Piracy is a problem for game developers of all sizes, and is an issue that continues to plague the industry. How each studio chooses to handle the inevitable horde of people willing to rip them off however varies pretty dramatically. Companies such as Ubisoft have chosen to tackle the problem by layering on gobs of restrictive DRM, while other more creative Indie developers have chosen a new approach, humiliation.
Wait, what? Did we really just write that headline? No, that can't be. But it is! It only took the dismayed cries and raised pitchforks of every PC gamer on earth, but Ubisoft has finally heard our plight. In a scant couple of weeks, From Dust's supposedly non-existent DRM will be given the “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” treatment. So then, this is it, right? The beginning of a new era, with Ubisoft and our beloved platform leading the charge hand-in-hand? Er, not quite.
At this point, it's no longer a matter of whether or not the metaphorical car will end up in a horrible twisted flaming wreck. That's been plainly obvious for months. Now it's a matter of how. And, hoo boy, things are going downhill fast. First, From Dust's PC port suffered a month-long delay shortly before a trouble-free console release. But then Ubisoft promised a reprieve from its “always on” DRM nonsense, so at least that was something. And the painfully predictable twist? The DRM does require an Internet connection, the port's in terrible shape, and our tolerance of Ubisoft's apparent disdain for PC gamers has been dead all along.
PC gamers the world over face-palmed hard enough to create a seismic event when they heard that Ubisoft was planning to seriously cool Driver: San Francisco's engine with a heaping dose of its reviled “always on” DRM. There was anger, which led to hate, which... well, we wouldn't be surprised if a few new dark Jedi were born of this whole incident. Ubisoft, though, claims to have finally heard our plight. But has it? Has it really?
Ask a PC gamer about Diablo III's recently announced “always connected” requirement, and they're liable to start hurling old CRT monitors at you and barking furiously. Yeah. To say that Blizzard's decision was an unpopular one is a bit of an understatement. So then, united we stand, divided we find creative new uses for our old monitors, right? Not entirely, it seems. RAGE creative director Tim Willits isn't just putting up with Diablo's potentially diabolical DRM; he's embracing it.
Well now, this is unfortunate. After Ubisoft's despicable “always on” DRM made its not-so-triumphant return in Driver: San Francisco, the world's entire supply of vaguely sensible people was forced to ask: “Why?” Why keep forcing such an obviously reviled substance down PC gamers' throats? Why turn a deaf ear when gamers are having children for the sole purpose of teaching them to curse your name? Well, because it works, apparently.
Time was that if you wanted to see a movie, you went to a theatre or you waited a few months to rent a VHS tape or DVD at five bucks a pop. That's just the way it was. An artist/performer/writer would create something and you would pay real money to buy a copy. But in the purely digital, networked era, old school routines have been forever altered. And while that's theoretically great news for the end user, who can now buy selectively and at his or her convenience, it also presents us with a whole new set of hassles. Hassles such as copy protection.
Now this is different. A major publisher decided to cement-shoe its game with practically paralyzing DRM and... no, no, that's not the different part. See, instead of sticking its fingers in its ears, closing its eyes, and blindly charging forward, Capcom actually paid attention to its fans. Other publishers take note: this is how it's done.
For shame, Capcom. For shame. You promised us the world, and – just as we were ready to pull you close in a warm embrace – you E. Honda-palmed us in the gut with some truly atrocious DRM. And then, as we laid on the ground, clutching our mushified organs and gasping for air, you climbed into an escape helicopter with none other than Games for Windows Live. Please, Capcom, tell us this isn't what it looks like.
Android fans sick and tired of watching Apple suck up all the best content deals might finally be in luck, Hulu Plus appears to be poised and ready to launch on “select” devices sporting version 2.2 or higher. The news of the upcoming release wasn’t slipped by Hulu officials themselves; rather the tip was picked up by an intrepid reader who noticed the change on the company’s home page. Before you get too excited however, it’s important to note that “select Android OS 2.2 phones” is likely to be a very small list at this point.