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The controversy around Video Games DRM

Video Games DRM
Video Games DRM: Are vendors going too far in copyright protection? Stock image.
Video Games DRM
Video Games DRM: Are vendors going too far in copyright protection? Stock image.

Video Games DRM controversy: How companies seeking to preserve their copyrights have chosen routes that have led some less-than-desirable results in the industry. 

Ever since technology has evolved to become a common everyday product, controversies have followed it. One of these long-living controversies is companies and corporations using DRM, short for Digital Rights Management.

With DRM, companies can secure their software. For example, Adobe doesn’t want Photoshop to get cracked and become free for everyone. So, Adobe uses DRM to protect their software, in this case Photoshop, so that the only way to obtain a license is to pay for it.

DRM also sets out a list of rules as its terms and services.  If your break these rules, your access may be revoked.

But DRM isn’t only a concept for the business world.  The controversy today is focused on the video game industry.

Video game publishers put a layer of DRM on their games so that users can’t simply pirate the game and spread it everywhere. But DRM on a video game acts differently than regular software DRM. Video game DRM, such as Denuvo, runs alongside the game. This may take up resources on the PC that is running the game, but it is to ensure that the game’s license isn’t being used in any way that the company may deem “violations”.

This form of DRM has proven to be quite controversial to the video game community, noting Denuvo’s hogging of resources, causing the game to run slower, and it’s lack of actual protection.

But the biggest issue is what DRM like this can stand for. DRM started as a way to protect products and keep copyright infringement from being commonplace on the internet, but that was just for essential software and smaller programs. DRM’s on video games or music seems to be quite a jump.

DRM has its uses, but companies can easily abuse the DRM system for their own gain.  Let’s go back to video games as an example. Currently, all DRM does is run in the background and monitor your system, but is that ok? Should this software be forced on user and allowed to investigate a user’s system?

Some companies such as Epic Games have gone the 2nd mile and force users to download their own launcher, complete with DRM, to play their games. Even worse, their terms and services allow them to collect information such as private/public IP addresses and other network information. 

Though, users have just suggested using a VPN to get around this privacy issue. If you plan on investing in one, make use of free VPN trials to try out a few before subscribing. Connection reliability may vary from country to country, so even big brands marketed as highly stable might not be the best for you.

End word

What started as an innocent way to protect a company’s product has now become a controversial battleground of ideas with good intentions and bad executions. As companies test the waters with different implementations, some less-than-desirable results have popped up. It’s important to let these companies know that only non-intrusive DRM should be allowed.