Stardock Developing "I Can't Believe It's Not DRM" DRM Alternative

Nathan Grayson

With all the recent hubbub about DRM (seriously, we're getting tired of using that link), it was only a matter of time until some brave soul stepped forward to behead the "draconian" menace*. Fittingly, that someone is Stardock, whose handiwork birthed the Gamer's Bill of Rights .

"While Stardock doesn't put copy protection on its retail games, the fact is that most publishers are never going to agree to do that," Stardock CEO Brad Wardell said of one sticky stipulation in the Bill.

"So the publishers are telling us, 'Put your money where your mouth is. Why don't you guys develop something that you think is suitable that would protect our IP, but would be more acceptable to users?'"

"We're investigating what would make users happy to protect their needs, but also provide some security for the publishers. ... We're actually developing a technology that would do that."

Although Wardell's plan still has all four limps planted safely in the cradle, he does have one concrete idea. "We want that license to be yours, not per machine. ... It's not your machine buying the game. It's you," he said, voicing his hope for unlimited downloads of a purchased game.

When asked if his solution could be defined as DRM, however, Wardell was hesitant to slap the newborn plan with gaming's three scarlet letters.

"The problem with 'DRM' is that it's so loosely defined. ... Stardock's products use activation, and I wouldn't say that it's DRM," he emphasized. "We're just verifying if you're real customer."

All told, though, we think Wardell is really onto something. Now, with time out of the way, it's just a matter of how many bricks we'll have to chuck through John Riccitiello 's window until he actually listens.

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