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Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #89: The DRM-Free Physical Disc Thing

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Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #89: The DRM-Free Physical Disc Thing

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 12 February 2015, 14:37:38

Tags: Darren Monahan; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; Rose Gomez

With Pillars of Eternity only a month and a half away, Obsidian find themselves having to face the same issue Larian and inXile did before them - what to do with the promise of DRM-free physical delivery on launch day in an age of day one patches? As a studio that suffers from a reputation for bugginess, they're more concerned about the implications of a buggy "final version" being out in the wild than most. In the latest Kickstarter update, Darren Monahan explains how they've chosen to deal with that:

Physical Backer? Read me!

We believe the old school experience is to have all of your physical goods on or near the day a game is launched. You should be able to take out your Collector’s Edition Guidebook, unfold your cloth map, roll out your new mousepad, and enjoy it all at the same time you are playing the game.

We believe you feel the same way we do! In order for us to have the best chance possible of getting everything completed by manufacturing and shipped so you have your rewards by or near our launch date, we have to resolve a conflict that has arisen between our promise of a DRM free game, and the realities of how long manufacturing takes.

The realities of manufacturing require us to have a final game disc *now* in order to get it into the box with everything else. The game today isn’t the final game you’d play on March 26th. We’re continuing to fix bugs, make improvements, and polish the game.

[...] Normally for our other games, like South Park: The Stick of Truth, we package up a pre-load version that makes installation faster. Then, once it went live, any changes we made since that pre-load version and the final 1.0 version were patched onto your computer automatically. If we required every user of a physical disc version to use an auto-patch system, we feel we would fail on our promise of a true DRM free game.

So here is our conundrum. We have a real conflict between delivering a fully working DRM-free disc and meeting our manufacturing requirements to get you your physical rewards as near to March 26th as we can. This is a real concern, again, if a version of the game that really isn’t the final version is leaked onto the internet. The pledges backers like you put in to the game are not only at risk, it just plain sucks if lots of other people are playing the game you funded before you do. Obviously, we want the game to sell well enough so we can make more of them too, and an early leak of the disc concerns us enough that we’d like to share these concerns with you too and see what you think.

So, what can we do?

There are two things we feel we could do that would help mitigate these concerns:

1. We ship everything out except the game disc, which we then ship to you after finalizing the 1.0 version. Wait a minute, Darren. That sounds crazy. You’re going to ship me a game with NO DISC inside at first?!

Here’s why we think that’s good: Anyone who pledged to a physical reward tier will get a digital copy. You’ll be able to get a Steam or GOG.com key on our site and play the game at the same time as everyone else. You’d be able to take out your Collector’s Guidebook, your cloth map, your mousepad and enjoy all of it at the same you’re playing Pillars of Eternity.​

2. Alternatively, we delay shipping everything out to you once we have the final 1.0 version ready. For some parts of the world, this could mean a delay of some real significance. Not just a week or two, but multiple weeks after it’s released.

While it’s rather unorthodox, we really prefer option #1, even though it is going to cost us more in shipping costs. We just think it will be more fun for everyone to be able to enjoy all of the game and its add-ons at the same time. However, you’ve backed this game, so we want to hear what you think.

Please share your thoughts on our official poll thread here.
The update also contains a nice run-down of the various items included with the physical edition. I love that the almanac is inspired by Ultima V.

There are 17 comments on Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #89: The DRM-Free Physical Disc Thing

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