GOG - Interview @ IncGamers
IncGamers interviewed GOG’s Trevor Longino about DRM, piracy, and the future.
IG: GOG is perhaps best known for having a firm no-DRM (Digital Rights Management) stance, which I believe you’ve had from the very start. Was that a decision informed more by ethics, or by business?
TL: A bit of both, but I’d lean more heavily on the ethics of DRM informing the business decisions. We were already opposed to DRM, and when the founders started the company, we knew that if there was one thing that would be sure to anger people who wanted to play classic games–which don’t have DRM, by and large–it would be to add DRM on top of them. Making a game substantially worse for the consumer and then selling it? That sounded like madness.
You probably note that the same argument applies to new games: why would you take something that doesn’t naturally have DRM and then add it, which makes your game worse for paying customers? That’s a good question, and we still don’t know the answer to that.
IG: Is there any situation you can envisage where DRM might be acceptable? Perhaps one in which an asteroid can only be prevented from striking Earth through the addition of DRM to a videogame.
TL: No – humanity is dooooomed!
Honestly, if that was somehow required for the continued existence of humanity, of course we’d be willing to put up with it. While it’s true that psychologically, games are practically required for a healthy consciousness, computer games are not. Video games are a hobby, not a necessity for life.
You can construct circumstances where DRM is acceptable, but I’d note that it’s not necessary. Adding DRM to games is like adding DRM to books or music–it’s been done, but both of those industries are learning that it doesn’t actually make any difference in piracy.