As DRM technology becomes more invasive, an article on CNET takes a look at the methods used and offers some possible suggestions for DRM-free gaming.
The reaction to Ubisoft’s DRM, which requires a constant Internet connection, has been well documented, with a reverse boycott organized and hackers taking down the publisher’s authentication servers twice. The new Electronic Arts release Command & Conquer 4, despite employee claims that the game “has NO DRM. Zip, zero, zilch, none,” also requires an Internet connection to play, which has already resulted in a thread full of complaints on the C&C forums.
Noting that “the joke seems to be on the customers who end up buying this software when it first comes out,” CNET offers the advice that gamers simply wait for PC games without DRM. Examples given include Spore, which was released on Valve’s Steam platform without SecuROM just two months after its retail release, the original Bioshock, which saw an update released that removed installation limits once the game had aged and even Ubisoft, which removed Tages DRM technology from both Dawn of Discovery and World in Conflict through updates, albeit well after the game’s shelf life had almost expired.
The waiting game however, poses a couple of problem to gamers: First of all, waiting sucks and “PC gamers, and gamers in general, are a restless bunch. Getting them to wait for anything is a hard sell, especially when it’s access to a new game.” Additionally, if all PC gamers waited for stale releases to be stripped of DRM, early sales of a title would suffer, and publishers often use these figures to determine the viability of sequels.
Another way to fight back might be to link up with the organization Defective by Design, which proposes that DRM should stand for Digital Restrictions Management. The group is organizing a Day Against DRM that is scheduled for May 4, 2010.