GOG: DRM Solves Piracy Like a Bag of Concrete Solves Hunger

May 31, 2013 -

An excellent feature over at Forbes chronicles the DRM-free revolution which has been moved forward in part by popular game portal Good Old Games. While the exhaustive history of the company's push towards software that abandons DRM in favor of a better customer experience is interesting, there's also a great conversation with GOG.com managing director Guillaume Rambourg.

In the article he's pretty blunt about what they think of using DRM over at GOG:

"DRM solves piracy like a bag of concrete solves hunger," he tells Forbes.

He thinks DRM does nothing to deter piracy and that those who crack DRM schemes do so even before they play the games they want to play:

“Pirates remove the DRM from the games before they ever play them," he tells Forbes. “The people who have to put up with DRM are the very people who shouldn’t have to bother with it: legitimate customers.”

Witcher 3 Project Lead, Konrad Tomaszkiewicz tells Forbes that DRM may be the worst thing about the industry today. He describes it as a reactionary response that ultimately isn't helpful because it gets in consumers' way. He also says that DRM schemes - particularly those that use a constant connection can break a game and make the customer's experience even more unbearable should they not be able to connect to the internet.

"It’s hard for the industry to think this way," Rambourg concludes, "but consider this: if Zork I had an always-on internet connection requirement, do you think it would still be possible to sell the game 33 years later and have it work? It does work just fine on GOG.com, and the rights holders make revenue on this great old classic, but that’s because it’s not crippled with a short-sighted DRM policy. Of course, it wasn’t possible to use DRM like that back in the day, but I think it’s best for all of us who like seeing the classics that shaped gaming that it wasn’t."

That's something a lot of games won't be capable of doing even five or six years from now.

You can read the entire article right now on Forbes.

 

 


Comments

Re: GOG: DRM Solves Piracy Like a Bag of Concrete Solves Hunger

Ironically thanks to GOG I've repurchased several games I had previously owned thus creating more income from the original IP holder.  If DRM were part of that package, I wouldn't even bother, my thought would be "meh, I've played it already."  Instead my thoughts are "I can't wait to play that again!"

Re: GOG: DRM Solves Piracy Like a Bag of Concrete Solves Hunger

If DRM is too annoying, it makes me WANT to pirate the game or not even try it!

But if a company treats me as a valued customer and have no DRM or later removes the release DRM, then I often buy more than my share of copies and will give them much leeway for bugs and mistakes on release.

It's almost as if treating customers right makes loyal customers! Strange idea indeed..

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"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong." -H.L.Mencken

Re: GOG: DRM Solves Piracy Like a Bag of Concrete Solves Hunger

Meh, DRM has little to do with piracy anyway.  DRM is how you get other stakeholders on board, the people with the money who can make or break a project.

Re: GOG: DRM Solves Piracy Like a Bag of Concrete Solves Hunger

that there... that part about zork and 33 years later... that has always been my concern with newer DRM schemes.

Just look at what happened to Tribes 2 when its servers went dark.. even the LAN modes were locked out without the host servers. Thankfully some intrepid programmers/hackers brought up a function setup for it years later.

but what about when other games go dark? Its like having the nintendo cartridge, but your nintendo died... sure it'll work in another nintendo, but you need to buy it again don't you, and thats not always that easy for some people.  Worse over.. replace nintendo with a commodore 64 or Atari... yeeesh...

anywho.. the one thing i fear most is total loss of old games that were so much fun and i'd love to play for years on.

I still enjoy the hell outta Quest for Glory (the game that inspired me to learn to read and type better just so i could play it as a kid!) and to this day i still love the hell out of it thanks to GoG bringing it back and helping to fix the problematic issues original copies have now (such as being on an old floppy disc and me no longer having access to such a drive!)

Though one thing i hope companies like SoE do pull eventually is the release of a "final" version of the server side, with editors, for sale and use for old MMO's when they go.

I'd love to get my hands on a legit server to setup and run around in Everquest's world of Norrath, creating my own little experiences as i go.

TBH not sure why they haven't yet, the hacked servers actually worked VERY well back when they existed. And SoE could make a bundle off the server program and maybe sell content packs for it and such....

after all the game is F2P now...

Re: GOG: DRM Solves Piracy Like a Bag of Concrete Solves Hunger

They don't release DRM-free versions because that's time and money they may not have to spend, if they're even legally allowed to do so, and that in turn assumes they have the source code available to modify in the first place.

And all of that hinges on the assumption that they give a fuck, and they've shown repeatedly that they don't.

Re: GOG: DRM Solves Piracy Like a Bag of Concrete Solves Hunger

Not so sure on that. maybe i'm reading it wrong though.

A couple games i know of that had built in DRM based on questions from the manual (Wing Commander for one) have had it somehow removed. It was there initially when GoG released it (but they provided the manuals/blue prints) but has since gone the way of the dodo.

A few others i've seen also, while some retain it (quest for glory since it was also a mini game, or Return to Zork when your asked a question. but these are also part of the game experience. TBH those were the best kinds of DRM IMO, as they added to it and made you learn about the games worlds) Most have no signs of impeding DRM left in them.

Any that required CD keys need them no more, and others just don't need discs anymore (always a plus)

As for the not giving a fuck, not so sure on that. I've always seen good support from them, granted most tweaks and fixes are community found, but GoG staff has always been part of the discussion in my experiences, and eventually they add the found fixes to the games in their database rather than rely on people finding the fixes themselves by digging through the forums as other companies/developers do.

Re: GOG: DRM Solves Piracy Like a Bag of Concrete Solves Hunger

People would probably be surprised at how often some 3rd party library with a limited license can stop the idea of releasing old source code.  Usually it is something that could be replaced given some time and engineering effort, but those kinda up the cost.

 
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