The Sims creator Will Wright has praised Microsoft for its recent dramatic DRM policy reversal, telling CNN Money that such an about-face was an "impressive" move for a company with the size and stature of Microsoft.
"From the consumers' point of view, I can really understand a lot of the backlash to DRM," Wright said. "The fact that if something's required on the Internet that means they can't play it on the airplane or if their Internet connection goes down. It was interesting watching the Microsoft thing. I thought it was very impressive how responsive Microsoft was to that."
Wright explained that the previously required 24-hour online check-ins could have helped lessen piracy levels, but "you can't use DRM at the expense of the customers."
Elsewhere in the interview, Wright said a passionate gamer crowd is a positive for the industry.
"These people with a passion for your project are going to go out and sell your game to other people and pull other people in. The more they feel like they have some ownership over the process and they're not just kind of customers, the better," Wright said. "To see a company like Microsoft actually sit back, listen, and understand the fans and respond to them is impressive. For a company that size to be that responsive is great. These companies are the ones that obviously keep us in business and allow us to make games."
At the same time, though, Wright warned that a company like Microsoft should make decisions based on its entire audience, not only the vocal minority who speak out through social media.
"On the other side there's the Internet thing where 5 percent of the people are making all the noise. Sometimes they represent the other 95 percent, sometimes they don't. A lot of times the 5 percent are asking for ridiculously elaborate features, and as a game designer you know that's going to make the game inaccessible to everybody else," Wright said.
"There are these people that want you to push a franchise in a super hardcore direction, and therefore we're going to close it off to 95 percent of the players, so you have to understand what kind of feedback that they're giving you," he added. "But when it's something that's 5 percent representing the other 95 that will probably feel the same way, then I think it's really valuable."