GoG: It’s Easy to “Slap a Mechanical Fix onto a Game” with DRM
RPS asked if the gaming industry is shifting away from DRM:
Ubisoft’s Chris Early recently announced that his company is looking to add enough value to its products to make DRM obsolete. Do you think this is a sign that the tides are turning? Is DRM finally on the way out? And, if that’s the case, what happens to GOG’s big selling point?
I would love it if DRM is dying out. I think GOG.com has blazed a bit of a trail in that respect, because we’ve spent the last three and half years showing the industry that not only can it work, but it can work very well–we’ve been growing at a phenomenal pace since we launched. If we ever reach the point where our core value of “DRM-free gaming” needs to be removed from our website because everyone simply assumes that games aren’t burdened with such short-sighted “features” as DRM, I’m pretty sure we’ll have a celebration at the office. It would be a great day for gaming.
I don’t think the tides are quite turning yet, though. It’s a promising move, but I don’t think this particular debate in gaming culture is anywhere near over.
GoG went on to explain the allure of DRM to a businessman:
It’s very, very hard from a business perspective to see the numbers of games being pirated and to not try and slap a mechanical “fix” on to your game. DRM doesn’t work, no, but when you’re managing your business via a spreadsheet, it is much easier to check a box that says, “DRM added” than it is to come up with a comprehensive plan to make the offer you present gamers more attractive than the one that pirates do while at the same time realizing that some gamers will pirate your game no matter what.
I definitely think that Ubisoft is moving in the right direction, but we’ll need to see if other industry giants are willing to do the same. I’m sure everyone’s watching Ubisoft to see what happens with their experiment before making up their minds.
Slapping in DRM is a knee-jerk reaction to the failed perception of a problem. I can understand why developers jumped at DRM as the solution to low sales figures, but when will they start treating the condition rather than the symptom?