games need not be AAA to be profitable.
quite true. Rockland is proof of that.
If you really feel very strongly that you need DRM for your game to be profitable, you want to outsource for it OR sell to a AAA firm and have them do it for you.
the game has been and will continue to be profitable. drm simply helps ensure i actually see some of those profits.
unfortunately, the company is being re-started on a shoestring budget, so outsourcing or bringing testers onsite is not an option. all you get to work with is a $400 baseline pc (on-board graphics chip only), and internet access. everything else must be free.
The game type itself is not sufficiently mass market to warrant AAA publisher attention.
the idea of an expiration date for the beta is:
if a copy leaks out onto the web, it will not still be floating around out there once the game has been released.
expiration dates for beta versions is S.O.P. in "REAL" software development. you know how we gamedev types "can't get no respect!" <g>.