Impossible (to beat) DRM

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actually, I think Ubisoft's DRM may be the one true answer to piracy! not there stupid online server crap. I mean this whole new approach they are taking! make a game so bad and buggy that no one, not even pirates that can get it for free, would ever want to put up with it!

it truly is the one and only solution.

HyenaThePirate:

Riven Armor:

HyenaThePirate:
[snip]
What Arkham Asylum did was a step in the right direction, what Assassin's creed did was way to the extreme, but in between the two lies the Holy Grail of anti-pirate protection and in the increasing arms race between Industry and Pirates, I believe the Industry is on the doorstep to a total, final solution.

Of course, how much damage it does to us, the gamers who purchase our games legally and honestly will suffer in the process, but I don't blame the industry... I put ALL blame squarely where it belongs: at the feet of the pirates and pirate "apologists" who make excuses for people stealing. It is THEY who force the hand of the industry and cause the rest of us to endure the issues we've had with DRM.

Not sure what makes you think the industry is onto something with a hypothetical moderate anti-piracy mechanism. The subculture will always be a problem. I don't think it'll stop growing either. Corporations are made of people who make fallible products, and there will always be more people on the outside beating down the protection measures. It's easier to tear something down than to build it up.

In any case, I don't mean to come out in favor of the act of stealing games. But if piracy were to go away tomorrow the industry wouldn't stop overpricing games or installing DRMs. Piracy is a necessary evil that safeguards even legitimate gamers from the excesses of the big corporations. Nobody's all bad, but nobody is incapable of wrongdoing either.

I don't buy any of that... it is the video game equivalent of stockholmes syndrome. Essentially here is your example:

bandits keep raiding your town, so the town council hires body guards. The Bandit raids slow for a bit and the bandits realize they need to find a way to deal with the bodyguards.. so they enlist mercenaries to their "cause". The raiding increases more than before, because with the added mercenaries, the bandits can plunder faster and more efficiently than before. The town decides that the best option is to hire trained gladiators to deal with the mercenarie/bandit coalition. For a time, raiding decreases and the bandits are unable to act with impunity. To deal with the gladiators, the Bandits and Mercenaries beseech the aid of Ninjas. The Ninjas bring with them motorcycles. The motorcycles are cheap and in easy supply so it makes raiding more widespread and easier to do. The addition of ninja masks make banditing anonymous so less bandits are brought to justice. Soon, people in the town discover that motorcycles are cheap to buy and masks keep their identity secret so some of them decide to become bandits as well, due to the fact that in order to hire the bodyguards and gladiators the town had to "raise taxes". The raiding and plundering increases exponentially, spreading like wild fire. Now the town can barely afford to grow it's crops which the bandits want.
So the Town builds a giant wall, and requires identification to pass through the gates, all at great cost, which they are able to afford because the quality of their crops has increased with better farming technology. However the bandit/ninjas quickly discover how to counterfeit the identification required by the town's guards and are able to plunder by tossing the goods over the wall.
The Town having no choice, begins a policy that outlaws all motorcycles and ninja masks.
Everyone who loves motorcycles complains. The Bandits complain and begin raiding more in protest, declaring themselves the victim of an oppressive town that seeks to stifle their love of ninja masks, motorcycles, and crops.

and thus you have an analogy that I believe fits the situation perfectly, and points out, correctly, that pirates (like the ninja mask wearing, motorcycle loving Bandits) are NOT victims in this situation. They are the bad guys. You can not blame the Town for taking increasingly extreme measures to deal with the Bandits.

Piracy EXPLODED when pc's became affordable to the absolute mainstream, when hard drive technology exploded, and when broadband speed became a staple of nearly all serious internet users. Piracy became an issue when 10 year olds discovered how easy it was to torrent and when cracking groups made cracks easier and easier for the layman to use.

Thing is, the gaming industry will be just fine in the end, even if they DO go to the extreme with DRM... because sooner or later, people will get USED to it, they always do. Legitimate game owners and people who pay for their games aren't going to suddenly STOP buying games and go back to playing board games. If anything will suffer, perhaps it will be PC gaming, but with consoles increasingly blurring the line, gamers will be able to avoid a large portion of trouble by simply buying a console.

So essentially, if you love PC gaming, if it is your platform of choice, you have a vested interest in BUYING pc games and supporting those companies, while condemning piracy in all its forms. Because otherwise, the only two choices you will soon have are draconian DRM practices.. or the complete death of PC gaming entirely.
You choose.

If we're comparing this to a town now,

1) The "town" can more than afford to grow its crops, which you admit

2) Once the pirates and ninjas disappear, good luck getting the town board to lower its taxes (see real government)

3) Right on, pirates aren't victims

I guess you've been saying your main thrust is that pirates are solely responsible for the degradation of PC gaming. Okay. But they aren't going to go away, and to the individual, legitimate consumer they still serve a purpose.

About how game companies should respond, you've made a good case that they are well within boundaries of good taste to release more and more stringent DRMs. I disagree since I don't believe pirates hurt them as much as they think, but there's a lot of room for error.

Riven Armor:

If we're comparing this to a town now,

1) The "town" can more than afford to grow its crops, which you admit

2) Once the pirates and ninjas disappear, good luck getting the town board to lower its taxes (see real government)

3) Right on, pirates aren't victims

I guess you've been saying your main thrust is that pirates are solely responsible for the degradation of PC gaming. Okay. But they aren't going to go away, and to the individual, legitimate consumer they still serve a purpose.

About how game companies should respond, you've made a good case that they are well within boundaries of good taste to release more and more stringent DRMs. I disagree since I don't believe pirates hurt them as much as they think, but there's a lot of room for error.

I don't believe that. I believe in the basic economic principle (which we see in action all the time in the video game world) that supply and demand dictates the price.. Want an example? Take a look at Resonance of Fate.. the game came out barely a month ago.. you can get it for nearly $30 US now. No such price drop for God of War III which came out scarcely afterwards. Drake's Fortune until about 5 months ago was still selling for $49 as late as december, nearly two years after its release. Haze is an even greater example... The game was "on sale" for $29 less than 2 weeks after its release.. why? Because it SUCKED and there was no demand.

What this illustrates is that price IS dictated to a large part by DEMAND. And there are a NUMBER of ways to determine demand and how much of it is being detracted by piracy.

Imagine if God of War III were available on PC at launch with no drm whatsoever. How well do you think sales would have been? Honestly?

You stop piracy, then the supply and demand economic model would be allowed to work properly. WE, the GAMERS would actually have MORE control to determine game prices, by snubbing games that we think are not worth buying, forcing prices to lower and forcing gaming companies to re-examine the price they release games at.

Imagine if Gamers decided that $60 for Final Fantasy XIII was too much and sales were underwhelming the first month of release? I guarantee we would have seen a marked price drop by now. The industry would have taken a good long look at the price of games and made adjustments. It is a process. Or it would allow merchandisers to decide price.. imagine if Walmart could have leeway to sell a game at the price they prefer as well as Target and Gamestop? Then it would force those companies to compete.

In the end, WE, the consumers, win.

And if Ubisoft is good at anything, it's taking really dumb ideas and running with them.

HyenaThePirate:

I don't believe that. I believe in the basic economic principle (which we see in action all the time in the video game world) that supply and demand dictates the price.. Want an example? Take a look at Resonance of Fate.. the game came out barely a month ago.. you can get it for nearly $30 US now. No such price drop for God of War III which came out scarcely afterwards. Drake's Fortune until about 5 months ago was still selling for $49 as late as december, nearly two years after its release. Haze is an even greater example... The game was "on sale" for $29 less than 2 weeks after its release.. why? Because it SUCKED and there was no demand.

What this illustrates is that price IS dictated to a large part by DEMAND. And there are a NUMBER of ways to determine demand and how much of it is being detracted by piracy.

Imagine if God of War III were available on PC at launch with no drm whatsoever. How well do you think sales would have been? Honestly?

You stop piracy, then the supply and demand economic model would be allowed to work properly. WE, the GAMERS would actually have MORE control to determine game prices, by snubbing games that we think are not worth buying, forcing prices to lower and forcing gaming companies to re-examine the price they release games at.

Imagine if Gamers decided that $60 for Final Fantasy XIII was too much and sales were underwhelming the first month of release? I guarantee we would have seen a marked price drop by now. The industry would have taken a good long look at the price of games and made adjustments. It is a process. Or it would allow merchandisers to decide price.. imagine if Walmart could have leeway to sell a game at the price they prefer as well as Target and Gamestop? Then it would force those companies to compete.

In the end, WE, the consumers, win.

Well, we are talking about this under an article which partially answers, somewhat, how effective a "good" DRM is.

But here we have a well-reviewed, high-profile, AAA title, with incredibly dense coverage that was ostensibly impossible to pirate for six entire weeks. (Which is when the bulk of sales take place.) If every download was a lost sale, then a piracy-proof game should have somewhere in the ballpark of ten times the usual sales. Assassins Creed 2 should be burning up the PC sales charts, dwarfing the sales numbers for its predecessor. Looking around at the sales charts on VGChartz, it would appear that this is not the case.

By the way, aren't the consoles relatively pirate-free as compared to the PC? Has supply and demand really worked in the intended way there, or is it the dreaded resale market that allows people to play for cheap?

I would be very interested to know how much, if anything, gaming publishers receive for re-sold titles at stores like Gamestop.

Depending upon the answer to that question, it might very well be the reason game prices have hung around the $60 mark.

DRM proposal:

- Every game console has a unique hardware id.

- Digital distribution only

- Every downloaded file is uniquely encrypted so only the console that payed for it can decrypt it

- No need for single-player games to be always on-line

- No disk swapping

Jinxey:
Putting yourself in a developers shoes it's easy to understand why they get mad at people stealing (yes pirating is stealing) their product.

Whine and bitch about "oh but I didn't have a demo" or other pitiful excuse. The developer is providing you THEIR product on THEIR terms. If you don't like those terms, vote with your money but that doesn't enable you to steal with good conscience. You try working 2-5 years of your life while providing for your family at a small company and than have some entitled snot tell you he "deserves" it for free.

Sorry, but this hits home for me. Some of my best friends have been layed off due to "budget cuts". Furthermore many companies have had to shut down due to rampant pirating.

Actually I agree with you, and your friends have my sympathy.

I'm not going to say that I haven't downloaded the odd cracked game or two when I was a little younger and stupider, but these days it's a different story. As someone on a generally low income I often don't have the spare cash for things like computer games, but I don't see that as justification for piracy. If I can't afford a game I simply don't play it, I've never played Assassin's Creed 2 or Bioshock 2 or a lot of these other games the community deems essential. Gamers as a whole seem to have a strange sense of entitlement when it comes to games, as if the fact that they're a part of the community grants them the right to an experience without paying. I hate to sound like some sort of snotty capitalism worshipping prick, but if you can't or won't pay for a game then you can't legally own it, and in most cases shouldn't be playing it (making an exception there for things like local multiplayer for example).

That's not to say you have to play full price or be "killing the industry", I mean a lot of my current games came off of Steam during their sales, or out of a bargain bin. And back when I had a console I did a lot of second hand stuff and trade-ins. I mean yeah it doesn't help the developer as much as paying full retail at release but it's still helping them out to buy a discarded copy that will otherwise make no profit at all for anyone. Just because you're low on money doesn't mean you can't play games, it just means that a lot of the time you might not be able to get a shiny new release. You can vote with your wallet AND get a decent gaming experience without breaking the law. When that new release shelf game winds up on the table at EB for fifteen bucks it will still be as awesome or crap as it always was.

Just don't listen to idiots who tell you that you have to play everything right away or at all, because you don't. It wasn't true eight years ago (when frankly I think PC games were at their quality peak), and it's certainly not true now with all the homogenized, blinged up generic shit video game developers churn out for the masses these days.

Splinter Cell Conviction (Ubisoft DRM) has been cracked and has a proper (i.e. fully working) release out just three days after release.
Assassins Creed 2 took more than month to crack. Interesting.

dochmbi:
Splinter Cell Conviction (Ubisoft DRM) has been cracked and has a proper (i.e. fully working) release out just three days after release.
Assassins Creed 2 took more than month to crack. Interesting.

But not unexpected. The cracking groups are becoming much more familiar with the DRM. In a few months ubisoft games will probably be cracked just as fast as the securom ones.

Lots of things worry me about this trend, not least how long will the servers exist for? say UBIsoft goes bust, or 20 years from now - can we still play the game?
Also piracy isn't as big an issue as the gaming companies think, most piracy is committed by people who cant afford to buy the games in the first place - kids, students, etc..sure their potential sales are reduced but there will always be gamers who pay. Heres an idea UBIsoft, if you're not selling enough of your product to make the profit you want, why not try making a cheaper product - cater to the reduced market of paying gamers and ignore piracy altogether. Or how about leading a loss on some products so that you can profits else where. e.g. create a gaming world that people love in a loss making but good and DRM free game, then transplant that world into a paid for MMO and make your profits there...
Think out of the box rather than flogging a dead sales model.

Excellent article. Exactly the way I feel about DRM. It promots piracy and still doesn't stop it, waste of fucking time Ubi. Make your games better instead of wasting time on this BS.

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