Driver: San Francisco PC DRM toned down

By Alice O'Connor, Aug 18, 2011 7:30am PDT

After news in July that Driver: San Francisco was bringing back Ubisoft's terrible "always online" DRM requirement drew exactly the sort of reaction you'd expect, the publisher has scaled its DRM plans back a bit. The new plan is that you'll still need an Internet connection to play, but only when launching Driver: Frisco.

"We've heard your feedback regarding the permanent internet connection requirement for Driver and have made the decision to no longer include it," Ubisoft said on the Driver forums. "So this means that Driver PC gamers will only need to sign in at game launch but can subsequently choose to play the game offline."

After it announced the always-online DRM, Ubisoft infamously attempted to console a fan with the words, "Bear in mind though that the PC version of DRVSF is released simultaneously to consoles," suggesting that harsh DRM may be a trade-off for a timely launch.

Now that the PC edition has been delayed by three weeks, perhaps Ubisoft no longer feels Driver: San Fran needs to be on full lockdown. It's long been speculated that Ubisoft's characteristic delaying of PC editions was due to fear of PC piracy harming console sales, supported by comments in 2008 by a producer on Tom Clancy's EndWar.

Ubisoft reported in July that it had seen "a clear reduction in piracy of our titles which required a persistent online connection, and from that point of view the requirement is a success." From another point of view, though, it's evidently not enough of a success for Ubi to stand by its original decision to use the scheme in Driver: The City by the Bay.

Driver: Fog City is headed to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii on September 6, then will come to PC on September 21. Both single-player and multiplayer demos are out now on 360 and PS3, but Ubisoft has no plans to bring either to PC.

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