Ubisoft Comes to Its Senses, Kills Always-On DRM Games

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News Posted: Wed, Sep 5 2012 11:19 AM
It may have taken Ubisoft a hundred million years to figure out that honest-to-goodness consumers really, really despise always-on Digital Rights Management (DRM) schemes, but bless the publisher's heart for finally caving. Actually, Ubisoft did away with always-on DRM over a year ago, but is just now making it official.

"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 activation when you first install the game, and from then you are free to play the game offline," Ubisoft's Worldwide Director for Online Games, Stephanie Perotti, stated in an interview.

Perotti and Corporate Communications Director, Michael Burk, spoke at length about DRM, answering tough questions with sometimes direct answers, and at other times issuing vague replies. Listening to customer feedback was a common theme, though neither executive would concede that DRAM was a mistake.

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"I wouldn't use those words," Burk said. "This is a process, and we listened to feedback."

The two execs also refused to share any data on how effective always-on DRM might have been, even though Perotti acknowledges that in holding back that info, it harms Ubisoft's argument. Still, she isn't willing to admit that DRM only affects paying customers and doesn't do a whole lot to thwart piracy.

It's a pretty enlightening interview, and kudos goes out to Rock, Paper, Shotgun for not pulling any punches. Give it a read and let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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JOMA replied on Wed, Sep 5 2012 11:48 AM

Wow, thank goodness they have seen the light. My guess is they're just working on something even more nefarious.   If they truly go the way of less invasive/strict DRM I just may go back to buying their games.

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Always-on makes perfect sense when the game is played online from the publisher's servers (e.g., World of Warcraft, Everquest, Asheron's Call, Star Trek Online, and so forth). When it's being used for the sole purpose of preventing a customer from playing a game after he has lawfully purchased it and happens to be someplace without a reliable Internet connection, then the right answer is a total boycott of the control-mad publisher's products.

I think Ubisoft ultimately realized their bottom line was vulnerable to a virtual flash mob running away from the cash registers.

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4L1G8R replied on Wed, Sep 5 2012 5:13 PM

Wow, nice. Guess they finally started to feel it. I wonder if it's safe to support them now, or will that make them think it's safe to go back to their old ways......


EDIT: Also, inb4 Ubisoft converts all their games to the Free To Play model. Stick out tongue

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eunoia replied on Wed, Sep 5 2012 7:08 PM



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