"so surprised" people still use - likely due to board-room politics.
People who buy a game "should have just as easy a time" playing it as pirates. DRM like SecuROM creates "a lot of technical support," and no bump in sales. Paradox tried it.
Wester argues that the use of DRM is more than likely just a ploy by CEOs to cover themselves when grilled by a board of directors, who aren't gamers and know little of the world.
"I’m so surprised that people still use DRM. We haven’t done that for seven or eight years, and the reason is that it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense from a gamer perspective - I hated it. I bought Civilization III when it first came out, and for the first three days I couldn’t play it," lamented Fred Wester.
"It installed some other software, and it just shut down. I had to contact Atari support three times before I even got help. And that experience is terrible." It leads to legitimate customers being treated as dirty pirates.
"No one should have to purchase a product that they’re unable to install because of the DRM. There might be other reasons, like the compatibility isn’t correct, or whatever. But people who purchase a game should have just as easy a time as those who pirate the game, otherwise it’s a negative incentive to buy a legal copy."
"And I just can’t see why people are using DRM still. If you take something like Sony’s DRM, SecuROM -- it’s a waste of money. It will keep you protected for three days, it will create a lot of technical support, and it will not increase sales. And I know this for a fact, because we tried it eight years ago, and it never worked for us. Two major reasons: it costs money and it makes you lose money, and the other is that it’s so inconvenient to customers."
Why do publishers still embrace DRM? It's partly cowardice, it seems.
"I don’t know. I think there’s a lot of politics, especially in bigger companies. It’s simple for me being the CEO and half-owner of Paradox. I can basically call the shots I want to call, and if the board wants to ask questions it’s like ‘OK, we can take this into consideration,'" explained Wester.
"If you’re a CEO, you need to cover your back. And the people who ask, the board, know nothing about games. They’re there because they’re some investment company or something, and they ask “So what are you doing to protect our game from pirates?” And then they can reply “We’re buying this solution from Sony.”
"So I think it’s been a way to cover your back, previously. Now, I see no reasonable explanation for why people keep on adding it. Especially the kind where you have to be online all the time, like Ubisoft. I think that’s, to me that’s 2003."
Check out thebetween Fred Wester and GameSpy.
Paradox: DRM a "negative incentive to buy a legal copy" - costs everybody
25 January 2012 | By Simon Priest