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Tuesday, June 18 2019 @ 05:18 AM -08

More stories of game developers making bad (and good) choices

The recently-released Forza Horizon 3 racing game includes a special feature that you only get when you purchase the game: crappy performance. That's because the game includes resource-intensive DRM (also known as copy protection). The problem doesn't affect people playing 'pirated' copies, because those copies have had the DRM removed. So, basically, this is a great reason to avoid buying the game and find a DRM-free copy instead.

Noted purveyor of extremely crappy games Digital Homicide likes to threaten people who post negative reviews of their games. This eventually generated so much negative feeling that Steam decided to drop the publisher completely from their catalog. This setback prompted the the company to rebrand itself as 'Digital Suicide'. Okay, not really. But they did take their ball and go home, sulkily declaring that the company has been ruined by Steam's actions. Boo hoo.

'Bait and switch' is a nasty retail tactic used to create consumer interest in a product, only to change the deal, leaving the consumer with something they didn't actually want. When the product in question is a Kickstarter-funded video game, telling investors that the promised DRM-free version will no longer be an option is likely to generate some ill will. The developers of Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler! discovered this the hard way. To their credit, they saw the light and reversed their decision, surprising nearly everyone.

Happily, there are a few game developers who truly understand their relationship with customers. PM Studios, who make the Playstation Vita game SUPERBEAT: XONiC, discovered instructions for copying the game on reddit. Instead of unleashing their dogs (i.e. lawyers), they joined the discussion, stating their appreciation for the attention, and offering a discount on the game. Result: massive increase in consumer good-will, and increased sales.