A little over a week ago, several executives with GSC Game World – including Sergei Grigorovich mentioned that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 will have the “always online” DRM scheme. All hell broke loose. GSC Game World then tweeted that the scheme was only mentioned as a “possibility”. With the scare of this DRM scheme gone, we all can look forward to purchasing and enjoying the next chapter in the Zone.
Always online DRM
With the onset of DVD, digital downloads and digital TV, Digital Rights Management is the answer publishers look to when they need to protect their intellectual property. There have been some DRM schemes which have enjoyed a good reputation like Steam and there are those that haven’t. Always online DRM is by far the worst. Always online DRM is exactly how it sounds. You can only use your content while connected to the internet. Want to read a digital book, watch a movie, listen to music or play a single player game? With this type of DRM you won’t be doing much except staring at a wall.
A few years ago, there was questions about whether or not Steam would allow players to play single player games without a connection. This became somewhat of an urban legend that still persists to this day. Truth be told, Steam is a digital distribution platform and DRM rolled into one. They can keep you from playing your game but, they don’t – unless a publisher would ask otherwise.
Many fans of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series , including myself, took to the internet to express our outrage over the mere mention of this type of DRM scheme. The official S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Facebook page was flooded with complaints and comments about this issue. Unfortunately, there were a few detractors. Most brought up the point that those who complain are “whining” or “crying” like babies. They also stressed that those who complain are really those who pirate and that if we are not, we should appreciate the fact that they are even working on the game in the first place.
Pitting gamers against gamers is an unintended consequence of the issue at hand. There are those people who believe that if you have nothing to hide then you won’t mind searching your possessions and checking you out. The same thing with software piracy, if you’re not a pirate then you won’t mind a little DRM.
The problem here is that not everyone always has access to the internet or their connection might be poor quality. What ever the reasons may be – and companies have a right to protect their IP – virtually shackling someone to their internet connection in order to play your game is a bad idea.