Posted on August 30, 2011, Ross Lincoln Valve’s Gabe Newell: DRM Is “Totally Backwards”
The creeping trend of legitimate player-screwing DRM is something that rightfully troubles a wide swath of the gaming world. DRM does little to discourage actual piracy, it just inconveniences and in cases, shuts out entirely legitimate gamers whose only crime was not breaking the law. Unfortunately, with the continued success companies like Blizzard have experienced despite the inclusion of restrictive DRM in their games is only encouraging other companies to do it.
It would seem complaints from gamers and digital property rights advocates are falling on deaf ears and that like it or not, the problem is only going to get worse. Fortunately, it turns out not all of gaming’s mega-corporate behemoths are on board. Kotaku interviewed Valve’s Gabe Newell, and asked what he thought about persistent internet connection requirements, or forcing players to make additional purchases in order to unlock DLC. His response was an unambiguous rebuke of restrictive DRM:
We’re a broken record on this. This belief that you increase your monetization by making your game worth less through aggressive digital rights management is totally backwards . It’s a service issue, not a technology issue. Piracy is just not an issue for us.
The best way to fight piracy is to create a service that people need,” he said. “I think (publishers with strict DRM) will sell less of their products and create more problems.
“Customers want to know everything is going to be there for them no matter what: Their saved games and configurations will be there. They don’t want any uncertainty.
That’s damn right, and we endorse his comments completely. Naturally, the entire piece is worth a read. So what do you think? Is DRM a necessary fact of life or is it just another way for large gaming companies to nickel and dime their customers?