I just thought of a couple of questions to ask everyone.
A) How bad can DRM get beyond Ubisoft's Always-On DRM? It seems that it can't get much worse than a 24/7 connection for SP gaming.
B) How can you make DRM work like it's supposed to? What's the best way to deter piracy w/o inconveniencing the customer, or how do you balance both evils so that your DRM isn't unreasonable?
A) I have no clue at the moment.
B) Do what Stardock does, Steam does, or reward your legitimate customers enough (within reason) so that buying a game legitimately is worth more than pirating a copy. Also make the DRM reasonable. I wouldn't go no farther than online activation. It won't stop piracy, but at least the game will be more attractive to buy than to steal. Project Ten Dollar (EA) is along those lines, but it's more of a move made to deter used games sales.
EDIT: Actually, Stardock doesn't use DRM in their games, but the do use one-time activation. For simplicity's sake, though, I'll file it under DRM.
[COLOR="Black"]In my opinion DRM that installs stuff on your PC in order to disable programs that create virtual drives is much worse than always-on DRM. That stuff can seriously mess your PC up, even if you don't have any software for virtual drives.
I don't think there is DRM that is both effective and not inconvenient for users. The best thing developers can do is to make excellent games and sell them at reasonable price levels. [/COLOR]
There was a DRM called Stardock that messed with your CD drivers to make sure your game wasn't copied, so your DRM has partially been done before. I think it's still around, though I don't know if it works differently now.
A) Make it monitor your system constantly, and at the slightest sign of any dubious software shut down the entire system. When someone such as Sony could develop SecuROM, I wouldn't put it past another giant to develop that kind of software.
B) Digital. I know, it'd be treating people without access to the internet unfairly, but it's the best way to make sure all sales are properly monitored. Or give customers more incentive. Take GamersGate for example. Purchasing a game there rewards you with 5% of the cost in blue coins. Blue coins can be used to purchase games. Along with that, most of the games produced by Paradox Interactive require you to enter your CD key on their forum in order to get support and access to patches, along with mods.
I have an answer to question A now. An always-on DRM added with limited installs is worse than Ubisoft's DRM. It's also plausible.
Killer Kyle;5369713There was a DRM called Stardock that messed with your CD drivers to make sure your game wasn't copied, so your DRM has partially been done before. I think it's still around, though I don't know if it works differently now.
StarForce, not Stardock. It's still around iirc, and is still used as a prime example of bad DRM. The problem with SF is that it doesn't uninstall the drivers if you uninstall the game, as though they expect you to be using games that all come with SF protection. Which is a ridiculous concept. Worse still, was that you had to install it in order to play the game. Installing it required a restart of your PC, and it had to check the disc was in the machine as well.
Worst instance I've had to date with any DRM was oddly enough with SecuRom on DoW: Soulstorm. After installation, I couldn't play the game. SecuRom kept telling me I had the wrong disc inserted. This was also the same error it would give to anyone with virtual drive software installed like Daemon Tools. (I use Daemon Tools because I have a section of my hard drive dedicated to all the games ISOs I made of my old game collection before I got rid of them.)
Well, after even removing Daemon Tools didn't work, I tried it out at a mate's house. It installed an played fine. A couple of days later, I had the random thought of swapping the DVD drive out for an older one. Guess what? It bloody well worked after that!
I must confess, I myself have no problem with "Always-on" DRM like with AC2. This is down to the fact that I'm (almost) always connected to the internet.
Absolutely the only DRM type(s) I dislike are the ones that limit installations, or install software onto your machine that you have no choice but to do.
My bad about mixing up StarForce and Stardock.
I had a run-in with StarForce with Bet On Soldier, but it never caused me any problems. I knew it was on there as well. It was also my first run-in with software DRM far as I know.
One thing I will add in regards to "always on" DRM, is when it comes to retail vs digital copies of a game.
Since digital copies don't require the disc to be present, there's no disc checking involved. When I got C&C4 (I wish I hadn't tbh) it was a retail copy. Aside from always having to be connected & logged in with an EA account, I still had to have the disc in the machine. I don't know what retail copies of AC2 are like, since I've got the digital version.
In all honesty, always on DRM should mean that even retail copies of a game shouldn't require a disc check. If the DRM requires you to be logged into some game account for as long as you're playing the game, then a physical disc shouldn't be required for playing that game after you've installed it.
@Killer Kyle: Let's be honest, Stardock does sound like the name of some sort of DRM anyway.;)
17th June 2002
DRM doesn't work. Making it ever-more draconian doesn't change that, it only serves to piss off your legitimate customers - while the pirates don't have to suffer the effects at all.
Whenever the industry throws down a DRM gauntlet, proclaiming their system to be unbeatable, the pirates make a concerted effort to break it. Invariably they do, and in a few occasions such as Spore the resulting outcry has caused piracy of the title to reach record levels.
Contrariwise, good games which release without DRM tend to sell quite highly.
The solution seems to be somewhat obvious to me.
Tell EA or Ubisoft that. Ubisoft sticks by its broken DRM. Once a DRM scheme has been cracked on one game, it takes less time to crack it on other games later.
Ubisoft's DRM works in theory, but what's wrong with it is that it assumes that every customer has a constant, stable internet connection, which isn't true. Some people have flaky connections, and some don't even use broadband, and furthermore some don't even use internet on their gaming PCs or use it some of the time. And then you have people that use laptops that want to play the game at any location regardless if it has internet or not. This is where the DRM fails. It fails to take these measures into account, and these exceptions are enough such that it hurts the publishers sales-wise and PR-wise because people don't keep buying from a company that enforces a system that prevents them from playing their game.
Ubisoft needs to dump it because it doesn't work anymore and it's going to continue to hurt their sales, and EA LA doesn't need to pull another stunt like they did with C&C 4 with using their own Ubisoft-like scheme on any future games. I'm going to be very pissed if MoH comes with Ubisoft-like DRM even though I can run it flawlessly.