DRM is Over


New member
Jul 23, 2011
Even if DRM does not actually guarantee the extra sales that companies try to justify it with, having more control is always better, even if it costs you a little on your bottom line.


New member
Sep 1, 2007
Res Plus said:
ZippyDSMlee said:
Hopefully the poor sales for the games with newest DRM will show them that DRM is pointless. But I doubt it....
I really want to see the sales data. It's an interesting piece but the no data = no noticeable spike in sales assumption bugs me.
True, I wonder if someone can bug the EFF into compiling some data.


New member
Dec 21, 2010
Good points. Having taken the time to reread your Bobby The Jerk From Activision article I don't see the industry getting better. EA is run by fools. Ubisoft, same deal. Zenimax? Well they are suing to extort money from Facebook because Carmack.

DRM is their pet dog. He is ugly, bites the kids, pees on everything and just by finally getting him to do his job for two months resulting in no measurable increase in sales. Well, its their dog. And they aren't going to give up on the dream that if they just do it right somehow their business will rocket to 20 times it current sales.

This is all based on the iPod craze, BTW. When the *AA did the math they realized that ordinary people could be walking around with thousands upon thousands of songs. In their pocket. Since they didn't buy that many the iPod must be for pirating music. WTF? It makes no sense but the *AA people don't make sense on a regular basis. Now assume a few of the MBAs littering the entertainment industries bump into each other. Soon enough the infection that was focused on music and movies has to hit the game business. And it did. The only reason it did was because gaming became big money. Big money means MBAs. While the main theory is they want to drive stockholder value the truth is there isn't an MBA that is out there to do anything beside increasing their own personal wealth. If stocks go up and they have options, great. If it makes the customers mad, so what? MBAs don't care as long as the money is still coming in. And if it isn't coming in it must be the fault of pirates.


Neloth's got swag.
Aug 22, 2011
RhombusHatesYou said:
Shamus Young said:
3. Publishers know that DRM doesn't work, but they put it there to appease stupid shareholders.
This is actually close to the reason I've heard from corporate and IP lawyers when I've discussed DRM.

In their opinion DRM exists to protect publishers from the possibility of opportunistic stakeholders litigating against the publishers for not taking 'all reasonable measures' to protect their stake/property/so on. This is corporations protecting themselves from the exact same thing most of them would do if the situation was reversed. Doesn't matter that DRM doesn't work and that everyone knows it doesn't work as long as DRM is legally considered a 'reasonable measure' for protecting the interests IP/authorware/3rd party utilities/so on rightholders.

They're essentially protecting themselves from the same arsehole logic that insurance companies use to say that your flood coverage only covers things damaged directly by water and not, say, the 18 wheeler that a flash flood tossed into your house.
And stupid shareholders are, in turn, spawned by the erroneous notion that piracy kills the industry outright. If them dirty pirate scum so much as touch my invested I.P., my moneytubes will vanish out of the Interflux! LOCK MY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DOWN NOW!

Half of the problem is a lack of understanding of the ways in which data distribution differ from retail sales, and half of it is baseless fear. Plenty of companies have opted for a DRM-free platform and they haven't exactly been nuked out of business.


Noisy Lurker
Apr 10, 2020
shirkbot said:
Zachary Amaranth said:
Well that's lovely, but then what do you actually propose we do about it? The information is out there, how do we spread it? Because the way I see it we need to either convince more people to actually pay attention to DRM, or try to convince devs to never go on the stock market so they never have to deal with investors that have no idea what they're talking about. There must be something we can do, even if it's small, because things have to start somewhere.
Well, telling everyone in a mass group of people to change their behavior to solve an issue really isn't a solution. Getting devs and publishers to stop is a lot more feasible. Of course the shareholders are just as stupid as the masses, and they are the ones with the real power. Really, the only practical thing is to just stop buying games that have unacceptable DRM in it. It won't do much, but at least you won't have to deal with or tolerate the problems DRM adds. There's thousands of games from over the decades that you can return to without DRM if you really run out of modern games to play due to limiting yourself.


New member
Jun 12, 2008
All good points and discussion, but the title is dead wrong. DRM will be over when they stop using it. Right now it's just another rotting zombie of corporate decisions stumbling around the industry.


New member
Jul 21, 2009
Well written. I also 100% agree - I've seen absolutely zero evidence that piracy can increase sales. Sure, you might be able to stop the pirates for a while but that alone has no benefit. Most pirates are from poorer countries or just jobless students and literally can't afford the current price of games. Stopping them does nothing for scoring a sale.

Steve the Pocket

New member
Mar 30, 2009
I had a thought. I'd kind of like to see what would happen if some DRM system managed to keep a game from being pirated until after the first major sale. You know, after the people who were interested in buying it at a discount have had a shot as well. Because right now we're only factoring in the people who are willing to pay $60 for a game. Impatience is a powerful motivator, after all, and we do know how many people go all out when the big sales come around.

Amir Kondori

New member
Apr 11, 2013
Ben Halstead said:
Shamus, I agree with most of your article, but have to question your point 1. You are likely correct that there was no large increase in sales, but you have used an assumption based on the absence of released information as "proof" that the 95% sales bit is wrong.

The best you can really do is say that publishers should now have the data to finally prove/disprove the 95% sales justification, and challenge them do do so. I myself would be interested to see any response from a direct inquiry to EA on this point.

It would be great if this spelled the death of DRM, but I somehow doubt it'll be this easy.
These companies have known for a long time that strict DRM does not significantly impact sales in developed markets like North America. They know that their games are cracked and available to pirate typically within days of release. For many developers and publishers it is a matter of CYA, the shareholders are concerned about piracy, the management is concerned about piracy, so the rank and file have to say they are doing something and the easiest way to do that is to stick some DRM on top of your game.

For lesser known games from smaller studios piracy can even help sales. I did a quick look and can't find the article but a few years back there was an indie developer who said sales of his game shot up after it hit the piratebay.

I think Tommy Refenes covers the topic well here:

He talks about all the things I think most of us know already. That DRM can only hurt paying customers. That draconian DRM can hamper paying customer's enjoyment of a game and kill excitement about a game. It can lead to players asking for refunds. One example used was the disastrous launch of Sim City last year, which seemed as much an experiment in preventing piracy and gaming software as a service than it did a game.

Bottom line DRM has more negatives associated with it than positives, for both developers, publishers, and gamers alike. GOG.com is always my first stop when buying games because I know I won't have to deal with any DRM when I buy titles from them. Steamworks I put up with and I think Valve would get rid of even that if they thought that publishers would get on board.


Ep. VI: Return of the turret
May 7, 2009
The problem with removing the DRM after a couple of weeks is that it would draw attention to how easy it is to pirate the game after that point. People would be all "Oh, the DRM's gone. I guess that means they're OK with us pirating it then."


New member
Dec 18, 2013
Egosoft, the makers of those fantastic X Universe games (except Rebirth...), removes the DRM from all of their games a year or so after release.