Good Old Games: DRM drives gamers to piracy

Written by Ben Hardwidge

April 11, 2011 // 11:40 a.m.

Tags: #cd-projekt #drm #gog #good-old-games #lukasz-kukawski #piracy #torrent #witcher-2

Independent retro games retailer Good Old Games has spoken out about digital rights management (DRM), saying that it can actually drive gamers to piracy, rather than acting as a deterrent.

Speaking to bit-tech for a future feature about DRM in Custom PC, Good Old Games' PR and marketing manager, Lukasz Kukawski, said that the effectiveness of DRM as a piracy-deterrent was 'None, or close to none.'

'What I will say isn’t popular in the gaming industry,' says Kukawski, 'but in my opinion DRM drives people to pirate games rather than prevent them from doing that. Would you rather spend $50 on a game that requires installing malware on your system, or to stay online all the time and crashes every time the connection goes down, or would you rather download a cracked version without all that hassle?'

According to Kukawski, the situation with restrictive DRM has reached the point where gamers often feel pushed into buying a game at full price, but then still download a cracked version to avoid the DRM. 'I know people that buy an original copy of the game just so they don't feel guilty,' says Kukawski, 'and then they will play a pirated version which is stripped of all DRM. That’s not how it should be. Let’s treat legitimate customers with respect and they will give that back.'

In addition to driving gamers to cracked versions of games, Kukawski also asks how anyone can believe that DRM acts as a deterrent to piracy. 'If you see the news on gaming portals that a highly anticipated title has leaked before the release date, and you can download it from torrents without any copy protection because it has been already cracked, how can you possible believe that DRM works in any way to reduce piracy?'

Despite heavily criticising DRM, however, Kukawski still has no love for pirates. 'Piracy is evil,' he says. 'By pirating a game, a movie, or a song you’re stealing from people who put a lot of hard work into creating something for your enjoyment. That’s disrespecting the creator who’s providing you with something that adds joy to your day.'

While Kukawski's comments themselves aren't revolutionary in the DRM debate, it's interesting to see them coming from an online game retail business, as well as a game developer. After all, Good Old Games is owned by CD Projekt; developer of The Witcher 2, which will also be DRM-free. You can check out the trailer for The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings below.

'We are making a bold step by putting up this highly-anticipated title without any sort of DRM,' says Kukawski. 'We believe it’s going to be a huge success, which should really open doubters’ eyes.'

Is DRM a necessary evil in a market that's rife with piracy, or does it indeed drive gamers to download cracked versions of games? Let us know your thoughts in the forums - after checking out the Witcher 2 trailer below, of course.


Look out for a full feature on DRM in Issue 94 of Custom PC, on sale 19 May this year.
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