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Codemasters CEO: “DRM is not the answer”

Posted at 16 July 2010 06:16 CEST by wconeybeer

Codemasters CEO Rod Cousins has publicly stated that he’s not a fan of DRM, and believes he has a better solution to combat game piracy. Cousins explained his controversial stance Thursday in a lengthy statement issued to gaming website CVG.

DRM measures are “almost counterproductive”, according to Cousins. The solution, he says, is to send games to the retail market in an unfinished state and allow customers to purchase their choice of several small pieces to complete the game as they wish.

“The video games industry has to learn to operate in a different way. My answer is for us as publishers is to actually sell unfinished games – and to offer the consumer multiple micro-payments to buy elements of the full experience,” Cousins told CVG. He claims that his proposed method of distribution would prevent illegal downloaders from getting the complete game experience from pirated copies.

Cousins also believes that selling games in smaller, incomplete portions would make them more affordable to consumers and increase revenues for publishers to put toward future game development.

The idea has garnered mixed reactions from the gaming community. An editorial at RipTen calls Cousin’s plan “the worst idea ever”, referring to it as “stupid” and “decidedly anti-consumer”. Conrad Zimmerman at Destructoid had a milder reaction, pointing out that selling games in parts is definitely not a new idea, but up to this point they have at least been fully-functional pieces. “I honestly don’t know what idea I like worse, having my full games be hurt by intrusive and sometimes crippling DRM systems or paying money for what could be considered a very extensive demo,” Zimmerman wrote.

Honestly, I don’t believe that DRM is going to be the final answer in combating piracy either, but this idea would mean some big changes that consumers may not readily embrace. I do think, however, that it’s good that someone is proposing a more creative solution than creating tougher laws against piracy or crippling content even further with draconian DRM.

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There are 3 comments

MyCE Resident
Posted on: 16 Jul 10 19:09
    So basically we get to beta test the game and pay for the privileged, great idea
    I just wait for the price to drop then buy the game myself and I think many of the game makers have found by pricing their games much cheaper on places like Steam where you can buy and digitally download it they end up making more money becuase many more players will buy it.
    I'm not buying a incomplete game then paying to get the rest of it. I don't mind playing a good game then maybe after a while they come up with another expansion or update that adds a new version and more things to do as long as the price is reasonable.
    I've bought stalker and one of the updates that way, and Fear, Half life, etc.
    DVD movies made the studios a lot of money once they started selling older movies cheap, and BluRay is finally starting to do the same thing.
    Better to make a fast dime, rather then a slow quarter.
    DRM never works for most things either as the Hackers have nothing better to do and crack most everything right as it's released.
    MyCE Resident
    Posted on: 16 Jul 10 19:26
      DRM is definitely not the answer, but "unfinished games" are definitely not the answer either. I doubt that they would be warmly received by the public...
      MyCE Senior Member
      Posted on: 17 Jul 10 13:16
        It's amazing, I can still pop in a game on any of my 80/90/early 2000's gen consoles & they just work, no hassle, no fuss, no need to DL extra's, etc.

        Now, say, 20 years from now, will I able to say the same about current gen consoles, or even next gen consoles? Not if I buy incomplete games that require me to DL extra parts. to just play it, from a server that no longer exists.

        Do people like, Rod Cousins, even think about stuff like that? Probably not, just where's my check, *runs to car & speeds off*, leaving us with incomplete games that future generations won't be able to play.

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