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Cities: Skylines succeeds where DRM fails

Jonathan Lester
Cities: Skylines, PC games

Cities: Skylines succeeds where DRM fails

Piracy has long been a contentious issue when it comes to PC gaming, especially when publishers often try to clamp down on pirates by punishing legitimate customers. Other developers try to just deliver quality content, such as CD Projekt, but even they see high piracy figures from people who should know better.

Now, however, the recently-released Cities: Skylines has found a way to keep piracy down by being... awesome... and using existing DRM in a way that benefits everyone involved. And it's about time too.

Despite a Steam release and rave reviews, cracked and pirated versions of Cities: Skylines quickly found its way onto torrents, meaning that Paradox had to act fast. What they did, however, was use their choice of launch platform to their advantage.

See, Steam is DRM, but it's also the world's most convenient games DLC and updating platform. Realising this, the Cities: Skylines team set to creating cool updates, tweaks and features faster than the pirates could roll out cracks. Here's what happened.

Here are a few small tidbits of info about Cities: Skylines - day 1 we had 0% piracy. pretty cool. Day 2 16%.

— Shams Jorjani (@ShamsJorjani) March 12, 2015

As usual our plan for pirates is to make a great game even better through free updates - making it more convenient to use Steam instead.

— Shams Jorjani (@ShamsJorjani) March 12, 2015

It's all about offering the superior service. That's how we bring down piracy. By making the paid experience a superior one.

— Shams Jorjani (@ShamsJorjani) March 12, 2015

It's all about offering a superior service. How come more and more use Netflix instead of pirating stuff? Ease of use and convenience.

— Shams Jorjani (@ShamsJorjani) March 12, 2015

We updated Magicka 14 times in 13 days. Even the pirates stopped posting new pirated versions after a while. Steams autoupdate was easier.

— Shams Jorjani (@ShamsJorjani) March 12, 2015

Also - best "DRM" ever? Steam workshop.

— Shams Jorjani (@ShamsJorjani) March 12, 2015

We're glad to hear it, partly because Cities: Skylines is a great game that deserves a payday, but also because it's about time that someone recognised the fundamental flaw of DRM.

See, so many publishers are so terrified of pirates that they burn their own fans and customers in a vain attempt to make their lives miserable. Paying gamers get hit with insanely draconian DRM, always-online servers that don't work properly and other abusive and obtrusive forms of rights management that just end up making piracy look like the best option around.

Why bother being always-online? Why bother with SecuROM or Uplay? Why do any of that when I can just illegally download and play a videogame without all of the hassle?

That's the issue. When piracy is more convenient and has more benefits than legally purchasing a game, it wins.

Which is where Cities: Skylines triumphs. Steam is the perfect place to roll out regular and frequent patches, not to mention new player-created SteamWorks content, which rewards players who choose to legally buy it with cool new content and convenient new features. The result? Lower piracy rates. Well played, Paradox.

Want to get on board with Cities: Skylines? You can get a Steam code for less than £15, and make sure to check out Carl's Cities: Skylines tips guide!

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