Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens says that he is not a fan of digital rights management but his ideas on how to fight piracy are just as complicated as any DRM scheme cooked up by publishers like Ubisoft and EA. Cousens suggests that the game industry sell parts of games in a retail box, with the rest of the content unlocked via micro-payments. As he sees it, even if the first part of the game is pirated, those that don't pay for it will never get to enjoy the complete experience.
But one of the problems with such a solution is that it would require a reduced price at retail for products using this feature because it would only be a partial experience. Plus it it is tough to continually monetize games when they aren’t very good in the first place.. Still, at least Cousens is thinking outside the box. Here's what he told C&VG:
The video games industry has to learn to operate in a different way. My answer is for us as publishers is to actually sell unfinished games - and to offer the consumer multiple micro-payments to buy elements of the full experience.
That would create an offering that is affordable at retail - but over a period of time may also generate more revenue for the publishers to reinvest in our games.
If these games are pirated, those who get their hands on them won't be able to complete the experience. There will be technology, coding aspects, that will come to bear that will unlock some aspects. Some people will want them and some won't.
When it comes to piracy, I think you have to make the experience the answer to the issue - rather than respond the other way round and risk damaging that experience for the user. But I may be a lone voice in that.