Ubisoft has pledged to remove all online authentication DRM from the PC version of From Dust within the next couple of weeks.

There was some question as to whether or not Ubisoft’s notorious always-on DRM would be applied to the PC version of From Dust, Eric Chahi’s god game that came out earlier this month. At first, the word was that the game would not require a net connection to play, but it became clear after its release that this was not the case at all and that gamers would have to be connected in order to play. Needless to say, this did not go over well with folks who bought the thing under the assumption that they could play it wherever and whenever they pleased.

But after some stumble-footed bobbing and weaving that made the situation even uglier, the publisher announced yesterday that all online authentication will be removed from the game in an upcoming patch. There’s even an apology for all the dicking around.

“We recognize that one of our posts in the From Dust forum regarding the need for authentication in the game was not clear. We sincerely apologize for the misunderstanding. Our tech teams are working on a patch that should release in approximately two weeks that will eliminate the need for any online authentication. This development time is required as we are working to ensure that those who have already started the game, and who’s progress is currently saved on our servers, will receive and save their game information locally. Once the patch is ready, players who already have the game will automatically receive the update on their next login and subsequent game sessions will be 100% offline.”

It’s a big improvement over the “change” Ubisoft made to the DRM in Driver: San Francisco, which no longer requires an always-on connection to play but still demands that players log in to Ubi servers every time the game starts. The two-week delay strikes me as more likely an attempt to squeeze some mileage out of the DRM before it’s gone, but Ubisoft’s explanation isn’t entirely beyond reason so I’m willing to let it slide.

I’m also hopeful that the sudden turn-around means Ubisoft is taking a second look at its overall DRM policies and maybe reconsidering the wisdom of forcing people to be online each and every time they want to play a game. High hopes, I know, but if we see a similar reversal in Driver: San Francisco, rather than the meaningless sidestep we’ve been given, there may just be a reason for optimism.

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