Reinventing the download

I’ve been pondering the significance of, 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 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.


  1. Perhaps… but have you seen their prices?! I’d be cheaper off buying a physical copy from Ebay! The advantage of a PDF copy would be…???

    I won’t even get started on the whole DRM issue suffice to say that any place that automatically assumes that I’m out to rip them off by buying things from them won’t be getting my business.

    I’ll stick with thanks.

  2. De-inventing the download is more like it. Why would anyone even pay as much as half price for a version of a gaming product that allows them to do so much less? DRM of this nature is a non-starter, especially on books. See Lawrence Lessig’s great talk on the subject (among other subjects) if you haven’t: [].

    Also, it used to be trivial to break the protection on PDFs. It wouldn’t shock me if that’s changed, though. (And um, confidential to White Wolf: OgreCave’s services in the area of web design are quite affordable, and nowhere near as ugly as that stuff you’ve got up now. Thanks for your consideration!)

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