Moving House Made Me Appreciate DRM-Free Gaming

I’ve spent the last two weeks moving house. I’d decided to move into one of the country’s busiest cities to be closer to the GameByte office and hopefully experience a change from living out in the sticks.

But as I’m sure many of you know, the process of moving wasn’t as simple as I’d originally thought. After finally securing a place, I moved in and suddenly had a tonne of boxes to unpack. Most importantly, all my games consoles were stuck in limbo while I worked hard to set up a tidy gaming area.

I also had no internet for almost two weeks, so once I’d actually managed to set up my PC, I couldn’t play half the games installed on my system due to them being online multiplayer titles or require some kind of server connection to experience properly. 

Oh hey, my living room!

Likewise, I also set up my Xbox Series S so I could finish off my Alan Wake Remastered review, but couldn’t actually play anything else downloaded onto the system due to them being Game Pass games. Apparently, you can’t play Game Pass games at all without a consistent internet connection. That makes me sad.

So I was a bit stuck. All my handhelds were still back at my parents’ home, and I couldn’t even entertain myself using Netflix or YouTube without rinsing through a load of mobile data.

That’s when I’d remembered an old hard drive which I downloaded all my DRM-free games to. Websites such as GOG, and (sometimes) Humble offer DRM-free versions of games to download freely onto any compatible device.

Credit: CD Projekt

what is drm?

If you’re unaware of what DRM is, it’s basically like a digital licence that controls your access to a certain type of software. In terms of gaming, this means such as requiring you to be logged in to play Steam games, or connected to an online server to play singleplayer games like Hitman. If a game’s DRM can’t authenticate you, it won’t give you access.

Meanwhile, GOG’s whole policy is about giving you access to games without the need to connect to a server or be logged in. You can simply download the game from the website or launcher and play it while offline or logged out. It’s a fantastic service that I think we take for granted with us being so online all the time.

But when you go a fortnight without internet access, DRM-free gaming really shines. Within minutes I was able to play games like Horizon Zero Dawn, Dishonored 2 and The Witcher 3 without worrying about logging into any servers or remembering passwords. It’s the thing that kept me sane for the rest of the week.

horizon zero dawn
Credit: Guerrilla Games

I really appreciate GOG and other DRM-free services like that which lets us enjoy games without dealing with the nonsense of connecting to servers or programs which serve no purpose other than get in the way. I used to be a massive ‘Steam over GOG’ guy, but I’m ready to admit this experience may have converted me. 

GOG usually features older nostalgia titles and recent indies. Modern AAA games, on the other hand, still love putting in Denuvo or another type of DRM which hinders the possibility of any release on GOG. So if you want to play Far Cry 6 or Life Is Strange True Colors, you’ll still have to look elsewhere unfortunately. Maybe that attitude will change in the future though. I hope so!

Are you a Steam fan or do you prefer GOG? Let us know on our social channels!


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Featured Image Credit: CD Projekt/Guerilla Games