Avalanche: “If a DRM system constantly needs to be defended, something must be wrong”

Tuesday, 6th September 2011 16:55 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Avalanche Studios founder Christofer Sundberg isn’t a big fan of always-on DRM solutions for PC, and feels that if a publisher is going to incorporate such a system, it needs to reward the players in turn.

Speaking in an interview with EDGE, Sunderberg agreed piracy is a problem, but feels there are better ways to go about combating it than by forcing players to remain online at all times for authentication purposes.

“If a DRM system constantly needs to be defended, something must be wrong,” he said. “As a developer you will never win over any fans if you constantly let everyone know how much it costs to develop a game and how much money you lose.

“I don’t like always-on DRM solutions at all, since they offer nothing to the consumer. If you continuously give something extra for registering and being online, and award them for actually paying for and playing your game, it’d be different, but always-on DRM only says: ‘Thank you for buying our game, we trust you as far as we can throw you.’

“My solution to the problem is to start designing games for the PC player, and award PC players for being part of the community of your game and for staying connected to you – not forcing them. If you continuously tell the player that you care about their opinions, and appreciate their investment, you will lower the amount of bootleg copies.”

Sunderberg said it is usually the publisher that makes the DRM decisions, especially if it owns the IP, but that Avalanche would “go down screaming before anything like this ends up,” in one of its games.

“I would have a hard time explaining to my team why we would have to implement it…there is certainly a studio-wide opinion that DRM is a threat to the entertaining experience we want our players to have,” he said.

Avalanche Studios is currently working on Renegade Ops which is slated for a mid-month release on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.



  1. DSB


    That is all so true I feel like just falling over from sheer force of agreement.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. AHA-Lambda

    No one has to keep defending steamworks now do they?

    #2 3 years ago
  3. YoungZer0

    @1: I second that A’motherfucking’men.

    Have been playing Just Cause 2 again last week. I still can’t believe how awesome this game is.

    IMO all Avalanche needs to do with their new game is get it a great mature story and compelling characters, since the gameplay and the world is so fucking amazing.

    Just the size and the variation of the islands is amazing. Not even mentioning the power of the engine and the short loading times.

    But the very best thing: No DRM. 8) With comments like these, developers really earn my respect.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. DSB

    It’s particularly great because it takes it all into account. It doesn’t have to be either “I love pirates” or “I love fascist publishers”. You just need a solution that gives me a pound of flesh, for your pound of paranoia.

    Look at the way CD Projekt launched The Witcher 2. They had secuROM in place for the launch (pretty pointless, but even so) and they took it out a week later. I have absolutely nothing against that.

    I also have a hard time hating someone like Blizzard for doing always-on DRM, since the games they’re putting out are aimed at multiplayer, and the online systems they make for them are of such high quality.

    I don’t like always-on DRM, I think it’s fundamentally wrong, but as long as it’s not ruining anything, and packaged in a great system, I can pretty much concede. Although that sort of feeling only lasts until your modem goes down or your ISP fucks up.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Hallonglass

    See, we swedes are awesome. He’s totally right.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. DarkElfa

    Oh my gentle Jesus, there is an intelligent person in the game development arena.

    This must be the end as for told in the prophecy.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. hitnrun

    This can’t be linked enough.

    As for Mr Sundberg, he has an agreeable attitude but he misses the crux of the argument. Always-on DRM is objectionable because of the message it sends to players, but it’s manifestly, provably wrong because it has no effect whatsoever on piracy. Pirated versions of games come from one or two copies cracked by experts. Restricting thousands or millions of paying customers is therefore nothing more than a red herring. It’s actually an incentive to pirate.

    This means that publishers who implement it aren’t really interested in piracy; they’re interested in controlling their paying customers.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. The_Red

    There are a lot of sane people among developers who hate most forms of DRM but NONE of them are allowed to talk and many others are forced to use the annoying methods like that.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. DaMan

    When ‘re they going to make JC3?

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Lightmanone

    Wow. I couldn’t have said it better. This man deserves a medal. He doesn’t just say that he doesn’t like DRM, he explains it with a sheer line of perfectly good thinking. And I am in agreement for years already.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. barter

    barter says: sumbitch! don’t hold back, tell us what you really think! don’t look so distressed, did i happen to mention I’m impressed?!

    #11 3 years ago

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