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A Modest Proposal About DRM


Rented and Used Games
The process I detailed above is designed to make a rather complex problem a bit more easy to understand and, in the end, help combat it. While it does answer the question of how one can control piracy on the console side of the industry the question remains as to how one would handle rental services and the major issue of used game sales. For those my friend the solutions are actually quite straightforward as well.

Rental services are still a big part of the gaming industry today and while many of the previously venerable institutions like Blockbuster have gone the way of the dinosaur new services like Gamefly and, most recently, Red Box, have taken the video game rental market by storm. Providing good service for low prices in a timely manner one could play a game for a month for the same price as playing a game rented from a brick-and-mortar store for five days and not having to worry about annoying late fees. Given the nature of the proposed DRM system one would think it nigh impossible to utilize by these types of services. The solution however is actually quite simple: instead of just limiting serial numbers associated with discs to a certain amount of response codes to utilize these discs would have an unlimited amount of guest codes. All one would have to do is simply include a slip of paper with the disc when it is shipped out that includes the necessary login information (which could easily be matched to that of your login information for that service) and the necessary response code. Should someone want to purchase the game from the renter the service would only have to send the primary response code: it�s that easy!

The used games market is something of a strong divide between consumers and the content providers. Gamers love the ability to purchase games for lower prices at almost no sacrifice to gameplay quality while developers and publishers hate them because they do not receive any of the money spent on the title. Unfortunately there seems to be no way for content providers to force places like Gamestop from selling used games or forcing them to pay a portion of the sales fee because they are, at least in the United States, legally considered to be a pawn shop. With a little creative usage of this system however a developer or publisher could easily get back at least some of the money that�d come from the sale.

Let�s suppose again that Joe Blow has decided to sell his copy of Mega Shooter Duty 7 in favor of the upcoming and highly-anticipated Mega Shooter Duty 8: Personal Edition. Should he want to sell the game to an individual and not a retail store he would need to access his account information, select the serial number and primary response code for the game and have them transferred to the account of the intended buyer. In doing so it would deactivate the other response codes associated with that serial key, thereby preventing anyone associated with Joe from playing it and allowing the new owner to disseminate them as he/she sees fit. This process wouldn�t affect the save file for the game but it would prevent Joe from being able to play that particular disc unless he got the game back and reinstalled it.

The process would be even easier however should Joe decide to sell it to a place like Gamestop. Similar to the process of the initial sale a signal would be sent to the developer or publisher�s server that would tell it that the disc with that particular serial number is about to transfer ownership to the store. With that out of the way Joe could easily continue his transaction and purchase his next big game. Either way however developers and publishers can take advantage of this transfer of ownership by charging a transfer fee which, while not enough to recoup the cost of a normal used game sale, it does put some money back into their wallets. This transfer fee can also be applied during or possibly after the game is resold to another customer.

Doing the Right Thing
This entire system may seem to be scary at first and overtly limiting but if you think about it this is far from the case. DRM is something that gamers are going to have to get used to one day and while various experiments have been applied on the PC such as SecuROM and while these have met with limited success at best their attempts to prevent piracy have ended up infuriating gamers to the point of actually not purchasing those titles. This system, in my opinion, would allow content providers to control the use of their product in a realistic manner that isn�t limiting to the player.

At the end of the day though this DRM system isn�t about making sure that people don�t pirate and play their games legitimately so much as it is about getting more money into content provider�s hands. $60 may not seem like much of a loss when compared to that of the overall profits from a game but the fact of the matter is that when thousands upon thousands of people are doing this at a time you�re looking at millions of dollars being lost, money that could be put forward to their next project, extra game content and even perhaps keeping costs from ballooning from what they are right now. Five years from now it isn�t hard to imagine that video games will again rise in price to perhaps $70 but a system like this could help delay such an event because more money would get back to the creators. People�s livelihoods are at stake and when you pirate you�re denying companies the money they worked hard to earn and it could cost their employees their jobs. Do you really want to be responsible for the termination of a game creator who could be responsible for the next great game like Call of Duty, Halo, or even Zelda?

Stop cheating the system people. Pay for what you play and we can hopefully avoid a future like this. Otherwise, well, I hope you�re caught up on your Orwellian novels�
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About Chris Davisone of us since 6:13 PM on 04.27.2010

Hi there! My name is Chris and I'm a writer and editor for Hooked Gamers as well as an aspiring game and tech journalist. I've been writing for years but only recently have I started to post my articles on other sites like Dtroid. I graduated from Austin Community College with an associates degree in Journalism and am currently undecided on my continued education plans. What I do know is that I enjoy writing for sites like Destructoid and, though I may not post on my Dtroid blog very often I do share articles and reviews here that won't appear on my other sites.

I can be found primarily at Hookedgamers.com and 4playerpodcast.com. I've also started up a personal blog (Slackerwerks.com) where you'll see all of my future articles posted.

You can find me most of the time on Xbox Live and occasionally on Steam under the same Gamertag. If you need to reach me I use the same ID wherever I go so please don't hesitate if you have any comments or questions you'd like to throw my way.

Thanks for stopping by!
Xbox LIVE:Slackerchan
Steam ID:Slackerchan


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