Just Cause Creator: "DRM Doesn't Stop Piracy"

Christopher Sundberg, top dog at Avalanche, creators of Just Cause 2, has come out against DRM claiming that it's stupid and "does not stop piracy". He also reasoned that developers should try giving hackers a job.

"Piracy is always worrying," said Sundberg, talking to CVG. "It's never been a helpful thing. We'll let our publishers fight that battle. But I mean, 50 percent of the people that work for me come from a hacker background - that's true."

After suggesting that employing hackers might help the industry, he then claimed that not only does DRM fail to stop piracy, it's actually an insult to gamers who purchase PC games legitimately.

"The DRM does not stop piracy," he claimed, "it just punishes the people who have actually paid for the game. It's completely useless. Forcing people to be online all the time and so on doesn't show respect to the people who actually buy PC games."

'How do you stop piracy? Try giving hackers a job. And make better PC games.' [CVG]


    I agree on the issue of DRM penalizing legitimate consumers. The stuff still gets broken eventually and then the pirates end up with an experience that is actually superior to that which the paying customers are getting. There's something not quite right there.

    It's similar to those irritating anti-piracy messages you get on the front of DVDs that often can't be skipped over or fast-forwarded through. If I'd just downloaded the movie off a torrent, I wouldn't get that message. So why on earth do movie studios think it helps anybody to force an anti-piracy message on people who obviously DIDN'T pirate the movie?!?!

    The worst case I've seen was with the DVD of Charlie Wilson's War. Great movie, but I can't actually watch it because EVERY TIME I put in the disc I have to sit through a 5 minute commercial with Gwyneth Paltrow telling me how bad the AIDS situation is in Africa. It can't be skipped over, can't be fast forwarded through, it's just there like a big "F*** YOU FOR BUYING THIS MOVIE". If I'd just pirated it (which I actually DID end up doing after realizing I'd never get to watch the movie without sitting through Gwyneth Paltrow Presents AIDS Is Bad every time otherwise) I never would have had to sit through it. At least make the damn thing skippable or fast forwardable.

      I believe most of those can be skipped by stopping and starting the disc several times, after three or four goes, you end up at the main disc menu.

      Works all of the time, 60% of the time.

        In the case of the Charlie Wilson's War DVD, I seem to recall the Gwyneth Paltrow AIDS ad was actually PART of the main menu. I.e. if you pressed the menu button after the movie had started, it'd actually make you sit through the damn ad again before taking you to the menu.

        It is truly Satan's DVD. I always knew he'd be a Tom Hanks fan.

      Agreed on all counts as usual, always love reading your comments, you know your stuff. :)

      I remember a DVD sometimes having more movie ads/Bluray ads/HD DVD ads than any cinema I've even been in. As soon as one long ad about HD DVDs finally finishes, you breathe in to let out a sigh of relief then it hits you with another ad for a different movie! A big "FUUUUUUUUUU!" moment there for me lol. Granted it allowed me to skip those, but I was hitting skip for about five minutes before it actually reached the main menu. Very annoying

        Probably not as bad as when I saw one of the Harry Potter films at the cinema - 45 minutes of adverts! Then trailers!

        DVDs can be annoying with the amount of anti-piracy adverts and stuff before them. I think it was watching The Shield, and you'd have the anti-piracy crap when going into the menu, and then have to wait through it again before the episode began.

        Back on topic, if developers are beginning to suspect DRM doesn't actually stop piracy, or indeed hinder it in any form, wouldn't a good idea be to stop using it on a few games and see what happens with regards to sales? Lots of people do say they steer clear of certain PC titles because of these measures.

      Part of the reason why these clips are on the front of DVD's was to discourage those people 5-10 years ago that would burn DVD's/sell illegal DVD's, back in a time where not everyone had the capacity to download movies, as the current course of piracy appears to be.

      They do piss me off royally though, with the amount of money I put out every year on DVD/Blu-rays... I expect to be able to skip your god damn anti-piracy messages, I own your product.

      I watched that movie recently. It was a pirated version so the quality was great and the movie started instantly.

      Really not justifying my personal decisions but when I hear you all talking about it I wanted to highlight your point. I did the wrong thing but had a better experience. I'd never considered that argument.

      Btw I do purchase DVDs games music etc especially if it's indie stuff!!!

    Sounds just like every reasonable pc gamer I've spoken to.

    ima buy this game now

    I don't think DRM is the problem - content creaters need to protect their property. I think the problem is how DRM is currently being implemented. Right now it's penalising the purchasing consumer and not the pirate. It's just one of the reasons why 90% of my gaming is now done on console.

      Resorting to console play doesn't even work anymore, when I fired up Dead Space 2, I was told I had to enter a product key to get full access to online play. I think this is just EA being the usual bunch of whiny buttholes they were when it comes to DRM.

      I really do agree though, now that I work for a software company I no longer pirate software/games... This is partly because I have a job now and can actually afford the products I want. Those that pirate are having the better experience than those of us that get kicked off our game because our internet hiccuped.

        Pretty sure that's not to stop piracy, but rather to kill the second-hand market. EA did similar with ME2 on PS3

      That's totally right.

      Steam is essentially DRM, but I'd still rather buy a game on Steam than as an unsecured binary because I know that Steam will fulfill its agreement of 'digital rights management' by providing me with a downloadable copy wherever I can log in.

        yup steam is acceptable DRM, but it doesn't rely on an internet connection or communication with a server to work. It's perfectly reasonable to download and switch your account to offline mode and play for the rest of your life.

        My only issue with Steam is when some companies decide they will only install Via Steam. but then instead of using it's features decide to make you install some 3rd party BS on top of it. I'm primarily looking at DoW II and Bioshock 2 here, with there stupid GFWL

    The funny thing is that I read the headline as "DLC doesn't stop piracy" and was thinking I should read the article because I agreed about that too.

    I think the devs should make you register your game online and only need to go online once to validate your copy BEFORE installing the game itself. So then it doesn't need to be online at all anymore because you already proved your copy is legitimate, making it continue the installation procedure.

    Further on from that, on the developer's site, they have certain hidden key files needed in order for your game to run properly, so when you register your game successfully on their site, your installation program will download those files to progress further, while those trying to get a no CD-key install, it won't work since this download is coming from the very dev's site itself.

    But then again if it were that easy it would've been implemented already, I'm sure that could easily be exploited another way. Feel free to point out whats wrong with it so I can learn lol :)

      Include said files as a crack for the game. Extremely simple to get around.

      If it's embedded in the installer, make a custom installer.

      Essentially, pretty much all DRM can be circumvented. People come up with new "uncrackable" methods that are easily cracked by people with enough knowledge. DRM is useless.

      The big issue is again you would be taking away from the customer. These days game companies come and go every few years and if your game requires online activation nobody will be able to play it in a few years should your servers be taken down or decommissioned.

      And again it will just be cracked so it will be a waste of time.

      The worst one I have seen is Assassins Creed 2 and even that was cracked in a month.

      I dont see what was wrong with just having a CD-Key and nothing else like in the days of Warcraft 3/Call of Duty 2

    Whatever he's selling, I'm buying.

    What happened to the good old days in the early 90s where the DRM was a code wheel or a "what is the 3rd word on Page 5, Chapter 2?"
    Those were the best :)

    I also hate how I buy a retail game, then have to use Steam to activate/register it before I can play it. Now its locked to my account and if someone else wants to play it they have to log into Steam with my credentials. Annoying.

      Ah, the spin wheels.. you've made me feel old but remembering those games makes me not care.

    DRM is a complicated subject to discuss, since both sides have legitimate claims.

    On one side, legit consumers feel they are being treated like criminals and in many cases having their overall experiences diminished by DRM procedures.

    On the other side, developers do have a right to protect their products.

    That said, I think an online authentication procedure, like the first BioShock, is a reasonable level of DRM. So are CD keys.

    However, post-installation, DRM should not intrude on the customer.

    Limits on installations? Bad. Permanent online connection? Bad.

    Totally agree with this article

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