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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Rampant Games - What Does DRM Mean to You?

Default Rampant Games - What Does DRM Mean to You?

June 23rd, 2013, 06:58
Rampant Coyote has a new blog post about DRM. Read the blog post and give your opinion in the comment section. As for me I hate it always have.

So when you are talking about “Digital Rights Management,” DRM, the sort of thing that used to be called “copy protection,” there are a lot of arguments out there. While there are “book answers” out there, I’m more curious as to what you guys think / feel. The whole DRM thing (which has been brought to a head recently with Microsoft backing off from their previous, nasty game-sharing restrictions on the Xbone). I’m kinda curious about what the folks ’round these parts think, so I’d like to ask you some questions:

1. When you talk about DRM, what kind of DRM are you referring to? What sort of practices? Is anything at all that prevents you from simply copying a directory to another machine and running it considered “DRM” to you?

2. Are simple license keys DRM?

3. If not, do they become DRM if the game “phones home” to make sure it’s valid? If so, is there any point at which it ceases to be “DRM” in your mind? Like if it’s a common code or password to unlock the game? Or if you have to authorized a service (like Steam) on your machine before the games will run?

4. All that being said, do you prefer to have a big demo download that can be upgraded with a single code or password, or a smaller demo download that must be replaced by downloading a “full version” that doesn’t require any sort of DRM or unlocking mechanism?

5. How important are demo versions of games to you these days? Do you usually try a game before you buy it, or are your decisions mainly determined by watching preview videos / descriptions / reviews / screenshots?
More information.
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June 23rd, 2013, 06:58
Nowadays, for me, DRM is any third party program that I need to run alongside a game to get it to work. I don't much mind game keys as long as they don't require me to phone home to some random server.

Having said all that, Steam would obviously fall into the DRM category but I'm pretty forgiving of that service because of the convenience it adds (not to mention great deals). So, I personally excuse DRM as long as it doesn't make a nuisance of itself and offers something in return. Examples of DRM not welcome: getting TAGES errors when trying to play my new copy of The Witcher once upon a time and having to load up UPlay for the one Ubisoft title I own.

As to demos, I don't play them. I tend to rely on youtube gameplay videos.
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June 23rd, 2013, 09:06
It simply means protecting your rights through digital means, to me.

So, any way of protecting your software from "theft" by way of other software - is DRM.

It almost never bothers me, but then again - I don't think I've ever been unable to play a game because of it. I've been lucky, I suppose.

Sometimes it's a bit too inconvenient - and Uplay from Ubisoft can be really obnoxious - but I still don't think it's all that big of a deal. It's just annoying.

I think Steam is annoying as well - because it's so god damned slow and I don't understand why. It takes too long to launch - and it takes too long to browse stuff in their client. It's just not fast or efficient considering the resources they have available.

But the primary reason I don't like Steam is that the games are too expensive - and I've never been a fan of Valve. I think they're getting too much credit for not really doing anything special. The only thing they ever did that impressed me was the Source engine.

But I fully respect and accept the right to protect your investment and your livelihood. What I don't respect or accept is the concept of paying for something you don't actually know the value of. Which is why I have absolutely no qualms about pirating to test games out - but I naturally understand why investors/developers wouldn't want me to do that. I don't do it much anymore - because access to games have become so convenient, and you can always get your game at a fair price. Beyond that, I have enough money to play the games I'm interested in, and I don't have the same passion for testing them all out as I used to.

So, if piracy was totally eliminated - I don't think I'd even notice. It would just be one less way of being able to establish what I should spend my money on.
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June 23rd, 2013, 09:52
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
But the primary reason I don't like Steam is that the games are too expensive
Are you consciously trying to be a contrarian? If you really believe that they are too expensive, what is that in relation to? Steam sales make games stupidly cheap, in my opinion.
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June 23rd, 2013, 11:11
Originally Posted by Korplem View Post
Are you consciously trying to be a contrarian? If you really believe that they are too expensive, what is that in relation to? Steam sales make games stupidly cheap, in my opinion.
Are you consciously trying to make me a contrarian? Stop being narrowminded if you want to understand other people - and accept that opinions can differ without people being contrarian.

It's in relation to games elsewhere. I'm not talking about sales - but about newly released games.

Lots of places have sales - and as much as people want to make Steam unique in that way, it's not - so that's bullshit.

The difference is that Steam sales tend to be very large - but less frequent. All sites I know of have sales or frequent cheap offers. Steam just does it big - and that makes everyone jump up and down with glee - but the end result is the same.

That said, it probably has less to do with Steam and more to do with the US/EU pricing inconsistencies. For whatever reason, 40$ becomes 40 Euro - which is pretty stupid.

But in 9 out of 10 cases - a newly released game (that's not an indie game or whatever) is significantly cheaper elsewhere. Sometimes you have to look around a bit, and I have lots of sites I visit for this purpose. GOG, Gamersgate, Greenmangaming and so on. Obviously, lots of CD key sites are cheaper still, but that's another matter.

I haven't EVER found Steam cheaper - and in that 1 out of 10 cases, it's the same price.

If you think having open eyes is being contrarian - then I'll leave you to it.
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June 23rd, 2013, 11:54
DRM means to me - that I can't use a legally bought game in 20-30 years in an Emulator.
But that is true for DirecX, too.
And yes, that's typical for me to think in these long time spans.

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June 23rd, 2013, 12:13
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
DRM means to me - that I can't use a legally bought game in 20-30 years in an Emulator.
But that is true for DirecX, too.
And yes, that's typical for me to think in these long time spans.
That is a valid point as I don't think companies are going to release offline versions and patches for every game.

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June 23rd, 2013, 13:52
DRM is technically just whatever means are in place to protect the creator's products from being used outside their allowed usage. It could be as simple as a note saying 'Please don't copy this' or as complicated as uPlay or Microsoft's "connect every day". Obviously, the "please don't copy this" is not too effective, so as content producers got more creative, at some point they stop thinking about their clients, and more about fighting their clients so that they don't misbehave. So it's not an evil word, but it's become an evil word just like the word 'nigger' is nowadays considered an evil word.
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June 23rd, 2013, 14:19
DRM only punishes the paying customer, anyone else will crack it anyways…

I wouldn't dream of buying anything with DRM.
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June 23rd, 2013, 22:44
Haha, ok settle down, sweetie. I'm sure you expected somebody to take your bait when you said that since the popular opinion is that it's cheap — and don't jump on that either, I said "popular opinion" not that it's right. I hadn't realized that EU prices were artificially higher; I don't make a habit of keeping up with prices for which I am not exposed to. Foolishness, thy name is Korplem.

So, yes, by all means you are absolutely correct. Steam is a steaming pile of shit because they charge you too much. Congratulations on your forum victory!
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June 23rd, 2013, 23:34
1. A restriction like online activation or monitoring software installed separately.

2. No

3. Yes. I regard Steam as a DRM-system.

4.

5. Prefer written previews with screenshots and videos.
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June 24th, 2013, 01:33
Anything that requires an online activation is a no buy for me. It makes you into a gloried renter, because the activation servers will not be up forever. I might consider it if the company promised to release a future patch in a reasonable amount of time (1-2 years) that completely removed it, but it would have to be a company I trust.

Unfortunately, this means no Steam games for me and it is becoming more and more difficult to find PC games that don't require Steam or some other type of online authentication system.

I don't mind simple disc checks or license keys as long as all authentication happens locally and doesn't require the internet.
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June 24th, 2013, 02:49
I have no issues with DRM as long as it works.

So far with the exception of GFWL which is an abomination they all have.

Steam is by far my favorite. Never had an issue with their DRM. I don't know if they have the best deals or not as I don't care to shop around. It's too convenient having all my games in 1 place and most games are only $50 or so, shopping around to save 5 to 10 just isn't worth my time.

I guess if I had more bad experiences with DRM I might hate it like most do but luckily I haven't.
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June 24th, 2013, 08:04
Originally Posted by Korplem View Post
Haha, ok settle down, sweetie. I'm sure you expected somebody to take your bait when you said that since the popular opinion is that it's cheap — and don't jump on that either, I said "popular opinion" not that it's right. I hadn't realized that EU prices were artificially higher; I don't make a habit of keeping up with prices for which I am not exposed to. Foolishness, thy name is Korplem.

So, yes, by all means you are absolutely correct. Steam is a steaming pile of shit because they charge you too much. Congratulations on your forum victory!
Try not to have an entire script written about future debates with people - and you might actually get to know them a little.

However, if you want to indulge yourself with this fantasy version of me - where my opinions are not actually my opinions - but just something I say for kicks to provoke the few dumb enough to take the bait - then I won't stand in your way.

That said, if my opinions DO happen to provoke - I certainly don't mind very often

As for Steam - I'm simply not as happy with it as most seem to be. Steaming pile of shit? A bit harsh - but in some ways it's definitely more shitty than one would expect from people with such resources and such a powerful position.

I'm really sorry if that's a problem for you. Well, ok, no I'm not
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June 24th, 2013, 18:44
1 - Digital Rights Management is a euphemism. It is like saying someone who died has "passed away" or "moved on." It is absolutely not about protecting creator's rights, it's about protecting business profits. Those CAN coincide, but as often as not do NOT. DRM means, to me, needless restrictions placed legitimate customers in a Quixotic attempt to stop "rampant" piracy. Fighting piracy is as simple as Netflix and Steam sales, which is far more effective than having to be logged into a server 24/7 to play. It is all well and good that creators want others to not mess with their work - that isn't what DRM is about, however. It's about power and control, about wanting to make you rebuy games and, if they could help it, pay every time you start to play it (think DivX.)
2 - License keys are a form of DRM, yes. They are minor annoyances, but they are annoyances. I won't bay at the moon over them, I freely accept them as an acceptable compromise - but they are a compromise that is more like an exterior hook and eye lock on a door with a sign saying "Do Not Open Unless You Are The Property Owner" - it's highly ineffectual. Does the actual owner of the house have THAT MUCH an inconvenience to undo that every time he goes inside? No. But that inconvenience really outweighs any level of protection it illusorially provides.
3 - Any attempts on the publisher/seller's end to control how I access the content I bought, adding unnecessary hoops for me to jump through just to try and make sure I really REALLY bought it, are DRM.
4 - Smaller demo. Either give me the game for free, completely, and ask me to pay what I think it is worth, or give me a scaled down demo and ask me to pay when I want to get the full game and then I get the full game. No unlock codes.
5 - Demos are great. I don't personally use demos nearly as much as I should, but I have used them (most recently I can think of are KoA:R and ME3) and think that trying before you buy is the right way to go. I think reviews (and the rest), both "professional" as well as normal gamer ones, are useful but need to be parsed carefully.
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June 25th, 2013, 00:11
DRM to me means rather obtrusive spyware that means little or no hassle to me in practice. This is obviously helped by the fact that I use it to run games that are at least 1-2 years older than my current machine; I probably wouldn't buy a game with DRM whose hardware requirements I barely meet b/c of the additional hit in performance.
DRM is also pretty clearly defined in that it's completely unnecessary - neither my machine nor the program really need it - and in my case, I'm also not in the group that is allegedly its target (I haven't pirated a [newer] game in quite some time).

As for future compatibility: we'll see. As I understand it DosBox started out as a non-commercial project, and see where we would be today if it hadn't come around. I'm putting my faith in emulation/ hacking/ patching.

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June 25th, 2013, 01:27
I've never cared about it the least, has worked out pretty well so far.

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June 25th, 2013, 20:45
The only one that really, really pissed me off was the Ubisoft DRM on heroes of might & magic 6 or whatever number.

Plus steam annoys me sometimes when my internet connection is buggered but I need to connect to the internet to switch steam to the offline version. Maybe there's a way round that which I've been too thick to spot though.
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