October 14, 2008 // 3:59 pm
- The eagerly anticipated Fallout 3 is nearly upon us, yet a full three weeks before its release rapacious pigs cracked the game and offered it via various torrent sites.
This is the third AAA title that has been hacked and cracked in as many months, leaving publishers frothing at the mouth as they consider even more draconian digital rights management.
To the casual observer this may seem like an overzealous response to retain the vast sea of greenbacks the industry seems to float upon. And that certainly is a concern, after all Electronic Arts is not motivated from a position of altruism. This is about control of their product, control of their intellectual property, and control of the consumer.
Flinchingly I have read DRM proponents scathing insinuation that, and I'm paraphrasing, that "nothing is safe! Nothing is sacred! We must protect ourselves at any cost!" Yet the price of that protectionism is at the expense of the consumer. Pirates care little for the mores of the videogame industry. However it's not the pirates that are feeling the brunt of the industry's wrath, it's us.
Citing piracy concerns, EA slapped DRM restrictions on Spore that prohibited more than one installation per copy, turning it into a $60 rental. Yet that did not keep Spore from being cracked and on the day before its release.
Activision recently pounced and monetarily mauled some assclown for distributing their wares on torrent, and rightfully so. Yet has their Torquemada approach to prosecuting infidels resulted in scaring away such a nebulous enemy? Perhaps, but not enough. Swinging a big stick in a fight is only good if you can find someone to hit with it and so far, it's been hit and miss.
Fallout 3's rape and pillage is unfortunate. I've interviewed Pete Hines
and have gotten the distinct impression that this was a fellow who, along with a talented and motivated crew, created something worth spending my hard-earned money on. And I don't mind spending that $60 because A) I feel I am buying a superior product and B) spending that kind of jack will only encourage another Fallout title, but hopefully encourage the same stringent adherence to quality and making a game worthy of its namesake.
The piracy of Fallout 3 is an unfortunate byproduct of the age we live in, a casualty of commerce. Yet it's not the rallying cry that DRM proponents are looking for. If anything it's a rude awakening that DRM isn't working as intended.
Restrictive DRM that affects the end user will only drive off wary consumers and if nothing else, encourage reporters such as myself to call companies who employ it. Games shouldn't punish gamers.