It’s almost gotten drowned out by the whole AllodsGate thing in the MMO world, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t fix a stinky eye at Ubisoft and their incredibly controversial decision to combat piracy by requiring your computer to be connected to their server at all times. The game on your computer — mind you, single-player games like Assassin’s Creed and Settlers — simply will not work without an internet connection and the whims of their server access.
To say the least, this decision hasn’t been popular:
“We barely need to say anything here (but we will), as where we’re going we don’t need words. We only need righteous fury. PC Gamer have experienced the controversial new Ubisoft DRM first-hand, in the PC build of Assassin’s Creed 2. We already thought the paranoid new copy protection was pretty bad, requiring as it did an online check everytime you played and giving you a hard time if you tried to launch it offline.
What we didn’t think – what we didn’t believe they’d be mad enough to do – was that it’d kick you out of the game if your net connection dropped for any reason… While we’ve not always gone full-pelt protest against excessive DRM, this is open contempt for paying customers, and, quite frankly, it’s the most valid reason yet for PC gamers to call a massed boycott. We’ll certainly be ignoring it with all the passion we can muster.”
~ Rock Paper Shotgun
“I will not be buying another Ubisoft game, including Silent Hunter 5, until they find some other solution. What they’ve done in this interview is admit that this will be hacked eventually…but hey, they ‘believe in it’. Seems like they need to just accept the reality of piracy instead of believing in short term solutions that just piss off customers.”
~ Common Sense Gamer
“What Ubisoft is doing here is Draconian – I don’t mean those lizard dudes, I’m talking about laws which are characterized by their severity. Before they eventually dismantle it, and it will be dismantled, it will have achieved exactly the opposite of their intention.”
~ Penny Arcade
“Ubisoft apparently believes that its customer base is located entirely within The Butterfly and Bunny Kingdom where Internet connections are impervious, woven as they are from pure sunshine, cuddles, and cloud fluff. In the real world, on the other hand, Internet connections temporarily fail for a dizzying number of reasons. Routers crash, power cords get unplugged, and cables fall (or are yanked) out. Every so often, for no apparent reason, your connection will drop or slow to a crawl and refuse to function properly until you reboot. If you’re using wireless, you dodge some of the potential cord issues, but are subsequently subject to the whims of your wireless router, which might decide at any point that it hates you. God help you if there’s a microwave between you and the base unit and someone wants popcorn.
Ubisoft’s executives haven’t just forgotten anything they ever knew about gaming, they’ve violated one of the primary rules of customer service: Do not treat your legitimate customer base like the enemy.”
~ Hot Hardware
“According to Ubisoft, everything is alright because the game only boots you if the Internet connection is down for a prolonged period of time and it won’t kick you if the connection slows. Of course, this still means that you can’t play Ubisoft games on a laptop outside of the house and that if your network is down for any reason, you’re not allowed to use the software you paid upwards of $40.
In short: F*ck you, Ubisoft. This DRM is pathetic.”
PC Gamer, God bless ’em, took Ubisoft to task in a phone interview, during which Ubisoft’s representative hilariously tries — and fails — to justify this move. Read the last question and answer, and see how comfortable you are with this whole thing.
Now as MMORPG players, our games pretty much have built-in DRM, so it’s not like we’re not used to this sort of thing. But this move on Ubisoft’s part is just scary as all get out. I’m not against companies protecting their goods and services, but if I as a customer have to suffer because of what someone else might do, then something’s just askew in the land of Oz.
I wasn’t going to be purchasing Ubisoft games anyway, but now I’m doubly resolved to stay as far away from them as possible. If their DRM tactic offends you, then spread the word and let people know what they’re getting into before they get the game. I don’t see this ending well for them, at all.