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Ubisoft Ditches Always-On DRM

| 5 Sep 2012 15:19
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Ubisoft claims customer feedback persuaded them to drop their controversial DRM policy.

After spending much time and effort defending its policy on always-on DRM, Ubisoft has announced that it will be dropping its always-on DRM effective immediately. In fact, it's already dropped it; Ubisoft's Worldwide Director for online games, Stephanie Perotti, claimed that this had actually been unofficial Ubisoft policy for several months now, but that the time had come for an official announcement. Activation limits? Gone. Can you install on as many different PCs as you like? Yep. Ubisoft only requires a single online activation once the game is installed; after that, you may do with the game as you will.

When reminded that in the past Ubisoft had claimed that always-on DRM had resulted in a clear reduction in piracy, Perotti called Ubisoft's previous claim "an unfortunate comment." "We have listened to feedback," said Perotti, "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." "Listening to feedback" seems to be Ubisoft's current mantra; when questioned, both Perotti and Comminications Manager Michael Burk repeated the phrase as though it could ward off evil. However neither went so far as to recant the DRM credo; when asked whether Ubisoft acknowledged that DRM only affected paying customers and not pirates, Perotti's response was "I wouldn't say that ... I think the fact that you activate your game when you install it is a pretty industry standard process." Neither was willing to say that always-on DRM had been a mistake.

Though Ubisoft's DRM is no longer a PC problem, it's worth noting that - according to Ubisoft's figures - PC sales made up only 7% of the total in the last fiscal year. When asked if console was therefore a priority, the response was that all platforms were important. "What we've been announcing at Gamescom for instance," said Perotti, "is a large portfolio of varied online PC games, games that are exclusively designed for the PC ." Perotti concluded by saying "I would just say that we listened to feedback, we adapt, we will continue to listen and adapt, and hopefully we will continue to prove to the PC gaming community that we listen."

Source: Rock Paper Shotgun

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