Ubisoft's New PC DRM Really Requires Net Access, Ends Game If Disconnected

By Chris Faylor, Feb 17, 2010 1:20pm PST Ubisoft wasn't kidding when it said that its new digital rights management technique mandates "an active Internet connection to play the game, for all game modes."

Advance copies of the first two games to embrace the new solution--Assassin's Creed II PC and The Settlers 7 PC--recently arrived at PC Gamer, leading to the discovery that the games automatically shut down if temporarily disconnected from the Internet.

In the case of Assassin's Creed II PC, a single-player game, players will lose any progress since the last checkpoint in the event that they briefly lose their connection to Ubisoft's master servers, be it because of client-side or server-side issues.

Other aspects of the new system include a lack of disc checks and installation limited, along with the ability for saved games to be stored in a server-side cloud. "Most upcoming Ubisoft PC games will make use of this system," according to the company, which has also promised to patch in offline support when or if the system shuts down.

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122 Threads* | 449 Comments

  • My first reaction to this is that I don't really care. I'm sure I'll still manage to play the game. If my connection or the Ubi server goes down, I'll just post some angry comments on the relevant forums or send an angry email, then play something else. I've certainly done that before about different issues so it's nothing new really, and when the game is working again I'll play it again. I can accept that the world isn't perfect, and I can certainly accept that computers are a long way from perfect, I have plenty of experience of computer problems not related to DRM. If you don't know that the world isn't perfect and that computers aren't perfect then the sooner you learn that they aren't the better for you, or you'll always be living in a state of constant frustration. One always needs coping strategies. You can pressurise Ubi to do what you want but you can't pressurise the whole world to do what you want. There is so much benefit to being flexible and having coping strategies, I recommend it to everyone. You may say we shouldn't let Ubi get away with this but I don't see it as being that onerous or draconian, from my point of view it isn't, I expect it will all work fine, and I don't think it means things will necessarily get even worse in the future, and if they do I will protest them when that happens, but I don't think this is particularly bad in itself. There are worse injustices than this in the world.

  • If this DRM would actually work and thwart illegal downloading (even delaying the inevitable for a few months) then I'm all for it. But it doesn't. I see some are saying they're OK with this if it's going to prevent it from showing up on torrent sites, but it won't.

    The argument goes something like "What's the big deal? I mean who doesn't have high speed internet nowadays?" But that's missing the point. What about customers who just want to be able to use their software the way they want to? Playing a single player game without being connected to the internet doesn't seem all that unreasonable but apparently Ubisoft doesn't think so. What about laptop users and others who aren't able to be connected to the internet all the time?

    Look at what EA\Bioware did with Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2. They learned the first time that all the InSecuROM DRM did was cost a lot of money and thoroughly piss off paying customers and passionate fans. I had to download a crack for the first Mass Effect about a month after I bought it because EA said I had reached my limit and were dragging their feet with issuing more activations. There wasn't even a revocation tool for the first year and a half that Mass Effect was out. So while waiting for EA support to get back to me via e-mail I just said screw it. Very sad.

    This whole thing is so illogical. However if EA can learn a lesson there is yet hope for UbiSoft. Thankfully Ubi makes crap games for the most part so I won't be missing much by not buying their buggy ass games.

  • The more cynical part of me says this is a deliberate measure they don’t want to sell PC games as it’s not profitable, they want to screw over the PC user base so they can write it off all together and concentrate on the profitable console market. The excuse of piracy is their justification for this.

    I am not saying that games aren’t pirated but I think there has been a gradual shift over the years with the further implementation of more and more hideous DRM leading to an increase in piracy. The increase of a more tech aware youth has most likely helped facilitate this.

    I truly believe now we are in a situation where we are at the tipping point either Developers/Publishers have the balls to say we not going to use DRM, or they write off PC development anything in between is an exercise in futility. There will always be exceptions to this the MMORPGS, and other PC centric games but the golden age of PC gaming is over, console is now King and that makes me sad. I’ve always believed PC gaming was the way forward if you wanted superior controls and graphics, (again notable exceptions here, street fighter etc was made for console gaming), trying to play an FPS on a console though...

    Finally the way in which consoles are becoming more PC like makes me wonder where this heading, we may just go full circle...