The folks over at GOG are on a righteous crusade. Their new initiative, FCK DRM, aims to educate consumers about the DRM (digital rights management) that’s often baked into the media they consume, as well as what they can do about it.
GOG themselves have always been anti-DRM; their digital distribution platform GOG Galaxy operates on “a belief that you should own the games you buy”, according to its website, so the launching of this initiative makes sense. This is in contrast to popular platforms like Steam and Origin, which implement (albeit different) DRM restrictions on purchases. The official website for FCK DRM describes DRM as “a kill switch in your media” which can block access to your purchases if a number of specific conditions are not constantly met. The website has quotes from a number of industry luminaries decrying DRM, such as Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, Braid and The Witness designer Jonathan Blow, and CD PROJEKT RED’s Marcin Iwinski, among others.
FCK DRM lists some of the benefits of DRM-free media on its site. These include the ability to back up and use media anywhere, accessing your games and movies offline, and constantly being able to play games even if your Internet connection is poor or the server can’t verify that you’re the owner of something. FCK DRM says that “online ownership checks can, and do, fail”, and that losing access to media as a result of downtime or technical issues “are just everyday facts of life”. FCK DRM also suggests that foregoing DRM is supporting digital preservation since you’ll have access to your content no matter what, so companies and corporations can’t just decide to delete it from existence.
This has happened in the past. 2011’s Darkspore launched with DRM which meant users would need an active Internet connection to play it, and when EA’s servers for the game died, users were left without any way to play the game they’d bought. Similarly, 2013’s SimCity required users’ PCs to be online even in single-player mode, and when the game was released, many users found themselves unable to play the game due to problems with the servers. It’s an issue that continues to plague the gaming industry, too; when Nintendo close the doors on its WiiWare service in January 2019, you won’t be able to re-download any WiiWare games you’ve bought or purchase new ones, so they’ll effectively cease to exist. Obsolence can also be an issue for PC games due to DRM – Windows 10 doesn’t work with 2 older prominent forms of DRM – SecuROM and Safedisk are disallowed on the system meaning many of the games that were released with it fail to function on the operating system.
Listed on the FCK DRM website are a number of sources which offer DRM-free media. These include GOG.com itself for video games, Bandcamp and 7Digital for music, and Moving Image Archive for movies, as well as several other DRM-free stores. There’s also an email address which allows the owners of DRM-free platforms to contact the FCK DRM initiative and have their platform listed on the website.
Disclosure: GOG works with TechRaptor for affiliate partnership, and TechRaptor earns a small commission off purchases made from links in this article. In addition, GOG provides a monthly giveaway to our Pack Hunter members.
Do you think this initiative is a good idea? Do you already use GOG for all of your games? Let us know in the comments below!