The makers of the point-and-click adventure game Machinarium came to a realization recently. Their DRM-free game was being pirated by about 90% of players. Such is life for a game that doesn't bother users with serials or authentication. A similar rate of piracy was found for the DRM-free World of Goo. However, the folks behind Machinarium are feeling generous, and are offering people the opportunity to participate in their new pirate amnesty sale.
Until August 12th, Machinarium (and its soundtrack) will cost only $5. It usually goes for $20. The game is available for PC, Mac, and Linux. In Machinarium you play as an unassuming robot traveling through a beautifully detailed world mechanical malcontents. We grabbed this game from Steam a while back, and can testify to its quality and challenging puzzle-based gameplay.
You don't need to prove you pirated the game to join in the fun. Anyone is free to buy the game during the sale. If you like point-and-click style casual games, $5 is a reasonable price to pay. You can check out a demo of the game, and buy it here.
Remember when Stardock outlined its plan to breed a half-DRM, half-helpful hybrid in order to violently obliterate DRM once and for all? We’re a bit foggy on it, to be honest, but we’re pretty sure the press release starred Wesley Snipes.
Well, anyway, the publisher recently unveiled the fruits of its labor, and amazingly, this slow starter just rocketed to the head of the class. Sorry, Steamworks – the second row isn’t so bad.
There is no third-party client required. This means a developer can use this as a universal solution since it is not tied to any particular digital distributor.
It paves the way to letting users validate their game on any digital distribution service that supports that game. One common concern of gamers is if the company they purchased a game from exits the market, their game library may disappear too. Games that use Goo would be able to be validated anywhere.
It opens the door to gamers being able to resell their games because users can voluntarily disable their game access and transfer their license ownership to another user.
True ownership of your game library – as opposed to paying for the right to play your games until their distributor shuts down? We really can’t find anything to complain about here. How about you?
Goo launches on April 7 with Stardock’s Impulse distribution platform’s next release.
Ever since Amazon launched its music store back in September 2007, everyone assumed its discounted prices and DRM free catalog was a result of the music industries dissatisfaction with Apples dominance. With iTunes being the primary management software for the most popular MP3 player on the planet, Amazon knew it would need an edge to stay competitive. The 10 cent per track discount was a nice touch, but techies and audio enthusiasts alike were eager to switch if it meant we could free our music. Most of us assumed the DRM restrictions on iTunes would remain for the forcible future, but now that this has turned out not to be the case what else wasn’t true?
Well, according to unnamed sources cited by CNET, everybody selling downloadable music is also paying the same wholesale price. Though it has never been confirmed, many believe Apple makes but a few pennies per .99 cent download. If this is indeed true, anything else sold below this price might actually be a loss leader. Now with iTunes discounting its back catalog of tracks to a mere .69 cents, and at comparable bit rates, it’s well positioned to steal back business from Amazon. NPD senior industry analyst Russ Crupnick claims the two services don’t impact each other as much as we might think, but at the very least it certainly makes switching from iTunes to a separate web store much less desirable then it used to be.
Now that iTunes has gone DRM free, and has begun to discount its back catalog of tracks, can Amazon still compete?
PC gaming’s anti-piracy measures seem to be proceeding along a path not unlike the one the games they’re sworn to protect once traveled. First, games (and anti-piracy) were merciless and cruel – prone to punishing players whether they succeeded or tattooed the underside of a tire with their pixilated frog’s surprisingly red guts. But now, times are a changin’. Today’s games are nice and gentle, giving players a gentle pat on the shoulder if they fail, and a big ol’ lie cake if they finish the fight.
Ok, enough with the overwrought metaphor.
See, with companies like Valve – and now Relic – in the picture, anti-piracy measures no longer have to punish gamers. As explained by Dawn of War II lead designer Jonny Ebbert:
“We want to give out steady doses of free downloadable content because we believe in rewarding people who buy the game and the reason we don’t like DRM solutions is because they punish the innocent and they have to jump through all these hoops.”
“We don’t want to do that so we’re going with the approach that Valve pioneered to just reward the people who actually bought the game with cool stuff,” he added. “Free downloadable, regularly accessible stuff that enhances the game and then that’s an incentive for the people who didn’t buy the game to buy it. So we’ve got a really bold, robust strategy for that and we’re going to be revealing more details in about a month, but I think players are going to like it.”
A robust open beta? No DRM? Free goodies on a regular basis? We're only nine days into 2009, and Relic may already have snatched the "Best Developer of 2009" award right out of our hearts. Bravo, guys and gals.
iTunes has expanded its library of DRM-free music with the addition of 8 million songs devoid of any copyright protection. The move that was announced today at Macworld comes after Apple reached an understanding with the three largest music labels, Sony BMG, Warner Music, and Universal. It already has a similar agreement with EMI and has been providing music belonging to that label sans any DRM for around a year.
Apple is also going to allow people the luxury of ridding their iTunes music library of its copyright protection. But for that users will have to shelve out an extra 30 cents for every song they want to convert. Another 2 million DRM-free tracks are going to become available on iTunes in April.