Paradox Interactive's CEO, Fred Wester, has explained just why he and his company are so anti-DRM, citing consumer experience as paramount and dismissing ideas that DRM actually protects against piracy or helps sales in any way.
"I’m so surprised that people still use DRM," said Wester. "We haven’t done that for seven or eight years, and the reason is that it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense from a gamer perspective - I hated it. I bought Civilization III when it first came out, and for the first three days I couldn’t play it. It installed some other software, and it just shut down. I had to contact Atari support three times before I even got help. And that experience is terrible."
Wester pointed out that the only people likely to be hindered by DRM are those who legitimately purchased the game in the first place, and that obstacles to installation simply fuel more piracy because, quite frankly, the experience is actually better.
“No one should have to purchase a product that they’re unable to install because of the DRM," he said. "People who purchase a game should have just as easy a time as those who pirate the game, otherwise it’s a negative incentive to buy a legal copy."
Wester also speaks from personal experience, as Paradox flirted with the idea of DRM several years back and apparently had such a bad experience that they never went back again.
“I just can’t see why people are using DRM still. If you take something like Sony’s DRM, SecuROM – it’s a waste of money. It will keep you protected for three days, it will create a lot of technical support, and it will not increase sales. And I know this for a fact, because we tried it eight years ago, and it never worked for us.”
Asked by GameSpy why he thinks companies persist with DRM, Wester suggested that corporate politics might have something to do with it, with CEOs looking to cover their backs against queries on piracy from board members who know nothing of video games whatsoever. But even this, he said, is a redundant argument these days when the inefficacy of DRM is so widely acknowledged in the consumer base.
"It’s simple for me being the CEO and half-owner of Paradox," Wester continued. "I can basically call the shots I want to call, and if the board wants to ask questions it’s like ‘OK, we can take this into consideration.’ If you’re a CEO, you need to cover your back. And the people who ask, the board, know nothing about games. They’re there because they’re some investment company or something, and they ask 'So what are you doing to protect our game from pirates?' And then they can reply 'We’re buying this solution from Sony.' So I think it’s been a way to cover your back, previously. Now, I see no reasonable explanation for why people keep on adding it. Especially the kind where you have to be online all the time, like Ubisoft. I think that’s, to me that’s 2003.
We're with you Fred. [via VG247]