Why I’m a console gamer (or PC DRM sucks)

So a customer makes a snarky comment in the Bioware/EA forums and gets his account banned for 72 hours, effectively cutting off any games he’s purchased from Bioware/EA; including the brand new Dragon Age 2.   Wow, that’s harsh, Dragon Age 2 is the newest and shiniest game on the market.

Sure sucks to be that person and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if you bite the hand that feeds you games, you’ll get smacked sooner or later.  EA owns Bioware and we all know that EA places its own digital rights over the convience of its users.  You can’t play any Sims game without the install CD, Spore was a complete disaster, and low and behold Dragon Age 2 requires some on-line phone-home and make sure the user is in good standing to play buffoonery.

I’ve been playing games on computers since the Commodore 64 and I’ve seen all manner of digital rights management schemes.  I remember answering questions from the manual to prove I had a legitimate copy.  I recall various copy protection software schemes looking for specific “unreadable” tracks on 5.25″ and 3.5″ floppy disks.   That still holds true for many modern games that require the install disc to be inserted before they launch (a.k.a. Sims)

The problem is that I don’t want to truck around a stack of CDs with me when I travel.  If I’ve already got to go find a CD to insert to play a game; I might as well just get the console version of the game, put the media in the PS3/XBox/Wii and play.  Not to mention that I don’t have to worry about video settings or CPU speed or sound quality.  A PS3 version of Dragon Age 2 will function exactly how the designers meant it to function and I won’t get told by the vendor that my PC is too old or my graphics card is too weak for their game.  The additional bonus here is that I don’t have to deal with strange DRM tools to stop piracy.  My Dragon Age 2 blu ray inserted into one PS3 is the only way I can play.

There are precious few PC games that I play anymore and almost all of them are MMORPGs with FREE client downloads and a monthly/annual fee.  That’s right EA, if you provide a quality on-line experience with compelling content and good customer service people will pay you. You should check out Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean on-line, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, or Eve online for examples of success.  For the record, Spore was not a success.

Yes I am still sore over the flop/ruination of Spore at the hands of EA.  I’m sure that vitriol is evident but it’s not just EA.  Other software houses do it too.  Eventually the PC gamer market will die.  Not because the PC isn’t capable of playing good games, but because MMOs will figure out how to work on consoles and folks like PotCO, LotRO, Eve, and Blizzard will realize that they can get more bang for the buck selling to consoles and leveraging existing networks (Xbox live, PSN, Wii channels) rather than trying to maintain development efforts for PC and Mac over the open Internet.

Oh yeah I hear the nay-sayers lauding Steam… You don’t think they are trying to make Steam play on consoles?  Really? They probably aren’t speaking about it publicly but Steam on PS3/Xbox would be a have-to-have for everyone everywhere.

When that day comes, it’ll be the final nail in the PC game market’s coffin.  I’m sure that a few years after that happens we’ll have to send someone around to tell the C level execs at the PC gaming houses, precious few of them seem to really be connected with the gaming market anymore…



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