The always online requirement has been a hot topic as of late. Masquerading as essential to gameplay, the always online requirement is a piracy deterrent, or DRM, regardless of what publishers and developers say in their press releases. There are two sides to this piracy argument. Team Meat’s Tommy Refenes recently took to his Tumblr account to outline his thoughts on piracy, digital distribution, and DRM in the changing landscape of video games.
For those who spent any time reading through article after article about the Sim City debacle, this is a very interesting read from a developer standpoint; it’s a view from a developer who has dealt with the perils of selling digital products. Here are a few choices quotes from the lengthy breakdown of the Sim City situation and the problems facing EA, Sim City, and the games industry as a whole.
A growing number of their customers no longer trust them and this has and will cost them money.
“I bought SimCity day one, I played it and experienced the same frustrations that countless others are experiencing. For total fairness, I know the always on DRM isn’t the main issue, but I can’t help but think that the server side calculations are a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” version of DRM. I won’t claim to know the inner workings of SimCity and this isn’t a Captain Hindsight article because that is irrelevant. EA and Maxis are currently facing a bigger problem than piracy: A growing number of their customers no longer trust them and this has and will cost them money.
Often, these efforts to combat piracy only result in frustration for paying customers. I challenge a developer to show evidence that accurately shows implementation of DRM is a return on investment and that losses due to piracy can be calculated. I do not believe this is possible.
The reality is the fight against piracy equates to spending time and money combating a loss that cannot be quantified. Everyone needs to accept that piracy cannot be stopped and loss prevention is not a concept that can be applied to the digital world. Developers should focus on their paying customers and stop wasting time and money on non-paying customers. Respect your customers and they may in turn respect your efforts enough to purchase your game instead of pirating it.”