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Ubisoft PC policy requires one-time activation, scraps always-on DRM

Ubisoft has scrapped its always-on and start-up verification DRM requirements for PC games, stating that its new policy as of June 2011 is to only require a one-time activation.


Given constant delays and onerous always-on DRM requirements, PC gamers have long held Ubisoft in contempt. However, Ubisoft's director for online games Stephanie Perotti claims that the publisher has had a year-long policy committed to ending its controversial always-on DRM. The reason? Consumer feedback. Instead, the publisher is now committed to a one-time online activation.

"We have listened to feedback, and since June last year our policy for all of PC games is that we only require a one-time online activation when you first install the game, and from then you are free to play the game offline," Perotti told Rock Paper Shotgun.

She notes that, for obvious reasons, you'll need to be connected to access online services like multiplayer. "But if you want to enjoy Assassin's Creed 3 single player, you will be able to do that without being connected. And you will be able to activate the game on as many machines as you want."

While that may have been company policy since June 2011, Ubisoft hasn't applied it completely consistently. For example, Assassin's Creed Revelations did actually ditch the always-on requirement in favor of a one-time activation, but From Dust famously required verification at start-up. It was later patched to allow offline play.

Considering Ubisoft's new push into digital distribution, it's clear the publisher needs to make amends with the PC gaming community. While removing aggressive DRM requirements is a good step, perhaps the next step would be to make PC games launch simultaneously as the console versions?

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  • reply
    September 5, 2012 10:30 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Ubisoft PC policy requires one-time activation, scraps always-on DRM.

    Ubisoft has scrapped its always-on and start-up verification DRM requirements for PC games, stating that its new policy as of June 2011 is to only require a one-time activation.

    • reply
      September 5, 2012 10:52 AM

      I applaud Ubisoft for back tracking on this policy. To be honest I thought It was a lost cause.

      • reply
        September 5, 2012 10:57 AM

        Hopefully Ubi commits to it long term. They have good games and I would like to support the developers with my purchases again.

        • reply
          September 5, 2012 1:33 PM

          I agree. Earlier this year I fired up AC2 for the first time. When I couldn't play this two year old single player game because I couldn't connect to their online service, I lost it. Swore I wouldn't buy another Ubi title. This however will make me change my mind if they stick to it.

    • reply
      September 5, 2012 11:03 AM

      Awesome, this is fantastic news :) I love Ubisoft IPs they have some of my fav franchise this is great news.

      So will this be applied to their current library and all my games will act this way in the Uplay interface(none MP)? Are there patches then for all their current games and will be auto updated?

      Or is this from now on, maybe I miss read the article?

    • reply
      September 5, 2012 11:04 AM

      good to hear, i may actually buy AC3 now

    • reply
      September 5, 2012 12:14 PM

      Very cool!

    • reply
      September 5, 2012 12:22 PM

      Man, this probably doesn't work for Might & Magic Heroes 6...

      • reply
        September 5, 2012 2:25 PM

        This is one of the worst games for actually managing to get in and play. It has to sync before you play, after you play, and probably while you damn well play. And much of the time the sync fails and has to start again. Can sometimes take up to 10 minutes just to play that time I usually give up and go play something else. If it had of been better I may have actually considered buying the DLC.

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      September 5, 2012 12:40 PM

      This actually quite a surprise given the success of Diablo 3.

    • Ebu legacy 10 years
      September 5, 2012 1:36 PM

      And Ubisoft is back on the radar again.

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        September 5, 2012 2:56 PM

        Exactly, I mean, time will tell what will come of this, but Ubisoft "might" have a chance with PC gamers again.

    • reply
      September 5, 2012 2:58 PM

      As of June 2011?

    • reply
      September 5, 2012 3:34 PM

      I will buy those DRM free games just to send the right message to Ubisoft.

      • reply
        September 5, 2012 5:59 PM

        They're not DRM-free yet; you'll probably still have to sign up for a UPlay account to activate the game.

    • reply
      September 5, 2012 10:10 PM

      Finally a good move on their behalf, but not enough to build up long-term trust on my behalf.

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      September 5, 2012 10:27 PM

      bravo ubisoft bravo, a well thought out move here, i am glad your listening
      to your customers, i may even consider trying out your games again now.
      thank you for listening.

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