20 Oct 2008

Angry Internet Men Strike Back at DRM... Again

I was initially going to do a run-down of the significant games being released this weekend, but having checked Amazon to see what they actually were I was struck by a familiar sight.

It seems the people are biting back again. Following on from the Spore fiasco, two of this week's major releases have been tarnished by DRM-bashing reviews. Both Far Cry 2 and Dead Space are sporting their stars of shame, 2 for the former and 1 for the latter and equally unhappy 'reviews'. They're worth a read, not for the quality of their argument, but because a lot of them are very funny. Let's take this debate down to the people on the frontlines:

'Lol,' argues one man armed only with the ability to say stuff. 'They all thought Piracy was going to kill the PC games industry, but in the final analysis it will be securom.' 1 STAR

'If all this is true about the lockout,' says one impressionable software pirate. 'Then DO NOT BUY this game wait and it will be cracked soon' 1 STAR

'The video looks very brown,' says an idiot. 'much browner than Far Cry which was IIRC a more relaxing blue and lush green. I am not persuaded that gamers particularly like brown.' 1 STAR

'In 2 days I finish School and I am going to Venice,' cries one child excitedly. 'It should be fun, I can't wait. I like Italian Food. Do you?' 5 STARS

'STOP moaning and get on with your lives!' screams someone clearly disturbed by the quality of writing present.

So, we can safely say that the topic has been argued and resolved in part. DRM is clearly bad news for morons. The question is, how does this translate for the rest of us?


Nick said...

According to postings over Ars Technica, I'm pretty sure that the games in question were available to pirates:

a) prior to official release


b) with NO DRM

So, it seems if anything, these technologies are pushing people away from legitimate software and rewarding piracy.

On a reductionist level, DRM is not consumer oriented and therefore detrimental to business in the long-term (isn't that how capitalism is supposed to work or am I just being naive?). Combined with developers/publishers releasing fewer and fewer demo's of major releases and you've got an issue that boils my proverbial piss. Am I going to go out and spend £30+ on a title that I cannot preview, I cannot return if unsatisfactory and not only that but a game that I cannot resell? Am I f***! Not only that, but I'm restricted by the number of installs and might well have to have my machine connected to the internet in order to run the game at all! I dread to think how many times I've installed Colonization (the original) or UFO:Enemy Unknown on different machines. Five? Ten?! Fifteen?!? (no seriously, it could be fifteen for UFO).

In regards to preview videos - gaming is a fundamentally an interactive medium so TV adverts or trailers don't cut it for me - I want DEMOS, even if it's just so I can have a quiet moment to myself to remember how good Fallout 2 - yes I'm looking at you Bethesda.

When these factors coalesce the larger picture is one of seeming contempt for the spending public. I'm glad that PC gamers are spamming the hell out of online retailers - it's their right to do so. Console owners don't have to deal with this manner of unlawful criminalisation so why should we?

(dude, you're lucky you caught me on a good day ;D )

No Orijunaluhtee said...

(regarding the article:) good shit.

I'm pretty anti-DRM, as well. I carry that bitterness over from the music industry and am saddened to see it spread more throughout the gaming industry. Like music, I get pretty steamed at not being able to do whatever I want with something I buy. Now we're being made to more or less license a number of installs, and it makes me think of the revolting mentality that "one 'bad' person can ruin the fun for everyone." In this case, pirates who NEVER look to buy games ruin the fun for folks who might play the game and decide to buy it out of support for the developers.

I really predicted that DRM would go away after people realized how stupid it was for music. Boy was I wrong.

Nick said...

Hopefully the gaming industry will eventually learn its lesson, albeit the hard way.

I'm amazed there is still music being made - surely home-taping should have killed it by now. ;)

Rowan Davies said...

The argument is definitely a solid one. I'm no statistician, but I can be certain that DRM isn't making a large impact on the illegal distribution of games. The biggest reason for this is that PIRACY IS A DODDLE and the only way you'll combat that is by making installation, authorisation and support more appealing than going the unlawful route. You can't combat it when legit customers have to go through the shit they do at the moment. It's just common sense...

Unfortunately, EA and co have backed themselves into a corner with this route and I don't think they'll be backing down soon. The biggest problem they have is convincing shareholders that removing all anti-piracy measures won't lose the company money. And, also, people are idiots...

Anonymous said...

That's the problem with shareholders; They can be anyone, and they don't have to know a thing about the business they've invested in, but their opinion /still/ matters.

Like politicians, really.

Anyway, they'll never let go of DRM whilst the current generation of shareholders are still kicking about, which suggests bad things for mainstream profits.