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4 Comments on Today’s Post brought to you by the letter “D”

  1. Pingback: Hindsight Bias, Everyone knew this would happen. | Rico Penguin

  2. Rico

    I enjoyed your post on DRM. I wanted to comment on some of the points, but first wanted to see if it was cool. I manage the digital distribution business at IGN (including Direct2Drive), and had some POV on the topic.

    Cheers

    jb

    • Honestly knock yourself out. Anytime I discuss things here it’s open for anyone to speak on. The only reason its moderator approved is that even with captcha’s (which annoy me) I still tend to get loads of spam.

      • Thanks, and while I’m obviously biased, I’ll try to keep as objective as possible. As I mentioned, for the sake of full disclosure, I am the General Manager of at IGN who manages Direct2Drive and a few other businesses.

        First off, you are certainly right about the FAQ post on D2D about DRM. It was silly, since it attempts to conflate DRM and consumer “ownership” of the game, and clearly that’s not the case. We do take our consumer’s desire for a sense of freedom to do what they want with the gamer sersiously, and have policies in effect to promote that — but clearly DRM on a game is not a “benefit” to the consumer in that sense. It’s being changed courtesy of your pointing it out.

        As far as the overall state of DRM and Digital Distribution; I can only speak for my company, but I can say for sure that we are not “pro” DRM in the sense that we want more of it, or especially like it at all. As a matter of fact we have added dozens of no-DRM games to D2D over the past couple months as more independent developers prefer to simply avoid DRM on their games. That’s fine by us, and we’re happy to sell them. Beyond that, DRM is a fact of life that we (D2D) accept in order to offer the broadest selection of games.

        Basically, a retailer like us has to walk the tightrope between consumers (who want maximum freedom), and the publishers (most of whom still require DRM). The use of DRM is the decision of the publisher/developer, and while we accept it as part of doing business we also recognize that there are lots of legitiate arguments for its demise. There are some forms of DRM that we would not accept (I won’t name names here) since the technolgy may be simply too suspect in its methodology to be worth the risk of accepting the game. We have an opinion on how the consumer experiece should work, and actively communicate that to publishers.

        In the long run, I believe no-DRM is going to be the rule, not the exception. Music as already moved in this direction, and I think its only a matter of time that many games go that way as well. In the long-run, I think the sales benefits of offering lots of freedom to consumers outweighs the potential costs of increased piracy/theft. However, I also think its a mistake to simply reject a publishers very legitimate concerns about piracy and keeping control of their considerable investment in an intellectual property. Personally, I find alot of the arguments from “pirates” to be self-serving rationalization for the simple desire to get something for free instead of paying for it.

        I spend a lot of time these days working to educate publisher management about the realities of selling games digitally, and pushing them to re-think their DRM strategies. When you are an independent developer/publisher it’s a lot easier to take the leap, but the larger guys move more slowly, which is understandable given the much larger financial risks. I think the one thing everyone agrees on is they don’t like the current system — it’s just hard to get agreement on what it should be. On our side we’ll be launching some new systems this year which will certainly improve the experience of re-licesning/re-installing a game without the hassle.

        Again, I enjoyed your well-reasoned post on DRM, and appreciate the opportunity to reply.

        Jamie Berger

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