Tagged / videogames

Fusion Investment fund 2014/15 – Making sense of DRM in game development (Madrigal)

The United Kingdom is Europe’s second largest video game market and the fifth largest in the world. Almost all videogames developers now implement techniques that are designed to protect and enforce copyright law. This restrictive technology is now beginning to hamper the ability of gaming companies to innovate by imposing platform boundaries and these measures now appear to also be problematic to the game development lifecycle. The roots of this complex problem are grounded in several disciplines including copyright law, cyber security, and creative technology. This restrictive technology can prevent you from copying certain CDs or DVDs to a portable device to watch during your train journey or even go as far as to dictate which brand of coffee capsules you put in your expresso machine.

This is Digital Rights Management (DRM).

The Madrigal project has been awarded a Fusion Investment Fund to investigate, identify and communicate how game developers make sense of DRM technology when developing video games. At present virtually no empirical research exists on how much videogame developers really know about the relationship between DRM and copyright law in terms of boundaries to DRM implementation, or on their real expectations from currently available DRM technology. Do they really understand it? Do they like it? Do they implement it regularly? Do they respect the boundaries? Is DRM legal? Other pressing issues that need addressing include, does DRM really stifle competition? After all the developers are protected by copyright law, but where do the issues with DRM really lie?

These questions surrounding the issue of DRM have gained more coverage recently thanks to the Apple trial. In which Apple was accused of anti-competitive behaviour because it refused to disclose its DRM to competitors. The collection of this entirely new data on the complexities of DRM will form part of the basis for a wider-reaching research project involving not only legal and IT scholars at BU but also international academic and industry partners. With its research expertise in copyright law innovation, usable security research, and game development, and its institutional drive for fusion across inter-disciplinary research, education, and professional practice, BU is uniquely situated to start tackling this problem.

If you would like further information on this research feel free to contact us or to tweet us. We look forward to any feedback. Also, if you are interested, keep tuned, as we will tell you what we learned from our experience at the end of the project (July 2015).

Dr. Marcella Favale (Principal Investigator) Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management, BU, mfavale@bournemouth.ac.uk, @MFavaleIP

Dr. Shamal Faily (sfaily@bournemouth.ac.uk) and Dr. Christos Gatzidis (cgatzidis@bournemouth.ac.uk), Faculty of Science and Technology, BU

Neil McDonald (Research Assistant ) BU Cyber Security Unit (BUCSU) @BUCybersecurity (nmcdonald@bournemouth.ac.uk)

New EU research finds video games can be good for you

It appears that blasting aliens to smithereens, rescuing the princess for the 256th time or pretending you’re Lara Croft  may not be so bad after all. New research led by scientists at the University of Essex  in cooperation with colleagues in Germany and the United States, looked at why people find video games fun.

The study investigated the idea that many people enjoy playing videogames because it gives them the chance to ‘try on’ characteristics which they would like to have as their ideal self. ‘A game can be more fun when you get the chance to act and be like your ideal self,’ explains Dr Andy Przybylski, who led the study. ‘The attraction to playing videogames and what makes them fun is that it gives people the chance to think about a role they would ideally like to take and then get a chance to play that role.’

The research found that giving players the chance to adopt a new identity during a game and acting through that new identity – be it a different gender, hero, villain – made them feel better about themselves and less negative. In fact, the enjoyment element of the videogames seemed to be greater when there was the least overlap between someone’s actual self and their ideal self. The study involved hundreds of casual game players in the laboratory and studied nearly a thousand dedicated gamers who played everything from ‘The Sims’ and ‘Call of Duty’ to ‘World of Warcraft’. Players were asked how they felt after playing in relation to the attributes or characteristics of the persona they would ideally like to be.