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Default Spiderweb Games - Interview @ IMG

December 14th, 2010, 20:35
Inside Mac Games chats with Jeff Vogel, primarily discussing Mac gaming issues but touching on Spiderweb's market and Avadon. A bit about DRM:
JC: The only DRM for your games is a registration code. Do you believe DRM really protects against pirates, or just makes it more difficult for legitimate customers who have to deal with all the measures the pirates simply bypass?
JV: Intrusive and obnoxious DRM systems that punish legitimate customers are a bad thing. They should go away. Period. But let's not overstate the case against DRM.
Like most game developers, I release a demo. Access to the full game requires buying a registration code from us. If someone needs a replacement code, that is free. No online verification. No limits on multiple installs. I think our system is pretty friendly to the customer.
The only alternative is to give everyone the full game immediately and then ask politely for them to stop by our web site and pay us. This would put us out of business in pretty much no time at all.
As I see it, the biggest issue here is not that customers are evil, but that human beings procrastinate. Procrastination is a huge and powerful force. Given the choice between playing my game and going to the web store, ordering, pulling out the credit card, entering personal information, etc., most people will just play the game. Until they finish the game. And then they will move on to another game. Sure, a few honest people will hunt me down to give me money. Not enough to stay in business.
A lot of people are honest enough to pay me for my work, thank goodness. But that doesn't mean they might not need a little nudge.
Some people have seriously told me that I should just release the full game without any limits at all. No. Nonononono! That's crazy! I mean, my god. Show a tiny bit of empathy for the developer! If going out of business is the cost I have to pay to make someone happy, I can't afford to have that person as a customer.
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December 14th, 2010, 20:35
So why do you need a replacement code? Is the code you get only good for a set time period? Or is it in case you lose your code?

If it is the former, then the only issue I really have with that type of DRM is what happens if the company ceases to exist? Hopefully they give out codes that don't have expirations before they go, but there is not guarantee of that.

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December 14th, 2010, 20:55
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
So why do you need a replacement code? Is the code you get only good for a set time period? Or is it in case you lose your code?

If it is the former, then the only issue I really have with that type of DRM is what happens if the company ceases to exist? Hopefully they give out codes that don't have expirations before they go, but there is not guarantee of that.
It is in some way connected to the machine. You send in a code generated in-game, and get the key in return. I had to get a replacement code once, after I installed Avernum 4 on a new PC. Don't know if you always have to, I'm pretty sure I've run Avernum games on different PC's before. But this time it was also a change of OS, from WinXP to Vista or Win 7.

I'm not particularly worried. Over the years, I've bought a lot of games requiring some kind of activation code, and so far I've not once been unable to play a game because I couldn't get a key through official channels when I needed it. Of course the risk is there, but it isn't great, and the cost of losing is fairly low. Actually, for me the risk of not playing a game I bought, because something more interesting turned up is far greater.
Last edited by pibbur; December 14th, 2010 at 21:10.

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