Last week I wrote about how Steam's outage killed my plans for an afternoon of gaming. Today, Joystiq reports that Ubisoft's DRM authentication server went down under the strain of users looking to play and killed the weekend plans of countless gamers.
Over and over, users are reminded that legitimate purchasers of games are often punished by the very programs they supported because of DRM gone amuck.
It isn't just games either, that are hurt when corporations treat their customers as the enemy. This week my iPhone crashed. I called into Apple and was told that I didn't have Apple Care, but I did. I even had the receipt.
The Apple rep told me he would have to charge me for the call. Even though I offered to send him my receipt by fax. He said it didn't matter that I had the receipt, because I couldn't find the card that was in the box that I had registered just over a year ago. No registration, no warranty.
Apple told me that I should go back to the store and ask for another box. I said that was nonesense, I had already registered.
I reminded him that on the date that the iPhone went on sale the stores were overwhelmed, as was the automated voice registration system. I had been told when I called in to register the phone (and my Apple Care)that everything would be registered.
Only after an extended going round and round on this issue, and being treated as though I was trying to scam Apple, did someone look into my "case notes" and discover that it did reflect that my Apple Care had been activated. This only took four calls, and about two hours of time.
Companies that treat their customers as criminals run the risk that, no matter how great their product, their only patrons may be pirates. Draconian systems merely alienate legitimate users. The pirates and theives will find a way to break into your software, store, or service, regardless. Don't punish your legitimate users or the market may punish you.