fundamental disagreement between us seems to be that I think someone shouldn’t have to wait to achieve a better financial situation before having to play a game: Piracy.

    If someone disagrees with that notion, then we will not come to agreement. We don’t have to agree. And yes, this is merely my opinion. I have tried to clarify and explain why I hold my opinion. No offence is meant. I am, however, very much interested in hearing opposing views and points which contradict my own.

    I usually make the assumption that others are interested in hearing opposing views to their own ideas. Perhaps that is my mistake.

  • Attila said,

    P.S. – I actually initially posted to agree with Rampant Coyote’s statement that the best form of anti-piracy is being pro-customer.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Nah, I hope we’re not getting things too personal here, Attila, but I was expressing where our opinions differ.

    By my understanding, the patronage system wasn’t much different from today’s “Work for hire.” The Patron effectively became the employer of the artist, and the artist produced artistic creations for his patron. They became the Patron’s property. And what the patron decided to do it was completely up to him – whether to display it to the public, hang it up for only invited guests, or burn it. In return, the patron provided the artist living expenses.

    Then there’s commissions, which work very much the same way as they do today. I commission you to create a work for me. What I get is limited to that product I commissioned (rather than owning all of your work while in my employ). But once again – it’s mine to do with what I will. Whether I share it with the public, keep it strictly for my own enjoyment, use it as a jingle for a car commercial – it’s all my call.

    Both models exist, and if you want to make that the scope of how game developers are allowed to earn their living, then you are restricting your world of games to advergaming and the like. Because I’ll be working for whomever pays the bills, and that may be Procter & Gamble or Delta Airlines. Corporate sponsorship, oh BOY!

    But hey, you get your games for free.

    The fundamental problem is that games have historically been sold using the product model, but as lempar tried to point out, the product model is naturally ill-suited to the industry. When supply can go to infinity, instantly, the laws of supply and demand means that the price / value will naturally trend down to ZERO. That may be inescapable, and it frustrates the hell out of me, because as a customer, that’s how I want software to be. I want a product. I bought it, I own it, so THERE.

    The problem is that the cost of producing the product is SIGNIFICANTLY above zero. Both in terms of time & effort, and actual hard costs. The artists we commission want money, too. They aren’t immune from the need to eat.

    So if the prices are going inexorably down to zero, we’re pretty much S.O.L. And the pirates are making that happen.

    So what’s the solution? Apparently, according to these guys, the answer is to lock the game up into a “member’s only club” where you have to show your ID at the door to be let inside and play the game you paid for. Yeah, in theory, what you paid means you can play it forever, as long and as often as you want. But in the real world, you know the club isn’t gonna be there forever. And if they get really busy, you are S.O.L.

    It’s frustrating. But unfortunately, the idealist in me is not seeing too many ways to reconcile the way I want things to be with how the real world is really working.

  • Michael Miller said,

    Well, what you gonna do? I have 300+ games on steam, so I am clearly a PC gamer. I spent hundreds of hours on the first two Diablo games, so I am clearly a fan. But I won’t buy Diablo 3. Not because I am making a statement, or taking a stand, or staging a protest – but because my computer does not meet the tech requirements. I don’t have an always-on connection. It sometimes stops completely for a few hours for no obvious reason’ sometimes hiccups for a few seconds and sometimes is just slow. So I can’t buy it. Just as I wouldn’t try to stick a PS3 blue-ray into my PC and expect it to play.

  • WhineAboutGames said,

    Yeah, I’m not buying Diablo 3 either.

    And I can’t buy a 3DS because of the stupid stupid stupid stupid region-lock. (A big deal when your life is as multi-location as mine.)

    But that’s okay – there are STILL plenty of other games out there that I CAN buy. 🙂

  • Attila said,

    Isn’t GOG.com an example to all that the “Customer friendly” approach works as well?

    I suppose we’ll find out even more as it starts selling more recent and popular games.

    They seem to be doing pretty well for themselves which ought to strike a “private members only” game maker as odd since GOG.com games don’t even require a crack.

    In spite of the fact that I harbor some small resentment against GOG.com for bringing Abandonia to ruin, I really enjoy their online ownership method.

    Does anyone have any stats on GOG.com as compared to other companies regarding piracy? Is it more frequently pirated? I don’t imagine it would be, partly since it deals with older games.

    The other thing I’m really curious about is the success of a donation based sales model. Is the Indie Game Bundle an example of this? Does it work? In my experience with donations, there’s a subtle internal shame which prevents many people from giving too little.

    Part of the reason I believe in the model of wealthy people willingly giving more is because of my experience with theatre by donation. University students typically donate between $2-$5. Adults tend towards $10-$20. Seniors are most consistent at $20.

  • WhineAboutGames said,

    GOG is still selling things, just without DRM. They are hardly the only people in the world selling things without DRM, either. That was kinda my point. 🙂

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    @Atilla – Yes, GOG.COM is doing the DRM-free, super-customer-friendly approach. They are doing well. They aren’t even in the same zip code as Steam as far as success, but they’ve carved a decent niche out for themselves.

    Another one that I try to hold up as the model (though they’ve stumbled a little recently) is Stardock. Same idea. Brad Wardell’s philosophy has been to make games that actual paying customers are willing to buy – not what the pirates want to play – and to focus on rewarding the legitimate customers as much and as long as possible and pretty much ignore the pirates.

    Until piracy becomes pretty well-accepted in our culture (and it’s going that way), it seems to be a reasonable and good approach.

    I worry that the draconian DRM methods will actually accelerate the acceptability of copyright violation.

    As to the donation-based sales model: It’s like everything else. There are some “big ones” out there (either because they were first, or they spent a lot of money on marketing) that do pretty well. At least one that does extremely well. The rest do not.

  • Joe said,

    My feeling is that these draconian, game-killing DRM methods only affect those consumers who buys product on release. My easy fix for all this is not to wait a couple months until the game has been patched a few times before buying. Most games with terrible and intrusive DRM generate a lot of heat for the first few weeks after release and eventually when all the hoopla dies down and the publisher loses interest, the developers quietly release a patch that eliminates the DRM. Either that or wait until the game hits digital distribution systems like Steam or GOG. Stop being a slave to the “you need to preorder this NOW” syndrome. Gamers should realize that publishers’ release dates are influenced solely by their share prices and quarterly fiscal reports.

  • dude said,

    Always on drm is why I choose to NOT buy a game. If you choose to buy it, you deserve the headaches. Plus, there hasn’t been a game worth buying from any of the major companies in years.