When the original Assassin's Creed shipped for PCs in April 2008, the game's launch was plagued by piracy. As part of a lawsuit filed against the manufacturer that leaked the game six weeks before its official launch, some 700,000 copies of the game were distributed illegally online, costing the publisher millions in revenue. With Assassin's Creed II set for its March 16 bow on PCs, Ubisoft will attempt to circumvent the PC piracy issue with its new Online Services Platform.
Perhaps the most controversial element of Ubisoft's Online Services Platform system is that gamers will be required to be connected to the Internet during their entire play session. The enabled-Internet requirement is necessary across all game modes, including single-player and multiplayer options. If players lose their connection during a session, the game will pause and resume once the Internet is restored. Players will also be required to sign up for an account on Ubi.com.
As for the perks, the Online Services Platform means that gamers will not need the game's CD or DVD to play after installation. Gamers will also be able to resume their game session from any PC, due to the fact that saved games are stored on Ubisoft's online servers. The publisher notes that if it stops supporting its Online Services Platform, a patch will be released so that "the core game play will not be affected."
Ubisoft also said that the online authentication server will not limit the number of installs for any given game, a common complaint lodged at other digital rights management services. However, only one play session per Ubi.com account can be active at a time.
Speaking to GameSpot, an Ubisoft representative confirmed that "the majority of Ubisoft's PC games will use this platform." More information on Ubisoft's new Online Services Platform can be found on the publisher's Web site.