DRM–Something–Profit!

Posted: July 7, 2011 in Console, DRM, Illegal Downloading, PC Game, Piracy, Piracy Problem

“Phase one, Underpants. Phase two, erm… something. Phase three, Profit!”

After playing the Duke Nukem Fovever Demo, I can see this phrase going global. Of course it originally came from SouthPark, where Gnomes are stealing Underpants in preparation of their business venture.

It works on every level, just replace the word “underpants” and you have a 2010 phrase for:  “a leap of faith, into the pits of Idiocracy”.

Sometime ago, WarFace used the same analogy:

 

In much the same way as the SouthPark episode portraits it, it goes a little like this:

Phase one install a DRM on a PC game.

Phase two … Something.

Phase three … profit for the PC gaming publishers.

However after several decades, it has never been able to show that it indeed makes a profit! Of course the current claim is that DRM software is supposed to stop “causal piracy”! As in a friend copying the game and giving it to a friend!

But this also assumes two things:

1)      That people are unable to use the internet and “Google search” and find the files to remove the copy protection.

2)      That piracy is too difficult in the first place. As we believe that people are more likely to share a pirated copy! (As in share an illegal download among friends.)

What is worse is that all security companies seem to gloss over the fact that DRMs impose, limit, and assume. DRMs target loyal customers and not those illegally downloading products. Then DRMs companies make a huge profit and claiming it a success.

Technology has a nasty habit of forgetting that at the end of the PC is an actual human being. Loyalty is a bit of a two way street, when you forget that, your customer base will be less loyal to your products. This is not a criticism about any particular DRM technology; each one is clever in its own respect. Unfortunately DRM companies just don’t understand piracy’s one simple trait!

Take the two current PC games that have yet to be cracked, both from Ubisoft, using the same implementation of UbiDRM (v2). Both with over 230 days of being crack free, you would think that Tom Clancy’s HAWX 2 and Shaun White Skateboarding Ubisoft have it figured out!

Has sales gone up? Probably a little!

Has the company’s reputation been damaged by the implementation of UbiDRM? Oh yes…

Is Ubisoft using the same implementation in any game since? Oh no…!

It shows that a DRM doesn’t increase profits and that publishers know it! But in a strange coincidence, upsetting customers affects your company image, profit, and loyalty.  Publishers are stuck between a rock and a hard place, and something needs to change…!

Customers First, Piracy Second, and as always a DRM should come dead last!

But what do you think?

Is it right for a publisher to use DRMs on customers?

Do publishers have a right to protect their software?

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