The idea behind digital rights management is simple...protect this product from piracy. Game developers lose tons of money to piracy, and that lost revenue can sometimes lead to game cancellations which is something that can harm us gamers in the long run. Now game developers don't always have the best intentions at heart while implementing DRM (used games are the scourge of game companies everywhere), but I always felt that I was willing to be patient with DRM if it meant a better gaming experience.
A lot of times, when dealing with DRM, I would take the high road. I could empathise with game companies and didn't picture them as greedy corporate fat cats, but people who were just trying to stop their game from being stolen! There is nothing wrong in protecting the intellectual property you have worked so hard to build! I wouldn't mind because I felt I was part of a system that promoted better gaming. The earliest instances of DRM I had to deal with were the old security keys that came with games. Finding a numerical key and typing it out in order to play a game was fine with me.
But in recent years, DRM measures are getting more and more frustrating. For me, it started with Assassins Creed 2 and its online-always connectivity required. I never had the world's most dependable internet connection and for me it was a major buzz kill to have to stop playing if something was wrong with the internet.
The recent launch of SimCity got me thinking about DRM again and how it may be doing the very opposite of what it is trying to achieve. Honest customers bought the game, and EA's digital rights management policy required them to remain online at all times to play. However, server issues prevented these gamers from accessing and enjoying the game, and what they received was a broken product.
SimCity was really the worst case scenario for DRM...a digital rights management scenario which caused the game to break. Because that's the bottom line: the customer. Who in this case is not just any old customer, but is the fickle gamer. The gamer who is quick to judge and who does not forgive easily. The second DRM hurts the game play experience, I would imagine companies like EA are losing a lot more money than they would to piracy. Once they seep into the wrath of gamers, not only are they losing customers on this game, but also on future titles. EA already has a pretty shaky relationship at best with gamers, and their recent crusade against piracy is not helping their cause. Hell, I think people might just pirate their game out of sheer anger if they keep messing up like they do!
So maybe EA should just give up on the DRM, until at least they can think outside the box and figure out a better way to stop piracy. Hopefully they can come to a solution that doesn't require a constant internet connection and doesn't cause the game to crash. Till then everybody is a loser.