Ron Carmel, whose company 2D Boy created awesome puzzle game World of Goo, does not like digital rights management (IE: copy protection.) Rather than seeking to change DRM, Carmel just wants to scrap the whole thing. He gave the following advice to indie game developers at the Game Developers Conference today:
"Don't bother with DRM--it's a waste of time. You just end up giving the DRM provider money. Anything that is of interest gets cracked, and the cracked version ends up having a better user experience than the legit version because you don't have to input in some 32-character serial number."
"Wait, what does this Carmel guy know about piracy anyway?!" you might ask. Turns out, he know a lot. According to 2D Boy, World of Goo has a 90 percent piracy rate . Yet, the company says it's still making a profit on the title.
Carmel has a point about scrapping DRM. Hoever, maybe he's missing something too. If copying a game was as effortless as copying a CD, more people would copy them. Even putting a token impediment to copying on a disk probably weeds out some percentage of super-amateur "pirates," who like to play games but lack basic computer skills.
Also, World of Goo is the kind of small, innovative game that a few people create for very little money. Perhaps 2D Boy can afford to "support" pirates, but what about bigger games, with huge development teams and costs? Surely, a 90 percent piracy rate for an ambitious AAA title would sink a company.
Bottom line, at the risk of sounding preachy: Don't pirate games. Buy 'em, if you want 'em. That's how the whole industry stays afloat. And if you have to copy things illegally, you should at least buy games that are worth the money...say, World of Goo.