Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Doing DRM Right

While I was staring at my Facebook last night I came across an article on the PCGamer website talking about a little trick that the developer of a game called Game Dev Tycoon played on it's user base.

For those that want to read the whole thing, you can find it here http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/04/29/indie-development-sim-game-dev-tycoon-gives-pirates-a-taste-of-their-own-torrenting/

For those that just want a quick summary, the deal is that in this game you run a team of game developers.  The idea is that your supposed to make games and make money to build a decent game development company.  At least I think that's how it works, I've not actually played it.  Anyway, the developer released a cracked version of the game to torrent sites where if you had torrented the game, after reaching a certain point all your releases would be pirated, you would make no money and go out of business.

This is fucking DRM done properly, it's not fucking over any legitimate players are is giving hilarious results to those that did pirate the game.  My personal favourite quote from that article was a screen cap of a guy saying "Can I research DRM or something?"

The other awesome anti-piracy measures mentioned in that article was Serious Sam 3s immortal scorpion that will chase you for eternity if it recognises a pirated version.

Although my personal favourite subtle DRM comes from Earthbound on the SNES, where if you were playing a bootleg cartridge it would ramp up the encounter rate and then crash and delete your save if you managed to get to the end.  Hell, even Metal Gear Solids "Meryls codec number is on the back of the box" was fucking genius.

Whats NOT cool is shit like Sim City and other crap "always online" DRM that does more harm to the paying customer than good.  Just look round the internet and see all the people raging at the "always online" rumours that were going around about the next generation systems.  People aren't mad about developers protecting their games from pirates, it makes sense that they want to be paid for their work.  What people get mad about is when we do support them and get fucked over anyway.

So try using these imaginative ways to stop piracy rather than just fucking over entire user bases of people because of paranoia about pirates.  Also, even if something does go wrong and paying customers for Serious Sam 3 somehow got the scorpion, at least you have a hilarious story to tell as you get it fixed rather than just being locked out of the game you paid full price for. 

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