Defective by Design

Diablo 3 DRM: "It's really an online game without a monthly fee"

Submitted by mattl on Tue, 2012-05-22 09:27

Blizzard has released the long-awaited game Diablo 3 to much fanfare, and yet to many gamers, much disappointment and frustration because of the game's DRM system. It requires a permanent internet connection to play -- moving much of the in-game interaction and logic to the network. Blizzard is using Diablo 3 to operate an online auction house, using real-world currency or in-game gold, which in turn can be exchanged between players to purchase weapons, materials and upgrades for your in-game character.

Blizzard is taking a 15% cut of any in-game transactions, and yet fans of Diablo 3 are asking Blizzard to let them play the game in private, without internet access. These fans are willing to forgo the auction house, and just want to play the game they purchased without interruption or surveillance. Blizzard is refusing, because they use the always-on requirement as a way to tightly control the game software and its users.

Stay Angry, that's the message from Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

The game also embraces a secondary form of DRM -- unique product keys that are required to install the game and of course, uniquely identifying players to the Blizzard online service. Controlling how you can play it your own house — each product key is limited to a single online account — as is typical of DRM systems, a restriction that has nothing to do with enforcing copyright law.

Previously Blizzard attempted to implement an invasive 'real name' policy that would force gamers to identify themselves with real-world credentials on support forums. But facing considerable backlash from privacy advocates, the company backed down and made it an optional feature.

Take that as proof that your action could make a difference in getting them to back down from DRM!

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