It has finally happened, a fairly large game developer has decided to release their game without any DRM (Digital Rights Management). For years the concept of DRM has been all about preventing piracy. Sadly the more money that companies put into their DRM the more the games end up costing. This rapidly rising cost perpetuates piracy even more. It is true that a large number of people that download games online end up buying the, but it still has an initial impact.
Microsoft is making a rapid about face on their DRM AND use game policies. Despite their original statements that people should get an Xbox 360 if they want to play offline they are now removing the 24-hout check in period for disk based games. They are also removing the restrictions they had in place for trading and selling used games. Microsoft is claiming that they did this due to user feedback, but for some reason we think it was more about Sony’s announcement and the way gamers shifted loyalties so fast.
Almost two years ago we wrote an editorial on why Microsoft had problems when it came to launching new product (and keeping them in the market). The evidence of this is quite clear in past and present products from Windows Vista to Windows 8/RT. Microsoft has its own way of analyzing market data and their own telemetry data that they collect (which they admit is a small percentage of their user base). With Windows Vista Microsoft ignored user complaints about an implementation of HDCP (High Definition Content Protection) that would be “always on” and interrogate everything a user does to make sure it is compliant with third party DRM requirements (pronounce that MPAA and RIAA), this had such a large impact on performance that the OS was quickly replaced with Windows 7.
Microsoft just cannot get out of their own way. First they blunder with Windows RT and how they handled its introduction with partners and developers. After that they confused and annoyed consumers by making a drastic shift in the Window 8 UI. They did all of this despite consumer feedback that showed they probably should have stuck with a more familiar UI and OS. Now Microsoft is at it again as we find out more about the Xbox One’s data connection need and the trading or reselling of games.
A video game developer has decided to use an interesting approach to piracy. Instead of trying to prevent their game from being downloaded illegally they actually pushed out their own release for people to download. Now this may sound counterproductive, but they have a plan and one that they hope will help to stop future piracy. They have decided to add piracy and its “effects” to the torrent release.
Dust around the hated always-on DRM can not seem to settle. After the internet rumors that Microsoft's new gaming console could require a constant connection to the Internet, the head of Ubisoft Montreal, said that the market is ready for such an outcome. When given a question were users ready for this move Yannis Mallat said „Well, that's a question you should put to Microsoft and Sony! I would say that a lot of people are already always online through other devices – I would suspect that the audience is ready "
Ubisoft is preparing quite a few serious modifications to their notorious online service Uplay. Stephanie Perotti has revealed that they want to improve the relationship with the PC community, and that they are currently looking for ways to improve Uplay. First of all it seems they will try to attract gamers by bringing a wider range of games to Uplay, as well as new features and options.
How big is the Video Game Industry? About 10.5 Billion dollars a year (in 2009), according to the ESRB. Only .5 Billion or so came from computer game sales, leaving the other 10 Billion or so to come mostly from dedicated game consoles. This data accounts for both new and used video game purchases, as well as rentals. According to figures from September, 2012, about half of the video game market is digital, rental, or used sales.
There is certainly something going on in the software/gaming industry and from all of the information we have been able to get our hands on it is not looking good for the consumer. After showing you the reports that indicate a push for stronger control over mobile apps and that the US Government is becoming more and more interested in that space we are seeing more companies cite fantastical numbers claiming rampant piracy. This time it is our friends over at Ubisoft and the claim is that 95% of their titles are pirated.
One of my favorite quotes (relating to security) is “what man can lock, man can unlock”. Another quote that I like is “they all break when you apply enough pressure”. Both of these are crucial to an understanding of security as it relates to just about everything. This includes physical security, data security; you name it… if you try to hide it or lock it up someone can get at it with enough time and resources. One place that this is often overlooked is in the department of DRM (Digital Rights Management).