Wardell had strengthened his position with the Gamer’s Bill of Rights initiative, a desirable behavioral handbook for videogames producers that would adequately respect the consumers by stating “the right to expect that games won’t install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their consent“. Having scored commercial hits with its best known games like Galactic Civilizations and Sins of a Solar Empire (strictly sold with no DRM at all), Stardock has asked for other software houses to sign the proposal too.
Pretty predictably, on the contrary, the videogaming majors have refused to sign strongly reaffirming the need to protect the games somehow, even if it would be useless against the BitTorrent and P2P users. Furthermore, the companies have challenged Wardell to “Put your money where your mouth is. Why don’t you guys develop something that you think is suitable that would protect our IP, but would be more acceptable to users?“.
And the Stardock CEO, apparently, has taken up the challenge starting to work on a protection scheme virtually able to turn opprobriums like StarForce and SecuROM in bygone relics. “We’re investigating what would make users happy to protect their needs, but also provide some security for the publishers. (…) We’re actually developing a technology that would do that“, Wardell has revealed to Edge.
The new security solution, the executive says, will revolve around the key concepts of a license tied to the user’s identity and the utter transparency of the scheme for the software usability. If the Digital Rights Management restrictions are usually limiting the right to install a game beyond a certain fixed number of times or on any several machines you’d like to, the Stardock newborn will verify only that the license is owned by the player with no limits to the installation numbers. “We want that license to be yours, not per machine. (…) It’s not your machine buying the game. It’s you” Wardell says.
Another remarkable feature of the system should be the ability to regain the game, through a download from a remote server, if the disk or the original content had gone lost. And everything should be fine if you simply provide a previously recorded e-mail address: “If my license is attached to my (e-mail) account, let me go online and download the whole game later” Wardell says.
Looking at the views expressed by the community of its own games, Stardock has synthetized what could be a good compromise between the protection anxieties of the industry and the wish for easiness and respect expressed by the users. The industry wants to protect the games’ licenses? Then they must give something in exchange like the on-line download, Wardell states.
Insofar as he can be allergic to DRM, in the end, the Stardock CEO criticizes the class action brought by Melissa Thomas against Electronic Arts for the well-known issue with the protection of the new Will Wright’s “god game” Spore: “Publishers should have the right to be stupid if they want - Wardell ends up - That’s their right. And it’s the right of the consumer to choose not to buy“.
My opinion is: not at all, because the videogaming majors are dumb-assholes driven. Please discuss.