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"Your customers hate DRM" - Rambourg

The Witcher 2 sold more on than on multiple digital services combined

Anti-piracy measures are harming PC sales and customer loyalty, according to Good Old Games MD Guillaume Rambourg.

The company specialises in selling classic PC titles digitally, but he argued that DRM-free content also works on new releases, revealing that sales of The Witcher 2 were higher on than they were on multiple digital services combined.

While Steam helped the game sell 200,000 units, in the same time period the title sold just under 40,000 copies on, but only 10,000 on other digital services combined - including Direct2Drive, Impulse and GamersGate.

"Your customers hate DRM," he said, speaking at the London Games Conference. "DRM is making companies feel safe while they handle some business, they are trying to protect their product and protect their sales, but the reality is very different.

"The reality is DRM does not protect your content. Every game is pirated within a few hours of release or more often before it's released. DRM is not protecting your product or your sales, it's going to harm your sales in the long run."

"By putting DRM in your games you are working against your consumers, you are harming those you should cherish. It's only hurting your loyal consumers which is counter-productive."

Rambourg argued that the piracy industry understands digital distribution better than some games publishers, and that companies should look towards it for examples of how to better serve customers.

"There is one industry that got everything right - piracy. Piracy quickly understood that digital needs to be simple and easy. That digital consumers are expecting a fast and easy experience. You should treat piracy as competition not as an enemy. If you treat it as an enemy you are blinded and you don't pay attention to what they are doing right."

DRM measures are too complex, there's no reward in applying it, and consumers will go elsewhere for their games, said Rambourg.

"You have to be as close to piracy as possible for ease of use for the consumers. Make it simple for them and you can turn the consumers to loyal fans. Protect your brands not your sales.

"DRM free works and we know it. You have to create some emotional attachment. We bundle games with wallpapers, soundtracks, manuals, and it doesn't take a lot of your time and it makes consumers happy.

"Many companies are fans of regional pricing. On GoG we say that any consumer, regardless of his location, should have access to the product at the same price," he added. "If you don't create an emotional attachment with your consumers they are free to buy a game one day and then the next day go to the competition."

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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