Ubisoft Ditches Aggressive, Always-On DRMBy: Sean Patterson - September 6, 2012
With two of the most anticipated titles of 2012, Assassin’s Creed III and Far Cry 3, just over the horizon, Ubisoft has no reason to question the way it conducts business. For years now, gamers have complained loudly about Ubisoft’s agressive digital rights management (DRM) strategies. The most aggressive of these methods was always-on DRM, which required a constant internet connection. Lose your connection momentarily and you can kiss hours of gameplay goodbye. Despite these hurdles, gamers still purchased Ubisoft’s games.
This week, Stephanie Perotti, Ubisoft’s worldwide director for online games, confirmed in an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun that Ubisoft has ditched always-on DRM. In fact, the company hasn’t implemented such tactics in over a year. Ubisoft’s policy is now to require only a one-time activiation when a game is first installed. In addition, the company now allows gamers to activate a game on as many PCs as they want. Perotti stated that Ubisoft changed its policy based on feedback from its customers.
Good for Ubisoft. The company probably realized that pirated copies of their older games didn’t have the always-on DRM requirement, and were therefore more desirable than a legal copy. Now the only complaints from PC gamers that Ubisoft is likely to hear often will be about the PC release delays of their titles.
Of course, this announcement comes just as Ubisoft has turned its Uplay DRM into the Uplay digital distribution platform. If the company decides to only sell the PC version of its titles through the Uplay store, or requre Uplay to be running for the game to be played, it is likely to receive many of the same complaints that EA has gotten for its Origin platform.