THQ’s Ian Curran on DRM, the Future of the $60 Game

In an interview with Computer and Video Games, THQ’s Global publishing executive VP, Ian Curran, gave his opinions on DRM and the possible future of the $60 retail game.

Speaking about the cost of retail games, Curran said that the industry may move towards a micro-transactional market where the whole game isn’t necessarily in the retail box. Citing the free-to-play MMO market as an example, users play the game and then buy additional content they want.

The problem with such an example is that most free-to-play MMO games can be played without ever buying extra content, whereas big publishers will probably charge for features that players consider essential like multiplayer. Of course, with a lower price, consumers might find paying extra for multiplayer more acceptable. Here’s a bit from the interview:

"Rather than giving everything in a $60 game, the entry into that product is going to be cheaper through the digital route, and then we’re going to say to people: ‘If you want more, it’s going to cost you a little bit more – but you can choose what content you want down the line.’

If you look at the Asian markets, where it’s free-to-play, but then you see a microtransaction model, things are going to change. I do see a time where games aren’t going to be $60 any more – you just won’t get as much content in the box. How quickly that will come, I don’t know."

On DRM, Curran says that he understands consumers’ frustrations with DRM but the methods they have currently are "all they’ve got."

"At the moment, the DRM methods we have are all we have got. I know it frustrates consumers, but we’ve got to protect our IP from those people who don’t want to pay for games. If people don’t want to pay for games then we don’t get any money to make games. Where does it go from there?

To the genuine purchaser of the game, I don’t think it’s too much of a problem. But to the people who want content for nothing, it hurts them and we don’t make any apologies for that.

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15 comments

  1. Yammo says:

    "To the genuine purchaser of the game, I don’t think it’s too much of a problem."

    What the f*?!

    Being thrown out of a single-player game, without saving, because the lackingly written
    UBI-soft protection misses a single verification?

    Having to purchase a new DVD & reinstall windows, because StarForce has corrupted the
    installation and toasted the player?

    The list of how customers are being dragged through the gutter goes on-and-on-and-on,
    while those who "want content for nothing", can keep playing the game as if nothing happened.

     

    Imagine cars doing a non-theft validation via mobile-phone? What would happen if the car
    shut down whenever the connection failed?  I argue that had it been any other market,
    the companies would have been sued at the blink of an eye. But since the law-makers are
    completely computer illiterate, draconian companies get away with the most amazing stunts.

    Don’t think for a second, that customers aren’t suffering over the draconian DRMs.
     

  2. Ashkihyena says:

    ""At the moment, the DRM methods we have are all we have got. I know it frustrates consumers, but we’ve got to protect our IP from those people who don’t want to pay for games. If people don’t want to pay for games then we don’t get any money to make games. Where does it go from there?

    To the genuine purchaser of the game, I don’t think it’s too much of a problem. But to the people who want content for nothing, it hurts them and we don’t make any apologies for that."

    When DRM doesn’t work and is more frustrating to the consumer then the pirates, all you got is failure anyways.

    As for it not being much of a problem…yeah no.  Particularly if the DRM is as nasty as that Ubisoft DRM.

  3. ZippyDSMlee says:

    DRM dose not work stop wasteing money on it or at least the silly crap you are useing all you need is disc check or random key checks no mandatory online crap.

     

    60$ games are not that bad no with it being half the price used on ebay/amazon after a few months so new game price dose not effect so much anymore. 😛

     

    But if you want to change that 60$ price tag do this single player disc is 30$, MP disc 40$ that way you make up the diffrence in lost sales,ect

     

    Or you can DLC the part you don’t have for the same price.


    I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/

  4. Yammo says:

     Actually, it’s already happened… 🙂

    Rise of Flight was a steal to buy, but you only get a few basic aircrafts.
    If you want more planes, you have to buy them individually.

  5. Flamespeak says:

    Does this guy honestly think publishers will start charging people less for games?

    Last I checked, Kotick was looking for a way to charge even more for the same content you are getting now by claiming paying for it will magically make it better.

    You know, like Xbox Live.

  6. SpiralGray says:

    "big publishers will probably charge for features that players consider essential like multiplayer"

    I personally couldn’t care less about multiplayer in most games (Blur being the exception right now). After I played the campaign in Gears of War 2 I sold it, never fired up multiplayer once. I would welcome a model where you only paid for the features you want.

  7. MechaTama31 says:

    I don’t play multiplayer most of the time anyway, so if I could get the portion of the game that I actually want to pay, for less money, score?  This idea, like so many others, could work really well, or could be a disaster.  It’s all in how they handle it, things like being up front and honest about what is and is not included in the base package, and reasonable prices for meaningful extra content (I hate to beat a dead horse armor, but…).

  8. GoodRobotUs says:

    Had exactly the same problem on my old computer, my DVD drive was a few years old, and none of my Securom games would be recognised as legit. It wasn’t till I got my new computer that I was able to stop using No-CD patches.

    I’d say the only company that uses Securom in a sensible way is Egosoft, who tend to include it whilst the game is new, and then release a patch to disable CD requirement once a year or so has passed.

  9. hellfire7885 says:

    Here’s the thing, even if they do make people pay extra for multiplayer, we’ll still have to pay 60 dollars to get the game. publishers like money too much


  10. Thad says:

    "I know it frustrates consumers, but we’ve got to protect our IP from those people who don’t want to pay for games."

    DRM DOESN’T DO THAT.

    "If people don’t want to pay for games then we don’t get any money to make games."

    And if you put DRM in your games, people aren’t going to want to pay for them.  You following this syllogism, Ian?

  11. lomdr says:

    Very much this.  I have to use a crack on my retail copy of C&C 3 because SecuROM doesn’t see the disc that came in the box a legit disc.

  12. DorkmasterFlek says:

    Nobody had any complaints about pirates having a hard time with DRM.  The problem is when it hurts your legitimate customers and they end up having to use cracks just to play the game they bought.  Call me when you figure that one out.

  13. DorthLous says:

    But… but… but… DRM DON’T work 99.99% of the time. So WHY? It can’t be the only thing you have since you DON’T have it… ARGH! Like talking to monkeys.

  14. Bigman-K says:

    In Canada during the early/mid-90’s I remember games were $80 back in the days of the SNES. Hell I remember paying over $100 for Secret of Mana when that first came out.

     "No law means no law" – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

  15. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    $60 USD games. I miss those days. Now games are at $100 USD here in Mexico. I had to buy a used copy Super Street Fighter IV at $70 USD. Now I´m sad.

    ———————————————————— My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

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