Good Old Games’ PR and marketing manager, Lukasz Kukawski, argued DRM may actually cause piracy. He also made it clear that DRM’s effectiveness as a piracy deterrent is none or close to none. While Kukawski admitted his view is not popular in the gaming industry, he stated that in his opinion, DRM drives people to pirate games rather than prevent them from doing it.
Good Old Games seems to support Kukawski’s view though, so it is not as if he is just making wild comments. The games available on Good Old Games are all DRM-free and The Witcher 2 — from Good Old Games parent company CD Projekt — will also be DRM-free. That certainly seems like an example of CD Projekt putting their money where Kukawski’s mouth is, so to speak.
Kukawski argued DRM can lead people to piracy because forcing gamers to pay full price for a game that then requires installing malware, or staying online all the time, and crashes every time the connection goes down, to play a game makes pirating a game seem like a good idea. He also stated how he knows some gamers that will purchase a copy of the game but then still download a cracked version so they can play it without all the DRM.
In regards to DRM’s effectiveness, Kukawski supported his position by stating that highly anticipated titles are often leaked before they’re released. Accordingly, they can be downloaded DRM-free before the game even comes out. Kukawski argues then that how could including DRM on the release version of the game prevent piracy in any way.
Just because Kukawski believes DRM is not the answer, does not mean he supports piracy. It is actually just the opposite. He views piracy as evil and that pirating a game, movie, or song is stealing something from people that put a lot of hard work into something made for your enjoyment. In addition to stealing, Kukawski argues that is just disrespectful.
Kukawski’s views on DRM and piracy are not exactly new but it is also hard to see just how the business of games would work if all games were DRM-free. It certainly seems like a lot more people illegally download songs, TV shows, and movies than games and that’s because it is a lot easier to do. The media is easier to find and most people can play the content with software they already have. Pirating games with DRM seems to require a little more work. But then again, if there are leaked versions of the game out there without DRM, maybe Kukawski has a point.
I personally am not sure if DRM is necessarily the problem and if it leads people to piracy. I think poor DRM systems might but just because no one has found a good way to protect digital files and media doesn’t mean it cannot be done. If there were a way for developers and publishers to guarantee that people who did not have a legitimate right to play their game could not play, but that those who did could easily and conveniently play it without any problems or glitches, wouldn’t that make sense?
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with Kukawski? Do you think The Witcher 2 will be pirated more than other games because it is coming out DRM-free or do you think it will sell better because of the decision? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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