How to fix DRM
Why doesn’t the ESRB just put DRM information on the box? So right under “Rated E 10+ for Animated Blood, Comic Mischief, and Fantasy Violence” you’d have something like “CD-key”, “Must be online to install”, “Installation limit: 5 machines”, and “SecuROM”. There are really only a handful of different types of DRM, so just a dozen or so labels would cover it all. And if the game turns out to have more restrictions than what’s on the box, it gets taken off the shelves and repackaged.
Retailers would have to be trained to help the customer understand it all, just like with the ESRB ratings. I think most people who buy and play games are aware of the ESRB ratings, and people are aware of DRM on music, so it’s not too much to ask to also know that game DRM is on the box.
This way, it’s up to the consumers. If games with SecuROM and installation limits continue to sell, I think it shows that DRM isn’t as bad as some people say. But the real test comes from comparing PC game sales to console sales. You can’t compare the absolute numbers of course, but if there’s a drop in sales compared to the console, maybe the DRM is the cause and really does need to go. It’s all about raising consumer awareness.