A Modest Proposal About DRM

A Modest Proposal About DRM


When it comes to the future of combating piracy, extreme measures may need to be taken. DRM is one of the more controversial anti-piracy tools, but is there a way to use it to make a better future for gamers and developers alike?

Rented and Used Games

The process I just detailed is designed to make a rather complex problem a bit more easy to understand and, in the end, help combat it. While it does answer the question of how one can control piracy on the console side of the industry, the question remains as to how one would handle rental services and the major issue of used game sales?

Rental discs
The solution is actually quite simple: instead of just limiting serial numbers associated with discs to a certain amount of response codes, these discs would have an unlimited amount of guest codes. All one would have to do is simply include a slip of paper with the disc when it is shipped out that includes the necessary login information (which could easily be matched to that of your login information for that service) and the necessary response code. Should someone want to purchase the game from the renter the service would only have to send the primary response code: it’s that easy!

Used games
Let’s suppose again that Joe Blow has decided to sell his copy of Mega Shooter Duty 7 in favor of the upcoming and highly-anticipated Mega Shooter Duty 8: Personal Edition. Should he want to sell the game to an individual and not a retail store he would need to access his account information, select the serial number and primary response code for the game and have them transferred to the account of the intended buyer. In doing so it would deactivate the other response codes associated with that serial key, thereby preventing anyone associated with Joe from playing it and allowing the new owner to disseminate them as he/she sees fit. This process wouldn’t affect the save file for the game but it would prevent Joe from being able to play that particular disc unless he got the game back and reinstalled it.

The process would be even easier however should Joe decide to sell it to a place like Gamestop. Similar to the process of the initial sale a signal would be sent to the developer or publisher’s server that would tell it that the disc with that particular serial number is about to transfer ownership to the store. With that out of the way Joe could easily continue his transaction and purchase his next big game. However, developers and publishers could take advantage of this transfer of ownership by charging a transfer fee which, while not enough to recoup the cost of a normal used game sale, does put some money back into their wallets. This transfer fee can also be applied during or possibly after the game is resold to another customer.

Doing the Right Thing

DRM is something that gamers are going to have to get used to one day and while various experiments have been applied on the PC such as SecuROM and while these have met with limited success at best their attempts to prevent piracy have ended up infuriating gamers to the point of actually not purchasing those titles. In my opinion this system would allow content providers to control the use of their product in a realistic manner that isn’t limiting to the player.

At the end of the day though this DRM system isn’t about making sure that people don’t pirate and play their games legitimately so much as it is about getting more money into content provider’s hands. Although $60 may not seem like much of a loss when compared to that of the overall profits from a game, the fact of the matter is that millions of dollars are being lost through piracy. It is not hard to imagine that in five years time video games will rise in price to perhaps $70, but a system like this could help delay such an event because more money would get back to the creators. People’s livelihoods are at stake and when you pirate you are denying companies the money they worked hard to earn and it could cost their employees their jobs.

Stop cheating the system people. Pay for what you play and we can hopefully avoid the bleak future of gaming. Otherwise, I hope you’ve caught up on your Orwellian novels…