The recent news that EA are going to be using Sony's SecuRom DRM software on their future titles has me concerned for gaming and software use in general. Now let me make one thing adamantly clear: Developers and publishers who claim that software piracy is the sole reason for DRM are doing nothing more than misleading their customers.
Lets take a step back to around the time when games such as the original Half Life, and Quake 3 Arena were all the rage. Users could install the games as many times as they wished without having to authenticate their installs to remote servers owned by the game publishers.
As it stands now, publishers are preying on the end user's ignorance. People who buy games that require online authentication are showing the publishers that they are more than happy to have their rights restricted when they buy a game.
When I buy a game and I get bored of it I may wish to lend it to a friend, or even part-exchange, or sell it. Games that feature Windows Live don't allow new users of the software to transfer the game to a new Windows Live account. Don't believe me? Try buying a second hand copy of Halo 2, or Gears of War, and then get Microsoft to allow you to play the game online. It won't happen.
I'm certain many people will dislike this comment, but Valve's own digital distribution system, Steam, doesn't exactly help the situation. When you purchase a game on it you are not entitled to pass the game on, or swap it for another when you're bored of it. Due to the popularity of Steam I can't shake the feeling that other publishers have noticed how easy it is for people to give up priviladges they've had in the past in the favour of the publishers.
Needless to say, there have been a number of years since Half Life and Quake 3 Arena, but no great change ever happens over night. This process of restricting end users will continue little by little over the coming months, if not years. As far as I'm concerned the main reason for DRM isn't to combat piracy. DRM is simply a new method for the publishers to get more control over their customers and force them to buy more games at full price.
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