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.