Late to the after, after party: The case for DRM

game stop

This post originally appeared on ForumM.ca, republished with permission from the author

Going into E3, I was doubting Microsoft. After debuting the Xbox One the way they did, I thought there was no way I would buy the console and would make Sony’s PS4 my primary next-gen console.

At Microsoft’s E3 press conference, I was blown way. The exclusives shown were incredible: Titanfall was jizz worthy, Dead Rising 3 looked fun, Ryse was a nice surprise and overall, they did exactly what they had to do to put the ball back in Sony’s court.

The only major drawback was the $500 console pricetag. Steep, but not unreasonable. An Apple iMac is unreasonable. This, however, seemed like Microsoft was stepping up their game.

Then Sony had their conference. It. Absolutely. Sucked. Balls. Then, they announced it: no DRM, and $100 cheaper than the Xbox One. After a whole press conference of being bored out of my mind (as I’m sure others were too) they made the one announcement everyone labeled a KO.

Following the announcement, Kotaku uploaded this image. No text. Just an image. And yes, they mock Fox’s “fair and balanced” slogan:

KOTaku123

For me, the cheaper price was the only thing here that even mattered. The $100 cheaper price tag was enough for me to still buy a PS4 first, but bottom line, Microsoft had won E3.

However, everyone went on and on about DRM. The same people who’d trade in a brand new game at Game Stop or EB Games and only get $30 for it when EB would then re-sell it for $50. The same people who love Steam and Steam’s amazing sales were against DRM. Really, people didn’t get it.

You may have seen the viral post by an “anonymous Microsoft engineer” that helped shed some light on things. He states:

Everyone and their mother complains about how gamestop fucks them on their trade ins, getting $5 for their used games. We come in trying to find a way to take money out of gamestop, and put some in developers and get you possibly cheaper games and everyone bitches at MS. Well, if you want the @#$@ing from Gamestop, go play PS4.

The goal is to move to digital downloads, but Gamestop, Walmart, Target, Amazon are KIND OF FUCKING ENTRENCHED in the industry. They have a lot of power and the shift has to be gradual. Long term goal is steam for consoles.

While no one is positive this actually was a Microsoft employee, the bottom line remains the same: DRM could, in fact, lead to cheaper games. COULD. People had written off “Micro$oft” as being an evil, money-hungry fiend and Sony fanboys needed a reason to claim victory.

Could DRM have led to cheaper prices for games? I’d like to think so. While others deny, the fact remains: we’ll never know.

Microsoft’s decision to backtrack on DRM was the result of their complete failure to communicate with gamers and the backlash that came with it.

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