Disclaimer: As usual, the opinions expressed in this column are the author’s alone, and do not reflect those of MyGaming.
I’ll admit, I have very limited sympathy for most hardcore PC gamers. You know, the sort of people who feel instantly compelled to assault any article that even so much as breathes the barest hint of anything whatsoever to do with console gaming with all sorts of completely retarded PC-PC-über-alles rhetoric. It’s a multi-platform world, get over it – nobody gives a toss about what bits of plastic and silicon your mom bought for you to play with. But even as a not-hardcore PC gamer, I’ve got to feel at least some vague sense of esprit de corps when news about some horrible new DRM scheme drops in. I mean, you’re not all complete twerps, just most of you. And if you’re offended by the previous sentence, it’s probably because you’re a twerp.
Anyway, news recently arrived that Ubisoft’s shipping the PC version of Assassin’s Creed II with a DRM cloud system that requires a constant internet connection to their servers. It’s a feature! Or something. Apparently that big new experiment with no-DRM-on-Prince-of-Persia-guys-:D didn’t really work out much (hey, if you know some self-entitled cheapskate twerp who pirated it, now’s your chance to punch them in the face with smug, sanctimonious authority). So DRM’s back, and it’s a lot badder – you’ve got to maintain a constant connection with the Great Wide Out There, or no Assassin’s Creed II for you. And hey, if your connection drops while you’re playing – guess what! – you’ll lose all your progress since the last checkpoint. And you’ll get chucked back to the main menu until you can re-establish the connection, just because. It’s a feature! Or something.
I don’t actually have a problem with DRM in theory, but I do think this is taking the whole thing a bit far. Where “a bit far” is probably about “six hundred light years”. Ubisoft is now dictating not only how you’re going to play the game, but when too. Memo to Ubisoft: “There’s going to be a cracked version in under a week, just by the way. Twerps. GG.”
That’s the thing, really. It seems that every single sentient organism on the planet has already realised that restrictive DRM schemes like this only actually affect legitimate buyers, which would be hilarious if it wasn’t so not hilarious. That’s every single sentient organism on the planet, mind you, besides that guy in the boardroom meetings who keeps coming up with this stuff. That guy’s a twerp too.
A significant point here to consider here, however, is that there are twerps on both sides of this issue, or – in proper scientific terms – a bilateral scale of fail.
There are the twerps who pirate games, and there are the twerps who respond by, basically, punishing the not-twerps who didn’t pirate the games on the off chance that they might just end up punishing a few of the twerps who pirate games too. Then there are the twerps who will then pirate a game on principle to punish the twerps who implemented the DRM scheme, and really do nothing much more than vindicate those twerps and totally undermine their own position. It’s clear that the real problem here is twerps, and the obvious solution is a reduction of twerps. This is elementary Twerp Theory.
Of course, it’s all so academically tenable, but resolving this in real life probably isn’t quite so simple. Someone’s going to have to back down first, and I don’t see that being the pirates or the publishers. So what to do? Oh, it’s so easy to say publishers should just accept that games are going to be pirated, but that’s mostly because you and I didn’t invest millions of dollars of actual real cash into any of them. And it’s so easy to say pirates should stop helping themselves to everything without paying, but there’s no accounting for moral bankruptcy. Perhaps a reduction of twerps by nuclear holocaust? Maybe those THE PC GAMING END IS NIGH guys are onto something.
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