Most of us in the gaming community generally agree that DRM is usually a bad idea and really only hurts legitimate consumers more than it does the pirates it’s aimed at. Thankfully it appears that Blizzard has recognized the backlash against intrusive DRM as seen with Ubisoft’s recent debacles.
Unlike the Ubisoft DRM that requires players to be connected to the internet 100% of the time with games like Assassin’s Creed II, Blizzard has decided to go with a one-off activation for their upcoming StarCraft II. After activation, customers should be off and running with StarCraft II’s single-player campaign whether they’re on or offline.
Now we all know that DRM methods like that leave games wide open for piracy. However, Blizzard has another trick up their sleeve to combat potential pirates. “If we’ve done our job right and implemented Battle.net in a great way people will want to be connected while they’re playing the single player campaign so they can stay connected to their friends on Battle.net and earn the achievements on Battle.net,” explains Frank Pearce, executive producer on StarCraft II.
He goes on to describe what sounds a lot like Valve’s ideology and what they do with Steam: “The best approach from our perspective is to make sure that you’ve got a full-featured platform that people want to play on, where their friends are, where the community is. That’s a battle that we have a chance in. If you start talking about DRM and different technologies to try to manage it, it’s really a losing battle for us..”
Unfortunately not all developers will have the benefit of taking on such philosophies, but it is definitely a step in the right direction to have a behemoth like Blizzard aboard the DRM reform train.