Oleg Discusses What’s Next Page 7

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Copy Protection and Digital Rights Management

SimHQ Interview - Oleg Maddox

Doug: What are your current thoughts on CP and DRM?

Oleg: I dislike any copy protection, but that’s up to the publisher to decide. In general, it’s a very complex question, and to properly address all the issues I’d probably need at least as much space as the rest of this interview.

Doug: What do you think about having players connect to the Internet 100% of the time as they are playing?

Oleg: I am not a big fan of these things. Many players, especially in less developed parts of the world, still to this day play only single-player and barely use the Internet even if they have Internet access at all.

Doug: Do you have to use different copy protection schemes in different parts of the world?

Oleg: I doubt it’ll be necessary.

Doug: What do you see as the most effective way to counter piracy?

Oleg: Honest and well-meaning players. Players who realize that game development is very expensive. And of course, I fully realize we don’t live in a perfect world.

Doug: What do you think we will see in 5 years as the preferred methodology to counter piracy?

Oleg: Online protection that requires recurrent authentication from the publisher. This won’t prevent piracy, but at least it’ll alleviate many issues with hardware protection and DVD checks.

Doug: Do you see a future when “brick and mortar” retail shops are gone and all simulations are by download only?

Oleg: This may already be happening with the PC market. But I’m not thoroughly converted myself. A good hard copy of a game in your hands just seems better somehow.

Doug: What do you think of the business model to create a basic set, then purchase additional planes, vehicles, terrain as additional items online?

Oleg: Flight simulators are not exactly the genre for this model to be successful. Probably quite the opposite. Generally this business model is viable and has the right to exist, and details depend on the genre. With a flight sim, it’s perhaps more viable if the core engine with a couple of planes was released for free.

This only makes sense when your game already has a nice set of features for more than a couple of hours of gameplay. New downloadable planes or vehicles add a lot to gameplay, which makes them appealing to larger audiences. So this can be very interesting if the new content has a good set of features of its own, including planes, ground vehicles and gameplay maps, to attract an even larger audience.

This can also be done when the base sim already has a good set of aircraft, 15 to 30 or more, and the new content offers something new. Especially if it offers an advantage in an online battle, many players will want to buy such an add-on. Greater acceptance drives more people to buy the content. But once again, in my personal opinion, this model is more attractive in other genres with bigger potential audiences than flight simulators.

I’m not completely refusing to consider this idea. It is actually not new.

With a flight sim, individual aircraft offered for free or for a fee should mainly be made by external developers, while the core development team should develop major new releases, again giving the external developers new opportunities to further expand the game.

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