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What Happened to our Digital Rights?

Wednesday 17 December 2014

The so-called ‘Black Friday’ sales seemed to have the desired effect on my family and friends. Between colleagues doing their entire Christmas shopping before it’s even December and family going from no XBOX ONE for the next 2 years to XBOX ONE with 6 games and all the mod cons. I can’t really complain about that, but after installing the first few games on said XBOX ONE, there are a few things I perhaps should mention…

Back in the good old days CD’s and software would have serial numbers written on the instruction manual. This was perhaps not the most efficient method of DRM, but certainly was the easiest to manage from a consumer’s perspective. Install the software, whack the license key in, jobs a good’un. Now what do we have to do? Create a ‘U-Play’ account to access online features. Have a console that demands it check the internet every 24hours that your license key is valid. Track every game played and purchase across multiple mandatory accounts like Origin, Microsoft and Google. In combating piracy we’re headed down the path of alienating our customers and even having the opposite effect! Over so many years of ever increasing email subscriptions and accounts with different passwords it’s become such a chore to even log in to my ‘U-play’ account (purely so I can play the game I’ve already bought) that it begins to feel not worth it in the first place. Which brings us onto the next issue:

With all these disparate accounts tracking our every move it makes us all the more vulnerable to criminals and potential phishing attacks. It might have been brushed under the carpet by Sony but the PSN hacking still lingers in the mind, and with your card details and email being added to account upon account, all of which are constantly transferring your data to and from your machines, it’s hard not to start worrying that hackers could get at our data and worse so, our credit card information. At no point are Microsoft or Sony asking about whether the consumer wants to keep feeding this constant flow of information into the nether. There will come a time when this insistence on accounts for the lone sake of preventing piracy will have the complete opposite effect, and become the catalyst for a shift away from this always-online fiasco. Or even more likely, things will just get worse until a disaster of cataclysmic proportions ends up with half the country’s credit details in the hands of Joe ‘I told you so’ McHackerson…

It doesn’t matter if you’re Farmville or an analytics package – micro transactions have become another unwanted recent hallmark of modern software development. Instead of bundling major features together companies deliberately stagger content to maximise their profit margins. Innovation is shafted for incremental income. As each video game developer is getting larger they focus more on moneymaking schemes and less on the audience they’re selling to. Ubisoft in the last few years has gone from innovator to serial offender – in the latest Assassins Creed you have to pay to open chests you find, on a per chest basis! Rather than downloadable content increasing the longevity of a product, it’s now downloadable licenses for content that is packaged with the original software! And is this content revolutionary, with effort put in to making it a unique customer experience? Chances are it’s a way to get around an obstacle created by the developer in the first place. Customers are getting alienated with the lack of transparency and I for one cannot stand being prompted to pay for something I’ve already bought. There is no business school that suggests destroying your customers experience through micro transactions, always-online disparate account creation and multiple layers of DRM is a sustainable business model. Eventually, the customers are going to turn around and say no.

Our digital rights are shot. Across the pond they’re arguing about net neutrality whilst here we’re still focused on UKIP.  In the end, arguing isn’t going to solve anything – whilst we dilly dally and accept mediocrity the customer continues to get shafted and spurned. Facebook don’t even ask you to accept their terms and conditions anymore, they just tell you if you haven’t deleted your account by January 1st they’re going to take your soul whether you like it or not. We as citizens need to start fighting for our digital rights in the same vein as human rights, and stop letting ourselves be walked over by the non-taxpaying corporate overlords.

So what’s this got to do with Connexica?

Very little… we don’t do macro nor micro transactions, we don’t have always online DRM – you buy CXAIR, you use CXAIR, without any in between.

At Connexica transparency is key, and we build our security systems from what the consumer wants, without any selfish protocols that focus on benefiting ourselves. CXAIR is independently PEN tested by an independent certified organisation to protect your information and keep our users safe. We use genuine DRM with no ulterior motives but ensuring our product is licensed. Micro transactions are about as likely as us releasing our own version of Assassins Creed. When the length of terms and conditions agreements get longer the larger the business you’re dealing with, it’s refreshing to go with someone more tuned into your interests rather than our own.

We believe in digital rights, not digital wrongs (and corny conclusions).

 

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