GAMES PUBLISHER Ubisoft announced yesterday a new digital restrictions management (DRM) weapon in its attempt to counter increased games 'piracy'.
The French giant's previous efforts with third party DRM solutions like SecuROM and StarForce - which limited the number of user installs - went down like a lead balloon with punters. But now Ubisoft has developed a new proprietary online integration procedure. In other words, no Internet connection, no gaming.
The system verifies the disc to see if it's a legit copy of the game using Ubisoft's servers. The up side is that it will also automatically keep the your settings online, allowing you to transfer data such as perferences and saved games across PCs.
In an interview with Gamespy, Brent Wilkinson, Ubisoft's director of customer service and production planning was adamant that this is a viable solution.
"Now you can access your saved games anywhere. You don't need the disc in the drive. You can play from any computer that has an Internet connection," he said. "We think most people are going to be fine with it. Most people are always connected to an Internet connection."
Verification will be done a through an Ubi.com account so you will have to connect to your Ubisoft account before the game can be authenticated. While most PC gamers actually have the Internet plugged directly in to their collective brains, there will still be serious concerns for travellers without access to an Internet connection or low bandwidth areas. It's also unknown if the game will stutter or bomb out completely if the Internet connection drops or bottlenecks during gameplay, but we're guessing that it will.
Ubisoft has a history of badly implemented DRM solutions and DRM methods deployed by publishers could potentially damage sales. Only this Monday 2K Games caved in to public pressure and said that it was scaling back DRM on its forthcoming Bioshock 2 release. The company initially intended to include every SecuROM anti-piracy measure known to man, woman, child and household pets. Now all it's going to implement is authenticating the game disc at launch with no "three strikes and you're out" install limit.
While DRM itself has its place, badly implemented DRM does more harm than good and this one from Ubisoft sounds like a shocker to the nth degree. It's not front page news that content providers want to protect their intellectual property but a viable solution seems to be in another postcode right now. The only thing we can say for sure is that for every new fangled snake-oil DRM platform hitting the market, there'll be a few sweaty pre-pubescent hackboys waiting to breach it and brag. µ
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