DRM's the hideous multi-tendriled monster PC gamers pump shotgun blasts into while bellowing "Why! Won't! You! Diiiiiiie!" And, questionable punctuation aside, it's a good question. DRM gives legitimate customers no end of trouble while providing pirates with an allegedly righteous cause for their actions. In the cases of companies like Ubisoft, it's utterly baffling. What gives? Do publishers hate our money?
Obviously not. However, according to Paradox Interactive CEO Fred Wester, we can't aim our pitchforks and torches entirely at maniacally monolithic companies that erupt in a din of evil cackling and ominous lightning strikes each time someone's booted back to a start screen. Business, he says, isn't such a one-sided game.
"I think there's a lot of politics, especially in bigger companies," Wester said in an interview with
. "If you're a CEO, you need to cover your back. And the people who ask, the board, know nothing about games. They're there because they're some investment company or something, and they ask 'So what are you doing to protect our game from pirates?' And then they can reply 'We're buying this solution from Sony.'
Even so, Wester finds the whole "solution" to be incredibly counter-productive from both a business and consumer-centric standpoint.
"I just can't see why people are using DRM still," he continued. "If you take something like Sony's DRM, SecuROM - it's a waste of money. It will keep you protected for three days, it will create a lot of technical support, and it will not increase sales. And I know this for a fact, because we tried it eight years ago, and it never worked for us. Two major reasons: it costs money and it makes you lose money, and the other is that it's so inconvenient to customers."
"Now, I see no reasonable explanation for why people keep on adding it. Especially the kind where you have to be online all the time, like Ubisoft. I think that's, to me that's 2003."