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99.8% of Gamers Don't Care About DRM, Says EA

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the they-also-don't-understand-it dept.

PC Games (Games) 554

arcticstoat writes "If you thought that EA might have been humbled by the massive Internet backlash against its use of SecuROM in its recent games, then you'd be wrong. Speaking at the Dow Jones/Nielsen Media and Money Conference, EA's CEO John Riccitiello claimed that the whole issue had been blown out of all proportion. 'We implemented a form of DRM and it's something that 99.8 per cent of users wouldn't notice,' claimed Riccitiello, 'but for the other 0.2 percent, it became an issue and a number of them launched a cabal online to protest against it.'"

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Someone failed statistics (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 6 years ago | (#25384235)

If you query the number of gamers you have left, of course you're going to get a 99.8% figure. (Though honestly, that exact figure sounds like bullshit to me. Did you know that 85.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot?) The question is, how many customers have you already lost where DRM was a contributing factor? Of those customers, how many can identify DRM as the problem rather than stating "the game doesn't work"?

I almost guarantee that any study EA has done resulting in these figures was flawed. Based on his statements however, I don't think EA has done that research. Riccitiello pulled that number out of thin air. Even if EA did research that suggests that only 0.2% of users should have a problem, there's a huge gap between theory and practice.

I'm an example of a PC gamer lost by the industry. I used to read PC Gamer regularly, wait for the awesome new titles coming out, and get lost in the worlds of these games. Eventually I stopped and gave up on the industry. If you're interesting in why, here are the key points:

-- Lackluster games. The majority of games felt like regurgitated first person shooters. They were all the same with new skins. Hardly an interesting market.

-- Technological problems. There's nothing more irritating than purchasing a game or getting a game as a gift, then not being able to run it. At least two of those instances were clearly DRM problems. The games would not even start. No error, no reason, just fail. Tech support then explains some BS about having a CD Burner. Because, you know, those are so uncommon in computers. (This guy explains it WAY better than I can. [youtube.com] ) Not to mention the video card driver treadmill. Having problems with that game? Oh, well you need to update to Super Destructo Detonation Drivers version 34120123.1239213213 release 8231 patch -0123 revision B. It will make your system super-unstable, but your games will kick ass!

-- Time. As I got older, I simply had fewer hours in the day to game. I no longer have the time nor the patience to work around the previous two problem. So I just stopped buying PC games. Nowhere was there a concious decision of "screw them", it was simply, "This does not interest me anymore".

These days I have a console [wii.com] that lets me get the maximum amount of enjoyment out of the least possible time investment. Life is so much better than when PC games clogged my system's arteries.

In closing, I'd like to say this: History has shown that good games sell. Period, end of story. Piracy has always been and always will be a scapegoat for the real problem of poor quality merchandise. Implementing draconian anti-piracy measures will only drive away the few customers you have left.

EA Then and Now (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | about 6 years ago | (#25384447)

Too true. (98.2% of our CURRENT customers love us. LOL)

EA Before:
"Hey Gamers, buy our wicked game because it's totally fun to play!!!"

EA Later:
"Hey Gamers, buy our new game because it has newer technology, better lighting, and it produces 100% more warm fuzzies than its predecessor!"

EA Now:
"Hey Gamers, bend over."

Games not on Wii (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 6 years ago | (#25384469)

These days I have a [Wii] console that lets me get the maximum amount of enjoyment out of the least possible time investment.

What do you do when you want to play a game that isn't on the consoles? For example, a lot of indie games are PC exclusives because the developer isn't a big enough company for a WiiWare license.

History has shown that good games sell.

Even good games from small companies?

Re:Games not on Wii (4, Interesting)

rufty_tufty (888596) | about 6 years ago | (#25384669)

Well I'm not the OP but I don't do PC gaming just console(Xbox 360 or Wii):

"For example, a lot of indie games are PC exclusives because the developer isn't a big enough company for a WiiWare license."

Unfortunately in that case I can't play it, (unless they do a Linux version). I'm sure there's some gold out there, but the signal to noise ratio has IME not been worth it.

Frankly I see computer games as being for fun and not as another job - hearing what people go through to get games running on a PC sounds far too much like the bits of my job that I hate to pay for the privilege of doing it.

Re:Games not on Wii (2, Informative)

LordNimon (85072) | about 6 years ago | (#25384705)

XNA [xna.com] lets you develop and publish games on the Xbox 360 for $100/year.

Re:Games not on Wii (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 6 years ago | (#25384785)

What do you do when you want to play a game that isn't on the consoles?

I don't. I'd love to play Little Big Planet, but I'm not going to invest in a PS3 to do it. So I just don't play.

For example, a lot of indie games are PC exclusives because the developer isn't a big enough company for a WiiWare license.

In the past I did purchase a few indie games. Especially the kick-ass Puppy Games [puppygames.net] titles. That being said, you need something absolutely incredible to overcome my current ambivalence of PC gaming. I simply don't care enough to endure the pain and anguish of PC gaming. Even though AAA games like Halo, Mass Effect, and Spore COULD be played on my PC, I. SIMPLY. DON'T. CARE.

Crazy, isn't it?

What's even better is that if I wait long enough, the great indie games will reach the WiiWare service. Defend Your Castle, World of Goo, Cave Story, Lost Winds, and other incredible titles are at my finger tips. All it takes is a credit/debit card and a bit of Wii Remote clicking.

Even good games from small companies?

Any game that did not reach its target audience is not being pirated, either. There have been good games throughout history that received a cult following ex post facto, but no one paid them any heed when they were released. If there is a healthy pirate market for the game, there is a healthy consumer market for it. Pure and simple.

Re:Games not on Wii (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 6 years ago | (#25384789)

What do you do when you want to play a game that isn't on the consoles? For example, a lot of indie games are PC exclusives because the developer isn't a big enough company for a WiiWare license.

WiiWare licenses apparently cost under ~3k. I can see that killing a solo-hobby-developer, but any entity big enough to call itself a small business can afford this.

That said, I have never played an indie game that needed beta drivers, had crazy drm, or was otherwise particularly difficult to install and get running, so if the OP wanted to play one, it would probably be a no-brainer to just buy it and play it.

Re:Someone failed statistics (5, Insightful)

flitty (981864) | about 6 years ago | (#25384473)

His numbers may be off, but I think the idea is generally right, even if DRM is stupid, most people don't care/know about what spying techniques companies use or put on your computer. Most people don't know in 10 years some games will no longer work due to authentication servers going down.

The main problem with his thesis though, is that the smaller percentage (up to about 40-50% of gamers though, not .2%) are the ones who care about it. They are also the ones who are knowledgeable enough to Know how to use a torrent and how to navigate the pirate webs. So, you put dumb DRM schemes in a game, they WILL utilize the Torrent instead of purchasing the full game. I can't tell you how many CD-cracks i've used on Valid games i've bought because of a scratched cd not authenticating or annoying authentication. Yes, most people don't know what DRM scheme you are using on the latest SIMS expansion, so why intrude on these people?

DRM doesn't do what they think it does. It encourages Piracy (by making valid copies less than their pirated versions) and spies on people who have no intent on pirating your game anyway or breaking any DRM.

Re:Someone failed statistics (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 6 years ago | (#25384999)

I would also guess that you're going to get a disproportionately high number of people who care about these issues in the hardcore gamer crowd than in the general population. When you're dealing with people who want to squeeze every last frame out of their rig, adding DLL's whose only purpose is to police your CD drive is just this side of legal.

In other words, their target audience coincides nicely with people who are going to care about this issue.

Re:Someone failed statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384493)

A more interesting question is how many people actually know about it.

That 99.8% figure might start dropping when people hit their installation limits. Or do they actually advertise that it limits the amount of installations on the box?

Well I always felt the numbers were inflated (2, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | about 6 years ago | (#25384565)

on the side claiming to be adversely affected by DRM.

I put a lot of them down; and I mean a large percentage; to those just hopping on the band wagon. The "got to get my two cents in and feel as if I belong" crowd. Cost them nothing to claim to be part of the aggrieved party. It wasn't like they were going to buy it anyway but now they can claim offense which lets them continue feeling put down by the system/man/the other guy/etc.

Re:Well I always felt the numbers were inflated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384821)

The last game I bought was Caesar 3. After the disc got scratched and I couldn't play it anymore, I completely stopped buying games. I figure that if I am not able to play games I have purchased (I actually still have my copy of Caesar 3), then why bother spending my money on games? At least with music, I can circumvent any DRM and still listen to the music for which I've paid.

I have not elected to pirate games, either. I just stopped playing them. Simultaneously, if I could find a pirated version of Caesar 3, I would pirate it to be able to play it again. Clearly, I haven't been looking in the right places. So, perhaps I'll have to spend some time after work today looking for a pirated version of C3.

Re:Someone failed statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384607)

Er, so will a good game sell if it has DRM? If so, Ricitiello is right because by all accounts Spore is a good game.

Re:Someone failed statistics (2, Insightful)

Ailure (853833) | about 6 years ago | (#25384661)

The computer upgrade treadmill have actually slowed down, compared to like, the end of the 90's. I remember back then, if your computer was older than two years it most likely wouldn't be able to run the newest games. That doesn't feel like the case anymore.

Most games produced today should run fine on a average (non-budget) computer from 2005 (and perhaps even older than that), even if not with the prettiest graphics.

Re:Someone failed statistics (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | about 6 years ago | (#25384709)

Hey, now. These statistics might be perfectly valid... it could be faulty research done by some summer intern.

Re:Someone failed statistics (2, Interesting)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 6 years ago | (#25384779)

I almost agree. And by the way, that was a very long post for being first, I was impressed.

Regarding the difference in something like PC Gamer magazine. I never used to get the magazine but I saw ones occasionally. It's true, I used to go "whoa, I can't wait to see that game." Now it's more like, if anything, "That looks like it has really good graphics." That's about it. There were games that I played way back when (and I'm still young) that I loved because of the game mechanics, the story, the graphics, etc., all combined, and could not wait until I could play the next one in the series. Examples that come to mind are Baldur's Gate (I completely fell in love with it - and I first played it from the library, which had a copy!) and Monkey Island (the first Monkey Island is amazing). Another series that started out great was Age of Empires, IMO, and even something like the original Red Alert.

But now, not being a FPS fan in the first place... the games coming out are usually pretty generically boring. They basically all appeal to two things: amazing graphics and more impressive violence. I have played a few recent games that I actually liked - Crysis was pretty cool, as was World in Conflict; in fact, World in Conflict was really cool and surprisingly impacting as far as thinking about real life.

What am I saying... I'm saying that ingenuity in developing games seems to be lost. Re-hash the same things that seem to work (bigger and better graphics, more violence) and hope it sells enough to pay to produce the next one.

Time is a huge issue now for me as well, I barely play any games at all. Married, graduate school, working full time and music as my main hobby... games are not big in my life. But I play some small things still. I am playing Avernum 5, a small shareware game (which I bought) made by Jeff Vogel. It's completely story-driven, it's even in 2D, but the series has a history of story-driven adventure/RPG that I first found in Exile II back in 1995 or something.

With regard to consoles, I actually still resist having one... mainly because I don't think the games there are really any better, just "easier" to get going. Plug it in and boom. But the same problem with the games themselves exist.

As for not caring about DRM, I don't care about DRM either, because I don't play enough games to care, and those that DO play enough games to not care probably don't care eithre because they constantly play games and spend all their money and gaming computers...

Re:Someone failed statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384901)

Let me add one more point to that:

- Cheaters.

Cheating is killing pc gaming for me. You can't get on a server and play an online first person shooter these days with out someone on there hacking. You just don't have that problem with consoles.

Good games sell, but sell enough? (0, Troll)

cliffski (65094) | about 6 years ago | (#25385031)

Good games do sell, but sometimes not as well as they should, and thus not enough (in a perfect market) to encourage good games get made.
Take Thief. That was an awesome game, and apparently also massively pirated, being a first person game with no multiplayer. The company went bust, but deserved to be wearing money hats for making an awesome game. That's a net loss for gaming in general.

And take "world of goo", an awesome game, that (like mine) ships totally DRM-free. It's pirated to oblivion, and they are no doubt losing tons of sales.

Contrast this with cheap movie tie-in games. They sell tons, based purely on hype, to people who have no idea about the more obscure, but better games. So we get more crap movie tie-ins and sequels, and less cool stuff like World of Goo.

Piracy hurts the industry big time, because it removes vital signals from the market. The games that get made are the games that sell. However much you like a game, your view is irrelevant unless you buy it, because we live in a capitalist free market, where profits determine what products get investment.

Short summary: don't pirate games. It is self defeating. Especially if you pirate games you really like.

WHAT! (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | about 6 years ago | (#25384277)

And he got his numbers from where?

--
Oh Well, Bad Karma and all . . .

Re:WHAT! (1)

Sechr Nibw (1278786) | about 6 years ago | (#25384799)

Headline: "99.8% of Gamers Don't Care..."

Summary: "99.8% of gamers won't notice.."

Caring and noticing are two different things. You may not notice that your wife is cheating on you, but I bet you would care anyway.
Also, how would they get those numbers? Are the surveys (if they conducted any) accurate? "Do you care about DRM?" vs "Do you care that you have to punch in a 30 character key to install the game you just spend $50 on, and then have to put in the disc every time you want to play, or be online any time you want to play [a single player game]?"

Re:WHAT! (1)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#25384911)

The part of his brain that thought out the following

1. Decide to put DRM on a game, without determining whether it would do anything besides annoy people

2. Realize it's a huge problem, but try to convince the annoyed that they don't really care about it

3. ???

4. Profit!!

Even if the stats are true... (5, Interesting)

onion2k (203094) | about 6 years ago | (#25384283)

Let's assume the statistics are actually correct. 0.2% don't want DRM, 99.8% don't care, and 0% are in favour. That should be enough of a message to realise it shouldn't be included. Especially when that 0.2% can damage the reputation of the game by giving shocking reviews all over the internet.

Re:Even if the stats are true... (2, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#25384347)

TFS:

"...EA's CEO John Riccitiello claimed that the whole issue had been blown out of all proportion. 'We implemented a form of DRM and it's something that 99.8 per cent of users wouldn't notice,' claimed Riccitiello, 'but for the other 0.2 percent, it became an issue and a number of them launched a cabal online to protest against it.'"

His numbers are hyperbole, of course more gamers don't like it but they know that they don't have a choice if they want to stay legit.

"If you thought that EA might have been humbled by the massive Internet backlash against its use of SecuROM in its recent games, then you'd be wrong."

I hate to say that he's right about a relatively small "cabal" comment- bombing Amazon. Not that the reaction wasn't huge, but when half of the comments are obvious dupes then the complainers lose credibility - they're seen as being a handful of crybabies who are threw a collective tantrum and they make the rest of the anti-DRM crowd look bad. Wait for the cracks or don't buy the damn game. It's not your dealer's fault that you're addicted to crack. They can adulterate their product as they choose as there's still obvious demand for it.

Re:Even if the stats are true... (4, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | about 6 years ago | (#25384611)

of course more gamers don't like it

Heck, even he himself doesn't like it:

"Riccitiello admitted that he personally doesn't like DRM, as it 'interrupts the user experience.' He also added that 'We would like to get around that. But there is this problem called piracy out there.'"

Of course, for the potential customers who 'would like to get around that', piracy isn't the problem, it's the solution.

Personally I have bought a number of EA games, but since they started using SecuROM they're permanently off the list. I have better things to do with my time and money.

Re:Even if the stats are true... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384759)

Note he says "that 99.8 per cent of users wouldn't notice", not that they wont care, just that they wont notice. Off course, if they learned that they wont ever be able to resale the thing, or only resale it a limited amount of times, then they would care, should they realize.

But hey, eyes that don't see, heart that does not feel.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384775)

I don't care whether or not EA puts DRM on their games...I just won't buy them.
And EA doesn't care whether or not I buy their games...they just sell to other people.

The world is *full* of games, and there isn't a single one that I can't live without. Seriously. There is already more novelty and variety in the gaming world than I will be able to experience in my entire life. So this DRM silliness doesn't impact me (nor should it impact anyone, IMO, but some people have some weird addictions I guess).

From what I have read, Spore is kind of a crappy game anyway. Very little replay-ability. They are probably right that most users won't need more than five installs of the game....I would be very surprised if most users need more than two. Once they play the game through they aren't ever going to want to install it again.

because (4, Insightful)

tritonman (998572) | about 6 years ago | (#25384289)

Because either 99.8% of gamers actually buy the games they play or 99.8% of gamers are confident in their russian software cracks websites.

Re:because (4, Insightful)

Zephiris (788562) | about 6 years ago | (#25384815)

Just because you buy, it doesn't guarantee that the DRM won't bite you in the ass. Just ask SPORE users, perhaps?

I recently bought an EA game...oh, the horror. Mercenaries 2: World in Flames. On more than one occasion, it would spaz out and refuse to let me merely start the game because the online authorization servers were feeling paranoid, and more than once (separate issue), the game's "DRM service" wouldn't start correctly, kept throwing a braindead error message and refusing to even allow the game to attempt to authenticate online.

There's something inherently perverse about a game that will only allow you to the main menu...if it can verify that your copy is retail valid, and won't allow "internet is disconnected" play at all. Unfortunately (or fortunately for pirates), that's what EA does with virtually everything now. A few games were patched to have a '3 day' grace period. Huzzah.

Mind, that's the first game I dared to buy since Unreal Tournament in 1999. It's not very satisfying to pay $50-60 for a game, only to have constant crashes, graphical issues, NO patches, buggy multiplayer, etc and so on, especially when you might finally have a computer that works better than the minimum requirements (and cost impossibly little).

The game industry seriously needs a wakeup call.
Why would anyone spend $60 on a new (even non-AAA) game now, if they can spend $60 and get a nice hardware-accelerated MPEG-2/4/AVC based TV tuner, or a 32GB usb key? Or another 4GB of low-latency DDR2-800 RAM? Or, if you EBay, a high-end video or sound card for half the normal price?

For a triple-A, "I'll BE able to play this for 10 years if I want to", well supported with patches (when does this happen anymore?), utterly life-changing game...$60 is perhaps worth it.

For a crappy half-assed game where they shut down the DRM and multiplay servers after six months... $60 is a grevious offense to the PC gaming public.

Piracy isn't happening in record numbers because they're producing -quality- games, and nor does it eat into their figures even 10% as much as they claim. Most people who would only care about trying it, burning it into the ground, and getting bored with it after 2-3 days...often 2-3 days after they finish the game (that's not a typo).

If the quality of games were higher, they'd see higher returns on investment, less piracy. DRM is like putting up a gaudy neon sign: "steal this game because we KNOW it's so crappy that no one would legitimately buy it".

The more complex or aggressive the DRM, the worse the game is. Anyone remember Starforce? Can anyone name a single _good_ Starforce game? The new versions of SecuROM (anyone else remember when it was JUST a CD check?) are quickly flying straight towards that point of no return.

What they smokin? (0, Redundant)

unleashedgamers (855464) | about 6 years ago | (#25384291)

I think I'd like to get some of what EA is smoking!

Everyone I know (if they know how to use computers or not) hates the DRM with Spore.

Cabal? Really? (-1, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 6 years ago | (#25384297)

Is that anything like the Cabal of Logged In Trolls which used to patrol Slashdot?

Re:Cabal? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384477)

They got replaced by USNORTHCOM.

Re:Cabal? Really? (1)

n dot l (1099033) | about 6 years ago | (#25384531)

Hey. At least they didn't outright call us pirates. Actually, come to think of it, they probably wanted to say pirates, but couldn't because 0.02% goes nowhere near explaining the level of piracy they like whine and bitch about.

I protested and... (3, Funny)

pigiron (104729) | about 6 years ago | (#25384305)

I'm on FIOS not cabal!

Statistics (-1, Redundant)

bradgoodman (964302) | about 6 years ago | (#25384321)

72.8% of all statistics are completely made up.

Re:Statistics (0, Redundant)

genner (694963) | about 6 years ago | (#25384609)

72.8% of all statistics are completely made up.

Duh 52% of all people know that.

Re:Statistics (1)

drodal (1285636) | about 6 years ago | (#25384665)

that's only true 87.43% of the time!

Quoting Homer (0, Redundant)

Andr T. (1006215) | about 6 years ago | (#25384331)

"Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. 14% of people know that."

Re:Quoting Homer (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | about 6 years ago | (#25384451)

I always liked "80% of statistics are wrong, 50% of the time."

Re:Quoting Homer (1)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | about 6 years ago | (#25384487)

Also quoting Homer: "MMmm.....Donuts....."

Obligatory... (4, Insightful)

Reverend528 (585549) | about 6 years ago | (#25384351)

Most people don't even know what DRM is, so why should they care about it?

Re:Obligatory... (5, Funny)

enderjsv (1128541) | about 6 years ago | (#25384517)

1st install - don't know, don't care 2nd install - don't know, don't care 3rd install - don't know, don't care 4th install - "Hey Ma! What's the number to Geek Squad. This here game be broken."

Re:Obligatory... (1)

cliffski (65094) | about 6 years ago | (#25384921)

99% of people stop playing a game before then.
Seriously.
I'm a pretty serious gamer, but most games I don't even finish, let alone keep playing long enough to outlast a windows install.

Re:Obligatory... (0)

BunnyClaws (753889) | about 6 years ago | (#25384555)

I believe this is the case. "Joe Six Pack" ;) doesn't give DRM a second thought. He just wants to play his game. I am not sure how accurate EA's numbers are but I imagine the majority of players don't consider DRM an issue.

*note* I just wanted to use the phrase Joe Six Pack and a wink.

Re:Obligatory... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 6 years ago | (#25384659)

Consoles have been eclipsing PC games for a long time.

EA's own internal numbers handily demonstrate this.

DRM and other forms of technical difficulty probably account for quite a bit of this.

thats ok john... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384363)

80% of statistics are made up anyhow.

This just in (-1, Redundant)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | about 6 years ago | (#25384367)

89,56% of statistics are made up on the spot. 56,4% of people are more likely to believe said statistics if they appear more pricse by "not being too round". Everybody knows that...

99.8? i doubt it... (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | about 6 years ago | (#25384381)

I'm pretty sure 100% of the users noticed the DRM when they had to type in serial number to activate the product.
most of them just forgot about it right after.

I, for one, (2, Funny)

PhetusPolice (934823) | about 6 years ago | (#25384389)

care. I'm expecting 499 other people to say they don't care.

Re:I, for one, (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 6 years ago | (#25384523)

A) They would have to care enough about your statement to bother to say they don't care.
B) Your pool is biased. Because you are using slashdot as your pool, you will not get the same response as if you used the general population.

Therefore, you post is foolish and misleading. You would make a good politician.

Because they don't know. (5, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | about 6 years ago | (#25384395)

If gamers knew that installing a game had a chance of damaging their CD Burner, or causing crashes in non-game activities, requiring a system reformat I bet they would care. As it is, they blame "computers" and do not care.

They wish (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 6 years ago | (#25384401)

Now while I am one of the first who will tell you that personal experience doesn't equal empirical evidence, it isn't worthless in this case:

100% of the gamers I know (including me), which is quite a few, care about DRM. None of them like the "3 activations only" crap. Now it is always possible that I happen to belong to a really, really outside group, but not likely based on their BS statistics. If what they claim is true, you'd think at least one of the people I know, and more like everyone except me, would be perfectly ok with it. That they aren't says that EA's statistics are BS.

While I can perfectly well believe that most gamers are ok with DRM of some form, I'd bet almost none of them are ok with it when it interferes with their gameplay. Well, that's what these new DRMs are doing. The cause you to not be able to reinstall, they won't work with perfectly legit systems (Civ 4: BTS didn't like my DVD drive, and I don't even have any virtual drive software installed) and so on. Gamers care about that.

Re:They wish (1)

n dot l (1099033) | about 6 years ago | (#25384859)

Now it is always possible that I happen to belong to a really, really outside group, but not likely based on their BS statistics.

How outside of a group can we really be?

Most PC gamers I know are constantly reinstalling their games/systems because their hard drive gets full (fast drives tend to be either small or too expensive), because the game corrupts itself every now and then (hello WoW, Civ), because a patch destroys the game, because game A's DRM conflicted with game B's DRM (don't get me started), or because they simply upgraded their machine yet again. I know a surprising amount that reinstall every two months or so simply because their overpriced name brand machines (*cough* Alienware *cough*) keep breaking and going to the repair shop, from whence they often come with wiped HDD's. Many of them, by virtue of upgrading all the time, or having married other gamers or having gamer children, have multiple machines and/or laptops, and so of course they're gonna want to install multiple times. These people tend to be media junkies, and so obviously they'll have CD/DVD burners on their systems.

Granted, I don't know every PC gamer, but I know quite a few, and I used to work at a store that sells video games, and I'm be fairly confident saying that while such people may not be a majority, we're certainly not a mere 0.2%. Hell, the install in multiple places crowd is obviously big enough that Valve actually bothered to make the ability to do that into a feature of Steam...

Tell me, how are these people not going to be annoyed by bullshit DRM?

By an odd coincidence.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384415)

99.8% of me doesn't care about EA

Re:By an odd coincidence.. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 6 years ago | (#25384793)

Then chop off that damn pinkie toe and get on with life.

Re:Keep hammering! (3, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 6 years ago | (#25384601)

Yes, give them more ammo that you are an irrational, online cabal by posting bad reviews not of the game you have not purchased due to DRM, but of the DRM that caused you to not purchase the game.

Yes, that will help your cause.

Re:Keep hammering! (-1, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | about 6 years ago | (#25384855)

I like how everybody around here is playing pile on the Jews. As if Jewish people don't get enough crap these days.

As for the point, it's necessary, most people who buy software are not being made properly aware of the fact that DRM mostly affects people that buy legitimate copies. It rarely if ever actually affects the people that are pirating anyways.

Statistics ....Statisics (0, Redundant)

bigredradio (631970) | about 6 years ago | (#25384423)

Ya know, 90% of all statistics can be made to say anything...50% of the time.

My Spore DRM woes (5, Informative)

spun (1352) | about 6 years ago | (#25384425)

I've been playing Spore quite a bit until this weekend, when it simply stopped showing any graphics whatsoever after updating my video drivers. Rolling back to the old drivers didn't help. So I tried reinstalling, and the game would simply crash.

After much futzing around and unhelpful EA support people basically reprinting their FAQ for me, page by page, I figured out the problem. I had patched Spore and uninstalled. But the DRM is never uininstalled, it lurks around forever. When I reinstalled the unpatched version from the CD, it was not what the DRM expected, and it crashed.

EA provides no way to download the patch without running the game, but I found the patch file on gamershell.com. Patching the game let it run without graphics again, and I switched to windowed mode (good like finding the key combo for that in the printed manual or help files) and checked out the graphics settings, uhhh, 170Hz refrsh rate, WTF? Setting it back to 75Hz allowed the game to run once again in full screen mode.

To reiterate: if you patch the game, uninstall, and reinstall the unpatched version, IT WILL NOT WORK, and the only component I can think of that would cause this is the DRM. Thanks EA, for making your paying customers prefer the pirated versions of your programs.

Re:My Spore DRM woes (2, Informative)

joeytmann (664434) | about 6 years ago | (#25384837)

you may want to check out ftp://largedownloads.ea.com/pub/ [ea.com] for patches. I didn't look for patches for Spore, but they should be in there somewhere.

More like .1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384443)

99.7% of gamers don't know about this, .1% don't care.

DRM is self-defeating. (5, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 6 years ago | (#25384463)

If 99.8% of the customers don't have an issue with the DRM (presumably they are not restricted in what they are doing), why have it implemented in the first place?

DRM has the purpose of restricting what one can do with a digital product - be it a game, a song, whatever. If no-one ever runs into those restrictions, it's been a waste of effort. However if the restrictions are tight and many people run into them, they are presumably effective for what the manufacturer wanted, but will result in customers trying to circumvent it as they want to do things they are not allowed to out of the box. Such as making a back-up copy.

So either DRM is a priori ineffective (restrictions so loose no-one notices them, so there is no effect of the DRM) to prevent complaints, or it is effective in restricting people but then will guaranteed result in protests and circumvention, rendering it ineffective after all.

Re:DRM is self-defeating. (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 6 years ago | (#25384657)

If 99.8% of the customers don't have an issue with the DRM (presumably they are not restricted in what they are doing), why have it implemented in the first place?

You do understand that you have just stated that all people who have a problem with DRM are pirating software, right?

Oh, and the answer to your question is "Because 99.8% of customers don't have a problem with it so why not?"

Re:DRM is self-defeating. (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 6 years ago | (#25384923)

Nice trolling, people who pirate software anyways don't see any difference. In fact they see a great advantage to doing it since they don't have to put up with the bullshit. Games are frequently cracked before they're officially released, and individuals that are willing to go that route often times can get the game earlier because of it.

Ric Romero Reporting (3, Informative)

Deadplant (212273) | about 6 years ago | (#25384481)

In other news, 99.8% of gamers are playing pirated versions of their games.

Learned from experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384521)

I recently learned from experience, when I could no longer play Command & Conquer 3, which I'd bought from the EA online store. Suddenly, and without warning, the EA Download Manager said that I could no longer play, as I'd "installed it on 3 machines." I'd done no such thing.

Ultimately, the problem with DRM is that you really are renting the software, as the owner has the right to revoke your license at any time. However, the price of the software is not reflective of it being a rental. If I could rent C&C for $5/month, I'd have no complaints. At $50, I'm sure not going to buy another EA game for a long time.

Another alternate reality bubble at work... (1)

WCMI92 (592436) | about 6 years ago | (#25384525)

EA can live in their alternate reality bubble all they want, but there is no way that 98% of gamers support Digital Restrictions Management.

Maybe it hasn't hit most yet, but their recent egregious DRM that limits the number of re installs does (as it will inevitably happen) it sure as hell will piss people off.

Re:Another alternate reality bubble at work... (1)

ifrag (984323) | about 6 years ago | (#25384613)

With Spore? I don't think it will. The game is not really a timeless classic that people are going to keep coming back to. I'd say 3 (or 5) installs are probably rarely going to be entirely used up. If the game was what we were told it was going to be 2 years ago then yea, maybe that number would be too small.

My wallet thanks EA and DRM (5, Informative)

time$lice (901396) | about 6 years ago | (#25384605)

EA has literally saved me hundreds of dollars thanks to their absurd DRM approach. Instead of buying BioShock, Spore, Mass Effect, etc, I've been able to pocket all that cash. It basically boils down to this: No one tells me how many times I can install something on my computer! How many times a year do I reinstall my OS? No one takes control of my computer and shuts down programs I'm using! Get a clue EA.

What DRM means to the layperson..... (1)

javacowboy (222023) | about 6 years ago | (#25384627)

My girlfriend uses iTunes to buy music. I tried to explain to her why buying DRM'd music is a bad idea, and how she might lose it. As far as she's concerned, she can download it and send it to her iPod, and that's all she needs it for.

The only part of it that she found annoying so far is that she couldn't transfer music from her laptop to her AppleTV, so she couldn't listen to it when her network was switched off.

Apple has proven that if DRM doesn't interfere with the way ordinary users expect to use a product, people will put up with it. It's the same with DVDs.

However, if DRM does prevent an ordinary user from doing what they expect to with a product, such as preventing them from ripping music CDs, then that product will probably not sell.

Liar (2, Interesting)

Rinisari (521266) | about 6 years ago | (#25384641)

Population as of 16:26 GMT (EST+5) Oct 15, 2008 according to census.gov

  • U.S. 305,418,292
  • World 6,730,303,140

Assuming everyone in the world is a gamer, it would take 13,460,606 people worldwide speaking out against this to prove that statistic to be incorrect.

Assuming the same for the U.S., it would take 610,836 people speaking out against DRM to prove that incorrectly.

I'm sure that a significantly powered site spread to Slashdot, Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, and Facebook would probably demonstrate 610,836 people against DRM with no duplicates.

It would be even easier if we assumed that only 50% of the US plays video games. Only 305,418 people would have to sign it. That's probably how many people visit Slashdot a week.

Re:Liar (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 6 years ago | (#25384957)

Reasons why your suggestion would fail to be proof of anything:

  • The site you propose would need to have a way to limit people to "speaking out" once. If someone has no problem violating someone else's rights, said someone would not have a problem making multiple accounts to speak out multiple times thus having duplicate "votes".
  • The sites you mentioned are biased against DRM. For proof, just read the sites. This is known as a biased sample fallacy. One would have to allow people to speak out both for and against the DRM; publicize, without bias, the site to the entire population and; convince, without bias, the entire population to care enough to bother to take the time and make the effort to "speak out".
  • The sites you mentioned are not limited to the United States only, therefore one would have to either limit access to the "speak out" site to only the U.S.(which would not necessarily work due to technical work-arounds) or, one would have to use the world population figures.

You would make a good politician.

Re:Liar (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 6 years ago | (#25384975)

Out of that population, how many don't have the income to purchase games? How many our outside the age bracket to purchase games? How many live in countries where rampant piracy means they don't really have a proper retail market for American games?

They might not care now... (2, Insightful)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | about 6 years ago | (#25384655)

But in ten years time when they want to show their children/spouse/friends/whoever (or play it yourself) that funny game from ten years ago, and are unable to do so because they can't activate it... THEN they'll mind.

EA is just hoping that none of them is getting that knowledge beforehand.

99.8% of all Internet Statistics are made up... (1)

GlobalColding (1239712) | about 6 years ago | (#25384667)

Case and point! And to further build on that flawed math, allow me to 'Bushify' it: 99.8% of the gamers do not care about DRM and the other 99.8% play cracked versions. Thank you Mr. President.

To those who implement disc check DRM... (1)

sam0737 (648914) | about 6 years ago | (#25384671)

...you must not want your game to become popular, right?

Imagine 5 years later your game is still very popular, but how can a DVD survive for more than a few years?

Blizzard did the right thing in removing the disc requirement in some of the recent patches of Diablo 2 and Warcraft 3.

I still regularly play Warcraft 3 with friends, everyday now. Good games last for decades, not years.

Ff there is a DRM'ed game, expect the publisher means that it's kind of rubbish and you will not want to play for more than a few years. And think twice before spending money is buying a DRM'ed one.

Look at the audience (4, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | about 6 years ago | (#25384679)

What do you expect EA would tell a bunch of Wall Street types? "We screwed the pooch and a bunch of people went after us for it" or "everything is fine, we're a great place to send your money!"

Re:Look at the audience (2, Funny)

n dot l (1099033) | about 6 years ago | (#25385009)

What do you expect EA would tell a bunch of Wall Street types? "We screwed the pooch and a bunch of people went after us for it" or "everything is fine, we're a great place to send your money!"

Well, yeah, but still, this seems like a bad time to present obviously made-up statistics to investors. I mean, wouldn't they be a bit sensitive about that sort of thing these days? Eh, maybe not, I don't know how Wall Street really works...

To John Riccitiello: I'm still not buying Spore (1)

GunDawg (1365295) | about 6 years ago | (#25384701)

I said I wasn't going to buy Spore before and I'm still not buying it now because of DRM. How "blown out of proportion" is that?

(Just another elitist CEO spouting off who doesn't have a clue.)

Re:To John Riccitiello: I'm still not buying Spore (1)

MattW (97290) | about 6 years ago | (#25384915)

Ditto. Nor am I buying Mass Effect, which I want more. And if they release Dragon Age with this shit, I'm not buying that either.

Re:To John Riccitiello: I'm still not buying Spore (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#25384939)

Yea I would like to play spore but the DRM and price are a turn off.
I will wait for a few months and buy it from the bin if at all.

Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384727)

I guess the margin of error on that report is about 99.8%? Have they taken a look in the forums? Tons of people are having problems with DRM on specifically EA's games. Of course they're going to come out and try to dispel all that to try and change the focus of their customers, as if to say "It's not a problem, what are any of you complaining about anyway?" Well sorry, that's just not the reality.

EA is too far gone (1)

parallax7d (788930) | about 6 years ago | (#25384731)

EA has made it clear beyond any reasonable doubt. They barely care about games They barely care about gamers They barely care about their employee's They focus almost exclusively on maximizing profits, diluting every aspect of games until it is stripped down to a bare minimum value. What you end up with is a roadblock to progress, a poison to the industry and game lovers alike. EA is like Midas in reverse, and games makers can't resist the bucket loads of money. Don't buy EA, and they will go away. It's time to bite the bullet and stop this monster we've created.

One lost one here (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384733)

my experience with EA DRM when I purchased Black & White 2, (it wouldn't install, because there was something on my system it didnt like) was a definite factor in me not buying spore.

You don't need more that 3 installs for Spore (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | about 6 years ago | (#25384755)

Who needs 3 installs for Spore when you basically can play the game only twice without being bored?

The game was touted with tons of customizable features... few of them having anything to do with game play.

Wow! I can download tons of imaginative designs for buildings and things, and no matter which one I choose, they all do the same thing.

A DRM issue like this is only a problem for a game like StarCraft or Counter-Strike that people will be playing (and reinstalling) for ten years.

That's not to dilute the point that Bad DRM is... bad. It does illustrate the point that most people don't care about DRM, until they actually get bent over by it.

what the ? (1)

po134 (1324751) | about 6 years ago | (#25384773)

EA should really hire real statisticians.

We need a t-shirt... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 6 years ago | (#25384803)

"One of the 2%"

Re:We need a t-shirt... (2, Funny)

AlgorithMan (937244) | about 6 years ago | (#25384881)

And we need better math education...

Don't mess with "the other 0.2 percent"! (1)

bauerbob (1049344) | about 6 years ago | (#25384831)

99.8% might not notice DRM, but at least some of them have no clue of computers anyway and ask their "computer guy" what this DRM thingy is. I bet there are quite a few "computer guys" out there who don't recommend buying DRM.

Re:Don't mess with "the other 0.2 percent"! (2, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 6 years ago | (#25384961)

Bingo. 99.8% of game buyers don't care about DRM, but that 0.2% that do care tend to be the hard-core gamers. And 75% of the 99.8% ask their hard-core gamer friends for recommendations on new consoles and new games to buy. When what they hear is "Skip the EA games, they're just a nightmare to work with. Go get this other game instead, you'll like it just as much and it'll give you fewer headaches.", well, sales for EA will tend to sort of suck.

Consoles (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 6 years ago | (#25384845)

I guess if you want to consider console owners gamers....

Almost completely off-topic. (4, Funny)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | about 6 years ago | (#25384861)

My DVD drive hasn't worked in a week and half, despite repeated tweaks and reinstalls. While mucking around on my drive last night, I found a directory called SecurROM. No frigging idea where it came from. I don't know if this is just a coincidence or what, but if I delete that directory and my drive suddenly starts working again then I'm going to do two things. First, I'm going to torrent a copy of Spore. Second, I'm going to track down an EA executive and punch him in the cock just as hard as I can.

Users (1)

JohhnyTHM (799469) | about 6 years ago | (#25384909)

it's something that 99.8 per cent of users wouldn't notice

Dear EA,

By the time you start gathering stats from users its already too late. What you should be asking is how many potential users you lost due to the DRM. And you can knock it off with the users too, we are your customers. Try to remember that.

Re:Users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25385035)

0.2%

Failure to *identify* the cause of the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25384933)

Is not a failure to have a problem caused by DRM that users DO care about. Most people don't know that DRM is the source of so many problems.

I won't believe EA's statistic until they turn over information on the number of support calls they get that are related to DRM versus other software defects. I'll bet the DRM issues are far higher than 0.2% of their calls. And that's just the people who called rather than downloading the cracked version to solve the issue.

losses to DRM vs piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25385003)

In their (EA's) mind if DRM actually prevents piracy then isn't the lost business of the anti-DRM cabal a small price to pay?

If that is the mindset then perhaps advocates should present a different argument against this form of DRM

Wisdom Speaks.... (1)

moxley (895517) | about 6 years ago | (#25385007)

"Statistics can be used by anyone to prove anything...40% of people know that" - Homer J. Simpson.

EA taking cues from our current White House admin? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25385017)

No acknowledgment of facts--the biggest one being that Spore is the most pirated game for its opening week in history??

Alternate headline: (4, Funny)

Peet42 (904274) | about 6 years ago | (#25385021)

"0.2% of Gamers are too stupid to operate BitTorrent!"

99.8% eh? (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | about 6 years ago | (#25385041)

Sounds like Saddam election results to me.
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