Ubisoft Removes 'Always On' DRM From New Driver Game; Replaces It With Something Slightly Less Annoying
from the if-you-really-want-to-stick-it-to-the-pirates,-just-stop-making-games dept
Of course, an uproar took place and Ubisoft is now attempting to calm its potential customers, as Rock Paper Shotgun reports, by walking back its "always on" DRM, as evidenced by this official statement:
We've heard your feedback regarding the permanent internet connection requirement for Driver and have made the decision to no longer include it. So this means that Driver PC gamers will only need to sign in at game launch but can subsequently choose to play the game offline."And this improves things how?" RPS' John Walker asks:
[W]hat Driver's DRM has been reduced to is almost pointlessly different. Before if your internet connection went down while you played, the game would stop, and it wasn't possible to play anywhere without an internet connection at all. Now, er, if your internet connection is down you still can't play, and you still can't play anywhere without an internet connection.While this concession makes it slightly less annoying to play Ubisoft's game, the fact remains that this minor compromise doesn't alter the general "treat everyone like thieves" principle behind it. If you really want to prevent piracy, rather than please your customers, why not just take your protective measures to the logical conclusion?
Always On is by far and away the most egregiously stupid and unfair DRM to have ever been included with a game... It's something Ubisoft have boasted, without providing any proof whatsoever, has reduced piracy. While the claim without proof is meaningless, it also ignores the rather larger issue that so would locking the only copy of the game in a concrete block buried beneath the sea reduce piracy. It would also make it even more inconvenient for a paying customer.Ubisoft may be slowly learning that the public isn't going to put up with Always On, but it seems deaf to the facts that its DRM does nothing to slow down piracy and everything to annoy its customers. Walker closes with this plea, which could be directed at any purveyor of DRM-laced goods:
But Ubisoft - if you're genuinely listening to the reaction against your DRM, then please actually hear what's being said. With DRM that requires an internet connection to launch, every time, you are once again mindlessly and needlessly punishing your legitimate customers in a way that will not affect those with pirated copies. You will, once again, be selling a product with a serious and significant defect, that those who download it for free will not be encountering. There's no logic or rationale that makes that okay. By requiring an internet connection for launch, on every launch, you punish anyone whose internet isn't working, who wants to play away from home (on a train, on a plane, on a holiday in Cornwall, at their grandparents' house, in their barracks...), or who cannot afford a broadband internet connection. It is cruel. It is stupid. It doesn't work on any level. If you are listening, really listening, then stop this. Stop treating customers like criminals, and start showing respect to those who pay you significant amounts of money for your products.Once again, if your product can't outperform the pirated version, your battle against piracy will always be uphill.