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Ubisoft Ditches Always-Online DRM Requirement From PC Games 218

RogueyWon writes "In an interview with gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Ubisoft has announced that it will no longer use always-online DRM for its PC games. The much-maligned DRM required players to be online and connected to its servers at all times, even when playing single-player content. This represents a reversal of Ubisoft's long-standing insistence that such DRM was essential if the company were to be profitable in the PC gaming market." The full interview has a number of interesting statements. Ubisoft representatives said the decision was made in June of last year. This was right around the time the internet was in an uproar over the DRM in Driver: San Francisco, which Ubisoft quickly scaled back. Ubisoft stopped short of telling RPS they regretted the always-online DRM, or that it only bothers legitimate customers. (However, in a different interview at Gamasutra, Ubisoft's Chris Early said, "The truth of it, they're more inconvenient to our paying customers, so in listening to our players, we removed them.") They maintain that piracy is a financial problem, and acknowledged that the lack of evidence from them and other publishers has only hurt their argument.
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Ubisoft Ditches Always-Online DRM Requirement From PC Games

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  • About damn time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @02:34PM (#41237611)

    'nuff said.

  • Yeah Right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @02:34PM (#41237615)

    I'll believe it when I see it, not when they say it.

  • Financial issues? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @02:35PM (#41237625) Homepage

    Hmm, maybe that doesn't stem from piracy so much as the constant firehose of low-quality games from Ubisoft?

    You can fool people for a while, but eventually they're going to notice you're charging $50 for what other companies would release as a $10 DLC.

  • Finally... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @02:35PM (#41237627) Journal

    they're more inconvenient to our paying customers

    Finally somebody starts to get it. When you make it more convenient to pirate the game than to pay for it there's something badly wrong.

  • by DarkFencer ( 260473 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @02:37PM (#41237659)

    If they patch existing games to not use this as well, I may consider purchasing one (Heroes 6). I've held off on this purchase specifically because of this.

  • by AmazingRuss ( 555076 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @02:39PM (#41237671) pirate. This will make no difference in the piracy rate, but it's nice for their user base.

  • by heypete ( 60671 ) <> on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @02:41PM (#41237693) Homepage

    DRM serves to inconvenience legitimate users and does little to stop pirates: all it takes is one smart cow [] to open the gate and all the other cows can follow.

    Steam seems to provide a good service to game sellers and players: reasonable DRM to reduce casual piracy while not being hideously obnoxious (you only need to be online once to activate the game, after that you can play offline), fast downloads, decent anti-cheating protection for multiplayer games, frequent sales, millions of regular viewers (so promotions are more effective), automatic updates, very simple click-to-buy procedure without any hassle, etc. Why wouldn't game developers sell games on Steam rather than creating their own obnoxious systems?

  • by ckblackm ( 1137057 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @02:42PM (#41237713)
    If we could only get Blizzard to do away with the requirement for Diablo III.
  • by Spuffin ( 466692 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @02:48PM (#41237773)

    I think that's entirely the point. DRM or no DRM does not affect the piracy rate but it DOES impact the end-user. If the end-user's experience is affected by something that does not affect the illegitimate users then they need to re-evaluate their goals. There are extra costs in development and overhead with the implementation of DRM which must be factored into the ROI. It appears they are coming to the realization that their implementation negatively affects the end-user experience, impression of their brand, and does not provide any additional sales (which is the whole point, really) so they're on the wrong end of that ROI.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @02:57PM (#41237881)

    When companies start realizing that they're not losing money to pirates because pirates aren't customer (or even potential customers) they can focus on things their real customers are interested in.

  • by SeinJunkie ( 751833 ) <> on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @03:00PM (#41237919) Homepage

    The people who are pirating will probably keep pirating, but it's not because of some other justification. It's because the vast majority of them are in a country or culture where it's the norm.

    To countries like Armenia [], they don't even consider that there is DRM in a game at retail because they usually are acquiring it via bootleg salesmen or pirated downloads. It's as if the DRMed game never existed.

    And that's why the one, two, and sometimes three or more layers of DRM doesn't do anything but hurt the customers in the culture where paying is the social norm.

  • Too Late (Score:4, Insightful)

    by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @03:05PM (#41237975)
    Due to their past transgressions, I will still never buy an Ubisoft game. I'm sure they will consider my lack of purchasing as piracy instead of voting with my wallet, but I don't care. Companies need to learn that years of treating your paying customers with contempt will take a LONG time for people to get over, even when the company finally starts to do the right thing.
  • Games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @03:05PM (#41237983) Homepage

    Produce a game I want to play, and make it a program that I don't cringe as I try to install it.

    It's not hard. Hundreds of them are on my PC at the moment. I don't think there's a single Ubisoft one among them (except some really old games before they started bundling pure shit along with their shitty games and trying to sell it for full price).

    The DRM doesn't stop the pirates.
    The DRM does stop me.

    If it's taken you this long to listen, believe and understand what people have been saying to you for YEARS, I see no reason to reward your years of ignorance now.

  • by cheekyjohnson ( 1873388 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @03:09PM (#41238023)

    reasonable DRM to reduce casual piracy

    How casual? If they seriously cannot apply a crack, I highly doubt they can figure out how to use Steam.

    But I don't believe "reasonable DRM" exists, anyway. Steam itself would be okay if you could optionally detach the games from it so that you could run them without it, but not being able to do so is what makes it DRM.

  • Re:About damn time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @03:17PM (#41238105)

    'nuff said.

    No, not quite. Now that they are ending their oppressive DRM, I will end my purchasing boycott.

  • by daemonhunter ( 968210 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @03:24PM (#41238185)

    Can someone explain to me (because I don't own any Ubisoft PC games) how this is different than being forced to log into even if I only want to play Diablo 3 single player?

    If it's not any different, why is Ubisoft on the receiving end of such unbridled nerd rage, but not Blizzard?

  • Re:Yeah Right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @03:54PM (#41238571) Journal
    Considering how consumer unfriendly this company has been I don't blame you friend. And is this gonna apply to new titles only, or are they stripping it from previous games? Because there were several Ubisoft titles on Steam I would have bought if it weren't for the always on DRM. If they are gonna strip it from everything great, all for it, if not it'll be a royal PITA still to buy any of their titles because you'll have to search the fine print to see if its pre, during, or post douchebaggery.
  • Re:WoW. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dragonslicer ( 991472 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @04:58PM (#41239335)
    I thought Blizzard published WoW
  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @10:03PM (#41242595) Journal

    Riiiight, that is why Valve is completely broke...oh wait, they are backing money trucks up to GabeN's place so he can fill his swimming pools with $100 bills.

    I'd suggest you watch this video by Jim Sterling [] where he says Sony is practically begging for piracy to go nuts on the Vita, why? Because they refuse to compete with the pirates and instead make actually paying them more of a PITA than just using BT to get the thing.

    Valve has shown by using classical business 101 you CAN not only make a damned good living on PC games but even turn some, not all mind you but you'll never get all, of those pirates into actual paying customers. Myself and all of my friends used to pirate like crazy, now none of us have bothered in years...why? Classical business 101, make it simple, make it cheap, make it convenient. Why should I bother hunting down a BT on TPB, risking some malware or zero day infecting my machine, when with Steam I can just whip out my CC and have the game in under 3 minutes WITH all the DLC, WITH the MP, WITH the ability to pop up a chat window and get my friends in the game, and all at dirt cheap prices?

    Too many corps have forgotten classical business 101 and instead are trying to anally rape as many dollars as they can get out of each individual and on top of that they wear a spiked condom called DRM. I wish I'd thought to save the page but in an article with Valve one of the guys pointed out when they slapped L4D on there at $2 a pop just to see what kind of sales they would get they made something like 1700% PROFIT on the game, why? Because digital means no shelves or boxes and the cost of shipping bits is very low so they were able to make out like bandits because they found at under $10 games quickly become impulse buys and people that might not even like the genre will pick it up at that price.

    So I have to agree with Mr Sterling, don't blame the pirates, blame the retarded companies for refusing to compete. We humans are lazy creatures and will happily pay for products that meet classical business 101 rules, cheap, easy, and convenient, but these companies simply refuse to pull their heads out of their asses to see the kind of money you can make by doing things that make it easy for them to give you their money. Thank the FSM we have Valve so at least ONE company does get it.

As Will Rogers would have said, "There is no such things as a free variable."