The CEO of Codemasters has been caught saying that he thinks selling “unfinished” games to customers is a much more effective strategy than investing in DRM.
Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens sees the answer to piracy not as enacting draconian copy protection but as nickel-and-diming consumers by selling them an incomplete game and then having them buy the rest as downloadable content:
I’m not necessarily a fan of DRM measures. I think sometimes they’re almost counter-productive. I can still be persuaded on them, and I completely understand why they exist.
But my initial thought is that DRM is not the answer to the piracy issue.
The video games industry has to learn to operate in a different way. My answer is for us as publishers is to actually sell unfinished games – and to offer the consumer multiple micro-payments to buy elements of the full experience.
That would create an offering that is affordable at retail – but over a period of time may also generate more revenue for the publishers to reinvest in our games.
If these games are pirated, those who get their hands on them won’t be able to complete the experience. There will be technology, coding aspects, that will come to bear that will unlock some aspects. Some people will want them and some won’t.
When it comes to piracy, I think you have to make the experience the answer to the issue – rather than respond the other way round and risk damaging that experience for the user. But I may be a lone voice in that.
Piracy has been there forever. Whether we care to admit it or not and whether we say it’s right or wrong, it’s a factor. It’s never going to go to zero.
Lyndon B Johnson once said ‘you want to be on the inside pissing out rather than the outside pissing in’ – and I wholeheartedly agree. Look at the partial demise of the record industry – they never embraced technology, they fought technology and I think that created a huge downturn vacuum for them.
Consumers may find themselves needing an umbrella in short order.