Retro gaming download site Good Old Games specializes in titles from the bygone days of computer gaming, including classics like Planescape: Torment. The games they offer harken back to a time before onerous and even malicious DRM (digital rights management) measures were implemented on PC games to try and prevent piracy.
But GOG PR representative Lukasz Kukawski claims that it’s actually DRM that fuels piracy:
“What I will say isn’t popular in the gaming industry, but in my opinion, DRM drives people to pirate games rather than prevent them from doing that. Would you rather spend $50 on a game that requires installing malware on your system or to stay online all the time, and that crashes every time the connection goes down? Or would you rather download a cracked version without all that hassle?”
“I know people that buy an original copy of the game just so they don’t feel guilty and then they’ll play a pirated version which is stripped of all DRM. That’s not how it should be. Let’s treat legitimate customers with respect and they’ll give that back.”
As it’s currently implemented by the film, music and game industries, DRM has been known to slow down system performance, install malware and–most importantly–it’s easily circumvented. Gmaes like the PC versions of World of Goo or the 2009 Prince of Persia reboot (among others) have been successful without restrictive and often punitive protection mechanics. That said, it’s important to note that Kuwakski isn’t defending piracy. He calls it “evil” and disrespectful of those who create the games, movies, books, and music people enjoy.
GOG’s stance on piracy is somewhat unique, because their parent company CD Projekt is also a full-fledged developer. Their next project is the highly anticipated PC-only The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, which will ship DRM-free when it launches May 17 this year. For all the inflammatory rhetoric, at least the folks at GOG are willing to put their money where their mouth is. If they hope to keep quality content flowing, pirates, it seems, should consider doing the same.