The first and most damning aspect - it does. Not. Work. Spore was pirately more than any other game I can think of - somewhere in the region of half a million people downloaded it, despite having measures to supposedly stop it from happening. A lot of those downloads were in protest of the DRM measures. So in effect, it has had the opposite result. I guess the only thing we can take heart in knowing is that the shareholders will very most likely be connecting the dots when what could be the biggest thing outside of World of Warcraft doesn't bring results... all because of DRM. Like the consumer, I guess we can only hope they vote with their wallets.
Second. It's cliched to hell, but you simply cannot stress it enough. It only affects the legitimate consumer. So honestly. EA, Ubisoft. Tell us. What's the point? What is the point when it does not work, and it drives away sales?
Lets turn to the devil themselves, EA's John Riccitiello:
"We're still working out the kinks. We implemented a form of DRM and it's something that 99.8 percent of users wouldn't notice. But for the other .2 percent, it became an issue and a number of them launched a cabal online to protest against it."
Kinks? The whole damn concept is one black-hole of a kink. And it's drawing PC gaming into its event horizon. 99.8% who don't notice? I'm sure they'll notice when their title fails to install in a few years time - right when the company will likely be loosing interest in supporting said title. My favourite bit though is "a number of them launched a cabal online to protest against it". A cabal?! So we're somehow now an occult body plotting PC gaming's downfall or something? Actually conciously considering where we invest our money; being conscientious consumers apparently makes us some kind of feverant zealots? Thanks Johnny. I hope you're enjoying the hundreds of pounds I've probably given you over the years.
Next, he adds, "I personally don't like DRM. It interrupts the user experience. We would like to get around that. But there is this problem called piracy out there." I simply do not understand the man if he acknowledges it has problems. EA is made up of some very smart business people. They basically define the model for commercial gaming enterprise. But somewhere a long the line, their think tanks have failed them miserably here. It's really quite pathetic.
Thus, I reach the most important part of my rant. DRM and the crusade against the pirate boogie man is going to drammatically harm the industry if it keeps up. I'm not going to deny it: The industry is probably driven more by sales than any other mainstream media form. The only way they make money is by shifting copies. Again, our friends the shareholders will be thinking with their wallets here. Why on earth are they going to invest in an industry where its executives will blindly drive away sales with intrusive DRM?
And it's not just the publishers. Once respected figureheads of PC gaming - Cliffy B of Epic and Peter Molyneux and the like are equally to blame. By abandoning the PC as a platform simply based on the arguement that piracy is "rampant" in the PC market, their doom and gloom is likely to cause an exodus to the consoles. And you know the worse thing? That's going to damage the quality of gaming too. I hate to generalise and all... but honestly, console games, especially FPS's are becoming criminally generic. There should be laws against the development of "Halo-killers".
In summary of the bad then:
1) It doesn't work!
2) The consumer gets a bad deal...
3) While the pirate enjoys it DRM free. And free. And before us consumers.
4) The doom and gloom of developers could have more serious ramifications for the industry than piracy itself.
5) It apparently makes me some kind of Cabalist.
This is however, not to say that it's all bad. In fact, I would say quite the opposite. At least with Cliffy B content to keep his hulking cardboard cutout heroes on the 360, we might actually see the good developers shining through.
Secondly, there are other avenues of light. Steam is fast becoming my new love affair. It's got a perfect balance between price, community features, excellent download rates... and it does help stem piracy, and certainly eliminates zero day piracy, which is by and large the most damaging form of it. Noticably may I add, the 360 version of Fallout 3 couldn't make that same claim, while the PC version is joyously DRM free and still well away from pirate bay.
Third, the indie PC games industry is making some huge strides these days - Hinterlands, Multiwinia, World of Goo are triple AAA titles in every respect. We don't need EA or Ubisoft for this kind of excellence.
Lastly, I can't help but find it ironic that low or superior DRM titles such as those by Stardock and Valve are better supported, and that support is not something the pirate can easily attain either. So we're being rewarded for paying, and we get a better deal on the whole aswell.
Anyway. I'm done rambling for now.