ORIGINAL: Dave Briggs
I haven't been buying many computer games lately and the few I have bought didn't have any type of copyright protection other than a serial number requirement, so I'm a bit in the dark about this subject. Could some one please explain to me what DRM is and the negative aspects of it. I have no idea what Steam is. I'd just like to know in case I ever do think about buying a game that incorporates this. Thanks.
DRM in itself is not necessarily a bad or negative thing. It is the implementation of DRM that can and does have a negative impact upon the gaming community, in my opinion.
DRM is a method of attempting to protect your software from being copied and distributed illegally and therefore losing sales. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion. But like all things aimed with good intentions, you end up with the abuse of power that DRM brings to the companies.
Serial registration that does not involve installing anything on your PC is reasonable DRM that causes no harm to your PC and is low on the PITA scale.
DRM that install low level drivers on your system, often without asking is the worst. It can open up holes for viruses, crash your system and in some people's opinion damage your hardware. Don't be fooled if you have a serial registration only with this DRM. It will still install itself on your PC. Securom, Tages, Starforce, are examples of this. My experience is my system is not as stable with this on it. Medium on the PITA scale raising to high.
These DRM's are often accompanied by install limits, phone home to play, or even being connected to their server all the time to play. Not very customer friendly. Games like Bioshock 2 is an example of this (and the Sub game?). Very high on the PITA scale.
STEAM. You can play offline with this, but you need to set it up. You do need to install the steam software but I have never found it to be a problem like the low level drivers (correct me, anyone who knows different). Can also come packaged with any of the DRM just above. It does have a unique restriction in that you have to have an account with them and they can disable that account and therefore take all those games you purchased away from you in the blink of an eye. Low PITA can become huge PITA in the blink of an eye.
Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 DRM. Haven't found any low level drivers, system has not been effected as far as I can tell, all very stable. Low on PITA scale plus love the DLC and it is quite cheap. I know it is EA but this seems to be alright and I have no issues with it. Does not need an internet connection to play. They also removed the DLC check that made items disappear if you failed to contact server on load. EA listening? I am still on the fence....
For me, it is what the companies do with the DRM that is the problem, not necessarily the DRM.
I have taken the policy of not allowing any of the low level driver DRM on my system. My system has gone from buggy and odd crashes to stable and all the games on it play without issues (including Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2).
Hope this helps, sorry if it's a bit long.
< Message edited by Joe Black -- 5/7/2010 7:05:51 PM >