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The question of DRM and DLC hurting legitimate game customers comes into play

July 27, 2016

Oh how gaming has changed so much over the years. Remember a time in your life when you went to the store, bought a new system along with a cool game you've had your eye on for a while, took it home and plugged that sucker in and had an all night party with your friends? Yeah...it really was as simple as that. I stress the word WAS because these days for many it isn't quite so simple anymore. Why not? Well....it has something to do with DRM and DLC.

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Indeed, I'm not the only one aware of this sort of thing, and it likely won't be the last time you hear about it.

What exactly is that? Let's start with DRM, or "Digital Rights Management". Sounds a bit cryptic to some, and something you might hear at the office during a days grind. What DRM does is try to prevent copyrighted material from being distributed freely in an unauthorized manner, like copying discs and distributed from person to person or online.

To quote a snippet from the Wiki page it goes exactly like this.

"Digital rights management (DRM) schemes are various access control technologies that are used to restrict usage of proprietary hardware and copyrighted works. DRM technologies try to control the use, modification, and distribution of copyrighted works (such as software and multimedia content), as well as systems within devices that enforce these policies."

Yes, protecting the copyrights of developers by doing something considered rather inconvenient to customers is the controversy. When you buy certain games, you must log into a server and thereby register your new game in a manner that somewhat "legitimizes" your game with said server in order to keep illegal copies out of the mix.

Sounds great for protecting against piracy, but what about causing a bit a headache for the rest of us? Many gamers don't like it, and don't want to be bothered with the concept as it has been deemed something of a hassle to deal with. After all, you just want to get to playing your game, and not have to mess with the whole procedure. It certainly has been at the heart of modern day gaming to say the least.

Next up on the agenda is DLC.....or "Downloadable Content", which also sounds like a good thing, until you learn the painful truth that it too can be more trouble than it seems to be worth. Developers offer downloadable content as a means of adding more bang for your buck for your game.

But is it really that?, or is it just another ploy to get you to empty your pockets even more? Some think so, and the prospect of getting those extra cool costumes for your character, or add-on features for your game sometimes make it seem like nothing more than excuse not to finish the game from development, and a reason to make the game cost more than it should.

Sometimes offering incentives such as lowering the price of the game to get you to buy it, only to provide DLC as a means of making the game cost as much as it would if they would just have included that material to start with.

Tales of Symphonia had issues with DRM when released on Steam

So has gaming now gotten to a point to where developers are becoming greedy, and if so how many of you out there just wish we could go back to the "good old days" where you could just buy your game and be done with it all? As a side note from me personally, why are we even still using discs?

We have flash drives that go up to 265gb (or more) and are smaller than your finger. Have we not reached a point to where it's getting cost effective enough to go with something like that?

Perhaps a return to the old style cartridge format might be around the corner if we are lucky. Forking out 60 bucks for a disc game, only to have it scratched beyond being playable isn't a fun thing, and while carts might not appeal to some, they do last a lot longer and you should be able to keep what you pay for right?

But then again, as another stab at DRM, it also has a habit of tracking where you are when you log on, let's say after you've been gone for a while and haven't played that lovely Steam game you payed for and downloaded. You therefore need to log back in which notifies the server with a dash of information first before you can set foot into your fantasia game realm.

Diablo III requires internet connection to both activate & play.

By now this is all sounding a little confusing.....but wait fellow gamers! There's more juicy juice where that came from! Maybe things will get better and less of a headache in the future.....or maybe I need to stop hoping against hope, as this could be the new normal for gamers.

Whatever your feelings about all of this, here is another great video from bring some more of this issue into perspective, and will give you some food for thought about how the gaming industry might need to find a better way to protect their material, without taking their loyal customers to the cleaners in the process.

It should open your eyes a bit, as it certainly has mine.


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