DRM was intended to stop piracy by preventing games from being copied and distributed. Instead it drove people to torrent DRM free games or to stop buying games from publishers that used DRM.
And then, in 2003, Valve released Steam; a digital distribution platform that allowed people to buy games and it was a success!
It might have been a bit rocky to begin with but it is now the most popular digital distribution platform that has the releases of most of the major game developers and indie game developers and has spawned a number of similar platforms such as Origin, and GOG.com.
All these platforms have meant that gamers are able to purchase pretty much any game they like at any time.
As a bonus Steam sales give people the opportunity to play games they might not have otherwise played. ‘Papers, Please’ didn’t seem like a game I’d like but was heavily discounted during a sale so I bought it and LOVED it. Now Lucas Pope is on my list of Indie Developers to watch out for.
All this has reduced piracy.
Steam and other digital distribution services like it have proved that most people will pay for media, provided it is reasonably priced and convenient, whenever they are given the opportunity.
The T.V. and Film Industry could learn a lot from this.
Game of Thrones is one of the most torrented T.V. shows of all time and obviously this means that HBO are losing out on revenue, but let’s consider where you can watch Game of Thrones.
- On T.V.
- Online via HBO’s Streaming Service
- Box Set
Game of Thrones is one of those high quality T.V. programmes that is only shown be certain networks. In the US it is the cable T.V. HBO, in the UK and Ireland its Sky Atlantic. Both of these are channels that you have to pay a subscription to view and in the case of Sky Atlantic, it doesn’t come with their general package so you have to get one of their more expensive packages.
There are three major problems with this model.
Less and less people watch T.V. Not the programs but the T.V. stations. People have run out of patience for advert breaks and they want to be able to watch multiple episodes, hence the rise in on demand T.V. and streaming services.
Check out this article for more information on the decline of T.V. in the US http://www.businessinsider.com/cord-cutters-and-the-death-of-tv-2013-11
Mobile and Tablets viewing of Video has sky-rocketed in the last few years, traditional T.V. subscription models don’t allow you to view content via an App or if they do it’s at an additional cost.
Subscription T.V. is not cheap. The Global Economy still has not recovered for the 2008 crash and people have less and less disposable income. Cable T.V. can be expensive and is one of the easiest things to get rid of to help balance your budget.
Online via HBO’s Streaming Service
One glaring issue with this is that in order to use this service I have to be a HBO subscriber – which I can’t be outside of the US. And since a great many fans of the show are not in the US and since not all of the T.V. providers that have Game of Thrones outside of the US have a stream service, how would these viewers watch the show online?
Another issue is that it blocks out non HBO subscribers but then I suppose that is the point
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a Box Set but they have some fundamental issues:
- They don’t come out until almost a year after the original season has aired
- Watching one season on a box set may make you want to watch the next season straight away.
- It means you are behind in the series so the risk of spoilers increases massively
These are the reasons why I generally buy Box Sets of shows I’ve already see or have come late to, so there is a back catalogue to watch.
Basically the whole system is set up to prevent people from watching Game of Thrones, then HBO complain about people torrenting or illegally streaming their content.
The Rise of Netflix
Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime have all proven that people are willing to pay to stream video.
I’m focusing on Netflix because I live in Ireland, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime are not available
For €6.99 Netflix subscribers can stream to any device, any T.V. Show or Film that Netflix has to offer.
It provides a straightforward, convenient and flexible streaming service, which is exactly what I want.
There are some downsides
- It doesn’t have everything
- Due to licensing agreements Netflix sometimes have to remove content
- Due to licensing agreements Netflix doesn’t offer the same content in every region.
But imagine that instead of fighting services like Netflix, T.V. providers cooperated with them, allowed their content to be offered in all regions and it was always there.
Imagine that instead of paying for your cable T.V., streaming service and box sets , you instead paid one monthly fee to access a whole library of content; whenever you wanted, from wherever you wanted.
It may not be Netflix – but this is the future.
Consumers are already doing this using torrent sites or illegal streaming sites and if the T.V. and Film Industry don’t adapt to this soon, their Business Model will start to fail.
P.S. before you ask, I’m not being paid by Netflix – I just freaking love it! I also love the Silo series by Hugh Howey and Dragon Age so I’ll try and sell you on both of those at some stage.