WALLS OF TEXTS ON THE HORIZONTHERE'S STILL TIME TO RUN FOR COVERYOU'VE BEEN EMPHATICALLY WARNEDNo other word in the world of video game is more stigmatized than the word D.R.M.So many people talk about it, and so much fuss it causes everytime it shows up.(Just check reviews on 'Amazon' for some high profile DRM-instilled game such as Bioshock, Mass Effect, Spore, etc)Unfortunately, many people still do not quite understand what DRM really is.What exactly is DRM and why so much animosity toward it?1) DRM stands for Digital Rights Management.2) Digital Rights Management is an euphemism for Digital Restriction Management.3) The original idea behind DRM was to prevent copying and sharing the contents of software on floppy disc during the infancy of PC and to instill inconvenience and discourage of copying the contents.4) Any mechanism instilled by any developers within the retail version of any software to prevent copying is, without a doubt, DRM. The most commonly used DRM is SecuROM. There are others such as SafeDisk, Tages and Starforce. And yes, Steam, GFWL (Games for Windows Live), EA Download Manager are all DRM, too.4) DRM has been around as long as PC has been around. It only came under severe scrunity since 2007 huge thanks to 2K's Bioshock and EA's Mass Effect and Spore, instilled with the revised version of a specific version of SecuROM, which forced mandatory Internet connection, online activation, and installation limit. EA, since Mass Effect and Spore backed down to simple SecuROM disc check. EA back down precisely because PC gamers raised hell and did everything that could possibly be done, although they came out with their own EA Download Manager, which is not mandatory, to use extra contents. Meahwhile 2K, of Bioshock, hasn't learned their lesson yet for new Bioshock 2 PC version has same scheme from their GTA IV PC version. . I say not only boycott PC version of Bioshock 2 but console version as well.5) Not all the version of SecuROM are created equally. Some do disc-check only, some do online activation only, some enforces installation limit, and some do all. Some version can and do actually cause various firmware / driver / software conflict, and it could disable PC peripherals such as optical disc drive (DVD-ROM). But no software can cause hardware failure in any way, shape or form. SecuROM cannot possibly cause direct hardware failure. It temporarily disables such peripherals. You have to clean-install everything if that happens. And not all the DRM are harmful. And installing DRM on your PC without your direct and absolute consent is the only way publishers can seize the control on your PC.6) DRM is not just for PC softwares. DVD / Bluray movie discs, music files, console games all have some kind of DRM mechanism integrated. And yes. People do crack console games and many many people enjoy cracked version on all consoles across the board except PS3.7) Currently, music and video game industry are the two most ardent supporters of DRM. They blame various torrent sites and file-sharing programs for their record-high loss in 2009. But wait. Unlike music industry, which has been suffering ever-declining protits from sales (hard copy retail sales only) since the end of the last century, video game industry exceeded movie industry in terms of annual gross revenue since 2003 and had been enjoying ever-increasing sales until 2009. And why is it that movie industry do not share the same financial woes and posted yet another record-breaking year in 2009? Is piracy / torrent sites / file-sharing really to blame for finalcial struggle of music and video game industry? Is DRM really to prevent illegal copying of intellectual properties? Don't you dare believe all the lies from the companies, whose ulterior motives lie elsewhere.8) The main idea behind DRM is still to prevent easy access to the contents of the retail copy first and foremost and it's directly aimed at current / potential competition at business level. Another reason is to prevent copying and sharing of the retail copy among the average paying customer's friends and relatives. If you have knowledge and tools, digital medium is always crackable, reverse-engineer-able. There will always be someone who'll crack digital medium, just to prove it can be done, if not for any other reason. DRM is not aimed at piracy but general consumers.9) The current new DRM is to limit the full ownership of the retail copy of the software from the PAYING CUSTOMERS, limit its shelf-live and to kill the second-handed market. How dare you play our games years after its release unlike console games? This is the thought of the publishers toward PC gamers. Once your console expires, all the games on consoles become obsolete. PC on the other hand can last through OS after OS and hardware after hardware. Only games on PC enjoys such long shelf-life. But thanks to more draconian DRM, the second-hand PC game market ceased to exist. Making your PC games obsolete, therefore more potential repeat profits from the people who already paid for the games.10) The current new DRM is to encourage and to facilitate the continuous and repeated payment from the same software from the uninformed paying customer who purchase the copy. Just think about what GFWL, EA Download Manager, various Internet security programs all have in common, what you need to do to initialize the programs, and why they constantly and continuously send you various types of e-mails full of advertisement, promotions, alerts, warnings, etc. At least Steam, while full-fledge DRM, is open about its nature and it rewards customers, who are willing to put up with restriction, with various convenience and features.11) The current new DRM is to mine the various data, preference, and tendency from the paying customer for future business reference. Ever wonder why even free game demo and free digital movie and music all still have DRM if DRM is solely to prevent piracy? You don't think they worry about piracy on free demo, do you?12) The game publishers DO WANT PC gamers to migrate to consoles precisely because consoles are easier to control and console games much shorter life-span. PC gamers are much more inclined to criticize the bad games, unwarranted business practices and much less inclined to accept half-baked ideas publishers throws to make profits. PC gamers have means, wills, and skills to fight back. Look at Microsoft and EA with tons of lawsuits and many of them settled outside the court causing them billions of dollars loss. Look at Modern Warfare 2. Despite the fact that the game had no draconian DRM, it became the all time most pirated game in the history of video game at 4.1 million on PC and another million and a half on 360. That doesn't mean PC gamers don't spend money. In fact, there are more sales via online download (full game, not DLCs) and many MMORPGs make record-setting profits. Yet the industry chose only to report console games so that many uninformed / misinformed will have the wrong impression and decide to choose consoles over PC. The goldmine PC games like Ultima Online, Everquest, and WoW (World of Warcraft) became the de facto blueprint for the future of continuous and constant repeat payment receiveable for the software publishers like Microsoft and EA and that's how the new DRM scheme was born, using software piracy as scapegoat and excuse to enforce the draconian restriction on video games. DRM is not to fool the informed and tech-savvy users but to trap ordinary uninformed / misinformed customers. Believe me when I say Microsoft, EA, and Activision will do anything to get their hands on the next WoW in a heartbeat despite Halo, The Sims, and Modern Warfare series have all made the record breaking sales revenue, because WoW alone have made all the revenues of aforementioned games combined in annual sales for the better part of the last decade. Look at the recent heavy promotion of multiplayers features and DLCs. Even if they don't cost initial fee, there's better chance for additional profits than the single player only features.13) Yes, the current DRM has everything to do with constant and continuous repeat payment, not just from the customers but also from developers. Anytime any developers make a product using any of software architecture from Microsoft, they are bound with hefty one-time and / or annual fees. SDK (Software Develope Kit) made by various companies do come with obscene price-tag. Any software engine like Havok, Unreal, PhysX, etc, all have DRM and they do cost money for anyone to use them for commercial purpose.I am not promoting piracy and file-sharing and I am all for protecting IP developers work hard for. I am saying what some of the publishers do simply DO NOT work. All it does is giving the legitimate paying customers more troubles than they pay for.I have collected over 1500 DVDs, 200 Laserdiscs, 600 VHS, 300 CDs, 500 video games and I do enjoy all of them with my family and friends. No one wants to pay for digital IPs more than I do. So if people like myself are disgusted with the new DRM and turning away from some of these PC games and the same games on consoles, there's some serious issues with the current DRM scheme.Come out with more sensible and user-friendly DRM and stay focused on making good products, not good schemes. As for all the gamers all across the platform, you have the power. Do not let publishers take you for granted. Once the floodgates of new DRM schemes open up, it's only a matter of time before you have to pay $100 for single game only on designated console for limited time with single save file via online only.Say yes to quality PC games and support the hard working developers by buying legitimate retail copy. Say no to unnecessary schemes by some of the publishers. Digital distribution is not the future trend but it is the future these companies precisely want.
WHAT IS DRM?!?
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