Talking at his ESA keynote, president Michael Gallagher discussed the issues of piracy and digital rights management (DRM), commenting on "piracy as a scourge", but acceding that as "a subject of some controversy", DRM does sometimes "negatively impacts the law-abiding gamer."
Having been asked about the level of DRM in current games, and especially a movement against excessive DRM, even from some publishers, Gallagher explained his view as head of the video game industry association. He started out by noting that "piracy is a scourge", and intellectual theft, commenting that it's a problem "to such a degree" that billions of dollars are lost per year.
He noted that for piracy, the "going-in proposition has to be a recognition that piracy is wrong, illegal, and must be stopped." With the biggest games from ESA publishers costing as much as $30 million, he commented: "We as an industry are required to protect their content."
Nonetheless, Gallagher agreed that even though publishers are "entitled to protect" their games with DRM, the nature of game protection, as recently discussed
in a Gamasutra article, is certainly "a subject of some controversy."
He did admit that DRM can sometimes "negatively impact the law-abiding gamer", but added that "we have to be vigilant", since if developers don't make money with their games now due to piracy, they won't be around to make tomorrow's top titles.
Gamasutra also covered the entirety of Gallagher's comments in his ESA address
, including many new stats on the state of the video game market.