Magicka Dev: DRM “Doesn't Make Sense,” Belongs in 2003



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Steam is not relevant to this topic. You know what you buy into when you agree and sign up. it's not copy protection, it's content management (with just a hint of copy protection included). If you don't like its terms, you're welcome to not use it, and you can do this on a game for game basis.

Buggy game code is also not relevant to this topic. Copy protection, has no impact on how well the game code itself it written.

I understand the "need" for copy protection, those who work hard should get justly paid for what they create. Not everyone is going to refrain from distributing games based on loyalty to a company, and those who want to steal will do so whether copy protection exists or not.

The idea of piling on protection scheme over protection scheme has reached absurd heights. It has not only caused more than one game to become all but unplayable, but has well passed the point of diminishing returns.

I would be interested in companies exploring 2 paths here.
1) make like the media, and make copy protection so simple, and game distribution/installation so convenient and hassle free, and drop the price of games just a bit so as to make most of the pirating more inconvienent than simply buying your own copy. Give a product key, or a decoder wheel, like it used to be in the old days, and that's it. Or perhaps every two months or so, ask the user to verify some personal information.

2) display on the box exactly what DRM is involved so the user can accept or decline participation BEFORE buying the game, or on the site before downloading.



I get where you're trying to go with this, but the thing is...

Any "decoder wheel" or matrix code that you'd create could be scanned and posted online so trivially as to render the protection as an annoyance to both legitimate users and pirates, both. Any protection that asks for personal information on a periodic basis is completely crossing the line. I abhor the notion of letting a game publisher know anything about my gaming habits. If I buy a game on release day and then don't play it for two years, it's my business and not theirs. Any form of copy-protection that requires "phoning home" is unacceptable.

Even if it completely eliminates an entire market, software publishers need to be stripped of their feelings of entitlement. If you want a black-box system, then you need to be marketing your own hardware. This machine is MINE, and I demand to be in control.

The time is at hand for a licensing body to be created for the control of software development. However, it is crucially important that the licensing body has the CONSUMER in mind. Instead of decrying that some piece of software is buggy, insecure, or impinges on the rights of the user, under a licensing board it becomes negligent malpractice and carries with it severe professional censure with the possibility of complete license revocation and severe punitive civil recourse. No longer can we allow the market WE funded to hide behind sketchy EULAs - legislation is obviously going the wrong way, thanks to a demonstratively corrupt government swayed by powerful lobbying forces, so an EFF/ACLU-themed licensing board is pretty much our only chance at saving this sinking ship.



Okay, I see your points. The code wheel copy thing is an obvious flaw, but I think it's less invasive than most others.

I could see where the phoning in thing would be considered invasive to some, and I agree with that. It needs more thinking out. Perhaps if the company emailed you instead? I mean they SHOULD already have an email address from when the user registered. Still, you're right. I wouldn't like the idea of a company sending me the DRM equivelant of spam.

Oh well, back to the drawing board.


Holly Golightly

Funny thing is... Some people are overly obsessed with DRM. They just love it and got to have it. Heck, they MUST have it!!! What is it called? SteamWorks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, people who support Steam are the enemy. You are giving money to a DRM that forces you to launch the client. Offline mode works only for 30 days.

This CEO is a hypocrite! He says DRM is so 2003, yet Magicka requires a Steam account and client to play. DRM at its most evasive point! Who do they think they are fooling? Gamers, it is time you own your own games!

Give me GOG or GamersGate DRM-free titles, and perhaps you got yourself a sale. But for now, anything that forces me to log online with Steam IS still DRM, which is sooo 2003!



Magicka on Steam is an epic failure. Steam was NOT up-front about the game's glaring compatibility issues, and they won't issue refunds for anything less than a mandate from God himself (or Ubisoft's epic suck). Put up, or shut up.

(A gifted copy of Magicka is one of 2 reasons why I have Steam, much as I dislike it, so my disappointment is immense. I had to download Steam--taking the mark of the DRM beast--and I'm getting nothing for it. Suck it Magicka developers, suck it hard.)


Holly Golightly

It shocks me how developers and users a like change their position on the DRM issue when it comes to Steam... As if, Steam is special and is the only DRM allowed. Fact is, all DRM is evil. I just don't understand all the hypocrisy that follows. I, like many gamers was forced to use Steam. (Retail copy of Metro 2033) I avoid Steam and Steam sales like the plague. Plenty of great sales with the competition anyways. Amazon matches Steam sales, and GOG is always affordable. I like GamersGate because I buy 3, get the 4th one free. But I still have to do my research to make sure it is not a steam game. Those games get no money from me... No matter how good or how tempting it is. Valve just needs to stop forcing gamers into use their substandard client... Because with DRM and clients, we all lose.



That's great that the Magicka developers don't like DRM. Though talk is cheap.

Now, they need to actually fix the glaring software issues with their game. It's noted that Magicka runs like crap on the vast majority of laptop graphics cards, and that the game often doesn't even run long enough to give an error message if it feels that the minimum requirements are not met by the system. This seemingly stems from it being developed using the Xbox developer tools (yet IIRC it isn't yet on Xbox Live).

The game runs well enough for me, on my newly-built midrange PC (though the graphics in the game are crap), but for all of my friends who are rocking laptops, the game is a complete and utter disaster. Sure, the issue with laptop gfx cards is well-documented on the Steam forum, but the developers could have been more up-front with this issue, or better yet, fixed it.

Speaking of Steam, if the developers of Magicka so loathe DRM, why on Earth are they on Steam? GOG now publishes new titles, it'd go a long way to corroborating their anti-DRM stance were they to put their game up on a DRM-free site such as that. Know what I mean, Verne?



What is the point of DRM?
I have several pirated PC games. They have cracks to remove the DLC several days after launch. I may not get the multiplayer experience, but they gain no money from me. Not that I've bought many $60 games at launch, but I've spent more than that on steam sales.
Bottom line, companies: if you put out a product, it will be duplicated.



There is no protection from piracy. You can only deter people from piracy by adding DRM which frustrates paying customers in return. Want to minimize piracy? Offer a quality game that isn't a crappy port at a reasonable price with minimal to no DRM. When I say minimal I'm talking the standard CD key or disc protection etc. This always online stuff or installing 3rd party software is crap.

Even CD keys suck because sometimes they place them in the worst places and they get lost. I have several old games at home that I want to play but I can't find the keys. Lose the manual? Usually that's where the key is. Some even place them on the white sleeves that the discs came with! Unbelievable!



Your Product key is usually: O1IlP0o0l1I1IQ10O1lLIi0PBD

Gordon had an awesome rant about CD keys a few years back :)



I suppose I could download CD key gens or cracks for all those games I own with missing CD keys. Oh wait, that's considered piracy!



Knowing how much games get pirated and how much money could have been earned if those pirates would just pay up, it takes a lot of courage to say "we'll be fine, we're not wasting money on a DRM solution or having to support that DRM solution or all the tech hassles it brings" and then hope your loyal customer base is large enough to keep your company profitable.

Hats off to this guy.



This makes me want to go grab some more dlc for magicka.

Putting out a great product for a reasonable price, AND not treating me like a thief? This dev deserves more of my scratch.



"If you’re a CEO, you need to cover your back...And the people who ask, the board, know nothing about games. They’re there because they’re some investment company or something, and they ask 'So what are you doing to protect our game from pirates?' And then they can reply 'We’re buying this solution from Sony.' So I think it’s been a way to cover your back, previously."

You can change the words "game" and "pirates" in that quote and describe pretty much any large publicly-owned corporation in the world. That's the problem with corps: the bigger they get, the more they attract incompetents, hangers-on, and overpaid losers -- such as CEOs who don't understand the product of the company they are supposedly managing.

There is only one solution to this problem: do not buy products from such companies -- whether they sell games or cars or computers or peanut butter.

On that note, while I already stopped buying Ubisoft products, I'll make an effort to buy more from Paradox in the future. I think Magicka and Hearts of Iron III are the only two Paradox games I currently own. I'll have to see what they have on offer.



I don't get DRM either. Every group out reloaded...etc, they've all been able to get around any kind of DRM out there. Even the DRM that requires you to be online all the time. It doesn't even protect them for 1 day, much less 3 days. Oh well...not my money they're wasting.


h e x e n

Glad to see there are a few respectable publishers and developers out there who actually "get it".

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