First post here, and my first read too. Touchy subject. *pokes*
DRM is a restriction on the use or copying of files, imposed by the copyright owner. Where I live I am legally entitled to create a backup of what I buy. Whether it be a DVD movie, PC game, software, console game, I am in my right to create a copy for myself. Back in the days when I had gone out and bought a game the first thing I would do was to go home and create a backup, and use that for installation and playing. Later on came the NoCD fixes. "You don't need a CD to play anymore? Awesome!" and it still is.
I gave up on making backups of my games a long time ago.
I am a strong supporter of NoCD's and backups. After all I have purchased all the games I have ever liked, why should I be treated like a criminal? Cars don't have equipment that makes it impossible for you to break the speed limit, although they probably will have that one day. I see insurance companies giving away cheap policies if you agree to have a "black box" installed that records up to the last x amount of time until it detects a crash. All good, but you agree to this.
I never agreed to anything when I purchased Spore at my local EB Games, and I wasn't able to agree to this fully before I had taken the game out of it's plastic wrap, thus relinquishing any chance of returning it, and even then, the DRM in Spore was... Evil. Corporate you might say. It's borderline illegal. I can accept DRM, but it has to be obvious that I might not be able to play the game on my own PC.
When I buy a game, I want to be able to install it and then play it, as many times as I want on as many different PC's I want. I should be able to change the graphics card in my PC 100 times a day (if I so desired) without any software telling me I cannot play what I paid for. I don't want to have to spend hours reading through all sorts of posts in different forums and waiting for several days for customer support to "fix my game". Out of purely selfish reasons, I could've digested the Spore thing better had it been a problem for ALL buyers and not just a handful.
I could've liked software like Steam and Impulse. It's easy and simple, but not everyone has internet connections. How on earth would I have been able to update SOSE to 1.12 if I had not been connected? I would not even be able to download it to a pendrive at my neighbour, I would have to bring my entire computer. Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is a game I bought with the discs. I need Steam to update that, SOSE is a game I bought with discs, and I need impulse to update that.
I do think I understand why developers choose to integrate DRM software into their games. The biggest initiative to do this I would think is income, but it is in this process, to secure that income, they seem to forget who supplies the income. It is not their own hard work and hours spend up at night, but the customers that buys that game. Without the customer they would not receive their income.
I also understand that to increase that number of customers you make it increasingly hard for the game to be "pirated" (which I by the way think is a horrible term as they don't sink your ships and leave you to be eaten by sharks), hopefully making it alot easier to just go out and buy the game instead of downloading or whatever.
"Piracy" is the biggest cause for PC gamers not being able to return their games after opening the wrapper. Not the only cause though, retailers make more money that way.
Speaking of retailers, don't they sell second-hand games? Does the developers benefit from that? Not that I am aware of (honestly), but if they don't, isn't that "piracy" too on a huge, ginourmous, gargantuan scale under the cover of legal business? After all, I'm not even legally allowed to lend my game out to a friend of mine, and we all did that at least once. Boo, bad boys. How many here can honestly say that they have never played a LAN game without someone not having the legal version of the game, and still enjoying themselves, thus actually supporting it? I bet some of you have thrown fits and tantrums at friends who "pirated" as well, but most of us has probably been in the same room as one, playing the same game, knowing he didn't own it, or you maybe even lend him your CD's. Pirates! All of us! Or at least supporters.
Almost every gamer today who purchases a game today, does so knowing that he's in for a lot more work than just installation. Everyone seems to be ok with this, and so am I. As long as it's at least possible to play it after activation.
DRM's will continue to grow and they will become stronger, but they will always, always be broken by someone who's bored or needs a coding challenge. Some people actually don't do this just to "pirate" a game but does it because of the challenge. The purpose of the release, of this broken/rewritten code can be discussed, and flagged as "pirating" (which it is regardless of the reason), or a person who flaunts his E-peen. To be very honest, if I had the coding knowledge I would attempt to break it myself just to play without the damn discs! And I would share it with friends who I knew to have purchased the game as well. After all, I bought the game I think it should be up to me to decide what happens now as long as it stays on my PC. Is that so wrong? Some will say it's changing the IP, but I really couldnt' care less. I once bought a VW Golf in the factory produced red, and I wasn't fined or arrested for painting it blue, after all I own the car regardless of who made it, and it's mine to share with my friends if I want, when I want.
The day that DRM becomes a cooperation between different partners, OS' and game developers being one combination, is the day that I see Linux seriously gain some ground. It is not impossible to achieve this "symbiosis", but it is a bad step, and regardless of what you think, it's not the pirates decision, but I will agree that they will be a big player in the corporations decision-making process. But this will again be broken or cracked as they say. The only possible way that you can ever protect yourself entirely against piracy is non-excistent with the current laws of the different countries, what is legal in one country is illegal in another regardless of what you put in the EULA.
I do hope that one day pirated software of all levels will be gone, but I doubt it. Today the gaming industry has turned into a very large revenue machine and many games that are being churned out are only half way complete, or just utter dogs bollocks. The best games by far are those made by gamers for gamers, with the purpose of creating just that all-important thing: A good game.
The standards for what a good game is has certainly been lowered over the last decade. MMO's are becoming worse and worse and more incomplete than ever. Bugs are inevitable of course, but oftentimes I wonder what the game would've been like had all the money for marketing and advertising gone into the development of the game instead of that.
I would like to thank ANY maker of ANY game that was made by gamers for gamers. Those are the best, and Stardock and Ironclad, you are on my list.
EDIT: Wall of text hits you for 62,468 Damage!