Controversial DRM technologies are an unfortunate necessity to combat a culture of piracy that plagues the games industry, industry figurehead Miles Jacobson has said.
“The unfortunate reality is that there are dishonest people in the world,” the Sports Interactive studio boss said, following an announcement from his company that its next Football Manager game will require online activation.
“I would love to have no DRM on our games,” he told Eurogamer.
“I’d also love to not have to have locks on my home, or a burglar alarm, or locks on my car. How good would a life without keys be? I’d also love to have no insurance, either at home, or at the studio. Or a security guard at the office.
“As long as there are people out there who want to pirate, there will be a need for DRM,” he explained.
Jacobson said that Football Manager 2011 was likely the most pirated version in the series’ history.
He repeated a claim by the game’s publisher, Sega, that for every person who bought Football Manager 2009 there were four who pirated it.
He added that the numbers of people downloading torrents from public sites “rose massively for both Football Manager 10 and Football Manager 11".
“As with any kind of online piracy, faster broadband speeds and penetration has led to an increase in online piracy,” he explained.
“Boxed piracy is falling though, albeit not at the same speed that the online piracy is increasing. We also know that the numbers of people downloading torrents from public sites rose massively for both Football Manager 10 and Football Manager 11, despite shutting down torrents as quickly as they went up for the first few months of release.
“We also know that being cracked ahead of release leads to people to cancel, or not pick up, pre-orders, and lower first weekend sales.”
The announcement that Football Manger 2012 would require activation on Valve’s PC platform, Steam, has caused outrage from some people alleged to be legitimate buyers.
But Jacobson believes the problem with piracy is prevalent, serious and will likely not be solved within his lifetime.
“Even with freemium games, people cheat and try and find ways to steal others coins, as per recent court cases. It’s very sad, but it’s the world we live in.”