Paradox Interactive's CEO and co-owner, Fred Wester, has finally come out and said what Ubisoft won't admit: DRM costs a lot of money and it makes you lose a spit-ton of money, too. If you don't know why then you probably don't know what DRM is.
Basically, DRM is a Digital Rights Management protection medium used by companies to safeguard their product from piracy. It comes in various forms and formats and is sometimes bundled in with physical discs while other times it requires an always-on internet connection to access the game. No paying consumer likes DRM, period.
Ubisoft has been a strong advocate of DRM even though consumers have always actively been protesting the inclusion of DRM into games. Well, Wester simply believes that it does hurt paying consumers because pirates crack the DRM within a few days of the game's release anyway, so what good is DRM when it doesn't stop the pirates?
In an interview with GameSpy via Game Industry, Wester stated that...
"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,"... "I know this for a fact, because we tried it eight years ago, and it never worked for us. Two major reasons: it costs money and it makes you lose money, and the other is that it's so inconvenient to customers."
Too correct. I hate Ubisoft games on PC for that very reason and it's usually why I don't play them on PC.
Wester also believes that the reason so many companies keep wasting time and money on DRM is because shareholders and investors are always screaming about protecting the software, and chokeholding company managers for solutions and measures being taken to thwart pirates. Much like any gamer with common sense, Wester knows that DRM doesn't curb piracy at all, not one bit. However, investors aren't gamers and they don't care about video games, just the money they make, which is why Fred thinks that so many other companies keep rinsing and repeating the process of including unnecessary DRM. In turn, they waste both resources and time on something that doesn't help.
While a lot of publishers complain about the rising costs of development, I'm sure money wasted on DRM could have been better spent on making a better product or outputting more product. But, unforuntatley gaming is a big business and money speaks louder than creativity.
Paradox Interactive will continue to release games without DRM, and they're even dabbling in the free-to-play arena with games like Salem and Gettysburg: Armored Warfare. You can check out the entire interview with Fred over at GameSpy.