It would seem that the latest in a long line of iconic PC series to jump ship to the consoles, GSC’s S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, has a special surprise in store for its PC faithful – namely the imposition of always on DRM. Video game piracy has always been a problem for the PC platform, and measures like this have been taken by many companies as of late, which has alienated many of these companies’ fanbase.
This week GSC Director Sergio Grigorovich has detailed the DRM solution that the studio has divised for their forthcoming multi-platform title S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, which largely amounts to the requirement of a persistent internet connection tethering players to GSC’s servers. The PC version will not actually ship with the complete game on the physical game disc, instead much of the game’s content (quests, text and code) will be incrementally downloaded as required through the persistent internet connection.
The upside to GSC’s DRM solution is that players presumably will not be booted from their game the moment they loose their internet connection, as is the case with games such as Diablo 3. On the other hand, many gamers will not have constant access to an internet connection and this could drive down sales numbers as well as fan loyalty. Ultimately, persistent DRM has shown itself to not be overly injurious to the sales performance of AAA software sales, yet the same anti-piracy solution is something of an unknown quantity when applied to titles of marginal success like the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, where the title’s core market strength has always been found in the rabid devotion of a hardcore fanbase.