Ubisoft Officially Off the Always-On DRM Bandwagon
Of all the publishers in the world of video games, few have put forth as onerous a digital rights management system as Ubisoft. Their stance on PC piracy eventually caused them to require all Ubisoft games on PC, across the board, to be constantly connected to their servers in order to ensure that they weren’t pirated. It seems, however, that they might have had a change of heart. According to an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Ubisoft quietly made the call last year to ditch their always-on DRM scheme.
This comes not long after Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stated that somewhere between 93 and 95 percent of Ubisoft PC games are pirated. Rock, Paper, Shotgun interviewed Stephanie Perotti, the worldwide director of online games for Ubisoft, who was joined by their corporate communications manager, Michael Burk. The very first question actually harks back to Guillemot’s statement, though Perotti hedges by saying that these numbers aren’t representative of all games in all regions, but that it varies between regions and games.
The actual crux of the interview happened when Rock, Paper, Shotgun began questioning the pair about a statement made to PC Gamer last year that Ubisoft’s archaic always-on DRM had shown “a clear reduction in piracy” in their titles that required it. That’s when Perotti set the stage for PC gamers everywhere to breathe a sigh of relief:
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.
That means that even though they’ve continued to be heckled for it, Ubisoft actually changed their nonsensical policy last year. Games like Assassin’s Creed III will require a one-time activation before folks can play the game offline. It isn’t the same as completely removing the requirement for an Internet connection, but eliminating the need to constantly be connected is a step in the right direction.