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Shadowrun Returns DRM Clarified

The Kickstarter page for Shadowrun Returns has word from Harebrained Schemes about their promise to provide a DRM-free version of the Shadowrun revival, and how this will and will not conflict with their plans to offer a version on Steam in addition to a standalone release. They explain that their license agreement with Microsoft actually requires the game and its DLC to include DRM, and while they managed to negotiate an exception to provide DRM-free editions of the game and the Berlin Campaign reward DLC for their backers, this will not apply to any other releases, so they will not be able to sell the game on or in any other DRM-free way, and all future DLC after Berlin Campaign will be only release though Steam. So to sum this up: Kickstarter backers of Shadowrun Returns are entitled to a DRM-free standalone version of the game with editor and mod support (and future patches) as well as a DRM-free copy of the reward DLC, but if they want to purchase future DLC after that, they must install the Steam version (which is also included in their backer rewards). Thanks nin.

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115. Re: Shadowrun Returns DRM Clarified Apr 16, 2013, 16:23 Sho
Beamer wrote on Apr 16, 2013, 16:13:
Again, it is not an investment. You are not an investor. In fact, the words "invest," "investment" and "investor" are deliberately NOT used on the Kickstarter site.

You are a "backer" in their words, a donor in reality.

Yeah, I know that's how it works in a legal sense, and I'm not really going to argue against that reality. I'm not saying they committed a legal offense or anything like that. In fact, I even agree that Kickstarter backers generally knowingly take a risk/gamble with backing, and that caps the amount of whining they're allowed to do after-the-fact :).

But I do still think there's a human case to be made here where people are well-justified in being unhappy with how this has shaken out. Because one side to the whole Kickstarter promise, as a social phenomenon, is certainly that it's supposed to usher in an era of a more consumer-friendly games industry, and for most gamers - and backers - DRM isn't considered consumer-friendly. If you put your money behind that cause, and things ultimately don't transpire that way ... well, it's ugly and sucks.

That's why I think Harebrained, in riding that wave, should have been more up-front in their communication about how they're not really going to be all that publisher-independent in this endeavour. Yes, they did very very quietly mention that they'd have to license from Microsoft, and yes, I can even understand not wanting to call attention to that fact to avoid scaring backers away - but while I can understand it, it still feels disingenuous and cagey to me now. I'm not sure I'd back future campaigns from them.

Kickstarter later added a required section to pitch pages where projects have to explain the risks involved, but the Shadowrun campaign predated that. Wonder what Harebrained would have written there?
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