Weekend Reading: DRM, Piracy and the PC Market

Publishers need to do more to revive the PC game market

The gaming world rejoiced when French publisher Ubisoft announced that it would no longer introduce any sort of Digital Right Management measures in its titles and that they would only require an Internet connection for activation and in order to enjoy the online component.

Previously, the company asked players to have an always-on connection that resulted in lost game time when the Internet was cut or whether the servers themselves were down at any point.

An executive stated that the feedback Ubisoft received from gamers resulted in the new policy and persuaded the company to have a new approach to the PC space.

Does the move, along with the popularity of services like Origin and Steam and the current free-to-play revolution, mean that we are entering a new Golden Age of PC-based gaming?

Yes and no.

I mostly play my games on the PC and I like the fact that it’s become the platform that companies look at when they think at the future of gaming.

I also appreciate that the rise of free-to-play and microtransactions means that more developers and publishers, from Ubisoft to Electronic Arts, are ready to take some risks and bring over their biggest game universes.

But I fear that these big companies, always looking for a big payday, will be quickly disappointed and will soon retreat back to their console fortresses, especially after both Sony and Microsoft introduce their new devices.

The PC is still a platform where it’s easy and quick to pirate almost any content and there’s no clear solution to that problem.

Free-to-play titles are obviously not affected, but AAA releases will carry a retail price for the foreseeable future and they will still lose money on the PC.

Publishers might like the PC now, but once they remember how secure consoles can be, they might be forced to once again make my favorite platform the pariah of the gaming industry.

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