Square Enix Says DRM Is Here To Stay

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Square Enix Says DRM Is Here To Stay

Square Enix logo

Square Enix says that despite its many flaws, digital rights management will be an essential part of the video game industry for a long time to come.

DRM may be the bane of your existence, but don't expect it to go away any time soon. That's the message from Square Enix, delivered by Square Enix America Senior Manager of Business and Legal Affairs Adam Sullivan, who told TorrentFreak that copy protection in one form or another is necessary and here to stay.

As much as gamers don't like DRM, game publishers do, for one simple reason: profit, which Sullivan described as "the primary benefit" of DRM. He acknowledged that measuring the effectiveness of copy protection as it relates to sales is difficult, but seemed to suggest that "data available to us through our sales team and various vendors, along with consumer feedback" indicates that it does provide some degree of success in protecting against loss.

The key to effective DRM, Sullivan explained, is that it can't come between the player and the game, which as we all know is a dicey proposition at best. "It's not uncommon for people to get a new computer every few years, or to have multiple computers. Sometimes they don't have reliable internet connections," he said. "There's no perfect solution yet."

The most obvious solution to the problem of DRM is no DRM, but that's not likely to happen any time soon. "I think DRM will be essential for the foreseeable future," Sullivan said. "So long as we're concerned about things like data privacy, account sharing and hacking, we'll need some form of DRM."

Personally, I'd love to see a widespread return of the code wheel, but beyond that I suspect that DRM as a whole is doomed to be more trouble than its worth - for the foreseeable future, at least.

Source: TorrentFreak

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Andy Chalk:

The key to effective DRM is that it can't come between the player and the game

Someone needs to tattoo that phrase onto every Ubisoft exec's forehead.

Is today the day where developers try to make gamers as angry as possible?

First we had the Candy Crush moron mouthing off about how Microtransactions are the future and how hardcore gamers should stop complaining. And now we have this steaming pile of horse manure about DRM being here to stay from Square Enix.........

Jesus, when did developers start to actively hate us? Like, I know the console manufacturers have loathed us for years, but when developers get in on the action, it really starts to worry me.

Well square enix can suck my royal ring-piece as far as im concerned. They ruined Thief, tomb raider (sort of) and final fantasy quite spectacularly. Not that im bitter or anything.

Andy Chalk:
"So long as we're concerned about things like data privacy, account sharing and hacking, we'll need some form of DRM."

GOG has my info, does it need DRM? Its sounds a lot like bullshit to me, at least just launch the games on Steam if the industry is this paranoid.

DRM is here to say... it has always been with us.. so no surprise. doors have locks, cars have alarms, games have DRM buuut,... DRM is perfectly tolerable if it isn't intrusive or unreasonably restrictive.

see how that works?

Let's take Steam for example...that's poretty unobtrusive DRM right there. no fuss with passwords, or install disks, it's tied to your account and as long as you've logged into steam in the past 3 or so months...you can use offline play.

Suyre, we'd all love if everyone went GoG's no DRM route but the fact that GoG's entire library is up on the torrent sites... yeah... kinda proves the point. DRM can't stop determined pirates, but good DRM combined with sensible pricing makes it far more cost effective to simply buy the game than to spend the time pirating, patching, repatching, etc.

image

2 steps forward, ten miles backwards. Guess It's a good thing I keep my Viking Long Axe sharp and rust-free.

EDIT my Picard face-palm failed........the captain is not plased with me.

This would be dangerous if SE were still a big factor in the games industry. Thankfully they have done a marvelous job at destroying nearly every IP they could get a hold of.

Oddly enough the best IP's they own are the ones they give the least attention and think won't sell (ex: bravely default).

Did all the companies out there purposely choreograph their anti-consumer announcements to fall on the same day to minimize attention or something, what is happening today, Jesus.

Okay Squeenix, if you insist, welcome to the boycott!

Andy Chalk:

He acknowledged that measuring the effectiveness of copy protection as it relates to sales is difficult, but seemed to suggest that "data available to us through our sales team and various vendors, along with consumer feedback" indicates that it does provide some degree of success in protecting against loss.

That sounds dubious at best, in particular the consumer feedback portion of it. This sounds more like they want DRM and will just claim that any numbers they see clearly show preference towards DRM. Luckily for me, there is nothing Squeenix makes anymore that I'm interested in.

unless they start making good Dragon Quest games again, then this will be a painful boycott

GAunderrated:
This would be dangerous if SE were still a big factor in the games industry. Thankfully they have done a marvelous job at destroying nearly every IP they could get a hold of.

Oddly enough the best IP's they own are the ones they give the least attention and think won't sell (ex: bravely default).

Lest us not forget Just Cause also. Im still waiiiiiting for an announcement annnny time soon!

There's something wrong with DRM when a pirate gets better service than a legitimate user.

And from a customer's point of view, that should basically be the only test needed to see if your DRM is good or not. Seriously - never treat your legit users like criminals; we're the ones actually supporting your products.

He's not wrong, company's are generally unwilling to invest in platforms where they're unable to limit improper use of their products. A DRM solution that's not horribly obnoxious (probably a Steam-like solution)is optimal.

DRM doesn't work. Not a game out there that can't be pirated. A lot of the time the pirated games are easier to install then the legal ones. So....... How does DRM actually work in bringing in more money?

Um... before we all shout "BOYCOTT Square Enix!" and all that... can we maybe ask what the context of this quote is? Square Enix isn't exactly known for having draconian DRM so, it just seems kind of odd for it to even come up in an interview with someone from Square Enix.

I don't know, I kind of just have to shrug this off as non-news given the source isn't even in any lists of top DRM offenders.

Games will eventually split 3 ways:

1) always-online, clould-powered, streaming 'games as a service' with microtransactions AAA bullshit
2) small, DRM-free, offline, perhaps even 'pay what you want' indie games
3) online DRM bullshit even for indie games, a.k.a. Steam

I stopped buying games with any kind of DRM except basic CD checks, so there goes your profit, Enix.

Phrozenflame500:
He's not wrong, company's are generally unwilling to invest in platforms where they're unable to limit improper use of their products. A DRM solution that's not horribly obnoxious (probably a Steam-like solution)is optimal.

He is wrong, because there is no such thing as "a platform where they're able to limit improper use of their products". It simply can't be done. This is the information era, you are not capable of sending out digital information to computer owners, and effectively stop them from re-using and copying and editing said information.

DRM just doesn't work, on a conceptual level, because ultimately, to put DRM on a file that you expect to distribute to your audience, means that you have to ship them a product locked away in a locked chest so they can't take it out and share it with others, but then send a key with the chest so they can access what they just bought. At which point they can share it as well anyways.

Steam is not optimal, it's just a less harmful degree to which they can waste their efforts. Every steam game is out there on piratebay along with the toughest and the lightest DRM games. DRM doesn't work.

iseko:
DRM doesn't work. Not a game out there that can't be pirated. A lot of the time the pirated games are easier to install then the legal ones. So....... How does DRM actually work in bringing in more money?

I love how your avatar fits with your comment.

OT: First fucking over Final Fantasy and now this, looks liek that there's a third company i'm going to boycot.

iseko:
DRM doesn't work. Not a game out there that can't be pirated. A lot of the time the pirated games are easier to install then the legal ones. So....... How does DRM actually work in bringing in more money?

You sure about that? CD Projekt RED is known for it's "consumer friendly" stance on DRM, refusing to use it on games like The Witcher 2, which went on to be the most heavily-pirated game the year it came out.

While this doesn't solidly disprove your point, it could suggest that DRM does indeed slow down piracy.

...or it just proves that people who claim they only pirate software because of DRM are lying d-bags.

as long as the DRM doesnt bother me, or better yet, adds value to my game, im willing to accept it

I like how they state the goal of DRM is not to minimize piracy but to maximize profit.
Welcome to 10 years ago.

Someone should tell GoG and CD Projekt Red then. I bet they feel silly for having so much success selling DRM-free games.

WarpedLord:

iseko:
DRM doesn't work. Not a game out there that can't be pirated. A lot of the time the pirated games are easier to install then the legal ones. So....... How does DRM actually work in bringing in more money?

You sure about that? CD Projekt RED is known for it's "consumer friendly" stance on DRM, refusing to use it on games like The Witcher 2, which went on to be the most heavily-pirated game the year it came out.

While this doesn't solidly disprove your point, it could suggest that DRM does indeed slow down piracy.

...or it just proves that people who claim they only pirate software because of DRM are lying d-bags.

Actually, it wasn't the most heavily pirated game the year it came out. CD Project Red thought it was pirated 4.5 million times, but the most pirated game of 2011, the year Witcher 2 came out, was Crysis 2 at 3.9 million. Witcher 2 didn't even make it into the top 5.

image

The industry is just giving Pirates a reason to be jolly.

How can you do this SquareEnix, right after saying you're going to refocus on JRPGs regaining some trust from your fans you say this.
I love you Squeenix please stop hurting yourself.

So we have a deal, you keep on SecuROMing, I'll keep not buying your games.
Deal? Deal.

Has DRM ever - EVER - prevented a game from being pirated?

In fact, aren't the most pirated games of all time those WITH DRM?

What does DRM truly accomplish, besides wasting developer resources, getting in the way of legitimate customers, and making fans angry?

Ed130 The Vanguard:

Someone needs to tattoo that phrase onto every Ubisoft exec's forehead.

Or on their asses, where they're more likely to see it.

josemlopes:

Andy Chalk:
"So long as we're concerned about things like data privacy, account sharing and hacking, we'll need some form of DRM."

GOG has my info, does it need DRM? Its sounds a lot like bullshit to me, at least just launch the games on Steam if the industry is this paranoid.

Apparently, they think you're hacking, sharing your account and giving away your CC info.

BigTuk:
DRM is here to say... it has always been with us.. so no surprise. doors have locks, cars have alarms, games have DRM buuut,... DRM is perfectly tolerable if it isn't intrusive or unreasonably restrictive.

A major difference is when a lock company goes out of business, I don't lose access to my house. And I don't go to jail for legally trying to access my house by calling a perfectly legal service like a locksmith if I get locked out for another reason. Hell, I've had the police help me get into my car when I accidentally locked my keys inside. Will they help me jailbreak my game should the company providing the DRM go under?

Seems unlikely.

iseko:
DRM doesn't work. Not a game out there that can't be pirated. A lot of the time the pirated games are easier to install then the legal ones. So....... How does DRM actually work in bringing in more money?

I seriously would like to see more research into the impact of DRM. The same companies that tout it necessary to stop pirates seem to be the ones who then blame low sales of games on piracy.

WarpedLord:

...or it just proves that people who claim they only pirate software because of DRM are lying d-bags.

I don't see how a DRM-free game being heavily pirated proves that the people who claim to pirate software because of DRM are lying.

It's far more plausible that the people who claim to pirate because of DRM are a very small ideologically motivated activist community, that is dwarfed both the customer base and the pirate base.

For every anti-DRM pirate, there is probably a hundred who justify piracy by opposing IP laws themselves, or by believing that it's only bad when it's done to products that they could have otherwise afforded, or that there is no need to justify it.

WarpedLord:

iseko:
DRM doesn't work. Not a game out there that can't be pirated. A lot of the time the pirated games are easier to install then the legal ones. So....... How does DRM actually work in bringing in more money?

You sure about that? CD Projekt RED is known for it's "consumer friendly" stance on DRM, refusing to use it on games like The Witcher 2, which went on to be the most heavily-pirated game the year it came out.

While this doesn't solidly disprove your point, it could suggest that DRM does indeed slow down piracy.

...or it just proves that people who claim they only pirate software because of DRM are lying d-bags.

a pirated copy of a game should never be considered a potential sale lost, some people simply wouldnt have bought you game regardless

if you offered someone a lamborgini for free, they would likely accept it, that doesnt mean they would have OR could have bought the car otherwise

people pirate for different reasons, some dont know any better, some dont have the money to buy games, and some simply want their shit for free, you cant cnvert those people

plus according to a little experiment done by the football manager devs

http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/11/14/football-manager-2013-pirated-by-over-10-million-people-claims-sports-interactive/

pirated copies accounted for around 176000, for a game that has sold around 1 million copies is not that bad, specially comparedto stuff like used games in the console market

i think as a game developer you will always lose soe sales, you just have to deal with it

WarpedLord:
...or it just proves that people who claim they only pirate software because of DRM are lying d-bags.

I do think this is true in at least some cases. Some people just want free shit.

DRM annoys me because I've yet to come across a solution that doesn't put a barrier between me and the game (even Steam, which prevented me from playing Shogun 2 for a long time by forcing me to download an additional 20GB after trying to install from disc). Still, the thing is it at least kind of works. Multiplayer typically doesn't work in cracked games because the service is usually tied to the DRM. And while it would be disingenuous to argue that the DRM is the reason why, the fact remains that Diablo 3, a game with online DRM that proved near-impossible to crack wound up selling many millions more than its contemporaries. I bet a lot of publishers look at it as proof of the DRM working, rather than Diablo being popular, and they may, at least, partially be right.

I'd rather we were without DRM but I can kinda see why publishers are reluctant. Hopefully GOG continues to be successful, especially with its AAA games, to show that DRM really isn't needed.

Shinsei-J:
How can you do this SquareEnix, right after saying you're going to refocus on JRPGs regaining some trust from your fans you say this.
I love you Squeenix please stop hurting yourself.

i think by DRM, they mean steam, which is acceptable for most people

WarpedLord:

iseko:
DRM doesn't work. Not a game out there that can't be pirated. A lot of the time the pirated games are easier to install then the legal ones. So....... How does DRM actually work in bringing in more money?

You sure about that? CD Projekt RED is known for it's "consumer friendly" stance on DRM, refusing to use it on games like The Witcher 2, which went on to be the most heavily-pirated game the year it came out.

While this doesn't solidly disprove your point, it could suggest that DRM does indeed slow down piracy.

...or it just proves that people who claim they only pirate software because of DRM are lying d-bags.

Fair enough. However I think the witcher II is not a great example. I think the best DRM a game can have is an intresting multiplayer. Look at starcraft, CoD, titanfall,... Those games get pirated but far less overall. Just a thought

You know, I'm not actually going to grill Squeenix for this, if only because they were honest about the issue (for once, a AAA publisher isn't spouting total bullshit) and that they recognize that they don't exist in some vacuum where consumers are just bleating goats saddlebagged with money.

I'm not uncaring; ideally we would live in a world where software piracy didn't exist, and they could sell games entirely on their merits.
But we don't and at least on that level, I can respect its inclusion, though I obtain no benefit from it as a consumer (save possibly as security for future game development).

I just hope they realize that there are some lines that shouldn't be crossed.

Always Online for example, may seem like the gold standard future to aim for in the eyes of some producers, but ultimately it's just a fool's dream; one can only demand so many concessions in practical convenience from their customers before it implodes violently (*glares at SimCity 13'*)

By that, I mean that the market will NEVER be "ready" for Always Online; just as the world will never be "ready" for mandatory biological killswitches.

Really, I always thought the better way to deal with piracy was to do what Earthbound or Spyro did. Make the game accessible to everyone, but if it detected you playing a pirated copy, introduce bugs upon bugs to the game. And even if the fixed those bugs, new bugs took its place. Since piracy is all about shortening time and money, most people will eventually just buy the game.

However, I should acknowldge that at least the person being interviewed knows how ineffective DRM is and seems to be willing to find a better solution. A far much better person is one who will listen than one who will close his eyes and scream at dissent.

Feh. I guess at least he paid lip service to the idea that DRM shouldn't come between the player and the game. I'm not ideologically opposed to DRM (my Steam library attests to that), I just don't want it to get in my way.

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