The Future of DRM and Sony DADC's InvolvementBT: On the subject of anti-piracy, many PC gamers felt that the PCGA wasn't looking after their best interests when Sony DADC signed up. SecuROM 7 is considered to be an obstructive DRM system, as it can be used to limit activations and it also installs an EXE file that can prevent other software packages, such as Nero, from loading.
Many of our readers much prefer the approach of CD Projekt, which isn't including DRM with The Witcher 2. We're not suggesting that piracy is a good thing, but we'd suggest that it's questionable to punish paying customers in this way, particularly when console gamers don't get treated like this. Why is Sony DADC a part of the PCGA, what's the PCGA's stance on DRM, and how do you see DRM changing over the next few years, if at all?
Mass Effect may have been critically acclaimed, but the game's DRM system, which originally limited the number of activations, didn't win Sony DADC any friends.
The PCGA is absolutely dedicated towards PC gamers' best interests. Just remember, though, that we’re not perfect either! I believe that even simple things like the Horizon's Research we produce can, in fact, really help to influence Sony DADC's and other members’ awareness of key trends taking place in the PC gaming ecosystem. Given the trend of retail's diminishing presence, free-to-play, games moving towards authentication, game streaming and so on, it’s really hard to divine where DRM solutions fit into this equation in the future.
What we do know and can track is that piracy is, in fact, declining on the PC for a variety of reasons; chief of which is that you can’t really pirate a free-to-play game, and it’s an order of magnitude harder to do so for games that are digitally distributed. Sure, it can be done, but then the players don't typically get recognised when games are implementing online features such as achievements, points and so on.
Not everyone in the PCGA gets on. Nvidia even feels the need to make painfully unfunny cartoons about fellow member Intel.
BT: There are a lot of competing companies in the alliance – is there ever any tension in meetings?
Of course there is! I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t. However, this is actually a good thing under most circumstances. It challenges us, and the officers, to rise to the occasion and address those matters that are typically in most need of fixing. I honestly believe I’d be more worried if there wasn’t some level of tension; I think that would freak me out more. Tension is good, and it honestly speaks volumes about one of the core strengths of the PC as a platform for gaming, since I believe we’re under a much higher level of scrutiny than in most other platforms.