Wednesday, April 17, 2013

DRM, as in customers Don't Really Matter?

Let me start with a question, and please know that it is rhetorical.

Do game developers have the right to protect their intellectual property with whatever security measures they want?

The simple answer is, yes.  Yes they do.

The problem is, when your security infringes on what gamers want/expect from their games.  It's a lot like the Patriot act - is it really worth your privacy as an individual to be 'secure'?  I personally don't think so.  I also don't think that the DRM measures that gaming companies are preparing to use (and in some cases, already are using), are even remotely necessary.  And I won't pay for them.
Both of the upcoming next gen consoles are touting their DRM as being a feature (you have to be online to play games), and not what it truly is, an unwanted hinderance.   It's almost as if they aren't listening to their customers, and have a severe disconnect with reality.

Requiring people to always be online to play your games (not to be read 'their own' games), is not the answer here.  You accomplished your goal.  You tested the waters and got the feedback.  Guess what, it was all negative.  The only people that want this is the developers.  The only customers not responding negatively aren't responding at all, because they don't care.  The people that care, are voicing their concerns.  Are you listening?

Logistically speaking, it's not even realistic.  Internet connections drop all the time, and don't even get me started on wifi connections.  I'm talking hardline here.  And I'm telling you, it is simply not worth my time to have to start over because you CAN'T properly support the fact that connections drop, and internet is not a perfect delivery method.  CAN'T.  Not even won't.  CAN NOT.  It isn't feasible.  But we as gamers are just supposed to accept that things are going that way, and it's going to happen no matter what.

I know why the game developers are doing it.  I understand.  Piracy is rampant.  Understand, I have no idea if the steps on that site work, because I wouldn't use them even if I had a PS3 - but that site exists, because people want to know how to do these things.  They want to know how to do these things, because they want games that they can't/won't pay for.  They can't/won't pay for said games, because games are too damned expensive.  I know - anyone in the industry doesn't like to hear that.  Games are too expensive.  That's why I shop at gamestop.  That's why I rarely buy a game for full price, and almost never buy a game on launch day.  There are exceptions, and I'm very selective in who I choose to support.  But I will NEVER support the necessity of an always on internet connection as DRM.  Period.

Electronic Arts no longer gets my money.  After I purchased Command and Conquer 4, and then realized I couldn't play the game I just paid for, I resolved to never pay them for anything else.  By the way, I knew about the always on connection, and I even tried to play by their rules.  But even with my connection, THEIR PRODUCT DIDN'T WORK!  I checked for fixes, tried to patch the game, to no avail.  It wouldn't work... and I was out $20 for no reason other than they wanted to do it that way for security.

Want to know another form of DRM that developers have been tossing around for a bit now?  It's called licensing, and what it means is that you no longer OWN the product you pay for.  That link is about Microsoft Office, but they have their own GAMES for PC team.  How long until that business model is in place for their games as well?  My prediction:  Not very.

One of the things that has ALWAYS bothered me about this conversation is that the developers blame a lack of sales on people buying used games.  Not only is this inaccurate, it's coming from a position of entitlement.  They feel entitled to the money that second-hand games shops are making, because they made the product in the first place...  You know, the one that someone BOUGHT and then SOLD or TRADED IN to the shop.  So tell me, why do the developers deserve to get paid TWICE for the same game?  Is the assumption that the person buying a used game would buy a new one instead for the price YOU are charging?  Because that is an incorrect assumption.  I can't begin to tell you how incorrect that assumption is.  I wouldn't pay your price, unless it was the same as I could get it for used at the second-hand shop.  Your games cost too much.  That's a repeating theme, by the way, in case you missed it.

So, can game companies secure their games in whatever way they want?  Yep.  Does that mean that I'll buy them?  Nope.  Not ever.  I refuse to support something that not only doesn't let me play my game my way, but doesn't even allow it to be 'My Game'.  You will not get my money ever again if you do this.
Period. (Quoting EA about SIMcity)

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