Note: An earlier version of this article stated that DRM on Steam is mandatory for developers. This is not the case. The article has been corrected.
The Discord Store went online this week, offering a curated collection of games including several limited-time exclusives that won't be available on other digital storefronts until later this year. Real-time strategy Bad North is one of those exclusives, but after purchasing it I learned that it includes DRM that currently prevents players from launching the game if they're not connected to the internet and logged into Discord.
Not all games bought through Discord will necessarily have DRM: according to this developer portal and confirmed via email by a Discord representative, Discord's DRM is optional for developers. A member of Raw Fury confirmed in their Discord channel that Bad North uses Discord's DRM, and I received confirmation that another singleplayer Discord exclusive, Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption, does as well.
I tested the DRM with my copy of Bad North. I exited Discord and tried launching Bad North from its root folder, but when I did, it launched Discord first, and only launched the game once Discord was connected. I closed both the game and Discord, disconnected my internet, and tried launching Bad North from its folder again. Discord launched, but since it couldn't connect to the internet, it simply spun on the connection screen and Bad North wouldn't launch at all.
There's good news, though: a representative for Discord told me via email that an offline mode for Discord games "is coming soon so players will be able to access their games even offline."
In the wake of issues like loot boxes, gated content, and microtransactions, DRM isn't talked about as much as it used to be, but I still feel that you should be able to play singleplayer games wherever and whenever you want, even if you don't have an internet connection. That makes offline mode for Discord an important and much-needed feature. It would also be useful for players if a game's store page listed whether or not the developer has opted into Discord DRM.