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.