(Mis)Uses of Technology
When someone asks me what DRM is, my answer is very simple: it’s anti-piracy software that generally doesn’t stop pirates at all, and, instead, mostly only annoys legitimate buyers. Well, then why do software and video game companies use it at all? Couldn’t tell you. Businesses really want to annoy their own customers? Apparently, yes. Timothy, when you say this doesn’t really stop pirates, you’re exaggerating, right? No, not at all.
The worst of the examples of legit customers getting screwed by video game DRM involve when a game or product is bricked simply because a publisher or its DRM partner simply shuts down the servers that make the DRM work, on purpose or otherwise.
Gran Turismo 7 was recently released on the PlayStation and is already facing major headwinds due to the public’s absolute hate for all the microtransactions included in the game. On top of that, the entire game, including the single player content, was rendered unplayable because the DRM servers that require an online check to play the game crumbled during a maintenance window.
The scheduled server maintenance, timed around the release of the version 1.07 patch for the game, was initially planned to last just two hours starting at 6 am GMT (2 am Eastern) on Thursday morning. Six hours later, though, the official Gran Turismo Twitter account announced that “due to an issue found in Update 1.07, we will be extending the Server Maintenance period. We will notify everyone as soon as possible when this is likely to be completed. We apologize for this inconvenience and ask for your patience while we work to resolve the issue.”
“Inconvenience” in this case means not being able to play the game the customer purchased. Like, basically at all. Why the single player content in a console game of all things should require an online check-in is completely beyond me. Console piracy is a thing, but certainly not much of a thing. There is zero chance that this DRM is worth the headache Sony now has on its hands.
A headache that lasted for more than a full calendar day, by the way. And a headache that Sony’s competitors picked up on to use in messaging to the public on social media.
For now, Gran Turismo 7 owners tired of waiting to play the game they bought are forced to look elsewhere for their racing fix. As EA and Codemasters have cheekily tweeted, Grid Legends “is a videogame with cars in it that you can play right now.” Imagine that!
Filed Under: copyright, drm, gran turismo 7, server upgrade
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