Codemasters CEO: “DRM is not the answer”

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.

Codemasters CEO: "DRM is not the answer"

“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.