Game developers say no to DRM: "hurts our customers"


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/15/game-developers-say-no-to-drm.html


#2

I had a lot of fun with Shadow Warrior and if they kept up the goodness it is definitely worth it.


#3

Always good to have more on the list:


#4

Goody gumdrops! Because Steam has ruined PC gaming for me. There’s nothing more skeezy than this idea that you’re no longer buying something, you’re just paying out the wazoo for grudging, easily revokable permission to use it for a while. And you want how much for that? Really? Because in six months, you’ll be happy to unload it for $9.99.

Think I’ll wait, unless I get lucky and score one in a thrift store. Oh, hang on, you guys ruined that, too. I have lots of older games I still love to keep me busy. Oh, hang on. All of sudden I can’t install them anymore.

But what pisses me off most is how they’ve taken their hysteria over losing even one single dollar of imagined profit and completely inverted it, forcing people into a giant money grubbing scheme designed to shake you down every time you turn it on…It all adds up to “they’d screw me in a minute, so why should I care?”

I strongly believe in paying people for their good work. But making it as difficult and expensive as possible and copping an attitude about it, they’ve made me more likely to things anyway I can, not less.


#5

Or any game sold on GOG.

[quote=“batshitsutras, post:4, topic:87512”] Steam has ruined PC gaming for me.
[/quote]

Steam at least is stable - what’s really aggravating is when publishers also stick in secondary DRM/online check-ins, because those come and go, even when backed by companies like Microsoft. Mandatory “Windows Live” multiplayer functionality for single-player games has made some games entirely unplayable when they dropped it a while back. Even when it worked, you had to go through multiple online accounts and log-ins just to play an offline game.


#6

Or their new windows store nonsense. No I don’t want to install windows 8 just to play killer instinct.


#7

Microsoft has been clearly trying hard to create a Steam competitor. The problem is, if they don’t support the service in the long-term (which they don’t), it’s just a disaster that screws everyone over.


#8

DRM has never paid off that well, but the industry has been very cyclic with DRM use. Back in the '80s (PC-XT and -AT days), many publishers dropped DRM entirely, largely for the same reasons as now, although it was just as often direct copies that were the issue at the time, using floppy-based media, as it was cracked releases (which still existed, mind you).

DRM was worthless then, as well, except for “code wheels” and similar, physical devices, such as keyword reference in printed documentation; those were at least slightly inconvenient to duplicate, although not very difficult.

Kudos to the devs of SW2 for having both sense and decency in how they treat their customers! If I had a PC that could run this beast of a game, I’d buy it in a heartbeat ^^’ .


#9

At the moment UWP seems to be a car crash of badly optimised ports and lacking even basic features like being able to run the damn game in proper full screen mode causing performance problems. I don’t think mods are supported either so the entire thing is hobbled from the get-go.


#10

Exactly. I DID finally cave and upgrade to 10 (my pirate 7 upgraded to legal 10 Pro!) but I haven’t felt the slightest need to touch the Windows Store. Ever.


#11

Exactly. I’ve bought a game on Steam that then also demanded Uplay, which was/is completely fucking broken, preventing me from playing the game I paid for.

Steam’s own DRM, such as it is, at least provides value to the consumer. I can easily log into my account from any other computer with Steam installed and play my library. Now I can even stream over a local network, so if someone in the house has a high-spec rig I can play anything at full settings even on a creaky old laptop.

It’s true that Valve could arbitrarily revoke access or go out of business, but unlike Microsoft or Ubisoft or EA, they’ve given me every reason to trust them.

Except about HL3.


#12

This is one of the reasons I prefer GOG over Steam. If GOG has the game, I’ll buy it there instead.

But Steam isn’t too bad as long as it lasts. (Publishers don’t have to use their DRM, they choose to.) And the way their CEG DRM works, I suspect that if they were shutting down they could push an update that would allow games to continue working in “Offline Mode” permanently. Probably wouldn’t be able to reinstall them on a new PC unless the publisher also pushed an update, though.

There is also a chance that if that happened, GOG would pick up most of the games (so you could reinstall them) and might even let you transfer them for free with GOG Connect, but again that seems to be up to the publishers.

Unfortunately, publishers have a history of not wanting to spend any money to support old games that are no longer their ‘current hot new thing’. So Steam’s collapse could be…interesting. A mass extinction event coupled with fully-justified piracy on a truly massive scale to resurrect the games.


#13

Yeah, and they have a history of doing just that. There’s no way I’d trust them not to do it again.


#14

I’m not quite certain why Cory is so down on DRM.

After all, it would be very convenient and pro-customer if stores had an auto-checkout and they just left the doors open after the employees left at night. No more rushing to get there before closing time.

But we all realize that they can’t (at least in our culture).

When most of your market (majority young males) have an attitude that “paying for something you don’t have to is just stupid”, then criticizing companies for using some form of DRM is not a lot different than criticizing a company for locking their doors after business hours.

It might be viable for programs or goods targeting a different market segment. But for the torrent generation, there’s no moral pejorative attached to piracy. And if pirating is morally equal to paying for a product, the software producer’s only hope is to use DRM and hope that they find the part of the audience that finds it more inconvenient to pirate than purchase.

I’m not going to criticize companies for choosing to use DRM (although I believe they have the responsibility for telling the customer in clear terms what that DRM entails). If people don’t like the DRM, I’m not going to criticize people for not buying the game.

This is a business issue, not a moral issue.


#15

Funny, I don’t spend tens of thousands of dollars to recondition items I’m putting out on a garage sale either!

I find it useful to imagine how much thankless work I am willing to do for free before judging how much work I should expect others to do in a similar situation.


#16


#17

Here’s a business issue:

DRM in itself encourages piracy. It does little to nothing to stop the initial crack, maybe delay it a day or a week. But it makes the legit buyer’s life harder.

It’s like buying a car, and every time you start it up you have to call the dealer and ask for permission, and they’re not the best about answering the phone. Alternatively you could hotwire the car and never have to deal with the dealership ever again.

It’s stupid and bad business to punish the legit buyer. And DRM can’t ever punish the guy who gets it illegally. So you are better off without DRM anyway.


#18

Those garage sale items aren’t permanently reliant on your approval of use once they leave your hands.

I don’t have to call every time I want to use the lawnmower you sold me. But if you put a module in it that makes it require that, then you’re committing yourself to answering the phone as long as I want to use it. It’s not fair for you to deliberately hobble the equipment you sell and then just ditch. That’s the definition of capriciousness.


#19

Glad to see so many other Steam-wary gamers here.

I love the Humble Bundle. In fact I bought the original Shadow Warrior through it. But goddammit if 85% of the titles nowadays are Steam-only. Absolute deal-breaker.

I view Steam like I view iTunes (vs. simply downloading music via the web and sorting it with general-purpose file managers): it’s software that shouldn’t exist in the first place, and that makes me not trust it on my PC - because there must be some nefarious other reason for forcing it upon me.


#20

Well, data’s valuable. And when you download and use Steam, Valve knows exactly what you play, for how long, who your friends are, how often you talk to them, what you buy, what you look at but don’t buy, how much you’re willing to spend, what hardware you have, whether you like to stream to your TV, or if you just use your PC, and how often you upgrade your hardware.

That’s worth a lot to Doublclick and Akamai.