We’ve grown complacent with our digital distribution platforms and the securities laid within. The ease of access that they allow on PC or Console is unmatched by physical media and is the main reason the latter has all but diminished. However, something I never thought of but has always been ever present is, what if those providers goof up or just completely shut down?
To begin, I want to dive into exactly why this editorial is pointed at EA directly and not all DRM services in general. Recently, EA’s Origin quietly banned an entire country from their services. You read that right, an ENTIRE country. Myanmar was the country in question which is located right beside Thailand and Bangladesh. On some maps, it may be noted as Burma in fact. Anyway, the whole story began with a fellow gamer from the country noticing that he could no longer play anything on Origin. He got the notice “Origin is no longer available in Myanmar” followed by a notice saying US laws forced them to block certain counties and there was nothing they could do to allow access to their library of games. The original Reddit post can be seen here! I’ve also attached a great video from the know that goes further in depth.
While this may seem insignificant for the countries where most of you may be reading this, I for one have to raise a concern that I hadn’t really had until seeing this. I have a library of over 400 games on Steam and even more on other platforms including Uplay, Origin, and even Epic Games’ own. Somehow I never thought about how digital services can just close their doors one day or (as was the case with the unlucky Reddit player, completely deny access to games protected by their DRM. CD Projekt Red has been a firm opponent to DRM based services and I didn’t really understand the bias until I began to consider these Digital Distribution platforms as a service similar to the internet or even electricity.
I’ve had times where I’ve had my internet shut off by accident because someone in an apartment next to mine didn’t pay their bill on time and the employee made a mistake. Imagine something similar happening after you buy a brand new game on Steam, log on one day to play it and have your purchase revoked because someone on your street stole 10 copies somehow. It may seem unlikely but that convenient library management also means we’ve put our gaming collection in the hands of a third party. Kind of like lending your friend your favorite copy of Xenoblade Chronicles and never seeing them again, effectively losing the game.
So, what can be done to insure that something like this doesn’t happen in the future or becomes extremely rampant? I suppose, as much as I hate to say it, there has to be some sort of regulation that protects us from corporation decided denial of service happening. This could lead to contracts being drawn in the future as DRM based platforms become more and more essential and less like just a nice way to keep your games organized. But hey, that’s just an opinion. This could very well be an isolated incident but becoming complacent is a surefire way to not see exactly what is happening in the world around us.
Andron (or Ace as he likes to call himself) is the so called "Head Honcho" of Bombchu.com. He has a deep passion for video games primarily RPGs, Fighting or Adventure. When not gaming, he's furiously typing on his keyboard or coming up with new schemes.