- PC Sales of Resident Evil 7 (Story-Focused, Weak DRM) – 400,000
- PC Sales of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (Story-Focused, Weak DRM) – 240,000
- PC Sales of Diablo III (Always-Online DRM for PC and MAC Versions) – Over 5 Million
- PC Sales of Grand Theft Auto V (Always-Online DRM for PC Version) – Over 7 Million
Luckily Resident Evil 7 will still be relaunching on PC with HTC Vive support for its VR Gaming segments currently exclusive to the PlayStation 4 VR. Re-releases and updated content, texture resolution, and feature packages helped bring Grand Theft Auto V to profound heights of success. Always-Online DRM helped the PC Version of the game actually move units.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is a game in the COD series which, unlike others before it, did not significantly excite PC Gamers to play multiplayer online. Every year though, regardless if the multiplayer portion of COD is popular that year – the title is pirated in droves for a quick, free single player experience – costing Activision and unlucky developers untold millions in research and development budget spends that will never be made back as sales fail to meet goal.
In the case of COD and shooters like it which offer a story mode, just having an online portion isn’t enough to stop gamers from pirating the game. There are already lots of online multiplayer shooters on PC considered more innovative, including various booming Early Access sub-genres of Survival Shooters.
Now let’s compare PC Sales to Console Sales of PS4 / Xbox ONE Generation Games, home game consoles which are difficult or impossible to pirate games on at the time of these launches.
See how the Pie is divided more evenly on Diablo III and GTA V versus AC: Syndicate and Resident Evil 7:
Even UPlay, a form of loyalty program and DRM from Ubisoft on PC hasn’t made too much of a significant dent in the problem. Since most releases simply cannot get away with the ‘Always Online DRM’ found in the PC versions of titles like Diablo III and Grand Theft Auto V.
Rockstar Games may opt to bring back their so-called “entitlement verification system” for Red Dead Redemption 2’s PC Edition. This background service enables Rockstar Games servers to double check game files, attempt to reduce cheaters / hackers / exploits in their game world, and ultimately detect & disrupt pirated copies of the game.
The alternative… is never getting RDR 2 on PC at all. And now we begin to see the consequences of piracy on the industry.
Some DRM systems are still out there and are similar to the likes of Xbox ONE’s original design concept. In terms of the problem with drastically reduced sales due to piracy, requiring a user to always be online is the key. Multiplayer components and requirements pair up a user with a code and aggressive systems from publishers like Rockstar Games have gone as far as to distract and waste pirated users time with broken versions of their games spread throughout the Video Game Torrent community.
The future of PC Gaming could rely on a combination of traditional marketplaces with or without DRM like Steam and GOG but also on increasingly pro-consumer, fair yet powerful DRM systems built-in to products like Xbox Anywhere, Xbox Games Pass, PlayStation NOW, in order to allow AAA publishers to mitigate risking millions in the budget for a PC Version that’s just going to get pirated.