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Jacobson: DRM is here to stay

Sports Interactive head says piracy forced Football Manager 12 to be Steam exclusive

Sports Interactive studio director Miles Jacobson claims that DRM measures are an inevitable part of the future of gaming.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Jacobson explained that escalating piracy was behind Sports Interactive's decision to make Steam a necessary part of playing Football Manager 2012.

According to the company's last "properly accurate" statistics, for every person that bought Football Manager 2009 four people acquired it illegally. Jacobson admitted that precise stats for subsequent iterations didn't exist, but confirmed that, "the numbers of people downloading torrents from public sites rose massively for both Football Manager 10 and Football Manager 11."

Whether Steam is effective in preventing post-release piracy remains to be seen, but Jacobson praised Valve's digital distribution platform for limiting "day-zero and pre-launch" piracy. He also acknowledged that pirated versions can't be directly translated to legal sales.

"Not everyone who pirates games would buy them if they couldn't pirate them - they'd just do without it," he said. "But there are a small percentage who would go out and buy it if they couldn't get it for free."

Jacobson claimed he would "love" to have no DRM in Sports Interactive's games, but made it clear that to expect it to happen would be naïve.

"I'd also love to not have to have locks on my home, or a burglar alarm, or locks on my car. How good would a life without keys be? I'd also love to have no insurance, either at home, or at the studio. Or a security guard at the office."

"The unfortunate reality is that as long as there are dishonest people in the world, you will need locks, and you'll need insurance. As long as there are people out there who want to pirate, there will be a need for DRM."

"Even with freemium games, people cheat and try and find ways to steal others coins, as per recent court cases. It's very sad, but it's the world we live in."

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Matthew Handrahan

Editor-in-Chief

Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.

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