Friday, 13 August 2010

Ubisoft Says 'Always On' DRM Scheme Not Dead

Are you like me? Do you hate Ubisoft's mode of DRM, where you must be connected to the Internet 100% of the time, or risk getting kicked out of your game so they can prove you're not a pirate? Did you celebrate R.U.S.E., figuring that Ubisoft was admitting defeat?

If so, Ubisoft has a message for you: go forth and multiply. An unnamed spokesperson has said they "will continue to use the Ubisoft protection system for most PC games". This, despite almost universal uproar from legitimate, paying consumers that the system was pants, and would sometimes kick in while actually online (likely because of DNS issues or something else at the application layer). This, after hackers performed a Dedicated Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on Ubisoft's DRM servers, rendering Assassin's Creed II unplayable for a spell.

R.U.S.E. will instead use Valve's SteamWorks system, which forces online authentication upon first loading the game, but then allows games to be played in offline mode.

I see this as a beta test of sorts. Ubisoft does not want to admit defeat on this because it could impact how they're viewed by their investors. However, they're also checking into Steamworks to see if the results are comparable to their own scheme. If they are, I think they're going to quietly retreat, keeping investors satisfied while making up their lost ground in public relations.

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