Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

July 16, 2010 -

Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens says that he is not a fan of digital rights management but his ideas on how to fight piracy are just as complicated as any DRM scheme cooked up by publishers like Ubisoft and EA. Cousens suggests that the game industry sell parts of games in a retail box, with the rest of the content unlocked via micro-payments. As he sees it, even if the first part of the game is pirated, those that don't pay for it will never get to enjoy the complete experience.

But one of the problems with such a solution is that it would require a reduced price at retail for products using this feature because it would only be a partial experience. Plus it it is tough to continually monetize games when they aren’t very good in the first place.. Still, at least Cousens is thinking outside the box. Here's what he told C&VG:

The video games industry has to learn to operate in a different way. My answer is for us as publishers is to actually sell unfinished games - and to offer the consumer multiple micro-payments to buy elements of the full experience.

That would create an offering that is affordable at retail - but over a period of time may also generate more revenue for the publishers to reinvest in our games.

If these games are pirated, those who get their hands on them won't be able to complete the experience. There will be technology, coding aspects, that will come to bear that will unlock some aspects. Some people will want them and some won't.

When it comes to piracy, I think you have to make the experience the answer to the issue - rather than respond the other way round and risk damaging that experience for the user. But I may be a lone voice in that.

Source: C&VG

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Comments

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

I am surprised no one mentions bioshock as online activation installs a DLL and EXE file that the game is shipped without. And that didn't work they could make half the game a download and it still wont work.


I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

If that actually worked, Apogee would still be the biggest publisher today... The "Apogee Model" worked exactly like that.

 

criadordejogos.wordpress.com

--- MaurĂ­cio Gomes twitter.com/agfgames

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

The video games industry has to learn to operate in a different way. My answer is for us as publishers is to actually sell unfinished games - and to offer the consumer multiple micro-payments to buy elements of the full experience.

BioWare was thinking about doing this for Mass Effect 2. They then decided it was a better idea to actually sell a game you could finish up front instead.

And for those of you who think this would be a good idea, consider this: what about the people who don't have an internet connection? They're screwed. Meanwhile, the pirates simply bypass the restrictions in the micro-transactions and they get a better game for free than the people without an internet connection or those not willing to buy online.

At least he's thinking differently, but he forgets the fundamental rule in creating a positive copy protection system: If it in any way is prohibitive to the paying public, then it is a failure from the start, as the pirates will bypass it and it will be a better choice to pirate it.

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

"But one of the problems with such a solution is that it would require a reduced price at retail for products using this feature because it would only be a partial experience."

It also doesn't explain how it would, you know, prevent piracy.

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

I don't think it is meant to stop pirates, only prevent them from getting the full game.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

The problem is is that although it sounds good on paper, in reality it will not work. By introducing a micro-payment system to actually get the full game, you give the impression of a hidden cost to play the title (almost like paying $49.99 or $59.99 for an MMO game and having to pay monthly on top of that to keep playing, except that cost you likely expect). Thus, if I pay $30 for a game, then find out I have to pay $4.99 everytime I wish to advance to the next level of that title, then I'm going to likely be very annoyed and feel like they're just trying to milk me for my money.

The reason this worked in the shareware days as it gave persons an example of the game (back when pc demos were actually produced on a large scale) or even full versions of the game (minus support) and then they could choose to purchase the entire game, or purchase the remainder of the game which would be sent via mail (see: 3D Realms / Apogee Software ).

The primary difference between what is proposed above and what occured in the '90s is that back then, you paid nothing to experience the beginning and then paid for the rest later if you liked the game and wished to continue. In this sense, you pay for the right to start the game, THEN pay once more for the right to finish. It might seem like a minor difference on paper, but in practice, the act can be detriminetal.

I'd say this would actually be worse than release-day DLC... or packing DLC along with the disk and charging for an unlock code (I'm looking at you, Capcom).

----
Papa Midnight
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

----
Papa Midnight

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

I agree, the shareware way is a far more effective tool to fight piracy.

I am of the opinion that in order to fight the pirates, you need to first remove all their current excuses.

We pirate to try before we buy (this includes testing game quality and system specs): Create a free demo that effectively shows off the gameplay and system requirements.

We pirate because it costs too much: Create cheaper games by lowering the price, selling DLC, microtransactions or episodic games.

We pirate to remove DRM: Don't put DRM on your game.

If you do this and people still pirate your games, then you know they are just lying theives and don't deserve your attention.

For more information, you can check out Positech's article about talking with pirates: http://www.positech.co.uk/talkingtopirates.html

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

What about World of Goo. They had a free demo, its DRM free, and it was only 20 dollars.  All this and and still when it came out 90% of copies out ther were pirated.  So the game's developers removed all of the excuses and at the end of the day they end up just getting burned.

Knowing all of this what reason could there possibly be for any developer or publisher to put any trust in the gaming public.  Frankly we have nobody to blame but ourselves for all the crappy DRM that they keep coming up with.

 

www.joystiq.com/2008/11/13/world-of-goo-has-90-piracy-rate

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

And where was the ad campaign for world of goo to gain the public attention, if you can't gain the public's attention you fail to make a sale.Piracy has zero to do with that.


I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

You and Zippy both missed my point.  I quote myself:

If you do this and people still pirate your games, then you know they are just lying theives and don't deserve your attention.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

EZK

Piracy is oblivious to qaulity as it will always be there, do basic protections to keep the masses from easily copying it and move on. Spending millions industry wide on over protection thats easily bypassed to get thousands in profit is ridiculous!


I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

EZK

 

At the end of the day it dose not work and you spend more money trying to get non buying consumers to buy the protect than what profit they could make from the non buying consumer..

 

Ignore piracy do basic protections and focus on making the product better for the paying consuemrs. Doing anything more than that is a waste of time and money.


I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

Which they still will, by pirating the rest and uploading it.

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

Right, exactly.  How will it prevent pirates from getting the full game?  It's not exactly hard to get illegal copies of DLC.

Re: Codemasters CEO: I Don't Like DRM

Sorry, I meant to say "to make it more difficult to get the full game." It still won't stop pirates, but it is a start.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

 
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