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Nintendo Wades Into DRM Debate, Devs Have Their Say Too

Posted by: , 17:09 AEST, Sat June 15, 2013

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Nintendo have their say on the Xbox One DRM debate, along with developers CD Projekt Red, Volition and former Epic developer Cliff Bleszinski
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Image/Photo Credit: Microsoft

Nintendo has inserted itself into the Xbox One DRM debacle by saying the company does not need to implement game trading restrictions because Nintendo gamers prefer to keep on playing their old games.

President of Nintendo America Reggie Fils-Aime made these comments in a recent interview with Polygon. Fils-Aime noted that the trade-in frequency of Nintendo games is much lower than that of other platforms, and he says this is because their games have better replayability.

"So for us, we have been able to step back and say that we are not taking any technological means to impact trade-in and we are confident that if we build great content, then the consumer will not want to trade in our games," said Fils-Aime.

Fils-Aime also feels the timing is not yet right for moving game sales from the disc to digital, something that Microsoft will be experimenting with in this upcoming console generation. Fils-Aime says that the move to digital may hurt retailers, and that for now, retailers remain an important cog in the promotional machine for games.

"For us, retail is a key part of our overall business. Retailers play a huge role in driving awareness. Their stores play a large role in consumers having an experience with their interactives. We couldn't do a program like what we are doing with Best Buy without the power of retail and letting consumers play four games that haven't been released yet," Fils-Aime noted.

Meanwhile, game developers have spoken out about the Xbox One's controversial DRM measures for the first time. 

Staunch anti-DRM developer CD Projekt Red, who also runs the DRM-free digital game store Good Old Games, says that although the Xbox One will have DRM that the company disagrees with, it's unlikely that this will discourage the company from publishing games for the system. Co-founder and CEO of CDP Marcin Iwiński told Eurogamer that skipping a Xbox One version of their upcoming The Witcher 3 game is simply not an option, as this would punish gamers that chose the Xbox One as their gaming platform.

"We want to make sure that every single player will have access to our game and thus decided to deliver for PC, PS4 and Xbox One," says Iwiński.

Saints Row 4 developer Volition has also voiced their opinion. Scott Phillips, a design-director on Saints Row 4, says that piracy is a big issue and some in the industry think DRM and game trading restrictions are a business necessity, while some will hate these measures. Volition producer Jim Boone diplomatically says that more discussion is needed on the issue of gamer rights vs DRM. "My perspective is that we haven't quite struck the right balance where everyone embraces either side, so we've just got to continue the conversation," says Boone.

Less diplomatic, former Epic developer Cliff Bleszinski says the the Xbox One's DRM is entirely necessary in a time where the "day one $60 model is crumbling". Bleszinski feels that the Xbox One's broadband connection requirements are more than reasonable, and that if people can't get a good Internet connection to use with the Xbox One, they should direct their "rage at who is responsible for pipe blocking you".

Bleszinski says that the industry cannot afford to have an active used game trading and rental sub-market, due to the spiraling cost of game development. 

Bleszinski says: "You cannot have game and marketing budgets this high while also having used and rental games existing. The numbers do NOT work people. The visual fidelity and feature sets we expect from games now come with sky-high costs. Assassins Creed games are made by thousands of devs.

"Newsflash. This is why you're seeing free to play and microtransactions everywhere. The disc-based day one $60 model is crumbling. Those of you telling me "then just lower game budgets" do understand how silly you sound, right? Think about how many great games are at this show. Now consider how much they're going to spend fighting each other marketing."


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