Sections

CD Projekt: There is no future for DRM

GOG.com operator says online authentication damages user experience, offers incentive to pirates

CD Projekt has reiterated its belief that the use of DRM measures in games fails to prevent piracy and damages the experience of paying customers.

In an interview with Forbes, managing director Guillaume Rambourg stated that the company's online distribution service, GOG.com, will never implement DRM on the grounds that it doesn't protect against piracy.

"The truth is it does not work. It's as simple as that," he said. "The technology which is supposed to protect games against illegal copying is cracked within hours of the release of every single game. So, that's wasted money and development just to implement it.

"The illegal scene is pretty much about the game and the glory: who will be the first to deliver the game, who is the best and smartest cracker"

Guillaume Rambourg, GOG.com

"Quite often the DRM slows the game down, as the wrapper around the executable file is constantly checking if the game is being legally used or not. That is a lot the legal users have to put up with, while the illegal users who downloaded the pirated version have a clean - and way more functional - game.

"So if you are asking me how do I see the future of DRM in games, well, I do not see any future for DRM at all."

Rambourg's comments arrive in the wake of widespread anger over the impact of Blizzard's decision to make an internet connection a requirement to play Diablo III. Customers experienced crashes and severe performance issues in the first days following its release due to over-crowded servers.

Blizzard reasoned that the always-on mandate improves the game's auction house and multiplayer functions. However, it is also intended as a form of DRM.

While Rambourg did not address Diablo III directly, he suggested that more sophisticated DRM measures could effectively act as an incentive to pirates. The Witcher 2 was released in two versions: a retail version with DRM, and a digital release with none, and the former was the first to be released illegally on the internet.

"The illegal scene is pretty much about the game and the glory: who will be the first to deliver the game, who is the best and smartest cracker," he added. "The DRM-free version at GOG.com didn't fit this too well."

GamesIndustry International has covered the aftermath of the Diablo III launch extensively. The GI team's personal takes on the issue can be found here. Rob Fahey's appraisal of the consumer reaction is here.

Related stories

"Cross-play with other networks? That's not the Microsoft of ten years ago"

Marcin Iwinski sees a bright future for CD Projekt's GOG Galaxy, even in a world where Steam and UWP exist

By Matthew Handrahan

CD Projekt wants to emulate "the Rockstar model"

The Witcher 3's success won't turn the company into a ten-project studio, says CEO Marcin Iwinski, but it has raised its ambitions for Cyberpunk

By Matthew Handrahan

Latest comments (2)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
The man is right. The thieves are more numerous and more ingenious than the developers they steal from.
Diablo has been a disaster.
The world is moving to an IAP model where metrics allow customers to receive maximum entertainment for reasonable payment.
All boxed games could easily be implemented more effectively with an IAP model.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
"The technology which is supposed to protect games against illegal copying is cracked within hours of the release of every single game..."
Not quite true. I mean, I'm very anti-DRM so I'd like to believe him, but there's a few forms that either have never been cracked, or have just been cracked. ACT/Control, for example, was only recently cracked, but there's a been a couple of games using it for awhile now. Shogun 2 (my go-to for DRM) uses so many mini-triggers alongside Steam's CEG that it's not been released in a working form.
That is a lot the legal users have to put up with, while the illegal users who downloaded the pirated version have a clean - and way more functional - game.
Quoted, purely, for Truth. People who play cracked versions also usually end up with DLC that paying customers are gouged for, so the publishers lose out twice.
"The illegal scene is pretty much about the game and the glory: who will be the first to deliver the game, who is the best and smartest cracker,"
It's true. So many nuke-wars have happened due to wannabe Sceners stealing from P2P sources, that it's as much about the cracking as anything else. You just have to look at how many plaudits Darkc0der got for cracking ME1's DRM to see why people get into it.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.