When you think video game DRM, what comes to mind?
Well, if you’re on Windows it can vary between some lame piece of garbage like Sony SecuROM which tries to enforce you having the disc in the drive even though all of the game content is on the hard drive. (Which is annoying and leads many legitimate users to find a crack.) It can also be as complex as malicious software implemented as a kernel mode rootkit, like Starforce. Sometimes it’s just ridiculous and easily cracked (again, leading people who bought a license to have to crack it at some point to make sure it works.) This is what EA does. Games from EA only let you install them a few times before you can never activate them again and demand that you have an internet connection when you go to play the offline version of their game.
Late last year, the server that handles the DRM for Linux Game Publishing went offline for two months and anyone who bought their games had them stop working during that time if a situation arose where they needed to reinstall them.
Now, LGP is asking users to trust them again, when users should take this as yet another example of why DRM is ridiculous and only ever punishes people that actually bought a license. Ask yourself what happens to their new upcoming title if the DRM server decides to go out for another two month lunch (with no explanation other than “We’re back”, way after the fact), or if Linux Game Publishing goes out of business completely.
At one point, the CEO of LGP said that if they ever go out of business, the last thing they’ll do is release a tool that removes the DRM from all of their games. It sounds reassuring until you think that (1) That’s not legally binding. (2) Even if it was, at least US law considers a company a legal entity like a person, so you have as much luck trying to sue a dead person with no estate, (3) There’s no reason for them to do this because they already have your money.
I don’t trust any company that behaves like this.
A while back, there was a Microsoft music store called MSN Music. People thought they were buying stuff, only when Microsoft pulled the plug, they found out that the only way to keep their music was to stay on Windows XP or burn the crappy WMA files to CD.
A while back, a music store called iTunes came along, that “sold” music files. Users thought they were buying the files but the DRM made sure they didn’t work with non-Apple devices and non-Apple software, the quality was poor. Eventually Apple added an “Upgrade my library” feature, and if you only bought all your music all over again, it would replace the file with one that wasn’t low bitrate and had no DRM.
DRM is always a way to make it the user’s problem when things don’t work, and possibly to sell them a solution to the problem that was deliberately introduced.