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Ubisoft Drops Always-On DRM From PC Titles, Still Missing The Point

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Posted on September 5, 2012 AT 11:00am

Ubisoft has supposedly ditched one of the most divisive and problematic features of their PC lineup, the developer/publisher announced today. Apparently, their always-on DRM practices are a thing of the past.

It’s a surprising note, especially since Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot very recently claimed that the company would have to focus on more free-to-play games with their PC titles seeing a “93-to-95-percent” piracy rate. But with their DRM stance shifted, it should make many fans a bit less likely to pirate Far Cry 3 or Assassin’s Creed III this year.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun got the news straight from Stephanie Perotti, Ubisoft’s worldwide director for online games:

RPS: But last year it was said that the so-called “always-on” DRM had shown a clear reduction in piracy. The quote was, “A clear reduction in piracy from our titles, which required a persistent online connection, and from that point of view the requirement is a success.” Have you any data to evidence this, and if so, are you going to publish it?

Perotti: I’m not going to comment on data. That was an unfortunate comment. 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.

RPS actually gave a pretty hard interview to Ubisoft, impressively pushing their representatives on key questions about how the company’s attitude towards PC users has damaged their company’s bottom line. Annoyingly, Ubisoft’s reps refused to admit that the company’s DRM practices were a mistake, and didn’t really have a good excuse for why they couldn’t provide the numbers to prove their claim that always-on DRM cut down piracy on their games.

(Probably because it most likely did the exact opposite.)

However, there’s a big problem that Ubisoft is missing with games that require online-multiplayer. As RPS’ John Walker points out, even the least restrictive one-time activation DRM option is still unfair for paying customers.

Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun

McKinley Noble, Contributing Editor
McKinley Noble has been writing about video games for seven years as a blogger and journalist, with each job adding to his painstakingly alphabetized collection of retro gaming memorabilia. When not cracking jokes about the gaming industry, he's a talking encyclopedia when it comes to mixed martial arts and anything MMA related. Follow him on Twitter: @KenTheGreat1. Meet the rest of the crew.

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