Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Ubisoft Officially Drops Always-On PC DRM From Newer Titles

In an interview on RPS today, game developer Ubisoft officially confirmed it has dropped the company's controversial “always-on” Digital rights management (DRM) copyright scheme officially removing it from all upcoming titles.

Ubisoft’s worldwide director for online games, Stephanie Perotti, explained that always-on has actually been gone for quite a while.

“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.”

The Ubisoft Always-On DRM program attempted to prevent piracy by requiring players to have an active internet connection at all times while playing a game. This meant playing without an internet connection was impossible, even if the game had no online functionality. Even more annoyingly, if your connection dropped at any stage then the game would instantly stop, meaning you lost whatever progress was unsaved.

Changing it's previous position Ubisift has now removed the internet connection requirement for gaming only requiring a connections for a one-time online activation, and then to access any online services. Clarifying the new position, Perotti summarizes it, using Assassin’s Creed III as an example:

“Whenever you want to reach any online service, multiplayer, you will have to be connected, and obviously for online games you will also need to be online to play. But if you want to enjoy Assassin’s Creed III 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.”

Gamers have a long history of fighting DRM and copy protections. In many cases developers use DRM technologies to limit the number of systems the game can be installed on by requiring authentication with an online server. In yet more case publishers use DRM protection schemes to stop gamers from copying disks. The inability to copy a disk means a greater likelihood that a user will damage their original disk and have to purchase a new replacement.

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