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Ubisoft returning to always-connected DRM on PC games because it works

Ubisoft caused some major upset among gamers yesterday when it confirmed that Driver: San Francisco would include the much-hated always-connected DRM on the PC verion of the game. Such DRM requires that the PC running the game always be connected to the Internet. If that connection is lost even for a moment the game is forced into a pause you can’t exit until the connection is working again.

Gamers hate it because it restricts where you can play a game e.g. not offline, on holiday, or potentially in the future when Ubisoft shuts down the server for each title using it. At the same time it’s very intrusive, especially when you’ve paid $60 for a game that is effectively hobbled under certain conditions and may eventually become unplayable. Don’t forget that anyone with a hacked version of the game also doesn’t have to put up with this connection annoyance, meaning yet again DRM only really frustrates those who pay for their games.

But Ubisoft has decided to reintroduce this system for one simple reason: always-connected DRM works and they have seen a reduction in piracy on the games that did use it. What isn’t stated is how it impacted sales, but then if they are willing to use this DRM method again, the hit must be worth it.

Ubisoft first introduced this DRM back in January 2010. It was shipped with Assassin’s Creed 2 which embarrassingly became unplayable when Ubisoft’s DRM servers went down. Then it got hacked rendering the DRM completely useless.

After all that Ubisoft said the system would be improved and on all future PC games. While not all Ubisoft-published games carry it, it looks like the DRM is here to stay and Ubisoft games may be titles you want to avoid on PC unless your broadband connection is rock-solid and you only ever play when in a conencted location.

More at Reghardware



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