Sunday, September 14, 2008

What does your crystal ball tell you about the future of drm?

I hate the limited number of activations thing that has crept into recent single player games like SPORE and Bioshock.

I don't pirate games and I understand the need for copy protection but it looks like we are are moving into a regime where you pay to rent games rather than buy and I hate that.

I want to own something when I pay for game. Something I can use again and again. Something I can share with my friends. Something I can sell on after I have finished with it. I want games to be like books or films in this regard.

On the other hand just because an old fogey like me isn't happy with something doesn't mean it isn't going to happen. I get the feeling that younger folk than me don't care about ownership so much. They live in a world where content can be replaced at any time from the web so why bother keeping your own copy.

Mind you these youngsters don't believe in paying for content anyway so I amn't sure if that is the basis of a sound business model.

So what does your crystal ball tell you? Will the world of the future be one where no body keeps private copies of "content" but instead everyone pays to download it whenever they need it? If so what will be the price per use? Could it all be free?


Anonymous said...

DRM makes me go hmm...

I was expecting to get Spore from EA but it looks like I have been let down this time buy them.

I dont get why there is need for such a restriction to your game purchase - EA have gone on record to say that there customer support will issue more activations if needed, to the player.

With the way that CD sales have gone due to download(legal & illegal), maybe software publishers are running scared a little?

mbp said...

To me there is a fundamental difference between copy protection which aims to prevent someone making illegal copies of the game and this form of drm which actually restricts you "ownership" of the game in some way. For example it prevents you lending the game to a friend. It also prevents you selling the game second hand.

I have more or less come to accept copy protection as a necessary evil but I am not comfortable with these newer forms of restrictive digital rights management. I do however suspect that this is a battle that is going to be lost by the anti-drm crowd. I think the future will be about renting content rather than paying for it. The only good thing about that model is that hopefully the price "per view" will eventually fall to much more sensible levels.

Anonymous said...

Worth a read, mbp:

Have to agree that pirating could become more evident.