One thing I determined over the last couple of days is that a clear way to kill an MMO is model their business after the MP3 market of music and video. I am utterly astounded at the appalling gull of that industry to literally rape its consumers. I recently picked up a video/music MP3 player and am in a haul down fight now to get music and video on the device.
The latest in DRM (Digital Rights Management) is close to modern day slavery, in the sense that one must surrender all rights you have to both with the product you buy but also your own privacy. The latest creation is a service called Unbox from Amazon. Trash all your ideas of the quality of service that normally is associated with Amazon — this service is the utter devil. You will be wishing you had never ventured onto the web page soon enough with this shlock. Unbox doesn’t tell you many things about their service, none of which is that you can play the video only on their proprietary software, that it wont play on portable devices, and even more astounding that you can’t get it to run on other computers you own. On top of that, it installs spyware on your computer and that it not only tracks its products but also your movement around the web.
Uninstall you ask? If so, be prepared to see the videos you bought to be deleted by the program. Yup, the product you purchased is not yours, never was, they were just loaning it to you.
so lets take this into the MMO business. You could say that we are close to the DRM madness of music and video in the sense that we don’t have the rights to take our WoW character and move it to another service. We can’t take our Everquest 2 character and sell it to another — even though we purchased that character and spent our time developing it. If you think about that, it is gulling that they force those conditions on us.
But we must go beyond those draconian measures if we wish to venture into the DRM of MMOs. Consider what your reaction would be if Sony told you that even while you are not playing Everquest that their software would run in the background, that it would make cookies of where you went and what you were doing?
How would you feel if Blizzard told you that when you purchased Wow that it would run only on one machine and that if you tried to load WoW on another, that it wouldn’t work. That you would have to spend more money on re-licensing the product. If you uninstalled the game on one machine, that they make no guarantee that your character will not be deleted.
We all know that games don’t last forever — at some point down the road we must understand that the Everquest servers will shut down. But what would your feelings be to know that it was an imminent threat that at any moment you can be playing the game, and the world goes dark — discovering that for whatever reason they have decided to sever their agreement.
On top of all these new controls, add the complete and utter in ability to find information about your service. Its bad enough that these companies, such as Unbox, would even dare put me through the ringer after I spent my money to purchase their product, but its worse when they do not spell out any of this other than in the minutiae of some legal agreement when you first set the product up (I don’t know about you, but I have found that even if I did read the sixty page of tiny type, I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea what it meant — I often just click through it). Of course, I would never have agreed to the terms had I known that my video could not be placed on portable devices or that I could not transfer my music or video to another computer.
What you are left with is trying to circumvent this DRM garbage — which is illegal. I personally don’t like to take actions such as this, but the companies who deal in DRM almost expect you to do so. Why not offer DRM free entertainment?!? Research has proven that such services make more money than ones who tie the hands of their customers.
So listen up MMO industry — if you really want to anger your customers and cause them to either leave your service or become hackers (which to me is a lose – lose situation) adopt the Machiavellian approach to gaming and look to DRM for your pathway into the abysss–