In an interview between Forbes and CD Projekt CEO Marcin Iwinski, Iwinski said the truth is that DRM simply does not work – The main problem is that the copy protection is cracked within hours of the release of every game, not to mention the money and development wasted to implement it. DRM also requires the hassle of entering serial numbers, online activation or in the worst case, requiring a constant Internet connection just to play the game and the crazy part is that those with pirated versions have a clean and more functional game!
Pirate groups also make a big deal out of cracking a game, especially when a group gets the chance to write “Cracked by XYZ”. How could a group prove they are the best and smartest cracker is there’s nothing to crack? When the GOG game “The Witcher 2″ shipped without DRM as a download, it was also published as a boxed, retail CD game by Atari, which was secured with SecuROM copy protection. Despite the DRM-free downloadable version having nothing to stop anyone from sharing it out over P2P, the first version to be pirated was in fact from the retail CD, where the DRM was cracked. This was a real surprise to most in the gaming industry who expected the DRM-free version to be quickly pirated upon release.
According to GOG.com’s Managing Director, Guillaume Rambourg, GOG.com does not use DRM on downloads and never will. While they do use a download assistant to deliver purchased games, it does not gather any info other than the user’s account login information. Once logged in, it downloads the game like any other download manager and the only thing it does check is to make sure the download is not corrupt. There is no authentication server and their games don’t go scanning the hardware, memory or hard drive for anything suspicious.
Iwinski also gave examples of how all games will eventually go the way of the music industry, where games will be made available as online-only, where DRM doesn’t make any sense and also as offline games without DRM. While The Witcher 2 has an estimated piracy of 4.5 million units, this does not represent lost sales either, just like how every song or movie download does not represent a lost sale. Instead, Iwinski sees these pirated copies as a form of trial/demo copies, where people get a pirate copy simply to try out games that they would not otherwise purchase and those hooked may even go on to purchase it after realising how good the game is and maybe even buy the next release on day one.
The source in-depth article with quotes from the interview can be read on Forbes.