Ubisoft offered the first word on its new PC digital rights management method in late January, and many gamers were less than enthused about the news. The game piracy prevention method requires all players to maintain a connection to Ubisoft's Online Services Platform throughout the course of play, irrespective of whether the game in question is being played in single-player or multiplayer mode.
One of the first games to make use of the system is the Windows edition of Ubisoft's highly acclaimed action adventure Assassin's Creed II, which is currently available in Europe and arrives in North America this week. Unfortunately, concerns that Ubisoft's new DRM measures would hurt those who legally purchased the game have proven well founded.
According to reports on Ubisoft's forums and based on GameSpot's firsthand experience with the game, the publisher is experiencing technical issues with its Online Services Platform that prevent gamers from playing Assassin's Creed II. While attempting to play the single-player campaign, GameSpot has received error messages stating that Ubi.com's online servers are down and that an accurately inputted user name and password are invalid.
For its part, Ubisoft is aware of the connection issues and claims to be actively working on evening out the performance of its new DRM solution.
"Due to exceptional demand, we are currently experiencing difficulties with the Online Service Platform," a Ubisoft representative stated on the game's message boards. "This does not affect customers who are currently playing, but customers attempting to start a game may experience difficulty in accessing our servers. We are currently working to resolve this issue and apologize for any inconvenience."
Notably, within a day of Assassin's Creed II's launch in Europe, tech blog InfoAddict reported that Ubisoft's new DRM system had already been cracked. Ubisoft quickly responded to these reports, stating on its official Twitter feed that any claim that a cracked version of Assassin's Creed II exists is false and that anyone who acquires a pirated version of the game will find that it is "not complete."
When Ubisoft initially announced the Online Services Platform, it trumpeted the fact that gamers would be able to resume their game session from any PC, because saved games are stored on Ubisoft's online servers. However, even before the login complications stemming from Ubisoft's overloaded servers, GameSpot also experienced prolonged wait times as well as outright failures while attempting to load player profiles associated with these stored saves.
Ubisoft has yet to state when it expects server functionality to even out.
[UPDATE] Ubisoft has since provided additional information on the instability of its Online Service Platform. In a message posted to its Twitter feed, the publisher claims that server outages are the result of a denial-of-service attack.
"Apologies to anyone who couldn't play ACII or SH5 yesterday. Servers were attacked which limited service from 2:30pm to 9pm Paris time," the publisher said. "95 percent of players were not affected, but a small group of players attempting to open a game session did receive denial of service errors"