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Square Enix: DRM is a necessary part of doing business and it's here to stay

Senior manager at Final Fantasy studio discusses controversial anti-piracy measure, and stresses that such policies should not interfere with a player's ability to enjoy their games.

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In a new interview with TorrentFreak, a Square Enix business manager explains that anti-piracy measures like digital rights management (DRM) systems are a necessary part of doing business and are not expected to go away anytime soon.

"The primary benefit [of DRM] to us is the same as with any business: profit," Square Enix senior manager of business and legal affairs Adam Sullivan said. "We have a well-known reputation for being very protective of our IPs, which does deter many would-be pirates. However, effectiveness is notoriously difficult to measure--in short, we rely on the data available to us through our sales team and various vendors, along with consumer feedback."

"The key to DRM is that it can't interfere with the customer's ability to play the game"

Many gamers have rallied against DRM, saying such measures negatively affect their experiences. The Witcher studio CD Projekt Red is one of the most vocal opponents of DRM and even operates its own DRM-free digital storefront called GOG. Sullivan explained that DRM must be employed in such a way that it does not have a detrimental impact on the player's experience.

"The key to DRM is that it can't interfere with the customer's ability to play the game," he said. "It's not uncommon for people to get a new computer every few years, or to have multiple computers. Sometimes they don't have reliable Internet connections. There's no perfect solution yet."

Though there has been considerable backlash to some DRM practices, Sullivan said he believes such anti-piracy measures are more than likely here to say. "This depends on your definition of DRM, but generally yes--I think DRM will be essential for the foreseeable future," he said.

Sullivan went on to say that some believed the rise in free-to-play would "be the death of DRM" because why would anyone try to crack a free game? But such attacks have taken place, and as a result, some model of DRM will be necessary in the future, he said.

"So long as we're concerned about things like data privacy, accounting sharing, and hacking, we'll need some form of DRM," Sullivan said.

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