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The Problem with Overzealous DRM
By Aloysius Low - on 23 Feb 2010, 9:42am

Ubisoft's latest DRM measures have had PC gamers up in arms, and for a good reason. Unlike current DRM measures that limit the number of installation or just simple disc checks, Ubisoft has taken its online activation policy for its previous games one step further, this time requiring an always on Internet connection while playing their latest games (Assassin's Creed 2 and Settlers VII).

If the Internet line goes down, Assassin's Creed 2 will kick you back to the main menu, with no saves on your progress being made. Settlers VII players have it easier, as the game will pause while you reconnect. So in essence, this means no offline playing either games, and even worse, if you're stuck with a bad connection or if Ubisoft's servers goes down, you'll be unable to play the game. Heck, Ubisoft has admitted it could be a problem, but have not said how they would fix this if it happens.

Of course, all these DRM measures are in place because Ubisoft wants to beat piracy, but it does seem to be creating a lot of hassle for legitimate customers; and face it, people who pirate the game will probably be able to play it without going through such hassles anyway. More restrictive DRM seems like a two-edged sword, and it is, firstly, you're making the life of paying customers who want to enjoy your game hell to do so, while giving pirates a lame cop out reason to do so. And face it, pirates usually make it a point to crack the game before the release date anyhows.

Ethically speaking, there's nothing to stop a person from buying the game, and running a pirated cracked version of the game, but that sorts of defeats the purpose of DRM in the first place no? Maybe gaming companies should start thinking of less intrusive methods to prevent piracy like offering content available only to legitimate copies, while pricing a game such that it wouldn't make sense to pirate it. That's not to say piracy will stop completely, and we have to be realistic here, but at least they will be able to get more returns and more positive publicity.


Aloysius Low

Aloysius Low / Former Tech Writer

Tech writer, gadget nerd, cat owner and social media junkie, Aloysius loves exploring the wacky side of tech, while tackling his notebook reviews.