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A very welcome Disturbance in the Symphony

For those who don't know, Steve Jackson Games has finally launched e23, their PDF/electronic publishing arm. And it's one of the most progressive of its type -- sacrificing DRM for portability and ease of usability, for example, and setting things up so that if you have a catastrophic disk failure, you can always go back and download the stuff you've bought again. (I have my iTunes bought music backed up in like three places, because Apple won't do something this consumer-oriented, as a counter-example. Bastards.)

However, what has me so totally stoked -- even more than new Chad Underkoffler works (and a new outlet for Dead Inside, which long time readers know is one of the best and most innovative new games of the last couple of years, and which you guys need to buy. But I digress.

What has me excited is broad In Nomine support.

I have never liked a role playing game as much as I like In Nomine. I probably never will. And like all the IN faithful, I've been scared that it would be going away sometime, since support was fading away. However, SJGames has figured out that there are people like me out there, and we're willing to spend money. Cash money, no less. And e23 is perfect for that.

I have nothing in the current crop of In Nomine offerings. (Though that should change one of these weeks. It's in the can and waiting.) However, I have lots and lots of excitement for these products. And the way they're going about doing the releases is just plain cool.

So, they're getting my money. Go check them out. Buy stuff. Make some of that stuff In Nomine. And Dead Inside. And then look at everything else.


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I'm very glad that E23 is going the non-DRM route. There are simply too many problems implicit in that sort of software for me to feel comfortable using it, either as a creator or as a consumer.

But, aside from DriveThru RPG, I don't know if any other electronic RPG distributor uses DRM. White Wolf's online store doesn't, AFAIK. RPGNow doesn't. Non of the producers that use the Forge Bookshelf use DRM, as far as I know. HyperBooks I don't think does. I'm not sure about WotC's online store...

So, really, E23 is just one new member of the bandwagon. Am I glad that SJG, a significant game producer, didn't go the DRM route? Yes. But I'm even more glad that hundreds of other RPG producers have all chosen to trust their customers.

yrs in geekiness--
--Ben Lehman

Excuse my ignorance, but what, exactly, is "DRM"? I looked it up in the Acronym Finder and found a couple of entries that looked like they might apply, but not enough to throw any real light on the matter for me...

DRM == digital rights management.

Steve Jackson games has been getting my dollar ever since Steve himself sent me a copy of the Illuminati rules after I bought a set where they were missing...

Er...thanks for the clarification, but while that tells me what "DRM" stands for, it still doesn't give me much idea what it is. I'm just curious exactly what that entails, what it has to do with electronic publishing, and why not having it is a good thing...

Sorry if this is a terribly stupid question; I don't know much about electronic publishing and am just wondering what this DRM thing is.

"DRM" is a subsystem of Adobe Acrobat which allows the creator of a PDF file to (for a cost, I believe), limit access to the PDF in various ways -- it can only be used when the user in logged into the Adobe System, on registered computers, for one. In addition, the PDF can be limited in a variety of ways -- cut and paste restrictions, limitations on printing, and many more.

The problems with this technology as I see them are multitudinous, not the least of which is that it can be very hard to re-register if your sole registered computer has a meltdown. In addition, companies can change their restrictions without informing or reimbursing their customers.

Did I mention it is easily crackable, too? So it doesn't offer heavy protection for the businesses.

Seems to me to be a bad deal all around. When I go into the PDF selling business, I don't intend to use it.


Ah, that makes sense, and yeah, I can see why that would be annoying. Thanks for the explanation.

Baen books has a similarly wonderful-for-the-consumer attitude towards their electronic publishing. I now buy 90% of my books from Baen, since:

a) I really like pulpy sci-fi (of which they have scads)
b) I love reading books on my tablet
c) I can buy books while sitting in the chair in my room while reading the web on said tablet.

Life is perfect. I think I've bought 30ish books from Baen via their online system so far. Life is good. :)

(And yes, the fact that they have no DRM is a SIGNIFICANT aspect of my decision to read more of their catalog).

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