It's all part of a cunning plan

There has been a lot made of DRM and digital distribution recently and I had a random thought about it.

Most games you buy will now have an install limit and digital distribution similarly are tied to an single account.

I'm wondering if there is possibly another reason beyond the largely made up threat of piracy for theses measures. Most of the games industry is suffering a hit from pre owned games, stores love it because they make basically pure profit on them. They buy back games at a fraction of their new price and then sell them back again for most of the cost of the new version and that markup is pure cream for the shops. For publishers they see none of that, so if they include drm or use digital distribution they effectively prevent that market from working.

You buy a game pre owned and it's passed it's install limit you can't install it without ringing up EA or who ever and begging them to let you install it, no guarantees they will either.

Digital dist is even better some infrastructure costs but the profits are a lot higher for the publisher than the disk version. You can't give the game to people or sell it on, you basically don't own it in any real sense. Some of the more bullshit download services even force you to buy it again if you loose the original download.

It could all be a subtle play to take back some of that prime pie the games and ebs of the world have been scoffing down.


Good theory and I can see no obvious holes in it but you have to wonder if DRM screws them out of sales to greater extent (see spore) than they would have lost in second-hand sales?

Skunty's picture

I won't argue that drm is something akin to shooting themselves in the feet with a double barrelled shotgun.

Buying a proper copy of a game and being unable to play it due to the drm is not something that encourages me to avoid piracy.

Every time I have to get the crack to make an official paid for copy of a game function makes me less likely to bother actually paying for things in future. And it seems to be happening more and more these days.

Some of the more independents have done without this drm shit like the people that did sins of solar empire. They go with a cd key authentication system which only kicks in when you want to get patches or play online. You can install it as many times as you like it doesn't need the cd in the drive it doesn't in normal operation need to connect to the corporate servers to get permission to run, It seems to work.

Evilmatt's picture

I feel Steam stole a march on everyone in that respect... albeit a similar prospect (each game tied to your steam id) but done in a non-"You're all pirating bastards" kinda way.

It's almost like they didn't want their customers to hate them!


Skunty's picture