The founder of Avalanche Studios, Christofer Sundberg, has come out attacking "always-on" DRM, saying that there are better solutions to the PC piracy problem
Avalanche Studios founder Christofer Sundberg has made his opinions on DRM pretty clear in the past before, but the new wave of "always-on" DRM has forced Sundberg re-issue a call for publishers to end their obsession with DRM. "Always-on" DRM works by forcing paying gamers to have a permanent connection to the Internet while playing games, even single player ones, and that if the Internet connection drops for even a second, gamers may be thrown out of the game (losing all unsaved progress), or be forced to wait until the connection resumes.
Speaking to Edge magazine, Sundberg attacked "always-on" DRM for offering no value to paying gamers, and for souring the relationship between publishers and their own customers. "I don't like always-on DRM solutions at all, since they offer nothing to the consumer. If you continuously give something extra for registering and being online, and award them for actually paying for and playing your game, it'd be different, but always-on DRM only says: 'Thank you for buying our game, we trust you as far as we can throw you," said Sundberg.
Sundberg also reiterated his believe that DRM doesn't stop piracy at all, and that piracy may never be stopped on the PC platform. "PC games always have and always will be pirated, cracked, modded and what have you," added Sundberg. "That is the nature of the PC as a platform; you can never get around this problem."
Sundberg made these recent statements in response to statements made by Martin Edmonson of Ubisoft Reflections, the devs behind Driver: San Francisco. Edmonson supported parent Ubisoft's contentious DRM strategy due to the "incredible rates" of PC piracy, and the huge cost of game development today.
While Sundberg acknowledges that PC piracy is an important issue, and since he also believes that DRM is an ineffective tool, his solution is for development houses to foster closer relations with gamers. "If you continuously tell the player that you care about their opinions, and appreciate their investment, you will lower the amount of bootleg copies," explained Sundberg.
But what if Eidos Interactive, the publishers of Avalanche's 'Just Cause' series, decided to use "always-on" DRM for their next game? Sundberg answers, "We don't have much choice, as the publisher owns the IP, but I can assure you we would go down screaming before anything like this ends up in any Avalanche game."