Good Old Games MD Guillaume Rambourg has a bone to pick with the industry's publishers and it has to do with three small letters: DRM. Speaking at the London Games Conference earlier this week, Rambourg slammed anti-piracy measures, rubbishing their preventive credentials and saying that they were having a detrimental effect on future sales.
'Your customers hate DRM,' said Rambourg. 'DRM is making companies feel safe while they handle some business, they are trying to protect their product and protect their sales, but the reality is very different.'
Rambourg stated that DRM does little to stop piracy, indeed such obstacles often appear to appeal to hackers' collective egos - the challenge providing sweeter reward. Just look at Mr. Hotz. With that in mind, Rambourg suggested that far from doing the job it was supposed to, DRM just negatively impacts future sales.
'The reality is DRM does not protect your content. Every game is pirated within a few hours of release or more often before it's released. DRM is not protecting your product or your sales, it's going to harm your sales in the long run.
'By putting DRM in your games you are working against your consumers, you are harming those you should cherish. It's only hurting your loyal consumers which is counter-productive.'
Rambourg urged publishers to 'protect [their] brands, not [their] sales', suggesting that in some cases the pirates had a far greater grasp of digital distribution than the publishers sat before him and urging his fellows to make things simpler for the consumer.
'There is one industry that got everything right - piracy. Piracy quickly understood that digital needs to be simple and easy. That digital consumers are expecting a fast and easy experience. You should treat piracy as competition not as an enemy. If you treat it as an enemy you are blinded and you don't pay attention to what they are doing right.'
Rambourg pointed towards his own company as evidence of DRM-free success, suggesting that incentivising loyalty rather than punishing the innocent is a far better way of retaining customers.
'DRM free works and we know it. You have to create some emotional attachment. We bundle games with wallpapers, soundtracks, manuals, and it doesn't take a lot of your time and it makes consumers happy.
'Many companies are fans of regional pricing. On GoG we say that any consumer, regardless of his location, should have access to the product at the same price," he added. "If you don't create an emotional attachment with your consumers they are free to buy a game one day and then the next day go to the competition.'