Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Blizzard: DRM is a Losing Battle

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 77 comments

Blizzard's co-founder speaks out about DRM and how it's handled with Battle.net.

Frank Pearce, Blizzard co-founder and executive producer on StarCraft II, recently said in an interview that fighting PC game piracy with DRM is a losing battle. The drama that surrounds restrictive copy protection has been a thorn in gamers' sides for quite some time, some of which has led to unavoidable hard drive formats by legitimate game owners. Ubisoft is one of the more recent DRM enforcers in the spotlight, requiring that both online and offline games maintain an internet connection at all time in order to function.

However Blizzard doesn't want to take that route. If anything, there's some indication that the company wants to follow in Valve's footsteps by providing minimal restrictions on the PC's delicate structure while maintaining IP security by establishing a closed network. In this case, it's the new and improved Battle,net. As with games found on Steam, StarCraft II will require a one-time activation within the user's account and still have the ability to play offline.

"If we've done our job right and implemented Battle.net in a great way, people will want to be connected while they're playing the single player campaign so they can stay connected to their friends on Battle.net and earn the achievements on Battle.net," Frank Pearce said. "The best approach from our perspective is to make sure that you've got a full-featured platform that people want to play on, where their friends are, where the community is."

Pearce believes that this approach will have more success than other invasive DRM methods. "If you start talking about DRM and different technologies to try to manage it, it's really a losing battle for us, because the community is always so much larger, and the number of people out there that want to try to counteract that technology, whether it's because they want to pirate the game or just because it's a curiosity for them, is much larger than our development teams," he added. "We need our development teams focused on content and cool features, not anti-piracy technology."

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is expected to (finally) launch on July 27.

Display 77 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 42 Hide
    IncinX , May 27, 2010 5:17 PM
    Intrusive DRM is a losing battle. Nothing wrong paying for a good game.
  • 34 Hide
    heman1320 , May 27, 2010 5:22 PM
    Good job Blizzard!!
  • 32 Hide
    culgor , May 27, 2010 5:23 PM
    "DRM is a losing battle" says the company that isn't providing LAN support to their upcoming game.
Other Comments
  • 42 Hide
    IncinX , May 27, 2010 5:17 PM
    Intrusive DRM is a losing battle. Nothing wrong paying for a good game.
  • 27 Hide
    omnimodis78 , May 27, 2010 5:19 PM
    IncinXIntrusive DRM is a losing battle. Nothing wrong paying for a good game.

    All forms of DRM are intrusive.
  • 34 Hide
    heman1320 , May 27, 2010 5:22 PM
    Good job Blizzard!!
  • 32 Hide
    culgor , May 27, 2010 5:23 PM
    "DRM is a losing battle" says the company that isn't providing LAN support to their upcoming game.
  • 23 Hide
    Anonymous , May 27, 2010 5:24 PM
    Well least blizzard understands they can't win when it comes to DRM
  • 28 Hide
    IncinX , May 27, 2010 5:26 PM
    omnimodis78All forms of DRM are intrusive.


    I would not consider Steam intrusive but it does have DRM. In fact, I like how Steam lets me install on any system so I can lose the discs and it's all good. I would go even further to say that Steam with it's DRM is better than buying a game on CD without DRM!

    While I concede that no form of DRM is unstoppable. There should be some level of protection preventing everyone from stealing it willy nilly. People work hard to create good games and unfortunately even the good games will be pirated and played over and over without being paid for. Not everyone believes in paying for things that are worth it.
  • 10 Hide
    invlem , May 27, 2010 5:28 PM
    Steam is a great example of DRM designed in a way that it actually seen as a positive addition rather than something that detracts from the game experience.

    To get up to that level though, requires a large amount of funds and is much more difficult than say paying a company like securom to toss DRM into your game.
  • 26 Hide
    rocket_sauce , May 27, 2010 5:29 PM
    As long as I can really own what I pay for (do whatever with I please with it, for however long I decide) I have no problem paying for it. Oh and lets not blame piracy for bad games ;) 
  • -3 Hide
    cryogenic , May 27, 2010 5:30 PM
    culgor"DRM is a losing battle" says the company that isn't providing LAN support to their upcoming game.


    They have nothing personal against you the gamer that wants' to play a LAN game with it's friends, on the contrary.

    The problem is that the LAN feature is used by 3rd party gaming platforms (like G-Arena and others) to offer their own match matching ladders, and they also monetize those services while allowing pirated copies of the game (sometimes the cracked versions are "required" in order to play).

    Blizzard is disallowing LAN in order to stop the huge amount of virtual network services to take over the game.

    Just deal with it, you can play with your friends over battle net too, not just in LAN, and battle net is more fun also, way more fun.
  • 11 Hide
    RipperjackAU , May 27, 2010 5:36 PM
    No LAN functionality = The death of the LAN party.

    Blizzard just wants to cocoon you in your home, so you can suckle from their digital teat... for a price of course.
  • 9 Hide
    sliem , May 27, 2010 5:36 PM
    Steam all the way.
  • 10 Hide
    Computer_Lots , May 27, 2010 5:40 PM
    I agree that the Steam model is the way to go. I like it. I don't pirate games, at least not anymore :) , so I expect to pay one way or another for whatever I get. I like being able to browse through the game selections online, purchase what I want and in a few minutes, it's downloaded and installed for me. If my PC dies, I can just reconnect to my Steam account and re-download whatever games I own for no charge. I can even install them on multiple computers as long as I don't try playing on more than 1 at a time. It works great for me.
  • 10 Hide
    theroguex , May 27, 2010 5:41 PM
    CryogenicBlizzard is disallowing LAN in order to stop the huge amount of virtual network services to take over the game.Just deal with it, you can play with your friends over battle net too, not just in LAN, and battle net is more fun also, way more fun.


    And within a few months, all of those virtual network services will take over the game anyway.

    Battle.net is NOT way more fun than a group of people sitting in a living room with their computers all networked, playing together and trash-talking each other RIGHT THERE. Without having to bother running a network cable to the modem, etc. Sorry.
  • 3 Hide
    Hilarion , May 27, 2010 5:48 PM
    Battle.net is a losing proposition. I don't want to be bothered while I'm playing my game and I'd rather do that locally than over the web.

    I'm also not a fan of Steam.
  • 3 Hide
    Ezence , May 27, 2010 5:52 PM
    "Without having to bother running a network cable to the modem" but instead you have to run it to your switch, or in the case of swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget(i'm sure lots of others do this too) where you have 4 ports +wireless built into the modem.
  • 2 Hide
    shin0bi272 , May 27, 2010 5:52 PM
    another way to combat piracy... make good games and sell them at a reasonable price. Game like starcraft 2 coming out at 29.99 means quite a bit less piracy. Releasing a demo 3 months prior to the games release is also a good idea but it wont necessarily combat piracy.
  • -4 Hide
    Regulas , May 27, 2010 5:53 PM
    Really, then why don't you release a freaking patch so I can play Starcraft 1 without the damn CD.
  • 8 Hide
    stm1185 , May 27, 2010 5:53 PM
    Well it is easy for Blizzard to take that stance when every game they create is focused around multiplayer interaction that you have to log in for.

    But for the creators of old school story based single player games, using internet signs ins to stop piracy will anger their player base a lot more then DRM.

  • 2 Hide
    Pyroflea , May 27, 2010 5:53 PM
    It's nice to see that SOME companies see the reality behind all this. Blizzard's protection is fine, imo, and doesn't need to be changed. Battle.net has always been VERY secure. You can pirate their games usually, but cannot play online. Imo, Blizzard has the best protection of all game makers.
Display more comments