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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  • Penny-arcade has wieghed in on this debate with a new comic that makes a very good point: If you pirate this game to avoid the DRM, you are feeding "the drm beast" and only justifying their draconian practices. Just like I assert that their use of draconian practices is feeding piracy.

    There is a cycle, and the only way to break it is for one side to stop. If we don't buy the game, and don't pirate it either, it will send a very solid message. If we just pirate it, we are only feeding their excuse for the DRM, thus we are bringing the DRM on ourselves.

    But whatever, people will do what they do, few gamers have actual conviction, at least enough to not play a good game because of principles. So I predict that the cycle will continue, devs will complain about piracy, and gamers will complain about "gimped" product and draconian DRM.

    I used to take a side on the issue, claiming that DRM was killing PC gaming, but now I realize thats not true; we are all killing PC gaming. All of us, the devs and the gamers. When you finally step back and see the big picture, you'll see that It's an amazing joint effort, with niether side willing to move an inch.

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 4 replies.

    • I was just thinking about this, but then again, what icedcool said is probably correct. It's not about the piracy and the DRM. Piracy will always happen. Either there are crack groups out there trying to prove themselves (for piraters' profit, unfortunately), or some kids who dont have money and really really really want to play the game and knows how to do it will download the games anyway...

      I would say that the solution however, is NOT by punishing legit buyers/loyal customers by putting in restrictive, crappy and stupid DRM. PC users had to suffer already from the delay of the game by one year, sometimes more. Then they have to deal with paying the same amount of money for the same game that the console users have been playing for a long time and finished maybe for the third time (thanks for the idea, MW2), and finally, some lazy devs probably just porting the game directly to PC without accomodating for custom set ups that PC has, causing many issues that could end up to lower sales/review.

      The only good thing I can see from this PC gaming is what EA is actually doing right now. If the developer indeed has PC root and said honestly that they wanted to make up to the PC platform, even though they (and everyone know) it is not the major market anymore, is to give it a bit of TLC. Give them a DRM that is not restrictive, maybe a cd check and and a cd key. If you register/put that cd key online by connecting to central server and registering it, you can reward the customer by giving bonus items, quests, or what have you.

      Piracy always happen, but you can definitely convert some of those downloaders into potential buyers by doing this. If you want an extra step, you can also request cracker groups to remove the torrents or whatever from the net. It's not gonna be 100% proof, but it is a step where you can be a bit protective of your product without hurting end-users. I read that there are a few indie devs out there that have been doing this, not only for games too!