Speaking of GOG.com
(story above), there's an
interview on Ars Technica
where GOG.com's managing director Guillaume
Rambourg discusses the success they've had selling games with no digital rights
management. Here's his example of their experience, which also touches on the
success of their recently
There is an even more recent research
under way that seems to prove that dropping DRM in the music industry resulted
in an up to 41 percent increase in sales. GOG.com's DRM-free, day-one release of
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, a AAA+ game by any standards, is a great case
study. At release, the version widely available on torrent sites was not the
DRM-free GOG version but the one that posed any sort of challenge to the
hackers, the one that included DRM.
The game was downloaded illegally roughly 4.5 million times, but to use the
industry-wide practice and treat those entirely as "lost sales" is a massive
misunderstanding. Most pirates never had any intent to buy the game in the first
place; some surely became paying customers after trying it out or when the title
became available at a discounted price. To drive the point home, CDP Red won't
be using any DRM for their upcoming release of The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. As
Marcin Iwinski recently put it: "Will it be more pirated than if we put DRM on
it? I definitely don't think so. [...] With a DRM-free release, we're hoping to
build more trust between us and gamers."
Finally, in our own experience we've found that trusting users to treat us well
pays off and that our DRM-free approach is certainly not costing us business.
Two of the many examples that come to mind: we see an average number of
downloads per game that's somewhere below two—which means that users aren't
taking advantage of DRM-free gaming to share accounts around.
Another great example comes from our recent launch of our 30-day, money-back
guarantee where, if a game bought on GOG.com ends up not working despite what we
can do to help you, we'll refund you your money. While we've seen an uptick in
customer support requests, it's in the realm of a 200 percent or 300 percent
increase in queries that seem legitimate for the most part, not a titanic flood
of people who want to try to find a way to scam GOG.com out of a free game. I
believe that people, by and large, try to be good; treating them that way for
five years at GOG.com seems to bear out our hypothesis.