The world was up in arms after Microsoft revealed the Xbox One last month and its strict Digital Rights Management (DRM) policies. It got so bad, Microsoft reps began contradicting themselves and eventually MS’ entire PR had to go on a media black-out. (They should’ve abide by the Nolan-clause – just don’t say anything.) Even after Microsoft started a “we’ll tell you later” approach, MCV reported that Microsoft was planning to use its DRM system to wield total power over Xbox One pre-owned games, stripping all value from the disc once it’s purchased an installed. Needless to say, Microsoft’s bread and butter (the core gamers) were outraged, concerned and downright scared.
When word got out that Sony would implement a similar system in the PlayStation 4, users on the NeoGAF forum, Pete “famousmortimer” Dodd in particular, came together to create a Twitter campaign using hashtags #PS4noDRM and #PS4UsedGames. The NeoGAF movement spread quickly across the Internet, brining in “tens of thousands” of people who were flooding Sony and Microsoft execs on Twitter with the message, “We don’t want things to change from how they exist in the current generations…our [physical media] games are ours to sell or lend to whoever we want.”
“The campaign has been an off the charts success,” said Dodd in an interview with We Got This Covered. “What I saw first hand just watching the feed for the hashtag refresh was that during peak hours (when both NA and EU were awake) was about ten well thought out and polite Tweets a minute sent to high level Sony execs. During off-peak it was about five per minute.”
Even if the extraordinary amount of users tweeting MS and Sony, Dodd says he hasn’t been able to gauge just what effect, if any, the movement has had on either company’s policy going forward. Both have only given “generic PR [statements] about being heard,” said Dodd.
“The hashtag is the message and the media has been the bullhorn. We are currently closing in on 200 articles posted about this in twenty plus languages, including CNN.com, NBCNews.com and most major gaming sites,” said Dodd. “If [Sony and Microsoft] twitter feeds blowing up didn’t clue them in that people cared they will find a post about the movement on nearly every game or tech blog around. I think that’s very powerful stuff.”
When asked about post-E3 plans if the movement proves ineffective to budge Microsoft or Sony, Dodd said it depends on whether or not he sees something in their statements that provides an opening to keep going forward. At the very least, he hopes they soon detail their official DRM stance.
“Since we are paying customers I would hope that their goal wouldn’t be to do that.”
If you want to join the #PS4NoDRM and #XboxOneNoDRM movement, head over the the official website here. The last push before E3 will begin tomorrow at 8am Eastern.