Ubisoft Mulls Novel Antipiracy Strategy: Give Value To Gamers
It’s not a secret that the entertainment industry is deeply concerned about the problem of online piracy. Generally, proposed solutions have tended toward severely limiting access to their product, even for law abiding people. That is, after all, why so many major industry players got behind the horrendous SOPA and PIPA bills that would have literally destroyed the Internet. Well, the music and movie/tv worlds might be lost causes, but a growing number of powerful individuals in Video Gaming are suggesting an alternate approach, best expressed by newly minted Billionaire Gabe Newell: Make good games, price them reasonably, and maybe people won’t want to steal them.
Crazy, right? And yet many game studios still insist that the best way to combat piracy is to inconvenience potential customers at every turn. But it seems at least one major publisher is catching on, and it’s kind of surprising. Ubisoft. Yes, the same Ubisoft who normally devotes their resources to creating the worst DRM in the industry. And it seems they’re considering a change to that horrible tune.
Ubisoft’s Chris Early said as much talking with Eurogamer. He described a strategy the company hopes can combat piracy without DRM, essentially mimicking MMOs. “The question is,” Early said, “with enough on-going content development, content release, engagement at the community level, can we create that kind of MMO value system? I think we can. As the rest of the game industry continues to evolve, the more you hear about cloud gaming, the more you hear about companion gaming, the less a pirated game should work in all of that environment. So, therefore the value of that pirated content becomes less. Will some people still pirate? Yeah, they will. Will the person who really wants that broad experience pirate? We hope not.
Thats’ a pretty radical departure from their usual MO. Maybe it dawned on them that angering the people you want to give you money might not work as well as servicing them. Early’s comments suggest as much. “Is it fair for someone to enjoy our content without us receiving some value for that? I think at the core of that is, no… The balance, however, is, how do we do anything about that and not harm the person who is giving us value for that?” Exactly. But if you’ll pardon our cynicism, we’ll wait until they demonstrate good faith before getting too excited.
There’s more, and worth reading, over on Eurogamer.