Kotaku caught up to Will Wright at the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards in the Big Apple, where the Spore designer offered his thoughts on the DRM controversy that has plagued his game:
It was something I probably should have tuned into more. It was a corporate decision to go with DRM on Spore. They had a plan and the parameters, but now we’re allowing more authentications and working with players to de-authenticate which makes it more in line like an iTunes. I think one of the most valid concerns about it was you could only install it so many times. For most players it’s not an issue, it’s a pretty small percentage, but some people do like wiping their hard disk and installing it 20 times or they want to play it 10 years later.
I think it’s an interim solution to an interim problem. You have games like Battlefield Heroes coming out where the idea is you give away the game and sell upgrades, which works more in the Asian markets where you need to monetize it over the Internet. I think we’re in this uncomfortable spot in going from what’s primarily a brick and mortar shrink-wrapped product to what eventually will become more of an online monetization model.
GP: It’s reassuring to see that Will is giving some thought to how Spore’s DRM situation could have been handled better. But I hope that his comments concerning the Battlefield Heroes business model don’t portend the future of PC gaming in the United States. The Internet-based game model is used in Asian markets because of rampant piracy furthered by government apathy to IP issues. It would be tough sell to convince me that such measures are necessary here in the U.S., what with the DMCA and our new IP czar on the way.