Yet another big player in the development industry has denounced Digital Rights Management (or Digitial Restrictions Managment, as its opponents claim is more accurate) in favor of producing good games with better user experience.
Before, it was Valve, Ironclad Games (Sins of Solar Empire) and World of Goo developer Ron Carmel who put DRM to shame, and now it’s Blizzard, whose upcoming game StarCraft II has been the subject of piracy even in the closed beta stage. Frank Pearce, Blizzard co-founder, thinks developers need to change their focus, and he wants his team “focused on content and cool features, not anti-piracy technology.”
This viewpoint is starkly contrasted with Ubisoft’s philosophy, which became evident when they imposed harsh DRMs on the PC version of Assassin’s Creed 2. Thousands of fans were angered when even those who purchased the game had trouble getting authenticated. Pearce has a different view on user experience:
“If we’ve done our job right and implemented Battle.net in a great way people will want to be connected while they’re playing the single player campaign so they can stay connected to their friends on Battle.net and earn the achievements on Battle.net.
“The best approach from our perspective is to make sure that you’ve got a full-featured platform that people want to play on, where their friends are, where the community is. That’s a battle that we have a chance in. If you start talking about DRM and different technologies to try to manage it, it’s really a losing battle for us, because the community is always so much larger, and the number of people out there that want to try to counteract that technology, whether it’s because they want to pirate the game or just because it’s a curiosity for them, is much larger than our development teams.
“We need our development teams focused on content and cool features, not anti-piracy technology.”
So Pearce favors better games over gaming restrictions. Seems like common sense to me – it’s a shame other developers don’t see it. Gamers are more willing to pay money for better games? Shocking!
Last year it became apparent that StarCraft 2 wouldn’t support LAN games, but when members of the StarCraft community voiced their anger, Blizzard announced later that it would revise its plan and work on an alternate method where gamers connect to Battle.net for authentication purposes, but still play behind the router for LAN-speed connectivity.