The PC edition of Driver: San Francisco will see Ubisoft bringing back its DRM requirement of an always-on Internet connection.
"PC version requires permanent internet connection," Ubisoft confirms on the official Driver: San Fran Twitter account. This is how the publisher's proprietary DRM system worked when it first launched in 2010.
What this means is that you won't be able to launch Driver: Golden City if you're not online. If you are online but your connection drops, after a very brief grace period, the game will pause until you go back online. In some past Ubi games, players were sent back to checkpoints, while in others the action resumed where it left off.
In January, Ubisoft scaled back its DRM to simply require players be online when they launch games, but it seems it's back in full force for Driver: Frisco. However, it's certainly possible, and quite likely, that the harsh DRM requirements will be softened for Driver: The City by the Bay after a while.
Defending the DRM, Ubisoft said, "Bear in mind though that the PC version of DRVSF is released simultaneously to consoles." However, Ubisoft's recent releases cast doubt on that statement. The PC version of From Dust was delayed by a fortnight mere days before its release, and Call of Juarez: The Cartel PC was quietly pushed back by two months without explanation.
The company's mention of a simultaneous launch as an upside to its DRM supports speculation that PC piracy concerns play a large part in the company's repeated PC delays. (Though, if history is any indicator, it won't take long for unsavory elements to break through that protection anyway, once again giving paying customers the short end of the stick.)
On the subject of delays, Ubisoft casually confirmed on Monday that the North American release of Driver: SF has been delayed from August 30 to September 6. "The delay has to do with shipping considerations and getting the best exposure in NA, not production of the game," it explained.
Driver: The City That Knows How is also being used as a testbed for Ubisoft's uPlay Passport, an 'online pass' system which locks multiplayer off behind a single-use code included with new copies. Those who buy used copies will need to pony up cash money to get online, as well as receive unspecified "bonus content" and "exclusive offers."
To end all this Twitter crawling on a somewhat positive note, Ubi confirmed demos of Driver: Fog City for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. A PC demo, alas, is still "unconfirmed."