DRM still needs to exist, says Square Enix exec – but shouldn’t “interfere” with games

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

At some point in the last two or three decades, DRM became a dirty acronym – like FMV, or GCSE. Yet still the concept persists. The major publishers now tie bespoke online activation systems to their storefronts. And for good reasons, insists Square Enix business man Adam Sullivan.

What are those reasons? “Profit”, first and foremost – but also data privacy, account sharing and hacking.

“The primary benefit [of DRM] to us is the same as with any business: profit,” Square Enix senior manager of business and legal affairs Adam Sullivan told TorrentFreak. “We have a well-known reputation for being very protective of our IPs, which does deter many would-be pirates.”

Sullivan noted that the effectiveness of DRM is “notoriously” hard to quantify – Squeenix rely on consumer feedback, as well as data from their sales team and “various vendors”. Evidently, they see results – but Sullivan emphasised that publishers need to employ a light touch.

“The key to DRM is that it can’t interfere with the customer’s ability to play the game,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for people to get a new computer every few years, or to have multiple computers. Sometimes they don’t have reliable Internet connections. There’s no perfect solution yet.”

Nevertheless, Sullivan said he believed DRM will remain “essential” for the “foreseeable future” – even if that future is partly free-to-play.

“So long as we’re concerned about things like data privacy, accounting sharing, and hacking, we’ll need some form of DRM,” he finished.

Developers and publisher execs don’t like to talk about piracy: they worry that their reasoned arguments will be drowned by the noise of pitchfork-sharpening and flaring torches. So: in the interest of not scaring off men like Sullivan, let’s set a decibel limit for this discussion at ‘not-shrill’, eh?

Thanks, Gamespot.