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E3 Podcast #2: DRM, Nintendo, and Oculus Rift Exclusive
June 12, 2013 | By Staff

We just rapidly prototyped a second episode of the Gamasutra E3 podcast, recorded from the luxurious Kawada Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

Gamasutra editor-in-chief Kris Graft, Blog Czar Christian Nutt, and Patrick Miller of Patrick Miller Inc. (and also formerly of Game Developer magazine) fill you in on what they did on day one of E3 2013.

What did they do? Let's not totally spoil it, but it involves DRM policies on consoles, Pokemon, and being a spaceship pilot who can't move his arms.

Let us know what you think in the comments! Maybe we'll keep on doing these (and give them some semblance of production value) if you find them useful and entertaining.

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Rob Wright
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Christian is spot-on -- everyone except GameStop wants to limit or eliminate pre-owned games sales (as a way to prevent multiple people enjoying the same physical game disc) but no one wanted to be the company to lead the charge.

I wonder if Patrick is right -- if the cosole makers colluded withone another (and the major game publishers) to employ an industry-wide DRM movement against used games, would it have hurt console sales significantly in this generation? I'm not entirely convinced it would.

max bowman
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there would be legal ramificaions, plus profit ones as well. There is something called the first sale doctrine. Here's a link

Nintendo tried to battle Blockbuster and other chains back in the late eighties regarding their practice of renting nintendo games. I don't remember the specifics but it was explored in David Sheff's Game Over. Needless to say First Sale Doctrine holds a lot of sway with the courts and the consumer public. Even steam with their unresalable games are getting into legal trouble in Europe.

In my personal opinion Microsoft is shooting themselves in the foot. You can't restrict physical media like this, their best bet would have been to stealthily do this by slowly phasing out physical sales and replacing everything with downloadable content. It's only a matter of time before this happens (or not, given the law)

And the best part is that this won't stop piracy in the least. Sooner or later someone's going to hack the xbone and let you play the games for free, and defeat the call home every day measure. These free xboxes will provide to be more valuable and will sell for more, especially to areas with bad internet connections. That is if Xbone doesn't go the way of the saturn.

But then again Microsoft has done tons of expensive research on this and are comfortable with their chances. They have more qualified people than me making discussions and decisions on this topic, but something still gnaws at me about their approach. It's too fool hardy and risky, but it's their bet to make.

daniel birchal
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I think Microsoft arrogance will cost, big time!
There's no business without customers, and MS is killing its own user base.
A casual gamer won't buy a $500 console. The hard core gamers clearly chose PS4 as their consoles.
Hard core gamers are also the mind makers. When someone that doesn't know much about technology, usually they ask someone they know (that knows more about it) witch one is the best way to go. This person will probably be a hard core gamer and will probably recommend a PS4.
Ignoring the mouth to mouth advertising is a serious mistake.

Rob Wright
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Max, the first sale doctrine is not an automatic override of Microsoft's DRM plan. Here's a great summary of legal and copyright experts discussing the matter and how software has become a murky area for the doctrine:

And you're right -- the pre-owned DRM policy isn't going to stop piracy for the console. However, I do think we'll see a day soon (perhaps the next console generation with the Xbox Two) where gaming will be delivered as a service, and there will be no actual ownership or physical discs or software. I think ultimately that's the direction Microsoft wants to move toward (see Office 365 as a non-gaming example of this) with the always-online move; they're prepping Xbox users for this future because it gives them more control of the product and will help limit "piracy," or in this case, theft of service.

Willie Sippel
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Why is X so often ignored? It was the biggest and most impressive game Nintendo showed - new IP, realistic visuals, a huge open world - it was visually and in general the closest thing to "next gen" Nintendo had, yet it's either "also running" or nonexistent in most Nintendo coverage.

I don't get it. There are so many complaints that Nintendo doesn't develop new IPs, yet when they do, hardly anybody cares...

Nooh Ha
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Talking of restrictive DRM policies, are there MP3 versions of these podcast?