Ryukouki Discusses! Digital Rights Management

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Ryukouki, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. Nightwish

    Nightwish GBAtemp Fan

    Member
    5
    Oct 16, 2013
    Portugal
    DRM only stops your own customers from owning, accessing and modding (to varying degrees, obviously), pirates usually don't care. In fact, if your game is going to make me jump through online hoops to play, I'll just head to the bay of pirates.
    And, of course, it just kills retro gaming, good luck playing any of it ten years from now.
     
  2. SS4

    SS4 GBAtemp Fan

    Member
    4
    Jan 13, 2010
    Canada
    In front of my Computer
    As a consumer I have the choice of not paying for something that includes invasive DRM. If everyone does the same instead of complaining the companies will have to change their view otherwise they will go bankrupt . . .Once youve paid you basically enabled them and agreed with their philosophy so its too late . . .
     
  3. tbgtbg

    tbgtbg Shaking the ring ropes up in the sky

    Member
    5
    Nov 27, 2006
    United States
    Stuff like that isn't DRM, it's copy protection. They're similar, and related, but not the same thing.

    In general, copy protection doesn't impact legitimate copies, the actual game itself will run so long as its legit, though you might have problems if you lose the codewheel or whatever, but that's on you. Whereas with DRM you have stuff like limited installs or calling "home" and if the game, legit even, doesn't get permission from big brother, it won't run. Server's down? No game for you!
     
  4. Psionic Roshambo

    Psionic Roshambo GBAtemp Addict

    Member
    8
    Aug 12, 2011
    United States
    My take on DRM is that it's fine depending on how well it is implemented.

    Used as a stick to beat customers with is a big no no.

    Used to keep some one from installing the same game on 30 computers or copying a game for every one they know. Yes that too is fine, companies do deserve to be paid for the work they put in on these games. (Not going into quality issues here, that is what reviews are for. To help customers decide if X is worth Y.)

    Myself I never have had an issue with DRM in anyway, I never had a game tell me "You have reached the maximum installs!!!"

    But I have avoided some games because of reading "Game X was unplayable at launch because of DRM!!!" so that might be part of the reason I have never had an issue.

    I am avoiding talking about digital downloads because anyone who buys that stuff should know that your essentially paying for a long term rental.


    Anyway that's my take on this issue.
     
  5. Kayot

    Kayot GBAtemp Fan

    Member
    4
    Jan 24, 2010
    United States
    DRM is a slippery slope
     
  6. Nebuleon

    Nebuleon MAH BOI/GURL

    Member
    4
    Dec 22, 2012
    Canada
    In the piece I see that the two viewpoints regarding DRM are diametrically opposed.

    On one side, you have the developer, who screams "It's my content, I can do whatever I want with it! You can't tell me not to put DRM, the dirty pirates* are going to bankrupt my company!"

    On the other side, you have the consumer, who screams "What the fuck? Always-online and remotely disabled licenses? Can't even resell my used games if they're shitty / I don't play them anymore, and can't even transfer the game to a family member for him or her to try!"

    They both scream. They both OMG HAVE RIGHTS!!1, which are mutually exclusive. They are incompatible.

    The developer's copyright (recognised in many countries) is directly at odds with all consumer rights in all jurisdictions -- those consumer rights exist to shift the balance away from being totally in favour of the copyright holder and give a purchaser control over his or her possessions. Given that it is easy to make copies of digital content, copyright holders have had a dilemma. Either:
    • they spend time and money continuously to find and nuke all unauthorised copies, which there can be many more waves of while trying to take the original wave down; -or-
    • they spend time and money once to create a system that attempts to preclude the possibility that a consumer could even do anything they don't want the consumer to do.
    The game developer has been granted a temporary monopoly on their work by the government in the form of copyright, and this arrangement entails allowing the consumer to do certain things with the work. But some game developers have converted this temporary monopoly into a "right to make money" on the work, instead.

    The consumer's rights of resale and exclusive transfer (USA) are directly at odds with the creator's desire to restrict installation counts and game transfers. Each resold game is however-many dollars less in the game developer's coffers because the game developer is not the sole supplier of the game anymore and cannot extract money from each transaction made with the game. So the game developer makes DRM to tie down a single copy to a single PC and require more purchases for more PCs, or uses DRM to tie down a single copy to a single account. However, without resale, transfer or rental, the consumer will feel cheated if he or she is stuck with a shitty game, or one which provides only 2 or 3 hours of gameplay, and has been denied all recourse by DRM. Of course, you can't temporarily transfer a Steam game to a family member or friend to try out, either.

    There is also the issue of server-based DRM (always online). Expecting to buy a single-player game, a purchaser then launches and plays the game, only to find out that his or her flaky Internet connection is causing the DRM to halt the game every few hours, or minutes. He or she cannot play the game while bored, on a road trip, business trip etc. where there is no Internet access. The user's expectations are broken (but technically they impinge on none of the user's rights). Years later, when the game developer decides that the DRM server costs more to operate than the revenue it brings in, and shuts it down, all legal owners of the game are unable to play. Before shutting down the DRM servers, game developers that are still in business (not bankrupt) do not publish patches to allow owners to continue playing, for fear of losing control over their work, despite their own finding that the game is not profitable anymore (!), so owners cannot continue to play their purchased games.

    And then there is the right to create a backup copy for personal purposes and to guard against damaged media (many countries, including Canada and the USA). Developers have had their work copied illegitimately more than legitimately, so they have stopped trusting all users with this right. The logical consequence in the developers' mind is that, since the user should not have the right, then they are entitled to take measures to prevent all copying so as to retain the money they think they have the right to receive. However, the consumer is then faced with discs that he or she must rebuy as they become scratched and unreadable. He or she has the right to make a backup copy for exactly this purpose, but cannot exercise that right.

    All of that, because the game developers assert that the protections offered to them by copyright law is not enough, and that therefore it's impossible for them to do something other than take matters into their own hands and put the balance completely in their favour to regain the money they report having lost.

    And then the game developers code their games, assuming that the consumer has already accepted not having the rights because the game developer says they shouldn't have them, so the code ends up saying you don't have the rights, even though the law says you do.
     
    Nightwish likes this.
  7. total_split

    total_split Member

    Newcomer
    2
    Mar 4, 2008
    United States
    The problem with boycotting invasive DRM games with the goal of making the publishers change their stance is just playing in their favour. They will see less copies sold, blame piracy, and then increase future DRM anti-piracy efforts.
     
    Mario92 and Nebuleon like this.
  8. Kayot

    Kayot GBAtemp Fan

    Member
    4
    Jan 24, 2010
    United States
    I remember arguing on Hellgate: Londons forums that locking multiplayer to online only servers would lead to the game being unplayable should the servers come down or the company go bankrupt. I was told (quite rudely) by many users that my fears were unfounded and that I was trolling. I was then banned by the lead dev team from the forums. Turns out that the lead developer had a serous problem with pirates and my banning was part of an ongoing example to the people. I wasn't allow to respond to their claims that I was a pirate, which was true, though I hadn't posted anything that would imply such. My topic was then placed into a section akin to "Cooking with Stupid" and for the while I lurked on the forums, it was referenced in a negative light and an ongoing campaign claimed that if they did go out of business or have to shutdown their servers, that they would release a patch to "fix" the problem.

    Behold, a year and a half later they declared bankruptcy. When I heard that they bit the bullet, I was like, "Ok, where is this patch?". I searched around and found the lead devs blog. In it he/she claimed that HG:L went bankrupt because of piracy! It wasn't the stranglehold on development, the outright refusal to listen to the user base, the online DRM for multiplayer, the aggressive policing of the forums, and the banning of keys for even the slightest slow of mutiny against the dev team. Because of the piracy, they weren't going to release a patch to allow LAN play. How convenient.

    I admit I pirated the game. I played it for two days and realized that single player was boring as hell. It would have been fun if I could have lan partied the game with six or more people. Problem is, most of my friends at the time worked in minimum wage jobs. The asking price was $50ish dollars. So we played other games instead.

    Now for the part this was leading up to. EVERYONE who supported the DRM and claimed that it was a good idea, that it would protect the dev, that it would keep the game safe from bankruptcy, can't play the game. That means, every person who claimed that I was stupid for bringing up the fact that the online DRM would cripple the legacy of the game is screwed. I can still play Diablo 1 and 2 (not 3 :() on my LAN and they're older then dirt. I can play hundreds of games on LAN out of the box. In another decade I'll still be able to play those games on my LAN and remember them fondly. No one can play HG:L on a LAN. THAT is what DRM is. If commerce was a river, DRM is a dam.

    Would HG:L still have bankrupted if piracy didn't exist? Probably.
    Would HG:L still have bankrupted if they allowed LAN play? Probably.
    Will people still play HG:L in ten years? No.

    So much for the afterglow. There will NEVER be a remake either. Why bother with such an obscure and unplayable game?
     
  9. Nightwish

    Nightwish GBAtemp Fan

    Member
    5
    Oct 16, 2013
    Portugal
    I mostly agree with your post. However, just because someone doensn't buy a game doesn't mean they otherwise would have.

    As (I think) Lessig put it, they're writing law with their code, which makes no sense whatsoever in a civilized society.
     
  10. Mr_Pichu

    Mr_Pichu かわいいね!

    Member
    2
    Dec 10, 2013
    United States
    The part about needing to be online to play a game seems to me a feature to insure players are not cheating, hacking, or pirating. The developer can also receive up to the minute information about gamer progress and the overall popularity of the game. I would very much prefer to opt out of features like this, but as it stands if the developer offered you the choice, the developer stands to lose a lot of valuable safeguards and telemetry.
     
  11. Nebuleon

    Nebuleon MAH BOI/GURL

    Member
    4
    Dec 22, 2012
    Canada
    I agree with a server-based game if the server is absolutely necessary, for example in MMOs. There, the server must coordinate activities, and it is the central way to acquire stats about cheating, trades and so on. But I don't agree with it if the server is just grafted onto the game in order to restrict you.

    It is inevitable that, when MMO servers die, the MMO dies. But it shouldn't be this way for single-player and optionally multi-player games over a LAN or the Internet.

    That's a very nice example of the DRM server argument. But, from your post, I gather the development team were just assholes, and DRM was a part of it. Because copyright is a temporary monopoly, the copyright should end whenever it's impossible for the company to assert or when the company declares that the protected work is not profitable anymore.

    a) I also agree that the lost sales argument is bogus -- ironically because some gamers have skipped some games, like later Assassin's Creeds, because of the draconian DRM they contained -- but also because early reviews can dissuade gamers.

    Just think of Garry's Incident lately with TotalBiscuit, where TotalBiscuit ripped a game apart then the game developer started asserting that TotalBiscuit had been given no rights to use trademarks and copyrighted assets in his video in an attempt to ceonsor the bad review in the game's initial sales stage (... hey, censorship could be another good subject for Ryukouki to discuss in another thread!).

    And pirating just might be a way for some people to escape the DRM just long enough to try a game to see if they should buy it. But some others, of course, will just want free stuff.

    b) Lawrence Lessig? I am not familiar with that quote of (possibly) his, but it is spot-on. Technical measures are indeed overriding the law "just because they can". They have become a de facto law.
     
  12. Ryukouki
    OP

    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

    Member
    12
    Jan 31, 2008
    United States
    You got me! :D That's probably next on the hit list. ;)
     
    Nebuleon likes this.
  13. Pedeadstrian

    Pedeadstrian GBAtemp's Official frill-necked lizard.

    Member
    11
    Oct 12, 2012
    United States
    Sandy Eggo
    I don't know if you know this, but... there is a Hellgate: London remake. It's called Hellgate: Global, and it sucks. It's pay-2-win, for sure. I was so excited when I heard Hellgate was coming back, but the new one is a big disappointment.
     
  14. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

    Member
    9
    Apr 21, 2008
    London, UK
    I'm pro DRM, so long as it's not obstructive to the game. I think devs have every right to implement it, so long as it doesn't stop people being able to play. When a game is blocked due to over active DRM or online servers going down or even something as simple as forgetting your password/PIN (looking at you, Diablo 3), then that DRM has crossed the line and I would rather get a crack in order to gain more unrestricted access to the game I bought.

    EDIT: Because it doesn't make sense for pirates to get a better service out of the game than the people who actually bought it (Assassin's Creed...).
     
    Mario92 and the_randomizer like this.
  15. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

    Member
    13
    Dec 23, 2009
    Belgium
    Belgium
    Okay...you've boiled the problem down to a pure black-and-white situation that is just so wrong it is painful. It's like saying a football should actually be called a footcircle because it's not a ball but a circle (with the argument of "I'm seeing it as a circle, therefore it is a circle").

    1. If a boycott is done on such a scale that the developers would notice it, then it is all over the internet, and developers notice that too. I've heard a few overly blamers of piracy as well, but never that games openly criticized for having too obtrusive DRM had an EVEN MORE restrictive DRM in a future installment. If you can point me at even a single instance of this theory happening, I will be utterly amazed.
    2. saying "playing in their favour" implies that they like to install DRM on their games, and that's just stupid (except perhaps at EA. I mean...jeez). They do it because they perceive piracy as a threat to their income and that this can put a halt to it. Whether that is wrong or right is up for debate, but while pirates defend their stance with themselves not going to buy the game anyway, they are defending their stance with the dreamcast (which flunked sales largely due to piracy).
    3. one of the problems of piracy is that it is extremely hard to calculate the impact. And to a marketeer, this is somewhat of a blessing as well. He can pull sales figures right out of his ass and then pull the "piracy" card to prove himself right no matter what. It depends on the company whether they actually believe that, but it's not like every fucking company is doing it. Not even every AAA-one.

    Say...could it have been that the REAL reason they went bankrupt was because the single player was boring as hell and the game was obscure and unplayable (and thus not worth the 60 bucks)? :rolleyes:

    I'm not sure if it's your intention, but you're indirectly proving them right. If those guys had spend even more time and effort (and thus money) on a LAN-available multiplayer game, those six friends of you would have pirated it as well since they worked minimum jobs.

    Here as well: I think those developers were just convinced that everyone who pirated their game would have otherwise been a customer.

    As to why you were banned...I could be wrong (I've only been part of a UT2004 forum), but I think it's because fan reasons. It's a community where the love and devotion of the game is the mutual interest, so criticism is often not handled very well. And I've seen many guys claiming they "lost their serial key" and wanted to play nonetheless. No, they weren't pirates either (how dare we assume so!?). They just lost their serial key. And their manual. And the box. And the shop recipe. And so on. Did you really think we were friendly to those clowns because we couldn't prove he wasn't pirating? If you do...you're wrong. We usually cracked some jokes at his expense until the moderator banned his ass.
     
  16. Psionic Roshambo

    Psionic Roshambo GBAtemp Addict

    Member
    8
    Aug 12, 2011
    United States
    On the whole Hellgate London thing... The game had a lot of potential to be great, but it fell flat and really was unmemorable. I beat the entire game and I can barely remember what it is about. Something about hell rifts opening up and letting demons pour into our world or something and only some elite group was able to save some people or something.

    Needed a way better story and some more depth, I remember it being compared to Diablo II LOD since some of the same people worked on it?

    It just felt like a generic shooter to me with some light RPG elements tacked in, I will say that Borderlands did take the entire concept to the next level though.
     
  17. Mario92

    Mario92 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Member
    3
    Feb 20, 2010
    Finland
    Finland
    Example of good DRM: Steamworks
    Example of bad DRM: nProtect GameGuard, older SecuROM, GFWL (oh god...)

    Usually problem with DRM is that users with pirated copies have better experience. That's why DRM has to be as invicible as possible, this is where Steam is master where user never hits wall with steams own DRM unless game has some direct issue with it, latest example is Hotline Miami but developer included DRM free exe for those having problems. Not only that but steam provides services that pirated version regulaly can't have: automatic patching, online multiplayer, achievements, trading cards, steam overlay so friends know what you play... Little things but they are all positive and of course ability to play offline if game was activated once online.
    Then we have something like GFWL which wasn't available everywhere and lots of losing save files because of encrypting, forced logging in for every game session and lots of other problems. GFWL is pretty much gone but now we have uPlay where users have had same kind of problems with not being able to play offline or deletion of save files. It actually had always online requirement which they then removed.

    I personally haven't have major problems with DRM. Most recent example coming to mind is BG&E where DRM isn't compatible with modern machines which makes game lag like hell. In that case I would prefer that dev/publisher would just release patch to remove DRM so legit customers can play it without looking for pirated versions or being forced to buy new DRM-free version from GOG.
     
Loading...