I’ve been pondering the significance of DriveThruRPG.com, which recently announced an exclusive agreement with Malhavoc Press to “offer Malhavoc electronic products as secure e-Books.” These e-Books will make use of Adobe’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology to keep the nasty pirates out there from copying the electronic game products so easily. A number of companies, including AEG, Chaosium, Eden Studios, Fantasy Flight Games, Fast Forward Entertainment, Guardians of Order, Sword & Sorcery Studio, and White Wolf have also signed on. A few of those aren’t surprising though, when you learn that DriveThruRPG.com appears to be a White Wolf venture.
Back when we tried to get RPGnet‘s Virtual Product Mall up and running a couple years back, RPGnow was the only major source of downloadable gaming products, and many gaming companies were eager to show off their downloadable wares in another location. But despite the eager PDF merchants, RPGnet’s Virtual Mall didn’t last. Though the software problems eventually got sorted out, there were management problems that lingered, and eventually killed the Virtual Mall project. The demise of that project may have soured game publishers against straying from RPGnow.
Then again, the idea of selling copy-protected e-books instead of easily pirated PDFs is a powerful draw for publishers. Seems like there’s a new download center on the block, and it may be saying all the right things to get publishers onboard.