Earlier this week, GamePolitics reported on “benefit denial,” a loss-prevention technology proposed by game retail trade group the Entertainment Merchants Association. The EMA plan would disable movies and video games until unlocked at the point of sale.
Not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.
Writing for CNET, technology columnist Don Reisinger dubs the plan "a loser."
Piracy and theft is indeed a problem in the video game industry. But it's not so bad that it requires games to be shipped in an unactivated state. Moreover, game piracy is really a bigger problem on the PC than on consoles... And since most of the issues affect the PC side of the business, not even benefit denial will be able to stop piracy...
However, EMA Public Affairs VP Sean Bersell told us that benefit denial is “all about retail theft,” not piracy. He points to a comment to Reisinger’s article posted by Capgemini, the firm commissioned by the EMA to evaluate the feasibility of benefit denial.
[The benefit denial study], announced by the EMA, doesn't even mention piracy. And that's because the whole project is about elimination of physical theft of discs, whether DVDs, or CDs, or games on optical discs. It has nothing to do with piracy. Zero.
Reisinger also raises concerns about how well this technology will work with second-hand games, whether Internet connectivity will be a factor, and if the Big 3 console makers' participation will be required. Bersell commented:
We are not talking about DRM or other software-based technology. The technology to which we are referring would be a physical lock that is opened via radio frequency in the store at the point of sale...
The purpose is to make it easier for the consumer to purchase the product... And since EMA is pursuing this and we have been protecting the First Sale rights of retailers and their customers for 28 years, I can assure you that nothing in this will interfere with the rights of consumers to sell, lend, or give away their used games.
DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of the benefit denial study here.
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen...