Back in the late 2000s, digital rights management – more commonly known as DRM – made itself difficult to ignore. CD copy protection programs such as SecuROM infamously limited the number of times players could install games like Bioshock on their PC, while Assassin’s Creed II required players to maintain a constant internet connection despite the fact it was a singleplayer game. At the time, this was a bit like asking people to play Assassin’s Creed II with a vase balanced on their head. Unless you’d invested in a highly stable, fibre-optic neck, at some point that vase was going to come crashing down.
Today, it’s easier for DRM to fly under the radar. Between the popularisation of digital stores and service-model games, and the fact that people today are generally a lot more online in their daily lives, anti-piracy solutions can be bound to games in a way players never notice or readily accept. But that doesn’t mean that the issues surrounding DRM have been resolved – it only means we talk about them a lot less.