The War Against Piracy Is As Much About Politics As It's About Piracy

This has long been a bit of an elephant in the room when it comes to "giant publishers talking about piracy", so naturally it's taken a representative from a small publisher to bring it up.

Asked by GameSpy why companies like Ubisoft insist on hideous forms of DRM, Paradox Interactive CEO Fred Wester replies with a healthy dose of practicality:

I think there's a lot of politics, especially in bigger companies. It's simple for me being the CEO and half-owner of Paradox. I can basically call the shots I want to call, and if the board wants to ask questions it's like ‘OK, we can take this into consideration.' 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." So I think it's been a way to cover your back, previously. 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.

If you've ever wondered why publishers persist with DRM when they must know it does little to stop piracy, that paragraph above makes more sense than almost anything else I've ever heard on the subject.

Interview: Paradox CEO Fred Wester Talks Up PC Gaming, Calls SecuROM DRM "a Waste of Money" [GameSpy]


Comments

    So. Who else clicked assuming it wouldn't actually be a lengthy but well written piece of journalism written by Luke Plunkett? I was really hoping to be wrong

      Yep. The overnight s#%t train has started.

      Speaking of short and poorly written pieces, that comment of yours is pretty difficult to read. Sort it out.

    As a developer of software, I am in two minds .
    If people don't pay for my work it's harder for me to get a job next time.
    Sometimes I think people only think from the users point of view rather than the people producing the content, devs are not usually multi millionaires, and if the companies stop paying us we stop writing code.

      And think of draconian intrusive DRM from a *legit* buyers perspective..

      I love X publisher/devs games and have even paid the overpriced AU price just to support not just the devs but local business. I get home pop in DVD and then get greeted to a "neter key here"... thats cool.. normal protocol.

      Then i get face slapped w/ need to install DRM feature... right...
      Won't run DRM needs an update.... several (long minutes later) DRM updates and i can play!... or not.. game needs update... more minutes later thats cool! we can play now... nope.. DRM screws w/ firewall... several minutes of more fiddling. Ok lets go!

      *game crashes due to DRM incompatibility*

      Reboot... *deep sigh*... run... DRM needs updates again.... rage now really buids. But its ok.. game starts, we're good! we're cool! *internet has been disconnected... you are unable to play this game offline*

      At which point any form of sanity has left and said buyer is now in berserker rage... and then smart arse lil bro who has spent the last few mins dl'ing and pirating the same ISO on his laptop walks in and says. "Hey this game is cool! been at it fer a while now and you should really try it"

      =P

      Ok so a fair part of that might hit the realm of hyperbole. But devs/pubs aren't doing themselves any favours by completely screwing legit buyers like that =P

    An interesting perspective, internal company politics isn't something I'd considered.

    (and as games developers have become essentially corporations, maybe it's not so surprising that there are people on the boards who know little to nothing about what their studio makes)

    The best ways to prevent piracy had always been to mess with the player i.e. serious Sam. If I released a game I'd let the pirates play online, only they would wear pirate tags, have a pink dildo on their head and have all their weapons nerfed

      This can totally backfire. Iron Lore had one that crashed at a certain point. Not as funny of course, but it had pirates running around yelling about how the game was so broken when it was only the DRM.

    Hate to be the one to break it to you Luke but a war on ANYTHING is as much about politics as it is resolving the problem, more so when you get actual politicians involved (i.e. SOPA and PIPA)

    Yesterday the articles were too long, today they're too short. You people are never happy.

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